Lisa Troyer, chief of staff to the president of the University of Illinois System, resigned abruptly Friday amid an inquiry into whether she sent anonymous e-mail messages to faculty members trying to influence their deliberations on policy matters, The Chicago Tribune reported. The university did not announce the reasons for Troyer's resignation, but it came as the Tribune was making inquiries into the investigation of the allegations against her. Faculty leaders were concerned about a senior aide to the president trying to play the part online of a faculty member advising colleagues.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Xavier University, in Ohio, has backed away from a plan to require all students who were in the student section at a basketball game at which a brawl broke out to attend a "reflection session" as a condition of attending any other basketball games, Cincinnati.com reported. The brawl -- involving athletes from Xavier and its crosstown rival the University of Cincinnati -- embarrassed both universities. An e-mail announcing the requirement said: "The student section contributed to the hostile atmosphere that charged the arena with unsportsmanlike conduct through unacceptable chanting, verbal expletives, and objects being thrown onto the arena floor. As a Jesuit, Catholic university, the behaviors demonstrated are not becoming of its students and is in conflict with the mission, values, and standards of Xavier University." But many students objected to everyone being required to attend the event, so the university is now making attendance voluntary, and inviting all students, not just those who were in attendance the night of the brawl.
The U.S. Education Department has tapped the president of Southern Vermont College, Karen Gross, to advise it on issues related to college access, affordability and completion. In a news release Friday, Southern Vermont said that Gross had been granted a year's leave of absence from the presidency to serve as a senior policy adviser to Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter, with whom Gross and Southern Vermont had worked on several initiatives. Gross, who spent two decades as a law professor and expert on consumer debt before assuming the presidency of the small Vermont private college in 2006, has focused on the educational success of first-generation and low-income students, top priorities of the Obama administration. (She has written frequently for Inside Higher Ed.)
The board of Kean University is investigating allegations of false statements on the résumé of Dawood Farahi, the president, The Wall Street Journal reported. The faculty union at Kean has questioned whether Farahi falsely claimed to have written more than 50 articles, including some allegedly published in journals that do not exist. Professors at Kean have had numerous conflicts with Farahi, and have charged that he does not respect the faculty role in governance, and that his priorities don't reflect academic needs at the New Jersey institution. A statement from Farahi denied the allegations and said that they were motivated by "hate, prejudice and greed."
Vietnamese universities are pushing for more autonomy, Viet Nam News reported. The institutions want control over such matters as enrollment policy and administration. Government officials have said that some state control remains needed to assure quality.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced that he has dropped the idea of having the state borrow money from university reserve funds, the Associated Press reported. The idea he floated would have used the borrowed money to avoid deep cuts in state appropriations. But many legislators questioned whether this approach was sound fiscal policy and worried that the state universities might never get their money back.
Twenty-one men from Haiti have sued Fairfield University over the sex abuse they suffered when they were children cared for at a charity in Haiti, The Hartford Courant reported. Fairfield is a target because, the suits allege, the university supported the charity (founded by an alumnus since accused of being a pedophile) and should have known about the abuse. A lawyer for the university said that the suit is incorrect in blaming Fairfield. The university did not have any supervisory authority over the charity, which was not affiliated with Fairfield, the lawyer said.
The French government has backed away from a proposed tightening of student visa rules that would have made it difficult for foreign students to stay in France after graduation, The Washington Post reported. The proposal had been strongly criticized by university leaders, who said that the restrictions would have been inconsistent with the country's values, and would have hurt the institutions' standing around the world.