Higher Education Quick Takes
The father of Bradley Ginsburg, who as a freshman at Cornell University killed himself by jumping off a gorge bridge in the fall of 2010, is suing the university for $180 million, The Sun Sentinel reported. The suit says that Cornell should have informed parents about the start of what would be a string of student suicides so they could be more active in dealing with any mental health issues their students were experiencing. The suit also charges that the university -- which now has barriers on the gorge bridges -- should have had them there previously. The Ithaca Journal quoted a Cornell spokeswoman as declining to comment on the suit except to predict its dismissal.
Last week, when a City University of New York board hearing was held at Baruch College, student protests of a possible tuition hike led to 15 arrests. With the board planning to meet later today, Baruch announced on Saturday that classes that were to meet in the same facility will be postponed until December 2, and that only access to the building will be granted only to those with "an urgent and legitimate need to be in the building." A message from Mitchel Wallerstein, president of the college said that "we are determined to avoid any repetition of the regrettable events that occurred" at last week's board hearing.
Rochester Institute of Technology announced Wednesday that the president of RIT Dubai, Mustafa Abushagur, is taking an eight-month leave to serve as deputy prime minister in his native Libya. Abushagur has been in exile for decades because of his opposition to the deposed government there, and was on the "most wanted" list there until the recent revolution. After helping out Libya, he plans to return to his position at RIT Dubai.
"Violin Concertom," a piece by Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen was Sunday named the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Salonen is principal conductor and artistic advisor for the Philharmonia Orchestra of London.
The three American students who were arrested last week during protests in Egypt are now back in the United States, the Associated Press reported. Egyptian authorities accused the students of throwing firebombs from the roofs of buildings. But the students said that they never were on any rooftops, never threw anything and never harmed anyone. The three Americans were in study abroad programs at American University in Cairo. "I was not sure I was going to live," said Derrik Sweeney, a Georgetown University student, after arriving back in the United States.
The University of Georgia has found that Paul Roman, a sociologist at the university, violated anti-harassment policies, and ordered him to abide by specific rules, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The university found that Roman made many comments of a sexual nature that made women uncomfortable in his presence, and that he retaliated against a female employee who filed a complaint against him. Roman has been ordered to hold meetings with staff members only when scheduled and with an agenda distributed in advance, barred from sending employees e-mail messages that are not strictly professional in nature, and barred from making personnel decisions on his own about employees he supervises. Roman has denied the charges, and appealed the findings, but his appeal was denied by the university's president.
Roman's title is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, and this year he was also named a Regents Professor, which is one of the University System of Georgia’s highest honors, and which came with a $10,000 raise.
An Illinois appeals court last week granted a stay to the University of Illinois at Chicago of the certification of a new faculty union at the institution. The university is challenging the right of the union -- which is affiliated with both the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors -- to represent both adjuncts and tenure-track faculty members. In October, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board rejected the university's argument and certified the union, but the university appealed and also asked for both a stay of union certification and expedited review of the case. University officials said that they expected a ruling on the case in the spring.
In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Benjamin of Cornell University questions the role happiness plays in the decision making process. Find out more about the Academic Minute here. (For those of you addicted to the Academic Minute, we'll be publishing podcasts in the series Thursday and Friday, too, despite the holiday.)
Karen Pletz, former president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, was found dead early Tuesday in Florida, The Kansas City Star reported. The cause of death has not been released, but there were no signs of foul play. Pletz was a widely respected civic leader in Kansas City credited with promoting growth at the university. Her firing in 2009 stunned her many supporters. Last year, a federal grand jury indicted her on charges that she had embezzled more than $1.5 million from the university, engaged in money laundering, and falsified tax returns. She had denied wrongdoing.