Higher Education Quick Takes
Rowan University has agreed to pay Donald Farish, who had announced plans to leave when his contract expires in June 2012, $600,000 to leave a year early, The Press of Atlantic City reported. Paul Tyahla, executive director of the Common Sense Institute of New Jersey, criticized the buyout. "It’s become an unfortunate standard to compensate presidents on the way out.... Boards have become convinced that you don’t want a lame duck president for the last year, and so presidents should instead be paid for not being there," he said.
California State University at Los Angeles incorrectly told about 500 students that their grades were too low to allow them to return to campus for the spring semester, the Los Angeles Times reported. While the students were on academic probation, their grades didn't disqualify them from enrolling. The university has since apologized for the error.
A federal judge on Thursday ordered Johnson County Community College to reinstate a nursing student who was kicked out for placing a photograph of herself with a placenta on Facebook, The Kansas City Star reported. The judge granted the injunction requested by the student, ordering that she be allowed to finish up her courses from the fall and be admitted for the spring semester. The judge noted the belief of the students (disputed by the college) that they received permission to post the photos, which were taken while on a course visit to a health center. The dispute has prompted considerable debate and blog commentary. A statement from the college said that the student who sued (and three others who were also kicked out) would be admitted as ordered by the judge. "We are disappointed with the court's decision today," said the statement from Terry Calaway, the college's president. "The JCCC nursing program is widely known and respected for the quality of its instruction and its graduates. Sensitivity to patients and confidentiality of patient care is at the heart of what we teach. We took what we believed to be appropriate action, but the court saw the situation differently, so the student will be readmitted to the program."
It didn't take long, unsurprisingly, for the controversy over pensions at the University of California to produce a political reaction in the state. To bipartisan applause, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, a state legislator introduced legislation Thursday that would require all public retirement programs in California to adhere to an Internal Revenue Service salary cap when calculating benefits for employees who join them, beginning in 2012. The measure is a direct and purposeful response to the threat of a lawsuit by a group of senior officials at the University of California unless the university recalculates their retirement benefits to base them on their actual salaries, rather than on the first $245,000 of their pay as the IRS cap requires. The employees say the university committed a decade ago to lifting the cap for them, but UC leaders say they will not do so. "They really need to come down from their ivory tower and see and feel what real people are going through," State Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who sponsored the legislation, told the San Francisco paper.
Brown University is suing the City of Newport News, Va., and a Virginia collector of artifacts to recover a sword from the Civil War that was stolen from the university in the 1970s, The Daily Press reported. The sword was recently seen in a city-owned museum, but the city said that the sword came from the collector, who has not commented on the situation.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
To submit a listing, click here.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld Narragansett, Rhode Island's controversial policy of placing orange stickers on the front doors of houses deemed a nuisance by the police -- generally houses of University of Rhode Island students, many of whom have criticized the public sanction, The Providence Journal reported. The appeals court said that no civil liberties issues were raised by the stickers.