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News Feeds - Chronicle’s Breaking News
Below is a news feed from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s "The Ticker” blog, providing breaking news in higher education.  Fresh content is pulled from the feed at 15 minute intervals.

U. of Maine System Official’s Raise Draws Scrutiny Amid Budget CrunchOpen in a New Window

The University of Maine system's top financial officer this year received a $40,000 raise, and some critics are questioning that pay increase at a time when the system is trying to close a $36-million budget gap. Rebecca Wyke, the system's vice chancellor for finance and administration, received the raise in January. Her new annual salary, $205,000, was posted on the system's website last week as part of a twice-a-year salary report. James H. Page, the Maine system's chancellor, said she had received the raise because she was a finalist for a job at another higher-education institution. The system's Board of Trustees also supported her pay increase. Jerry LaSala, a physics professor at the University of Southern Maine who leads the institution's Faculty Senate, said he found it "shocking." Students and faculty members at Southern Maine had protested proposed faculty layoffs that were rescinded this month.

“It’s a significant increase, there’s no question about it. And in a time of austerity, things like this come under increased scrutiny,” Page said Wednesday. “Certainly, there are people that will disagree with my decision. I think it was the right decision.” As the university system’s top financial officer, Wyke is now overseeing efforts to close a $36 million funding gap, the result of flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes. UMaine System spokeswoman Peggy Leonard said Wyke was not available for comment Wednesday. As the university system’s top financial officer, Wyke is now overseeing efforts to close a $36 million funding gap, the result of flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes. UMaine System spokeswoman Peggy Leonard said Wyke was not available for comment Wednesday.

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Virginia Supreme Court Rules for UVa and Climate Scientist in Records SuitOpen in a New Window

The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a conservative group’s attempt to obtain the records of a climate scientist and former professor at the University of Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

The case focused on whether the state’s open-records law exempted a range of documents deemed by the university to be proprietary. The American Tradition Institute, a conservative advocacy group, had sought records of Michael E. Mann, a former Virginia professor who now directs Pennsylvania...


Judge Dismisses Claims Against East Stroudsburg U. in Sex-Harassment SuitOpen in a New Window

A federal judge has dismissed claims against East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and some of its former top officials in a lawsuit alleging that the university responded inadequately to reports of sexual harassment by a former vice president. A 2009 lawsuit alleged that the former vice president, Isaac W. Sanders, offered grants and scholarships to male students and then made unwanted sexual advances toward them. The suit also said that the university did not properly investigate the allegations against Mr. Sanders, and accused some top officials of covering up the complaints. Judge Robert D. Mariani of the U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pa., dismissed the claims against the university and other former officials who had been named as defendants. Judge Mariani allowed some of the claims against Mr. Sanders to move forward to trial. The investigation into Mr. Sanders led to a precedent-setting decision in 2010 over whether the university's foundation could be forced to disclose donor and other records.

"We are pleased with the ruling, which basically dismissed the claims against the university and former President (Dillman)," said Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education spokesman Kenn Marshall. "My understanding is the only thing that's left are the charges against Isaac Sanders himself." Dillman did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday evening. Albert Murray, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he is exploring the possibility of an appeal. "What can I say? That's how the judge ruled," Murray said.

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Michigan Community College’s Chief Is Cleared to Return From LeaveOpen in a New Window

The Board of Trustees of Kellogg Community College, in Battle Creek, Mich., on Wednesday voted unanimously to take Dennis J. Bona off of paid leave and to allow him to return to work as the institution's president. Last month the board put Mr. Bona on leave pending the results of an inquiry into his “interactions with college personnel." The specifics of the investigation were not known at the time Mr. Bona was placed on leave, but the Battle Creek Enquirer reported on Wednesday that Mr. Bona had been placed on leave "after a former security guard alleged he caught the president in a sexual situation with a woman in his office in spring 2013." But Jonathan Byrd, chairman of the college's board, said on Wednesday that the inquiry had found that “there was not adequate evidence to substantiate the allegations being investigated.”

“I’m very pleased that was the board’s decision and I’m glad the truth has finally come out,” Bona told the Enquirer late Wednesday. The president will return to an institution where rumors have flown among faculty and staff for weeks, but Bona said he didn’t think that would impact his effectiveness on the job. “I will of course give my best effort and I believe I can continue to effectively lead the college,” Bona said.

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Dartmouth College’s President Calls for an End to ‘Extreme’ BehaviorsOpen in a New Window

Philip J. Hanlon, Dartmouth College's president, on Wednesday called for an end to what he called "extreme" behaviors by students—such as excessive drinking and sexual misconduct—that he said had harmed the college's reputation and contributed to a decline in the college's applications in the last year. Mr. Hanlon made his remarks at a presidential summit with student leaders, faculty members, alumni, and others. He said that the college's promise "is being hijacked, hijacked by extreme and harmful behaviors, masked by their perpetrators as acceptable fun." Mr. Hanlon announced the formation of a committee that he said would "recommend actions to end high-risk and harmful behaviors." The committee will include students, faculty members, alumni, and members of the administration.

“It is time for us to act in order to preserve what is unique, joyous and fun about the undergraduate experience at Dartmouth and to end the extreme behaviors that are in conflict with our mission and fundamentally harmful -- to individuals and to the fabric of our community,” he said. “This is the right thing to do, and the time to do it is now.” Hanlon, who took office in June, said he will form a Presidential Steering Committee composed of students, alumni, faculty and staff to consult with experts and suggest actions to curb harmful behavior. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to Dartmouth’s board in the fall, he said. The college has 6,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

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U. of Illinois at Chicago and Faculty Union Reach Tentative Contract DealOpen in a New Window

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s faculty union has reached a tentative contract agreement with the university’s administration and has called off a strike that had been scheduled for next week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

UIC United Faculty, which represents some 1,150 tenure-track faculty members and non-tenure-track instructors, did not immediately release details on the agreement. To take effect, the contract still needs to be approved by union members, and they are expected to vote ...


Wrongly Fired Coach Reclaims His Job, but Faces a Player RebellionOpen in a New Window

Todd Hoffner, who recently won his job back as head football coach at Minnesota State University at Mankato in an arbitration decision, reclaimed the job on Wednesday, only to be blindsided by a player rebellion, the Star Tribune newspaper of Minneapolis reported.

Mr. Hoffner was removed from the coaching job in August 2012 following allegations that he had made pornographic videos of his young children. He then was fired for unspecified reasons in May 2013, six months after a judge threw out th...


NYU Reportedly Turned 2 Apartments Into Duplex for President’s SonOpen in a New Window

New York University in 2002 converted a pair of one-bedroom apartments that were normally reserved for faculty housing into a duplex for the son of John E. Sexton, who became president of the institution that spring, the New York Post reported.

A report that was addressed to Mr. Sexton as he prepared to take the helm had warned of a “severe housing shortage” for faculty members, according to the Post.

During Mr. Sexton’s tenure, the university has drawn scrutiny for real-estate perks offered t...


U. of Alaska at Fairbanks Could Face Federal Fines for Musk-Ox DeathsOpen in a New Window

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accused the University of Alaska at Fairbanks of possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act in the starvation deaths of 12 musk oxen at a university research station, the Associated Press reported. The federal agency’s complaint says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, notice that the animals were losing weight, or seek veterinary treatment for them. The animals died or were euthanized from August 2010 to February 2011.

The univers...


U. of Michigan Says Talks With Black Student Union Improved ClimateOpen in a New Window

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on Wednesday outlined a series of actions it had taken on the issues of diversity and campus climate, which stemmed from talks with black student activists who have questioned the university’s commitment to such diversity, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Last fall the university’s Black Student Union started a Twitter campaign, under the hashtag #BBUM, to raise awareness of black students’ experiences. And in January the same group said it would take acti...

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