All posts by Lawrence Biemiller


Agriculture Dept. Removes Animal-Welfare Data From Website

A trove of information about animal welfare in university and government research laboratories, in zoos and circuses, and elsewhere disappeared from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website on Friday, worrying animal-rights activists and others who have been concerned that the Trump administration will stop making available a range of data collected by the government.

In a written statement, the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that during the past yea…


Jurors Deadlock in Case of Shooting by U. of Cincinnati Police Officer

[Updated (11/13/2016, 6:57 p.m.) with a statement from the university's president.]

Jurors in the case of a University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black motorist near the campus last year said on Saturday that they were deadlocked after several days of deliberations, and the judge declared a mistrial.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the jury had deliberated for 25 hours in the trial of the former police officer, Ray Tensing, but had been unable to reach a u…


U. of Oklahoma Investigates Student’s Ties to Racist Messages at Penn

The University of Oklahoma said on Friday evening that it had temporarily suspended a student while investigating whether he was involved in using a group-messaging app to send a series of racist text messages to black students at the University of Pennsylvania.

The messages — which Penn officials called “violent, racist, and thoroughly disgusting” and which included an invitation to a lynching — were sent to black freshmen at Penn though GroupMe, an app that allows users to include others in …


Judge Orders Release of Trump U. Sales ‘Playbooks’ and Other Documents

A federal judge in California overseeing a long-running class-action lawsuit against Donald Trump’s defunct Trump University ruled on Friday afternoon that 1,000 pages of internal company documents, including playbooks used by salespeople, must be released by June 2. The ruling came in response to a request filed by The Washington Post.

In his order, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the U.S. District Court in San Diego said public interest in Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate justified release of…


Authors Guild Takes Google Books Challenge to Supreme Court

The Authors Guild has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the organization’s decade-long challenge to Google’s Books program, which the guild says violates copyright law by making money for the online-search giant without providing any compensation to the books’ authors.

The case dates to 2005, and was most recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which ruled last October that Google’s scanning of books and use of their texts was protected by the fair-use provisions …


Adjunct Union Files Complaint Over Northeastern U. Health-Plan Change

A change in Northeastern University’s health-insurance plan just before Christmas that adjunct faculty members say makes most of them ineligible prompted a union representing about 900 adjunct instructors to file a complaint on Thursday with the National Labor Relations Board.

The bargaining unit, a local of the Service Employees International Union, says on its website that the university unilaterally made the health-insurance changes with no warning on December 23, and that new eligibility res…


Duquesne U. President Regrets Calling Off-Campus Students ‘Libertines’

Duquesne University’s president, Charles J. Dougherty, was laying out the university’s financial situation to faculty members when he tried to explain why the university had some 300 empty beds in its residence halls. Juniors and seniors, he said, are choosing off-campus apartments. “We know why they move off-campus,” he continued. “They flaunt the state liquor laws, and they live a libertine lifestyle that is not allowed” in the Roman Catholic university’s dormitories.

The editors of The Duques…


Car Runs Into Oklahoma State U. Parade Crowd, Killing 4

[Updated (10/25/2015, 10:21 p.m.) with additional details.]

Four people who were attending the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade died after a car ran into a crowd of spectators near the parade’s endpoint on Saturday morning, according to news reports. Dozens of others were injured, five of whom remained in critical condition on Sunday.

A 25-year-old woman, Adacia Avery Chambers, was arrested and charged on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police in Stillwater, Okla., said …


Angelo State U. Football Player Is Killed by Police in Dallas Suburb

Friends and teammates are mourning an Angelo State University football player who was shot and killed early Friday during an altercation with police officers in Arlington, Tex.

Christian Taylor, a 19-year-old sophomore who played defensive back, died after being shot inside a car dealership as police officers responded to a security company’s report that video showed someone had crashed a car through a window of the dealership, according to police accounts. The police said a struggle followed.


Kentucky Business School Backs Away From Naming Room for Ayn Rand

The University of Kentucky’s School of Business and Economics has renegotiated a 2004 deal that brought it a $2.5-million gift from a bank foundation in return for its promise to name a reading room for Ayn Rand and to let the foundation hand out copies of Rand’s novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the requirements in the 2004 deal were set by John A. Allison, the former chairman of the bank BB&T, who used its foundation to make “numerous” gifts to colleges that included Rand-related requirements.

Most of the money will now go into a fund for the renovation of the college’s building, but $500,000 will create the BB&T Program for the Study of Capitalism, taught by John Garen, a professor at the college.

The 2004 agreement “was slanted a bit too much toward Ayn Rand,” said David Blackwell, the business college’s dean, who renegotiated the deal with BB&T. “I’m a fan, but there are lots of other philosophers to study for the moral foundations of capitalism. She wasn’t even a very good philosopher.”

“Historically, the university tried to guard scrupulously the right over who would be appointed, with the idea that the donor cannot and should not dictate too many specifics,” said John Thelin, a Kentucky professor of higher education. “That has really eroded over the last 30 or 40 years. They used to bristle at being told what to do, what the ideology was, or who would be named the professor. But I think that what happened is that restraint from universities has withered because they’re eager to have those endowments.”

Read more at: