All posts by Xarissa Holdaway


Sexual-Assault Reports Dip at Military Academies

The number of reported sexual assaults at the U.S. military academies fell slightly this past year, from 80 to 70, according to an annual report expected to be released on Friday by the Department of Defense. In more than half of the cases, assault victims filed restricted reports, in which they sought medical or other care but did not make a formal complaint.

In the past, academy students have underreported incidents of assault by as much as two-thirds, citing fears of retaliation by authorities, ostracism by peers, and concern about punishment.

The Associated Press noted that sports and clubs will be a special target of prevention efforts after recent athletics-related harassment and assaults at the U.S. Air Force, Military, and Naval Academies.

Defense officials said Thursday that students view crude behavior and harassment as an almost accepted experience at the academies and that victims feel peer pressure not to report incidents. So the schools are being encouraged to beef up training, particularly among student leaders, to recognize and feel empowered to report or step in when they see unacceptable behavior.

Read more at:


Evan Dobelle, Already Suspended, Retires as President of Westfield State U.

Dave Roback, The Republican, Landov

Evan S. Dobelle has retired as president of Westfield State University, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

Mr. Dobelle, recently suspended from the job, has been fighting allegations that he spent university money excessively on travel and designer clothes. He has gone so far as to countersue the state official and trustees who had played roles in placing him on leave in October.

A spokesman told The Boston Globe that Mr. Dobelle planned to continue his …


Career Education Corp. to Settle With Investors for $27.5-Million

The Career Education Corporation has received preliminary approval for a $27.5-million settlement with investors for making misleading statements about job-placement rates for graduates of its programs, according to Bloomberg News.

The for-profit higher-education company was sued last year by a shareholder, Thurman Ross, and other investors, who asserted that Career Education had inflated placement rates and made other misleading statements in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission….


Howard U.’s President Retires Abruptly After ‘Tense’ Board Meeting

Courtesy of Howard University

Courtesy of Howard U.

Sidney A. Ribeau, president of Howard University for the past five years, retired suddenly on Tuesday. The Washington Post reported that Mr. Ribeau had announced he was stepping down after a “tense three-day Board of Trustees meeting” last weekend.

Mr. Ribeau’s retirement comes on the heels of a troubled year for Howard, in which deans and trustees publicly blasted leaders of the historically black university for mismanagement, falling enrollment, and a hospital in financia…


Duquesne U. Cancels Geraldo Rivera Appearance After Nearly-Nude Selfie

Just before the Labor Day weekend, Geraldo Rivera announced that Duquesne University had nixed his invitation to moderate a panel because of a photograph the TV personality posted on social media. Mr. Rivera, who was supposed to appear during a conference marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, had originally been invited because he was the first to air a bootlegged copy of Abraham Zapruder’s home movie showing the assassination.

However, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the invitation was rescinded because of a tweet that Mr. Rivera posted in July. The message included a cellphone self-portrait of Mr. Rivera, naked except for a strategically placed towel, celebrating his recent birthday with the words “70 is the new 50.”

The selfie was deemed inappropriate by leaders at the Roman Catholic university, who asked conference organizers to retract the panel invitation. A spokeswoman, Bridget Fare, told the newspaper, “We warn our students not to put anything inappropriate on social media because of potential consequences—you could consider this teaching by example.”

“The administration felt that Mr. Rivera’s decision to post a nearly naked picture of himself on social media was inappropriate and inconsistent with who we are as a Catholic university and therefore asked the Wecht Institute to withdraw the invitation,” Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare told the paper.

Read more at:


Towson U. Cheerleading Squad Is Suspended After Hazing Investigation

The champion cheerleading squad at Towson Univerisity has been suspended from competition for the entire academic year after a weeks-long investigation into hazing allegations, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Suspending an entire team is unusual, according to Jim Lord, executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. Students will not be allowed to compete until May.

In April the squad took home a first-place trophy at a national-championship competition. The team is appealing the suspension.

“Hazing in any form will not be tolerated at Towson University. We hold high expectations for all of our students and their conduct as leaders, both on and off campus,” Deb Moriarty, Towson University’s vice president for student affairs, said in the statement. “Out of concern for students’ privacy and their rights to due process that includes their right to appeal the suspension, it would be inappropriate for the university to comment further.”

Read more at:


Another Ex-Student Is Indicted in Connection With Boston Bombing Case

A third friend of Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, was indicted on Thursday on charges of lying to investigators during a probe following the deadly terrorist attack in April. Prosecutors say that Robel Phillipos, along with Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, lied to investigators about the removal of fireworks and other items from the bombing suspect’s dormitory room at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Mr. Kadyrbayev and Mr. Tazhayakov were indicted on August 8 for allegedly taking a backpack of fireworks from the dorm room and tossing it and other items in the trash.

Phillipos, according to court records, told authorities that Kadyrbayev asked if he should throw away the backpack. Phillipos allegedly said, “Do what you have to do.”

Phillipos told investigators he took a nap, and that the backpack was gone when he woke up.

Read more at:


Blinkered and Boxed, Students Fight Cheating

When you think about it, it’s surprising that blinders aren’t a more popular weapon in the fight against cheating. A set of screens that keeps eyes forward—and billow conspicuously when a student turns his head—seems like a cheaper solution, certainly, than paying a proctor to watch a student’s eyeballs on a Webcam. Nevertheless, people are talking about students at Thailand’s Kasetsart University, who fashioned some homemade blinders:

1185355_713599938665725_560462889_nThe hats, which were made out of computer paper, have gone v…


Former Central Michigan U. Professor Pleads Guilty in Child-Pornography Case

William Merrill, a former professor at Central Michigan University, was sentenced to 70 months in prison on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to charges related to child pornography. Mr. Merrill, whose research specialty was Internet censorship, was charged with four felonies in November 2012. He resigned from the university shortly afterward. According to the Associated Press, 106,000 images and 1,600 videos of child porn were in Mr. Merrill’s possession, both on his university-owned computer and at his home.

Merrill worked at CMU for nearly 30 years. He told the judge on Tuesday that he takes full responsibility for his actions and that a portion of his childhood in Germany put context into what he did.

Read more at:


Penn State Squirrels Don Festive Hats to Discuss Serious Issue

squirrelDrinking remains a problem on college campuses. However, a new public-service campaign by the rodent community at Pennsylvania State University aims to change all of that.

Penn State students, upon their 21st birthday, will receive a link to a special Web site promoting safe drinking habits. The site is hosted by the university’s health-services offices, but stars prominent members of the campus’s squirrel leadership, wearing appropriately festive hats. Make sure you turn your speakers on, as th…