Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Federal Judge Blocks U. of North Carolina From Enforcing ‘Bathroom Bill’

A federal judge has barred the University of North Carolina from enforcing House Bill 2, the state law that requires people in public buildings to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates, BuzzFeed reported on Friday.

Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of the U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C., said that he had barred the university from enforcing the rule after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the Obama administration’s interpretation of …


Education Dept. Cuts Off Federal Aid to New Students at For-Profit ITT

The U.S. Department of Education is barring ITT Educational Services Inc. from enrolling new students with federal financial aid, the department announced in a news release on Thursday. The department is also increasing the amount of cash ITT must send the department from just under $100 million to roughly $250 million, among other things.

The department’s move may be its most substantial action against an individual for-profit educator since its heightened scrutiny of Corinthian Colleges caused…


Will the NLRB’s Columbia Ruling Tarnish the ‘College Experience’? A Closer Look

The National Labor Relations Board’s decision on Tuesday declaring that graduate-student assistants at Columbia University are employees with the right to unionize could have stark and unwelcome effects on private campuses where such unions are formed. Or so said the lone board member who voted against the majority, Philip A. Miscimarra, in his dissent.

First and foremost among those effects are the “economic weapons” now available to both the assistants and their universities in the course of c…


In Victory for Union Efforts, NLRB Rules Columbia U. Grad Students Are Employees

In a long-awaited decision, the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday ruled that graduate students at Columbia University are employees and can form a union. The decision reverses a previous board decision involving a case at Brown University, which, a majority of the board said on Tuesday, “deprived an entire category of workers of the protections of the [National Labor Relations Act] without a convincing justification.”

The decision, by a vote of 3 to 1, has big implications for graduate s…


Judge Rejects Texas Professors’ Bid for Injunction to Block Guns From Classrooms

A federal judge on Monday denied a request by three faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin for a preliminary injunction to keep concealed guns out of their classrooms, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

The ruling, by Judge Lee Yeakel of the U.S. District Court in Austin, came just two days before the start of fall classes at the state’s flagship. The university has been roiled by the August 1 imposition of a state law allowing the licensed carry of concealed handguns in most p…


California Bill Would Give Community-College Adjuncts New Workplace Rights

A bill moving through the California Legislature would require the state’s community-college districts to contractually guarantee seniority and due-process rights to adjunct instructors.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1690, would make California the first state to legally require colleges to give part-time instructors such rights. It has received strong support in California’s Democratically held Legislature, where the Senate Appropriations Committee approved it last week and the Assembly overwhe…


Oklahoma Wesleyan Joins Lawsuit Challenging Education Dept.’s Title IX Guidance

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is joining a former University of Virginia student’s lawsuit challenging the Title IX guidance of the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, according to court documents filed Monday.

The university joins the plaintiff, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, who was found responsible for sexual misconduct. The lawsuit asserts that the student was found responsible only because the department’s standard of proof is so low.

The suit raises objections to t…


Judge Dismisses Ex-Band Director’s Defamation Suit Against Ohio State

A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Ohio State University’s former band director, who said that negative comments made by the university after his dismissal were defamatory, slanderous, and an invasion of his privacy, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

The former band director, Jonathan Waters, was fired from the college two years ago after an investigation found that he overlooked the “sexualized culture” the marching band celebrated.

An Ohio Court of Claims judge said Mr….


Justice Dept. Sues New Mexico State U. Over Alleged Equal-Pay Violation

[Updated (8/11/2016, 6:30 p.m.) with a response from the university.]

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against New Mexico State University, alleging that the university paid a female former assistant track coach significantly less than her male colleagues, the department announced on Thursday.

The department’s complaint accuses the university of paying the female coach, Meaghan Harkins, thousands of dollars less per year than it paid two male assistant track coaches with similar…


3 Prominent Universities Are Sued by Employees Over Retirement Plans

[Updated (8/10/2016, 11:00 a.m.) with responses from MIT and Yale.]

Yale University, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are being sued by employees who accuse the institutions of allowing them to be charged excessive fees on their retirement savings, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The workers are seeking class-action status in the lawsuits.

Their complaints allege that the universities, which each have retirement plans with more than $3 billion in assets,…