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2015 May 30 - 09:19 am

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

Nursing Students Win Class-Action Status on Suit

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A state district court judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by eight former Dona Ana Community College students against the school will become a class-action proceeding.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/1Qtcmdo) that the initial lawsuit was filed after the students claimed they suffered turmoil and financial loss after the community college’s nursing school lost its national accreditation in 2012. Students are saying that loss was a breach of contract.

According to court documents, 100 students were enrolled at that time and will now be included in the case.

Some students remained at the school after it lost accreditation, while the majority chose to transfer to New Mexico State University’s nursing program.

An attorney for the students says any of the students can choose to opt out of the lawsuit.

Minn. President Cleared of Plagiarism

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Plagiarism allegations against a Minnesota community college president have been dismissed after an inquiry.

Dorothy Duran is president of Minnesota State, Southeast Technical. She was accused of plagiarism in her dissertation.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system said that an inquiry by the University of Texas at Austin found Duran’s behavior didn’t rise to scientific misconduct, and a full investigation is not required. Duran’s doctoral degree was affirmed.

MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone called the accusations “reckless” and part of a move to tarnish the reputation of MnSCU presidents. The charges came from a group pushing for change in MnSCU leadership.

Last month, similar accusations were dismissed against Annette Parker, head of South Central College in North Mankato.

Idaho College Agrees To Get Appraisal for Land Purchase

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The College of Western Idaho board has decided to get an appraisal before buying land west of downtown Boise.

The Idaho Statesman reports (http://is.gd/duS6Bl ) the board was criticized for agreeing to pay $8.8 million for a 10-acre former car dealership along the Boise River that the Ada County assessor values at $3.6 million.

Board chairwoman Mary Niland says many appraisals are conducted after the agreement is initially signed. She says the board believes the value established under the agreement will stand up as a fair price.

The initial agreement was signed April 23 and the college has 180 days to complete due diligence. It can end the deal for any reason during the period.

The community college wants to use the land for an academic building and parking garage.

Embattled Illinois College Prez Placed On Leave By Trustees

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) — Two days after a suburban Chicago community college announced its president was going on medical leave trustees placed him on paid administrative leave.

College of DuPage trustees voted 4-3 to tell 70-year-old school president Robert Breuder that he can’t “exercise the duties” of president and must turn in his keys, computers and other college equipment.

The college has faced criticism over a $763,000 severance package to end Breuder’s contract next year, three years early. His compensation for this year is $484,812.

Subpoenas were served to administrators at the school last month, seeking documents including Breuder’s employment agreements, emails and college-issued credit cards. The college also is being investigated by DuPage County prosecutors and state education officials.

Credit Agency Puts La. Higher Ed Institutions On Watch List

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With the threat of deep budget cuts looming, national credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has placed five Louisiana higher education institutions on a negative credit watch.

The move effectively cautions investors that ratings could be lowered in the near future.

S&P’s decision affects Nicholls State University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of New Orleans Research Foundation, LSU’s Bogalusa Community Medical Center Project and the Delgado Community College Foundation.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1bmHlb1 ) the rating agency said it will look again at the issue within 90 days, after the legislative session ends and next year’s budget is crafted.

Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo and Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration expressed optimism that a budget solution will be found and the institutions will be taken off S&P’s watch list.

Magic Johnson Helps Raise $1M For Scholarship Program

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Earvin “Magic” Johnson is promising a slam dunk for his hometown: $1 million in donations for a Lansing scholarship program.

Johnson, a Lansing native, says the money includes $300,000 from himself, $250,000 from Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and $25,000 from Miami Heat president Pat Riley.

Lansing school board president Peter Spadafore says he’s “speechless.”

The Lansing Promise scholarship program gives money to students who graduate from private or public schools within the Lansing district. More than 300 are attending Lansing Community College or Michigan State University.

Johnson appeared at a fundraising dinner Thursday. He says, “Everything I am came from Lansing, Michigan.”

Despite Setback, Ivy Tech Affirms Commitment to Medical Campus

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An Ivy Tech Community College trustees says it will explore other funding options after $22.9 million it requested for a medical school campus in downtown Evansville was left out of the state budget.

The budget approved by the General Assembly included $25.2 in capital projects funding for the joint campus being developed by partners including Indiana University, the University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech. But it omitted money for Ivy Tech’s part of the project.

The University of Evansville will provide $6 million in private funds for its portion of the project.

Ivy Tech Trustee Bob Jones says the school will explore other ways to pay for its share of a project that it remains committed to.

Jones is president and CEO of Evansville-based Old National Bancorp.

IU officials say they hope to open the campus in 2017.

Data Breach at S.C. Technical College Under Investigation

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — The Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort says a data breach has been reported involving the publication of names and Social Security numbers of about 90 former students.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported (http://bit.ly/1bln71n) that the former Beaufort school district students were enrolled in the school’s early college program in 2009 and 2010.

The school said in a statement that it learned of the breach last week. The school said it appeared to be an isolated occurrence that did not originate at the college.

The school said there have been no reports of the information being used maliciously.

The South Carolina Division of Information Services is investigating.

New Ga. Laws Aim To Remove Barriers to Dual Enrollment

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed two bills that remove barriers to dual enrollment

participation by struggling students with no plans to attend college and also those youngsters who are excelling in high school.

Senate Bill 2 allows high school students to work simultaneously on a diploma while also working toward a technical college or associate’s degree.

Senate Bill 132, one of the governor’s top priorities and dubbed the “Move on When Ready Act,” makes it easier for high school students to earn college credits while working still toward their high school diplomas.

He signed both bills, saying they streamline how students move forward.

Sinclair CC Will Host ‘Drone Summit’ This Summer

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Officials say an Ohio university and a community college will be launching a drone summit this summer.

The Dayton Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1Hx9OHG) that Sinclair Community College in Dayton and Ohio State University are hosting an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Academic Summit in August.

The conference will feature experts and academics in the aviation field. Officials told the newspaper the Federal Aviation Administration has made significant progress drafting rules for the use of unmanned aircraft commonly called drones. The FAA is in drafting rules that would allow for flights of drones weighing less than 55 pounds in civilian airspace.

The conference will be Aug. 24 at Sinclair Community College’s campus in downtown Dayton. The college is spending $5 million to renovate a building for a drone training and certification center.

Calif. Lawmakers Expand Colleges’ Reach on Sexual Assault Charges

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate has passed a bill that would allow community colleges to expel or suspend students who are accused of sexual assault even if the attack happened off campus.

Senators unanimously passed SB186, sponsored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat.

Jackson says she learned that community colleges can’t suspend or expel a student unless the sexual assault happened on campus or at campus-related events. The bill expands the definition of good cause to take disciplinary action.

Republican Sen. Jean Fuller from Bakersfield said she was concerned that one accusation could trigger disciplinary proceedings, denying defendants their due process.

Fuller supported the bill after receiving assurances from Jackson.

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