Legal Updates

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On Strike at Harvard

Graduate student workers at Harvard University began an indefinite strike Tuesday, after spending more than a year negotiating a first union contract. That timeline is not unheard-of for discussions about an initial deal. But graduate students at Harvard, who are affiliated with United Auto Workers, say they're still fighting for fair ... Read More

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5 College Title Ix Lawsuits to Watch

It's been two years since U.S. Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos revoked the Obama administration's guidance directing how colleges should investigate and arbitrate episodes of sexual violence on campus. Coming in the form of a "Dear Colleague" letter in 2011, the rules were largely credited with giving sexual assault survivors new ... Read More

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US Researchers on Front Line of Battle against Chinese Theft

As the U.S. warned allies around the world that Chinese tech giant Huawei was a security threat, the FBI was making the same point quietly to a Midwestern university. In an email to the associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, an agent wanted to know if administrators ... Read More

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Notre Dame Lawfully Fired Tenured Professor

The University of Notre Dame did not breach its contract by dismissing a tenured professor for "serious cause" after he misused grant funds, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held. In 2009, the university suspected the plaintiff, one of its tenured professors, of abusing grant funds that he received for ... Read More

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The NCAA Will Let Athletes Profit from Their Fame. State Lawmakers Will Keep up the Fight.

Mere hours after the National Collegiate Athletic Association distributed a news release saying it would allow athletes to benefit from their celebrity, Megan Hunt, a state legislator in Nebraska, announced her intention to propose legislation along those lines. That made Nebraska the 15th state to take the leap. When Gov. Gavin ... Read More

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College Athletes Push for More Mental-Health Care, Fighting 'Tough It out' Culture

Olivia Lubarsky had always dreamed of becoming a Division I college gymnast. So when she committed to Towson University in her junior year of high school, she began a countdown on her phone right away. "It was going to be the best four years of my life," Lubarsky, now a senior, ... Read More

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Universities Are Facing Criticism for Taking Dirty Money. Do Their Donor Policies Protect Them?

Is it time for new rules for donations to colleges and universities? Brown University apparently thought so. On Sunday, Brown published an updated gift-acceptance policy that states, among other things, that it won't take money that "compromises the academic freedom of the university community" or "could inflict damage to the university's ... Read More

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As Fires Rage, More Campuses Close

California's Kincade fire -- and the state power company Pacific Gas & Electric's subsequent controversial power shutoffs -- have led to some college campuses closing and others fearing damage. Poor air quality, power outages and fire danger have led to several institutions in Northern California to restrict operations out of safety ... Read More

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Harvard Provides Conflict-Of-Interest Training to Coaches

Harvard University is providing conflict-of-interest training to coaches in the wake of a scandal. The university fired its head fencing coach over conflict-of-interest policy violations. Peter Brand, the coach, was previously found to have sold his home for $1 million, much more than it was worth, to Jie Zhao, the ... Read More

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Senate Bill to Require Colleges to Report Hazing

Two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would require colleges and universities to post incidents and history of hazing on their websites. Senators Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, and Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, backed the End All Hazing Act, which asks that institutions publish details and occurrences of hazing ... Read More

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Where Research Meets Profits

Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles -- published and soon-to-be -- on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit. So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by ... Read More

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Utah Students Demand Meeting on Safety Issues

University of Utah students are demanding a meeting with President Ruth Watkins over safety concerns, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The students plan a walkout Monday. While the students cite a range of issues, they point to the murder last year of Lauren McCluskey as a sign that the university ... Read More

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Prioritizing Privacy

For attendees at the 2019 Educause conference this week, privacy was top of mind. Scandals such as Cambridge Analytica, data breaches at ed-tech companies such as Chegg and an increasingly complex regulatory landscape have raised difficult questions about what data colleges collect, how they use them and with whom they are ... Read More

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Lack of Transparency for Website to Help Utah Students

Utah's universities are by and large failing to follow a state law requiring them to direct students to a website designed to help them explore the value of potential degrees, an investigation by several journalistic organizations in the state found. The report by the Utah Investigative Journalism Project, The Salt ... Read More

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Fair Leave for Mental Illness

Stanford University will change its leave of absence policies to better accommodate students who are facing mental illness crises. The decision, which goes into effect next year, results from a settlement agreement with a group of students who say they were prodded to leave campus by administrators. The coalition of Stanford ... Read More

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Texas A&M Joins Growing Anti-Vaping Efforts

Texas A&M University system's new ban on e-cigarettes and vaping continues a trend of higher ed institutions responding to the spate of recent illnesses and deaths related to e-cigarette use and warnings from state and federal health agencies about the dangers of vaping. John Sharp, the system's chancellor, cited the recent ... Read More

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More Title IX Lawsuits by Accusers and Accused

Universities and colleges are increasingly experiencing legal challenges to their institutions' Title IX enforcement processes, a trend that higher education law experts say is a natural reaction to proceedings that declare "winners" and "losers." The societal pressures from the Me Too movement and repercussions from the Obama administration's 2011 guidance for ... Read More

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NCAA Says It Will Allow College Athletes to Profit from Their Celebrity

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Board of Governors voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow college athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness as long as those benefits stay within the "collegiate model." The vote came in response to a presentation made by a working group that had been ... Read More

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Hundreds of Colleges May Be out of Compliance with Title IX. Here's Why.

Lisa Niblock had no intention of suing the University of Kentucky when she transferred there two years ago. She just wanted to be closer to home and surrounded by classmates at a bigger school with a bigger atmosphere. Then Suzie Stammer approached her. Stammer had coached varsity field hockey for the ... Read More

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Trump Executive Order Prohibits Agencies from Creating Binding Rules through Guidance Documents

President Donald Trump (R) issued a pair of executive orders on October 9 that aim to limit the use of guidance documents by federal administrative agencies and end what the order refers to as administrative abuses by requiring agencies to provide fair notice of regulations. Agency guidance documents are not legally ... Read More

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DoD Releases Version 0.6 of Its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification

On November 7, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition released Version 0.6 of its draft Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for public comment. The CMMC was created in response to growing concerns by Congress and within DoD over the increased presence of cyber threats and intrusions ... Read More

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This Researcher Exploited Prisoners, Children, and the Elderly. Why Does Penn Honor Him?

"An outstanding clinician, researcher, and educator." "A visionary leader" who led "an extraordinary life." That's how the University of Pennsylvania describes Albert M. Kligman on a fund-raising page for a lectureship in his name. He is also honored by not one but two chaired professorships. What the university calls his "pioneering ... Read More

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U.S. Supreme Court Weighs DACA's Fate as Immigrants Rally Outside

As thousands of undocumented immigrants and their supporters rallied on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on a cold, rainy morning, their fates rested in the hands of nine justices who by some accounts on Tuesday seemed to be leaning toward allowing the protections that have kept the immigrants ... Read More

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NCAA Votes for Athlete Payment

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, a decision that appears to diverge from the association's long-held standard of amateurism in college sports. The NCAA Board of Governors voted unanimously Tuesday to direct the association's three divisions to "modernize" their rules ... Read More

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Judge Upholds Harvard's Admissions Policies

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Harvard University's admissions policies do not discriminate against Asian American applicants. The ruling by Judge Allison Burroughs of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts came in a much-watched case brought by a long-standing critic of affirmative action on behalf of a group of Asian American ... Read More

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College-Crime Reports Are Breaking Records This Year. Blame Years-Ago Abuses by Campus Doctors.

Higher education's annual federally mandated disclosure of campus crimes has been an especially grim task this year for officials at three universities dealing with the aftermath of sexual-abuse accusations against campus physicians. The federal campus-crime-reporting law known as the Clery Act requires colleges that receive federal funding to release a compilation ... Read More

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The Push for Player Pay Goes National

The country's largest state has thrown its legislative weight behind letting college athletes profit from their status -- and now more than a dozen states and Congress may follow California's lead. The spreading movement adds to the mounting pressure on the National Collegiate Athletic Association to improve its treatment of ... Read More

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The Sacklers Gave Millions to Higher Ed. Here's How Scholars on One Campus Feel about Taking the Money.

For Stormy Chamberlain, it wasn't about the money as much as the title: an endowed assistant professorship. Endowed positions typically go to faculty members much further along in their careers. Getting one so soon after starting at the University of Connecticut, when she was still an assistant professor of genetics and ... Read More

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2 of Torrey Green's Rape Accusers Sue Utah State, Allege a 'Dangerous Environment Existed'

A new lawsuit was filed against Utah State University by two women who accused convicted rapist Torrey Green of sexually assaulting them. The lawsuit alleges the university created a dangerous environment, violated Title IX and the women's civil rights. The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Utah, names the ... Read More

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Stanford's New Policy for Student Mental-Health Crises Is Hailed as a Model

Students are regularly urged to reach out for help if they are suffering from anxiety or depression, thinking about suicide, or struggling with other mental illness. But when they did that at Stanford University, according to a class-action lawsuit brought last year, they were often coerced into taking involuntary leaves, ... Read More

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USU Issues Alert of 3 Reports of Sexual Assault in One Night on Logan Campus

Utah State University issued an alert Saturday regarding three reports of sexual assault on the Logan campus Friday night. USU spokesman Tim Vitale said the three separate reports of sexual assault occurred on campus and included two groping incidents and one rape. "We're taking them all very seriously. They are all crimes. ... Read More

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Utah Lawmakers Approve $745,200 Settlement for Woman Struck by Garbage Truck

State lawmakers have approved a $745,200 settlement for a woman who was struck by a garbage truck driven by a Salt Lake Community College employee in April and is in a semicomatose state. The woman, identified in a memo to legislative leaders and Gov. Gary Herbert's administration as Wendi Wong, will ... Read More

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NCAA Board of Governors Opens Door to Athletes Benefiting from Name, Image and Likeness

The NCAA's top policy-making group on Tuesday voted "unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model," the association said in a news release. The release followed a Board of Governors meeting ... Read More

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U. of California Faces Bias Lawsuit over ACT/SAT Requirement

Lawyers representing students, the Compton Unified School District, civil-rights groups, and college-access organizations said on Tuesday that they planned to sue the University of California unless it drops its ACT/SAT requirement. In a letter to the system's regents, the lawyers allege that the testing requirement violates state civil-rights laws. They describe ... Read More

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More Than 1 in 4 Undergraduate Women Experience Sexual Misconduct in College - The Chronicle of Higher Education

More than one in four undergraduate women experience a form of nonconsensual sexual contact while enrolled in college, and most of them don't report it or seek out campus resources, according to a new survey of 180,000 students conducted by the Association of American Universities. But compared with 2015 -- the ... Read More

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California AG Releases Proposed CCPA Regulations

The California Attorney General's Office released its long-awaited proposed CCPA regulations last week. The proposed regulations are 24 pages long, and address a number of important technical compliance issues including how businesses should: provide just in time notice to consumers of personal information collected; provide notice to consumers of the right to ... Read More

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'Pirate Libraries' Find a Market among Students Seeking to Avoid High Textbook Prices

Where can we download free textbooks, guys? "The question was posed by a student on Twitter. Within days, her request was met with all the crowdsourced intel needed to find an expensive textbook at no charge. Some people replied with links to open-source databases, where copyrighted textbook material is legally collected and ... Read More

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Top Universities Release Sexual Assault Reports

All but one of the 33 leading research universities that participated in a major survey of campus sexual assault and misconduct on Tuesday published their individual results, which show a range of outcomes, including improved student awareness about how to report sexual assault but low rates of reporting and outreach ... Read More

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Not Following the (Non-)Rules

High Point University boasts on its website "8 benefits of applying early decision." Early-decision applicants who are admitted: "Receive first priority for housing." "Receive a personal parking space just for you -- for your entire freshman year." Can move in a day early. Get "first priority in selecting their fall class schedule." Get early access to ... Read More

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'Right to Be Forgotten' Privacy Rule Is Limited by Europe's Top Court

Europe's highest court limited the reach of the landmark online privacy law known as "right to be forgotten" on Tuesday, restricting people's ability to control what information is available about them on the internet. In a decision with broad implications for the regulation of the internet, the European Court of Justice ... Read More

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ICE Knocking on Doors of Companies Hiring Foreign Tech Students

Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators are visiting workplaces to check employers' compliance with a government program that allows foreign students to work in the U.S. after graduation. Some attorneys are concerned the move could further limit legal immigration for skilled workers, especially the tech-savvy students who are eligible to work an ... Read More

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Tracking Guns and Other Dangers

When an armed Virginia Tech student shot and killed 32 classmates and professors 12 years ago, the episode led to significant policy shifts at colleges and universities around the country. Before the shootings, most higher ed institutions lacked a formal body, other than campus police forces, that actively monitored potential threats ... Read More

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Record High Marijuana Use and Vaping

Despite nearly nationwide smoking bans on college campuses, a new study found that students use of marijuana "was at the highest level seen" in more than three decades. According to the University of Michigan's annual, national Monitoring the Future Panel study, marijuana use skyrocketed nationally in 2018 and reached "historic highs" ... Read More

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Ed Announces Plans to Expand Collection of Information on Foreign Gifts and Contracts

In response to the increasing concerns of policy makers and requests from campuses seeking guidance about these reporting requirements, ACE and several higher education associations wrote the Department of Education (ED) last January requesting clarification of the Sec. 117 foreign gift reporting obligations. Since that time, ACE and ED have ... Read More

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Proposed Regs. Clarify Reporting Requirements for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Tax-exempt organizations will be able to find most of their reporting requirements in one place under regulations the IRS proposed Friday (REG-102508-16). The rulemaking mainly consolidates existing subregulatory guidance in one location, while also responding to a recent court decision that held invalid the agency's attempt to change certain donor-reporting ... Read More

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OFCCP Receives Push Back on Proposed "Religious Freedom" Protections

In August, OFCCP issued a proposed new rule to clarify aspects of a religious exemption available to federal contractors. According to OFCCP, the rule is intended to provide clarity regarding the scope and application of the existing religious exemption consistent with the evolving landscape of religious freedom- based legal developments, ... Read More

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He Was the President. His Wife Was Getting Payments from the University. Is That a Problem?

As the new president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ángel Cabrera has a clear mission: Rebuild public trust. A highly publicized ethics scandal last year -- involving questionable spending, conflicts of interest, and multiple employees' losing their jobs -- severely damaged the institute's image. The repair has begun: Georgia Tech ... Read More

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Why Some Colleges Have Abandoned In-House Safe-Ride Programs in Favor of Uber, Lyft, or Via

Losing her job with Northwestern University's in-house Safe Ride service isn't the only thing worrying Emma Latz, a senior, about the institution's new contract with a private ride-sharing company. "As a passenger in the car, it really did make me feel a lot more comfortable knowing the driver was a student," ... Read More

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Education Dept. Takes Aim at a Center on Middle East Studies. Scholars Say That Could Chill Academic Freedom.

The U.S. Department of Education's threat to strip federal funding from a Middle East-studies program run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has alarmed academics, who are worried about the federal government's apparent interest in the content of college courses and programs -- Middle ... Read More

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Grad Students at Private Colleges Could Lose the Right to Unionize - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Graduate students at private colleges may lose their right to form unions, under a proposed rule released on Friday by the National Labor Relations Board. It's a possibility that advocates of graduate-student unionization have feared since the election of Donald J. Trump. The labor board has been nakedly political on this ... Read More