Around the industry: Professor sues university over lost job

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Illinois: Steven Salaita filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the University of Illinois, demanding that the school restore his faculty appointment and compensate him for lost income and damage to his reputation. The university rescinded a job offer to Salaita last September, weeks before he would have started work, after Salaita posted controversial anti-Israel comments on social media. The lawsuit also names "unknown donors" who Salaita claims influenced the university's decision. In a statement, university officials responded that Salaita's comments showed he lacked the "judgment, temperament, and thoughtfulness" necessary for a faculty member, and the university's chancellor says donors did not influence her decision (Des Garennes, Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette, 1/29).
  • Maine: The University of Maine system board voted unanimously Monday to divest from coal companies, marking the first time a public land grant institution or university system has done so. Karl Turner, a trustee, says the move is a small step in the face of a massive problem, and he believes in "thinking globally and acting locally." The decision was modeled after a similar policy passed by Stanford University earlier this year (Sharon, MPBN News, 1/26).
  • Washington, D.C.: Ted Leonsis, owner of the district's NHL and NBA teams, the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, announced that he will take a leadership role at a nonprofit that works for college access, the D.C. College Access Program (D.C. CAP). The organization raises money for college scholarships and funds college counselors for local high schools. Once students get to college, D.C. CAP counselors also serve a mentor role to keep them retained. Leonsis says he feels a particular connection to D.C. CAP because he was a first generation student himself. Leonsis is a noted philanthropist, already involved in causes ranging from youth sports to military veterans to homelessness (Chandler, Washington Post, 1/27).

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