Around the industry: Decade-old palm tree dispute settled

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • California: MiraCosta College and three former trustees have settled with former president Victoria Muñoz Richart over a nearly ten-year-old dispute about palm tree sales. "Palmgate" began in May 2006 when then-president Richart began investigating the sale of thousands of donated palm trees on campus. Within a year, the campus was swamped in controversy: a charge of grand theft, a VP placed on leave, a lawsuit, a cancelled $1 million bequest, and a vote of no confidence in Richart. The legal battles kicked off by those events will finally come to a close this this settlement (Cook, U-T San Diego, 4/3; Saavedra/Sherman, U-T San Diego, 7/8/2007).
  • Minnesota: Annette Parker, president of South Central College, has been cleared of plagiarism allegations by a preliminary report. Parker was one of three local presidents whose dissertations were questioned by a group lobbying for a change in state system leadership. A spokesperson for the system refused to comment on whether investigations into the other two accusations are underway (Lerner, Star Tribune, 4/8).
  • Texas: More than 450 students received mistaken acceptance brochures from Texas State University last month. The brochures included information about orientation and residence hall choices. University officials say the letters were sent by a third-party vendor to students with incomplete applications. Some of those students have since finished their applications and been accepted by the school (Chang, Austin American Statesman, 4/7).

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