University News

This Week in Higher Ed: Feb. 26, 2014

By
University News Editor
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Department of Ed. investigates U. Michigan sexual assault response

The Office for Civil Rights, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education, is currently investigating an alleged mishandling of a sexual misconduct case at the University of Michigan, multiple news outlets reported.

Former professor Doug Smith filed a complaint with the OCR, in which he wrote that “the University failed to promptly and equitably respond to complaints, reports and/or incidents of sexual violence of which it had notice, and, as a result, students were subjected to a sexually hostile environment,” the Michigan Daily reported.

Former football player Brendan Gibbons was accused of sexually assaulting a student at a fraternity party in 2009, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press. But he remained at the university until 2013, at which point he was expelled due to his violation of the university’s sexual misconduct policy.

The Education Department announced plans this week to investigate how the school handled the sexual misconduct accusation and whether it followed Title IX requirements, the Daily reported.

“We’re very proud of our student sexual misconduct policy, our prevention efforts and our programs to support survivors of sexual misconduct,” University of Michigan Associate Director of Public Affairs Rick Fitzgerald said in a statement, according to the Daily. “We will fully cooperate with the Department of Education and we believe that a review of our policy, programs and investigations will conclude that the University of Michigan is doing what it should in this important area.”

The Student Union of Michigan organized a protest against the university’s handling of the incident Tuesday that drew dozens of students, according to WXYZ Detroit.

 

Harvard receives record gift

Last week billionaire Kenneth Griffin announced his donation of $150 million to Harvard College — the largest gift ever received by the school, the New York Times’ DealBook reported. Griffin graduated from Harvard in 1989.

The majority of the gift will go toward financial aid at Harvard, where it will be used to create named scholarships, the Harvard Crimson reported. Financial aid is one of the top priorities of Harvard’s capital campaign, launched last year, which seeks to raise $6.5 billion by 2018, the Crimson previously reported.

About $10 million will go toward an endowed professorship at Harvard Business School, the Times reported.

“This was an opportunity to make a statement about Harvard as one of the most important higher education institutions in the world,” Griffin told the Times.

Though Griffin’s donation is the largest in Harvard’s history, it is not the largest gift to a school from a single donor. Last year former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a record-breaking donation of $350 million to John Hopkins University.

 

Obama announces industry-higher ed partnership

President Obama announced Tuesday that the Department of Defense will provide $140 million in funding to form two new industrial institutes in Detroit and Chicago, according to a White House press release. The institutes will partner with 32 universities in the Detroit and Chicago area, Inside Higher Ed reported.

“They’re partnerships —­­­­­­­­­ they bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and make sure research is turned into real-world products made by American workers,” Obama said in his announcement.

The institutes will be funded by a combination of federal, state and private funding.

“We … look forward to joining with other university and industry partners in creating an opportunity for our faculty to contribute their expertise to advanced manufacturing and the revitalization of the regional economy,” said Robert Easter, president of the University of Illinois — one of the partner schools — in a press release.

The announcement of the funding for the new partnerships follows Obama’s January announcement of the first industrial institute of this kind in Raleigh, N.C., which will include a consortium of universities in states including North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas.