University News

This Week in Higher Ed: Dec. 1, 2014

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, December 1, 2014

SDSU Greek life social events suspended after sexual harassment reports

Greek life leaders announced Tuesday that 14 fraternities and sororities at San Diego State University have voluntarily suspended social events until their members complete a training program to prevent sexual assault, U-T San Diego reported. The decision came after a slew of incidents connected to issues of sexual assault and rape culture on campus, U-T San Diego reported.

During a “Take Back The Night” anti-rape march on Nov. 21 organized by two student groups focused on combatting sexual assault, fraternity members threw eggs, waved sex toys and shouted obscenities at protestors, Jordan Busse, coordinator of Concerned Students, told Reuters. The following night, a woman filed a report of being sexually assaulted at a fraternity house, and another woman reported that six men attempted to pull her into a car near campus, but she escaped unharmed.

The suspension of social activities is indefinite, and all 44 of the university’s fraternity, sorority and community groups have agreed to partake in the training, university spokesman Greg Block told Reuters. “We’ve got a problem — there’s a problem at universities all across the country — with sexual assault, and so we are supportive of this decision by the Greek community,” he said.

U. Iowa professor dismissal upheld after appeals court rejects conflict-of-interest charge

University of Iowa radiology professor Malik Juweid failed to prove that university President Sally Mason and her lawyer, Iowa Assistant Attorney General George Carroll, had conflicts of interest when Mason upheld a university panel’s decision to fire Juweid for unprofessional conduct, an Iowa appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In 2012, a three-member faculty panel, which included Carroll, found Juweid in violation of the university’s harassment, disruptive behavior and ethics policies in sending colleagues “hundreds of unprofessional and confrontational emails,” prompting Mason’s decision to fire him that year, a decision that was upheld by the Board of Regents in 2013.

But Juweid simultaneously brought a case against the university that contested the decision to terminate his employment, alleging that his dismissal was a retaliatory firing in response to his act of whistleblowing about excessive child medical imaging by doctors at Iowa’s affiliated hospital, the Associated Press reported. During this case, Carroll represented the university in a defense of its actions, and charges against Iowa in the medical imaging case were later dropped.

Juweid alleged that Carroll’s involvement in both the medical imaging case and in Juweid’s disciplinary proceedings constituted a conflict of interest, the AP reported.

But the Iowa state appeals court found no evidence that Mason was acting in retaliation against Juweid. “There is no evidence that President Mason was ever involved in the investigation, the decision to file the complaints against Juweid, litigation strategy or assumed a personal commitment to a particular result,” Appeals Court Judge David Danilson wrote in Wednesday’s ruling, the AP reported. “Juweid has failed to overcome the presumption of honesty and integrity of President Mason in ruling on his administrative appeal.”

Investigation underway of GSU professor accused of proselytizing students

Georgia Southern University is investigating student complaints that Tom McMullen, a tenured associate professor of history, tried to push Christian creationist views on students, Inside Higher Ed reported Wednesday.

In a letter to university President Brooks Keel on Oct. 30, two atheist groups, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, accused McMullen of First Violation violations for “us(ing) class time to proselytize students and advance his personal religion, Christianity,” the Blaze reported.

The groups cited an extra-credit assignment in which students were asked to write about a scene in the Christian drama “God’s Not Dead” where a student debates the existence of God. He also offered a model essay on evolution that included two lines worth of pro-evolution arguments and 11 lines worth of anti-evolution arguments, the groups claimed.

McMullen has previously stated that he does not “try to convert anybody” in his classes, but coverage of some topics can be mistaken for preaching, given the religious nature of the subject matter, the Blaze reported. The university’s investigation has been underway since Nov. 22, the Statesboro Herald reported.