By Clifton Lyons
Published on Friday, June 22, 2012
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected former University of Minnesota student Amanda Tatro’s claim that the university violated her First Amendment rights when it took disciplinary action against her for making threatening and inappropriate Facebook comments, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Tatro, a mortuary science student, received a failing grade after posting a Facebook comment in which she said she “played” with a cadaver in a laboratory class and wished to stab someone with an embalming tool. The court’s decision stated that Tatro’s conduct violated academic program rules based on established professional behavior standards. The court also ruled that the decision was not a broad legal standard, according to The Chronicle. Tatro and free-speech advocacy groups expressed concerns that the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ decision to favor the university in its ruling in July 2011 would set a precedent allowing universities to limit students’ free speech.
University of Virginia’s vice rector Mark Kington and prominent computer science professor William Wulf resigned on Tuesday following the abrupt removal of the university’s president Teresa Sullivan on June 10, The New York Times reported. Wulf said he resigned because of his disapproval of university management and expected further faculty resignations. Some faculty members said the increasing turnover on the school’s Board of Visitors could pressure officials to reinstate Sullivan as president, according to The Times. The Board named Carl Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, interim president on Tuesday. Sullivan will take a year’s sabbatical when she steps down as president on Aug. 15 and will receive a base salary of $485,000 and $50,000 for staff and office support. She will have the option of staying at the university as a tenured sociology professor at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, The Times reported.
Members of the Standing Rock tribe in Sioux County expressed indecisive views on North Dakota residents’ decision to remove their flagship university’s Fighting Sioux nickname, according to the Associated Press. Residents of Sioux County, 84 percent of whom are Native Americans, voted 184-159 to retire the University of North Dakota’s nickname and logo of a Native American head on June 12. Those who voted only represented 8 percent of county residents, indicating a lack of interest in the name, according to the AP. The debate about the school mascot, which divided the state for decades, intensified seven years ago when the NCAA placed UND on a list of schools with Native American nicknames that were considered “hostile and abusive.”