Quick Takes | Higher education round-up: March 30

A weekly roundup of news from around the Ivy League and the higher-education community

· March 29, 2012, 9:13 pm   ·  Updated March 30, 2012, 1:20 am

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Cornell University

SAE denies fault in fraternity brother’s death

Sigma Alpha Epsilon rejected fault in the 2011 death of a Cornell student who was pledging the fraternity, The Cornell Daily Sun reported Thursday.

The national fraternity filed a defense brief earlier this month denying all charges it is facing in a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit brought by the mother of George Desdunes, who died of alcohol poisoning after a pledge event. SAE claims that it does not have a pledging process and does not require anything of its new members.

The fraternity is also demanding that damages be paid by the former SAE members named as defendants in the complaint, denying responsibility for actions of specific chapters or members.

Dartmouth College

Majority of hazing charges dropped

Dartmouth College dropped charges yesterday against 24 of 27 Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members that were filed in response to hazing allegations at the fraternity. The charges were dropped after “physical evidence” proved the initial claims false, according to former SAE President Brendan Mahoney, a senior.

Initially filed by Dartmouth’s Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Office, the charges came after increased media attention in the past weeks on the claims of hazing, originally made public by former SAE member Andrew Lohse, a senior, in a January opinion column. Just yesterday, Rolling Stone published a f“eature on the issue”:http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/confessions-of-an-ivy-league-frat-boy-inside-dartmouths-hazing-abuses-20120328.

Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim also plans to convene a committee addressing hazing on campus.

Harvard University

Library union meets with management

The union representing Harvard University’s library workers began to meet with library management last week. The talks come after University Library Executive Director Helen Shenton announced that reorganization of the library system would include staff reductions.

The initial announcement led to vocal opposition from library workers and other community members, over 100 of whom gathered outside the school’s Holyoke Center in February to oppose the proposed layoffs.

The union, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, said that the University is required to consult them before the layoffs.

Princeton University

Administration threatens suspension for rush ban violators

Freshmen at Princeton University will be banned from participating in fraternity rush beginning this year, a report released by the university said Sunday. Additionally, the report suggests suspension for students — both freshmen and Greek organization members — who knowingly violate the new rules. If there is not broad compliance with the policy, the report threatens bans on Greek organizations altogether.

The report formalized a policy change announced last August.

Many students chaffed at the severe rules, and the report acknowledged community support for lighter penalties, but justified the threat of expulsion by noting that “institutional values” were at stake.

Yale University

New college in Singapore prompts controversy

Yale’s plans to open a college in Singapore have generated some pushback from faculty who say they were not consulted in the historic decision.

In a monthly faculty meeting, many professors voiced concerns about how Yale will uphold its values in a country with limits on free speech and a ban on homosexuality, and questioned why they were not given an opportunity to vote on the issue.

Yale, which touts the joint project with the National University of Singapore as “the first new college to bear the Yale name in 300 years,” announced the proposal in September 2010. Its plans to accept its first freshman class in 2013 are now all but finalized.

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