Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
LAKEVILLE, Minn.—A University of Minnesota IT specialist is accused of recording nude videos of a 17-year-old autistic boy while working as the teen's personal care attendant. Christopher Pfoff, 28, was indicted on a charge of child pornography production last week in U.S. District Court. He faces 15-30 years in prison if convicted. Pfoff had worked with the teen for three years, according to the indictment. He also worked as an information technology specialist for MU's psychology department.
ST. PAUL—An Augsburg University professor with high-profile support says he has been given 90 days to leave the country unless he can get his case for asylum reopened. Kenya native Mzenga Wanyama said he's "still hopeful" after a brief meeting Thursday, April 5, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Fort Snelling. Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow was among about 100 supporters gathered outside the ICE office. He said the school is paying for Wanyama's lawyer and using its influence to put pressure on ICE.
ST. PAUL—All but invisible in past years, the thousands of students who opt out of Minnesota's standardized math and reading tests will be counted against their schools and districts under new state and federal laws. The state's new plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act will count every student who misses the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments as "not proficient," except in rare cases of a medical exemption.
ST. PAUL—A University of Minnesota professor who was called out publicly in December for his interactions with women has lost a leadership position and is the subject of four ongoing school investigations. Brad Carlin was head of the School of Public Health biostatistics division from May 2010 until Jan. 3, when Public Health dean John Finnegan removed the appointment.
ST. PAUL — Emily Yang was a seventh-grader with nothing to do but wait while her mom finished her work day as a school counselor. Then a classmate suggested archery. "It was really scary," she said, recalling her first arrows lobbing toward the target. Four years later, Yang is a state champion, having outscored 236 high school girls — not to mention all 246 boys — Saturday in Bemidji, Minn. Her St. Paul district school, Open World Learning Community, is the only St. Paul or Minneapolis school that has an archery team.
ST. PAUL—The leader of Minnesota's largest higher education system will get $507,000 in annual salary and benefits when his new contract starts Aug. 1. Minnesota State trustees Wednesday approved a three-year contract for Devinder Malhotra, who has been interim chancellor since August. Trustees made Malhotra the permanent successor to the retired Steven Rosenstone this month after agreeing that a second national search did not produce the right candidate.
ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota will ask the Legislature for an extra $10 million to finance a tuition freeze next year for Minnesota residents at all of its campuses. The two-year budget lawmakers adopted last year awarded the university $658.7 million in base funding this year and $10 million less than that in 2018-19. Knowing that funding would decline, the university spent $10 million last year on one-time repairs and renovations.
ST. PAUL—An Augsburg University professor is meeting with immigration officials Friday, March 9, about his possible deportation. Kenya native Mzenga Wanyama, an associate professor of English, came to the United States in 1992 as a J-1 nonimmigrant exchange visitor, court records show. His wife and two children followed in 1995. When his visa expired in 2005, Wanyama applied for asylum. He said he feared government persecution after writing three newspaper articles supporting the former Kenyan president's political opponent.
ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota's longest-serving member of the Board of Regents is leaving her post this spring. Patricia Simmons, a retired Rochester physician, said Wednesday, March 7, that she wants to free up time to spend traveling and with family. She's been on the board since 2003. "This feels like the right time to refresh myself, refresh the board," she said. Lawmakers will appoint a replacement for the unpaid position to serve through 2021.
ST. PAUL—A second nationwide search in as many years has again failed to produce a new chancellor for the Minnesota State higher education system. Trustees on Friday, March 2, committed to three more years under Devinder Malhotra, a former state university administrator who was plucked from retirement last year to be interim chancellor. "He has performed brilliantly as interim chancellor. He has never been a mere placeholder," trustees chairman Michael Vekich said before the board voted unanimously to lift Malhotra's interim label.