Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL. — A former St. Paul Public Schools teacher may go forward with his legal claims of race discrimination and retaliation, a judge ruled this week. Aaron Benner says he was compelled to quit in 2015 when school district leaders retaliated against him for publicly criticizing the school board's policy on racial equity. He sued the school district in May under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
ST. PAUL — For students in Jenny Wamsley's physical education and health classes at Central High School, Christmas comes about every two weeks. Donors have paid for 33 projects worth more than $15,000 through the crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org since Wamsley transferred to Central in fall 2016. By comparison, the P.E. and health department's tax-funded equipment budget is $900 this year. "When I added it up, I just about died because that's a lot of money that's come through here," Wamsley said.
ST. PAUL — A $50 million donation for promising business majors is the lead gift in a University of St. Thomas fundraising campaign that aims to raise $200 million for student scholarships. President Julie Sullivan said the gift from the estate of commercial real estate developer Gerald Rauenhorst fits her top fundraising priority of pushing down the cost of attendance. Over the next eight years, St. Thomas hopes to double its $150 million scholarships endowment while raising an additional $50 million to be distributed more quickly.
ST. PAUL — Minnesota State is embarking on a six-year, $150 million overhaul of its computerized records system and hoping the Legislature will cover much of the cost. Trustees for the higher-education system agreed Wednesday, Nov. 15, to hire a consultant for the project, which is in its third year of planning.
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota will embark on a public awareness campaign and expanded training with the message that everyone on campus is responsible for preventing sexual misconduct. After a series of high-profile incidents involving student-athletes and staff, President Eric Kaler in May tasked public health dean John Finnegan with leading an initiative to combat sexual assault and harassment.
MINNEAPOLIS — A University of Minnesota graduate student who accused a colleague of sexual harassment was awarded just $1 in March, but her lawyers will get much more than that. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim last week ordered U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientist Ted Swem to pay $305,000 in fees to Stephanie Jenkins' attorneys. Jenkins was 29 when she spent four weeks in 2011 studying falcons in remote Alaska with Swem, then 59. She said he took a photo of her backside, told dirty jokes and made repeated and unwelcome requests for a physical relationship.
ST. PAUL—The Minnesota State system will consider overhauling its tuition and fee policy in response to the growing number of students taking classes from multiple schools at once. Chief financial officer Laura King told the board of trustees on Wednesday that the system hasn't substantially updated the policy since it was written in 2000. She said it hasn't kept pace with enrollment trends, which include dual and hybrid models.
MINNEAPOLIS—The University of Minnesota's medical school dean is leaving for the same position at the University of Iowa. Brooks Jackson, 64, joined Minnesota in February 2014 as dean of the medical school and vice president for health sciences. In a letter to Academic Health Center employees, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler said Jackson has given the school "a strong foundation for us to build on." "We take great pride in what the Medical School and Academic Health Center have accomplished during his tenure," Kaler wrote.
MINNEAPOLIS — A proposed 15 percent spike in tuition charged to nonresidents got a mixed reception Thursday, Oct. 12, from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. President Eric Kaler said his proposal for back-to-back 15 percent increases the next two years would put the U in the middle of the Big Ten for nonresident tuition. If approved, he said, the U would remain a "great value." The plan would generate an estimated $10 million a year, but the university would spend $1.5 million of that on additional recruiters and tuition discounts.
ST. PAUL — One of the lawyers for a fired professor suing Macalester College may have to testify about her own sexual harassment claims against a different professor. Poetry professor Kristin Naca is suing the St. Paul school in U.S. District Court, alleging she was improperly fired in July 2015 for having sex with one of her female students.