Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—Plans to scrub a slave-owning U.S. president's name from two school buildings here have rankled alumni of the former Monroe High School. The old high school is one of two campuses of the K-8 Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, with buildings in the Summit Hill and West Seventh neighborhoods. Its namesake, James Monroe, was the fifth U.S. president, one of 12 to own slaves during his lifetime and one of eight to do so while in office.
ST. PAUL—Achievement gaps between whites and students of color are closing somewhat at Minnesota State two-year colleges but growing at the system's seven universities. Over the past four years, the 30 colleges saw broad improvement in their three-year completion rates. Fifty-eight percent of white students finished school on time, up 3.2 percentage points, while students of color as a group improved 4.6 points, to 43.5 percent.
ST. PAUL—Still suffering from a steep drop in student applications, the University of Minnesota School of Law says it can't balance its budget without even more help from the rest of the university. Since 2012-13, the U has given the law school $39.9 million to cover budget shortfalls. The ongoing annual subsidy has reached $7.5 million. President Eric Kaler is proposing to increase the yearly subsidy to $12 million by 2020-21, while also covering a $1.9 million shortfall next year.
MINNEAPOLIS—An African-American instructor says her race and sex played a role in the University of Minnesota's decision to postpone and ultimately squash her shot at a tenured position. Yolanda Majors' lawsuit against the U was thrown out last year by a Hennepin County District Judge Mel Dickstein. But the Court of Appeals last month revived the case, saying Dickstein erred in his decision.
ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota paid $282,000 to resolve two sexual harassment complaints against former athletics director Norwood Teague, according to newly released documents. Teague resigned without additional compensation in August 2015 after the university decided to investigate his behavior at a July 15 senior leadership retreat. Ann Aronson, deputy chief of staff to President Eric Kaler, and Erin Dady, a special assistant to the president, later said publicly that they were the recipients of Teague's unwanted attention.
ST. PAUL—If a bankruptcy trustee can't sell the McNally Smith College of Music building before the end of the year, there may be no money left for students, employees and other creditors. The downtown St. Paul school abruptly closed in December, leaving employees unpaid for weeks of work, despite taking in $564,000 in prepaid spring semester tuition. Students, employees and others have filed unsecured claims for about $6.5 million. Whether any of them get paid will depend on how much the trustee can get for the school building.
MINNEAPOLIS—Two former students say Minneapolis-based Capella University lied about how much time and money it would take to complete an advanced degree. Kansas resident Carolyn Wright and Debbra Kennedy of Tennessee filed a class-action lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. Wright, who began pursuing a doctor of nursing practice in spring 2014, said she was told it would take two years and cost about $35,000. But Capella's website later said the program takes 30 months, the complaint alleges, and that figure was then revised to 39 months.
ST. PAUL — Between March and November last year, the co-founders of McNally Smith College of Music loaned the school $1.33 million in a failed attempt to keep the St. Paul school in business. That's according to filings in two bankruptcy cases — one for the school and another for Jack McNally personally. The for-profit college's gross income, records show, fell from $10.6 million in 2016 to $9.6 million a year later amid declining enrollment and increases in tuition discounts.
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.