The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 01, 2000, Image 1

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    S’ Da ily Nebraskan
Columnist Betsy Severin is not
like most Nebraskans: She
doesn’t bleed Husker red
In Opinion/4
Sawyer Brown to pull
double duty Saturday at
game, State Fair
It’s finally here: Huskers
open up season against
San Jose State
In Sports/10
Ex-professor's harassment suit rejected
■The court ruled Valerie
Schwebach could not prove
she was forced to resign by the
political science department.
A former UNL professor’s
lawsuit accusing the political
science department of tolerat
ing sexual harassment was dis
missed on Wednesday in federal
district court.
In a summary judgment by
the U.S. District Court in
Omaha, Senior Judge Lyle E.
Strom wrote that even if the alle
gations made by Valerie
Schwebach were true, the
department did not tolerate a
hostile work environment, did
not retaliate against her foi
complaining and did not force
her to resign through intimida
The court made no ruling or
the truth of several sexua!
harassment allegations made b}
Schwebach, who resigned as
assistant political science-pro
fessor at the University 01
Nebraska-Lincoln in the spring
of 1998 and now lives in
Attorneys for the university
have said her allegations, and
other sexual harassment
charges against the department,
are untrue.
John Wiltse, senior associate
general counsel for NU and one
of the attorneys who defended
the university in the lawsuit,
said he was “very pleased" by
the ruling.
“The university has disputed
the truth of her allegations all
along,” he said. "The only unfor
tunate aspect of this ruling was
that that was not resolved. There
are people who would like to
have had those allegations shot
“The university was pre
pared to show that most of the
allegations were false and that
she didn’t have a case to justify a
Schwebach and her attor
ney, Thom Cope of Lincoln,
declined to comment when
reached by the Daily Nebraskan
on Thursday. Cope said he
would not comment until he
had spoken with Schwebach.
In filing her lawsuit,
Schwebach asked to be reinstat
ed as a professor and awarded
back salary, fringe benefits,
compensatory benefits and
attorney’s fees.
“(The department) made
my work environment intolera
ble,” Schwebach told the Daily
Nebraskan in January 1999 after
filing suit. “I had to leave. It
became very clear to nfe ... that
nothing was going to be done to
solve the problem.”
Schwebach began working
as an assistant political science
professor at UNL in 1994. Soon
after she started, she said, she
began experiencing sexual
After filing complaints with
the UNL Academic Rights and
Responsibilities Committee, the
Nebraska Equal Opportunity
Commission and the Equal
Employment Opportunity
Commission, she resigned at the
end of the spring 1998 semester,
saying the department was
doing nothing to stop sexual
On Jan. 21,1999, Schwebach
filed suit against the university,
claiming the political science
department tolerated a hostile
ed committee finds
no hard evident of
Qcndcf inequity in
political science
Recommends seven
improvements to *
improve depart
ment's dimate for ;
jleftwebadt fifes
Ofeirijtt Court.
U.S. District Court
throws out
work environment caused by
sexual harassment, retaliated
against her for complaining to
the EEOC and forced her to
resign by making her working
conditions intolerable.
In the lawsuit, Schwebach
alleged that the political science
department and its then-chair
man, David Forsythe, ignored
her complaints about several
sexual harassment incidents.
Before Wednesday's district
court ruling, six previous inves
tigations also had cleared
Forsythe of negligence. These
investigations were conducted
by Amy Longo, an Omaha attor
ney; Brian Foster, former dean
of the College of Arts and
Sciences; twice by the Equal
Employment Opportunity
Commission; by a faculty com
mittee headed by Maurice
Baker, an agricultural econom
ics professor; and by a three
member ad-hoc faculty com
mittee appointed by former
Chancellor James Moeser.
All but one of those investi
gations concluded that the
political science department did
not tolerate sexual harassment.
Only the committee headed by
Baker in 1998 faulted the
department and recommended
that it be placed under
"receivership,” or outside over
sight, for three years.
The ad-hoc committee dis
agreed with the Baker commit
tee’s recommendation and did
not place the department under
$chwebach and her attor
neys criticized the composition
of the ad-hoc committee, saying
it was biased.
Schwebach's lawsuit alleged
that the political science depart
ment and the College of Arts and
Sciences failed to respond to a
number of sexual harassment
Please see SUIT on 6
Firefighter Nick
Thill gets a dose
of cold water
Thursday morn
ing after coming
out of a building
fire at 625 W.A
St It took fire
fighters 30 min
utes to control
the fire at the
Lester Electrical
of Nebraska Inc
Deputy Chief
Dean Staberg
said. Seven fire
trucks called to
the business at
11:08 a.m. were
greeted by
heavy flames
and smoke.
were still work
ing to deter
mine the cause
and estimated
The fate of student govern
ment's ability to lobby for state
ballot issues rested in the hands
of seven students Thursday
The ASUN Student Court
heard a petition from President
Joel Schafer asking for a clarifi
cation of a bylaw that prohibits
ASUN from campaigning or for
mally supporting a candidate in
a national, state or local elec
But the final outcome of the
night’s deliberation remained a
secret to all but the members of
the court.
Please see COURT on 6
Study ranks UNL among top research schools
UNL ranks among the top
research universities in America,
according to a report from the
University of Florida released in
The inaugural report is
designed to give universities a reli
able indication of their standings,
based on nine standard criteria.
Unlike in other college rank
ings, none of these data was
manipulated or weighted, and the
schools were not ranked overall,
only by category. The report
groups schools together on the
basis of how many of the nine cri
teria rank in the top 25 of all the
schools studied.
“I think the way Lombardi and
his associates (the study’s authors)
have looked at the data is a
refreshing way to look at the
benchmarks of universities,” said
David Brinkerhoff, UNL’s acting
vice chancellor for academic
Only four universities had all
nine criteria rank within the top
25: the University of North
Carolina in Chapel Hill, the
University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor and the University of
California campuses in Berkeley
and Los Angeles.
The University of Nebraska
Lincoln broke into the top 25 in
two categories - endowment
assets and the amount of annual
The study’s authors, led by for
mer University of Florida
President John Lombardi, plan to
issue the report annually in the
spring t© help schools evaluate
themselves, said co-author Diane
Craig, an analyst with Florida’s
Center for Studies in Humanities
and Social Sciences.
“Our goal was to use data that
everybody submits anyway, and
we used data that most people
agree defines a research universi
ty,” Craig said.
The nine criteria used were:
total research money, federal
research money received in ayear,
total endowment assets, amount
of annual giving, faculty members
included national academies of
certain disciplines, faculty
awards, doctorates granted, post
doctorate degrees granted and
median SAT scores.
Brinkerhoff said the study
points out some of the positives at
“The way they do this high
lights some of the good things that
are going on,” Brinkerhoff said.
UNL was ranked 25th in
endowment assets with more
than $416 million in 1999.
The other category UNL
excelled in was also money-relat
ed: annual private giving. The uni
versity ranked seventh with $155
million in 1999.
In recent years the University
of Nebraska has garnered record
donations, which may be difficult
to sustain.
“I didn’t remember Nebraska
being that high (in donations), so I
double-checked those numbers,”
Craig said.
In almost every other catego
ry, UNL ranked near 50th.
Brinkerhoff said this report
shows that UNL has been improv
ing its research standing.
“We’re moving in the right
direction with this,” Brinkerhoff
said. As our researcn agenda
gains momentum these things
will grow”
News of the Florida study
comes on the eve of the release of
the rrfost well known college rank
U.S. News and World Report's
annual list hits newsstands today.
University of Nebraska
Lincoln officials hope the school
remains in the second tier, but the
authors of the University of
Florida study criticized the validi
ty of the magazine’s study. U.S.
News alters its criteria and weight
ing every year, which creates artifi
cial shifts in the ranking, accord
ing to the Lombardi study.
Regardless of the methodolo
gy employed, these studies will
never tell the whole picture, the
group reported.
“In almost every case, the uni
versities decry the commercialism
of the rankings, attack the
methodology of the ranking
process and proudly distribute to
alumni those rankings in which
they appear high,” the Lombardi
group wrote.
UNL falls
third tier
The University of Nebraska -
Lincoln, dogged by a flagging aca
demic reputation and a lack of
senior leadership, dropped to the
third tier in the U.S. News and
World Report national university
rankings released early Friday
The rankings, which are
released annually, have come
under increasing fire from univer
sity administrators, who say the
criteria used are sometimes arbi
~ Interim Chancellor Harvey
Perlman signed a letter in 1998,
when he was dean of the NU
College of Law, encouraging stu
dents not to place too much
importance on the magazine’s
Perlman was one of 160 law
school deans who signed a letter
that said the magazine, which
also ranks law schools, uses arbi
trary criteria in its rankings.
^ UNL has flip-flopped in the
Magazine’s list since its 1997 sec
ond-tier ranking. Last year, UNL
was also ranked in the second tier,
ranking between 51-120 out of
220 universities nationwide. In
1998, UNL was in the third tier.
This year’s third-tier ranking
places UNL among schools
ranked 116-172 out of228 nation
al universities.
The magazine assigns a
weight to each of its criteria, with
academic reputation, which is
worth 25 percent of the ranking,
being the most important factor.
For academic reputation,
UNL scored a 3.1 on a 5 point
scale. Last year, the university
scored a 3.2.
Colorado State University is
the only institution designated as
UNL’s "peer” by the Board of
Regents that ranked in the third
All other peer institutions,
including the University of
Missouri-Columbia, Iowa State
University in Ames and the
University of Kansas in Lawrence,
ranked in the second tier, except
the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, whose rank
of 41 placed it among the top 50.
Former Chancellor lames
Moeser fared well in the magazine
this year.
The University of North
Carcpna-Chapel Hill, of which
Moeser is now chancellor, ranked
25^ in the magazine's national