Wandering Eye: Local for-profit education company gets sued, a Free Mumia update in 2015, and more

Doctoral students of Walden University yesterday sued Walden's owner, Laureate Education, a for-profit college outfit based in Baltimore, for unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent business practices. They claim that Walden's doctoral-degree programs are structured to make obtaining a degree a far more lengthy process than necessary and advertised, thereby extracting more tuition from its students. The lead plaintiff's attorney is no slouch—Timothy Maloney, a former Maryland state delegate with plenty of high-profile cases under his belt—and is seeking to turn the suit into a class-action claim. The complaint makes some eye-popping factual allegations about Walden's "rapid ascent"—that Walden's profits more than tripled to $101 million between 2006 and 2009, when its per-student spending on marketing, at $2,230, was much greater than the $1,574 it spent on instruction for each student—and is a reminder of the ongoing controversy surrounding for-profit schools' practices nationwide and in Baltimore. (Van Smith)

 

A prominent lawyer is on probation after pleading guilty to assaulting a younger man in front of the urinals in a the law firm's restroom. As the Baltimore Jewish Times reports, "Isaac Neuberger, 67, an attorney at Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin and Gibber, P.A., and the son of longtime Ner Israel president Rabbi Herman Neuberger, received his sentence after the state dropped fourth-degree sexual assault charges and proceeded to a stipulated non-jury trial on a lesser charge in front of Judge Melissa Phinn on Tuesday." Neuberger went with a catering employee into the restroom and chatted him up, but also punched him on the shoulder and touched his abdomen and leg, grazing his genitals, according to the report. He was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation under a probation-before-judgment plea deal. In court, Neuberger called the incident a "misunderstanding," the Jewish Times reported: "This whole thing is very unfortunate," he said. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Should criminals lose their right of free speech—as well as their freedom—after their conviction? Pennsylvania says yes, at the state's discretion, because the words of a convict can "revictimize" those their crimes have harmed. Governor Tom Corbett signed a law last year just a few weeks after Goddard College in Vermont played a pre-recorded speech by Mumia Abu-Jamal as its commencement address. Jamal is convicted of killing a Philadelphia cop in 1981. He has long styled himself a revolutionary, and his fans—some of them fellow celebrities—never tire of inventing scenarios of his innocence. But a law that would prevent anyone helping Abu-Jamal—or any prisoner—getting his or her word out publicly? Prison Legal News and Solitary Watch—both of which derive most of their content from inmates—and the Philadelphia City Paper have sued to overturn the law. As the Columbia Journalism Review reports, Philly City Paper Editor Lillian Swanson agreed to join the suit "because of the peril the law represents to our coverage of criminal justice issues and because it violates free speech." Also because it is completely bonkers. "Mainstream" publications have not yet joined the suit. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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