PSU Settles Whistleblower Complaint: Portland State University has settled a legal complaint brought by a graduate student who says he was punished for blowing the whistle on illegal research. Ezra Whitman says he faced backlash after raising concerns that the school had violated federal privacy laws by using data on Portland-area public school students without parental consent ("Invasion of Privacy," WW, March 7, 2018). Whitman agreed to settle the dispute out of court in pretrial mediation. The university paid Whitman $12,000 and agreed to stop the project, halt any publications related to the data, and implement annual training about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. An internal review completed last month found PSU likely violated FERPA by using the data harvested from public school computers in 10 districts in the Portland metro area.
Cars and Scooters Collide: For all the attention the arrival of e-scooters has been getting, it's still the old road dangers—alcohol and automobiles—that can cause the most harm. Two people were hit by an allegedly drunken driver near Voodoo Doughnut in downtown Portland Aug. 13 while attempting to rent scooters on the sidewalk. They weren't seriously hurt, and the driver, Sheldon Lamar Scott, was charged with DUII and assault. Three days earlier, a scooter rider went to the hospital after being hit by a car along Northeast 122nd Avenue. The scooter rider was traveling the wrong way in a bike lane.
Erin Flynn Is Leaving PSU: Erin Flynn, one of the most prominent administrators at Portland State University, is leaving the university in the fall as part of a new reorganization of the university. PSU spokesman Christopher Broderick tells WW that Flynn's job, associate vice president for strategic partnerships, is being eliminated: "Responsibilities of that office are being reassigned to the president's office and other offices." Flynn, reached Aug. 14, said she will continue to lead the effort by PSU and other groups, including Oregon Health & Sciences University, to create an Innovation Quadrant, an economic development project to produce tech startups on both banks of the Willamette River. "The Innovation Quadrant is continuing," says Flynn. "There is a strong commitment among the partners. I will continue to lead that effort."
Newspapers Respond to Trump's Attacks: WW is joining newsrooms across the country to repudiate President Donald Trump's attacks on a free press as an "enemy of the people." The Boston Globe launched the effort for newspapers to stand in unison with editorials condemning the president's vilification of the press. "Our words will differ," says Globe deputy editorial page editor Marjorie Pritchard. "But at least we can agree that such attacks are alarming." We agree: Attacks on a vigilant and independent press have no place in the White House.