Thursday, October 23, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU researchers looking at safe handling of radioactive materials
If released in significant quantities, radioactive materials pose a potential threat to people and the environment. Now, new research at Mississippi State University is helping the nuclear industry ensure that radioactive materials continue to be safely contained and that standards of safety are continuously improved. MSU's Institute for Clean Energy Technology is leading the nation in research to ensure that confinement systems for processing radioactive waste are robust and effective with minimal risk of accidental exposure for workers at specialized waste treatment facilities, as well as area neighbors.
Mississippi State Leads U.S. in Testing of Filters to Contain Radioactive Materials
If released in significant quantities, radioactive materials pose a potential threat to people and the environment. Now, new research at Mississippi State University is helping the nuclear industry ensure that radioactive materials continue to be safely contained and that standards of safety are continuously improved. Charles Waggoner, deputy director of the Institute for Clean Energy Technology and MSU research professor, said the highly technical processes and testing infrastructure are vitally important for assessing HEPA filtration systems' abilities to withstand unexpected harsh conditions, such as a fire or high humidity event like a steam line failure. "The testing we're doing is very significant," Waggoner said, "and we are the only place in the world with infrastructure and personnel capable of doing this work."
Kress Building to Become Part of MSU-Meridian
Meridian's old Kress building will start to transform into a new facility for Mississippi State University kinesiology students in just a couple of weeks. Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement. It's applied to human health, for example, in orthopedics, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, and occupational therapy. Kinesiology has been one of the fastest growing departments for Mississippi State, and professors believe this new facility will only continue to increase student interest. "Personally, I am looking forward to our kinesiology program being the marquee program here at MSU-Meridian," project coordinator Dr. Benjamin Wax says. "And that is my personal aspiration that I have for the particular program." It is a project that's been in the works for almost a year, thanks to an $11 million donation from the Riley Foundation.
Insect rearing workshop wrapping up at Mississippi State
When Sen Seong Ng first came to America from Malaysia in 1982, he came to Mississippi State University to study for his master's degree and Ph.D. in entomology under Frank Davis -- and he also met Frank's wife, Carole McReynolds Davis. Frank has since retired from his work as a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, although he remains coordinator and founder of MSU's annual Insect Rearing Workshop. Ng came to Starkville this week to teach in the IRW for the first time, recently retired from his job as an entomologist with Chicago-based pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories. But Carole, an artist and social fixture of the Starkville community for decades, passed away in June, and Ng said his return to Starkville wasn't the same without her, because together with Frank, back in 1982, she made Starkville feel like home for him. (Subscriber-only content.)
Mississippi State student receives EPA fellowship grant
A Mississippi State graduate student is among 105 students nationwide to receive a fellowship grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Sara Shields-Menard is a recipient of the Science to Achieve Results program. EPA is making $8.6 million to all 105 students to conduct research on topics including climate change, water quality, public health, chemical safety and sustainability. Shields-Menard will receive a maximum of $42,000 a year for the next two years for her research.
Starkville designates Halloween time
Trick-or-treaters will have two and a half hours to rack up on the candy this Halloween in Starkville. Tuesday night, the Starkville Board of Aldermen voted to have Halloween trick-or-treating take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Alderman David Little presented the idea last night because he says Starkville's population will swell dramatically on Oct. 31. That night precedes a Mississippi State University home game against Arkansas.
Red Cross hosts disaster training in Starkville
The public is invited to a free disaster training event hosted by the American Red Cross in Starkville this weekend. The American Red Cross says its Disaster Action Team Camp will cover how volunteers should help in communities when a home fire or other disaster occurs. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and will take place at the Emerson Family School located at 1504 Louisville Street in Starkville.
Ebola risk extremely low, state health official says
State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier urged Mississippians to have a rational response to the risk of Ebola. The fear is understandable, because the hemorrhagic fever is a scary disease, she said during a Wednesday press briefing, but the risk in Mississippi is extremely low. Even though the risk is low, Mississippi hospitals and health districts have to be prepared to identify, isolate and report suspected cases. In addition to efforts to train staff and update protocols in the event of a suspected Ebola case, OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville is reaching out to the community. Infection control manager Kim Roberts will meet with volunteer firefighters this week to discuss response and precautions. "There's definitely a heightened awareness," Roberts said of the hospital's staff.
Mississippi among states affected by government's air bag warning on 7.8M vehicles
The U.S. government is telling 3 million more car owners to get their air bags repaired immediately, but its message has generated some confusion about which cars are actually affected. The government's auto safety agency is now warning 7.8 million car owners that inflator mechanisms in the air bags can rupture, causing metal fragments to fly out when the bags are deployed. Most of the 7.8 million vehicles are subject to existing recalls. But manufacturers have limited the recalls to high-humidity areas, excluding cars and trucks in states to the North. NHTSA says owners in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and "limited areas near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana" should pay special attention to the warning.
Hospital President: Medicaid Expansion Proposal In Works
St. Dominic Hospital president Lester Diamond says Mississippi hospitals are working on a proposal that would include changes to the existing Medicaid program to help convince reluctant state lawmakers to expand it. Diamond says there is a sweet spot that includes conservative changes to Medicaid but still open access to hundreds of thousands of more Mississippians. "Hopefully some of those alternatives will be appealing to the leadership in our state and also allow us to draw down some of the federal dollars that are available as part of a quote 'Medicaid Expansion," Diamond said. Medicaid expansion is an optional part of the health care reform law.
Medicaid expansion left out of healthcare discussions with governor
Gov. Phil Bryant believes the health care industry is a vital part of the state's economic pulse. One medical money topic Bryant left out of the "Healthcare Huddle" discussion on Wednesday was Medicaid expansion. Former president of the state medical association, Lamar Weems, doesn't understand why the state keeps rejecting it. "Hundreds of millions of dollars have just been lying on the table and we failed to pick it up," explained Weems. "The failure to take full advantage of the Medicaid program from the standpoint of the state of Mississippi is penny-wise and pound foolish." Bryant is defending his position that expansion isn't wise.
Senator's case referred to AG; late campaign finance reports still not filed
The matter of Sen. Melanie Sojourner's late campaign finance report for 2013 and the fines associated with it has been referred to the state attorney general's office. Mississippi Secretary of State's Office Communications Director Pamela Weaver said Sojourner's case was referred because she has failed to pay the civil penalty associated with the delinquent filing. Sojourner (R-Natchez) was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Sojourner is the only state legislator who has not filed the statutorily required report for 2013, which was due Jan. 31. She represents District 37, and also served as campaign manager for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who ran an unsuccessful bid against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran for the Republican Party's nomination to the fall ballot.
Legislators to discuss education in Tupelo
The two lawmakers who set the tone for Mississippi education policy will join Lee County legislators next week to share their vision for the state's schools. The "Eyes on Education" forum will be held on Tuesday night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Helen Foster Auditorium of the Lee County Library. It will feature Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, House Education Chairman John Moore and three lawmakers who represent parts of Lee County -- Sen. Hob Bryan, Sen. Russell Jolly and Rep. Steve Holland. "The success of our public schools is critical to the economic vitality of our state," said Sally Gray, a parent coach for Parents for Public Schools. "What our Legislators do during the session impacts all of that."
U.S. misinformed Congress, public on immigrant release
New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records, obtained by USA Today, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide. The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.
Whistleblowers say USAID's inspector general removed critical details from public reports
After the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the U.S. Agency for International Development hired several non­governmental organizations to set up pro-democracy programs in Egypt -- even though they were not registered to work in the country. Less than a year later, the Egyptian government charged 43 NGO workers with operating illegally. Sixteen of them were Americans, including the son of then-U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Americans were freed in March 2012 after USAID secretly paid the Egyptian government $4.6 million in "bail" money. That May, USAID's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) completed a confidential draft audit of the program that questioned the wisdom of the program and the legality of using the money to post bail. But when the inspector general's office publicly issued its final audit report five months later, those findings and other critical conclusions had been removed, according to internal audit documents obtained by The Washington Post. What was once a 21-page report had been reduced to nine.
Official autopsy shows Michael Brown had close-range wound to his hand, marijuana in system
The official autopsy on Michael Brown shows that he was shot in the hand at close range, according to an analysis of the findings by two experts not involved directly in the case. The accompanying toxicology report shows he had been using marijuana. Those documents, prepared by the St. Louis County medical examiner and obtained by the Post-Dispatch, provide the most detailed description to date of the wounds Brown sustained in a confrontation Aug. 9 with Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
Canada Lawmakers Regroup After Shooting in Ottawa
Canada's federal government was poised Thursday to introduce legislation to give the country's police and Security Intelligence Service greater powers to counter potential terrorist threats. The move, which had been planned, took on special significance as lawmakers and public servants here tried to resume their daily routine, a day after Ottawa was rocked by a shooting that left a soldier and the suspected shooter dead, and forced a lockdown of the Canadian capital for hours. Canadian police confirmed there was only one shooter, but they didn't identify him. The alleged gunman, who was killed inside the country's parliament building Wednesday after killing the soldier at a nearby war monument, was identified by U.S. authorities as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.
Wilkie: Journalism 'better than working'
If Curtis Wilkie could interview anyone in the world, it would be Franklin Roosevelt. "He did so much to seize the situation in this country, militarily and economically," Wilkie told his audience at the Lee County Library Lunching with Books event on Wednesday. "But I reserve the right to change that answer at any time." The Greenville native and Ole Miss graduate who now teaches journalism at his alma mater made a name for himself as a reporter for the Clarksdale Press Register newspaper in the height of the civil rights movement. "Covering [the civil rights movement], and living through it, gave me a frame of reference for my whole life," he said. "Journalism has been a wonderful thing," he said. "Better than working."
William Carey, Jones County Junior College ramp up Ebola awareness, prevention
Encouraging the use of hand sanitizer and providing housing during the upcoming school breaks and holidays for international students are included in William Carey University's Ebola virus awareness and prevention plans. Carey and Jones County Junior College have both ramped up their communicable diseases prevention measures in light of the recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa and isolated incidents in the United States. None of the four Pine Belt institutions -- Carey, JCJC, the University of Southern Mississippi or Pearl River Community College -- have any international students from the hot spots in West Africa -- Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone -- enrolled this fall.
U. of Alabama Faculty Senate receives reports on Greek diversity
The University of Alabama Faculty Senate officers and steering committee will decide the next steps for two recently approved reports by a senate task force on ways to reinforce a campus commitment to diversity and inclusiveness and reforms to UA's Greek system. The senate approved the two reports by the Senate Task Force for Excellence in Equity, Inclusion and Citizenship on Tuesday. The senate officers and steering committee will take up the reports and decide the next steps, according to Faculty Senate President Steve Miller. The task force presented roughly 28 recommendations in the separate reports about improving support for diversity and inclusiveness on campus and reforms to UA's Greek system.
Tennessee students jump at chance for free college tuition
When Gov. Bill Haslam announced the creation of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program, the state anticipated 20,000 students might apply. A little more than a week before the Nov. 1 application deadline, the number of students embarking down the path toward free tuition at a Tennessee community college or college of applied technology is closer to 45,000. Essentially two-thirds of all seniors in the state have applied. That doesn't pose a monetary or logistical problem though, said Mike Krause, the man leading Haslam's push for 55 percent of adult Tennesseans to have a college degree by 2025.
Louisiana colleges ask legislature for less money than they want
Louisiana's colleges and universities will ask for about $504 million from the state in next year's budget -- well below what leaders say the higher education institutions should be getting from the state's coffers, but a slight increase from this year's funding. On Wednesday, the state Board of Regents agreed to a preliminary budget request for fiscal 2015, but the request comes in at about $266 million below what the board would consider "fully funded." Barbara Goodson, deputy state higher education commissioner for finance and administration, said $769 million "is the formula calculation, what the state share should be." That higher figure would put Louisiana in line with funding in other states that fall under the Southern Regional Educational Board. But after deep cuts to higher education funding in recent years, leaders say they know it's not realistic to assume that the public community colleges and universities in Louisiana would get that much.
Covering Ebola in Sierra Leone a scary prospect, journalist tells UGA students
Todd Frankel was scared before he went to Sierra Leone to cover the Ebola crisis for the Washington Post, he admitted to a small group of University of Georgia journalism students Wednesday. "I was scared," Frankel said. "Nobody wanted to go. There was a lot of fear." But he wanted to go, too, said Frankel. "Because it was a great story," Frankel explained under questioning by this year's "McGill Fellows," tapped by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as their class's most outstanding students. The chosen students got to spend the day with Frankel and three other top U.S. journalists Wednesday. Frankel will also give a public talk on his Ebola assignment, which has made him one of the country's most knowledgeable people on the deadly viral disease.
Perry visits Texas A&M's biocorridor center developing vaccines
His last visit was only a month ago, but the time was once again right on Wednesday morning for Gov. Rick Perry to visit the Texas A&M National Center For Therapeutics Manufacturing in the biocorridor. Perry's visit comes a day after his announcement of the creation of two new designated treatment centers for those with Ebola -- one in the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Richardson and one at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Perry's visit came as The Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing is preparing to send a proposal to the federal government detailing how it and Caliber Biotherapeutics would mass produce portions of ZMapp, which Giroir called the most promising new therapy for patients with Ebola.
U. of Missouri's new health plan option encourages use of MU providers
With open enrollment in progress for employer-sponsored health insurance, University of Missouri employees have an additional benefit option to consider this year. This year's third option, called the custom network plan, encourages employees to use MU Health Care services for lower out-of-pocket costs. Betsy Rodriguez, UM System vice president of human resources, led a discussion on the benefit plans last week for MU staff members, along with MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and other administrators. The decision to add another option for employees was one of many that came from the Total Rewards task force, a group of employees from the four UM System campuses Rodriguez is working with to tweak employee benefits from retirement to time off.
New Traditions Plaza encapsulates U. of Missouri heritage
The names of students and alumni lay etched into the bricks of the new terraced amphitheater as crew members put the finishing touches on Traditions Plaza, a multipurpose events space that also serves as a testament to the University of Missouri's 175-year-old heritage. The plaza, located on Carnahan Quadrangle, appropriately opens Friday on the eve of the university's 103rd Homecoming football game against Vanderbilt. The estimated $1.4 million price tag was fully funded by the Mizzou Alumni Association and the sales revenue from customized bricks sold to students and alumni that are featured in the design. "We'll have about 1,500 engraved bricks for people to visit this weekend," said Todd McCubbin, Alumni Association executive director.
NIH Allocates $31 Million to Tackle Racial Gaps in Training
The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday awarded more than $31-million to a dozen university groups that will develop and test strategies for improving the racial diversity of the nation's medical work force. The lead universities receiving grants include some of the nation's top institutions for training minority scientists. Their projects involve modifying enrollment processes, revamping undergraduate courses, and improving mentoring, among other efforts. The NIH, the world's leading financer of medical research, formally studied its diversity problem in 2011. It found the odds that a black scientist would win an NIH grant were 10 percentage points lower than those of a white scientist, and it promised to pour money into strategies to rectify that disparity. Such findings "are of grave concern to NIH," its director, Francis S. Collins, said at a briefing outlining the awards.
Wake Forest to drop traditional MBA program
After five years of declining enrollment in its traditional M.B.A. program, Wake Forest University is shifting gears to focus on an area where it sees greater demand -- those M.B.A. seekers who want to earn a paycheck while studying. Starting next year, Wake Forest will no longer accept applications for a traditional, daytime M.B.A. program at its Winston-Salem campus. Instead, the university will expand its offerings for working professionals The decision was made after studying the program this summer and considering the needs of the market of students Wake Forest is trying to serve, said Charles Iacovou, dean of the College of Business.
Ebola Risk to Schools Low, Experts Say
Even as worries about Ebola have prompted school closings and other K-12 precautions in recent weeks, medical experts are advising school officials to take a measured approach in response to the handful of U.S. cases of the virus. Districts in Solon, Ohio, and Belton, Texas, closed several schools after learning that students or staff members were either on the same flight or had flown on the same plane as one of two Dallas nurses who became sick with the virus this month. But infectious-disease experts and public-health officials say those closings, and steps taken elsewhere by education officials to approve emergency-closure protocols for schools far from any Ebola cases, go beyond what is necessary.

Fueling his fire: Mississippi State's Smith motivated by daughter, NFL skeptics
Most football players are anxious and have difficulty sleeping the night before a big game. Mississippi State's Preston Smith however had another reason to be nervous on New Year's Eve prior to the Bulldogs' Liberty Bowl appearance. Smith was on the phone in his Memphis hotel room during the early morning hours as his first-born child, Lauren Marie, came into the world a few hours away in Atlanta. That's when everything changed for the 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end. "I go out there and play for my daughter each weekend," Smith said. "She motivates me. She didn't ask to be here so it's my job to provide the best possible life for her."
Wilson big-play threat for No. 1 Mississippi State
When De'Runnya Wilson arrived at Mississippi State less than two years ago, he didn't really know how to study a football playbook or have any idea about the technique needed to play receiver in the Southeastern Conference. Turns out the 6-foot-5, 225-pound sophomore is a very fast learner. The 20-year-old Wilson has emerged as No. 1 Mississippi State's primary big-play threat in the passing game, catching six touchdown passes so far this season. The Bulldogs (6-0, 3-0 SEC) will be trying to win their 10th straight game, dating back to last season, when they travel to face Kentucky (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday.
Now at No. 1, Mississippi State does not plan to change anything
Success can change a man. But not Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen. Asked on Wednesday, during his time as part of the Southeastern Conference's weekly coaches' teleconference, if seeing his team ascend to its first No. 1 ranking in school history will change the way he recruits, Mullen was frank. "We won't change our approach," said Mullen. "We really trust our own evaluations of how we look at guys. I've seen guys that are supposed 5-stars that I would disagree greatly with that rating. And I've seen guys that should be rated higher." Not that anything needs to change. In his sixth year as head coach, Mullen has built a winner in Starkville.
Winning won't change how Dan Mullen, Mississippi State recruit
Winning changes everything -- except recruiting. At least that's what Dan Mullen said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference on Wednesday. The sixth-year coach heads into a matchup with Kentucky on Saturday boasting a No. 1 ranking and a 6-0 record. Mississippi State has received more exposure than it ever has due to its winning ways. But the hype doesn't alter how Mullen and Company evaluate players. "We won't change our approach," Mullen said. "Part of our recruiting is to find guys with a chip on their shoulder and a great desire to get better and who are going to buy into the program, work really hard and continue to develop once they get here."
Mississippi State brings to Kentucky a perfect run-and-pass storm
It's like some sort of statistical voodoo. Mississippi State can run as well as it passes and pass as well as it runs. The numbers put the creep in creepy. Of the top-ranked Bulldogs' 3,178 yards of offense this season, 1,586 of those have come on the run and 1,592 have come through the air. For a fan, it's fascinating. For a defensive coach, it's maddening. "Try to defend that," Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops said of the run versus pass conflict. "Makes a difference." It's what defensive coordinator nightmares are made of.
Did Mississippi GOP violate NCAA rules with campaign flyer?
The Mississippi GOP sent a GOTV email with Mississippi State and Ole Miss athletes' photos, but stopped ASAP because of the NCAA. The Sun Herald newspaper first questioned whether an email the Mississippi Republican Party started sending Tuesday to help incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran's campaign violates NCAA rules by using photos of student athletes. NCAA rules prohibit teams or athletes being used in advertising endorsing a political candidate or party. Sid Salter, chief communications officer for MSU, said the university had no prior knowledge of the state GOP's use of the images. Salter in a statement said: "This matter has been referred to our compliance staff and working in conjunction with our counterparts at the University of Mississippi, the university has taken all appropriate steps to ensure that we are in compliance with all NCAA rules and with federal and state laws and university policies."
GOP agrees to stop using Ole Miss, MSU players in ads
Ole Miss says it has cleared up any issues with the use of football players from its team and Mississippi State's in a political ad. "With our compliance office working together with officials from Mississippi State University, the GOP was made aware of the NCAA issues, and the matter has been resolved," said athletics director Ross Bjork in an email. The state Republican Party said it was an honest mistake. Mississippi State said no one asked them for permission. "Mississippi State University had no prior knowledge of the production of the email in question," MSU spokesman Sid Salter said. "This matter has been referred to our compliance staff, and, working in conjunction with our counterparts at the University of Mississippi, the university has taken all appropriate steps to ensure that we are in compliance with all NCAA rules and with federal and state laws and university policies."
Mississippi State women's golf cruises to victory at Old Waverly
On Tuesday, Mississippi State's nationally ranked women's golf team turned its Old Waverly Invitational into a runaway, firing a team score of 277 to stretch its lead to 22 strokes over a field of 13 teams. On Wednesday, the Lady Bulldogs kept running, right to a second consecutive tournament championship. Behind overall winner Ally McDonald, who fired a one-under round of 71 to earn the individual title, MSU's No. 2 ranked Lady Bulldogs posted a team score of 296, enough to secure an easy 24-stroke victory. "We didn't play as well as we'd like, but that's why it's a three-day event," said MSU coach Ginger Lemm-Brown.
Once reviled by U. of Tennessee fans, Mike Hamilton helps in Africa
The woman seemed close to death, gaunt, sickly. Her name was Ameena, and she was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. Mike Hamilton, former University of Tennessee athletics director, had become involved in Nashville's Blood: Water mission, which battles AIDS and clean water shortages in Africa. Ameena cried as she told Hamilton, through an interpreter, that she not only had AIDS but full-blown shame that comes along with the disease in Africa. It's one of the stories that Hamilton, who moved to Nashville about two and a half years ago, said has stuck with him since becoming involved with Blood: Water back in 2009. That was just a year after Hamilton was embroiled in the controversial firing of UT football coach Phillip Fulmer, just before another controversy surrounding the employ of less-than-successful coach Derek Dooley. Hamilton became a whipping boy for UT fans and the media, with few people speaking much about his off-hours activities helping the impoverished people of Africa.
University police report: Florida student said QB Treon Harris ignored pleas
The University of Florida student who accused quarterback Treon Harris of rape told investigators she warded off his advances but still decided to spend the night in his room, according to a police report released Wednesday. The woman also told investigators she and Harris settled on a bed inside his campus dorm in the wee hours of Oct. 5 and that he forced himself on her, despite her pleas to stop. n contrast, Harris told investigators his interaction with the woman was consensual and that she told him, "Keep it between me and you." Harris was never charged with a crime. An exchange of texts reviewed by investigators, and contained within Wednesday's report, offered a glimpse into the relationship between Harris and her accuser the night after the incident occurred.
Rape case against U. of Kentucky football player sent to grand jury for review of charge
A University of Kentucky football player charged with rape waived his case to a Fayette County grand jury Thursday. Lloyd Tubman appeared before Fayette District Judge Megan Lake Thornton with his attorney, Jim Lowry. Tubman was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing but the hearing was waived, so the case will go directly to the grand jury for possible indictment. Tubman, who turns 20 this month, and Lowry had no comment after the court appearance.
Vandy rape case argument: Too drunk to be responsible?
Can you be too drunk to be held responsible for your actions? That's the latest argument being floated in defense of Brandon Vandenburg, one of four former Vanderbilt University football players charged in a June 2013 campus rape. But Nashville prosecutors want to stop the theory before it goes too far. A new court filing asks a judge to block a Los Angeles-based psychologist from testifying about Vandenburg's drunkenness on the night police say he took part in the rape of his unconscious 21-year-old girlfriend in his dorm room. Prosecutors say the psychologist's two-page report -- in which she essentially argued that Vandenburg was too drunk to know what he was doing -- is "purely speculative" and not based on science.
Judge dismisses race discrimination suit filed by former LSU tennis coach
A Baton Rouge federal judge has dismissed a racial discrimination lawsuit that former longtime LSU women's tennis coach Tony Minnis filed against the university after his 2012 firing. Minnis' attorney, Jill Craft, said Wednesday that Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson's ruling will be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Minnis, who is black, joined LSU in 1992 and was fired in 2012 after compiling an overall record of 285-234 and a Southeastern Conference mark of 86-144. He led the Lady Tigers to the NCAA Tournament 15 times. "In a profession created around competitive success, Minnis had a lackluster record," Jackson wrote in his ruling.
Folt: Nine being terminated or under disciplinary review as result of report on UNC academic fraud
A sobering independent investigation into academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill released Wednesday prompted Chancellor Carol Folt to commit to holding accountable all current university staff implicated in the report, including initiating termination against four and disciplinary review for another five. The 18-year scheme generated inflated grades through lecture-style classes that had been quietly converted into bogus independent studies. The report, released Wednesday afternoon, found a new culprit: the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes.
Widespread Nature of Chapel Hill's Academic Fraud Is Laid Bare
An academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took root under a departmental secretary and die-hard Tar Heel fan, who was egged on by athletics advisers to create no-show classes that would keep under­prepared and unmotivated players eligible. Over nearly two decades, professors, coaches, and administrators either participated in the scheme or overlooked it, undercutting the core values of one of the nation's premier public universities. Such are the sobering findings of an eight-month investigation led by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a longtime official of the U.S. Justice Department who was hired by the university to get to the bottom of a scandal that came to light four years ago.
Report finds that academic fraud at U. of North Carolina lasted nearly 20 years
A "woeful lack of oversight" and a culture that confused academic freedom with a lack of accountability helped more than 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill enroll and pass classes they never attended and which were not taught by a single faculty member. A report released Wednesday by Kenneth Wainstein, a former official with the U.S. Department of Justice, found that the academic fraud was systematic and far-reaching, lasting for nearly 20 years and consisting of 188 classes in the African and Afro-American studies department. The report casts an unflattering light on the university, which has long boasted about its ability to balance a proud athletics program with rigorous academics -- a perception already bruised by earlier investigations into the fraud.

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