Monday, March 30, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State to offer seamless transfer option
Mississippi State University says a new seamless transfer program for community and junior college students in the state is set to launch. The program allows graduates with an associate degree to transfer to MSU's distance education program without application paperwork or fees. Northeast Mississippi Community College will be the first school in the state to use the MSU program.
Eddie French head of Stennis Institute of Government
P. Edward "Eddie" French has moved from interim leader to the new executive director of Mississippi State University's John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. French also teaches in MSU's political science and public administration department. He is an MSU doctoral graduate in public policy and administration.
Higher ed briefs: Holocaust survivor to talk about experience during Mississippi State lecture
Holocaust survivor Robert "Bob" Behr will speak Tuesday at Mississippi State University about his experience in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. The free public lecture will be at 6 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium, and doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Free tickets, required for entry, are available at the Center for Student Activities in MSU's Colvard Student Union, Suite 314, or at the door.
Well-known cartoonist, graphic novelist McCloud to speak at Mississippi State
An internationally recognized visual communication authority with more than three decades of professional comic-making experience will speak Tuesday at Mississippi State. Scott McCloud's presentation, "Comics and the Art of Visual Communication," is part of the university's 2014-15 Institute for the Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series. Free to all, the program begins at 3:30 p.m. in McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium. Following the presentation, McCloud will sign copies of his new graphic novel, "The Sculptor." Published by First Second Books, it has been recognized by Booklist as " ... a work of stunning, timeless graphic literature."
April Table Talks open Wednesday with Michael Kardos' thriller
The Friends of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library opens its upcoming Table Talk series with a visit by author Michael Kardos. The Mississippi State University associate professor of English will discuss his recently-released mystery thriller "Before He Finds Her" on Wednesday. Kardos, whose previous novel "The Three-Day Affair" was named by Esquire magazine as one of the best novels of 2012, is also the winner of the Institute of Mississippi Arts and Letters' best fiction award for his short story collection "One Last Good Time." "We are delighted to host Michael and hear about how he created this tense, high-stakes, multi-perspective novel," said Friends member Jo Shumake.
Mississippi State grad student Johnny Richwine honored
Jonathan D. "Johnny" Richwine, a Mississippi State graduate student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who is pursuing a master's degree in agronomy, recently took first-place honors in the Emerging Scientist Competition of the American Forage and Grassland Council. Richwine is a Martin, Tenn., native and University of Tennessee at Martin agribusiness graduate. He will complete the MSU master's degree program in December. The student competition was part of AFGC's annual conference in St. Louis that drew several hundred participants, including forage and livestock producers, educators and researchers, and industry professionals.
Diversity Conference Brings Scholars From Across the Country to Mississippi State
Scholars from across the country are in Starkville this weekend to talk about diversity. The National Association for Ethnic Studies is holding a conference at Mississippi State University. The conference covers a wide variety of topics from social media, to civil right and gender equality.
MSU Taido Club Takes on Zombies for Fundraiser
Zombies roamed their way onto Mississippi State's campus Sunday but all for a good cause. The MSU Tai-do (tye-doe) Club hosted a fundraiser Sunday afternoon, teaching self defense techniques with a zombie theme. Participants demonstrated how they'd use basic Taido to fight off the living dead. Proceeds from the event will support Starkville in Motion, a non-profit organization dedicated to building side-walks, bike lanes and trails in Starkville.
'Heart Behind the Music' brings songwriters to MSU Riley Center
"The Heart Behind the Music" Songwriter's Showcase brings an evening of deeply personal performances from five exceptional artists to the MSU Riley Center. Jim Brickman, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Susan Ashton, Lenny LeBlanc, and Bill Champlin, formerly of Chicago, will take the stage on April 11, at 7:30 p.m. "The Heart Behind the Music" Songwriter's Showcase features these exceptional performers sitting on stage, each with just a guitar or keyboard. The intimate format forges an exceptional bond with the audience, reinforced by often humorous, often poignant stories about how the songs came to be.
Golden Triangle's next generation: Mississippi State senior wonders if career goals will take her out of area
When Zakeya Good moved to Starkville from Memphis four years ago to begin her freshman year at Mississippi State University, she felt like she was coming home. "I've always considered Mississippi home," Good, who was born in Itta Bena but moved to Tennessee in the third grade, said. "I like the atmosphere here. It's relaxing and not too busy." Now that's she's back, she's making her mark. Good is a senior communications major and Dean's List student, was elected president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority a year after joining, and was also the president of Mississippi State's Models of Distinction Squad. Good is the first member of her family to not attend a historically black college or university. She turned down a full ride to Tennessee State University because she wanted the experiences and opportunities that come with a school like Mississippi State.
Government to start issuing tornado season forecasts
The federal government will soon start issuing forecasts for tornado seasons. That is according to Gregory Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center, which issues tornado watches across the country. He said at the 13th annual Southeast Severe Storms Symposium at Mississippi State University Saturday in a couple of years those forecasts will be issued at the beginning of each tornado season.
Consolidated school debt-sharing bill heads to governor
A bill creating a countywide taxing authority that utilizes debt sharing between residents of the former Oktibbeha County School District and former Starkville School District on July 1 now awaits Gov. Phil Bryant's approval. As filed, HB 572 originally was a consolidation bill for the upcoming Holmes-Durant Consolidated School District, but a Senate Education Committee amendment added specific taxing instructions for Oktibbeha County. The additional language creates the Starkville-Oktibbeha County Consolidated School District's countywide taxing base -- all taxable property within the entire county -- and states both former systems' outstanding debt "shall be assumed and become debt" of the newly formed district when they merge this summer.
Starkville students take top awards in art competition
Three Starkville High School students took home top awards in a Congressional art competition. Rep. Gregg Harper announced the winners for Mississippi's Third Congressional District 2015 Congressional Art Competition during a reception at the Pearl Community Room on Friday. Carys Snyder was named the overall winner for the competition for her drawing. She also took first and second place for her computer generated art contributions and third place in the photography category. The competition was judged by a three-member panel comprised of instructors from Millsaps College, East Central Community College, and Mississippi State University.
Discussions on Oktibbeha County subdivision rules possible in future
Oktibbeha County supervisors finished a years-long comprehensive planning process last week by discussing how to implement several ordinances, but the board is not expected to adopt many of the proposed ordinances. In December, supervisors unanimously approved a 61-page comprehensive plan that will help guide future growth in the next 20 years. The document, developed by the Oxford-based urban planning consultant Slaughter and Associates, only serves as a flexible guidepost in terms of land use and other planning goals. Monday, firm leader Mike Slaughter held a final session on how the county can implement ordinances that stem from such a document, including zoning, subdivision and other rules.
Starkville fire chief interviews set for today
Starkville aldermen could choose its next fire department leader during a 5 p.m. recess meeting today at the Sportsplex. The board will interview five candidates after aldermen trimmed the applicant pool down from 10 earlier this month. Of the five original internal applicants, three moved forward in the process: Fire Marshal Stein McMullen, Battalion Chief Curtis Randle and Training Officer Charles Yarbrough. Two external applicants -- Columbus Fire and Rescue Accreditation Manager Mike Chandler and Okolona Fire Chief Terry Tucker -- are also up for consideration. The board is expected to offer a 30-minute maximum question-and-answer session per candidate.
3 Golden Triangle residents vying for Congress
Thirteen candidates have qualified to run for Mississippi's vacant 1st Congressional District U.S. representative seat, according to the Secretary of State's website. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, who won election to a second term last November, died Feb. 6 of a brain tumor. Gov. Phil Bryant called for a non-partisan special election on May 12 to choose Nunnelee's replacement. Friday was the qualifying deadline. Two Columbus businessmen, former Airbus Helicopters senior executive Sam Adcock and Bank Tel Systems owner Boyce Adams, are among the field of hopefuls, as is Northern District Transportation Director Mike Tagert of Starkville.
House, Senate reach budget accord
No additional money will be available for pre-kindergarten programs, but the deficit in the Medicaid budget will be closed under a budget agreement developed by House and Senate leaders. Budget negotiators on Saturday reached agreement on the framework of a $6.26 billion state-support budget to fund everything from education to health care to public safety. House and Senate negotiators faced an 8 p.m. deadline Saturday to reach agreement on about 100 appropriation bills that fund various state agencies. Under constitutional deadlines, the House and Senate are supposed to vote on those bills by Monday.
Lawmakers wrestle with bond bills, budget
The Senate adopted a $200 million bond bill Sunday, and lawmakers agreed on another $249 million bond issue that includes $6 million for the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital expansion project. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said the larger bond bill earmarks $68.2 million for colleges and universities and $25 million for community and junior colleges. Gov. Phil Bryant asked lawmakers to approve $10 million per year for three years for the hospital as part of its $150 million expansion project. Bryant had expressed concern last week that Reeves wasn't on board with the move. "It's a good start," Reeves said of the $6 million for children hospital project. "They do good work." The IHL bond bill proposal, Senate Bill 2906, is expected to be voted on Monday.
Purse-packing gun law passes the House
Women in Mississippi may soon be better armed than men, unless men start carrying man-bags. The House on Friday passed one of the first House-Senate conference reports, or final agreements, filed this session. Senate Bill 2394, which originally only reduced fees for concealed carry permits, in its final version includes language to allow concealed carry of a gun in "a purse, bag, handbag, satchel or other similar bag or briefcase or fully enclosed case." The Senate is expected to approve the agreement and sent it to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law. "Most ladies don't want to carry a gun on their hip for the world to see," said House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton. "Men may, but ladies may not."
Bill would fix bridges with $200M in bonds
The Senate passed legislation Sunday to issue $200 million in bonds to try to deal with the more than 3,050 substandard bridges on state highways across the state. The House must vote on the proposal by today to adhere to constitutional deadlines. The House originally had wanted to issue $400 million in bonds to deal with the bridges, but the agreement reached over the weekend between House and Senate negotiators is for $200 million in bonds to fund the bridge projects.
Mechanic sentiment differs on inspection stickers
A bill awaiting Gov. Phil Bryant's signature would make inspection stickers a thing of the past in Mississippi on July 1. The governor is expected to sign the bill as soon as today. While some mechanics who issue inspection stickers can not wait to see that day come, others are rueing the inevitable loss of income. Sgt. Criss Turnipseed with Mississippi Highway Patrol -- which operates under the Department of Public Safety -- said 1,002 businesses statewide are certified to issue inspection stickers, including 45 in the Golden Triangle. "Qualifying shops" have to apply for certification, according to Turnipseed, an must include at least two bays, a car lift or pit a tint meter and other necessary tools. Each qualifying shop must also carry a $5,000 insurance bond, he said, in case stickers are lost, destroyed or stolen.
Closed meetings can feed false info
One lesson of the Dan Jones fiasco? While government boards in Mississippi can legally meet behind closed doors to discuss many issues, the public can be left dumbfounded when a board takes a major action that it's never before discussed in in an open meeting. So most people didn't even understand until three days after Jones' nonrenewal was announced, when Alan Perry detailed it publicly, why trustees were upset enough not to renew the contract. There are parallels to the ongoing crisis at Singing River Health System, where employees and retirees were blindsided by that hospital system's attempt to shut out employee pensions. The change to the open meetings law being considered could also reduce the College Board's ability to meet privately to discuss UMMC.
White mayor breaks tie: McComb to join black caucus
McComb's white mayor broke a 3-3 tie along racial lines to affiliate the city with the Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. The Enterprise-Journal reported the city's three black selectmen voted last week to apply, while the three white selectmen voted against applying. Mayor Whitney Rawlings voted to apply. During an earlier work session, Selectman Donovan Hill had said McComb should join the black caucus because the city is majority African-American.
Mississippi dark horse candidate from South Mississippi tries to rise above presidential fray
Sure, the Mark for America campaign is carrying a little baggage. Presidential candidate Mark Everson was head of the Red Cross when he had an affair with a South Mississippi woman, a subordinate, and was fired. That woman, Paige Roberts, the former executive director of the Southeast Mississippi chapter of the Red Cross, lives with their son, Oliver, in a home Everson owns in Gautier. He lives in a nearby rental home. Her ex-husband, Gary Roberts, lives "around the corner." Yes, this is a relationship that goes beyond complicated. Then there's the national press corps, which gives him no chance of becoming president.
The Chamber's Bad Bet On The GOP
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent tens of millions of dollars to elect a Republican-dominated Congress in 2014 and just about ran the table: 252 of the 268 mostly Republican federal candidates endorsed by the business lobby won their races. In the wake of that stellar win-loss record, a Chamber celebration should be in order -- but that's not how it's playing out. In fact, as Congress leaves town for two weeks of Easter recess, there's been remarkably little progress in the first three months of the new Congress on many of the biggest items on the Chamber's wish list -- comprehensive tax reform, immigration reform, a long-term highway bill -- and the prospects for action later this year are equally bleak. The Chamber is seemingly on a political roll, in some ways at the height of its power---but is finding it tougher and tougher to get what it really wants.
Arkansas follows Indiana into 'religious freedom' fight
Indiana was the focus of harsh news this week when Gov. Mike Pence signed a "religious freedom" act and much of the business and political world erupted in criticism. Those opposed to the law, which allows businesses to refuse service to potential customers and clients on religious grounds, say it's a clear shot at the LGBT community – in particular those advocating or wanting to participate in same-sex marriage. Now, Arkansas is beginning to experience the same response. Two major US companies, retailer Wal-Mart (which has its home office in Bentonville, Ark.) and Apple have made it clear where they stand. "Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve," Wal-Mart said in a statement. "We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief and sends the wrong message about Arkansas."
Volvo to Open Plant in the U.S.
After years of losing out to Mexico in the race for new automotive assembly plants, the U.S. is about to notch a victory. Volvo Car Corp., owned by a Chinese company, will spend $500 million to build a new vehicle plant in the U.S. The decision comes weeks after Daimler AG plans to spend a half-billion dollars to build a Mercedes-Benz van factory in South Carolina, a move that followed a string of auto makers choosing to locate new factories in Mexico instead of the U.S. In an interview, Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said Volvo is making the move to smooth out its international presence. "This will complete our industrial footprint," Mr. Samuelsson said. Volvo is also aiming to reiterate its commitment to the U.S., a market it has been in since 1957. In recent years, Volvo has struggled to sell cars in the U.S., forcing the auto maker to adjust its strategy several times.
Crawfish 'emergency': How an immigration kerfuffle could affect your etouffee, bisque
Going into what is supposed to be the biggest sales week of the crawfish season, processor Dexter Guillory, of Eunice, Louisiana, says he is nothing but worried. One month into the peak season, during which the crawfish industry makes most of its money, an immigration kerfuffle has kept Guillory and most of the owners of the state's dozen or so processors from hiring enough peelers. Most of the workers come from Mexico and Central America. Without the peelers, the processors will stop buying as much crawfish from the fishermen. "If we can't buy them and the fishermen don't get the money they need, the pyramid starts to cave in," Guillory said. Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, whose Acadiana district covers much of the affected area, asked on March 24 that the congressional chairmen in charge of the federal agencies handling the permits reinstate an exemption for returning workers, which would allow many of the crawfish peelers to go to work.
Dairy farmers, in dire need of workers, feel helpless as immigration reform sours
When Mike McMahon's Latino employees need to go to the bank, the pharmacy or the grocery store, he makes sure someone drives them to town, waits while they run errands, and then brings them safely back to his dairy farm. Even then, there is no guarantee law enforcement in their small, rural community won't spot the workers, ask for their IDs, and put them on a path toward deportation if they cannot prove they are here legally. It is a risk that dairy farmers in this agricultural region have faced for years, but it is hitting them harder as immigration reform languishes in Washington and the nation's demand for milk-heavy products like Greek yogurt soars. "It's just crazy," said McMahon, who has several hundred cows at his farm more than 200 miles north of New York City. "I'm a lifelong Republican," he said, shaking his head. "But I'm telling you, there are days when I think about switching."
Legislative attempt to dissolve College Board fails
Citing a lack of time to adequately debate the merits of dissolving the state College Board, lawmakers on Friday said they will let the proposal die in committee rather than try to force the issue this year. State Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, on Tuesday had introduced a pair of resolutions to break up the state College Board amid anger over the group's ousting of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones. It would haven a two-thirds majority vote to even consider the legislation because the deadline to file new bills expired more than two months ago. Tollison said he knew it was a long shot but wanted to spark an immediate conversation about the role of the state College Board and whether it has outlived its purpose.
Reversing a Chief's Dismissal, as Mississippi May, Is a Delicate Matter
You're fired. Never mind. Days after deciding to dismiss the University of Mississippi's popular chancellor, the state's governing board for higher education appears to be having second thoughts. If the trustees reverse their decision, allowing Daniel W. Jones to keep his job at Ole Miss, it will mark another recent instance of a college board's bowing to public pressure, undoing a personnel decision that was well within its purview to make. There are few actions that a college board will ever take as fraught as firing a president, but walking back such a momentous decision is an especially harrowing prospect. It can raise all sorts of questions about a board's resolve, and it invites speculation that a university chief may be more powerful than the governing body to whom he or she reports. Yet these reversals can and do happen.
UMMC future: health care, economic driver
Sixty years after opening its doors, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is booming -- constructing a new medical school, expanding the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital and partnering with the Mayo Clinic. "UMMC could not be playing a bigger role nationally," former vice chancellor Dr. James Keeton said. Yet the spotlight cast on it last week didn't emphasize those assets so much as the power struggle for the future of the state's only teaching hospital.
Former Ole Miss student who put rope on James Meredith statue charged
Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Felicia C. Adams of the Northern District of Mississippi and Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Jackson Office announced Friday that a man was charged with federal civil rights crimes for engaging in threatening conduct directed at African American students and employees at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Graeme Phillip Harris, a former Ole Miss student, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights and one count of using a threat of force to intimidate African American students because of their race or color.
USM marine research vessel arrives in Gulfport, to be used in oil spill studies
A 135-foot research vessel to help study the effects of the BP oil spill and other marine science issues reached its home port Sunday, becoming the University of Southern Mississippi's newest and largest research vessel. The Point Sur, a $1 million investment, reached the state Port of Gulfport after a three-week voyage from Monterey, Calif. The boat was purchased from the San Jose State University Research Foundation. Southern Miss, the state's designated marine sciences institution, bought the vessel and paid for the trip with a $1 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
On the move: USM
Lissa Stapleton, assistant professor in the Higher Education Student Affairs program, has been named the winner of the 2015 Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award presented by NASPA --- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. John Mark Lawler, an assistant professor of graphic design, has been selected to the "100 Best Annual for 2014" list in Creative Quarterly, a journal recognizing excellence in art, graphic design, illustration and photography.
Delta State president: 'We're alive and well'
Delta State University president Bill LaForge spoke at the meeting of the Columbus Exchange Club at Lion Hills on Thursday. LaForge spoke about the successful programs Delta State has implemented in the last few years and in particular in the two years since he became president. He said Delta State strives to push out-of-classroom extracurriculars that make a university stand out, in addition to the academics found in every school. "Delta State is alive and well," he said.
Alumni Involvement Impacts Future of Universities
Giving back to your alma mater through time or money is one way that many universities are able to stay afoot. Jackson State University Alumni Affairs' Dr. Steven Smith sat down with John Johnson "On The Record," and expressed the significance of giving back to your school. He says it's important so that others who follow in the footsteps will understand the importance of staying connected. "Alumni have to realize that somebody gave in order for them to where they are and have the opportunity to do the things they are doing now," stated Dr. Smith. "So, it's important because of what was given to them that they give back."
3Qs: Mike Eaton, Itawamba Community College president
Last Monday, Itawamba Community College officials announced the college will embark on a five-year plan that will dramatically upgrade its Tupelo campus. Included will be the construction of a new 62,000-square-foot academic building, a new physical plant and renovation of the technical education building. The project will cost $14.6 million, to be funded by $7 million the college has in the bank from past state bonds and general funds the school will budget for the construction work. Daily Journal education reporter Chris Kieffer spoke with ICC President Mike Eaton about the project.
The hovering Tide: UA, Auburn meet Saturday in the 'Iron Bowl' of hovercraft
Even though the calendar says it's March, it's Iron Bowl time again in Tuscaloosa. This matchup is of the hovercraft variety, an aircraft that can travel across smooth surfaces of land or water while being propelled by air pushed beneath the vehicle. The University of Alabama hovercraft team will compete against the Hovering Tigers of Auburn University in the third annual University Hoverbowl Challenge. The challenge will take place at Lake Lurleen State Park in Coker beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday and ending at 6 p.m. "The goal is not necessarily to be the fastest out there, but to have the most reliable machine," said Jacob Wilroy, senior aerospace engineering and mechanics major at UA.
Louisiana higher ed officials consider 'doomsday' funding scenario
Under what leaders are calling a "doomsday scenario," Louisiana's public universities and colleges would get about $123 million in state funding to split among their campuses next year -- about an 82 percent cut from their current funding level. That's the budget the state Board of Regents has instructed college leaders to start preparing for, though officials are hoping that the funding outlook will improve dramatically during the legislative session. "It's just not possible," Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo said during a recent meeting with The Advocate's editorial board. Rallo, who took on his duties as higher education commissioner just three months ago, has been on a media blitz, appearing on local television programs, meeting with newspaper editorial boards and courting support from business and community leaders.
EPA exec picked to lead U. of Florida's online effort
University of Florida Provost Joe Glover has gone outside the usual academic circles in choosing a new assistant provost and director for UF Online -- opting for someone with managerial experience over academic acumen. UF announced Thursday that Evangeline Tsibris Cummings, a U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency supervisor, will take over the fledgling program July 1. She will fill a position left vacant by the departure last March of Betty Capaldi Phillips after less than three months on the job. "What we were impressed with was her ability to strategically organize things, to manage and operate large operations," said Glover, who offered Cummings the position in late February.
UGA's Old College one of 10 oldest college buildings in U.S.
The University of Georgia placed high, but not first, on yet another ranking -- the 10 oldest college buildings in the United States. Old College is the seventh-oldest building on a U.S. college campus, and third among the three public universities that made the top 10 list, according to Tikva Morrow's recent Hometalk Blog as well as David Austin Walsh, who tracked down the oldest university buildings for a 2012 article on George Mason University's History News Network Site. The oldest public college building is also the oldest overall -- The Sir Christopher Wren Building, still in use at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, more than three centuries after it was built in 1700.
Physics and Engineering Festival makes big bang on Texas A&M campus
Bernoulli's principle of fluid dynamics is easier to explain to an 8-year-old with a leaf blower and a roll of toilet paper. Texas A&M University students, faculty and researchers disguised real science as games and hands-on demonstrations on Saturday afternoon for the 12th Annual Physics and Engineering Festival at the Mitchell Physics building on the A&M campus. According to students operating more than 100 demonstrations, the opportunity to share their love of science was an enriching experience.
Report: Salaries for higher education professionals up 2.2 percent
Professional positions in higher education administration saw an overall median base salary increase of 2.2 percent in 2014, according to a report issued today by the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources. The increase a year ago was 2.1 percent. Reversing a trend of recent years, increases at public colleges and universities were greater than those at private institutions (2.3 percent vs. 2.1 percent). Of the various positions covered by this report, the best compensated positions (excluding coaches) were (on average): staff physician ($148,722), followed by staff lawyer, veterinarian, pharmacist, senior technology licensing officer. The lowest paid position was that of student residence hall manager ($31,470 plus room and board).
U. of Oklahoma chapter learned racist song on SAE leadership cruise
In the 1930s, John O. Moseley, eminent supreme archon of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, told the fraternity's national council that he was worried about the behavior taking place at some chapters. He wanted to create a school, one that would teach its members how to lead and how to be men. The council liked the idea, but told Moseley that he would have to come up with the funding himself. Though it was the height of the Great Depression, he managed to cobble together $355 from the brothers and alumni of his own SAE chapter at the University of Oklahoma. Decades later, in 2011, members of that Oklahoma chapter boarded a cruise ship to attend the 76th annual John O. Moseley School of Leadership. On that cruise, according to an investigation by the University of Oklahoma, the chapter's members were taught the lyrics to the racist song that has placed the university and SAE at the center of a national conversation about racism, free speech and the future of fraternities on college campuses.
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Behavior part of IHL board/Jones discord
Syndicated columnist and former IHL board member Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Media reports on the controversy between Dr. Dan Jones, Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, and the IHL Board of Trustees have painted Dr. Jones as an angel and board members as devils. That is not a fair characterization. Good people serve on the board and Dr. Jones has displayed piques of prideful behavior."
WYATT EMMERICH (OPINION): Our broken prison system
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: "The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) reform task force held an open hearing in downtown Jackson at the Woolfolk building recently. About a hundred people attended. The task force was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant in the wake of the Epps scandal. Its primary charge is prison contracts bidding reform, but the hearing went well beyond that limited scope. One mother stood and told a heart-rending story of her son getting beaten to death in prison. Others talked about the abuse and corruption of the guards and administrators. Pastors spoke on the need for rehabilitation. Just about everybody agreed privately run prisons were not working well. I felt sorry for task force members Mike Moore, Robert Gibbs, Andy Taggart, Bill Crawford and Constance Slaughter-Harvey. The governor has asked them to solve the unsolvable. As long as sin exists, prisons are going to be society's greatest problem."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Wal-Mart is state's largest employer
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Like 20 other states -- including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas -- Mississippi's largest single employer is Wal-Mart. As Jerry Seinfeld once famously said, 'not that there's anything wrong with that.' ...There's nothing wrong with working at Wal-Mart. I admire those workers and appreciate their service. But there's that question of hopes, dreams and aspirations for our children. States that gut their higher education systems run the risk of losing access to industries that cluster to research universities and the jobs they bring with them. Maybe the better question: How many more Wal-Marts can we build in Mississippi?"

Turkey-leg voodoo helps Mississippi State bust out of slump with win
Trevor Fitts whacked a small shriveled turkey leg into his left palm after Mississippi State's 3-1 win over Auburn on Sunday. The Bulldogs' offensive slump during the last week reached voodoo-level proportions after a third-straight shutout on Saturday. Wes Rea, who killed the turkey during a hunting trip, waved the leg over each Adidas bat in MSU's dugout Sunday. "It's our own little country way of having some good luck," Fitts said. The origin of the turkey foot dates back to Super Bulldog Weekend last year. Rea used the voodoo magic before MSU's four-run 10th inning to beat Ole Miss. Rea's double scored the tying run. Sunday, his triple scored the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Bulldogs finally get on board
After being shut out in three consecutive games, Mississippi State was finally able to plate some runs on Sunday. The Bulldogs combined a strong performance on the mound with enough offense for a 3-1 victory over Auburn to salvage the final game of the series. "I thought we got great pitching today," said MSU skipper John Cohen. "I thought two guys (Vance Tatum and Trevor Fitts) went out there and competed their hearts out for us and we scored enough. We left some guys out there but we took much better swings. We've got to take one step at a time and hopefully this will get us going a little bit."
Auburn baseball falls to Mississippi State in series finale
On Saturday, the Auburn baseball team secured a series win over Mississippi State. However on Sunday, the Tigers couldn't pull off the sweep against the Bulldogs. Auburn only mustered four hits in the game and fell to Mississippi State, 3-1, on Sunday in the series finale. "We played great defense," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "We just didn't really hit today." The loss dropped Auburn to 17-11, 3-6 in the SEC. The Bulldogs improved to 19-11 (3-6).
Jacob Lindgren Is on the Cusp of the Big Leagues
There is a video on YouTube with nearly 70,000 views, depicting a group of college baseball players from Mississippi State calling themselves the Bench Mobb, rapping about their antics and their team amid a run to the College World Series in 2013. It's standard college athlete hijinks. Halfway through the video, one of the performers, Big Chunk (aka "Chunky"), delivers his verse in a sport coat, shorts, and a Miami Heat jersey, waving a box of Wheaties at the camera, stating, "The Mobb's staying fresh, fresh like a garden." Players in the Yankee clubhouse this spring, however, would be surprised to learn that Big Chunk is Jacob Lindgren, who is now knows as a quiet, respectful, yes-sir-no-sir lefty usually found sitting silently in the corner of the clubhouse. While Lindgren's former classmates are just coming off spring break, getting through midterms, and worrying about what they'll do after graduation, the recently-turned 22-year-old Lindgren spent his March mowing down big league hitters vying for a roster spot.
Cardiac Bulldogs score 5 in 7th, walk-off vs. No. 2 Florida
Making a habit of bringing toughness on every Sunday, it looked like Mississippi State (25-10, 5-7 SEC) would fall at the hands of No. 2 Florida (32-4, 5-4 SEC), but a five-run bottom of the seventh gave the Bulldogs a 5-3 walk-off win, Sunday at the MSU Softball Field. State now has 13 come-from-behind victories this season, eight of which have come from multiple-run deficits. MSU now has three walk-off wins this season on Sunday afternoons, all of which have come vs. ranked opponents. "What a game today," head coach Vann Stuedeman said.
Florida softball squanders lead in loss to Mississippi State
Unranked Mississippi State scored five runs in the seventh inning Sunday to rally past No. 3 Florida for a 5-3 SEC softball win and avoided a series sweep. "Give Mississippi State credit -- we had two outs and two strikes against four or five different batters (in the seventh), and we just couldn't quite put it away," UF coach Tim Walton said. The Gators (32-4, 5-4 SEC) made it 3-0 in the seventh when Bailey Castro scored on a Aubree Munro sacrifice fly. MSU (25-10, 5-7) answered with four singles to manufacture two runs in the seventh before a three-run walk-off home run produced the final margin.
Ben Howland announces his staff at Mississippi State
The final pieces of Ben Howland's staff are in place as Mississippi State announced the hiring of his coaching staff on Friday. Howland adds two new faces Korey McCray and Ernie Zeigler. The pair joins George Brooks, who has been an assistant at MSU since 2010. McCray is heralded as a master recruiter. He helped UCLA sign the nation's top recruiting class in 2012. While McCray's name attracts the spotlight in the southeastern AAU circuits, Zeigler's helped Howland build quality recruiting classes since 2002. The two coaches worked together for five seasons including two at Pittsburgh and three at UCLA.
Howland completes first coaching staff at Mississippi State
One of Ben Howland's first promises when he took the job as men's basketball coach at Mississippi State was that he would "assemble one of the best coaching staffs in the country." That staff, Howland's first at MSU, was finalized on Friday. Rowland's coaching staff will feature one holdover from previous coach Rick Ray in George Brooks, and also feature a pair of assistants reuniting with Howland after serving on his staff at UCLA. Brooks, who has been at MSU for five seasons and now spans three separate coaches, will be joined by former UCLA assistants Korey McCray, who coached with Howland in 2012, and Ernie Ziegler, who parlayed his time on the UCLA staff into becoming head coach at Central Michigan in 2006.
Historic season didn't quench Mississippi State's thirst for winning
Most Mississippi State wins this season concluded with two sophomores and two freshmen on the court. Despite its youth, the Bulldogs captured the most wins in program history and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010. "It's a pretty special year," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "From a program perspective, I don't think there's any doubt it's probably the best year of the program." Mississippi State returns three of its top four scorers in Victoria Vivians, Morgan Williams and Breanna Richardson. Dominique Dillingham, the Bulldogs' best on-ball defender, will also be back.
Mississippi State looks to build on historic women's basketball season
"I think we have come a long way in a short amount of time." With those words Friday, Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer laid the foundation for the 2015-16 season. Coming off a season in which MSU set records for wins in a season (27) and in the Southeastern Conference (11), Schaefer hadn't fully embraced the notion that his team was done for the year. He said at least once that the Bulldogs were good enough to be playing this weekend as one of the last 16 teams standing. He also said he wished his team would have gotten a chance to play Duke at Humphrey Coliseum in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Mississippi State women's golf end regular season with 2nd place finish
In the final tournament of the regular season, the Mississippi State women's golf team kept its Top 10 finish streak alive by concluding the LSU Tiger Classic as runner-up in the 16-team field. The Bulldogs bested the Tigers by nine shots in the final round for the lowest score of the day (293), but it wasn't enough to make up the 14-shot deficit entering Sunday's play. "I'm extremely pleased with our performance for the entire event. We gave it all we had and continue to beat and set new records," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. The Bulldogs next stop is the SEC tournament in Birmingham on April 17-19.
Mississippi State's Prescott embraces return to football practice
In what turned out to be an unexpectedly eventful March, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott found himself at peace on Friday afternoon. After all, on the football field surrounded by his Mississippi State teammates as the Bulldogs went through their fifth workout of spring football practice, Prescott was home. "I feel peaceful when I'm playing football," said Prescott, "no matter what adversity I'm going through." Prescott, who accounted for nearly 4,000 total yards and 42 touchdowns as a junior, is taking part in spring practice for the last time as a Bulldog. Just a few months removed from placing eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, given annually to the nation's top player, Prescott found himself in the midst of preparations for his senior season.
Mississippi State's Prescott finds peace on field
Dak Prescott is accustomed to being in the spotlight. The quarterback guided Mississippi State to a 10-3 record and a No. 1 ranking for five weeks last season while finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy race. But Prescott saw his name in the headlines over spring break when he and teammates Damian Williams and Torrey Dale were attacked by a group of men outside a concert in Panama City, Fla. "Anything can happen, I guess, no matter what you're doing or the position you're in," Prescott said Friday, the first day he's talked to reporters this spring. "I've moved on from that. I'm worried about spring football now." The MSU players did not press charges in the matter. For Prescott, it was a learning experience to his new-found stardom as one of the elite players in college football.
Clayborn leading candidate in Mississippi State's search for a center
Mississippi State plans to replace Dillon Day with 10,000 repetitions. It's the Bulldogs' philosophy that the rep count elevates someone into an expert. Day, who graduated last season, snapped it to MSU quarterbacks in 51 games including 46 starts in his career. His backups -- Ben Beckwith and Archie Muniz -- are also gone. So MSU turns to a novice in Jamaal Clayborn, who hasn't played center since Little League football. "Coach (Dan) Mullen asked me to come out here and snap every day," Clayborn said. "He said, 'If you want to be great, it's something you have to do every day.'"
Mississippi State's Graham tackling tough transition
Jamoral Graham was good enough to step on the field immediately for Mississippi State last fall. The true freshman appeared in nine games as a wide receiver and punt returner and even caught a 44-yard touchdown against UT Martin. But during the offseason, head coach Dan Mullen approached Graham with an opportunity that would change the direction of his career completely. Mullen wanted the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder from Decatur to try his hand at cornerback this spring. "In that meeting, coach Mullen told me the (cornerback) spot is open and either I could take it or leave it," Graham said. "He didn't force me to do anything. He knew I played it some in high school and thought I could here if I put in the work. I told him the next day that I'd do whatever was best for the team."

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