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2009 July 28 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Guilty Plea Entered in Ala. Two-Year   College Probe

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An architect pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aiding and abetting the obstruction of justice in the two-year colleges corruption case and will spend six months in home confinement.

By pleading guilty, Julian Jenkins, 76, avoided trial in U.S. District Court in Birmingham on charges of bribing former Alabama two-year college chancellor Roy Johnson.

Based on the plea agreement, Jenkins will be sentenced to three years of probation, with a condition of six months of home confinement, a $1,000 fine and restitution, the amount of which is to be determined later.

Prosecutors originally accused Jenkins of bribing Johnson by hiring his son and giving Johnson $40,000 worth of architectural plans and fabricated fireplaces for his Opelika home. Jenkins’ firm received more than $5 million in contracts for the college system in return. 

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said the guilty plea shows those who commit such crimes will be held accountable.

“At an age when he should be enjoying his golden years in retirement, Mr. Jenkins must now live as a convicted felon and must pay back to the two-year college system his profits from the state contracts he sought after and was awarded,’’ she said in a  statement.

Jenkins will be prohibited from entering into any new contracts with the two-year college system for two years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre on Oct. 27.

  • Pair of Calif. Colleges Placed On Probation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two Los Angeles community colleges have been warned to improve procedures or lose accreditation.

The Los Angeles Times reported that an accrediting commission has placed L.A. City College and Trade-Technical College on probation for failing to properly evaluate the effectiveness of their learning and support programs.

Gary Colombo of the Los Angeles Community College District, which operates both schools, says the problems don’t reflect the quality of instruction.

He said he expects the problems will be fixed and probation lifted next year.

Losing accreditation would mean other institutions wouldn’t recognize course credits earned at the two-year colleges and the schools couldn’t grant financial aid.

However, few schools actually lose their accreditation, according to educators.

  • Foundation Head Dies in Nevada Motorcycle Crash

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The head of a charitable foundation supporting Gateway Technical College has died in a crash during a solo motorcycle trip across the country.

The Nevada Highway Patrol reported Ken Vetrovec was found dead where his Indian Chief motorcycle left U.S. Highway 6 near Ely and struck a mile marker Monday. The patrol said he apparently was taking pictures because the last image on his camera showed the curve where he crashed.

The 59-year-old Vetrovec was heading home after a two-week trip that he chronicled in a blog.

He was executive director of the Gateway Foundation and formerly served six terms on the Racine County Board.

Gateway President Bryan Albrecht issued a statement, saying, “Ken was dedicated to Gateway, our students and the foundation. He will be missed.”

  • Colleges Say Md. Students Lacking In Math Skills

BALTIMORE (AP) — College math professors say Maryland’s public schools aren’t doing a good enough job teaching basic arithmetic.

Nearly half of Maryland’s high school graduates who go on to four-year or community colleges are forced to take remedial classes before they can take classes for credit.

Donna McKusick, a dean at the Community College of Baltimore County, says students are being taught too early to rely on calculators and can’t do basic multiplication or division.

  • Georgia College Bans Tobacco Use on Campus

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The College of Coastal Georgia has banned the use of tobacco on campus.

The rule applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors, making the college one of 160 in the nation to go totally tobacco-free.

Valerie Hepburn, president of Coastal Georgia, which is transitioning from a two-year community college into the state’s newest four-year school, said the college as focused on raising awareness through signs, information on its website and a partnership with local health agencies to offer smoking cessation classes to faculty and staff.

  • N. Dakota School Preparing for Name Change

BOTTINEAU, N.D. (AP) — Minot State University-Bottineau is preparing for Aug. 1, when the school will officially be known as Dakota College at Bottineau.

Lawmakers and the state Board of Higher Education earlier this year approved the name change to help give the school more of an identity. It still will be affiliated with Minot State.

Bottineau Dean Ken Grosz says signs on campus, in Bottineau and along state Highway 5 east and west of town are being changed to reflect the change in name.

People at the college also are working on the campus website to change all references to MSU-Bottineau to Dakota College at Bottineau. The school also is sponsoring a logo contest.

The two-year college was founded in 1906 as North Dakota’s state school of forestry.

  • College Training Potential Army Job Applicants

FORT KNOX, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky community college is offering an online course called “Army 101,” a five-week program aimed at familiarizing potential civilian job applicants with the military.

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is offering the course, which is worth one credit hour, in advance of numerous new units moving to Fort Knox in coming years.

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