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2013 February 4 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Former Bursar Gets 27-Month Term in Federal Prison

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma City community college bursar has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a wire fraud charge.

U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats says 49-year-old Brandi Henson was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Henson was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $398,000 to the college.

Henson pleaded guilty last summer to wire fraud.

Prosecutors say Henson admitted she improperly used the college’s PayPal account to post refunds and credits to her personal credit cards. Authorities allege she paid off more than $398,000 in personal credit card bills with the refunds that she posted to her personal accounts.

  • California College Police Faulted In Pepper Spray Melee

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — An independent review finds the use of pepper spray by campus police during a student protest outside a Santa Monica College Board of Trustees meeting in April did not comply with policy.

The Los Angeles Times says the report finds that although most campus officers acted with restraint, the use of pepper spray and a raised baton by one officer was inappropriate.

The review says the melee was exacerbated by inadequate planning by campus police and pushing and grabbing by some student demonstrators, according to the newspaper.

The report listed 13 recommendations, including better planning before large gatherings and increased training of campus police.

Nearly 100 protesters had gathered to voice anger over a proposed fee plan that would raise prices on in-demand courses.

  • Displaced Students In RI Get Access to Academic Records

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island higher education officials have made arrangements to distribute the records of students displaced by the abrupt closure of a career training school.

The state Office of Higher Education held an all-day “transfer fair” for Sawyer School students at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Providence campus. Officials say students were able to get their records, financial aid information and help transferring to other institutions.

Classes were to resume at the Sawyer School last month but it abruptly closed. About 300 students in Rhode Island and 1,200 in Connecticut were affected. Some in Connecticut attended a business school owned by the same company, Academic Enterprises Inc.

Education officials say it’s not yet clear why the school closed. Academic Enterprise’s owner has declined to comment.

  • Ga. Officials Break Ground for New College

MCDONOUGH, Ga. (AP) — Southern Crescent Technical College broke ground on the first building of a proposed eight-building campus in McDonough.

School officials said the development has been a major priority for Henry County leaders and has progressed with the help of the local chamber of commerce.

McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland joined representatives from Southern Crescent, the Technical College System of Georgia and Henry County government officials at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Southern Crescent Technical College, which was established in 2010, is a two-year college with campuses in Thomaston, and Griffin and education centers in Jackson, Monticello and Butler. The school has a student body of over 6,500.

McDonough is about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta.

  • NM College Gets Approval for New Academic Center

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College has clearance from the state Higher Education Department to build a new center to provide bachelor’s and master’s degrees in partnership with three other schools.

The department’s Capitol Projects Committee’s approval is conditioned on the community college selling $15 million in bonds to pay for the center. Voters have already authorized that financing.

The New Mexican reports that the planned higher education center is a partnership between the community college and the University of New Mexico, the Institute of American Indian Arts and New Mexico Highlands University.

The college plans to build a two-story, 31,000-square-foot facility on land that the college purchased from the state. The site is adjacent to the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

  • Conn. College Offers Degree in Game Design

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Manchester Community College is joining other colleges to offer an associate degree program in video game design.

Professor Edward Hogan says Connecticut does not have a large gaming industry, but adds that the state’s tax-credit program for the entertainment industry has led to some growth.

He says at least eight gaming companies operate in Connecticut. The small state industry draws animators, film makers and special effects artists.

Courses include an introduction to computer games that review the history of games and technologies and an introduction to literature to strengthen reading and writing.

Quinnipiac University recently rolled out its own video game design program and the University of Connecticut also has started to offer some classes.

  • Brokaw To Speak At Fundraiser For Ivy Tech

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — NBC newsman and author Tom Brokaw will be the featured speaker at Ivy Tech Community College O’Bannon Institute for Community Service program in April.

The Herald-Times reports the author of “The Greatest Generation” will speak at the institute’s fundraising dinner April 11 at the Bloomington Monroe County Convention Center.

Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart says the theme for the O’Bannon Institute is going to be “Next Great Generation.” He says the institute will be discussing where the next generation is coming from and what are the challenges the next generation is going to face.

Previous speakers for the O’Bannon Institute fundraising dinner have included columnist George Will, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin and former first lady Laura Bush.

  • Vt. Competition Yields College Energy Savings

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) — Officials at Vermont Technical College say an unofficial all-school competition and a grant from IBM helped reduce the school’s electric bill by more than $40,000 in one year.

IBM also worked with the Howard Center, Vermont’s largest health and human services organization, to help community members understand and establish procedures for managing the use, cost and conservation of energy.

Officials at the school’s Randolph campus said they saved enough electricity in one year to run a laptop computer for a thousand years, or to drive a car between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Alaska 57 times.

  • Hagerstown CC Fastest-Growing In Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — Hagerstown Community College has jumped ahead of all other community colleges in Maryland in enrollment growth.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission says enrollment at HCC grew by 6.8 percent this fall. That’s the highest-percentage increase in the state. It was also a stronger growth rate than all the four-year colleges in the state university system.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports that the growth was fueled by part-time enrollment. Full-time enrollment was actually down, but part-time enrollment increased by 12.4 percent.

HCC President Guy Altieri notes that the college began allowing students to take two courses in one night and has several new online offerings. He also says the difficulty of paying for college is leading more students to go part-time.

  • Students Return To Miami Dade West Campus

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — A south Florida community college campus has reopened three months after a parking garage collapsed and killed four workers.

Miami Dade College students recently returned to the West campus for the start of spring semester.

The five-story parking garage collapsed Oct.10. Since then, MDC spokesman Juan Mendieta says the 8,000 students enrolled at the Doral campus have been attending classes at other locations.

The new garage had been slated to open in December. For now, students will once again use offsite parking at a nearby mall and shuttle buses.

The cause of the collapse remains unknown. Once it’s determined, college administrators will decide whether to salvage the structure or to demolish it and start over. The project was originally supposed to cost just over $20 million.

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