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2013 May 27 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Montana Gov. Vetoes Campus Guns Bill

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill that would have allowed college students to keep guns on campus, a key veto among many rejections on day of heavy action.

The campus gun proposal would have allowed college students to keep firearms in their dorm rooms with their roommate’s permission. The measure also would have allowed students to carry concealed weapons if they had a permit to do so.

The Montana University System urged Bullock to veto the measure, arguing that guns and stressed-out college students could be a deadly combination. The measure also would have prohibited the university regents from making any campus rules prohibiting guns.

Hunting weapons are currently allowed on campus, but are kept in special lockers that students can access if they want to go hunting.

Supporters of the bill argued that without the proposal students are vulnerable to violent crime. Also, they said current regulations are a violation of students’ Second Amendment Rights.

  • Calif. Official Tapped as Conn. Regents President

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The search committee for Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education is recommending the chancellor of a California community college system as the board’s new president.

The committee announced it was recommending Gregory W. Gray to oversee the board, which governs 12 community colleges, four state universities and the state’s online institution. Gray is currently chancellor of the Riverside Community College District, which includes three community colleges and more than 2,000 employees.

Last fall, the board’s former president resigned amid an outcry over unauthorized pay increases for staff members totaling $250,000.

  • Scholarship Named after Bombing Victim

WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) — A suburban Boston community college has established a scholarship in memory of a Boston Marathon bombing victim.

MassBay Community College announced that the scholarship would go to a business major from Massachusetts in honor of Krystle Campbell.

The 29-year-old earned a degree in business administration from the Wellesley school in 2005.

The Medford native and Arlington resident was one of three people killed by the April 15 bombings at the marathon’s finish line. She was there to watch a friend run.

Candidates must be carrying a full course load, and must submit an essay about resiliency, making a difference, generosity of spirit, or overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.

President John O’Donnell says the school “lost one of our own on that horrific day.”’

  • Grant Awarded To Clean Up Tsunami Debris

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — An organization will use a state grant to clean up debris from the Japanese tsunami that continues to wash up on Kauai’s shorelines.

The state Department of Health has awarded the Surfrider Foundation of Kauai $25,000. The money will be used to fund a pair of fellowships for students at Kauai Community College. One of the students will coordinate beach cleanups and net patrols. The other will monitor tsunami debris, said foundation Chairman Carl Berg.

Since February, there has been a large spike in the amount of tsunami-related debris, Berg said. Items have included buoys, pieces of high-density foam, fishing nets, refrigerators and a piece of floating dock.

“We’re getting bigger stuff, stuff that’s now drifted for two years,” he said.

One of Surfrider Kauai’s main concerns is getting the debris off the beach so it does not wash back out to sea, he said.

  • Va. College Gets OK To Create Police Force

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Patrick Henry Community College has won approval to establish a campus police department.

Patrick Henry vice president Ron Epperly said that Gary Dove will serve as chief of the new department. Dove previously served as the college’s emergency planning coordinator. He’s a retired Martinsville Police Department lieutenant.

Epperly says another full-time officer will be hired.

The department will operate during business hours. Security guards will work on weekends and at other times when the college isn’t operating.

  • Ky. College Adds Team To Assess Campus Threats

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — In an effort to increase campus safety, officials at Henderson Community College have formed a behavior assessment team.

Patty Mitchell, who is the college’s dean of student affairs, said the team’s purpose is to identify any person on campus who is exhibiting threatening behavior toward themselves or others.

Mitchell said school employees will be trained in how to determine whether behavior is threatening. She said those who witness such behavior will report it to the behavior assessment team, which will deal with it in a manner appropriate for the situation.

Officials say shootings do happen at community colleges, noting a deadly one at Hazard Community College in January.

  • Students Buy Fake Diplomas To Dodge Tests

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Some students in Rock and Green counties who are struggling to complete the GED program have succumbed to buying fake high school diplomas, an administrator said.

Some have paid as much as $1,300 to secure a fake diploma so they don’t have to take the tests over again when a new program is introduced next year, according to Blackhawk Technical College’s Testing Coordinator Terese Tann. Ordinarily it costs a student $75 to sit the General Educational Development tests.

Tann said she has been presented with about 10 fake diplomas by students trying to enroll at the college in the past seven years. Tann said she has helped some of them recover the money they paid for the fake qualifications, but that the scam companies can be hard to track down as they frequently change phone numbers and often are based overseas.

Starting next year, GED tests will be computer-based and will require two essays in line with high school standards. Performance will be rated; currently the test-takers just get a pass or fail grade.

More than 1,100 adults have started but not completed the GED tests in Rock and Green counties and if they wait until next year to do so they will have to adhere to the new standards, Tann said.

  • Settlement Reached over Garage Collapse

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — The families of four men who were killed and five men who were injured in the collapse of a South Florida community college parking garage last year have settled lawsuits against the general contractor and several subcontractors for an undisclosed amount.

The five-story concrete garage at Miami Dade College’s west campus collapsed Oct. 10. The school’s 8,000 students had to attend classes on other Miami-Dade campuses until January. No students were injured in the collapse.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalized five contracting companies more than $38,000 combined for the collapse.

  • NM Nursing Students Sue over Accreditation Issue

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Dona Ana Community College is being sued by eight current and former nursing students over the school’s failure last year to maintain national accreditation.

The lawsuit was filed in state district court and also names the community college’s parent institution, New Mexico State University.

The filing came the same day as diplomas were handed to some former nursing students who transferred.

The lawsuit alleged that school officials were at fault for failing to maintain accreditation for the nursing program. It says officials ignored warnings issued by the Georgia-based National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission about inadequate ratios of master’s degree-level instructors.

College officials declined comment.

Ala. College Staff Vote No Confidence in President

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — Employees at Gadsden State Community College have entered a vote of no confidence in school President Ray Staats.

About 350 employees participated in a vote conducted by the Alabama Education Association Wednesday. George Terrell, a history and geography teacher who is president of the Gadsden State Education Association said 312 employees entered a no confidence vote against Staats.

Gadsden State employees say the votes stemmed from frustration over Staats’ leadership style, decisions involving budget cuts and the amount of money spent on campus renovations.

Terrell says the results will be taken to Alabama Community College System Chancellor Mark Heinrich, who has authority to hire and fire community college presidents.

  • Ark. College Opts Out of Gun Law

FORREST CITY, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas college has opted out of a new state law that allows faculty and staff members to carry concealed guns on campus.

East Arkansas Community College’s Board of Trustees voted to opt out of the law, approved this year by the Legislature. The board decided that hiring extra armed security officers would be a better option for the two-year school in Forrest City.

The law allows faculty and staff with concealed-carry permits to carry the guns on campus unless the institution opts out.

“We had a lot of discussion on this bill when it was going through,” college President Coy Grace said. “Most of the college presidents and most of the educators who spoke were more in favor of more licensed and trained armed security on campus than they were in the way the bill was written.”

Grace said he and others were concerned about liability issues the college may occur.

“It makes armed security out of your faculty and staff, and that’s not why they came here,”’ he said.

St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May, who serves on the college’s Board of Trustees, also opposed allowing weapons on campus. He said adding a sheriff’s substation on campus would do more to enhance security.

“I think this is a bad bill. I’m going to be plain-spoken about it,” May said. “Teachers, faculty, staff, are not police officers. Police officers go through weeks, months of training in shoot-or-don’t-shoot situations. We consider ourselves professionals. I think it’s a bad idea.”

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