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2014 March 31 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Wash. College Calls Diversity Event ‘Mistake’

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — South Puget Sound Community College says it was a mistake for an employee group to invite only people of color to a diversity “happy hour.”

The group that sent out the email apologized the next day and canceled the event, said Kellie Purce Braseth, dean of college relations. The college believes the best way to celebrate and discuss diversity is to include everyone, Braseth said.

“If you want to come you should be able to come; that just makes a richer conversation,” she said.

The invitation said the “Staff, Faculty and Administrators of Color” encouraged employees to reply to the invitation to find out the confidential date and time of what was being called a “happy hour” to “build support and community” for people of color.

The invite made it clear white people were not welcome.

“If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” the email read.

Karama Blackhorn, program coordinator for the school’s Diversity and Equity Center, helped write the invitation. It could have been worded differently, but she maintains the staff members of color would have a more honest discussion about race without white employees.

  • Kansas College Considers 4-year Degrees

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — Garden City Community College officials say the school is discussing the possibility of offering some four-year degrees to students.

The Garden City Telegram reports the programs would be offered through National American University.

Officials of National American visited Garden City to discuss the possible baccalaureate programs.

Herbert Swender, president of Garden City Community College, says the school has been in discussions with NAU for a couple of years. He says possibilities for four-year degrees include criminal justice and allied health.

Ron L. Shape, chief executive officer at NAU, says the groups are still in the discussion stage and it will be a few months before any decisions are made. NAU has similar arrangements with other community colleges in Kansas.

  • NM College OKs Settlement with Fired Leader

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The ousted president of Santa Fe Community College will receive a $500,000 settlement from the college to resolve what she contended was a wrongful termination.

A joint statement issue says Ana “Cha” Guzman’’ will receive the settlement in exchange for dropping claims against the college for the college board’s December decision to fire her. She had been put on leave a month earlier, with both actions being approved by 3-2 votes by the board.

The statement issued by the college says the sides want to put the dispute behind them rather than engage in protracted litigation.

Critics had said Guzman’s style and actions generated strife within the college’s staff, while her supporters said she met resistance with efforts to cut waste and improve the college’s performance.

  • Miss. Colleges Cook Up Culinary Partnership

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Students completing their associate degrees in hospitality and catering programs at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College can now continue their bachelor’s studies in Mississippi University for Women’s culinary arts program.

The joint program in culinary arts was recently announced by the schools.

Officials say career and technical credits earned within the EMCC program will transfer to MUW.

Currently enrolled MGCCC students will have access to MUW’s “guest chefs” program that brings in leading culinary experts for demonstrations.

MUW offers the only four-year degree in culinary arts available in Mississippi. MUW has similar partnerships with Hinds Community College and East Mississippi Community College.

MGCCC’s current program includes baking and pastry arts technology and banquet and catering food service technology. Students learn in a hands-on lab.

  • Mich. College Bans Tobacco On Campus

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Board of Trustees has voted to ban tobacco and electronic cigarette use on campus at the end of this year.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1nLrvZ6 ) the ban would include chewing tobacco, as well as cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other smoking products. As of Jan. 1, people will only be able to smoke in personal vehicles on campus.

The new policy mirrors that of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, which is going tobacco-free as of this September.

Hundreds of other schools in the U.S. have similar policies, including about two dozen colleges and universities in Michigan.

  • ‘Pay it Forward’ Study Gets Ill. House Approval

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois House has approved a plan to study alternative ways for people to pay for college.

The “Pay it Forward” plan calls on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to consider programs other states have adopted to address the rising cost of a college education.

Such programs allow attendance at community colleges or state universities tuition-free as long as the student signs a contract to repay the state from a portion of future earnings.

The measure sponsored by Marengo Democratic Rep. Jack Franks won approval 111-0 and moves to the Senate.

Franks says the current situation — a choice between assuming a large debt for college costs or limiting future earning potential because of a lack of a degree — harms the economy.

  • Alaska College President Quits Amid Probe

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The president of Prince William Sound Community College has resigned.

President Jacob Ng had been the subject of a University of Alaska investigation over allegations of bullying and harassing student employees.

UA spokeswoman Kate Ripley says a review by human resources and equal employment opportunity personnel found nothing that merited forwarding information to law enforcement officials.

Ng’s Feb. 28 resignation ended the university investigation.

Ripley says Ng was given complimentary housing for his first two months on the job but continued living there and has since paid back approximately $7,000 in housing fees.

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