A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
WWII-Era Bomb Found on NJ Campus Is Detonated
WRIGHTSTOWN, New Jersey (AP) — The ground shook near a New Jersey military
base as an explosives team detonated a 500-pound World War II-era bomb that had been found on the campus of a community college.
The unexploded ordnance was taken to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. It had been discovered during excavation for a new building at Middlesex County College, which is on the site of the former Raritan Arsenal.
When it was found, college officials evacuated construction workers. But classrooms and other campus facilities were far enough away that they were not affected.
Air Force Sgt. Adam Usher, leader of the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, says his group has up to three emergency calls a week. None had ever involved such as large bomb.
Former Dean Admits Taking Meth before Fatal Crash
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A former Long Island college dean has admitted to taking crystal meth before his pickup truck slammed into a disabled car two years ago, killing two men.
Newsday reports (http://nwsdy.li/1GeD6w1 ) that 52-year-old Robert Beodeker pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs.
Police say 76-year-old John Elder and 65-year-old Edward Ross were tending to a disabled car when Beodeker’s GMC pickup truck struck and killed them in 2013.
District Attorney Madeline Singas says the men found themselves in the path of a driver “impaired by crystal methamphetamine.”
Beodeker was an associate dean at Suffolk County Community College. He was suspended after the crash and resigned last year.
His attorney says he wanted closure for the families. Beodeker faces four to 12 years in prison.
Conn. Governor Vetoes College Closing Measure
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has vetoed a bill that would have blocked the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education from closing any campus or manufacturing programs without legislative approval.
The Democrat called such changes to the board’s operations “inappropriate.”
The legislation stemmed from the board’s decision to close the Meriden branch of Middlesex Community College and a manufacturing program, in response to Malloy’s proposed budget. The board later reversed its decision following the bill’s passage.
Malloy said he understands and shares concerns about the sudden closure. However, he said “the matter is now resolved.”
Also, Malloy said current law requires any campus closure be approved by two-thirds of the board and the General Assembly be notified. He said the board is best positioned to make such decisions.
Maine Mulls Waiving Tuition For Guard
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging support for a bill that would waive in-state college tuition costs for Maine National Guard members.
House Republican Leader Ken Fredette wants to provide a 100 percent tuition waiver for certain Guard members. It would apply at any school in the University of Maine System, Maine Community College System and at the Maine Maritime Academy.
Fredette was joined at the Statehouse by several lawmakers who are backing the bill. He says the measure will help with Guard recruitment while providing an education to those who can’t afford it.
WCSH-TV reports that UMaine System Chancellor James Page said in a statement that he looks forward to working with lawmakers to explore “all viable opportunities” to reduce education costs for National Guard members.
Neb. Officials Seek Rural College Center
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Some officials want their community college district to open an education center in far southeastern Nebraska.
Beatrice radio station KWBE (http://bit.ly/1QjgkWP ) reports that former Auburn Mayor Bob Engles and other members of the Southeast Career Development Committee made the request at meeting of the Southeast Community College board in Lincoln.
Engles say that when students from his area go to the district campus in Lincoln for classes, they end up getting jobs in Lincoln and don’t return to their hometowns in far southeastern Nebraska. He says his group members think there are good jobs waiting for trained workers in southeast Nebraska.
College President Paul Illich says the 15-county district is looking at ways to expand its reach beyond its campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford.
Stephenson Named President of Big Sandy CC
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A longtime educator with a history in community college leadership has been chosen as the next president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System said G. Devin Stephenson will begin the new post on June 1. Stephenson succeeds George Edwards, who retired after 14 years as president.
Stephenson was president and CEO of Three Rivers College of Missouri from 2009 to 2014. He previously held several leadership positions in the Alabama Community College System.
The school’s board of directors considered four candidates, unanimously recommending Stephenson for the position.
Ford Named Leader at Miss. College
BOONEVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Ricky Ford has been named the new president of Northeast Mississippi Community College.
The former basketball coach and athletics director will succeed Johnny Allen, who is retiring June 30 after 11 years as president.
Ford, a 1975 Northeast graduate, became the school’s head women’s basketball coach in 1981 and amassed 588 wins over 30 seasons. He will be inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in July.
Ford has also served as athletics director, admissions counselor, dean of students and is currently executive vice president.
Ford says he’s honored the board has entrusted him with leading the school into a new era.
Minn. Senate Passes Spending Blueprint
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has passed its plan for higher education spending.
The $3.1 billion proposal would help fund tuition freezes at both state college systems and offer free community college to qualified high school graduates. But the Senate Democrats’ budget costs about $150 million more than House Republicans say they’re willing to spend.
The bill passed 42-21, with many Republicans voting against it.
Republicans who control the House didn’t extend the tuition freeze to four-year public universities. They aren’t planning to offer free community college and also plan to curtail a grant program for low- and middle-income students.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s higher education budget proposal is closer to the Senate’s. All three parties will hash out a final spending plan in the coming weeks.
Budget Shortfall Means Tuition Hike in NM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Central New Mexico Community College will increase tuition and implement other cost-saving measures to counteract a budget shortfall of $3 million.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1yAa9Yu) that the college announced that it will increase tuition for in-district residents from $18 to $25.50 per credit hour for many of its classes. Tuition for academic transfer courses will also increase by $1 per credit hour.