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2008 July 16 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS

  • Cocaine OD Killed Student Who Collapsed At Prof’s Home

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A college student who collapsed at her professor’s Phoenix home died of a cocaine overdose, an autopsy concluded.

Paradise Valley Community College student Andria Ziegler, 19, died April 20 after being taken from psychology professor Michael Todd’s home to a hospital.

Todd, 51, is in the process of being fired from his job for allegedly violating college district policies prohibiting instructors from having romantic relationships with students.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner released the results of the autopsy and concluded the death was due to an accidental cocaine overdose. No alcohol was in her system, despite a recording of Todd’s 911 call seeking help where he said they had been drinking and Ziegler had been doing cocaine.

Phoenix police investigated the case as an unknown death and never labeled it as criminal in nature. Police issued a brief statement saying authorities had closed the case.

Ziegler’s stepfather, Doug McManus, said her family figured her death would be drug-related, but contended that there are still unanswered questions.

“She was 19 years old and healthy when she went to his home,’’ McManus said. “It’s the circumstances surrounding her death we are suspicious about.’’

Todd’s lawyer, Michael Roth, released a statement soon after Ziegler’s death expressing condolences to Ziegler’s family from Todd.

Roth has not responded to other  requests for comment.

  • Gas Prices Forcing N.C. Students To Drop Out

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Several students at Durham Technical Community College have told officials they had to drop out of summer classes because gas prices made their commute too expensive.

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported that some colleges have pushed students to alter their schedules so they come to campus fewer times a week. Others suggest students take online classes.

Gaston College in Gastonia is studying how to expand bus service and make it more convenient for students. Piedmont Community College in Charlotte says the college is studying whether employees should work four 10-hour days.

  • N. H. Colleges Seek $49M for Campus Upgrades

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s community college system is asking for $49 million in the next capital budget to improve its seven campuses.

The college system has some competition for funding.

State agencies are proposing $339 million in requests for the next general-fund public works budget. Only about one-third of the spending is likely to be approved.

Among the biggest proposals is the University System of New Hampshire’s request for the state to commit to a $100 million, six-year rehabilitation effort. The Department of Corrections also wants the state to spend $37 million for a new women’s prison.

  • R. I. Public Colleges Facing Steep Funding Reductions

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island’s three public colleges face a $17.8 million reduction in state funding as the state looks to close a massive budget deficit.

The University of Rhode Island alone is bracing for a $12 million loss. URI has already had to make its first layoffs in 15 years and eliminate four athletics programs.

Gov. Don Carcieri included the $17.8 million funding cuts in his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The House Finance Committee  approved the cuts in its version of the budget.

Besides URI, the cuts will also affect Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island.

  • Penn. Volunteer Firefighters Offered Free Education

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Allegheny County is offering full scholarships at its community college to volunteer firefighters.

County officials say the initiative should give people an incentive to become volunteer firefighters.

The program will give full scholarships for an associate’s degree or certificate program See Briefs, pg. 18, col. 1           at the community college. It also will offer training at the Allegheny County Fire Academy.

Of the 200 scholarships, 150 will go to new recruits who commit to five years’ service as volunteer firefighters. The remaining 50 will go to existing volunteers for another five-year commitment.

There are 205 volunteer fire companies in the county.

Officials say the program will not cost the county more money and will take the first batch of students next spring.

  • Nev. Colleges Say Students Still Have Loan Options

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Administrators at small colleges in northern Nevada say students still have loan options despite a decision by some of the nation’s largest banks to discontinue federally backed loans.

Representatives of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno and Western Nevada College in Carson City say while some lenders have stopped providing loans, others continue to do so.

About 6.5 million students, or more than 40 percent of the nation’s undergraduates, attend community colleges in the United States.

Some banks are discontinuing backed loans to community college students because they are less profitable and more risky.

  • W. Va. Colleges Sign On to Transfer    Agreement

BEAVER, W.Va. (AP) — Concord University and New River Community & Technical College have signed an agreement that aims to encourage community college students to pursue a four-year degree.

The agreement allows New River students to seamlessly transfer credits to Concord.

New River President Ted Spring says the agreement will allow students to study for two years at his college and then transfer to Concord for the remaining two years.

Initially, New River students can opt to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts or social services.

Concord President Jerry Beasley says such cooperation between schools will improve the likelihood of students earning a four-year degree.

  • Stadium at    Mississippi    College Getting Makeover

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) — When Pearl River Community College kicks off its 2008 football season Aug. 28 against Holmes, visitors will see Dobie Holden Stadium in a whole new light.

For the first time since it opened in 1966, PRCC’s football facility is getting a makeover.

The $1.2 million project features a number of significant improvements to the 6,000-seat stadium, including:

  • All new metal bleachers, including the addition of 550 seats to the home side of the stadium.
  • A new center section featuring chair back seats for reserved seating.
  • A new air-conditioned press box that will include bathroom facilities.
  • A new entry area with ticket booths and expanded restrooms, as well as an area for selling memorabilia

When this renovation is finished, Wildcat coach Tim Hatten says the stadium is going to be as nice as any community college stadium anywhere.

  • Colleges Land Grants To      Prepare Workforce for BRAC

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland labor officials are distributing federal money to colleges and schools developing programs for BRAC-related careers.

Fort Meade Alliance, Cecil College, Harford County Public Schools and Frederick Community College are sharing a $400,000 grant.

The Alliance educates 7th- to 12th-graders on security clearances, while Harford County students will receive technology training and education about homeland security careers.

Cecil College is planning a program to create certified government contractors. Frederick Community College will offer education on building facilities for handling sensitive information.

Also, Chesapeake Bay Region Technical Center of Excellence will use some of the money to study BRAC’s effect on commuting.

  • Missouri College Trustees Vote  To Fire President

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (AP) — The Board of Trustees of Three Rivers Community College has fired its president, John Cooper.

The decision came during a unanimous vote in a closed session. Cooper was placed on administrative leave with 30 days of pay. Board member Marion Tibbs said that the board has not publicly given a reason for the decision.

Cooper began as president of the community college based in Poplar Bluff in 1997. He had planned to retire in August of 2009.

The school’s current vice president for student affairs and information technology, Joe Rozman, will serve as interim president.

  • Indiana Governor Supports New Campus for     Ivy Tech

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Gov. Mitch Daniels wants a new Ivy Tech Community College campus to be built in Elkhart County.

Speaking at the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, the governor said the county is “clearly at the top of the list’’ among sites under consideration for a new Ivy Tech campus.

Local leaders have long urged construction of a new campus to replace the current cramped facility at Elkhart Industrial Park.

Jeff Terp, vice president for external affairs for the statewide Ivy Tech system, says with Daniels’ support, construction of a new $20 million campus could be completed by the fall of 2009.

  • Lenders To Stop Loans to Wis.    2-Year College Students

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Several lenders say they will no longer give loans to students at Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges and 13 two-year colleges.

The decision reflects a national trend among lenders who say loans to students at two-year colleges are not profitable because students borrow less money for less time and thus pay less interest.

College officials say they have been told Citibank and Chase will no longer offer loans to their students. Two other lenders, TCF Bank and Student Loan Xpress, say they are halting all student loans.

Milwaukee Area Technical College’s financial aid director says it has been particularly hard hit. Al Pinckney says AFG Provincial also will stop offering student loans, meaning the school will lose five lenders serving about 5,300 students.

  • N.C. College Says Financial Problems Repaired

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Johnston Community College says it has fixed problems with the school’s financial controls that allowed an employee to steal about $1,500 and its bookstore to lose more than $13,600.

The State Auditor’s Office released its financial review of the school for the previous fiscal year ending June 2007.

Auditor Les Merritt’s office said the financial problems were discovered before the audit was conducted when customers complained about uncashed checks and students said they were being charged twice.

The community college said in its response to the audit that employees also have received more training to prevent problems from recurring. It’s unclear what happened to the unidentified employee whom the review said stole the money from the cashier’s office. 

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