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2016 March 22 - 01:20 pm

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

Ill. College Lays Off 55 Amid Prolonged Budget Impasse

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Trustees at a southern Illinois community college have voted to lay off 55 faculty and staff members amid financial troubles administrators say stem from the lack of a state budget.

The John A. Logan College board voted 7-1. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports more than 300 people packed the Carterville-based college meeting. Before the vote some attendees spoke against the plan to eliminate 38 percent of the college’s full-time instructors. Faculty member Kathleen Carl called the plan “short-sighted and ill-conceived.”

Administrators recommended the layoffs to shore up a $7 million budget gap that they say was created by the state budget impasse.

Interim college president Ron House said he wished lawmakers and the governor “were sitting at this table tonight having to make this decision.”

Ore. Lawmakers Reject Funds For Added College Security

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers have denied a $17.6 million request to increase community college security in the wake of the Umpqua shooting.

The Oregonian reports that lawmakers rejected the proposal to replace doors, add security cameras and beef up aging buildings and communications systems at most of the state’s community colleges.

During a short February session, lawmakers did approve $6 million for improvements at the Umpqua Community College’s Snyder hall, where nine students were shot and killed last fall.

Lawmakers told other community colleges to try again in 2017.

Clackamas Community College student government president Brent Finkbeiner said the denial stung. The college has a campus across the stress from the site of a 2012 mass shooting at a suburban mall.

Ex-Operator of For-Profit College Facing Prison

MIAMI (AP) — The former chief of a for-profit college called FastTrain is facing years in prison after his conviction for defrauding the U.S. government in a multimillion-dollar scam.

Alejandro Amor was convicted in November of conspiracy and 12 counts of theft of government money. The charges add up to more than 100 years in maximum possible prison time.

A jury convicted Amor of fraudulently getting hundreds of students approved for federal financial aid, some without high school diplomas. Testimony showed that FastTrain collected some $35 million in federal aid and loans from 2007 to 2012.

FastTrain had campuses in South Florida, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Clearwater.

Amor’s attorney contended the fraud was caused by rogue employees. Amor is seeking a relatively lenient sentence.

Maine College System Names New President

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Community College System trustees say Derek Langhauser will permanently take over as president.

Langhauser has been serving as interim president since longtime President John Fitzsimmons resigned in January 2015 under pressure from Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Trustees met in Augusta on Tuesday to cast the vote.

Last summer, trustees announced that they only received 10 applicants, and they reopened the search.

The Maine Community College System met in executive session two weeks ago to discuss the presidential search.

ND Tribal College Adding Four-Year Degree

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck is offering four new programs in the fall of 2016, including one new four-year program.

School officials say the Higher Learning Commission of Chicago has approved a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and research. It will be taught at the college’s new science and technology center.

School Vice President of Academic Affairs Lisa Azure says many tribal colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in environmental science, but the United Tribes program is unique because of the research quotient.

New two-year associate of applied science degree programs will be offered in human and social services, information processing specialist and information technology.

Mishap Results In Release of Employees’ Info

NANTICOKE, Pa. (AP) — Staff at a northeastern Pennsylvania community college inadvertently released Social Security numbers and other personal information belonging to more than 250 employees.

An email sent to staff at Luzerne County Community College included a file attachment with employee names, school ID numbers, Social Security numbers and health insurance information.

A school spokesman says the email only went to staff. The college sent a follow-up email directing recipients to disregard the first message and to delete it “as soon as possible.”

Spokesman Robert Bogdon says the school’s IT department removed the email from recipients’ accounts.

Ga. Tech College System Names 2 Presidents

ATLANTA (AP) — The Technical College System of Georgia will soon see leadership changes at two of the system’s institutions.

The state board for the system voted unanimously to name Andrea Daniel as the next president of Athens Technical College, and John Watford as the new president of South Georgia Technical College.

Both presidents will begin their new roles on April 1.

Daniel currently serves as executive vice president of Athens Technical College. Watford is the current vice president for academic affairs at South Georgia Technical College in Americus, Ga.

Commissioner Gretchen Corbin said both schools are crucial to the state’s workforce development efforts, and that both newly-appointed presidents have proven track records in education.

City of Chicago To Finish Stalled College Project

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city will finish a construction project at a South Side community college after an eight-month delay due to the state budget impasse.

Emanuel’s office said the city will use funding from existing projects to finish construction on a new Transportation, Distribution Logistics Center at Olive Harvey College. The mayor’s office says the money will come from slowing down other nonurgent projects to quickly complete the Olive Harvey project.

The facility should be ready for about 3,000 students starting in fall of 2017. City Colleges of Chicago designed the center with feedback from industry partners to prepare students for jobs.

GOP Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats in the Illinois Legislature have been at an impasse on the state budget since last summer.

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