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2016 April 13 - 10:38 pm

News Briefs

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

Budget Shortfall Means Cuts at Okla. College

SEMINOLE, Okla. (AP) — Seminole State College has announced cuts to employee benefits and academic and athletic programs because of Oklahoma’s budget shortfall.

Seminole State President Jim Utterback says the school has received cuts of $766,000 in state appropriations this fiscal year. The Seminole State College Board of Regents announced a series of cuts to counteract the drop in state money.

The two-year college says it will cancel long-term disability coverage and make cuts to employee health insurance. The school will also phase out the textbook rental program and eliminate the college’s medical laboratory program.

Volleyball will be reclassified from Division I to Division II, and the scholarship level for men’s tennis will drop to Division II from Division 1.

Oklahoma has a $1.3 billion shortfall for its next fiscal year.

Conn. Panel Approves Tuition Increase

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A plan to increase tuition at all 17 campuses of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system has received a preliminary approval.

Plans call for a 5 percent increase at the four state universities, not including the University of Connecticut, boosting tuition to over $10,000. Community college tuition would increase 3.5 percent to nearly $4,200, and tuition at Charter Oak State College would increase 4 percent to just over $9,000.

The president of the state college and university system, Mark Ojakian, says the increases are needed partially because of an expected $26 million cut in state funding to the system.

Alaska Regents Oppose Campus Carry Bill

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Board of Regents has formalized its opposition to a state Senate bill that would allow concealed weapons on its campuses.

On a vote of 9-2, the regents adopted a resolution saying that the legislation, in its current form, would prevent the university from responding to high risk and conflict situations on university property.

In a news release, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen says the bill, as written, limits the board’s ability to govern the university.

The university system has proposed six amendments, including ones that would allow it to limit concealed weapons in dorms and health and counseling facilities or during adjudication of disciplinary issues. The system also wants to require concealed carry permits of students or employees who want to carry on campuses.

Wyo. Colleges Raise Tuition Amid Cuts

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Community college students will pay $6 more per credit hour for in-state tuition starting in the fall 2016 semester.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1Rze80A) Wyoming Community College Commission members voted to increase rates, with several academic officials voicing support.

Commissioners Wendy Sweeny and Sherri Lovercheck voted not to increase tuition. Sweeney supported a $5 percredit hike, while Lovercheck noted that a recent increase in unemployment could mean higher enrollment.

Eastern Wyoming College president Richard Patterson said a reduction in staff is likely amid a tight fiscal situation.

Laramie County Community College president Joe Schaffer said action was needed in light of legislative cuts.

Commission executive director Jim Rose said the Legislature reduced state funding by $2.5 million in addition to a 1.5 percent reduction over the next two years.

Flint Students Boost Recycling Amid Crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — University students in Flint are working together to boost efforts to recycle empty bottles amid the city’s crisis with lead-tainted water.

Students from Mott Community College, Baker College, Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Flint are involved in Recycle Challenge 2016.

Campus bottle collections are planned. Students also are working together to encourage more Flint residents to use curbside recycling.

The total amount of recycled plastic will be announced at an annual Earth Day celebration on April 16.

Flint’s water has been contaminated by lead leaching from old pipes, the result of a lack of corrosion control when the city was tapping the Flint River. Residents are urged to use bottled water or filtered water, creating a big need to deal with empty water bottles.

Two Kentucky Colleges Approve Plan for Joint Admission

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Western Kentucky University and Jefferson Community and Technical College have signed a joint admissions agreement.

A statement issued jointly by the schools says the agreement will allow students to be admitted to both institutions at the same time, which makes it easier for them to obtain a bachelor’s degree at Western after attending JCTC.

Officials say they hope the agreement helps to expand options for students seeking a degree, bolster the number of degrees earned and reduce the time it takes to obtain a degree.

Students admitted jointly will have access to services at Western and be assigned an adviser from the university.

WKU President Gary Ransdell says it is the ninth agreement the school has signed with a Kentucky Community and Technical College System campus.

Report: Former Seattle Colleges Director Stole $50,000

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington State Auditor’s Office has referred one of its reports to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, after finding that a former director at Seattle Colleges racked up more than $50,000 in personal expenses on a work credit card.

The organization’s longtime — and now former — director of distance learning was the target of the audit, which began early last year after its procurement department requested the investigation. According to a report, the director acknowledged the personal expenses when confronted.

The audit found that 700 personal transactions had been made since 2009 for items including make-up, clothing and jewelry. An additional 457 transactions totaling $46,000 were deemed questionable.

Seattle Colleges comprises four institutions: North Seattle, South Seattle and Seattle Central colleges, plus the Seattle Vocational Institute.

Mich. Student Gets Probation For False Online Threat

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A community college student living at Saginaw Valley State University has been sentenced to five years’ probation after threats to shoot blacks on campus were made on a social media site.

The Saginaw News reports (http://bit.ly/1q4w4UT ) that a judge on also ordered 21-year-old Emmanuel Bowden to wear an electronic tether for a year.

The threat was posted in November on Yik Yak. Bowden told police it was posted as a joke. He was charged with making a false threat of terrorism.

The Saginaw News reports that he pleaded guilty in February.

Bowden is black. He attends Delta Community College but lives at Saginaw Valley.

State Funding Allows Wyoming Education Center Upgrades

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will match $6.5 million in funding to allow Sheridan College to expand and renovate its Technical Education Center.

The Sheridan Press reports (http://bit.ly/1Tb6TeE) construction could begin by fall on the $13 million project. The college plans to remodel existing space and add about 25,000 square feet to be used for technical programs like welding and construction, among other improvements.

College President Paul Young said Whitney Benefits contributed $1.5 million in addition to agreeing to match the state’s $6.5 million in funding.

He said Gov. Matt Mead originally included the project in a December budget proposal.

Young said the project remained a priority throughout the budget process thanks to Sheridan Republican Sen. Bruce Burns, an Appropriations Committee member.

The college estimates construction could be complete before 2018.

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