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By CCW Staff  /  
2008 September 1 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Fired Bishop State Instructor Ordered Rehired By Arbitrator

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A fired Bishop State Community College food service instructor who enrolled in his own course has been ordered rehired with back pay by an arbitrator who ruled his dismissal was unfair.

The arbitrator ruled that Henry Douglas had already received a letter of reprimand from Bishop State for enrolling in the classes and his firing was an extra penalty for the same situation.

Arbitrator James Odom Jr. found that Douglas was only following the instructions of his supervisor and academic adviser, Herman Packer, who was also fired by the Mobile college and later reinstated on appeal.

“There is nothing in the record to show an intent on the part of Douglas to defraud the college with respect to class credits, pay for teaching or tuition credit,’’ Odom wrote in a decision.

When Douglas was hired in 2002, school officials were worried that his associate degree wasn’t in the field, according to documents from Bishop State. They said he should get a two-year degree in commercial food service. 

Between summer 2002 and fall 2004, Douglas enrolled as a student in 10 courses he was also assigned to teach and six more courses that were scheduled for times when he was supposed to teach different classes.

“The way the paperwork was filed, it looked like he was teaching himself in his own classes. He absolutely was not,’’ said Douglas’ attorney, Henry Caddell.

As of February 2007, Douglas earned $42,127, the Press-Register reported.

Two-year college Chancellor Bradley Byrne criticized the ruling, which he said was the result of teacher tenure protections and the state teacher’s union, the Alabama Education Association.

  • College    Enrollment Rises as Job Market Tightens

HONOLULU (AP) — University of Hawaii enrollment is on the rise, and officials believe the slowing economy has something to do with it.

Enrollment at Leeward Community College and Hawaii Community College has gone up 18 percent last month compared with the same time last year.

UH-West Oahu’s enrollment has risen nearly 36 percent and UH-Hilo is up by 16 percent.

West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni says people are going back to school because there aren’t many jobs or they need to get more training for the job they want.

Student Trisha Moses says she is going back to school so that she can get a better paying job to survive the economic crunch.

  • Tennessee    College Slashes 142 Part-Time Positions 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Southwest Tennessee Community College has cut 142 part-time jobs because of reduced state funding.

College communications and marketing director Robert Miller said the reductions do not include faculty positions.

The cuts come after the state cut $56 million in higher education funding and despite tuition increases of 6 percent at Southwest.

The college has eight sites in the Memphis area and employs about 1,500 people.

  • Va. Colleges Hiking Tuition, Fees by Nearly  7 Percent

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — For the third year in a row, in-state undergraduates at Virginia’s public colleges will see tuition and fees rise by roughly 7 percent or more, a report by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia shows. 

At Virginia’s 15 four-year schools, the average annual in-state tuition and all mandatory fees come to $7,582, up 7 percent from 2007-08, according to the report, which also lists figures from the community college system and Richard Bland College.

In-state students at two-year community colleges will see their tuition and total mandatory fees rise 7.5 percent, to $2,584. Richard Bland, the state’s junior college, is increasing its tuition and fees 15.3 percent, to $3,048.

Last year, in-state tuition and fees at four-year schools rose by just under 7 percent, following an 8.2 percent increase in 2006-07.

The report also said that over the past decade, Virginia has restricted tuition increases during good economic times and allowed double-digit increases to offset funding reductions during a poor economy. 

“The lack of continuity and predictability has limited students’ and their families’ ability to save effectively for college and has not provided equity for taxpayers in terms of meeting the cost of education,’’ the report said.

Despite an economic downturn, the General Assembly provided $32 million more for higher education in 2008, and also is providing $17.5 million in a Tuition Moderation Incentive Fund for institutions that limit the increase of in-state tuition and fees to no more than 4 percent. Eleven schools have complied with the fund’s requirements.

But the SCHEV report said state funding for colleges and universities, when adjusted for inflation, is 5 percent below 2000-01 levels.

  • Former Student Faces Charges in Az. College Shooting

PHOENIX (AP) — A former student accused of shooting three people in a community college’s computer lab has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, the Maricopa County Attorney’s office said.

Rodney Smith, 22, was arrested after police said he opened fire at South Mountain Community College while arguing with another man.

The shooting sent three people to the hospital and put the school in lockdown for about an hour.

Police said Smith started shooting after an ongoing feud with another man, Isaac Smith, escalated into a brawl in the computer lab. The two are not related.

According to police, Isaac Smith, 19, punched Rodney Smith in the face. Then Rodney Smith pulled out a gun and started shooting. Police said Isaac Smith was shot in the groin and that two innocent bystanders were also shot. All three were recovering from their wounds.

  • Shortfall Sends Mass. Students  Scrambling for Loans

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Hundreds of New Hampshire college students from Massachusetts are scrambling to line up new loans to pay tuition bills.

The students had counted on help from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, but the agency recently announced it didn’t have money to loan. About 650 New Hampshire students relied on the agency for loans last year.

Financial aid directors at New Hampshire colleges are telling the students not to panic, that those with good credit will probably be able to find alternative financing.

“We’re talking families off the ledge,’’ said Elizabeth Keuffel, director of financial aid at St. Anselm College.

Suzy Allen, director of financial aid at the University of New Hampshire, said her office has let the business services offices know about the situation.

“I’m certain they will be accommodating,’’ said Allen.

Last March, the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation, the state’s leading provider of student loan financing, announced it was suspending its private loan program because of market conditions.

The decision affected more than 6,000 students. Officials believe most found alternative financing.

  • Budget Cuts Mean End of Kentucky TV Courses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A program that has helped thousands of Kentuckians get a college education will end due to state budget cuts.

Kentucky Educational Television spokesman Tim Bischoff told The Kentucky Enquirer that College Courses will stop airing after the fall 2008 semester. The program has offered classes for 30 years and had more than 140,000 students enroll in that time.

The Council on Postsecondary Education had funded the program with a $182,700 annual grant, but notified KET it would discontinue the grant this year due to state budget cuts.

Jay Blanton, a spokesman for Gov. Steve Beshear, says the governor plans to check with the council “to determine if the source of those funds is gone long term or if there might be other things that we can do.’’

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