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2016 October 24 - 04:12 pm

News Briefs

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

Business Groups Oppose Neb. Bond Measure

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A proposed $369 million bond issue for Southeast Community College is drawing opposition from some Nebraska agricultural groups, business leaders and elected officials.

The coalition argued that the measure would increase the burden on taxpayers, especially agricultural landowners who have seen their property taxes rise.

Coalition members include the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, the Nebraska Soybean Association and the Lincoln Independent Business Association. Other opponents of the bond measure include state Sens. Laura Ebke of Crete, Dan Watermeier of Syracuse and Jerry Johnson of Wahoo, and former Gov. Dave Heineman.

The proposal would allow the college to renovate or replace facilities in Beatrice, Milford and Lincoln. Supporters say it’s critical for workforce development. If it passes, the owner of a $100,000 property would pay an additional $39 annually.

NJCAA Moves Baseball Tourney From N. Carolina

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The National Junior College Athletic Association says it will relocate its 2017 Division III baseball championships out of Kinston, North Carolina, because of a state law that restricts the rights of LGBT people.

The NJCAA is working on a replacement site for the May tournament. The organization is the latest to pull an event from North Carolina because of House Bill 2, which was signed into law earlier this year by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. The NBA moved its All-Star game, while the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference also moved championship events.

The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.

Former College Security Guard Gets Jail Term

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A security guard who fired her gun under mysterious circumstances while working at Rogue Community College has been sentenced to a brief stint in jail. Venis Hollinshead told police in 2014 she fired several shots after an attacker hit her on the head while she was patrolling campus.

Investigators found three spent 9 mm casings, but didn’t believe her story about an attacker and neither did a jury that convicted her of unlawful use of a weapon.

Hollinshead had turned off her body camera moments before the alleged attack, and there was no trace of a suspect.

Months earlier, Hollinshead had reported a strikingly similar incident while patrolling a construction site.

That employer fired her, but she quickly latched on with a security company that had a contract with college.

The Grants Pass Daily Courier reports (http://bit.ly/2cfnAb8) Hollinshead will be eligible for work release or home detention after spending 10 days jail.

Beer Brewing Major on Tap At NM College

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico community college is offering a new program that allows students to major in brewing beer.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports (https://goo.gl/x3SQvq) 30 students at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque are enrolled in the school’s new Brewing and Beverage Management Program.

School officials say students in the program learn the basics of beer production and recipe formulation. Students are expected to apply their knowledge of beer production in hands-on laboratory-style classes.

Instructor Nick Jones says there are more than 70 brew pubs in New Mexico and the demand for trained workers is soaring.

ND Tribal College Gets $500K Grant For STEM Degrees

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) — The Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town has received a $500,000 federal grant to create a new associate degree.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp say the grant will help the college develop an associate of science degree in sustainable energy technologies. The National Science Foundation awarded the grant.

Part of the grant is also meant to raise the community’s awareness about opportunities on the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Hoeven says the grant will help the college recruit more students from the Three Affiliated Tribes “to help grow the number of STEM workers in the community where there is a growing number of energy related jobs.”

The Fort Berthold Reservation, where the college is located, produces about 20 percent of the state’s daily oil output.

Va. Launches Effort To Aid ITT Tech Students

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has created a new online portal to help students impacted by the closure of the for-profit college chain ITT Technical Institute.

The website includes information about where students can seek loan forgiveness or continue their education at another institution.

ITT shuttered all 130 of its U.S. campuses earlier this month, saying it can’t survive recent sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education.

ITT had five campuses in Virginia in Salem, Chantilly, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Richmond.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is encouraging students who attended ITT in Virginia to call their nearest community college to find out how they can continue their education.

Board Approves Plan To Merge Three Ala. Colleges

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Trustees of the state’s community college system on approved the merger of three south Alabama colleges into one regional campus.

The Alabama Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the consolidation of Faulkner State Community College, Alabama Southern Community College and Jefferson Davis Community College.

The new multi-campus institution will be known as Coastal Alabama Community College.

While the proposed consolidation was met with trepidation by some, Faulkner President Gary Branch praised the move to the board.

Branch said it would improve course offerings to students and help the colleges that have struggled with finances and enrollment.

“It’s advantageous for students,” Branch told the board.

Fired Instructor Files Bias Suit Against Lane CC

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A Spanish language teacher who was fired from Lane Community College has filed a lawsuit against the college alleging ethnic discrimination and retaliation.

The Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/2ddwNwM ) Maria Gutierrez, of Veneta, filed the suit and is seeking at least $300,000 in damages.

Gutierrez, who says she is a Hispanic woman of Mexican decent, was hired by LCC in 2004.

The complaint states that she was fired in 2014 after reporting that she wasn’t paid overtime and was given fewer benefits than her non-Hispanic colleagues.

Another instructor sued the school earlier this year. Nadia Raza, a Pakistani American, accused college officials of job and sex discrimination and retaliation in January after she reported escalating problems with a student.

LCC spokeswoman Joan Aschim says the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Grant Supports Native American Education in ND

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The University of Mary has received a federal grant of nearly $1 million to support education of Native American students.

The Indian Professional Development Program is meant to promote the training of high-quality educators to teach in tribal-run schools. The money will be allotted over four years. The program is being run in partnership with Turtle Mountain Community College. It will fund a bachelor’s degree education program at Turtle Mountain and master’s degree programs at the University of Mary.

The North Dakota grant is one of 20 awarded around the country.

Wyo. College Facing Title IX Complaint

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Laramie County Community College is under federal investigation for a sexual discrimination complaint.

The student body was informed that the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation in February into allegations that the college had discriminated on the basis of sex in its response to a complaint of sexual misconduct, The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/2crao0T ).

LCCC is one of 212 colleges currently under investigation nationwide for one or more instances of sexual violence on campus.

Judy Hay, LCCC’s vice president of student services, wrote in an email to students that the Office of Civil Rights has conducted similar visits to other campuses before.

“At LCCC, OCR is reviewing the college’s overall policy and procedures that would govern College response in the event of student allegations of sexual misconduct or discrimination,” she wrote.

College spokesman Ty Stockton says the original complaint of sexual misconduct was filed in 2015.

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