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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 February 20 - 02:45 pm

News Briefs

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

Calif. College Pays Ransom to Hacker

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles community college has paid a $28,000 ransom after a hacker took student data hostage.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/2i8WJf1 ) that 1,800 Los Angeles Valley College teachers and staff were locked out of their computers, leaving the data of 20,000 students compromised. College administrators elected to pay the $28,000 ransom in bitcoins rather than leave students without their data.

Officials say it was ultimately cheaper to pay the ransom than to remove the unidentified ransomware virus.

Computer systems throughout the Valley Glen campus suffered a data breach on Dec.

30 and administrators decided to pay the hackers last week.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cyber-attack.

Costs Mount for Wash. Software System

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Costs are mounting for community colleges in Spokane and Tacoma that are testing a new $100 million computer system designed to improve record keeping at Washington’s network of 34 schools.

The Spokesman-Review reports (http://bit.ly/2iTXcCh ) the software system is about $10 million over budget and several years behind schedule.

Meanwhile, community colleges in Tacoma and Spokane that volunteered to test the system are incurring overtime costs trying to get it to work. Community Colleges of Spokane has racked up more than $500,000 on overtime costs, while Tacoma has spent at least $306,000.

The state Board for Community and Technical Colleges selected the system to replace one more than three decades old.

In November, experts hired by the board said the system shouldn’t be installed in other colleges before October 2017, and only if all the problems at fixed at the test schools.

Ill. Professors Plead for Their Jobs Amid Cuts

MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Faculty members at a community college in western Illinois are asking trustees to reconsider job cuts amid the lack of a state budget.

Black Hawk College is eliminating 17 full-time positions. Professor Richard Harwood told trustees that he’s received notice his job teaching geology and other courses will be terminated at the semester’s end and his program will be cut. He’s worked at the school for 23 years.

Harwood says he can’t retire “with dignity and honor” and being told he’s no longer needed has hurt “deeper than I can express.”

Black Hawk College President Bettie Truitt says declining enrollment and state funding cuts have strained the school’s budget. The Moline Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/ 2k0J7Vn ) the school has received about 35 percent of anticipated state funding in the last two years.

Iowa College To Get Upgrade with Extra Funds

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — An unexpected $2 million generated by the sale of tax credits will enable Scott Community College to add features to a planned downtown Davenport campus.

College Chancellor Don Doucette told the Eastern Iowa Community College’s board of trustees that about $4 million was expected to be raised for the urban campus through new market tax credits. Doucette said there was so much interest from U.S. Bank that the amount increased to nearly $6.4 million, the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/2j3ZFhd ) reported.

The additional funds have allowed the scope of the project to expand to include a community room, more science lab space, a virtual reality program and a center for informational technology and business entrepreneurship.

The total cost of the project is now $30 million. Doucette said “there is a lot of motivation to get (bids) done by the end of 2017,” which is expected to be followed by construction.

Pearl River CC President Lewis To Retire

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Pearl River Community College President William Lewis is set to retire this summer.

News outlets report that school officials in a news release that Lewis notified the college’s Board of Trustees that he will retire June 30. He has been president of PRCC since 2000.

Adam Breerwood, vice president for the Poplarville campus and Hancock Center, will take over as the college’s 11th president on July 1.

In 2015, the board designated Breerwood president-elect of the two-year college to succeed Lewis upon his retirement.

Lewis’ retirement will mark his nearly 50 years of public service in various Mississippi educational institutions.

Va. Cyber Program Earns National Recognition

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Danville Community College has received federal recognition for its training in cyber defense.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security had designated the school in Southside Virginia as a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense.

Three other community colleges in Virginia share that designation.

McAuliffe has made promoting the cyberdefense industry a top priority of his term as governor.

NC Commissioner Feuding with Comedian

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Comedian and talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg is being targeted by a North Carolina county commissioner over her comments about President Donald Trump.

Local media reports New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White used Facebook to criticize Cape Fear Community College for hosting Goldberg’s concert June 23. White asked if taxpayers were footing the bill and if the school was going to bring conservative performers to the campus.

White also criticized the school for “providing a venue for someone who just a few weeks ago was moving to Canada in protest to Trumps election? Terrible.’’ Goldberg responded on Twitter that she never said she would leave if Trump was elected.

The school said ticket sales will help cover the cost of Goldberg’s appearance.

Firefighters Charged With Killing Deer On College Campus

GERMANTOWN, Md. (AP) — Two Montgomery County firefighters have been accused of illegally shooting deer with a crossbow on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.

Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said in a news release that 30-year-old Jaron Randall Hall and 25-year-old James Andrew Fernandez, both of Frederick, face multiple charges, including hunting within a safety zone.

Thomson says a security guard saw the men drive their pickup truck to a herd of deer early Sunday and shoot one of the animals. A Montgomery County police officer found three deer carcasses in the bed of the truck.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer confirmed to the Frederick News-Post (http://bit.ly/ 2iF6TIf) that both men are firefighters. He had no information about possible punishment they might face at their jobs.

Minn. Students Eligible for Tuition Restitution

WOODBURY, Minn. (AP) — Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business have been ordered to pay restitution to more than 1,200 criminal justice students.

The for-profit schools in Woodbury were found in violation of the state’s deceptive trade practices law. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued the schools in 2014 claiming that many criminal justice students were surprised to find out their degree failed to meet requirements for becoming police and probation officers in Minnesota.

The Star Tribune (http:// strib.mn/2hUwGNi ) reports the court order makes the affected students eligible for tuition reimbursement, including student loans, payments for books and other fees, and any interest or finance charges.

A statement from the schools, owned by the same family, says an appeal is under consideration. Last month, the schools said they plan to close their Minnesota campuses.

Wash. College Offering Craft Brewing Degree

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — South Puget Sound Community College could soon offer a new degree in craft brewing, distilling and cidermaking.

The Olympian (http://bit.ly/ 2j68TXD ) reports the state recently approved the college’s request to develop the craft beverage degrees, and now school officials have six months to develop curriculum and meet other requirements for state approval.

College spokeswoman Kelly Green says the school expects to launch the beer brewing and cidermaking degree this fall, with distilling to follow in the fall of 2018.

The school currently offers some non-credit brewing classes, which Green says have been extremely popular. She says the school will continue to offer those classes as well for people who just want to learn how to brew a few gallons of beer in their bathtubs.

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