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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2017 March 13 - 02:27 pm

News Briefs

A Summary Listing of Higher-Ed-Related News from Around The Nation

Compton CC Regains Local Control

COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — After years of oversight by a state-appointed trustee, the Compton Community College District has won back the authority to govern itself.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/2lM07 OV ) the state announced that the college will be run once again by its own elected board of trustees.

State legislators stripped the board of its power after the discovery of serious administrative failure and widespread corruption on campus. The process of revoking its accreditation began in 2005 and a year later the school became a satellite campus of Torrance’s El Camino College.

A trustee pleaded guilty to siphoning more than $1 million in public funds to himself and his family members.

Officials say the district met a comprehensive list of requirements for two straight years.

Even after control reverts back, the state-appointed trustee will stay on to assist.


Ore. Security Officers Halt Illegal Action

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Public safety officers at a central Oregon community college who were criticized for investigating cases without having any authority to do so have stopped such action. The Bulletin reported (https://is.gd/kLF4Nz ) that following talks with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, public safety officers at Central Oregon Community College will no longer attempt to undertake investigations.

District Attorney John Hummel says public safety officials do not have jurisdiction to investigate crimes the way campus police do at universities. Hummel said he was concerned with the frequency with which campus security had been undertaking investigations.

College spokesman Ron Paradis says the campus officers weren’t out of line that frequently, but the school has changed its policy and no longer


Heinrich Stepping Down as Ala. Chancellor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of Alabama’s twoyear college system is retiring.

Mark Heinrich will step down as chancellor of the Alabama Community College System on April 1.

Heinrich has been on medical leave since August, with Jimmy Baker serving as acting chancellor.

The Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/2luwX7G ) reports that a statement from the system says Baker will continue in the position.

The Alabama Community College System includes 25 two-year colleges; Marion Military Institute and the Alabama Technology Network, a workforce training program.


Library Closed Due To Budget Woes Reopens

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Community College Board money will reopen an East St. Louis library that was closed due to the state’s lack of a budget.

The Belleville News Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/2jZlWOB ) that the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus’ library shelves were closed for the last six months. However, the library has reopened as a learning resource center thanks to community college board funding. The facility will be available for Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville students and the public.

Johanna Wharton oversees the library for SIU-Edwardsville’s East St. Louis Center Workforce Development and Strategic Partnerships.

She called its closure ``a tremendous loss for the community.’’ Wharton says she hopes the center becomes a hub for education and career exploration.


Group Seeks More Candidates for Ore. Boards

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — A professional association is hoping to get more people excited about school board elections in Oregon.

The East Oregonian reports (https://is.gd/js3oBF ) that according to the Oregon School Boards Association, nearly three-quarters of the seats for school boards, education service districts and community college boards were uncontested during the last round of board elections in 2015 and 8 percent of available seats drew no candidates at all.

With such low turnout, the association has launched a campaign to recruit more candidates to take part in the upcoming school board elections in May.

Association spokesman Alex Pulaski says it’s unclear why people aren’t interested in some races, though there is little interest in seats in rural Oregon. Pulaski says the association is working to educate people about how school boards affect policy in hopes of energizing new candidates.


RI Speaker Lukewarm on Free College Plan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives is skeptical about Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to guarantee two years of free tuition at the state’s public colleges.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello tells WPRO- AM he’s getting negative feedback about the proposal from his Cranston constituents.

He says his bigger budgetary priority is phasing out municipal car taxes.

Mattiello says the no-tuition idea needs to be carefully vetted, especially if Rhode Island is the first to try it. He says it’ll go through the normal legislative hearing process. Raimondo, a Democrat, has proposed covering in-state students’ tuition and fees for two years of community college or the final two years of a four-year degree. She estimates the cost to be $30 million a year once it’s fully implemented.


Rodeo Program Faces Neb. Budget Axe

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — The rodeo program is among budget cutbacks approved by the Hastings College board of trustees as it wrestles with an operational deficit of more than $3 million.

A message posted online by President Don Jackson says the trustees have approved a plan to realize $2.3 million in savings during the 2017-18 school year by eliminating or consolidating some staff positions and taking other belt-tightening steps. The plans for 2018-19 include eliminating three to four faculty positions, three to four staff positions and ending the rodeo program.

The college competes as part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Among its Nebraska members are Mid-Plains Community College, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Former NJ Coach Jailed After Theft Conviction

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The former track coach for a community college in New Jersey has been sentenced to prison for stealing $150,000 from the school.

Michael Smart, of Roselle, was sentenced to three years in state prison.

The former track coach for Essex County College pleaded guilty in December to using a debit card he was given for team expenses to steal money through ATM withdrawals.

Money was deposited into the account for coaches to pay for event fees, food and transportation, and coaches were supposed to submit receipts. But prosecutors say he took the money without providing any accounting or receipts.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino says it was a terrible betrayal.

Smart was permanently banned from public employment and must pay restitution.


Longtime Miss. President To Retire

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Itawamba Community College president Mike Eaton plans to retire in June after 43 years of service to the college. Eaton has served as president since 2013 and says it’s time to pass the torch.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/ 2k4H2Lw ) reports Eaton has held numerous positions at the school, including athletic director, vice president of student services and assistant to the president.

Currently, a five-year plan is revamping the Tupelo campus with the addition of a new physical plant and the construction of a twostory general academic building.

On the Fulton campus, a 13,585- square-foot multipurpose hazardous weather safe room is currently being built.

Numerous other facility upgrades and construction projects are being done on both campuses The ICC Board of Trustees will search for a new president.


Court Overturns College Tuition- Payment Order

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A divorced couple cannot be forced to pay college tuition for their estranged daughter, a state appellate court ruled.

Caitlyn Ricci has argued that her parents should pay portions of the costs she incurred while attending the former Gloucester County College and later, Temple University, where she enrolled without her parents’ blessings.

Two lower court judges ordered her parents to pay some costs. But the appellate court rejected those rulings, finding that detailed hearings must first be held to determine whether Caitlyn was considered legally emancipated after she moved in with her paternal grandparents. Once that determination is made, a judge must then rule on the parents’ responsibility to pay for college costs.

The court fight began after the parents obtained a March 2013 consent order emancipating their then 21-year-old daughter. State law mandates that parents can only be ordered to contribute to the college costs of children who are not emancipated.

In its decision, the appellate court wrote that “a parent cannot be viewed as a ‘wallet’ and deprived of involvement of college decision making process.”

A lawyer for Ricci’s mother says the family has reconciled while the appeal was making its way through the legal system.

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