Your Ad Here

Thursday, December 21, 2006

NCCU business school gains AACSB accreditation

N.C. Central University announced a double dose of good news Thursday on the academic and sports fronts.

Its business school has gained a prestigious accreditation from an international organization, and its football team has been declared the Black College National Champions in a poll conducted by the Sheridan Broadcasting Network.

The business school accreditation, from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, is the "gold standard in business school accreditation," said Bijoy Sahoo, interim dean of NCCU's School of Business.

Duke and UNC are among the 17 North Carolina universities with the status. The AACSB accredits about 500 business schools worldwide.

Sahoo said the new certification will help the school recruit and retain faculty and students.

"It just makes us more credible as a quality academic program," Sahoo said. "It's a feather in the cap of the faculty and administration."

The business school had no accreditation for a few months this year, but now has two types: the new AACSB one and another from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. The university lost the latter last December and regained it in May.

NCCU as a whole also is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

NCCU lost its ACBSP certification because officials did not file a self-evaluation report. Under the leadership of then-dean Benjamin Newhouse, the school was pursuing just the AACSB accreditation, even though approval would not have come before the ACBSP status expired.

Chancellor James Ammons criticized the decision at the time, and Newhouse was removed from his job.

The AACSB accreditation, which will cover NCCU's bachelor's and master's programs in business administration, focuses more on universities' faculty research and intellectual productivity than the ACBSP certification does, Sahoo said.

The School of Business first applied for AACSB accreditation in 1999.

Businesses, who sometimes help pay for employees to take part-time courses, often don't want to fund study at universities that are not AACSB approved, Sahoo said.

To achieve the certification, business schools need to go through a lengthy peer-review process and do a self-evaluation report.

"The faculty, the students and staff have shown character," Sahoo said. "We gained back the one we lost and we got this one."

NCCU's business school opened in 1972, after separating from the university's Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences. It has more than 1,025 undergraduates enrolled and 80 students in the graduate program.

A&T leader faces embezzlement charges

A high-ranking university official faces criminal charges after an internal N.C. A&T audit found someone created a slush fund to funnel rebates on school equipment purchases, records show.

Rodney Emile Harrigan, 61, vice chancellor for information technology and telecommunications, turned himself in to campus police, according to a statement faxed Monday to the News & Record.

Arrest warrants show he was charged with obtaining property by false pretense and embezzlement of state property.

Records made no mention of how the money was spent.

Harrigan, of 5300 Bancroft Road in Greensboro, was released from the Guilford County jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

"If you would like to print anything," he said in response to questions about the charges, "please just say that I am innocent, and I cannot make any further comments at this time."

Harrigan was also suspended with pay from the university, where he earned $135,636 per year, according to the school.

The money in question, rebates through a service that supplies computers and software to the school, was placed in an unauthorized personal account with the N.C. A&T State Foundation, warrants show.

Authorities allege Harrigan diverted more than $70,000 to the account starting in 2004. A university spokeswoman said Monday she did not know if Harrigan is the only school official suspected of involvement in the activity.

The spokeswoman, Mable Scott, said the internal audit began when officials received a tip through a phone hot line that gives employees a confidential way to report fraud and abuse.

A team of three investigators from the UNC system has been asked by A&T to assist internal auditors, Scott said.

University records indicate the school knew as early as November of irregularities with discretionary accounts opened by Harrigan’s office. The accounts were frozen Nov. 6, according to a memo to Harrigan from interim Chancellor Lloyd Hackley.

Hackley, through an office receptionist who answered the phone Monday, directed the News & Record to speak with Scott.

Harrigan is the second university official in recent weeks to be under public scrutiny.

The A&T police chief, Curtis Bigelow, resigned Wednesday after a state commission found that he erred in not disclosing a misdemeanor charge when he applied for certification with the university’s police in 1992.

The same commission also concluded that Bigelow erred in not reporting a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge from a 2001 traffic accident.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Johns Hopkins and Howard team to train scientists

Nanomaterials scientists at The Johns Hopkins University are teaming with colleagues at Howard University and Prince George's Community College to attract and train materials scientists from underrepresented minority groups, especially African-Americans.

Called the Partnership for Research and Education in Materials, or PREM, the collaboration will involve undergraduates in world-class research at Johns Hopkins on the properties of nanomaterials, materials made of structures on the order of a billionth of a meter in size.

"The goal is for this partnership to increase the number of minorities who pursue careers in materials research, engineering and related fields, including physics and chemistry," said Daniel Reich of Johns Hopkins, co-principal investigator of PREM and a professor in the Krieger School's Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy. "We'll do this on several levels, all of which include the sharing of our resources — both intellectual and in terms of research infrastructure — with those at the other institutions."

PREM will receive $2.75 million over five years and is one of six new such partnerships receiving a total of $15.4 million from the National Science Foundation.

The Johns Hopkins scientists are members of the Johns Hopkins University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, an NSF-funded center that supports interdisciplinary research on advanced magnetic nanomaterials. The PREM program will have three basic components: bringing researchers at Johns Hopkins and Howard University together for collaborative research; offering Howard undergraduates the opportunity to perform research internships at Johns Hopkins; and developing new courses for students at Prince George's Community College.

In fact, there will be particular emphasis on reaching out to undergraduate students from underrepresented minority groups at all three institutions.

"One of the key things we are keeping in mind is that if students are going to be attracted to careers in the sciences and in engineering, they need to experience research in these fields as undergraduates," Reich said.

The PREM at Johns Hopkins, Howard University and PGCC is one of six such new collaborations. The others are California State and Princeton universities; Jackson State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara; Norfolk State and Cornell universities; Tuskegee and Cornell universities; and the University of New Mexico and Harvard University.

Monday, December 18, 2006

S.C. State foundation to buy University Village

The South Carolina State University Real Estate Foundation is lining up $12.5 million in financing to purchase the six-acre, 288-bed University Village apartment complex on Chestnut Street.

“It will be a wonderful new amenity to house our students,” said Maurice Washington, the SCSU Board of Trustees’ chairman and its representative on the foundation trustee board.

“It’s also an investment for our future,” he continued. It will “support the enrollment goals of the university as we move from where we are right now at 4,300 to 4,400 students to about 8,000 students.”

“We can’t wait until we get there to expand” the student housing capacity, Washington said. “We have to be doing that right now.”

Separately, on-campus housing units for 755 students are scheduled to go into service by the end of this month. Those structures were financed with a nearly $40 million federally guaranteed loan.

University Village is privately owned. It was built in 2002 by Bostic Brothers Construction, one of the nation’s largest builders of multifamily and student housing.

“It would be a very attractive property for the university,” said James Patterson, a part-owner of University Village.

“There certainly have been discussions and those discussions are continuing,” Patterson said in a phone interview.

“It’s mostly their students who are there,” Patterson said. “Many times universities will acquire properties where their students live. It’s not unique.”

Although university officials initially saw University Village as a private-sector rival to campus housing, the university has become the complex’s biggest customer, renting units there and at other apartment complexes when demand for on-campus housing exceeds the available supply.

“We’re paying an enormous amount of money on a monthly basis to house over 200, sometimes 300, students at that facility, somewhere in the ballpark of $90,000 a month,” Washington said.

“If we’re going to pay that, we might as well pay for ownership versus rentership,” Washington said. “The wonderful thing about this debt is, it’s not (going to be) on the university’s books.”

The real estate foundation is one of several nonprofit entities affiliated with the university. Its creation was authorized by the university trustee board.

Washington said the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the College of Charleston are among the institutions of higher education that have established real estate foundations.

“We’re kind of late to the game, but better late than never,” he said.

The foundation has its own governing body, whose chair is the Rev. Sam Glover, a former member of the SCSU trustee board. The foundation’s executive director is Dr. Kevin Rolle, who is also the university’s vice president of student affairs.

“The Real Estate Foundation exists primarily for the purpose of acquiring land and physical structures for university use,” Washington said.

“It is important as we look to the future that we expand the physical footprint of the university, and this gives us an ideal opportunity to do just that,” he said.

“Whereas we may not be able to purchase” desired properties “because of lack of funding and because we have stretched our debt ratio out to its capacity, we may still be in need of additional land or structures to carry out the mission and vision of the university,” Washington said.

“The fact we can keep about $12 million off our books in terms of debt plays well to the future development needs of the university,” he said.

“We may want to reserve our ability to incur debt for other purposes, going forward, like our engineering building for example, and the expansion of Hodge Hall, and (the replacement of) Turner Hall and the library,” he said. “It’s always good to have that entity in place to assist us in moving the agenda forward.”

The foundation can obtain loans because “the collateral is the facility” being purchased, Washington said. “That’s why we’re only paying market value, appraised value.”

If the foundation defaults on the payments, the bank can foreclose on the loan and repossess the property, but that is unlikely, he added.

“Orangeburg County has been discovered,” he said. “Developers are heading this way. Property values will only escalate. Those who fail to get on the front end of this wave will be very sorry five, 10 years out from now. You either buy now and pay less, or buy later and pay more.”

Orangeburg County Council held a public hearing Monday on the proposed issuance of $12.5 million in South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority Student Housing Revenue Bonds.

Proceeds of the bond will be loaned to South Carolina State University Housing LLC, which was described as a “South Carolina manager-managed limited liability company” whose sole member is the SCSU Real Estate Foundation.

The SCSU Board of Trustees discussed the matter behind closed doors at its quarterly meeting Thursday.

Upon returning to public session, the trustees voted to approve a management agreement between the university and SCSU Housing LLC.

The agreement specifies that the university will maintain the facilities “in good repair and condition and at a minimum as required by university policy for student housing facilities.”

It also says campus police will provide law enforcement and the university “shall adhere to any applicable federal, state or local ... laws and regulations pertaining to health or the environment.”

Washington said the university is prepared to install a security gate, additional lighting and other safety enhancements at University Village.

“Things appear to be moving along very smoothly,” Washington said. “We have been approved by JEDA. Bank of America has approved the loan as well.

“We need Budget & Control Board approval and that matter will come before them on Tuesday (Dec. 12),” he said. “The closing date is somewhere in February.”

Earlier in the year, Washington said, “We believe in smart growth. We realize, to grow this institution, we can’t be afraid of incurring debt, but it has to be done very deliberately and carefully thought out.

“We just have to be very intelligent about how we approach this, and at the end of the day, if the numbers all fit, and we can handle the new debt without partially sinking the ship, then we’re going to try to make it happen.”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

ASU getting better enrollment numbers than other HBCUs

Brittany Blunt said she had several criteria in mind when she contemplated her college choice before graduating high school.

“I wanted to make sure the school (she chose) had a good chemistry program, a family environment and I wanted to stay in Georgia and keep HOPE,” Blunt said.

She said she already knew she wanted to attend an HBCU, after being influenced by her parents who are both graduates of black colleges.

“My parents said if I wanted to experience culture and be in a family environment and if I wanted to mature as a black person, I had to come to an HBCU,” she said.

Blunt, now a 20-year-old junior chemistry major at Albany State, said chose ASU because of its beautiful and friendly campus.

She is one of the students that help ASU stay on top of enrollment. Unlike other HBCU’s across the U.S., ASU is not experiencing a decline in enrollment.

Dr. Timothy Knowles, vice president for Student Affairs, said the vision of ASU President Everett Freeman, quality teachers and academic departments and the school’s reputation has helped enrollment.

Dr. Ellis Sykes, vice president for Academic Affairs, said good leadership, faculty and staff contribute to ASU’s increased enrollment. He also said he credits the flood of 1994, saying it was a blessing in disguise.

Sykes said the funds received to replace and remodel buildings damaged from the flood helped the school become more attractive in students’ eyes.

In 2001, enrollment was down 2 percent with 3,456 students enrollment for fall semester. That trend changed for fall semester 2002. In 2002, enrollment increased 2.9 percent with 3,557 students, and up 3.5 percent in 2003 with 3,681 students.

But in 2004, enrollment decreased 0.4 percent with 3,668 students and continued in 2005 with 0.5 percent and 3,649 students enrolled.

ASU experienced a large increase of 5.3 percent in Fall 2006. As of Sept. 18, 3,844 students were enrolled at ASU.

However, other HBCUs have not had the same fortune.

Despite a rise in overall attendance, the number of college eligible Black students who attend HBCUs has dropped from 18.4 percent to 12.9 percent over the past thirty years. Between 1995 and 2004, 26 of 87 HBCUs profiled by the United States Education Department experienced declines in enrollment.

The percentage of college-eligible black students who choose to attend an HBCU fell from 18.4 percent in 1976 to 12.9 percent in 2001, according to a CNN report.

Experts say the reasons for the declining interest in HBCUs include aging campuses, dwindling prestige, changes in what black students value, and increasing competition from white educational powerhouses.

Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Ga. and Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga. are HBCUs under the University System of Georgia that are having enrollment decline.

In Fall 1998, Fort Valley had an enrollment of 3,024 students. By the following year, it decreased almost six percent to 2,847 students. From 2000-2005, Fort Valley’s enrollment decreased consistently every semester.

For Fall 2005, Fort Valley enrolled 2,174 students.

Blunt, who toured Fort Valley’s campus, said she decided not to attend Fort Valley mainly because of the attitudes of the students. She said the students who gave her a tour of the campus were not impressive.

“It was unpleasant. Fort Valley was ghetto-looking and it was unorganized. Even my family was not impressed,” she said.

Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga. has a different enrollment history than Fort Valley.

Instead of decreasing steadily every semester, Savannah State has seen fluctuations in enrollment.

Between 1996-98, Savannah’s enrollment decreased. In 1999, the school enrolled 2,153 students. From 1999, Savannah State’s enrollment continued to increase and at fall semester 2005, its enrollment increased nearly 44 percent with 3,091 enrolled students.

Many HBCU admission offices realize the decline in HBCU enrollment, and have developed different recruiting strategies to counter the enrollment depletion.

One way ASU is attracting more students is through aggressive recruitment at high schools outside of southwest Georgia and even out of state. At one point ASU sent recruiters to Florida, but later stopped once out-of-state fees became too costly for students who were not Georgia residents.

Dr. Knowles said part of ASU’s success in recruiting comes from realizing students have several options in choosing a college or university.

“We know we are competing. We never assume all blacks will come to HBCUs,” he said.

Competition between HBCUs and predominately white colleges and universities is a great factor in HBCU enrollment declining, with schools like Harvard University offering full four-year scholarships to minorities.

By the 1980s, African-Americans were enrolled in record numbers at predominantly white institutions of higher education, leaving historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) struggling with tough economic times and declining student enrollments.

In August of 2006, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) enrolled 4,130 students, up from 3,166 students in 1996, a hike that put the university above the 4,000-pupil mark for the first time in its 120-year existence, said Suzanne Street, university spokeswoman.

Black students make up 77.4 percent of enrollment at the Princess Anne, Md., campus, while foreign students account for 88.7 percent and whites, 11.3 percent, she said.

And with middle-class black parents being able to devote more of their income to their child’s college education, more prospective college students find themselves not obligated to attend an HBCU, unlike their parents and grandparents.

Many HBCU recruiters have chosen to focus on non-black potential students to not only increase enrollment, but to diversify the campus.

Several HBCUs like, Central State University in Ohio, Hampton University in Virginia, Delaware State University in Delaware and ASU have adopted the strategy of recruiting non-black students.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LeMoyne-Owen retains SACS accreditation

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has announced that LeMoyne-Owen College will continue to be accredited by SACS, with Lemoyne's current status of Probation with Good Cause for another year.

The commission found that LeMoyne has taken sufficient action over the last year to improve its financial health.

Robert Lipscomb, LeMoyne-Owen's board chairman, said the decision is encouraging for Lemoyne.

"The SACS Commission is giving the college another year to continue to make strides that will make the college stronger," Lipscomb says. "We are now able to complete our Strategic Transformation Plan which is currently underway to dramatically change the college's direction to make it much more responsive to current market needs."

That plan includes a review of Lemoyne's academic offerings with assistance from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, support from the United Negro College Fund, and a review of its business model by the Board of Trustees.

Johnnie Watson, interim president of LeMoyne, said even though the school had hoped for removal from probation, he will still work toward that goal.

"We will continue to work diligently to look for ways to address our issues and to get the college on sure footing by the next review period," Watson said.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bush to Award Xavier Pres. Medal of Freedom

Norman C. Francis, President of Xavier University of Louisiana for nearly 40 years, has been tabbed by Preisdent Bush to receive the Presidential Medel of Freedom. The award will be presented at a White House ceremoney on December 15, 2006.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civil award, was established by Executive Order 11085 in 1963, the Medal may be awarded by the President "to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Former TSU professor will leave prison early

A former English professor at Texas Southern University, who has served six months of a 10-year sentence for stealing thousands of dollars from programs she managed at the school, could be released on probation before Christmas.

Dottie Malone Atkins, 67, pleaded guilty in April to theft by a public servant in connection with fraudulent requisitions she created and consultant fees she was paid as director of the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace, and two other programs, prosecutors said. She was sentenced in June to 10 years in prison. She had faced a maximum sentence of 20 years.

But state District Judge Don Stricklin granted her request this week for "shock probation," meaning she will be released from prison after serving about 180 days and will be placed on supervised release.

"The good news is Ms. Atkins will be home for Christmas," said Sam Adamo, her lawyer. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, according to court records.

Harris County Assistant District Attorney Donna Goode said the state opposed probation. She wants Stricklin to impose conditions of release that include restitution, community service and an apology to TSU administrators and students.

Prosecutors have said that from 2000 to 2002, Atkins stole about $76,000 from the Leland center, the university's anti-tobacco program and the Texas Legislative Intern Program.

They said she created fake requisitions and invoices for work that was not done.

Atkins admitted stealing about $38,000. Adamo blamed Atkins' gambling addiction for the thefts. She testified that she lost about $355,000, primarily at Harrah's casino in Lake Charles, La., between January 2001 and December 2002. A TSU audit uncovered Atkins' misappropriation of funds at the Leland Center. Other financial irregularities were found at two other programs she managed.

Monday, December 04, 2006

JSU planning on campus Stadium

Jackson State University is planning a new on campus football stadium that would serve as a major link between the campus and downtown, an economic development driver for the university and community, according to a firm the university hired to prepare a case statement for the stadium.

The facility would be equipped with 15 suites as well as standard amenities like a press box, locker rooms and office space. The stadium, expected to cost about $80 million, would seat 35,000 to 40,000 people.

Such a facility would be great for the city and the university, although some JSU supporters will frown at its proposed capacity. These concerns, however, are more emotional than logical.


The case statement was prepared by Brailsford & Dunlavey, a facility planning and program management firm based in Washington, D.C.

It is just a preliminary analysis but makes a rather compelling case for the stadium. This includes freeing up the site of the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium to allow for additional growth by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The firm also dissected JSU's current financial arrangement with Veterans Memorial Stadium and looked at other institutions that recently built stadiums as a point of reference. It also used JSU's 25-year average of about 25,000 fans for home games as a benchmark.

This is one reason why the proposed capacity makes sense. It will increase the value of tickets to the games. Because the school currently plays in a 60,000-seat facility, demand for tickets has never exceeded the supply.


The study also concluded that JSU's current agreement with Veterans Memorial Stadium is unfavorable to the university.

"It severely limits the university in fully realizing the financial benefits of consistent strong spectator support as well as important intangible benefits of operating a successful intercollegiate football program at the Division I-AA level."

The university pays the stadium $15,000 per game or 7 percent of the gate, whichever is higher. It collects 33 percent of concession sales but collects no parking revenues and is responsible for paying the electricity for the stadium lights.

"It is this lost revenue that impacts the university's ability to make enhancements to its athletic programs," the study said.

The proposed stadium, even with 35,000 seats, is a great venture that should create more enthusiasm for JSU football and downtown Jackson, while supporting UMC. This should be difficult for lawmakers to ignore.

Friday, December 01, 2006

TSU receives $1M federal grant for biotech program

Tennessee State University announced Monday it has been awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Defense to establish a nanoscience and biotechnology laboratory and research program.

Marcus W. Shute, TSU vice president for research and sponsored programs, will be the principal investigator for the grant, which was awarded by the Department of Defense’s Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper was instrumental in securing the grant, TSU officials said.

The funds will be used to build out a nanoscience and biotechnology laboratory in the TSU Research and Sponsored Programs facility currently under construction. The building is scheduled to open in early 2007, with the nanoscience and biotechnology lab to be operational by fall of 2007.

The research conducted in the new program will involve interdisciplinary projects relevant to national science and technology goals, the university said. It will support the missions of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, Department of Homeland Security and National Institutes of Health, among other agencies. In addition, the project will assist in creating the pipeline for the next generation of scientists and researchers in nanoscience and biotechnology. The initiative received strong support from Tennessee’s congressional delegation in Washington and promises to have significant impact in the scientific community, TSU officials said.

Jennifer Stewart-Wright, an environmental biochemist and program director for university research initiatives at Tennessee State, will serve as the co-principal investigator and project director for the grant.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Southern University Board Chair comes under investigation for harrassment

Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana has hired a lawyer to investigate allegations that her assistant chief of staff sexually harrassed employees of the Southern University System. Ms. Blanco’s aide, Johnny G. Anderson, is also chairman of the system’s governing body, the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Anderson told The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge, La., that he is innocent, and would not step down from his university post or his job with the governor. State Sen. Cleo Fields, a Democrat from Baton Rouge, called on Governor Blanco to ask Mr. Anderson to step aside for fear that he could influence the investigation from either or both of his positions. Mr. Fields said he would introduce a resolution next month in a special session of the state Legislature that would prohibit members of the governor’s staff from simultaneously serving on government boards.

The allegations against Mr. Anderson are unclear. The governor’s special counsel, Kimberly Robinson, said that her office had not seen specifics of the complaints from employees. The issue came to light when the university system’s president, Ralph Slaughter, sent a letter about the complaints to another state senator, Charles Jones, a Democrat from Monroe, La., asking him to look into the matter.

Mr. Anderson was re-elected on Friday to a third term as chairman of the system’s board.

Tx Southern picks Boddie as interim leader

The governing board of Texas Southern University, still reeling from a spending scandal and layoffs, appointed a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general as interim president Monday.

James Timothy Boddie Jr., who once led NASA's Aircraft Management Office, will assume the top job at the nation's second-largest historically black university upon finalizing an employment contract, officials said.

The regents turned to Boddie, 75, after firing Priscilla Slade in June on the grounds that she misspent $286,000 of the school's money to furnish and landscape her house. Slade and three former aides now face criminal charges.

"Right now TSU needs someone who is rigid, and he fit the bill," board Chairman J. Paul Johnson said.

Johnson said the board also wanted a strong leader who would represent the university well in Austin when state lawmakers convene in January.

"The legislative session will be extremely important for us," Johnson said.

In August, TSU eliminated 178 jobs, including dozens of faculty positions, in anticipation of a $13.7 million shortfall this year. The regents also raised tuition and fees by 21.5 percent — the first increase in two years.

Enrollment declined about 2 percent this fall, but the drop was not as steep as the 7 percent campus leaders forecasted.

Boddie has not worked in academia but said his skills as an administrator — once leading a 6,000-troop base in Korea, "a city within itself" — translates into leading TSU. He said he sees his role as fixing the university's problems before a permanent president is hired.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UMES enjoys enrollment high

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's fall enrollment increase of 6.7 percent is tops among the traditional four-year universities in the University System of Maryland (USM) in fall 2006.

Total enrollment at UMES is 4,130, the first time in the institution's 120-year history that the student body headcount has exceeded 4,000. UMES has experienced significant enrollment growth for several years; in 1996 the headcount was 3,166.

“The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has become an institution of choice for all students in Maryland,” said President Thelma B. Thompson. “Recent accreditations, our unique academic programs, an outstanding faculty, an infusion of new scholarships and one of the most beautiful campuses in America are drawing more and more students to UMES.”

UMES, a historically black college that is one of the most racially diverse among the USM's 13 universities and research institutions, has a student population that is 77.4 percent African-American, 11.3 percent white and 88.7 percent other races. Students come from over 31 states and over 60 foreign countries. All counties in Maryland are represented and 922 (22.3 percent) are from the Lower Eastern Shore.

The University has 1,614 male students (representing 39.1 percent of the student body) and 2,516 female students. Undergraduate students number 3,697, and graduate students, 433. UMES had 29 undergraduate majors, 11 master's programs and six doctoral programs, and some 94 percent of the faculty have the terminal degree in their field of study.

According to a USM preliminary enrollment report, 5.1 percent more students enrolled in System institutions this fall than this time last year. Headcount enrollment numbers have reached a record high, boasting 135,005 new students, excluding University of Maryland University College’s (UMUC) overseas students, for the 13-member system.

While Salisbury University (5.3 percent), Towson (5.1 percent), University of Baltimore (1.1 percent), University of Maryland, Baltimore (2.0 percent) and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1.3 percent) all reported increases, UMES’ enrollment increase of 6.7 percent is the highest increase since its founding.

UMES enjoys the highest six-year graduation rate (50 percent) among the four black colleges in Maryland, and ranks with the leaders among historically black colleges nationally.

Furthermore, a significant number of UMES students graduating with a bachelor’s degree attend graduate school. Out of 389 students who graduated in the 2004-05 academic year, 101 (26 percent) attended graduate school. University officials expect comparable numbers for the 2005-06 academic year.

Importantly, in keeping with its mission, UMES enrolls large numbers of students who are first in their respective families to attend college. During the 2005-06 academic year, 51 percent of entering freshmen were first generation college students.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Slade faces claims of lying

Prosecutor seeks to unseal the testimony of ex-TSU president
Former Texas Southern University President Priscilla Slade may have lied to the grand jury that later indicted her, Harris County prosecutors told a judge Monday.

Prosecutor Donna Goode sought to unseal Slade's grand jury testimony so that Slade's former assistant can review it for inconsistencies. If conflicts are found, an aggravated perjury charge could be added to the felony charges she faces.

The grand jury indicted Slade and three of her aides Aug. 1 on charges of misapplication of fiduciary property in relation to her use of university money for personal expenses while she was president.

"I think there's enough concern on my part to go through the gyrations of filing the motion," Goode said when asked whether there were specific allegations. She would not comment on the specific testimony in question, however.

Slade's attorney called the effort a "fishing expedition." Slade was fired in June after TSU attorneys concluded that she failed to follow university policies and state laws while spending more than $260,000. A criminal investigation later revealed more than $1.9 million was spent during her tenure on such purchases as artwork, club memberships, spa treatments and tickets for sporting events.

She is charged with two counts. If convicted, she faces a sentence ranging from probation to life in prison.
Slade's attorney, Mike DeGeurin, called the move an attempt to unseal her testimony for witnesses before her trial.
By alleging that Slade may have lied to the grand jury, prosecutors can show testimony to witnesses who otherwise would not have had access to it, he said.

"There has to be a particularized need to look into grand jury testimony," DeGeurin said. State District Judge Brock Thomas is expected to rule on unsealing the testimony Nov. 28.

Aggravated perjury is a felony in which someone lied under oath in a court proceeding about something material to the inquiry.

If convicted, Slade could receive probation or up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Slade is scheduled to be tried with three of her aides: Quintin Wiggins, Bruce Wilson and Frederick Holts, who were indicted in connection with their roles in the purchases.

However, some attorneys for the four defendants are arguing that their clients should be tried separately, or "severed" from the others. The judge will rule on severance requests Jan. 9.

DeGeurin said he has not decided whether he will ask for a severance. At least one defendant will go to trial Feb. 16, Goode said, but the possibility of severances makes it impossible to determine who at this point.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

UMES awarded $12.5 Million from NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a $12.5 million grant, 5-year grant, to the University of Maryland Eastern Shores and five other universities to conduct research into aquatic sciences to habitat restoration.

It is the second multimillion, five-year grant that NOAA offered the research teams since 2001. The research began six years ago in the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at UMES.

"I am extremely pleased with this significant infusion of federal funds by NOAA to UMES," said Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., a strong supporter of the Marine Science Center. "UMES has earned a national reputation for its programs in marine-related sciences and is uniquely qualified to continue its strong educational and research initiatives in marine sciences."

The other universities that are involved are Delaware State University, Hampton University, Savannah State University, the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute Center of Marine Biotechnology and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

LMRCSC will continue to generate the diverse students in marine sciences that NOAA and other related agencies desire to have a multicultural work force, said UMES President Thelma B. Thompson.

The NOAA grant also funds the students who are working on the research teams.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Julius Scott Named Interim President of Savannah State

University System of Georgia Interim Chief Academic Officer And Executive Vice Chancellor Beheruz N. Sethna announced today that he has appointed Dr. Julius Scott, a distinguished and nationally recognized administrator and academician to serve as the interim president of Savannah State University (SSU).

Scott's appointment, effective Jan. 1, 2007, follows SSU President Carlton E. Brown's recent announcement that he is resigning as of Dec. 31, 2006. Scott will serve as interim president until a national search concludes with the appointment of a permanent president for SSU. Scott has served as interim president of University System of Georgia institutions on three other occasions – Albany State University in 1996 and 2005 and the Medical College of Georgia in 2001.

Prior to serving the University System of Georgia, Scott held the presidency of Wiley College, in Marshall, Texas, from 1996 to 2001. He also held two appointments as president of Paine College in Augusta, first from 1975 to 1982, and later for an unusual second term, from 1988 to 1994.

"We are extremely grateful to have been able to call on Dr. Scott's strong leadership skills again and again over the years," Sethna said. "I am confident that Savannah State University will be in very good hands with his guidance."

Scott holds a Ph.D. from Boston University and additional degrees from Brown University, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary and Wiley College (with distinction). Named a Distinguished Alumnus of Boston University in 1987, he also holds 14 honorary degrees.

He is a member of Rotary Club International, and was elected a Paul Harris Fellow in 1992. Scott's numerous service roles include having served as secretary of the members of the United Negro College Fund; chair of the secretariat and secretary of the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and as a member of the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. He also serves as a member of the board of the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs, a member of the board of the Medical College of Georgia Health, Inc., and as a life member of the North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) Board of Trustees.

Plans regarding the national search for a permanent presidential appointee will be forthcoming in the near future.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New A&T President Ready for a Challenge

The chance to lead one of the "big three" among historically black universities wasn't something the 55-year-old president of Baltimore's Coppin State University was going to pass on.

Stanley F. Battle was elected by the UNC Board of Governors on Friday as the next chancellor of N.C. A&T . He starts his new job July 1 with a salary of $255,000.

Battle said he was drawn by the east Greensboro university's consistent record and reputation, the state's support for higher education and the opportunity to mesh with the greater Greensboro community.

He has one goal for A&T: "To make it the finest institution in the country," he said.

"I enjoy rising early and going to bed late," he said. "I'm going to use every second and every minute effectively and efficiently."

UNC system President Erskine Bowles said choosing Battle was not a tough decision. He said Battle was the type of leader he could believe in, trust in and work with.

"I liked his passion. I liked his seriousness. I liked the fact that he was straight to the point, no nonsense," Bowles said.

"I liked the fact he understood how difficult this job was going to be and that he was tough enough to do it. You can't sense any fear in this man. He's ready for this challenge."

Other qualities — such as his integrity, communication skills and down-to-earth nature — endeared him to others.

"The way he treats the custodian is the same way he'll treat the chairwoman of the board of trustees," said Arnita Floyd-Moody, A&T's student body president and a search committee member.

Battle was a unanimous choice among committee members, said search Chairwoman Velma Speight-Buford.

"Greensboro is fortunate," said Lloyd Hackley, who has been A&T's interim leader since May 1. "They're getting an outstanding chancellor."
Battle has been president of Coppin State since March 2003. A man of faith, he said some students at Coppin State call him "Bishop Battle." He's also an avid runner and has a twin brother who shares his love of singing.

Battle said it was too early to start outlining his priorities for the university; he wants a chance to get to know the campus community. But he did emphasize communication with two key constituents: students and alumni.

"A great deal of time will be spent with the students," he told the university's trustees and top administrators during an A&T luncheon Friday. "If anyone has a problem with that, we need to reorder our steps because students are the most important reason why we're here."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tuskegee taps new technology opportunity

At the beginning of the 20th century, George Washington Carver and other researchers and educators at Tuskegee University helped revolutionize Southern agriculture by urging farmers to plant alternative crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes in fields depleted by decades of cotton farming.

With alumni returning this weekend to celebrate Tuskegee's 125th anniversary, the school's researchers are developing methods to enable astronauts to grow peanuts and sweet potatoes on space missions.

Home of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots trained to fly for the U.S. military, Tuskegee has become the nation's top supplier of black aerospace engineers and receives research funding from Lockheed and Boeing.

Maintaining the ties it established with corporate America in the early 1900s, the 3,000-student university in the Black Belt draws hundreds of companies to its annual career fair as they seek a diverse workforce to compete in a global economy.

One of those students is Carl Orlando Williams Jr. of Montgomery, a junior in mechanical engineering, who is on a scholarship sponsored by Raytheon. He has been chosen for summer internships with Procter & Gamble and G.E.'s aircraft engineering division.

"The opportunities for my generation are unlimited," Williams said.

Legand Burge, dean of Tuskegee's College of Engineering, Architecture and Physical Sciences, said students don't need Ivy League test scores and grades to get in, but they are expected to perform and are rewarded when they do.

"You graduate here, you get a job," Burge said.

'A force for good'

Founded in 1881 by former slaves, Tuskegee has come a long way since its first class of 30 local students met in a one-room shanty under the leadership of Booker T. Washington. At the time, the state of Alabama provided a meager $2,000, strictly for teachers' salaries, at the Normal School for Colored Teachers.

Soon after its founding, the school built a campus on a 100-acre abandoned plantation. Through the years, faculty in the architecture school designed and students built its stately academic buildings around a grassy green that still serves as the heart of the campus.

Washington, born in slavery himself, built a national reputation for an approach to higher education that focused on practical training that improved the economic prospects of blacks on the farms as well as those headed to factories and the trades. TU President Benjamin Payton said Washington promoted self-reliance and uplift and avoided bitterness and grievance.

"He was a strong believer in doing first things first," Payton said. "There can be no true freedom without economic freedom. He was about the development of a whole people. Washington had a vision for helping black folk become a force for good in society."

Washington was criticized by black intellectuals for accepting a second-class form of higher education for blacks and participating in a system of segregation that denied political rights for blacks.

Much of the criticism came from blacks from the North who didn't appreciate the climate of hostility and the threatened violence blacks in the South faced, Payton said. Washington wasn't silent. Tuskegee compiled what is still regarded as the most complete tally of lynchings. That archive served as ammunition for protesting the practice.

Washington also campaigned against the Alabama Constitution of 1901, which stripped blacks and poor whites of their voting rights.

But Washington's focus on economic progress rather than social protest won him widespread support throughout the country from major corporations and philanthropists. Henry Ford developed a close relationship with George Washington Carver, and Tuskegee's relationship with Ford continues today.

Presidents sought Washington's counsel, and TU's national reputation remains. Seven sitting presidents have visited the campus in east-central Alabama, including George W. Bush, who came last April to view the work in nanotechnology being performed at Tuskegee's Center for Advanced Materials.

Segregation protested

After Washington's death, subsequent presidents continued his approach, sometimes running into similar criticism.

In the 1920s, the government planned to establish a black veterans' hospital. Tuskegee President Robert Moton pursued and landed the project despite protests by black intellectuals over the segregated nature of the institution. White residents of the area also objected, fearing the hospital would draw a staff of black physicians, nurses and professionals who would control significant economic power.

In the 1940s, Tuskegee President Frederick Patterson landed the Army's flight instruction school for blacks. Again, national black leaders fought the Army Air Corps' plan to establish a separate all-black aviation unit, deriding it as the "Jim Crow Air Corps." But Tuskegee cooperated, and the cadets trained there are better known today as the Tuskegee Airmen.

In more than 200 combat missions during World War II, the Airmen didn't lose a single bomber to enemy fire - a record unmatched by any other fighter group. Their performance helped make the case for the desegregation of the armed forces, and out of that group of airmen came Air Force Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James, America's first black four-star general.

Despite the desegregation of higher education and opportunities available for blacks at flagship schools, Tuskegee's historic mission still remains relevant, Payton said.

And corporate America seems to think there's still a need for Tuskegee. A new home for the business school is being built with the help of a $2 million donation from Procter & Gamble, $1 million donations from Ford, 3M and Praxair, and other large donations from corporations and foundations across the nation.

Closer to home, Tuskegee, which started the nation's first cooperative extension service, remains tied to the Black Belt. With the Alabama Department of Agriculture, Tuskegee is spearheading the creation of a farmers market and cooperative where small farmers from the region can pool their output and provide a steady supply of vegetables for larger suppliers.

Protein-laden potatoes

The university also draws faculty from developing countries and performs research for the benefit of small farmers of those nations. Researchers are developing sweet potatoes with five times the normal level of protein with the goal of improving diets in parts of the world where meat is scarce, and sweet potatoes with the cholera vaccine embedded in its DNA. That could eventually allow immunization to be spread through their cultivation.

Dennis Waiters of Dallas and Robert Warren of Los Angeles were drawn to Tuskegee for the animal science department, which prepares students for the university's School of Veterinary Medicine. TU has the nation's only vet school at a historically black university, and it has produced 75 percent of the nation's black veterinarians. That and other nationally known programs draw students from 43 states and 34 countries. Only 36 percent of Tuskegee's students are from Alabama

Student Government Association president David Milledge of Montgomery is a senior in sales and marketing. At Tuskegee, he said, students don't encounter the barriers they would find at larger, predominantly white schools.

And there is a sense of ownership as they walk past buildings that students built. All students are required to read Booker T. Washington's "Up From Slavery" as freshmen.

"I don't think you can be a student at Tuskegee and not learn the history," Milledge said.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Stanley Battle to be named new Chancellor of NC A&T

Coppin State President Stanley Battle will be introduced as the new Chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University this afternoon in a scheduled press conference on the Greensboro campus.

Battle took over Coppin State in 2003 leading them from college to university status. Previously he had served as vice chancellor of student and multicultural affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The 55-year old Battle has extensive experience in developing academic improvement among low performing students in secondary education.

He is a 1973 graduate of Springfield College, 2 master degrees, one in social work from the University of Connecticut and another in public health from the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his doctorate from Pittsburgh in 1980.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Philander Smith must repay $477,029 to feds

Philander Smith College in Little Rock violated an array of federal student aid requirements, improperly keeping nearly half a million dollars during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, according to an audit by the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General.

The inspector general’s report recommended that the U. S. Education Department order the college be put on a reimbursement pay plan to return $ 477, 029 to the federal government. The college has accepted responsibility for $ 430, 078 but disagrees with the inspector general’s findings as to the exact amount it owes.

“The positive thing about an audit — particularly when you have a new team in — is that it gives you a complete picture as to where you are when you got there,” Walter Kimbrough, president of the 585-student historically black college since December 2004, said Monday.

“We look at it as a sort of playbook that says if we do these things, it will strengthen our institution.”

Philander Smith’s students can continue to be eligible for federal loans and grants.

But the long-term outcome for the college was unknown Monday. The inspector general recommends that Philander Smith continue to receive federal aid, but also asks the Education Department to consider sanctions against the college. These could range from a fine to termination of participation in federal student aid programs.

Kimbrough said Monday he and the Education Department are already working together. He estimated the college has already returned about $ 100, 000 to the federal government.

The decision to accept or reject any of the inspector general’s recommendations is now up to Theresa S. Shaw, the chief operating officer of the department’s Federal Student Aid Office. When contacted Monday, the department declined to offer any further details other than the report.

Kimbrough said the college would be able to reimburse the government. The college has a total budget of about $ 9. 5 million, he said.

The federal audit examined Philander Smith’s finances from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004. Investigators said, among other things, Philander Smith:

Did not maintain proper accounting of Perkins loans. The federal government designates the low-interest loans for students with “exceptional” financial need. Students occasionally made payments to the college’s business office. But officials did not always alert the U. S. Education Department’s central loan database, so some borrowers were not credited for their payments. Because of Philander Smith’s lack of detailed records, the audit could not determine how many borrowers were affected. Distributed $ 289, 861 in federal aid to 64 students who earned zero credit hours in a semester, and therefore should have had their aid halted under federal rules. Failed to return $ 19, 090 for 10 students who later withdrew. The college also did not have a way to identify students who didn’t follow official withdrawal procedures, and as a result, kept an additional $ 127, 265 for 88 students who simply stopped attending classes.

Neglected to complete required verification of certain information on five of 20 students randomly selected by the inspector general. Under federal rules, an institution is not supposed to distribute aid without verifying such information as the recipient’s gross income, income tax payments, household size and the number of household members enrolled in college. The inspector general recommends the college return $ 35, 222 to the federal government for those five students — $ 862 of that also went to a student who quit going to classes.

Other funds the inspector general recommended Philander Smith be required to reimburse included credit balances from unused scholarship funds and accumulated interest on a direct loan program for which the college did not keep proper records.

The audit also said that “based on the significance of these findings,” the total $ 11. 4 million in Education Department funds that Philander Smith disbursed in fiscal 2004 “might be at risk for similar misuse.”

Kimbrough, who previously had served as a college administrator in Georgia and Virginia, started work as Philander Smith’s president in December 2004, months after the period audited. He learned the audit would take place in 2005.

Trudie Kibbe Reed, Philander Smith’s president at the time, is now president of Bethune-Cookman College, a historically black campus in Daytona Beach, Fla.

By e-mail, she said the college’s financial aid office historically has had high turn-over because of low salaries. During fiscal 2003, she said the inspector general’s regional office in Dallas first informed her that the college had failed to return aid for students who had withdrawn.

At the office’s recommendation, she said she hired a new director of financial aid, who left six months later. Reed also hired a full-time consultant to liquidate the college’s Perkins loan program, which she said was in 80 percent default in 1998.

“When I left in 2004, it was my understanding from the consultant that all problems were either cleared up, or in the process,” Reed said.

Since arriving at Philander Smith, Kimbrough has hired a new director of financial aid. He said the majority of staff members in the college’s financial aid office also have been hired since 2005.

Under the inspector general’s recommendation, the college has phased out its direct loan program.

He said the college also introduced a system for tracking students who receive federal aid, so if they withdraw or fail their classes, their aid can be returned to the federal government.

“We think that this is [the inspector general’s ] duty to make sure that their programs are managed effectively,” Kimbrough said. “We look forward to showing [the inspector general’s office ] and our stakeholders in the college that we can manage the program effectively.”

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wayne Riley selected as new President of Meharry

Meharry Medical College officials announced that Wayne Riley will serve as the college’s new president and CEO.

From a field of approximately 100 candidates, the selection committee selected a leader at one of the nation’s top medical schools whose father is a Meharry graduate. Riley has a resume studded with accomplishments including his most recent job as vice president and vice dean of nationally ranked Baylor College of Medicine, in addition to degrees from Yale, Tulane and Rice universities.

“Dr. Riley clearly was the right choice,” said Milton Jones, chairman of the Meharry board of trustees. “He certainly has a very, very high pedigree of experience, and we’re excited to have him.”

He’s the son of 1960 Meharry graduate Emile Edward Riley Jr.

“Meharry changed his life, and made my life possible,” said Riley, who’ll become the school’s 10th president.

Riley said his vision for the college includes a commitment to underserved populations in providing health care, as well as “ground-breaking research” on diseases that disproportionately affect African-American populations. The college’s mission should extend beyond north Nashville, and redefine the idea of what it means to be a historically black medical college.

In terms of the Nashville community, Riley hopes to further cultivate the alliance between Meharry and Vanderbilt Medical School. He said he will also concentrate on promoting Metro General Hospital, both within the college and out in the community.

“I’ve spent my life in public hospitals,” Riley said. “Metro General Hospital is a community and regional resource.”

Riley takes office effective Jan. 1. He succeeds interim president Anna Epp, who took the helm at Meharry after former president John Maupin left in June

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bethune-Cookman receives $4.6 million gift from donor

An anonymous philanthropist has given $4.6 million to Bethune-Cookman College.

The gift is the largest in B-CC's 102-year history.

Miami attorney Larry Handfield, a trustee and 1978 alumnus, said the donor is a friend of his who sought out his counsel.

"(The donor) trusted my direction as far as what will be a good purpose," Handfield said Thursday in a telephone interview.

He told the contributor that Bethune-Cookman touches people's lives every day. The school steered Handfield, a fatherless inner-city teenager, to law school.

When asked about the amount, Handfield said: "When someone is being generous, you don't ask questions."

The gift is unrestricted, meaning the college can use it as it sees fit.

Stephen Schafer, vice president for institutional advancement, said the trustees and president are discussing what might be the best use. The "leading candidates" are a football training center and expanding the nursing program.

Handfield was once drum major in the Marching Wildcats Band.

"(He) is a drum major on all fronts for the college. He is leading on a new and powerful level," President Trudie Kibbe Reed said in a written statement.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chancellor says No Merger Between SSU and Armstrong State

When new University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis addressed the Downtown Rotary Club Monday, he drew a crowd of area college officials large enough to fill two tables.

And though his topic was economic development, no one asked a single question about his speech.

"Well I guess I'll answer the question everyone asked me in the hall," Davis said. " 'Are we going to merge Savannah State (University) and Armstrong (Atlantic State University)?' The answer is no we are not."

The room was silent, except for clapping coming from Savannah State University President Carlton Brown.

"Thank you Carlton," Davis replied.

Armstrong Atlantic State University President Thomas Jones turned to Brown and smiled.

The recent and unexpected administrative changes at Savannah State University has peaked public curiosity and fueled an already raging rumor mill.

The quiet resignation of Vice President for Finance Arthur L. Moncrief leaves Savannah State without it's top three administrators.

Moncrief's resignation is effective today.

Vice-president of Academic Affairs Joseph Silver announced three months ago that he was leaving on sabbatical and will retire in January.

And last week Brown announced he will leave the university in January and take a position handling presidential initiatives for Davis in Atlanta.

But contrary to the local buzz, Davis, who insisted that he is not in the "rumor control business," said there is no missing university system money and he is not cleaning house.

"Having that number of vacancies at once is just coincidental," Davis said.

Silver has taken a job with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, according to Davis, and he wanted Brown to coordinate initiatives for system presidents, he said.

"It is to be expected as I come in, I want to put in different systems and teams to put in place the things that I want to get accomplished," Davis said. "Brown will work on what I consider to be a critical initiative of mine."

As for the employee of the vendor-run bookstore at Savannah State who was recently indicted for embezzling funds, Davis said the matter is in no way connected to the university.

"That's a non-issue from the system perspective," Davis said. "It's the vendor's problem."

Davis was put off by the anonymous letters about Savannah State University that he's received since he took over the state university system this summer.

He has made several administrative changes around the state - there was even another unexpected leadership change at another university this month - but the only changes people are talking about are at Savannah State, Davis said.

"I don't think Savannah State's problems are unique. There are problems at every institution," Davis said. "But we just don't have people papering the landscape with anonymous letters anywhere else."

Brown was appointed by former Chancellor Stephen Portch in 1997 to lead the university out of a period of academic instability and campus unrest. At the onset groups of alumni, sports boosters and faculty protested his appointment.

Eight of the 10 presidents before him resigned after mounting pressure from faculty, the community, students or the Board of Regents. The two who didn't resign died while in office.

During Brown's tenure, people have staged protests, filed lawsuits, circulated petitions and sent letters to the Board of Regents over everything from tenure and finances to academics and football.

Despite the controversy, Davis said the Brown administration was responsible for tremendous accomplishments, including improving facilities, attaining research grants and increasing enrollment.

In the coming months, Davis said he will appoint a local team to find presidential candidates who can carry out his vision and carry on the work that Brown began. Davis will participate in the interviews and make recommendations to the Regents who will ultimately select the university's next president.

During that process, Davis said he hopes to drive home the point that there are much better ways for the Savannah State community to work out its administrative issues and grievances.

"It does a disservice to the university," Davis said.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NSU grant aims to lead students to careers in security, intelligence

No one's calling it Spy 101 yet, but a $2.3 million federal grant won by Norfolk State University will go toward teaching foreign languages, history and religions to students who have their eyes on careers in national security and intelligence.

The grant program helps develop talent for the 16 federal intelligence agencies, including the FBI and the Defense Department, said John Callahan, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"It ranges from... developing tools for espionage to developing key language skills," Callahan said.

"Almost every skill you can imagine is needed in the intelligence community."

Norfolk State announced Tuesday that the money will help finance classes over five years in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, as well as Middle Eastern and Asian history and religions, and developing analytical skills. NSU students also will have opportunities for internships and other work with intelligence agencies.

Science is another target area for the grants, Callahan said. A critical need is developing intelligence-gathering systems that communicate among agencies, he said.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

TSU faithful Hope Games Return to Campus

Homecoming weekend at Tennessee State University brought out thousands of students, faculty and alumni to watch the Big Blue Tigers take on Samford University at LP Field. Many of them are wondering if TSU games will eventually be back on campus.

One elected official is also calling for the games to go back to "The Hole." State Senator Thelma Harper wants to take the games and the festivities that go with them back to TSU's campus. Many TSU fans feel the same way.

TSU's homecoming parade began a day of festivities leading up to Saturday's game against Samford University.

"We look forward to this every year," loyal fan Kandes Dungey says about the Homecoming game.

In recent years homecoming has been a little different than in the past.

"For those of you who don't know where "The Hole" is. It's where the heart is," Harper said.

Speaking to a crowd of TSU students, alumni and local officials Friday, State Senator Thelma Harper said she wants the city and state's help to revive a school tradition.

"We want to come home. We want to come back to the Hole," she said.

Hale Stadium - otherwise known as the Hole - sits on the TSU campus. It was where the Tigers played football for nearly 50 years. In need of repair, the state made a deal with the school in 1999 to let TSU use what is now LP Field as their home stadium.

"By moving it downtown it was a great idea. It gave us more room, more parking. However, with the true tradition, I think it should be right here," Torry Smith says.

Many alumni say, although LP Field is a state of the art facility, they miss the days at the Hole.

"I think it would be awesome. Everything is right here. You don't have to leave campus. There's more school spirit," says student Beatrice Edmundson.

Others say they enjoy going to games in the pro-stadium.

"Tennessee usually brings in a crowd of people. I don't know if the Hole can withstand the number of people that Tennessee brings in," says Thomas Gaitner.

No matter where fans think the games should be played, they're all ready to support their team.

No discussions have been made with the city and state about reviving Hale Stadium.

The first game TSU played at LP Field (called the Coliseum then) was in September 1999. The Big Blue Tigers took on Alabama State in the first John Merritt Classic, and won the game 41 to 8.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Carlton Brown Resigns As SSU President

Students came to the impromptu meeting with Savannah State University President Carlton Brown Monday expecting a pep talk after Saturday's homecoming festivities.

Instead, Brown announced his plans to take a position handling presidential initiatives for the university system chancellor.

"I will depart the presidency of this institution as of Dec. 31 and assume a new position with the Board of Regents," Brown said.

Many of the students who filled the campus ballroom had heard rumors during the homecoming game Saturday, but assumed it was just talk from football boosters angry about their team's losing record.

"Oh, my God!" sophomore Claudine Niba shouted at the news.

The room fell silent as Brown went over a long list of changes that has taken place since he became president in 1997: increased enrollment, stronger academic programs, new housing, endowed scholarships and improved services.

But Brown said he must follow the wishes of the Board of Regents and new Chancellor Erroll Davis. The chancellor's office will conduct the search for Brown's successor.

"I am pleased that Dr. Brown will be joining me to assist in the implementation of a major initiative. Our new system-level projects initiative will involve our institutional presidents, and Dr. Brown's expertise will be invaluable as this program moves forward," said Davis in a Board of Regents press release.

University System spokesman John Milsaps would not say if Brown was reassigned or if he applied for the job.

"We will let the statement stand on its own without further clarification," he said.

This is the second such unexpected change in SSU's administration in three months.

Savannah State University's second in command, vice-president of academic affairs Joseph Silver, surprised students three months ago when he announced he was leaving on sabbatical and will retire in January.

Both Silver and Brown were appointed by former Chancellor Stephen Portch in 1997 to lead the university out of a period of academic instability and campus unrest.

The previous president John T. Wolfe, left the institution after campus protests and demands for his resignation from alumni groups.

Brown was entering a campus with a protest culture. Eight of the 10 presidents before him resigned after mounting pressure from faculty, the community, students or the Board of Regents. The two who didn't resign died while in office.

From the beginning of Brown's tenure, there were groups of alumni, sports boosters and faculty protesting his appointment.

Some were upset that a local search was not conducted to fill the top campus spots. Others were unhappy with the aggressive and sometimes uncompromising style of handling staffing and program changes on campus.

They staged protests, filed lawsuits, circulated petitions and sent letters to the Board of Regents.

Brown's popularity with some of these groups reached an all-time low because of the embarrassing winless seasons that followed a decision to move SSU athletics into Division I in 2002.

Despite the controversy, Brown's administration has accomplished a 1,000-student jump in enrollment, replaced dilapidated housing facilities, constructed Tiger Arena and earned accreditation or re-accreditation for business, social work and engineering technology programs.

"I trust my record demonstrates that this administration has acted in the best interest of the students and the institution," Brown said.

Tearful students who lined up for hugs after Brown's short speech said they felt his record had proved that.

"I don't understand all the booster stuff," said SSU junior Kimberly McBride. "But for students you don't usually get a president like that, someone who makes you feel welcome, like when you go to college you're coming home."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Southern University sponsors after-school program

Southern University’s Department of Sociology is sponsoring an after-school support program for students in grades six through 12.

Called Southern University Empowering Youth Choices, the program will include social, academic and recreational activities, according to director Riad Yehya, a sociology professor.

The program will include field trips, he said.

The program seeks to reduce premarital sex, decrease out-of-wedlock pregnancy, retard sexually transmitted diseases and enhance personal, interpersonal and academic skills.

Yehya said the program, funded by a grant of about $70,000 from the state Department of Social Services, will be based at Crestworth Middle School sixth grade, 2555 DeSoto Drive.

The program begins today and runs through Feb. 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Up to 60 students can enroll.

Friday, October 20, 2006

St. Aug. students march for safer dorms

RALEIGH - About 125 St. Augustine's College students marched to the State Capitol on Monday, protesting what they described as mold in their dorm rooms, invasions of their privacy and an unsafe campus environment.

One student leader at Monday's protest said several students complained of illness from mold growing in their dormitory.

David Affarenee, a sophomore, said there is mold and mildew on the walls inside Weston Hall and Baker Hall. A third dorm, Boyer Hall, is infested with roaches and waterbugs, students said.

"They just paint over all the mold and mildew," Affarenee said. "Some kids have gotten sick."

A school official confirmed Monday that one of the dorms did have mold in 2004 but that it was cleaned out.

According to a 2004 report school officials released Monday, two species of mold were found in the air supply and air handling vents of the men's dormitory Boyer Hall by an environmental consultant the college hired. The molds, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium, can cause respiratory difficulties and skin reactions in people with allergies or asthma.

The consultant, General Engineering and Environmental of N.C., based in Research Triangle Park, found that the inner lining of a hot water tank in Boyer Hall could cause skin irritation to those who used its water.

The ducts in Boyer Hall were cleaned, and the water tank was replaced, college spokeswoman Katrina Dix said Monday.

St. Augustine's President Dianne B. Suber said the "mold" students are concerned about is "mostly mildew." But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, mildew, like mold, is a fungus and can cause health problems.

"We have old buildings. They do get damp," Suber said.

Last year, the RTP consultant found no evidence of environmental issues at the co-ed dorm Weston Hall, and determined that the mildew in the bathrooms and shower areas was the result of hot water and humidity.

The consultant also inspected the school's fine arts building for mold when an employee complained of skin rashes after working in a particular area. Mold was found, but at levels not normally associated with skin or respiratory irritation, according to General Engineering and Environmental's report. The college cleaned the building's air ducts.

St. Augustine's is the second Triangle university in recent years bedeviled by mold problems. In 2003, two newly built residence halls at N.C. Central University in Durham were closed after potentially toxic black mold was found.

The demonstration Monday occurred one day after St. Aug's, a historically black college with 1,400 students, kicked off its homecoming week celebrations on campus.

The students -- some clad in black with some carrying signs demanding change -- began marching off campus near the Emery Gymnasium about 10:30 a.m. They gathered on a sidewalk in the 1300 block of Oakwood Avenue before marching downtown to the State Capitol.

As they assembled, leaders who said they were speaking on behalf of the student body listed other issues that had ignited their activism. They said they were also concerned about campus safety, especially after what they described as a gang-related brawl last year between students and about 20 nonstudent members of the Bloods street gang.

"Nothing was done about it," Affarenee said.

Marc Newman, the college's vice president of institutional advancement and development, said the altercation was not gang-related, did not involve 20 people and that the campus does not have a gang problem.

"Why is it anytime there's an altercation between black men, it's a gang-related fight?" Newman asked. "There's no graffiti here, and no people walking around in crazy colors," he added. "When you walk around this campus, you see nothing dealing with gangs."

The students also complained about privacy issues. They said campus police and administrators routinely check their rooms for campus violations, mainly drugs.

"They are doing drug checks five days a week, three times a day, morning, noon and night," said Philip Ativie, a junior business administration major from Alexandria, Va.

Suber could not confirm or deny the frequency of room checks but acknowledged the college has stepped up its vigilance to stop the flow of drugs on campus, partly in response to student complaints about drugs in the residence halls.

"I think parents would want to know that we are checking rooms to make the campus a healthy and stable environment," Suber said.

Affarenee said that, in the past, students have written Suber letters and filed petitions asking the administration to look into the unsafe conditions at the dorms.

Some students were not impressed with Monday's protest.

Senior Class President Christal Sims, 23, of Raleigh said positive changes have occurred on campus since her freshman year.

"We have new computers, new desks, more security, new cafe services and now, a new residential hall," Sims said.

Suber watched the demonstrations from the windows of her office in the Boyer Building.

"There's a little piece of me that's proud and pleased," Suber said about the demonstration. "I am a product of the '60s, and I value being heard."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lawsuit claims black colleges unequally funded

BALTIMORE - The state has not distributed equitable funds to historically black colleges, according to two Morgan State University students who filed a lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court Friday.

The Coalition for Equity and Excellent in Maryland Higher Education, a recently formed Maryland based nonprofit organization, filed the suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of two Morgan State students.

The students are seeking a level playing field and to fully fund all academic programs at black colleges.

The 39-page lawsuit alleges the Maryland Higher Education commission has not complied with the U.S Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights requirement to fund all colleges equally.

“We are disputing the claim that state of Maryland is in compliance with federal requirements to fund all institutions of higher learning equitably,” said David Burton, president of the coalition. “It’s been systemic over a long period of time.”

Burton pointed to the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s approval of duplicate programs for white colleges that traditionally were offered by historically black institutions as proof that funding is unfair.

“The approval of Towson’s MBA program and University of Baltimore’s four-year program triggered the lawsuit,” he said. “Allowing duplicate programs hurts the competitiveness of historically black colleges,” he said, citing Morgan State’s MBA program, which he said now must compete with Towson’s.

Maryland Secretary of Higher Education Calvin Burnett said approving Towson’s program expanded educational opportunities for Maryland residents. Burnett also said he obtained additional funding for Morgan’s MBA program after he approved Towson’s MBA program in 2005.

“After I approved the Towson program, I asked the governor for $1 million for Morgan State’s MBA program and he approved it,” he said. “I’m perplexed, we go to great lengths to provide equal funding.”

A spokesman for Morgan State University said the school had not seen the lawsuit.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Homecoming at Howard

More than just a football game!

Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J and Ludacris have all rapped about the week of partying that surrounds Howard University's annual homecoming celebration. Diddy, Jay-Z and Kanye West have performed at the university's free outdoor Yardfest concerts. Venus and Serena Williams took a turn on the catwalk during the annual fashion show a few years ago. Hip-hop celebrities (and would-be stars) line up every October to lend their name as "hosts" for events at nightspots across the city. Add up all those factors and you have one of the key social events on Washington's calendar -- a cross between the NBA All-Star Game, Urban Beach Week and Mardi Gras.

Tailgating before a football game, alumni reunions and parent-student get-togethers are the highlights of most colleges' homecoming festivities, but Howard's is on another level. There are other items on this week's agenda, such as lectures, faculty sessions and alumni brunch and networking events. But for good or bad, the celebrities and the parties -- almost all of which take place at nightclubs off campus and are not sponsored by the university -- have become a focal point. Just ask most of the people cruising down U Street this weekend. They have no ties to the school. They never ran Yard. They've just heard about the parties, and they're here to join in.

Read more at: No Party Like a Howard Party

Friday, October 13, 2006

Coppin gets NASA grant to study slave trade

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings visited Coppin State University Wednesday to announce a federal grant using NASA satellites to study the ecological health of areas that played key roles in the slave trade.

Cummings lauded the program, called The Middle Passage Project, as an opportunity for students at the historically black college to explore their heritage.

“To set foot in Africa and explore the land of your ancestors is an incredible opportunity,” he told the assembly of students and faculty. “Take advantage of it.”

The $186,000 federal grant will allow six students in Coppin’s geography program to use satellite data provided by NASA to study the ecology of Ghana, St. Kitts and Barbados — key landfalls for slave traders. The students will use NASA satellite data to assess the ecological health of the coastlines and rain forest, as well as to assess carbon management policies. Participating students said the program was a good opportunity to improve their science skills while keeping important history alive.

“We’re using present technology to help us connect to the past,” said Micah Crump, a junior at Coppin and one of the program participants.

Douglass Reardon, project director, said that the program uses African American history as a guide to better understanding ecological systems. “We can use science to study how the environment influences human history,” he said. He also said that the data will be used to guide preservation efforts of key historical sites.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Aggie-Eagle is over, but debts linger

A nonprofit foundation led by Assistant City Manager Lawrence Wray owes more than $57,000 to North Carolina A&T State University, proceeds from the now-defunct Aggie-Eagle Classic football game.
Wray will travel to Greensboro, where N.C. A&T is located, today in hopes that the university will forgive the debt, which he said happened when the annual game failed to raise expected money.

At the same time, the Capital Area Sports Foundation is obligated to pay more than $46,000 to N.C. Central University in Durham -- a football-related payment Wray hopes to iron out soon.

The outstanding money stems from a historic rivalry between the schools played out on the gridiron in Raleigh each year until 2005.

The foundation, which has Wray as president, hosted the Aggie-Eagle classic in Raleigh at Carter-Finley Stadium from 2002 to 2005 -- the year that N.C. A&T bowed out.

Through a promotion agreement, the foundation was to pay each school an honorarium each year: $150,000 in 2005.

So far, the Greensboro school has been paid $92,524 of that amount, according to documents that Wray provided. The Durham school got $103,308.

Wray said Tuesday all parties knew the 2005 game would fall short when it was shifted from Sunday to Monday -- the Labor Day holiday.

"We didn't make as much money as we thought we were going to make," he said.

Wray described the foundation as "just gone now."

"We're not doing anything," he said, adding that the foundation also owes N.C. State University an unknown sum.

The foundation keeps separate finances from the city of Raleigh, but the city acts as its bookkeeper. Taxpayer money has gone toward Aggie-Eagle games in the past.

'All in this together'

Raleigh and Wake County put $30,000 toward the classic in 2005, according to a letter from James D. Williams Jr., Durham attorney for the foundation.

In 2002, taxpayers got the bill for about $50,000 when the game came up $140,000 short on a rainy play date. The city and county's agreement to subsidize the event helped keep it from moving to Charlotte that year.

But Williams wrote in a memo to Wray this week that the city had no additional financial obligations to either university.

On its 2005 tax return, the foundation reported $881,988 in total revenue and $898,942 in expenses. Wray acknowledged the group is in the red.

Wray wrote then-N.C. A&T Chancellor James C. Renick and N.C. Central's Chancellor James Ammons earlier this year, asking that the outstanding money be forgotten now that the foundation is in the red.

"We were all in this together," Wray said.

Administrators at N.C. A&T are reviewing the situation and would not comment Tuesday, said Mable Scott, vice chancellor for university relations.

Ammons was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached. Wray said he planned to visit the Durham campus soon.

Grand tradition fizzles

The Aggie-Eagle Classic lasted more than 80 years, moving to Raleigh in 1994.

N.C. A&T pulled out of the game in hopes of playing an all Division I-AA schedule. N.C. Central is a Division II team, and in 2005, N.C. A&T officials thought playing the classic hurt the team's chances for at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.

On game day in 2005, attendance was reported at 35,000, up more than 7,000 from the previous year.

But fans doubted the crowd count, noting that two-thirds of the 53,570-seat stadium appeared empty and tailgaters failed to pack the parking lot.

Still, Wray sounded upbeat a few days before the game, even after N.C. State University's home opener pushed them off the Sunday schedule.

"I thought [playing Monday] would affect [attendance] in terms of participation of individuals," he told a News & Observer reporter at the time. "We were able to overcome that by getting word out relatively early and then being able to fill Sunday with something great."

Tax return questions

Officials at N.C. A&T had questioned the foundation's 2005 tax return, which lists a $160,415 contribution to each school.

David Erwin, the city's accounting manager, explained in a memo in October to Wray that the returns are prepared to reflect the calendar rather than fiscal year. So the figure includes some money from the 2004 Aggie-Eagle classic.

But the memo also noted errors with the tax return -- there was not an even $160,415 paid to each school -- that will require an amendment to be filed.