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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

White WSSU coach fired for using the "N" word

Nick Calcutta, the offensive coordinator at Winston-Salem State, has been fired.

Calcutta had been suspended last week by Chico Caldwell, the school's athletics director, for using a racial epithet in a team meeting, according to several sources.

Calcutta, 50, has been an assistant coach at several schools for the last 18 years, with most of those stops being at historically black universities. Among the schools Calcutta spent time at were Howard, S.C. State, Savannah State, Delaware State and Tennessee State.

Calcutta was in his second year as offensive coordinator at WSSU.

Last week, Blount, who worked with Calcutta when they were both assistant coaches at Howard in the late 1980s, would not comment on the distraction that Calcutta's suspension would have on the Rams. On Saturday, with Blount calling the plays as offensive coordinator, the Rams lost 16-13 to Savannah State at Bowman Gray Stadium.

In a statement released by WSSU, Blount was vague about Calcutta's firing.

"We have a long season ahead of us, and improving the young talent on our football team is where we will focus our attention," Blount said.

Frank Williams, the father of Branden Williams, a freshman quarterback, said that from what he heard from his son and other players, Calcutta got along great with all the players. It was Calcutta who recruited his son, he said.

"Nick was the coach we talked to all the way through the process," Frank Williams said. "And we never had any problems at all."

"It's going to be a distraction that they don't really need right now," Frank Williams said.

Still, Williams, said he believes things will be fine.

"I think it's a bump in the road," Williams said. "I think the other coaches will do a real good job of keeping everybody together and keeping their minds on the right thing and that's the rest of the season."

Despite the dismissal, Caldwell praised Calcutta's ability as a coach.

"Coach Calcutta is a good man and an excellent football coach," Caldwell said in the statement. "This is an internal matter we feel could not be resolved without further distractions to the football program. This is tough on all of us and it takes a tough man with character to put the good of the program above himself and his family.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A&T awarded get Engineering Research Center from NSF

North Carolina A&T State University has been awarded an Engineering Research Center (ERC) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The ERC is considered the “crown jewel” among NSF awards. In the past 25 years, only about 30 ERCs have been funded by NSF.

This year, over 143 proposals were submitted from universities for NSF’s most prestigious award. Of those, only 34 were selected for full proposal submission. A&T’s selection marked the first time ever an HBCU had been invited to submit. Of the 34 full submissions, eight were chosen for sight visits. Five of those eight were selected to receive the award. A&T has made history by becoming the first HBCU ever to receive an ERC.

The ERC at A&T will conduct research in the areas of biomedical engineering and nano bio applications and is in partnership with the Universities of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. It also has a global technical partner in Germany’s Hannover School of Medicine and a global cultural and outreach partner—the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. California State University at Los Angeles will serve as an outreach partner in the USA. The funding is approved for 10 years with an amount of almost 20 million dollars over the first 5 years, with the possibility of extension for 10 years.

NC A&T will also start a new department of bioengineering in conjunction with this ERC. The department will offer BS, Masters and PhD degrees in bioengineering.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Long financial aid lines plague Southern U. registration

Sundae Hays got in line at 4 a.m. Friday at Southern University to have her loans processed so she could pay her tuition.
By 5 p.m., she was still waiting and had at least a few hours to go, the Las Vegas native said.

“It’s so aggravating,” a cold and exhausted Hays said while waiting in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. “They’re moving so slow. It’s really frustrating.”

Long registration waits, particularly for financial aid, have been such a problem this week that new Chancellor Kofi Lomotey opted to keep registration open an extra day starting 8 a.m. today so more students can pay up before classes begin Monday.
Long lines are not new for Southern, but students said the wait times are worse than ever this year.
The new chancellor said he was completely caught off-guard by the problematic process and has vowed to fix things for next semester.

“We’ve had some challenges to say the least,” Lomotey said. “We have a process that needs to be changed, and we’re going to ensure this doesn’t happen next time. “We’re very sorry that this occurred,” he said.

Lomotey said he will consider all options for the future, including more automated or online systems.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “But the nature of it is not something we can change midweek.” Also, there is a shortage of financial aid advisers at Southern that must be quickly rectified, he said.

Southern Student Government Association President Jamal Taylor said he is very concerned about the problems and the students affected are “rightly frustrated.”