Wednesday, November 13, 2019   
Mississippi State honors veterans with ceremony
Veterans and their supporters gathered on the Drill Field at Mississippi State University for a ceremony honoring those in the MSU community who have served, in addition to remembering the school's military history. The ceremony included members of the student veteran community at MSU, as well as members of the university's Army and Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps units. The annual event was organized primarily by the MSU G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center For America's Veterans. Representatives from MSU's military community spoke, as well as MSU President Mark Keenum. Keenum referenced a speech given by former President George W. Bush in 2004, when he called veterans the "hidden heroes of a peaceful nation." "President Bush said that veterans are our colleagues and friends, they're our neighbors and family members who answer the call and return to live in the land they loved and defended," Keenum said. "To that I would add that veterans are our students and alumni, our faculty, our staff. These are the ones who have been willing to answer the call to service right her from our university community."
Mississippi State letter reading offers glimpse of local soldiers' experiences in both World Wars
In June 1943, George Sanders Oakley wrote a letter to his son, Warren, who was overseas fighting in World War II. He said everything on the family farm in Oktoc was business as usual. Warren Oakley wrote back in December, when he was stationed in England, to wish his family a Merry Christmas. Warren's daughter and George's granddaughter, Frances McDavid, attended the reading of both letters, and others to and from Mississippi soldiers in both World Wars, Monday afternoon at the Mitchell Memorial Library on the Mississippi State University campus in honor of Veterans Day. "It's a real treat to hear (my father's) words again, and to see photos in context of his fellow soldiers," said McDavid, a Starkville native and former MSU communication faculty member. "Through the Lines: Letters from Home and the Front, 1917-1945" featured letters from the MSU Libraries Special Collections, donated by descendants of World War I and World War II soldiers from all over the state.
Mississippi State Preparing Students for STEM Careers Through Cybersecurity Education Hub
Mississippi State University is working to train more students for careers in computer science, cybersecurity and coding through a new Cybersecurity Education Hub. A collaborative project with Mississippi Coding Academies, the work is funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission as well as local sources. At the center of the project is a state-of-the art cyber range simulation environment, which will "enable MSU to recruit under-resourced schools and communities to expose youth and teachers to computing and cybersecurity concepts and principles," according to a news announcement. "By establishing the Mississippi Cyber Range, a simulation environment that will provide possible cyber-attack scenarios for training, we can propel Mississippi as a leader in the nation for cybersecurity education," said Sarah Lee, principal investigator and MSU associate clinical professor of computer science and engineering, in a statement.
Row crops dealt with challenging weather in 2019
Mississippi's major row crops this year have dealt with challenging weather conditions -- primarily heavy rains that prevented or delayed planting, only to be followed by heavy precipitation in October. Cotton has not fared well. The cotton harvest is a little bit behind, according to Dr. Will Maples, agricultural economist at Mississippi State University. Maples said last week that usually. 87 percent of cotton has been harvested. This year it stood at 77 percent at the time of the interview. Cotton quality could be harmed by late rains, said Dr. Darrin Dobbs, MSU extension specialist in that crop. The whiteness of the fiber is a factor in making it attractive to buyers, Dobbs said. Yet production of cotton is on track to reach another 1,100-pound-per-acre crop, the eighth straight year at that level, thanks to genetic improvements, Dobbs said.
Another $53M headed to Coast for marina, waterpark and other economic projects
More than $53 million from the BP oil catastrophe will go toward 15 projects designed to improve the ecosystem, boost tourism, improve the economy and enhance natural resources on the Mississippi Coast, Gov. Phil Bryant said Tuesday. Bryant announced the latest projects during the Mississippi Restoration Summit at the Coast Coliseum. Some of the 15 projects funded are new, while money is being added for other ongoing projects. The state has already received $511 million, bringing the total received to $564 million. Projects include: $3 million, Gulf Aquatic Food Research Center: Supports construction of a Mississippi State University laboratory for seafood safety testing and quality assurance.
Gov. Phil Bryant outlines latest RESTORE Act projects
Improving South Mississippi's natural resources and economy is what Gov. Phil Bryant says makes up the latest round of RESTORE ACT funding. The governor made that announcement Tuesday. "I will tell you that Mississippi has received and has been approved to receive more restoration funds than any other state," Bryant said. The latest round of funding adds up to $53 million for 15 projects across the Coast, all dealing with areas in and around the water. Bryant says the timeline began back in 2010 after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, and it continues now in the wake of the impact of the Bonnet Carre Spillway on the Mississippi Sound. The funding includes: Mississippi State University Northern Gulf Aquatic Food Research Center ($3 million) -- This project will support MSU's construction of an analytical laboratory for seafood safety testing and quality assurance. The Mississippi Gulf Coast region currently lacks a seafood safety testing and quality assurance laboratory with the capacity and capabilities to support the seafood industry.
MDEQ: Gov. Bryant Announces Restoration Projects
Gov. Phil Bryant announced a list of 15 restoration projects for 2019 during the annual Mississippi Restoration Summit in Biloxi on Tuesday. When implemented, these projects will add more than $53 million to the total of more than $560 million already being spent on restoration projects in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The summit is hosted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. "These projects are essential steps in our ongoing efforts to improve South Mississippi's natural resources and economy," said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director. They include: Mississippi State University Northern Gulf Aquatic Food Research Center ($3 million) -- This project will support MSU's construction of an analytical laboratory for seafood safety testing and quality assurance. The Mississippi Gulf Coast region currently lacks a seafood safety testing and quality assurance laboratory with the capacity and capabilities to support the seafood industry.
Gov. Phil Bryant's idea to save Mississippi Sound from Bonnet Carre openings just might work, engineer says
Gov. Phil Bryant says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must find a Mississippi River flood-relief alternative to the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which is killing aquatic life and compromising the ecosystems of South Mississippi and Louisiana waterways. "We just cannot stand by and let the investment we have be destroyed because the Bonnet Carre Spillway is being opened routinely," Bryant told the Sun Herald Tuesday while he was on the Coast to announce restoration projects. "We cannot stand by and let the Mississippi Sound be destroyed." Bryant said he has an idea for containing the river: build a reservoir. It worked in Jackson, where the Ross Barnett Reservoir relieves flooding. Bryant's idea is not off base, says a New Orleans engineer who has for years worked on river control structures. Engineer Dennis Lambert, an eighth-generation resident of New Orleans, has grown disillusioned with Louisiana's proposal to build multi-billion-dollar river diversions that the state says will capture sediment to build up the disappearing coastline.
Good energy: Utilities, Homestead Center partner on sustainable energy and youth development
Sweltering in summer, layering up in winter, wading -- indoors -- after a big rain. That's what Margaret Brown and other J.L. King Center staff and volunteers in Starkville sometimes contend with when they report to the center on North Long Street to wage an offensive. Theirs is a campaign against poverty, underachievement and hopelessness. They are producing results with adults and children, but the former field house they work in needs TLC so that the powerful programs that take place there -- after-school tutoring, Work Keys testing, GED study and testing, Workforce Development, job fairs and more -- can continue. An innovative partnership between Starkville Utilities, TVA and The Homestead Education Center in Starkville plans to transform the outdated structure plagued by dollar-draining energy inefficiency into a model of how an energy-saving strategy can impact use and bottom line.
Billy J. McCoy, former Speaker of the House, dies
Billy J. McCoy, the former speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, died on Tuesday at North Mississippi Medical Center after receiving treatment at the hospital for two weeks. He was 77. McCoy, a Democrat, was first elected to the House in 1980 as a representative from Rienzi, a town in Alcorn County. He then went on to be elected by his fellow House members in 2004 to serve in one of the most powerful roles in state government. McCoy was the personification of a "Blue Dog Democrat" from Northeast Mississippi and used his position to advocate for progressive reforms throughout the state. He served as Speaker when the Republican Party was starting to gain control of almost every avenue of state government. A service celebrating his life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Gaston Baptist Church, where he was a longtime member.
Former Speaker Billy McCoy, the last Democrat to lead the House, dies at 77
Longtime state lawmaker and former House Speaker Billy McCoy, the last Democrat to lead a legislative chamber in Mississippi, died Tuesday in Tupelo after an extended hospitalization. McCoy, 77, a farmer and former teacher from Rienzi, was first elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1979. He served as chairman of the House Education Committee before becoming chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. McCoy was a populist lawmaker who prided himself as an everyman, eschewing the trappings of high state offices, for many years driving an old beater car and forgoing the parties and attentions of lobbyists that some lawmakers enjoy. But he was also pragmatic, and helped negotiate some of the state's most important policy and law of the modern era, at times working across the aisle as Mississippi's politics and Legislature grew more Republican.
Billy McCoy, former House speaker and one of the architects of school funding formula, dies at 77
William J. "Billy" McCoy, former two-term speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, who played pivotal roles in passing major legislation dealing with public education, transportation and economic development, died Tuesday at the age of 77. McCoy, a self-professed Yellow Dog Democrat, who represented rural Prentiss and Alcorn counties in northeast Mississippi, had been hospitalized at North Mississippi Medical Center for about two weeks before he died Tuesday afternoon. "Speaker McCoy will go down in the annals of Mississippi history," said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who was one of McCoy's key allies during his tenure as speaker. "He helped transform this state with his dedication to public education and to transportation." Born Aug. 14, 1942, McCoy was a farmer. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University and attended Northeast Mississippi Junior College.
Next secretary of state wants to get rid of Mississippi's Jim Crow-era election law
Secretary of State-elect Michael Watson says he will push to change Mississippi's controversial two-part election process for statewide candidates. "I'm definitely supportive of moving away from the current system," the Republican state senator told the Clarion Ledger Tuesday as he discussed priorities for his new job that begins next year. Mississippi's Jim Crow-era election process requires statewide candidates to clear two hurdles to win office -- a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the state's 122 House districts. If they don't win both, the winner is decided by the Mississippi House. The provision was written into Mississippi's 1890 state constitution to help keep political power in the hands of whites. A federal judge declined to immediately block the election process before last week's election, though it did not become an issue in the governor's race as some had worried.
Mike Espy Will Run for Senate in Mississippi, Aiming for a Rematch
Mike Espy, a Mississippi Democrat whose unsuccessful runoff race with Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith drew national attention last year, announced on Tuesday that he would seek to challenge her again in 2020, setting up a potential rematch of the 2018 special election. Mr. Espy, a former House member and President Bill Clinton's agriculture secretary, will try once more to become Mississippi's first black senator since Reconstruction. Ms. Hyde-Smith, who is white, defeated him by almost eight percentage points in 2018, even after she was heavily criticized for making a comment about a public hanging during the runoff campaign. State Representative Steve Holland, a Democrat from Tupelo, said he has known the Espy family for years and is "crazy about Mike." But he offered a bleak assessment of Mr. Espy's chances in the Senate race and of the Democratic Party's standing in Mississippi. "I don't see any way for a Democrat to win office statewide for the next two decades," Mr. Holland said. "I am not declaring the death of the Democratic Party, but it is on life support."
Mike Espy announces Mississippi Senate bid
Mississippi Democrat Mike Espy announced his candidacy for the Senate next year, setting up a rematch with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) after last year's heated contest. Espy, a former congressman and the nation's first black Agriculture secretary, announced he's running for the Senate because progress on a slate of kitchen table issues has been "too slow." "We came so close in 2018. Join me, and this time we'll do it," he added. While Hyde-Smith's lynching comments inserted intense controversy into the 2018 race, she was still able to cross the finish line with some help from President Trump, who appeared at two rallies with her the day before voters went to the polls. Her victory helped cement Republicans' power in the state, where the party has consistently won Senate races since the 1980s.
Mike Espy Vows to 'Correct Our Mistakes' in New U.S. Senate Campaign
Democrat Mike Espy has a plan to win in Mississippi, he told the Jackson Free Press Tuesday morning, soon after officially launching his 2020 campaign for U.S. Senate. Last year, the former U.S. secretary of agriculture came within four points of beating Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in a special election to fill the seat that longtime Sen. Thad Cochran had vacated. "We plan to correct our mistakes," Espy told the Jackson Free Press. "And one of the mistakes that we made in 2018 was that I thought everyone knew me." Though Mississippi is 38% African American, only 32.5% of the 2018 electorate was black. That was slightly lower than 2016, when 33% was black, and well below 2012, when African Americans made up 37% of the electorate in Mississippi. Since 2020 is a presidential year, Espy expects African American turnout will be higher, and plans to have teams on the ground to ensure it by getting out the vote. That will not be enough though, he said, adding that he knows he will have to build "a coalition of all races" that will include some Republicans.
Former Miss America pageant leader mulls Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith challenge in 2020 GOP primary
Josh Randle, who previously served as president of the Miss America Organization, has formed an exploratory committee to consider running as a Republican against U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in 2020. Randle, a 31-year-old Oxford resident and Amory native, told Mississippi Today that his motivation to run was based on Hyde-Smith's reputation following a rocky 2018 campaign. Randle is the second Republican to publicly suggest a primary challenge of Hyde-Smith. In July, Ridgeland millionaire businessman Gerard Gibert told a crowd at Jacinto that he would mull a primary run against Hyde-Smith. After being made the youngest-ever president of the Miss America Organization at age 29 in early 2017, Randle resigned less than a year later after leaked emails from former Miss America Chairman Sam Haskell, also a Mississippian, showed that Haskell and several top executives at the organization targeted past pageant winners for abuse based on their appearance, intellect and sex lives.
Southern farmers get more federal aid per acre than Midwestern peers, Democrats say
The Trump administration has been more generous to southern farmers than their Midwest peers, according to a new report from Senate Democrats. Under Trump, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made $25 billion in payments to farmers with losses caused by the president's trade fights with China and other major trading partners. But the money has not been distributed proportionately, according to a report released Tuesday by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. "While farmers in the Midwest and Northern Plains have been affected the most, Southern farmers have received the highest payment rates," the report states. Stabenow's report focused on the first distribution of 2019. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue's home state of Georgia received the most money per farm acre, according to the study, at $52.35 per acre. The next four top recipients per acre were all states in the South: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.
No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand
Dean Foods, America's biggest milk processor, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday amid a steep, decades-long drop-off in U.S. milk consumption blamed on soda, juices and, more recently, nondairy substitutes. The Dallas company said it may sell itself to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers. "Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption," CEO Eric Berigause said in a statement. Since 1975, the amount of milk consumed per capita in America has tumbled more than 40%, a slide attributed to a number of reasons but mostly the rise of so many other choices, including teas, sodas, juices and almond and soy milk. That has hit dairy farms and milk sellers hard, leading some smaller family farmers to quit the business.
EPA's use of science to come under committee's microscope
A House committee may take aim Wednesday at the EPA's plan to censor the science it uses in its policies by forcing the disclosure of private medical and health records, a step science advocacy groups say would undermine government research. Members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee are expected to broach the proposal at the hearing and will likely question Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, a medical doctor and EPA science adviser, over the proposed rule and how the agency uses science broadly. A draft of an addition to the unfinished rule, called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, is a more aggressive version of a 2018 EPA proposal and targets scientific research that draws links between health problems and air and water pollution. The proposal, which has yet to be released, is the latest effort to challenge established science at the agency tasked under law with protecting public health.
Congress prepares to avert shutdown Nov. 21 with another short-term spending bill
Congress plans to avert a government shutdown Nov. 21 by passing another short-term spending bill into December, setting up a collision with House votes on articles of impeachment against President Trump. The new stopgap spending bill, expected to come up for votes next week, would last through Dec. 20, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday after meeting with Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.). Both lawmakers expressed the hope that the extension would give them more time to come up with a deal that would fund all government operations through Sept. 30, 2020, which is the end of this fiscal year. But key issues remain unresolved, including how much money will go to Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall. The White House has expressed support for the December timeline, though Trump tends to hold back formal support for budget deals until lawmakers prepare to vote.
House launches historic Trump impeachment hearings
The House's historic sprint toward the impeachment of President Donald Trump has begun. Two of the most compelling witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, diplomats William Taylor and George Kent, are testifying publicly before the House Intelligence Committee, as Democrats seek to make the case that Trump abused the power of his office to extort a foreign government to his political benefit. The public proceedings mark the end of the House's closed-door investigation and the start of a risky, unpredictable series of open hearings that could shape Americans' views on whether Trump deserves to become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. For the next two weeks, these proceedings will be broadcast across the nation and will showcase a desperately divided Congress jockeying to persuade a similarly divided nation about whether Trump breached his oath of office and endangered national security.
FBI Reports Dip In Hate Crimes, But Rise In Violence : NPR
While the number of reported hate crimes dipped slightly in 2018, violence against individuals rose to a 16-year high, according to numbers released Tuesday by the FBI. The FBI's annual tally counted 7,120 hate crimes reported last year, 55 fewer than the year before. The main concern for extremism trackers, however, is the rising level of violence -- the report showed an increase in the number of "crimes against persons," such as intimidation, assault and homicide. "We're seeing a leaner and meaner type of hate crime going on," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. "Homicides were up and crimes against persons were up and that's an important thing to look at." The FBI report relies on data collected from state, tribal, local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Ole Miss professor Curtis Wilkie explains decision to cancel lecture event
Last week, conservative speaker Elisha Krauss announced via Twitter that a lecture set to take place at The University of Mississippi this week had been canceled. Since then, the event has been rescheduled at a new location, but on Monday, the Ole Miss professor who canceled the event explained his actions. Curtis Wilkie, a professor for the Ole Miss School of Journalism and New Media, provided a letter to the school's faculty and staff. It stated why he chose to cancel Krauss's lecture, which was scheduled to take place at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. "I made the decision alone, the same way I've made other decisions about the use of the Overby Auditorium without consulting anyone in the University Administration," Wilkie's letter read. "From the beginning of the Overby Center in 2007, those decisions were made on a general, unwritten understanding I had with Charles Overby." Overby is the chairman of the Overby Center and an adjunct instructor at the school.
East Central Community College President Dr. Billy Stewart Announces Retirement
East Central Community College President Dr. Billy Stewart today announced his retirement effective July 1, 2020. The announcement was made at the monthly Board of Trustees meeting on the Decatur campus. Stewart was announced as the college's eighth president on March 22, 2012. At East Central, Stewart initiated a strategic planning process to shape and guide the future of the institution. As a result, 2020 Vision was adopted in February 2013 and included a long-term desire to be nationally recognized and locally preferred while meeting the educational and training needs of all residents of the college district. Chair of the ECCC Board of Trustees Dr. Jimmy Hollingsworth said a search committee consisting of board members has been formed and he hopes a position opening announcement for the next president will be released in the next few days. The Search Committee will accept applications through Dec. 31, 2019. The committee will review applications in January, conduct interviews in February, and tentatively name a new president at the March 2020 Board of Trustees meeting.
East Central Community College president Billy Stewart to retire in July
East Central Community College President Billy Stewart will step down from the post July 1, 2020, according to a news release from the college. The announcement was made at the monthly Board of Trustees meeting on the Decatur campus. A native of Pearl, Stewart earned his bachelor's degree in history and his master's degree in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Southern Mississippi, and his doctorate in higher education administration from Mississippi State University. "I will treasure the continuing friendship and support of so many exceptional colleagues and students at ECCC," Stewart said. "Working closely with all members of the ECCC family has been one of the greatest joys of my professional career. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have been a member of the ECCC family and for the profound privilege of serving this college as its president."
United States Navy visits Jackson State University
The United States Navy dropped anchor at Jackson State University on Tuesday. Members talked to students about the Navy and the possibilities a Navy career can offer. Students also had the opportunity to receive a Lean Six 6 certification and experience a Navy SEAL rescue mission in virtual reality.
U. of Florida student government president faces impeachment over Trump Jr. appearance
The student government president at the University of Florida is facing a call for his impeachment over his role in bringing Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle to campus for a speaking engagement last month. The Washington Post reports Michael Murphy, the school's student president, was served with a formal impeachment resolution from the student government and accused of malfeasance and abuse of power. Those who are backing the impeachment contend that emails show the speaking engagement for Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle last month, which cost $50,000, was funded by using student fees, which would be in violation of rules banning the use of public students funds to support or oppose a "political party at any level," according to the Post. Before the event took place Murphy told the student newspaper, which first reported the email correspondence, that Trump Jr.'s visit was not a campaign stop and did not violate any rules.
More students enroll at Georgia's universities and colleges
Enrollment at Georgia's public colleges and universities reached an all-time high for the fifth year in a row, powered mostly by increases at a few of the state's largest schools. The University System of Georgia reported Tuesday that total enrollment rose 1.5% in fall 2019 from fall 2018. More than 333,000 students are enrolled across the state's 26 institutions. Among those schools, 11 showed growth and 15 showed declines. The fastest growing institution, proportionally, was Georgia Tech, where enrollment went up nearly 12% to 36,000. The Atlanta school's 3,800-student gain made up more than three-quarters of all student gains statewide. Georgia Tech officials said the gains are primarily among graduate students, with many of the new students enrolled in online master's degree programs, mostly in computer science, analytics and cybersecurity. Georgia Tech is the only public university in Georgia where a majority of students are pursuing graduate degrees.
U. of Missouri celebrates $10 million donation to Kinder Institute
Rich and Nancy Kinder, through their foundation, on Tuesday increased their $25 million donation to the University of Missouri from 2015 by $10 million. The donation was celebrated by university officials and the Kinders in an event in the Center for Missouri Studies. The Kinders live in Houston. Rich Kinder earned his bachelor's and law degrees from MU in 1966 and 1968, respectively. The Kinder Foundation's $25 million donation in 2015 established the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy. The additional $10 million will provide for a bachelor's degree in constitutional democracy and a master's degree in Atlantic history and politics. It also will be used to establish the Kinder Institute Residential College on campus and a partnership for exchange of scholars, faculty and students with University of Oxford's Corpus Christi College in England. Students pursuing the new bachelor's degree will be part of the study abroad opportunity.
Proposed U. of Missouri room and board rates would barely increase for popular options
The cost of the most popular room and board plans at MU will increase by an average of 0.2% -- only $19 -- next academic year if changes recommended by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators Finance Committee on Tuesday are approved by the full board. The committee unanimously voted to approve the fiscal 2021 student housing and dining rates at a meeting based in Columbia. "Predominant" rates are determined by using the average cost for a traditional double room and the cost of the anticipated most popular meal plan, the Tiger Plan Plus. Those costs would increase from $9,653 to $9,672 per year if the full board votes to move forward with the changes at its Nov. 21 meeting in St. Louis. UM spokesperson Christian Basi said the small increase comes after two years of decreases. MU is "always looking for ways that we can reduce the cost to students," he said.
U.S. Supreme Court Weighs DACA's Fate as Immigrants Rally Outside
As thousands of undocumented immigrants and their supporters rallied on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on a cold, rainy morning, their fates rested in the hands of nine justices who by some accounts on Tuesday seemed to be leaning toward allowing the protections that have kept the immigrants from deportation to end. Supporters of the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the United States illegally as children but have lived here nearly their entire lives, were braced for that possibility, with the nation's highest court now possessing a conservative majority. Still, many expressed fears for their futures and their families as the justices were hearing oral arguments in three cases challenging the Trump administration's 2017 decision to rescind DACA, formally the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program: Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, Trump v. NAACP, and McAleenan v. Vidal, Nos. 18-587, 18-588, and 18-589.
Supreme Court hears arguments on DACA
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in three cases challenging the Trump administration's move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The program, established by President Obama in 2012, provides work authorization as well as protection against deportation to about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, including many college students. Court watchers differed in their assessment of the arguments. Amy Howe, writing for SCOTUSblog, wrote that "it wasn't clear how the case is likely to turn out. Several justices appeared concerned that the Trump administration's decision-making process had not adequately considered the effects of rescinding DACA, but on the other hand they weren't necessarily convinced that sending the case back for a do-over would actually make much of a difference." Perhaps the sharpest moment in the hearing came when Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the court's liberal wing, questioned the government's legal arguments and asked where the government had articulated clearly what she characterized as a political decision. "That this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives," she said.
Federal officials document international threats to U.S. science security
Some of the university research administrators in the audience seemed loaded for bear, ready to scold the Trump administration officials in front of them for what many academics have perceived to be racial profiling of Chinese scientists in recent months. Roger Wakimoto, vice president for research at the University of California, Los Angeles, didn't soft-pedal the issue as he introduced the session on science and security Monday at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. "We've been told repeatedly that this is a partnership," Wakimoto said of the effort to "protect U.S. science from undue foreign influence," as the session was titled. "If this is a partnership, stopping our faculty at the airport is not acceptable." Over the course of the next hour, what might have been an uncomfortably confrontational situation took a different course.
Why NIH is beefing up its data sharing rules after 16 years
The U.S. National Institutes of Health last week released a draft policy that will require all investigators with NIH funding to make their data sets available to colleagues. For the first time, grantees holding any NIH-funded grant -- not just those above a $500,000 threshold in direct costs -- will need to submit a detailed plan for sharing data, including steps to protect the privacy of research subjects. For the biomedical research community, the draft rules, which update a 2003 policy, aren't a big surprise: NIH has been gathering input on its ideas for the past 3 years. "We knew there was a lot of anxiety in the community about this and so we slowly shared our thinking and its evolution," says Carrie Wolinetz, associate director for science policy at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. Now, she says, "This is what the policy looks like in draft form."
4 frat deaths this month. 2 this week alone. What's going on with fraternity hazing?
In the past month, at least four young men have died in circumstances apparently related to college fraternities. Two of those deaths have come this week alone. At least three young men had also died the previous semester. If that seems like a lot, Hank Nuwer, an author who chronicles these types of deaths, has some unfortunate news. Since 2017, that number of fraternity deaths annually has become the new normal. Despite policy changes from universities and frats, a slew of anti-hazing laws and activism from the dead students' parents, the trend shows no sign of changing. Nuwer laments that many young men see hazing as a "requirement for manhood." The deaths come at a time when families, universities and fraternities are struggling to decide how to address the toxic behavior sometimes associated with these organizations.
After nine deaths, U. of Southern California tries to quell rumors and prevent triggering students
The email arrived near midnight Saturday. University of Southern California President Carol Folt informed the campus community about a recent series of student deaths. She said she wanted to keep the university informed, but also clear up rumors and misinformation. "People are searching for answers and information as we attempt to make sense of these terrible losses," Folt said. "There is a great deal of speculation about the causes of these deaths and most are being attributed to suicide. This is not correct." Faced with the deaths of nine students since Aug. 24, USC administrators are engaged in a delicate balancing act as they notify students, attempt to quell rumors, offer mental health resources and also try to avoid triggering students who may be in the midst of a mental health crisis. A campus of 47,500 students, USC experiences four to 15 student deaths in a typical school year, officials said. Last year, six were reported.
Students of color at Franklin & Marshall College say culturally insensitive, racist Halloween costumes worn by athletes part of deeper racial problems on campus
Students of color at Franklin & Marshall College are drawing the line on racism on campus. They've held several high-profile protests to express their frustration with a troubling racial climate at the Pennsylvania college that they say has been tolerated for far too long. They've also sent a clear message to administrators: we're fed up and we're holding you accountable. The students' concerns boiled over into protests and rallies last week after several athletes from the men's basketball and soccer teams dressed up in racist and culturally insensitive costumes for Halloween, LancasterOnline reported. The costumes depicted Hispanic, Asian and African stereotypes. The offended students view the incident as a reckoning for the college's "lack of consequences for racist actions" in the past.
The College Campuses That Moonlight as Wedding Venues
The chapel at Keuka College, in upstate New York, is a campus landmark. Its Douglas-fir trusses, Italian-glass chandeliers, and custom-made pipe organ are so charming that many alumni choose to get married there. So do many non-alumni: About half of the roughly 18 weddings that take place at Keuka College in a given year are for couples without ties to the school. Keuka, which sits on the shores of one of New York's Finger Lakes, alongside the region's vineyards, is just one of scores of American colleges that, recognizing the untapped value of their picturesque facilities, host weddings. At a time when many higher-education institutions are struggling to stay afloat, every dollar counts. Colleges -- especially those without big endowments -- find themselves facing the dual financial challenges of reduced public funding for education and projected declines in enrollment. Alternative revenue sources that require minimal investment are an especially attractive strategy for defending against these trends.
Archaic vestige of Jim Crow law needs to go
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: Republican Gov.-Elect Tate Reeves won a solid general election victory over Democratic nominee Jim Hood and two minor party candidates in a race that was projected to be much tighter. A less than enthusiastic turnout in the heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District contributed to Hood's defeat, but it was the ability of the Reeves campaign to essentially nullify Hood's perceived home base in Northeast Mississippi that turned the tide. Those factors, plus dominating the Gulf Coast and the Pine Belt from the primary through the general election, gave Reeves the win. ... Since the stars came into alignment for a Reeves-Hood showdown, pitting two candidates with the state's major parties who have each successfully sought statewide office four consecutive times, I've written about what has come to be called Mississippi's "electoral junior college" contained in Article V, Sections 140, 141 and 143 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1990.

Alabama vs Mississippi State 2019: 3 questions Bulldogs must answer
It usually takes the extraordinary to beat Alabama. Last week, it took another Heisman Trophy type of game from LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Last year, it took one of the best teams of all time, 15-0 Clemson, in the national championship game. Two years prior, it took back-to-back Davey O'Brien Award winner Deshaun Watson's last-minute touchdown drive to dethrone the champs. Those were all extraordinary performances. But Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead said it won't take anything extraordinary to take down the Crimson Tide. He said his Bulldogs just need to do the ordinary extraordinarily well. Time will tell if that's true. In the meantime, these are three things Moorhead and company should probably think about as Saturday draws near.
Quarterback question persists for Mississippi State
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: Mississippi State is entering its 10th game of the season and once again has question mark surrounding the position of starting quarterback. The Bulldogs have been dealing with uncertainty with its quarterbacks pretty much since the summer, when Tommy Stevens announced he was transferring from Penn State. But each time, the issue as to which signal caller is the starter has been a bit different. ... Now both quarterbacks are healthy after an open date and are listed as co-starters for Saturday's game against No. 4 Alabama. Moorhead didn't come right out and say Stevens would start in his press conference on Monday, but it sure seemed that's the way he was leaning.
'I'm young, and I'm learning': How Aliyah Matharu is thriving in a new but familiar position for Mississippi State
As freshman guard Aliyah Matharu walked across the court following Monday's 82-46 win over UT Martin, coach Vic Schaefer walked alongside her. Draping his arm around the minute point guard, Schaefer and Matharu traded laughs as a gaggle of MSU staffers joined the pair in the jaunt across the playing surface at a nearly empty Humphrey Coliseum. "Thank y'all," Schaefer said toward a few leftover reporters sitting at their baseline seats, laptops in front of them. On a night that MSU received another poor offensive display from freshman phenom Rickea Jackson and a middling effort from starting point guard Myah Taylor, it was Matharu's prowess that shined brightest. "I'm young, and I'm learning," she said postgame. "But my teammates don't get on me when I mess up, and I feel like that's really helping me. When I make a mistake they take their time with me, they're patient, they tell me what I'm supposed to do, and they guide me."
Mississippi State women remain 10th in AP Women's Basketball Poll
The Mississippi State womens's basketball team are still ranked 10th in the latest Associated Press Top 25 NCAA Woman's College Basketball Poll. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Southern Miss 91-58 Saturday. It was the first game of the season for Mississippi State. Oregon is Number 1 followed by Baylor and Stanford. SEC teams in the top 10 include Texas A&M (5) and South Carolina (6).
Jackson State University players suspended after robbery charge
Two Jackson State University football players have been suspended from the football team after being arrested and charged with robbery. Jakaiszer Glass, 20, of Holcomb, and Carl Jones, 21, of Greenwood, were arrested Tuesday by JSU, according to Hinds County Jail records. Details of what led to the charges were not immediately available Tuesday afternoon. Both men were linebackers for the university. Jones is a sophomore while Glass is a junior. According to a statement released by JSU Tuesday afternoon, "The students have been suspended from the football team indefinitely pending the outcome of their cases." Trevarius Clark, a defensive lineman for JSU, was also suspended from the team Tuesday after being charged with vehicular manslaughter. According to police, a car driven by Clark stuck and killed a pedestrian in Bryam in April.
Alabama, KultureCity work together for sensory-inclusive Bryant-Denny Stadium
A Najee Harris rushing touchdown last weekend against LSU sent Bryant-Denny Stadium into a frenzy, when his score turned a 20-point halftime deficit into a one-possession game, doing so with over 14 minutes left to bridge that gap. In that frenzy, the stadium's lights turned red and Dixieland Delight boomed through the speakers. Moments like those are one of many reasons the University of Alabama installed LED lights in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the ones capable of changing colors and strobing in different patterns. They've added something to the game day environment that few of its collegiate competitors can replicate --- but they come with a catch. The stadium environment is already a challenging one for those with epilepsy, on the autism scale or other sensory issues, and strobing lights only add to those issues. Julian Maha M.D., spoke with The Tuscaloosa News about UA's efforts to make the new Bryant-Denny Stadium experience more suitable for those with sensory needs.
Board of Regents OK UGA football building, dorm
The state Board of Regents has approved an $80 million renovation and expansion of the University of Georgia's football facilities. The nonprofit corporation that runs UGA's NCAA sports programs, the UGA Athletic Association, would be responsible for the costs of the renovation and expansion project at UGA's Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and for operating costs once construction concludes. The project's first phase of 109,600 square feet would include a new football locker room and new offices and conference rooms for football coaches, new sports medicine areas and a new strength and conditioning room. The Regents also granted permission for the university to build a new freshman residence hall on Baxter Street on the site of the old Bolton Dining Commons just down the hill from Creswell Hall. The 525-bed dorm will be a "public-private partnership," with a private company putting up about 80 percent of the $50 million cost of the project in exchange for the rights to the revenues.
Hogs' AD Hunter Yurachek dislikes big-figure buyouts
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek would like to start a movement that addresses the issue of buyouts for underperforming coaches. There's not a huge crowd marching on that topic just yet, but at some point college athletics will have to take a hard examination of financial issues like that. Yurachek fired second-year Arkansas football Coach Chad Morris on Sunday with four-plus years remaining on a contract that stipulates the UA owes him a little more than $10.1 million in monthly installments through 2023. Morris' future employment, which he is obligated to pursue, would reduce that amount. Morris had a 4-18 record with the Razorbacks, the worst 22-game tenure for any Arkansas football coach. Yurachek said he had been informed the athletic department has the resources to handle those payments. The buyout business has turned costly for some universities and lucrative for coaches.
Why Phillip Fulmer isn't pushing to restore beer barrel to Tennessee vs. Kentucky rivalry
The beer barrel has been absent from the Tennessee vs. Kentucky football rivalry for long enough that even some veteran players aren't aware of its existence. "The beer barrel? I might be too young for that," Tennessee's fifth-year senior wide receiver Jauan Jennings said last week, when asked whether he'd like to see the beer barrel restored to the rivalry. "I don't know what the beer barrel is. I know what a beer barrel is, but not what you're talking about." Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said during a Tuesday radio interview on WNML that bringing back the beer barrel is not a priority for him. The beer barrel was a trophy that went to the winning side in the annual rivalry. One end of the barrel was painted orange. The other end was painted blue. It featured a white painted section in the middle, where scores of games were recorded. It was presented to the winners each year from 1925 to 1997. The tradition ended in 1998. Less than a week before Kentucky played Tennessee, two Kentucky players were involved in an alcohol-related car wreck. One of the Kentucky players, Arthur Steinmetz, and an Eastern Kentucky student, Christopher Scott Brock, were killed in the crash.
Kentucky's loss to Evansville ranks as one of the biggest upsets in college hoops history
Evansville's shocking win over blue-blood Kentucky on Tuesday night tied for the third biggest college basketball upset in the past 15 seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll and No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, were 25-point favorites before the Purple Aces shocked the college basketball world in Lexington. Evansville was picked to finish eighth of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, while Kentucky had just knocked off preseason No. 1 Michigan State in its season-opener last week. "I don't know if anything matches this, other than winning a national championship," Evansville coach Walter McCarty, who won a national title with Kentucky as a player, told reporters in his postgame news conference.
California changed its rules on college athlete pay. Now White House looking into it
The White House is meeting with congressional offices as it considers a response to a new California law that permits college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. "There's interest in the Hill on it, and we have some interest in it," White House Domestic Policy Council Director Joe Grogan told McClatchy in an interview. "California has created a lot of interest in the subject, the California law specifically has created some angst in the athletic community." The White House has been in touch with staff from Rep. Mark Walker's office. Walker, a North Carolina Republican, has introduced federal legislation to allow players to make money off their name and image while in school. President Donald Trump, who owned a professional football team in a rival league to the NFL in the 1980s, has not taken a public position on college athletes compensation.

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