Tuesday, January 31, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi universities monitoring travel ban
Mississippi universities are being hit by the travel ban President Trump initiated by executive order last week as many have international students from all over the world. Mississippi State University has approximately 80 students enrolled from the seven affected countries, according to Sid Salter, Mississippi State University's chief communications officer. MSU President Mark Keenum issued a statement on the ban Monday, saying the university's "core values of diversity, inclusion, tolerance and safety for all, regardless their country of origin, do not waver or change." As a research university, Keenum said MSU has attracted a "significant number of international students enrolled in both graduate and undergraduate studies."
Travel ban sparks debate in Oktibbeha County
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum released a statement Monday afternoon regarding the temporary travel ban that has sparked debate and protest across the country. According to the release from the MSU Office of Public Affairs, there are 80 students at MSU who are from the countries listed by the executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 27. The MSU administration says it is closely monitoring these matters to see how the university community will be impacted. The MSU International Services Office at 662-325-8929 and MSU Student Counseling Services are taking calls to give more information on the subject, and to support those who are affected.
University officials respond to Trump immigration order
State university officials spoke out in support of a diverse student body Monday in the wake of President Trump's executive order on immigration. "The MSU administration is closely monitoring these matters to see how our university community is impacted -- and we will provide appropriate assistance for impacted MSU community members," Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum said in a statement. "As I have stated on numerous occasions, MSU's core values of diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and safety for all -- regardless their country of origin -- do not waver or change." "Last year, international students had an economic impact on Mississippi to the tune of $78.1 million dollars with $18.3 million coming to Mississippi State University," says Karin Lee, director of international recruitment and retention at MSU.
Mississippi universities respond to President Trump's immigration order
Mississippi universities are reacting to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration. Institutions of higher learning are generally melting pots of people, cultures and identities. This is being echoed by Mississippi's education leaders. Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter released their own statements. Keenum spoke about "uncertainty and anxiety among valued members of our university community -- as across the nation." The university released that it currently has 80 students from the seven specific countries.
Mississippi Universities Respond To Trump's Travel Ban
Criticism continued Monday after an executive order Friday from President Donald Trump that bans entry into America for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for the next 90 days. Universities around the nation are commenting. Many say they're worried about the effect the order could have on students and staff. Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum says MSU has 80 students enrolled in Starkville from all seven countries specified in the order. He says the measures have "created uncertainty and anxiety among valued members of our university community." In a statement, he also says, "MSU is taking appropriate steps to support and assist our international students, faculty, staff and researchers as these issues evolve."
Muslims in Mississippi react to immigration ban
The immigration ban signed by President Trump has caused fear for many international students. Ashkan Khalili is an aerospace engineering student getting his Ph.D. at Mississippi State University and he's also Iranian. He, like many other Muslims, are disappointed by the travel ban signed into law by President Trump over the weekend. "I won't be able to change my visa status so it's going to be very difficult for me," he said. "Before this order I was looking for jobs but right now I have no idea what's going to happen after three months." Dr. Rani Sullivan is faculty advisor for the Muslim Student Association and she's getting a lot of feedback. She says they appreciate the support shown across the country and from other religious groups in Starkville.
Mississippi State professor to give poetry reading on Tuesday
Mississippi State University Associate Professor Catherine Pierce will give a live poetry reading on Tuesday in Colvard Student Union's third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium. The free event will feature Pierce -- a faculty member in Mississippi State's Department of English -- who will read from her new book of poems "The Tornado Is the World," according to a release from MSU. The event will start at 7:30 p.m. and be followed by a question-and-answer session, along with a book signing organized by Barnes & Noble at Mississippi State.
Demonstrations can help with soybean variety selection
Planting multiple small plots at 29 different locations in Mississippi can add up to a lot of numbers. But that's what Extension specialists, county agents and producers did in the state in 2016. The goal: To help growers get a better look at how new soybeans varieties respond to their growing conditions, including soil types, weather and their management styles, according to Trent Irby, Mississippi State University Extension soybean specialist. "We provide the seed and helped with the planting and then we walk away," said Irby, who spoke during a discussion on the new cotton and soybean herbicides and traits at the Delta Ag Expo in Cleveland, Miss. "From that point it was up to the grower to use his management style to grow the soybeans."
Water screening, workshop to help private well owners
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering two programs next month for north Mississippi homeowners with private wells. A news release says the Mississippi Well Owner Network will hold a workshop about well care and water sampling on Feb. 21 at the Extension Service office in Columbus. Workshop presenter Jason Barrett says about 10 percent of Mississippi households rely on private wells for their water. He says there are four counties where 40 percent of households have private wells.
Mayors hope cities benefit from online taxes
Local mayors believe cities should receive a cut of any additional tax revenue generated by online sales activity but admit that hurdles may exist. Those headaches include attempts to determine exactly where online retail customers live and how to distribute tax revenue accordingly. "Practically speaking, I don't know if the state will know where the purchases are made," said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman. "That could be one potential issue." There appear to be legal headaches as well. Brick-and-mortar stores located in Mississippi already collect a 7 percent sales tax on all purchases. The state keeps most of that sales tax revenue. However, the state's municipalities receive 18.5 percent of all sales tax generated from with each of their boundaries. A 7 percent tax collected on internet sales activity, however, is technically a use tax, and under current law municipalities will not receive any of it. Legislators have suggested that legislation could be introduced that would divert a portion of those online taxes back to municipalities.
Code re-write, opening Starkville Police Department top aldermen's to-do list
With 150 days left until the end of the term, many Starkville aldermen are not only getting into campaign mode for their respective re-election bids but are also looking ahead at unfinished business and tasks left to complete by June 30. Outgoing Mayor Parker Wiseman and numerous aldermen have identified many projects -- from the completion of renovations to Starkville Police Department to a code rewrite that will guide future development in Starkville for years to come -- city leaders are expected to tackle during their last days in office.
Why unemployment is dropping in the Golden Triangle
According to data released this month by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, Oktibbeha County unemployment has dropped from December 2015 to December 2016. The data reads that unemployment in Oktibbeha County was at 5.6 percent in December 2016, down from 6.7 percent the year prior. According to MDES Director of Labor Market Information Mary Willoughby, the drop in unemployment is a trend from the state level down, due in part to a strengthening of the U.S. economy. Willoughby said some of the Golden Triangle data, particularly for Oktibbeha County, might be a little skewed because of to the absence of working students in the area when the data was collected, due to Mississippi State University being on winter break.
Study concludes state losing up to $122 million by not taxing remote sales
Mississippi lost between $105.6 million and $122.7 million in tax revenue in 2016 by people making remote purchases, such as through catalogs or on the internet, where they did not have to pay taxes, according to a new study by the University Research Center. Of that lost revenue, between $56.4 million and $67.8 million was from internet transactions, estimates the study by the University Research Center, which is a division of the state Institutions of Higher Learning. "I think that internet sales have increased with the technology and the availability of items offered online," said state Economist Darrin Webb in an e-mailed response to questions. "I think people have also grown more comfortable with it."
Some Republicans seek end to automatic school funding
Lost in the debate over how much the state of Mississippi should spend on schools this year is an equally important question: How much should the state be expected to spend on schools in future years? The current school funding formula is adjusted every year to account for inflation and is recalculated every four years to cover changing costs. But Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and other Republicans have said any new formula shouldn't be automatically recalculated, instead leaving lawmakers more discretion over spending. Bryant said Monday there should be no requirement to fully fund the amount, even though lawmakers ignore it now.
Bills to abolish agency for arts may be in trouble
The agency that promotes, fosters and grows Mississippi's artistic heritage would be eliminated under bills pending in the Mississippi Legislature. But late Monday, various sources indicated that bills dealing with the elimination of the agency might die today -- the deadline for the bills to be passed out of committee to remain alive. "They are bad iffy," said Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn. The bills, which have the support of Gov. Phil Bryant, would eliminate the Mississippi Arts Commission and leave the group serving as an advisory board under the auspices of the Development Authority. Clay Chandler, a spokesman for the governor, said, "Mississippi's arts scene is a large part of the state's overall tourism industry. Gov. Bryant is committed to growing that creative economy, and believes combining agencies designed to promote tourism and the arts will achieve that goal. Under that arrangement, arts commissioners would continue their service in an advisory role."
Equal pay maneuver thwarted in House
Some parliamentary gamesmanship spiced up what should have been a routine day in the House chamber. It started when Rep. Bryant Clark, D-Pickens, tried to signal that he wanted to pull an equal pay bill out of committee and put in the calendar for a floor vote. Speaker Philip Gunn, R- Clinton, denied the motion because Gunn did not see or hear Clark attempt to make his motion at the appropriate time. "It wasn't intentional to ignore him, I didn't see him," Gunn said. The legislation at the center of the fracas was House Bill 1080, called the Mississippi Pay Equity Act, which is currently doubled referred to House Judiciary and Workforce Development committees. After a brief recess for House lawyers to discuss Clark's request, Clark asked for unanimous consent to pull the bill out of committee. One male member verbally objected, killing Clark's motion.
Confederate emblem has staying power on Mississippi flag
The Confederate battle emblem still waves on the Mississippi flag and appears in little danger of being erased anytime soon. Legislators have filed bills that propose to either change the flag that has been used since 1894 or punish schools, universities, local governments or state agencies that refuse to fly it. Leaders say there's little chance any bill will survive because there's no consensus on the issue that generates strong emotions. Mississippi is the last state with a flag that still includes the battle emblem. The public display of Confederate symbols has come under widespread debate since the June 2015 slaying of nine black worshippers in a church in a Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos with the Confederate battle flag.
Marshall Fisher named Department of Public Safety commissioner
Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher will take the reins of the Department of Public Safety on Wednesday. Governor Phil Bryant announced the appointment at a press conference Monday afternoon at DPS headquarters. Fisher succeeds Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz, who is retiring after spending 43 years with DPS. Chief of staff at MDOC, Pelicia Hall, will act as the department's commissioner until Bryant announces Fisher's replacement. She said she has worked closely with Fisher on budgetary issues and believes she has some budget challenges, but there are plans to deal with budget shortfalls.
School superintendents may need less education experience
School superintendents might not be required to have degrees or experience in educational administration if a bill passed by the House Education Committee Monday is approved by legislators. House Bill 442, authored by Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, would allow individuals with a master's degree in any field or individuals with a bachelor's degree and at least 10 years of experience in an administrative, senior management or supervisory position to be eligible to become school superintendents. The bill prompted Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfport, to ask the question: "So who are you all really trying to get a job for? It sounds like somebody's trying to get a job for somebody in particular."
Local legislators face issues of current session during Natchez-Adams County Chamber breakfast
Four of the area's state legislators discussed a litany of topics Monday, but the state's financial issues underpinned much of the discussion. Sen. Bob Dearing, D-Natchez, Sen. Tammy Witherspoon, D-Magnolia, Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, and Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, attended the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce's annual legislative breakfast at the Grand Hotel in downtown Natchez. With revenues not meeting projections, Johnson said he characterized this session as challenging. "We have a budget crisis," Johnson said. "Not a whole lot of things will go forward. We just want to maintain an upright ship." Johnson said one aspect the state needs to identify a solution for is funding roads and bridges.
GOP senator says Chris McDaniel's comments don't represent most Mississippians
State Senator Chris McDaniel's controversial comments about "unhappy liberal women" at the Women's March on Washington sparked a social media firestorm last week. Now a fellow republican lawmaker is speaking out, saying McDaniel's views don't represent him or most of his constituents. Senator Brice Wiggins's tweet came in response to an interview aired over the weekend on WLOX News This Week. In it, Senator McDaniel said he was representing the ideas of a traditional Mississippi, both fiscally and morally. "Politicians can't be all things to all people. That's an impossible task," McDaniel said. "The women who marched in DC do not represent the average woman in Mississippi... I speak for those people." When asked why he was digging in, even telling those who disagree with him to "bring it on," McDaniel remained unapologetic.
Trump fires acting AG for refusing to defend travel ban
President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday just hours after she defied him by refusing to have the Justice Department defend his controversial executive order blocking people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The White House acted swiftly, issuing a statement declaring that Yates, who was appointed by former President Obama, had "betrayed" the U.S. government. Trump selected Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to replace Yates until his attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), is confirmed by the Senate. That vote could occur this week. The decision to ax Yates capped off a turbulent day.
White House aides who wrote Trump's travel ban see it as just the start
Even as confusion, internal dissent and widespread condemnation greeted President Trump's travel ban and crackdown on refugees this weekend, senior White House aides say they are only getting started. Trump and his aides justified Friday's executive order, which blocked travel from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days and halted refugees from around the world for 120, on security grounds -- an issue that they say they take seriously. But their ultimate goal is far broader. Trump's top advisors on immigration, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller, see themselves as launching a radical experiment to fundamentally transform how the U.S. decides who is allowed into the country and to block a generation of people who, in their view, won't assimilate into American society.
White House Says Obama's Order On LGBTQ Rights Will Stay In Effect
An executive order protecting gays and lesbians who work for federal contractors "will remain intact" at President Trump's direction, the White House says. The move could allay concerns that Trump might end recently adopted protections against an anti-LGBTQ workplace. The White House announced the move in a relatively short statement early Tuesday, saying that the president "is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community." The announcement comes after reports that the White House was considering a new executive order that would undo former President Obama's 2014 executive order that gave new protections to gay and transgender people. When it was signed, the order applied to 28 million workers -- roughly a fifth of America's workforce.
Another alarm for scientists: Trump's pick to guide NOAA transition
President Donald Trump is taking aim at one of the federal government's main agencies for climate change research -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- and NOAA employees are girding for drastic changes in how they conduct science and report it to the public. Trump has appointed a leading denier of climate change, Kenneth Haapala of the Heartland Institute, to serve on the administration team handling appointments for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal agency that oversees NOAA. Haapala will be in a position to help choose top administrators at NOAA, an agency that conducts atmospheric research and, among other duties, also oversees the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Calling itself the nation's "environmental intelligence agency," NOAA has a $5.8 billion annual budget, with roughly $190 million targeted toward climate change research.
Undocumented college students caught in legislative tug-of-war
A national debate over immigration policies is playing out in Mississippi in the form of competing legislative proposals that seek to address the state's undocumented student population. One, House Bill 212, would make undocumented students at community colleges eligible for in-state tuition and state financial aid. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Sykes D-Jackson, is not new. For years, other legislators, including Sykes, have proposed the same measure and passage has been unsuccessful. "The Mississippi First Higher Education Act," or HB 600, would bar colleges and universities from practicing affirmative action or becoming a "sanctuary" for undocumented students. Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, who sponsored the bill said Mississippi taxpayers should not have to pay for the education of undocumented immigrants.
MUW Helping Columbus Students Sow the Seeds of Success
Students at a Columbus school are getting back to nature thanks to a little seed money from the Mississippi University for Women. The W's Passport for Wellness presented Annunciation Catholic School with a $5,000.00 " Sowing for Success" grant for a class garden where students can get hands on lessons about nutrition and fitness. Future plans at Annunciation will also address Spiritual health with a Peace Garden where students can pray or meditate.
Ole Miss plans to expand Conner Hall and baseball stadium
The University of Mississippi is planning to expand two of its flagship academic buildings. The College Board approved plans this month to hire architects to design additions for the main business and journalism buildings. Ole Miss will pay $1 million for a plan to expand Conner Hall, the 1961 structure that is home to the Patterson School of Accountancy and Business Administration. Holman Hall was constructed as an addition to Conner Hall in 1998. Also being eyed for expansion is Farley Hall, home to the university's Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The university will pay a different architecture firm $1 million to design an expansion for the 1929 building. Meanwhile, Ole Miss will borrow up to $19 million to overhaul its baseball stadium.
Ole Miss' Chancellor Vitter makes statement on President Donald Trump's immigration restrictions
While other universities across the country have recently released statements vowing they will not release confidential student records to law enforcement in light of President Donald Trump's recent restrictions on immigration, University of Mississippi's Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said the university is waiting for more information before making a definite statement on the matter. Within moments of releasing the statement, Vitter's Twitter @umchancellor was filled with comments, some in support of the university's "wait and see" tactic, and many wanting more clarification with some calling the statement "weak" or "word salad" and challenged the university to take a direct stand. UM assistant professor JT Thomas challenged people on his Facebook page to ask Vitter questions via Twitter.
USM welcomes William Carey students
After a recent tornado that devastated William Carey's campus, USM is helping in a big way. Southern Miss is opening its doors to WCU students, faculty and staff so they can work and continue their education after the storm. USM displayed signs around campus for its guests and encouraged them to use the USM map to find their way around the university. On Monday, USM President Rodney Bennett released a statement regarding the damage to William Carey. In part of his statement, he said, "Yesterday, I toured the devastation at William Carey University and met with that institution's leaders, including President Tommy King, in an effort to identify needs with which USM can assist. We intend to be a strong partner to our sister institution and provide as much support and assistance as we can in the coming weeks."
U. of Alabama group opposes Trump's order
A group of about 120 people gathered Monday at the University of Alabama to discuss ways to resist an executive order by President Donald Trump that temporarily suspends immigration for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. The gathering also was designed to show support for fellow students, faculty and staff potentially affected by the ban. UA officials say they are not currently aware of any students who are overseas and being prevented from returning to the U.S. Based on a fall census, Monica Watts, associate vice president for communication, said UA has 29 students on campus from the countries listed in the ban. The census recorded 747 foreign students from 59 locations in the fall of 2016 at UA. "The University of Alabama reaffirms that we welcome and value our community from across the globe. We are offering support to our international faculty, students and researchers for their continued success and well-being in light of the recent executive order," UA President Stuart Bell said in a prepared statement.
Don't travel outside U.S., Auburn advises students, faculty affected by Trump's immigration ban
Auburn University President Jay Gogue and Provost Timothy Boosinger issued a joint letter to the campus on President Donald Trump's executive order suspending immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries. "Auburn is an international university," Gogue and Boosinger said in the letter. "Students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds strengthen our campus, and we remain committed to fostering an environment that upholds our values of inclusion and diversity." Trump's order led to protest at airports across the country over the weekend. Forty-nine students are attending Auburn University from the seven countries, according to Charles Martin with the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Auburn University to break ground on $40M engineering student achievement center
Auburn University's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering will host a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, Feb. 2, at 1 p.m. to celebrate the construction of the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center. Construction of the center is made possible through a $30 million gift from John and Rosemary Brown, which was announced as part of an overall $57 million gift -- and the largest in university history -- in 2015 at the Because This is Auburn - A Campaign for Auburn University kickoff event. Site preparation for the project began in December with the demolition of the Engineering Shops and L Building. Construction is anticipated to be completed by spring 2019. This project will mark the completion of more than $60 million in new construction and renovation on the engineering campus. Located in the heart of campus, the center will specifically address students' professional and academic needs.
UGA releases statement about immigration ban
The University of Georgia is one of many universities and colleges around the country seeking to respond to Friday's executive order that would bar people from seven countries from entering the United States. Of the countries affected -- Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia -- UGA has 67 current students from five of those countries, according to the UGA Factbook from Fall 2016. Of those students, the largest number come from Iran with 63. There is also one student each from Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Sudan. On Monday morning, UGA President Jere Morehead, with Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten and Associate Provost for International Education Noel Fallows, issued a statement regarding the policy.
Louisiana university leaders 'firmly committed to supporting' their international students
Louisiana university leaders Monday tried to calm fears of their international students in the wake of President Donald Trump's order last week banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The University of Louisiana System, the state's largest and headed by President Jim Henderson, issued a statement welcoming students and faculty "from around the globe." The statement said internationals contribute to a diverse learning culture. "Academia depends upon the exchange of ideas with colleagues from around the world. In fact, the ability to attract and engage scientists, scholars and students from around the world is one of the reasons American universities are leaders in innovation," LSU President F. King Alexander said in a statement Monday.
LSU scientist helps find method of extracting DNA from rare, often extinct, museum specimens
Scientists can start extracting DNA from the rare, often extinct, animal specimens collected over the centuries and preserved in jars of liquid at natural history museums around the world under a new system developed at LSU and Rutgers. "It's not quite Jurassic Park, but we can get genetic data from extinct species and we can determine where those species fit on the 'tree of life'," said Professor Christopher Austin, referring to the popular book and movie about finding ancient genetic material, then recreating dinosaurs by sequencing long fragments of the hereditary material and instructions for growth found in the double helix of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in each cell. More realistic than the fictional dino park is that scientists can use the old DNA to track how species evolved and how they are related to other species.
U. of Florida says about 200 faculty, staff and students affected by travel ban
During her winter break, Lina Babiker, a University of Florida sophomore, visited Sudan, where most of her extended family lives. A month later, President Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting U.S. travel from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. She went to a protest Sunday at Turlington Plaza and the intersection of Northwest 13th Street and West University Avenue. Her parents, who live in Virginia, protested at a Washington, D.C., airport. The three are U.S. citizens. In a statement released Sunday, UF President Kent Fuchs affirmed the university's support of international faculty, staff and students.
National Cancer Institute director visits U. of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center
Doug Lowy, interim director of the National Cancer Institute, toured the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center on Monday, visiting research labs and cancer patients. In 2013, Markey received a prestigious National Cancer Institute designation, which gives it special access to federal research funding, trials and treatments. Kentucky suffers from some of the worst cancer incidence and death rates in the nation. Lowy's research interest centers on the biology of papillomaviruses, including HPV. He and his research partner, Dr. John Schilling, helped develop the initial vaccines for HPV now used widely. Lowy visited Kentucky last year with U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, looking at cancer disparities in rural areas.
Tennessee governor outlines tuition-free community college plan for adults
In a surprise announcement during his State of the State address Monday, Gov. Bill Haslam outlined a plan to expand the Tennessee Promise scholarship model to allow adults to attend community college tuition-free. The new scholarship, which will come before the General Assembly this year in the Tennessee Reconnect Act, is likely to further cement Haslam's national reputation as a change agent in higher education. If state lawmakers sign off on the program, Tennessee would become the only state in the nation to offer tuition-free community college to high school students and adults. The Haslam administration has tried for years to entice adults without degrees to enroll in college, many times under the Reconnect banner. But the new scholarship program would represent the most sweeping effort by far, with more than 2 million adults potentially eligible.
U. of Tennessee chancellor issues statement on diversity commitment after Trump order
Outgoing University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said the school's "commitment to diversity, inclusion, and civility remains as strong as ever" in light of the recent immigration orders by President Donald Trump. "We are committed to protecting the rights and opportunities extended to all members of our academic community, and we will continue to recruit, retain, and support faculty, staff, and students from around the world," Cheek wrote in an open letter to the campus Monday. There are 81 people on the UT campus, including faculty, staff and students, from the countries affected by the temporary immigration ban, according to Amy Blakely, assistant director for media and communications at UT. All are on visas or are permanent residents, she said. "In general, people are very concerned. We're all concerned," Blakely said.
Tennessee educators: Trump travel ban hurts universities
Professors and students unsure of when they'll see their families again, academic careers placed in jeopardy, and potentially lifesaving research put on hold. These have been the immediate effects of President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, university officials, students and professors in Tennessee say. Vanderbilt University professor Issam Eido, who teaches Islamic studies and Arabic, is a Syrian national and a legal permanent resident in the United States. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two children. Before the ban, his green card meant he could travel at will. Now, he's not sure when he'll ever visit his home again. "I feel very sad, not just about me, but for America," Eido said.
More than 1,000 gather at Texas A&M campus to protest travel ban
Looking lovingly toward their infant daughter, Alina, Emrullah and Amila Erul said the America of 2017 isn't what had been promised in decades of books and movies that conveyed a welcoming land. Immigrants to the U.S. from Turkey and Bosnia, respectively, the couple said the deep unrest they feel is not something they expected to experience. The Erul family was among a crowd of more than a thousand people gathered on the Texas A&M University campus Monday evening, collectively voicing their defiance of President Donald Trump's recent executive orders restricting travel and barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. Organized by 19-year-old Texas A&M freshman Mallory Chapman, the event featured chanting, music and a march around the campus from Rudder Plaza to the Evans Library and back.
Texas A&M president weighs in on Trump's travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young shared his response to President Donald Trump's recent executive orders banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations Monday, assuring affected students, faculty and staff they have the university's support. In an open letter to the A&M community, Young called A&M's longstanding connection to Aggies from other countries "a core tenet of who we are and has enhanced our academic excellence immeasurably." "We are Aggies united," Young wrote, "inclusive of nationality, cultural identity, age, gender identity or expression, physical ability, political ideology, racial and ethnic identity, religious and spiritual identity, sexual orientation, and social and economic status -- so please respect each other, stay informed, and support each other as Aggies do!"
New U. of Missouri program allows students to donate unused meals
When University of Missouri School of Music professor Wendy Sims saw her daughter, an MU student, come home at the end of her first semester with a large box full of bags of potato chips, she had questions about how her daughter was using her meal plan. "I asked her, 'what are you doing with those,' and she explained to me that she had all these leftover meals that her friends and her were using to buy cheesecakes, coffees and other things they wouldn't normally buy," Sims said. "It seemed like these students were trying frantically to use up their meals. I thought that was a ridiculous use of the plan." Ensuing conversations with Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Theodore Tarkow, Campus Dining Services Director Julaine Kiehn and other organizations on campus led to the creation of a new pilot program that allows MU students with meal plans to transfer meals to other students who may be food insecure.
Senate Education Committee to vote on DeVos as critics question her readiness for job
The Senate education committee will vote today on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education -- the next step in what has become one of the most publicly contentious confirmation processes for any Trump cabinet nominee and an unusually bitter fight over an education secretary nominee. Democrats said last week that their entire caucus would vote against DeVos. North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp on Monday added her name to a growing number of Democrats who have individually announced their opposition to the Michigan billionaire and school choice activist's leadership of the department. But Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has rejected repeated requests from ranking member Patty Murray and other Democrats to hold additional hearings or delay a vote until they have more complete information on DeVos's potential financial conflicts and connections to dark money groups.
How Trump's Immigration Order Is Affecting Higher Education
In the aftermath of the Trump administration's executive order temporarily banning immigration from a number of Muslim-majority countries to the United States, universities and scholars across the country are grappling with what the restrictions mean for their students -- and for scholarship more broadly. The conservative-leaning National Association of Scholars said the impact of the order is "trivial." Schools across the country have current students who are worried they won't be allowed back into the U.S. if they leave, prospective students who may not be allowed in at all, and faculty who are from the banned countries and fear they will be denied re-entry if they try to visit sick family members or relatives outside the country.
Graham shows concern in Clemson visit as South Carolina universities address ban with students
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham made a quick stop Monday in Clemson to express his concern for Nazanin Zinouri, the Clemson University graduate student who was stopped in Dubai while trying Friday to return to the United States. Meanwhile, S.C. universities -- including the University of South Carolina and Clemson -- reached out to students affected by a travel ban imposed late Friday by the new presidential administration. "From what I've been told by her friends, she was taken off a plane in Dubai, and the TSA agents in Dubai said it was a result of the order issued by President Trump," said Graham, R-Seneca. "If that's the case, we've made a mistake. My goal is to protect America from terrorists coming into our country, not to keep this young lady out." University of South Carolina officials Monday met with about two dozen students from some of the seven Muslim-majority countries listed in President Trump's travel ban. USC has 67 current students from Iraq, 59 from Iran, seven from Libya and two from Syria. Trump's order has not directly affected any of them, the school has said.
Scientists drawn into politics, in a bid to defend science
Facing a possible crackdown on free speech for researchers within government, American scientists appear ready to voice their concerns with an unusual degree of public activism. They're planning a march, and some are seeking to mobilize their peers to run for office. The sense of rising passion is rare in a community more known for labcoats and data crunching than for holding megaphones or slogan-emblazoned signs. But it comes for a clear-cut reason: They're hearing a drumbeat of concern about the Trump administration – whether rooted in fearful headlines and Facebook posts or in actual words and actions of the administration itself. And although scientists have spoken out in the past about perceived threats to their profession, some say there's little precedent for the surge of activism that appears to have begun this week.
Endowment returns fall into the red, with an average drop of 1.9 percent in 2016
College and university endowments' net returns declined for the second straight year in 2016, dropping into negative territory and posting their worst results since the depths of the financial crisis. Endowments returned an average of -1.9 percent in the 2016 fiscal year that ended in June, net of fees, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the nonprofit asset management firm Commonfund. That's significantly below last year's return of 2.4 percent and follows a decade of volatile ups and downs. It's also substantially lower than the 7.4 percent median annual return endowments are generally considered to need to average in order to maintain their purchasing power over time.
Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required
According to a study by Ball State University, nearly nine in 10 jobs that disappeared since 2000 were lost to automation in the decades-long march to an information-driven economy, not to workers in other countries. Even if those jobs returned, a high school diploma is simply no longer good enough to fill them. Yet rarely discussed in the political debate over lost jobs are the academic skills needed for today's factory-floor positions, and the pathways through education that lead to them. Many believe that the solution is for more Americans to go to college. But the college-for-all movement, which got its start in the 1970s as American manufacturing began its decline, is often conflated with earning a bachelor's degree. Faced with a skills gap, employers are increasingly working with community colleges to provide students with both the academic education needed to succeed in today's work force and the specific hands-on skills to get a job in their companies.

Many new faces in Mississippi State's rivalry matchup tonight at Ole Miss
Quinndary Weatherspoon experienced the extremes of both outcomes against Ole Miss as a true freshman at Mississippi State last year. The Bulldogs beat their in-state rival 83-77 in Starkville to earn their first SEC victory last season only to lose in Oxford 86-78 later in the year as Stefan Moody went off for 43 points. "We got a lot of praise for beating Ole Miss and everybody was happy the first time we played them," Weatherspoon said. "But the second time they beat us and it sucked. It hurt me to be honest. That was my first time losing to a rival and I don't want to experience that feeling again." Weatherspoon is one of only three current Bulldogs players to play against the Rebels last year, as most of MSU's roster will be introduced to the rivalry at the Pavilion at 6 p.m. tonight on SEC Network.
Mississippi State's Ben Howland: Ole Miss is the biggest game of the year
Only three Mississippi State players appeared against Ole Miss last season, and only five of the Bulldogs are from Mississippi, but Ben Howland has made something clear enough for even the most wide-eyed of newcomers to the rivalry. And that is Tuesday's game against the Rebels in Oxford (6 p.m., SEC Network) is the biggest game of the season. "Ole Miss-Mississippi State, that's what it's all about," Howland said. "That's why you come to Mississippi State -- to beat Ole Miss."
Ole Miss trying to avoid winless homestand against Mississippi State
Ole Miss is trying to not let its homestand go to waste, and a loss to its biggest rival would only make things worse. The Rebels will end a string of three straight home games Tuesday when they host Mississippi State at The Pavilion (6 p.m, SEC Network). Ole Miss has held its own against the Bulldogs lately with five wins in the last six meetings between the teams and four in a row in its own building. But the Rebels (12-9, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) are in the bottom half of the SEC standings having lost six of their last nine games overall, including back-to-back setbacks to Texas A&M and No. 5 Baylor at The Pavilion.
Bulldogs, Gamecocks swap places in AP poll
Mississippi State fell one spot in The Associated Press women's basketball poll released Monday. The Bulldogs (21-1) are now No. 5 after suffering their first loss of the season last week, 64-61 to South Carolina. The Gamecocks moved up one spot to No. 4. It's the ninth consecutive week for MSU to be ranked in the top five. The Bulldogs bounced back Sunday with a win over Texas A&M, and they play again Thursday at Auburn.
Mississippi State's Jake Mangum named Preseason All-American
Mississippi State outfielder Jake Mangum was picked as a second team Preseason All-American by Baseball America on Monday. It was the second preseason honor for the sophomore from Pearl, who led the Southeastern Conference with a 408 batting average last season. Perfect Game also named Mangum as a second team All-American. Mangum was the lone player from the Magnolia State on the three Baseball America All-American teams and one of 13 players selected from the Southeastern Conference.
How the Bulldogs fared in all-star games
Mississippi State sent five seniors to participate in three different all-star games over the past two weekends and had a school-record three alumni represented in the NFL Pro Bowl. Center Jamaal Clayborn and defensive end Johnathan Calvin were showcased in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, linebacker Richie Brown played in the East West Shrine Game and wide receiver Fred Ross and offensive tackle Justin Senior saw action in the Senior Bowl. Former players -- quarterback Dak Prescott, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker K.J. Wright -- reunited and all started on the NFC team in the Pro Bowl on Sunday.
Mississippi produces more professional athletes per capita than any other state
Mississippi does something better than any other state: produce professional athletes. The Magnolia State is always at or near the top of pro athletes per capita, leading to a number of Super Bowl heroes. "One of the smallest, least populated, the poorest state in the country does something better than anybody else," said Rick Cleveland, longtime newspaper columnist and former executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. "I mean, we can play ball." Mississippi's brightest have shined on football's biggest stage. From superstars delivering MVP performances, to the unlikeliest of heroes. "I think this state ought to be, and is, extremely proud of its football and athletic legacy," added Cleveland.
52 rapes in 4 years alleged in new lawsuit against Baylor University
A former Baylor University student who says she was raped by two football players filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the school that alleges there were dozens more assaults of women involving other players. The lawsuit by the student, who is listed in the documents only as "Elizabeth Doe," alleges at least 52 rapes by more than 30 football players over a four-year period. It also alleges a "culture of sexual violence" and describes her 2013 attack by two players. It doesn't detail the other alleged attacks, but says some were recorded by the players, who shared them with friends. The nation's largest Baptist university has been gripped by the on-going scandal that led to the firing of football coach Art Briles and the departure of school President Ken Starr in 2016.

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