Friday, July 7, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State's Adkerson School of Accountancy earns national reaccreditation
Mississippi State University's Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy has been reaccredited for another five years by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. MSU is among 186 institutions around the world that hold accreditation for both its accounting program and business school. AASCB accreditation is the highest marker of excellence in business education. The accreditation standards require quality in management, innovation, learning, teaching and professional engagement. Housed in MSU's College of Business, the Adkerson School of Accountancy graduates approximately 100 bachelor's degree candidates and 35-40 master's degree candidates every year.
Mississippi State architecture student recognized for research
A Mississippi State University architecture major recently received recognition in his field from the Building technology Educators' Society. Senior Zachary R. Henry of Knoxville, Tennessee, was one of only two students who received awards at this year's BTES national conference in Des Moines, Iowa. Henry received an award for best undergraduate paper, as well as free conference admission, a yearlong free BTES membership and a $500 travel scholarship. Research for the paper, titled "Ecological Functionalism in the Work of Glenn Murcutt: A Case Study of the Fredricks-White House" was conducted under MSU Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn's Audit Squad, a course for students exploring energy efficiency and the quality of construction.
Starkville's Cake Box Eatery and Bakery relocating
After three years at 60 Technology Blvd., the Cake Box Eatery and Bakery in Starkville is moving about two miles to a new location. According to Mark Taylor, who handles the company's marketing, the restaurant at 100 Russell St., Suite 16, will be in a higher traffic area, particularly at night. With this change of venue, Taylor said the plan is to extend the eatery's hours for dinner. This is not the first change of venue for Cake Box. Before moving to Technology Blvd., it operated as a pastry and catering business on Louisville Street for five years.
Starkville aldermen fire sanitation director
Starkville is now looking for a new person to lead its sanitation department after aldermen unanimously voted to fire Emma Gandy Wednesday. Gandy was the only department head not brought back to his or her position for the start of the term, as the board unanimously voted to continue employing 13 others in appointed, at-will positions. While Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins' motion to relieve Gandy of her duties cited "a track record of consistent poor job performance," aldermen declined to comment any further on the personnel move after the meeting. While aldermen extended board attorney Chris Latimer's contract Wednesday, the board also showed a willingness to entertain offers for new counsel. Approved with the day's consent agenda, an item from Ward 3 Alderman David Little opens up a request for proposals process that could replace the Mitchell, McNutt and Sams attorney.
Legal fight continues over Mississippi gay-marriage law
Wrangling continues over a Mississippi law that lets merchants and government officials cite their religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples. Attorneys filed papers Thursday asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the law . Legal experts say it's the broadest religious-objections law enacted by any state since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. The law championed and signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in 2016 protects three beliefs: that marriage is only between a man and a woman, sex should only take place in such a marriage, and a person's gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.
Should you expect new massive tax cuts to solve Mississippi's problems?
Mississippi's largest-ever tax cut will be a boon for the state economy, encouraging current businesses to expand and new enterprises to open operations in the state. And Mississippians will have more money to spend in the long run. The biggest beneficiaries of Mississippi's largest-ever tax cut will be corporations rather than individual Mississippians. Tax cuts will drain revenue from a state already struggling to maintain current spending levels for core governmental functions. Those are starkly different views of the Mississippi Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, which will eliminate the corporate franchise tax, the individual income tax's 3 percent bracket and certain self-employment taxes over a 10-year period. Who's right? Mississippi Today asked several economists and experts in public finance to make their cases.
Mississippi lawmaker Alex Monsour resigns after winning Vicksburg office
Another state lawmaker has announced his resignation. Rep. Alex Monsour, R-Vicksburg, who served 10 years in the House, announced his retirement after being sworn in as Vicksburg's new South Ward alderman. "After reviewing the Attorney General's opinion, I have decided to resign from my seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives," Monsour said in a statement. Monsour is the fourth lawmaker to resign or announce his resignation. Longtime state Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, announced last week that he is retiring after 38 years in the Legislature. Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, resigned after winning the Hattiesburg mayor's race. Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, was appointed in March to the Workers Compensation Commission by Gov. Phil Bryant.
Staff: Mississippi Power Offering Ideas to Settle Kemper
The man in charge of negotiating a settlement to wind down Mississippi Power Co.'s coal-fueled power plant project says the company has already made proposals. Public Utilities Staff Executive Director Virden Jones said Thursday that he believes the unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. wants to settle on terms set by Mississippi's Public Service Commission. The staff and commission are separate agencies. The three elected commissioners said two weeks ago that Kemper should run on natural gas and not gasified lignite coal, that rates should stay level or fall, and that customers shouldn't pay for the gasifier. Last week, Mississippi Power said it was suspending efforts to complete the gasifier, which is three years behind schedule. The plant is more than $4.5 billion over budget.
SoS Delbert Hosemann has sent voter info to Kobach-led group since 2009
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who grabbed national headlines last week when he boldly refused to share requests from the Trump administration for private voter file information, acknowledged on Thursday he has shared that very information with a program led by the White House's elections point man. The drama began last week, when Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the head of President Donald Trump's newly formed Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, requested detailed voter information from all 50 states. When asked if he would comply with the request, Hosemann, a Republican, responded: "They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from," Hosemann said in a statement on Friday. However, Hosemann's office has shared birthdates, addresses and the last four digits of Mississippians' social security numbers with a program launched in 2005 by the Kansas Secretary of State's office, which Kobach now oversees.
Hosemann said he wouldn't give out voter data, but lawmaker says he already has
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann got a lot of praise last week when he said he would tell President Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to "go jump in the Gulf" should it ask for Mississippi voter information. There's just one problem, says an upstate lawmaker: Hosemann's office already is sharing that information nationally through Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program of the National Association of State Election Directors. Hosemann, however, said that program is completely different than the voter fraud commission and one that has much tighter security and confidentiality agreements.
Jay Hughes, Delbert Hosemann spar over release of voter data
State Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, despite his tough rhetoric, already has divulged to the head of President Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity the private information of Mississippi voters. In an email, Hughes cited "spin vs. reality" saying, "Secretary Hosemann has already turned over the state's entire voter rolls..., some 2,092,886 files, each year. Each file includes voter names, last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting address, and voting history." But Hosemann said providing the information to a state cooperative that has confidentiality agreements in place is different than giving the information to a presidential commission that has said the information could be made public.
Trump and Putin hold talks as the world watches
President Trump began his highly anticipated meeting Friday with the man believed to have ordered interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump's first direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin leave much at stake for both sides. The world was watching closely as the leaders met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Germany. It comes at a time of growing tensions over the increasingly assertive U.S. military role in Syria and ongoing concerns over Russian backing for rebels in Ukraine and increasing friction between the Kremlin and NATO.
Deaths from cancer higher in rural America, CDC finds
Despite decreases in cancer death rates nationwide, a new report shows they are higher in rural America than in urban areas of the United States. The report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that rural areas had higher rates of new cases as well as of deaths from cancers related to tobacco use, such as lung and laryngeal cancers, and those that can be prevented by screening, such as colorectal and cervical cancers. Differences in the incidence of cancer, or the rates of new cases, could arise because of risk factors such as smoking, obesity and a lack of physical activity, the report said. But differences in the actual death rates could result from disparities in access to health care and timely diagnosis and treatment, researchers concluded. A higher percentage of rural Americans are uninsured, limiting their access to preventive services covered by insurance, according to federal health data.
Ole Miss to recognize slave labor on pre-Civil War buildings
The University of Mississippi will post a sign acknowledging that slaves built some structures on the main campus founded before the Civil War. The university made the announcement Thursday, also saying Ole Miss will strip the name of James K. Vardaman off a building. The changes are part of an effort started in 2014 to provide historical context on the Oxford campus, which was rocked by violence after court-ordered integration in 1962.
U. of Mississippi to add context to campus sites
The University of Mississippi announced its plans Thursday to add historical context to campus through the addition of plaques at selected sites as well as the potential renaming of Vardaman Hall. Those plans were born out of recommendations from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Context, which was created in summer 2016 in an effort by Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter to improve the university's environment for diversity and inclusion. Of the planned changes on the university campus, Gov. Phil Bryant said, "Ole Miss certainly has the right to name their building whatever they like. I think their time might be better spent in the future concentrating on improving educational and research opportunities for students in the 21st Century."
Ole Miss will rename Vardaman Hall, contexualize other sites
Vardaman Hall will be renamed and informational plaques will be placed on at least eight other sites on the University of Mississippi campus -- the apparent final steps in a years-long process to explain the environment in which certain monuments, buildings and street names were created or named. The university made the announcement on Thursday. Perhaps no learning institution in the country memorializes the Civil War more explicitly than the University of Mississippi, and no other state more directly supports the Confederacy's most notable image, the Confederate battle flag. The university indicated in its release Thursday that the work of the contextualization committee is complete.
Ole Miss rolls out new 'M' script logo to give fans more merchandise options
A new Ole Miss logo has been created to give fans another option when buying merchandise, and school officials said that's all it's intended to do. Some officially licensed apparel includes a standalone script "M" taken from the traditional Ole Miss script logo. Photos of the logo have been circulating on the internet after being spotted on T-shirts, shorts and hats in online stores. "It's not replacing anything," said Michael Thompson, Ole Miss' senior associate athletic director for communications and marketing. Thompson said the new logo would be ideal for caps but added no decision has been made as to whether it will be included in any future uniform designs.
East Mississippi Community College borrows $13M on behalf of counties without final approval
East Mississippi Community College may have issued bonds for local funding for the Communiversity without the proper authorization resolutions in place. Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins told Lowndes County supervisors at their regular meeting on Wednesday that he found out late last week the community college issued bonds for the project in May. The LINK -- the contracted economic development firm for Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay counties -- was in the process of gathering resolutions from each county to move forward with the issuance of the $13.5 million in local funding for the project. "There's going to be considerable legal cost associated with figuring all this out," Higgins said.
LSU entry gates on the move, and undergoing improvements
After 81 years, the LSU entry gates at the corner of Nicholson Drive and West Chimes Street are being hauled off for restoration, school officials said Thursday afternoon. The work is part of the Nicholson Gateway project, which is a 28-acre site between West Chimes and Skip Bertman Drive that will house students, include 38,000 square feet of retail space for students, faculty and campus visitors and 10,000 square feet of recreational space for students. Workers are taking apart the two entry gates to relocate and reconstruct them on new foundations at a safer distance from the street, according to LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard. The Nicholson Gateway project, a public-private development, will cost about $300 million, including the gate work, and is set to be done by the start of the fall semester in August.
U. of Missouri combines Student Affairs positions with Division of Operations in newest round of cuts
The University of Missouri made another round of budget cuts and layoffs on Thursday, this time to the Division of Student Affairs. One part of the division is merging with the Division of Operations, a move that is expected to save $1.5 million, according to MU spokesman Christian Basi. A total of 165 facilities management positions will be moved from Student Affairs to the Division of Operations, according to an FAQ page on the Student Affairs website. University officials expect a reduction in 10 to 15 positions during the restructuring due to a combination of voluntary departures and layoffs, according to Basi. This alone was expected to save the university approximately $750,000. Previously, the Department of Student Life was directly supervised by the vice chancellor of student affairs, and the assistant vice chancellor oversaw departments such as Residential Life, Campus Dining Services and University Bookstores.
Cut off: Mizzou's new method to try to limit student debt
At the University of Missouri at Columbia, students can whip out their college ID and use it exactly like a credit card, to charge food, clothes, toiletries, even an Xbox -- anything available for purchase on campus -- to pay off later. Not so next month, when the university will limit what can be bought through this method to just textbooks and other academic materials in the university store, a move meant to stymie students' debt and preserve their academic standing. Mizzou has encountered this problem: students sometimes don't pay their account balances, which eventually means they can't enroll in classes, said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies. Of the roughly 1,800 students who dropped out from the spring to the next fall semester, about 34 percent have a financial hold on their account, Spain said. A little less than half of those holds can be attributed to buying nonacademic items, he said -- and not paying.
When study abroad ends in death, US parents find few answers
The number of American students studying abroad each year has doubled in the last decade. But while U.S. colleges and universities must report deaths on their campuses, they are not required to disclose most student deaths that occur abroad, and data collected by industry organizations are incomplete. Most student deaths or injuries overseas are only briefly discussed or mentioned in local newspaper reports. The U.S. Department of Education keeps no such statistics. The lure of studying abroad is as strong as ever, and universities are eager to accommodate. At least 1,000 American universities and colleges currently offer credit for studying overseas, up from 700 a decade ago, according to the Institute of International Education. Last year, new federal legislation was introduced by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican, to make studying abroad an integral part of higher education by creating more university grants and incentives. The goal of the bill is to increase the number of Americans studying overseas to 1 million a year.
Assessing the Travel Ban: What New Data on Overseas Recruitment Does -- and Doesn't -- Tell Us
One report on international-student trends concludes that American colleges have been "hard hit" by declining interest from the Middle East, while another expresses "cautious optimism" that the number of overseas students accepting offers of admission to American institutions could be above projections. A third shares the concerns of graduate-school deans, half of whom say they are seeing "substantial" falloffs in foreign enrollments. All three reports were released in the last day and a half. Since its initial rollout, in January, educators have been deeply concerned that President Trump's travel ban could depress enrollments from abroad, and have been hungry for information that could provide insight into its effects. The recent data dump, however, might rightly leave their heads spinning.
Surveys document declines in international student yield rates
Survey results released Thursday offer a first look at yield rates of prospective international students -- that is, the percentage who accept an offer of admission for the fall -- and suggest that universities may see different patterns depending on where in the U.S. they're located. The yield rate for international undergraduates declined modestly from 26 to 24 percent from fall 2016 to fall 2017, a dip that's on par with a decline in the domestic student yield rate from 30 to 28 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education in conjunction with four other higher education groups. However, the overall two-percentage-point drop masks significant variations in yield rates across regions -- with the biggest declines in yield rates reported by institutions in Southern states -- and colleges in general are reporting high levels of concern among some groups of prospective international students about their safety and ability to obtain a visa.

Mississippi State's Brent Rooker named SEC Male Athlete of the Year
Mississippi State first baseman Brent Rooker was named the Roy F. Kramer SEC Male Athlete of the Year on Thursday. Rooker was the first player in SEC history to surpass 20 home runs, 30 doubles and 75 RBIs in the same season and just the second player in conference history to earn the triple crown. He led the league in eight offensive categories. The Germantown, Tennessee, native was also the first MSU player to win the SEC Player of the Year and was also selected as the National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball. Rooker is the third Bulldog to earn SEC Athlete of the Year joining baseball's Will Clark (1985) and basketball's LaToya Thomas (2002).
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker honored as SEC's top athlete
One week after becoming just the second player ever to win the Southeastern Conference triple crown, Brent Rooker laid claim to yet another honor. Rooker, Mississippi State's slugging first baseman, was named the 2017 Roy F. Kramer Male Athlete of the Year by the SEC on Wednesday. Rooker was selected by a vote of the league's athletics directors. He joins baseball player Will Clark (1985) and women's basketball player LaToya Thomas (2003) as the only Bulldogs to claim the SEC's Athlete of the Year Award. The Germantown, Tennessee native was also named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and became MSU's first-ever SEC Player of the Year, in addition to First Team All-America honors from five publications.
Offensive linemen take center stage when the SEC hosts Media Days
The Southeastern Conference is not expected to hurt for quality offensive linemen. The players around them will be the topic of discussion beginning Monday. Monday begins SEC Media Days, the conference's yearly kickoff event at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama, where all 14 teams will have their head coach and three players speak. Conference commissioner Greg Sankey, Coordinator of Football Officials Steve Shaw and the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff, Bill Hancock, will also be present for the four-day event. SEC Network will have live coverage of the event. Mississippi State goes Tuesday.
Mississippi State's C.J. Morgan makes the most of extra time
C.J. Morgan admits he didn't understand just how difficult it was going to be to get on the field when he arrived at Mississippi State as a Semper Fi All-American at the high school level. Morgan graduated a semester early and went through spring drills in 2016. It was only then did he realize exactly what he was up against. "I didn't know that it was going to be this hard," Morgan said. "It's the speed here and everybody is strong. In high school, you were probably the best person on your team. In college, you're playing where everybody was the best person on their team." Although Morgan got a head start on his college career, coach Dan Mullen decided to redshirt the young safety last fall. Morgan was on board with the choice.
Mississippi State's Martinas Rankin selected second team All-American
Mississippi State senior offensive lineman Martinas Rankin was selected as a second team All-American by College Football News on Thursday. Rankin was the only Southeastern Conference lineman on the publication's first or second team. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Mendenhall started 10 times at tackle last season playing 857 snaps in all 13 games. He spent most of the spring working at center. Rankin was rated the nation's No. 1 offensive lineman coming out of Gulf Coast Community College in 2015 and redshirted his first year at MSU.
Mississippi State sees revenue increase, but it ranks in bottom of SEC
Mississippi State's revenue and expense numbers put the institution among the top in both categories in comparison to public schools across the country. In the SEC, not so much. Mississippi State experienced a significant increase in revenue while its expenses also climbed from 2015 to 2016, and the Bulldogs ranked at the bottom of the SEC in coaching salaries and ticket sales, according to a USA TODAY Sports report. The report, which was released Thursday, examined the finances of NCAA Division-I public schools. Mississippi State's total operating revenue checked in at $94,903,405, which ranked No. 34 among the public schools in the country but last among the public schools in the SEC. The number jumped from $75,400,407 in 2015. This marked the second straight year MSU saw a substantial rise in revenue; in 2014, the total was $62,275,111.
NCAA president Mark Emmert on college athletic spending
Although NCAA president Mark Emmert is acutely aware of the financial challenges many major-college sports programs are facing, he does not have a lot of sympathy for university and athletics department administrators wringing their hands over the recent impact of athletes receiving enhanced benefits including scholarships based on the full cost of attending school. "What we've been doing is saying: 'Look, you're competing -- you're competing on coaches' salaries, you're competing on gold-plated locker rooms. How about you compete on feeding kids? ...How about you compete on providing students with the best educational opportunities you possibly can, or full cost of attendance?'" Emmert says he is concerned that many schools have made long-term financial commitments "based on assumptions of ever-rising media revenue that's not going to materialize. We don't know where the media market for sport is going. ...I think the market's pretty saturated with sports, but I could be wrong."
Ole Miss' athletic department revenue, expenses continue to climb
Ole Miss' athletic department continued its rise in revenue and expenses in 2016, per a USA Today Sports report examining the finances of NCAA Division-I public schools. Ole Miss' total operating revenue was $110,524,705 in '16, which ranked 24th among the public institutions and was up from $87,602,519 in '15. It was the second consecutive year Ole Miss' expenses took a jump of at least nine million dollars. Ole Miss ranked fourth in terms of money spent on equipment, uniforms and supplies at $4,529,336. Among other expenses, Ole Miss spent $2,661,441 on fundraising, marketing and promotions, $904,942 on student-athlete meals, and $1,331,377 on medical expenses and insurance.
Mississippi SWAC schools among smallest athletic budgets in Division 1
Mississippi's SWAC schools have three of the 10 smallest athletic budgets in Division 1, according to a study released Thursday by USA Today. The study found that among the 347 colleges and universities that compete in the NCAA's top division, Jackson State ranked 337, Alcorn ranked 341 and Mississippi Valley State spent less than any other school in the country. More troubling is the revelation that all three schools rank at or near the bottom in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in terms of both spending and revenue. Records show Jackson State had the seventh-largest budget in the 10-team conference with a total operating budget of $7.6 million. That's nearly $1 million more than Alcorn State ($6.75 million), which ranked ninth in the league, and $3.3 million more than Mississippi Valley State ($4.29 million), which was last.
U. of Florida athletics program finished 2015-16 season with nation's third largest surplus
The University of Florida athletics program ranked third nationally in 2015-16 with a $20.1 million surplus, a USA Today database release revealed. The Gators athletics program generated $141.million in total revenue, the eight most in the nation, while having expenses of just $121.3 million. Texas A&M (1), Alabama (4) and LSU (7) finished ahead of Florida in total revenue, with the Aggies also having the nation's largest surplus ($57 million). Every SEC program that reported revenues and expenses (Vanderbilt is a private university and was not included in the database) generated a surplus.
Auburn athletic department ranks top 10 nationally in 2016 revenue
Auburn's athletic department generated a lot of revenue in 2016. In fact, it made more than all but nine NCAA Division I programs in the nation. The university made $140,070,593 in athletics revenue the 2016 fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. That ranks 10th nationally per USA Today, which released its annual list of NCAA revenue on Thursday. Texas A&M was the top earner at $194,388,450. Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida and Tennessee rounded out the rest of the top nine. Eight of the SEC's 14 programs ranked top 15 nationally, and all 14 ranked in the top 34.
U. of Tennessee top 10 nationally in sports budget
The University of Tennessee plays with the big boys in terms of athletic department budgets and remains a sustainable operation. That's no revelation, but confirmation comes from the new comprehensive USA Today report on college finances. UT ranked eighth in total operating expenses for 2015-16, according to USA Today's research, at $128,011,504, an increase from $113,413,325 in 2014-15. Tennessee is No. 9 in generating revenue at $140,448,955 for 2015-16, up from $126,5 million in 2014-15. New Tennessee athletic director John Currie said Wednesday he appreciates the efforts by predecessor Dave Hart to solidify what was a shaky financial situation when Hart took over in 2011.
Tennessee Vols AD John Currie on first 100 days: We need toughness, resiliency
This weekend marks John Currie's 100th day as Tennessee's athletic director. It's been a whirlwind. Returning after eight years at Kansas State, Currie has hired Tony Vitello to coach baseball and Chris Woodruff for men's tennis. He has brought in two key members of his administrative team, Reid Sigmon as chief operating officer and Kurt Gulbrand as head of development. And he worked toward Phillip Fulmer's appointment as special assistant to the president. Currie, who took over at Tennessee on April 1, said he enjoyed getting reacquainted at the recent SEC spring meetings after eight years away at Kansas State. He confirmed that talk about SEC football rivalries, scheduling and realignment is confined to media and message boards and hasn't received serious consideration in meeting rooms. Currie has no desire to see the Tennessee-Alabama football series be reduced from an annual basis, even as the Crimson Tide's winning streak has hit 10 games and become a handicap to UT's chances to win the SEC East.

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