Wednesday, August 16, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State opens Old Main Academic Center
When Mark Keenum began his duties as the 19th Mississippi State University president in 2009, he set a growth trajectory to reach 22,000 students. At that time, hitting such a lofty goal would also mean reaching the university's max capacity, Keenum said. New additions like the Old Main Academic Center, which was officially unveiled Monday, make future growth possible. "The new Old Main Academic Center represents this commitment," Keenum said. "It is a beautiful addition to the historic heart of our campus, but moreover, it offers an exceptional teaching and learning environment." Reminiscent of the Old Main dormitory that was destroyed by a fire in 1959, the new facility features similar exterior architecture as the original building. However, the similarities stop at the exterior and, of course, the name. Featuring 90,000 square feet of classroom and student study space, and a 60,000 square-foot public parking garage, MSU estimates 11,000 students will use the facility on its busiest days.
 
Mississippi State awarded $3M cybersecurity grant
Mississippi State University will receive $3.11 million from the National Science Foundation to train cybersecurity professionals. U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss, announced the funds Monday in Washington D.C. The grant is for MSU's involvement in the NSF CyberCorps Scholarship For Service, and will be used to expand the university's participation in the program to train cybersecurity professionals. "Cybersecurity is an increasingly important component of our national security," Cochran said. "Mississippi State has established itself by preparing students to be well-trained cybersecurity professionals. I am pleased the university has secured funding to continue this program for another five years."
 
Texas college freshman at Mississippi State thanks his parents in a touching tweet
It's that time of year to go back to school. And for many across the country, it's time to head off to college. Moving away marks the beginning of adulthood. There's something about that new phase of life that turns formerly headstrong teenagers into grateful young adults. Charles Brockman III, from Plano, summed up why in a tweet that's pulling at heartstrings. "I'm blessed to have two parents that are still in my life that support me through everything I do when other people, sadly, can't say the same thing," he said. The 17-year-old graduated from Plano Senior High School in June and is running track for Mississippi State. His dream has always been to be a track star and he has hopes of running in the Olympics one day. Brockman, an only child, said he has always been close to his family.
 
'Have patience and grace,' says Mississippi State student from Brookhaven
Six weeks in Africa brought her clarity. Anna Carollo, of Brookhaven, now knows that working with a non-profit organization to help other people is what she wants to do with the rest of her life. The 21-year-old senior at Mississippi State University interned with the Starkville-based non-profit Reclaim Project during the fall 2016 semester, and joined a summer mission trip to Zimbabwe with the ministry this year. Carollo and her group worked with missionary couple Brett and Allison Barnhill in the town of Gweru, a four-hour drive south of the country's capital city Harare. The Barnhills live in a formerly-abandoned seminary building that is currently being refurbished by the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. "It's a pretty new ministry," said Carollo.
 
Mississippi State University Dorm Room Decor
Let's be real, when it comes to back-to-school, there's basically nothing more fun than gathering inspo and decorating your dorm room. But while everything may be perfectly styled on the sites of all our favorite shopping spots for dorm decor, there's nothing like seeing real college students put it all together in a real dorm. After all, there's only so much you can do to approximate that oh-so-teeny size of an actual dorm. While scrolling through Instagram, we got a peek inside Moseley Hall at Mississippi State University -- specifically inside the completely gorgeous room of Lydia Gratwick and Maggie Farmer, both 18, who are members of the MSU class of 2021.
 
This Dorm Room Decor Inspiration Will Help You Design A Gorgeous Bedroom
Anyone who has lived in a college dorm can agree that they're totally drab. Living in a room that's gray or completely boring can be draining. After all, you're expected to live there for years at a time, so you might as well like where you live, right? Shaking up the idea of a boring dorm room are 18-year-olds Lydia Gratwick and Maggie Farmer. The teens attend Mississippi State University and have the most beautiful dorm any college campus has seen. Needless to say, Lydia and Maggie's dorm room decor inspo will make you want to go back to college. Lydia tells Elite Daily the two had actually never met before they were paired as roommates, and that they weren't even supposed to be rooming together in the first place.
 
Uber launching services across Golden Triangle
The time may finally be here. Uber announced it will launch its ridesharing service on Friday, Aug. 18, at 12 p.m. in Meridian, the Mississippi Delta and the Golden Triangle. Representatives for the company could not be reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon following the announcement, but Uber said it plans to launch in Clay, Choctaw, Lowndes, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Webster, Winston counties. The ridesharing company was given the green light by the state legislature in April 2016 with the passage of House Bill 1381, which established statewide regulations on Uber and other transportation network companies (TNCs). Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill told the SDN on Tuesday afternoon she had not been made aware of the company's intention to operate within the city limits.
 
Governor still supports statewide vote on flag
Gov. Phil Bryant again Tuesday assailed the protests, marches and deadly violence by white supremacists this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, but said those events do not change his mind about the Mississippi state flag. The governor, speaking after a press event at the Institutions of Higher Learning complex in Jackson, said he still wants to see the controversial Mississippi flag placed on the election ballot to be rejected or reaffirmed by Mississippians. "I have encouraged (legislators) to do so in past years, and I will continue to do so," the governor said. The Confederate battle flag could be spotted during the violence in Virginia alongside the Nazi swastika, and there was at least one instance of a banner resembling the Mississippi state flag being waved.
 
Black caucus seeks special session to change state flag
African American lawmakers are urging Gov. Phil Bryant to call a special session to change Mississippi's state flag because it bears a symbol of the Confederacy. Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, chairwoman of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, in a hand-delivered letter to Bryant's office, cited "deaths and acts of terror in Charlottesville (Va.)," where white nationalists, neo-Nazis and right-wing groups held a march over the weekend. Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, this week forcefully condemned the state flag, writing on Facebook: "Though it is not to say that everyone who flies Mississippi's flag has feelings of hatred in their hearts, the confederate battle emblem is painful for many people. It is obvious that the confederate battle emblem continues to be associated with attitudes of bigotry, hatred and racial superiority. I believe this association will only continue to increase, therefore providing more reason to disassociate with this flag. I want to see the flag changed."
 
Square Books fires back at tax-free guns with 1st Amendment holiday
Mississippi exempts guns from sales taxes next weekend in the name of the Second Amendment. Not to be outdone, Square Books of Oxford is firing back with a sales tax holiday for books, honoring the First Amendment. "This promotion," the celebrated independent bookstore wrote, "celebrates the great traditions of free expression and free press in our nation and the rich tradition of Mississippi's literature. It occurs on the same weekend that the State Legislature grants a sales tax holiday to anyone in Mississippi purchasing guns, a Second Amendment tax holiday initiated in Governor Phil Bryant's first term. We encourage the Mississippi Legislature to one day initiate a similar holiday for the sale of books." Because the bookstore has to technically collect the 7 percent tax, Square Books is offering a 7 percent discount on book purchases from Aug. 25 to 27.
 
Budget cuts could close small-town libraries in Mississippi
Here is the bad news: Budget cuts threaten the future of libraries statewide, especially in rural areas, where they are needed the most. "Each county gets a certain amount of funds per capita," explains Susan Cassagne, executive director of the Mississippi Library Commission. "That really hurts the counties that are losing population and their tax base -- places in the Delta, for instance." The Library Commission's budget was sliced 10 percent in 2016, from $11.5 million to $10.5 million. It was cut again this year. And while $10 million may sound like more than enough to operate Mississippi's 250 libraries, think again. The state requires the commission to use nearly half of its budget toward employees' health insurance and for a database known as MAGNOLIA. "We are in deep trouble if we lose our libraries," Cassagne says. "So many members of our Legislature aren't library users so they don't see the myriad services the library offers today."
 
Mississippi insurance commissioner expects cost-sharing payments won't last
Despite analysis stating that ending cost-sharing reductions will cause Obamacare premiums to jump and increase the federal deficit, Mississippi's top insurance regulator anticipates they will be eliminated. "I don't think they will be renewed because of what's happening in Washington," said Mississippi State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney during the Health Care Reform Forum Tuesday at the Link Centre in Tupelo. The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday released its analysis on the impact of eliminating payments that help insurers reduce deductibles and copayments for low income people who purchase insurance through healthcare.gov. It estimated premiums would rise an average of 20 percent and the federal deficits would increase about $194 billion over a decade because subsidies increase automatically for those who qualify.
 
Medicaid chief says he wasn't offered job
The director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid talked about job opportunities with executives -- one he called a friend -- for a company his agency eventually awarded a $2 billion contract. Molina Healthcare officials said they asked Medicaid Director David Dzielak to help them find candidates for leadership positions with its Mississippi Medicaid health plan --- a year before they got the contract and months before the department advertised for the Mississippi Medicaid managed care contract. Emails between Dzielak and Molina officials were uncovered as a result of a lawsuit filed against Medicaid by losing bidders. Lawyers for companies that lost to Molina say the company offered Dzielak a job, creating a conflict of interest.
 
McDaniel criticizes Wicker, not yet decided about a challenge
Though he continues to defer a decision about whether he'll once again challenge an incumbent U.S. senator, Chris McDaniel addressed Lee County Republicans this week and urged a resolute commitment to conservative principles in the face of what he characterized as a corrupt and compromised political establishment. A fiery state lawmaker from Jones County who rose to prominence after narrowly defeating U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in a contested 2014 primary, McDaniel said on Monday he hasn't yet decided whether he'll likewise challenge U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker next year. If not federal office in 2018, a 2019 run for a statewide post also remains a possibility. "I believe that liberty and constitutionalism is the way to get our country back to prosperity and if I can better do that in the lieutenant governor's position then I would do that," McDaniel said. "If I can better do it in the U.S. Senate, I would do it there."
 
Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., reacts to Charlottesville riots
Congressman Steven Palazzo has reacted to the weekend violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Palazzo was in Oak Grove Tuesday to present a legislative update to a meeting of Forrest-Lamar Republican Women. "There are a lot of ignorant people in the world who don't take their citizenship in America very seriously," Palazzo said. "For Americans to enact violence on other Americans and not be respectful of their beliefs and their ideals and their thoughts, it's not the America I grew up in." Palazzo spoke about tax reform and healthcare reform efforts during the meeting.
 
Black lawmakers, including Bennie Thompson, say Confederate statues should come out of Capitol
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reviving calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol following the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia. The "Unite the Right" rally of white supremacists and subsequent clash with counter-protesters began as a protest against the Charlottesville city council's decision to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Since the rally, other localities have moved to take down Confederate statues -- and some lawmakers think the Capitol should consider following suit. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the sole African American member of the Mississippi delegation, had demanded his state flag not be displayed due to its inclusion of the Confederate battle emblem. Asked about the remaining statues in the Capitol, Thompson this week reiterated that Confederate imagery should be removed from the complex: "Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol."
 
Confederate statues in U.S. Capitol likely going nowhere
Some of the most famous Confederate statues sit smack dab in the U.S. Capitol -- and there are no plans to remove them. The Capitol's Confederate statues are part of the National Statuary Hall Collection, created more than 150 years ago as a means to represent two citizens of each state under the dome. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Tuesday did call for lawmakers in both parties "to work with me to ensure the permanent removal of all offensive and despicable Confederate imagery" from the Capitol. But other congressional Democrats have largely stayed out of the fray. House Republicans blocked a vote in 2015 on Thompson's resolution calling for the removal of Confederate flag imagery from the Capitol after a white supremacist killed nine parishioners at an African-American church in South Carolina. Confederate statues hail from nine states: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
 
Roy Moore and Luther Strange Head for G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama Senate Race
Roy S. Moore, a former chief justice of the State Supreme Court, and Senator Luther Strange emerged from a crowded Republican field on Tuesday in a special Senate primary in Alabama, according to The Associated Press. They will face off for their party's nomination next month in a runoff election, a contest that will test President Trump's clout in a deeply conservative state. Neither Mr. Strange, 64, backed by Mr. Trump and millions of dollars in spending by outside groups, nor Mr. Moore, 70, a favorite of evangelical voters, received more than 50 percent of the vote in a race that evolved into seeing who could embrace Mr. Trump more when the leading contenders were closely aligned on policy. But Mr. Moore significantly outpolled Mr. Strange. Mr. Trump is expected to campaign in the state for Mr. Strange, and outside Republican groups are already preparing to attack the lightly funded Mr. Moore with a negative ad campaign.
 
Trump tried to save their jobs, but these workers are quitting anyway
Kipp Glenn grew tired of standing for eight-hour shifts, assembling steel furnace doors. His knees ached from 25 years on the concrete factory floor. So even after President Trump made his job at Carrier a symbol of American prosperity and vowed to save it, the Indiana native took a buyout. "What we want to call 'blue-collar jobs' are on the way out," he said. At a time when the Trump administration argues that creating manufacturing jobs is a critical national goal -- even coordinating with states on generous subsidy packages to woo blue-collar employers -- many factory workers are making a surprising decision: They're quitting. Government data shows workers in the sector are giving up their jobs at the fastest pace in a decade. That's a powerful sign, economists say, that workers think they can find work elsewhere.
 
Supposedly symbolic, state travel bans have real bite
Six states now prohibit their employees from taking nonessential work trips to states with laws that, in their view, discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Both supporters and opponents of these travel bans say they are mostly symbolic. Nevertheless, the people charged with attracting visitors to the affected states say the repercussions are real: Canceled conventions and hotel bookings have cost cities and states millions. But conference and convention planners say there is a powerful stigma associated with the state bans that goes beyond government travel, scaring away visitors who aren't state employees or who hail from states other than the one that issued the ban. Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington have banned state employee travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. Connecticut's ban targets just North Carolina. California, with the nation's largest state employee workforce of about 400,000, bars state and university system employees from traveling to eight states (Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas).
 
State website provides info on completing college degrees
Many Mississippians might be closer to earning a higher education degree than they realize, and Tuesday a new website was unveiled to help them find out. The website, part of the Complete 2 Compete initiative, is designed to help individual Mississippians, as well as the state, move closer to the national average in terms of the number of its citizens with higher education degrees. The website was unveiled at the Institutions of Higher Learning complex in Jackson by Gov. Phil Bryant, Community College Board Executive Director Andrea Mayfield and Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce. "Workforce studies have shown that the vast majority of future jobs will go to those with postsecondary degrees or credentials of value beyond high school," Boyce said. "I would encourage individuals to access this website, as it could be an important first step in helping them achieve a goal that will ultimately lead to a better, higher paying job and greater job and financial security."
 
Complete 2 Compete site launches for students to finish what they started
Gov. Phil Bryant announced Tuesday that 2,400 former students who never completed their bachelor's degree but may not need additional course work are just a click away from receiving their degree by accessing the new Complete 2 Compete program online. "A little boy that grew up in a blue collar world would grow up to be the governor of the state of Mississippi. You can't hardly do that without a degree," said Bryant. In November, Bryant and state education officials introduced Complete 2 Compete, an initiative that would help former students return to the classroom to complete their college degree programs. "This is a program that's designed for exponential change, not a program designed for small incremental growth," said Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Glenn Boyce.
 
Chancellor says U. of Mississippi stands with UVA, Charlottesville
Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter tweeted a statement in support of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville communities yesterday. The tweet said, "Racism and violence have no place on our campuses or in our country." Charlottesville was home to multiple rallies this summer in response to plans for removal of the Robert E. Lee statue at a park in town. Just yesterday, a group of protestors pulled down a Confederate solider statue themselves in Durham, North Carolina. Earlier this summer, New Orleans removed a prominent statue of Robert E. Lee. All the while, the University of Mississippi is working to deal with its own controversial symbols through the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on History and Context, which placed an informational plaque in front of the Confederate solider statue in the Circle and announced a plan to rename Vardaman Hall.
 
Ole Miss announces new William Magee Center for Wellness initiative
The late William Magee's infectious smile could bring light and laughter to a room. The talented young man was an alumnus of the University of Mississippi's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and Croft Institute for International Studies. He also ran track for Ole Miss and was named to the SEC academic honor roll. The beloved son and brother was a good friend to many -- the kind of guy who'd be a pleasure to know. Before his unfortunate 2013 overdose while trying to beat drug addiction, he had hoped to one day help others win their own battles against substance abuse. Now he will -- his legacy bringing light to Ole Miss students through a heightened focus on drug and alcohol education and prevention. The William Magee Center for Wellness Education is planned to open in 2018, when construction is completed on the university's new South Campus Recreation Facility. Gifts for the initiative have surpassed $500,000, with a deferred gift of $850,000 also committed.
 
Making sure new students thrive in college environment
Southern Miss freshman Camille Bechac is ready for the first day of classes Wednesday. She had been feeling a little nervous until she participated in Golden Eagle Welcome Week held the three days before school started. "I didn't know the specifics of starting college," she said. "Golden Eagle Welcome Week has really been helpful." At Golden Eagle Welcome Week, hundreds of new Southern Miss students are broken into small groups where they build relationships, learn about important campus resources and are educated on the school's history and traditions. Pine Belt universities and community colleges all have their own version of Golden Eagle Welcome Week -- some initiative, ritual or program that helps new students get accustomed to campus life.
 
U. of Alabama students take part in NASA project
A group of University of Alabama students plans to take photos and video of the solar eclipse later this month using a high-altitude balloon as part of a nation-wide science project led by NASA. Similar to a weather balloon, the team's payload should rise 100,000 feet in the air, high enough to see the curvature of the Earth, and send live video of the eclipse to a website as part of the NASA Space Grant network's Eclipse Ballooning Project. With 55 balloon teams, the NASA project aims for the first time to live stream the eclipse as it travels southeast across the continental United States on Monday. "The first time I heard about this project, I thought it was amazing," said Haley Miller, a UA team member and senior in aerospace engineering from Spartanburg, South Carolina.
 
Experts: College presidents' call for students to avoid white supremacist rallies not always the best
Eight days before the protests in Charlottesville, Va., that left a woman dead, the president of the University of Virginia beseeched her campus: don't go to the rally. President Teresa Sullivan released a statement Aug. 4, telling students (most of whom had not returned for classes) and local residents that her foremost concern was their safety. Their attendance would only gratify the organizers of the Unite the Right demonstration -- those who sought a spectacle and to draw attention to their white nationalist cause, Sullivan said in her statement. This "stay away" plea is an attempt by university leaders to recognize that they can't control student choices, but they want to warn them. Sullivan's warnings about potential violence in Charlottesville turned out to be correct.
 
U. of Arkansas prof misidentified as white supremacist, 'shocked' by social media response
University of Arkansas assistant professor Kyle P. Quinn hasn't slept in his own bed in three days. Not since a web-sleuth posted his home address online and strangers began clamoring for his resignation -- all because he was wrongly identified, and a social media mob quickly condemned him. Quinn, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, runs a university lab that works to understand abnormalities in the "wound healing process," and is not, as hundreds of social-media users assumed, a white supremacist. But in the aftermath of the Virginia violence, online accounts began posting cropped photos of the men who attended the Unite the Right rally and asking users to identify them. Among those photos was one showing a brown-haired white man with glasses who touted a torch and wore a red University of Arkansas College of Engineering T-shirt.
 
State senators hold hearing on U. of South Carolina's out-of-state tuition discounts
Out-of-state students will make up about half of the University of South Carolina's 5,800-member freshman class next week. But USC president Harris Pastides pledged to state lawmakers Tuesday that the percentage of incoming out-of-state students at South Carolina's flagship university will not continue to rise. At a state Senate hearing, Pastides also denounced as "voo-doo mathematics" a claim, by a college oversight board, that the tuition discounts that USC gives to out-of-state students cost the school $23 million last year. USC says it admits more out-of-state students to make up for the loss of more than $100 million in state funding over the decade. It also says those students, who pay higher tuition, help subsidize the education of in-state students. Tuesday's hearing was the latest episode in an ongoing debate over the $586 million in tuition breaks USC has given to out-of-state students over the past decade.
 
U. of Florida shoots 'GatorGood' commercial to air Sept. 2
Nike sat resting outside Pugh Hall at the University of Florida, sporting a pink bandana while attached to a pink leash. The pitbull-Labrador mix was ready for her close-up. Her owner, Taylor Wooten, a senior dietetics major at UF, brought her to Pugh Hall before they headed to play at a dog park. She knew there was a commercial shoot in need of extras and wanted to let Nike contribute. The commercial shoot was part of UF's GatorGood campaign, said Nicole Yucht, vice president of UF communications. UF representatives put out a call on social media for about 200 student extras for the shoot, and drew a crowd on Tuesday of about 50 to 100 students. The commercial, which will air Sept. 2 during UF's season opener against the University of Michigan, will highlight the influence Florida has on the U.S. and UF's impact on Florida, and thus the university's impact on the country, Yucht said. Yucht said the shoot would likely end up costing about $150,000.
 
White Lives Matter rally organizer weighing options after Texas A&M cancels
Less than 24 hours after Texas A&M officials announced the cancellation of a planned rally on the College Station campus by white nationalists, the event's organizer said the group is considering another way to make an appearance at the university. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Preston Wiginton said instead of the cancelled on-campus event the group is considering "a walk down a public street that goes through the campus." Wiginton added that a member of the White Lives Matter movement has filed a complaint over the cancellation with the American Civil Liberties Union and he himself has been in contact with private attorneys in preparation for a forthcoming lawsuit. Texas A&M officials said Monday the decision to cancel the event stemmed from concerns over student safety after a statement by the group announcing the rally to media used the headline "Today Charlottesville, Tomorrow Texas A&M."
 
U. of Missouri reaches deadline for new lobbyist
The University of Missouri hopes to save almost $500,000 annually by hiring a contract lobbyist to carry its message in Washington, D.C., compared to having dedicated staff stationed there, President Mun Choi said Tuesday. The deadline for responding to a request for proposals to provide federal lobbying services passed at noon Tuesday. Because the bids are for consulting services and subject to negotiation, the number received or proposed cost was not immediately released. But Choi expects the winning bid to cost the university about $100,000 annually, he said. Until budget cuts slashed the University Relations office in May, the UM System employed Sara Spreitzer at $175,000 annually and Meghan Sanguinette for $78,000 a year. The total office cost was about $600,000 a year, Choi said. "Cost was a big, important factor" in favor of a consultant, Choi said.
 
Some U. of Missouri students get VIP help to move in
When Chavis Ferguson III arrived Tuesday with his father, Chavis Ferguson II, and grandfather, Chavis Ferguson Sr., outside Hudson Hall, the valet ready to help them unload was University of Missouri System President Mun Choi. Ferguson III and his father live in Atlanta; his grandfather lives in St. Louis. His father, an uncle and an aunt are all alumni and the decision to attend MU was a choice between many schools, he said. "I just knew it was a great school," Ferguson III said. "My dad, aunt and uncle are doing very well in life and they all graduated here. So I felt the opportunity here was just as great as anywhere else." Ferguson III is part of what is expected to be the smallest class of incoming freshmen in 20 years. Applications for admission were down almost 25 percent this year compared to the spring of 2016 and total enrollment is expected to be about 30,800, the smallest since 2008. The decline is linked to the aftermath of campus protests in November 2015.
 
Before the move-in rush, U. of Missouri freshmen find their place in FIGs
Suitcase wheels squeaked and parents called out their goodbyes Tuesday morning as select freshmen moved into the University of Missouri's residence halls for the first time. Nick Allegretti stood outside Gillett Hall with his mother, Shannon, next to piles of luggage waiting to be moved up to his new room. "It feels like a dream," said Allegretti, an 18-year-old engineering student from Riverside, Illinois. Allegretti was one of more than 100 engineering students settling into dorm life during the freshman interest group, or FIG, move-in day Tuesday. Anna Valiavska, who coordinates MU FIGs and TRIGs (transfer interest groups), estimated that one-third of this year's roughly 4,000 freshmen are in a FIG. Valiavska did not yet have an estimate of how many students moved in on Tuesday. Created in 1995, the FIG program is designed to help freshmen find a community among the large group of incoming students, Valiavska said.
 
Tool from Union of Concerned Scientists to report political interference
Since President Trump's election, science advocates have become increasingly vocal in opposing actions by his administration, from signing letters of condemnation to marching in the streets and jumping into campaigns for political office. The Union of Concerned Scientists this month, however, launched an effort that it hopes will promote quieter efforts to defend the independence of science and research. Dubbed the Science Protection Project, the group aims to create an outlet for federal employees and contractors to securely report attempts at political influence over science in the policy-making process. UCS has set up a SecureDrop server, as well as protected email and text message accounts. It's also advertising a hotline that will be staffed Wednesday afternoons to take tips and a physical mailing address to seek legal advice. Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the group isn't seeking classified information or unlawful disclosures.


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs adapting to new roles along offensive line
Mississippi State must replace three starters along its offensive line this season. The good news is that most of the linemen stepping into those roles received a good bit of experience last year, although some are in new positions. One player moving to a new spot entirely is junior Elgton Jenkins. Jenkins started three games at left tackle last year, two more at left guard and will be MSU's starting center in 2017. "It's an adjustment to this position," Jenkins said. "I ain't gonna say it's hard, but it is more challenging." No player on the roster has any experience snapping on the collegiate level and Jenkins' last game at center came in middle school.
 
Keith Mixon ready for larger role for Mississippi State
When Malik Dear suffered a torn ACL in the spring, Mississippi State receiver Keith Mixon said his first reaction, naturally, was to feel sympathetic. After some time, Mixon then realized how much he is directly impacted this season by Dear's injury. If Dear is ready to play in "the first third of the season," then Dan Mullen said Mississippi State wouldn't hold him back. Dear was not among the 105 players who reported to training camp, but Mullen said Dear is ahead of schedule and there won't be a decision made on his status until the end of August at the earliest. Until then, it is unclear how long Dear will be out. That means Mixon's role as a slot receiver, returner and option in the run game -- all jobs that Dear also held -- will be increased. And Mixon said he is ready for it.
 
Mississippi State Fan Day set for Saturday at Palmeiro Center
Mississippi State's annual Fan Day featuring the 2017 Bulldog football, soccer, volleyball and women's golf team is set for Saturday, Aug. 19, inside the Palmeiro Center. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. with autograph availability running from 4-6 p.m. Fans are asked to enter through the southeast entrance of the Palmeiro Center. There will be an early entry for Maroon Memories at 3:15 p.m. through the Bryce Griffis Boardroom. To help ensure everyone in attendance has a chance to meet all of the players and head coach Dan Mullen, student-athletes may only sign posters while Coach Mullen will autograph one item per person. Posters and schedule cards will be available for free to fans. Other attractions include music, a Kids' Zone with inflatable games, appearances by Bully, Jak and the MSU cheerleaders and dance team.
 
ESPN criticized for fantasy football auction
It's not the most popular form of fantasy football, but auction drafts are common. However, ESPN2's approach to auctioning players as part of its Fantasy Sports Marathon on Monday night drew criticism from some on social media, who said it resembled a slave auction. While white players -- like New England quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski -- were part of the draft, the footage of an auctioneer "selling" New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. led to some on Twitter to voice their outrage. "Certainly, a situation like this calls into question whether ESPN has enough people in leadership positions who would instinctively understand and make note of the potential reaction to this segment," Matthew Zimmerman, an assistant professor of sport studies at Mississippi State University, told USA TODAY Sports via Facebook Messenger.
 
Houston Nutt on Hugh Freeze: 'No intention of trying to get someone fired'
Houston Nutt said Tuesday his only goal is to clear his name and he wasn't "jumping for joy" when Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze parted ways. Nutt, the former Rebels coach who is suing the university for defamation, joined SiriusXM College on Tuesday. "I wasn't jumping for joy," Nutt said. "I don't like to see anyone go down." Freeze resigned last month after it was found he made a phone call to a number associated with an escort service using a university phone. It was a detail raised as a potential issue in a discussion between the university's legal counsel and the attorney for Nutt. "I wasn't particularly happy because somebody gets let go. That's not the intention. My only intention is I want to clear my name because I don't have a notice of allegations," he said.
 
'Last Chance U' star John Franklin III to transfer from Auburn
John Franklin III will have one last Last Chance U. Less than two weeks after saying "transferring wasn't really an option," the Auburn wide receiver and former star of the Netflix series "Last Chance U" is leaving the Plains, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. "John Franklin came to me expressing his desire for the chance to play more and get closer to home," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement confirming the news. "He has made the decision to play elsewhere this season as a graduate transfer. John has been an outstanding young man during his time here and leaves Auburn with a degree. We wish John nothing but the best and thank him for his time at Auburn." Franklin, who graduated from Auburn earlier this month, announced he is headed to Florida Atlantic and is eligible immediately.
 
Former LSU QB Lindsey Scott signs with East Mississippi Community College
It took Lindsey Scott less than 24 hours to find a new home. The former LSU quarterback and Zachary High star signed with East Mississippi Community College on Tuesday, beginning what his father calls a "reset" on his career. "The business of football kind of takes away the fun," Scott's father, Lindsey Scott Sr., said. "You've got to remember how to have fun. This is an environment in which he can do this." Scott, a 5-foot-11, 210-pounder who announced his transfer from LSU on Monday morning, joins the powerhouse junior college located in Scooba, Mississippi, about 70 miles west of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. EMCC is widely known as the subject of the highly acclaimed Netflix documentary series "Last Chance U."
 
Salaries proof hoops taken seriously in SEC
The Southeastern Conference is serious about winning in men's basketball. LSU is the latest to do whatever it takes. The Tigers have agreed to pay newly hired coach Will Wade $15 million over six years. What's interesting is there's no buyout clause. Why need one? The former Virginia Commonwealth coach is going to win, right? What's interesting about Wade getting $2.5 per million per year is that ties him for only seventh highest in a league where every coach but one is making $2 million annually, including Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy, who signed the richest hoops contract in school history last June. Missouri recently signed Cuonzo Martin to a seven-year, $21-million contract. The SEC always will be a football-first conference, but there's no doubt the league is serious about men's basketball.



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