Friday, August 18, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State looks at adding student housing in unique project
The state College Board has approved an agreement with a company to look at developing a unique project to add student housing at Mississippi State University. Being considered is a proposal to build a village on the northwest edge of campus that would include restaurants, other retail businesses, a day care center and an outdoor entertainment zone to go along with places for students to live. The College View project, as it's named in a university news release, would be built where the Aiken Village apartments were located before their recent demolition. If the project comes to fruition, Memphis based EdR would sign a 40-year lease with the university to build and manage the project with MSU getting a cut of the revenue from the development.
 
Scientists are eager to learn from solar eclipse
Over the past several days, we've been learning about this upcoming total solar eclipse. And while scientists know a lot about this phenomenon, there is so much more to learn. It's not so much about the solar eclipse, but using the solar eclipse as an opportunity to study the sun as a whole, even though it will be blocked by the moon. "As you can see in my pictures, I have pictured all of the stages of the solar eclipse," said Mississippi State University's Youngwoo Cho.
 
Classes begin at MSU-Meridian
Students at Mississippi State University in Meridian are glad to be back in the classroom. For Emily Smith, each completed class is one day closer to a new career path. "Special education is something that I am excited about and it is a passion in my life. That is why I am here to learn how to teach special ed kids," said Smith. Smith is a nurse who has a son with special needs. Smith decided to switch careers after she saw the need for more special education teachers. MSU-Meridian administrators say teachers are in critical need across the state, especially special education teachers. "Finding teachers to fill all the positions open is always a challenge for Mississippi," said Kim Hall, interim division head of education.
 
MSU's Checky Herrington inducted into Southern Public Relations Federation's Hall of Fame
Checky Herrington, Mississippi State University's marketing research analyst in the Office of Public Affairs, has been inducted into the Southern Public Relations Federation's Hall of Fame. A native of Louisville, he has more than three decades of experience in public relations, marketing and brand-strategy development. Since joining the university in 2014, Herrington has spearheaded the "We Ring True" branding initiative, which has garnered numerous awards, including Best of Show for the Public Relations Association of Mississippi's recent Prism Awards competition. The Office of Public Affairs also has been recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District III for branding/identity and external communications, and last year "We Ring True" won 23 awards at the Southern Public Relations Federation's annual conference, including four Lantern Awards, the organization's top honor.
 
Golden Triangle inclusivity touted at vigil for Charlottesville
As the chorus of "We Shall Overcome" filled the air Wednesday at Mississippi State University, those gathered in solidarity against others who attempt to divide the nation with hate had their own message: Intolerance and bigotry are not welcome in the Golden Triangle. More than 100 people gathered at the Junction for the Indivisible Golden Triangle-sponsored event and heard speeches from current and former elected officials, MSU professors and leaders of faith that not only slammed the messages of hate and acts of violence associated with recent protests by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, but also reaffirmed the community's commitment to inclusivity. Several MSU students at Wednesday's vigil said they believe shows of unity are needed to deter future flashpoints like the one witnessed in Virginia.
 
Starkville christens new mixed-use development
Developers and community leaders held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for Starkville's new mixed-use development, 550 Russell at The Mill. At the ceremony, Oktibbeha County District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, and developer Mark Castleberry of Castle Properties christened the property with Mississippi State University muscadine juice. 550 Russell is the second phase of The Mill project, and Castleberry said the project is planned to be completed in March 2018. Phase one of The Mill project included refurbishing The Mill into a conference center and the construction of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
 
Sturgis bike rally a 'reunion' for committed attendees
Dusty Dendy, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services worker and 40-year motorcycle rider, said his annual trip to the Rally in Sturgis is a little more exciting this year because he has a new toy to show off to his friends. Dendy's toy, a maroon two-wheeler he purchased a few months ago, made the trip from Reform to Oktibbeha County earlier in the week, and event organizers hope hundreds more make a similar pilgrimage and help swell the small town's population over the weekend. A dinner ride is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday. Participants will line up on Main Street and ride a loop from Sturgis to Village Cycle Center in Clayton Village -- where the meal will be served -- to the coliseum in Louisville and back into Sturgis. The motorcycle caravan is expected to enter Starkville about 4:15-4:20 p.m., and the parade route will take participants through Main Street.
 
Mississippi education board agrees to allow schools to keep higher grades
Faced with resetting Mississippi's school grading system, a move projected to result in an increase in the number of A- and F-rated districts, the state Board of Education on Thursday settled for a compromise that would allow more A districts and fewer F districts under the new reset. The catch? The deal to assign districts letter grades based on the highest grade they are able to achieve under either the current or new baseline for 2017-18 is good for 2016-17 performance grades only. Paula Vanderford with the state Department of Education explained the agency recommended the approach "in an effort to be fair and equitable."
 
Congressman Trent Kelly to be promoted to brigadier general
One of Mississippi's members of Congress will soon have a new title: general. WTVA-TV reports that U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, a Republican who has represented northeast Mississippi's 1st Congressional District since 2015, is in line to be promoted to brigadier general. Now a colonel, Kelly formerly commanded the Vicksburg-based 168th Engineer Brigade. He's now assigned to the Mississippi National Guard's joint force headquarters in Jackson. The Senate recently confirmed the promotions of Kelly and several others. Kelly's staff says he's currently referred to as brigadier general select.
 
State flag: Legislative proposal for two Mississippi banners
A top Mississippi lawmaker is renewing his efforts to address the state flag controversy. This comes as members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus are requesting for the governor to call a special session to address the flag. The second in command in the state house says he's already sought to pre-file legislation to address these concerns. "I have already asked for that bill to be pre-filed," says Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden from Meridian. He's talking about legislation for lawmakers to adopt an alternate flag for the state. "That way you would not be changing the flag per say, and you would still allow people to have a voice," says Snowden.
 
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker: Media 'too harsh' on Donald Trump
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said Thursday he thinks the press has been "overly harsh" on President Donald Trump for his statements about violence in Charlottesville, and that the nation needs to "move on." "The President felt he had made a strong statement on Saturday then on Monday he improved on it," said Wicker, who was in DeSoto County to tour a vocational technical center in Horn Lake. Wicker did not mention Trump's Tuesday comments backtracking on the Monday statement and assigning blame for violence to both sides. "Some of our friends in the press have been overly harsh," Wicker said. "The President has denounced white supremacy and racism, and I guess he, kind of like me, feels like we ought to move on." Wicker added that he thinks efforts to remove Confederate monuments nationwide has gotten "way out of hand."
 
OMB: Pentagon should emphasize dual-use R&D spending
The White House wants the Pentagon to emphasize technology developments with both military and civil uses in its next budget, according to a new guidance from the Office of Management and Budget. In a memo released Thursday, OMB head Mick Mulvaney and Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president in the office of science and technology policy, laid out marching orders to government agencies for what fiscal 2019 research and development budgets should look like. For defense, that means balancing military needs with a focus on technology that could find uses in a different context -- while looking to trim costs for programs that may no longer be feasible. A similar push is evident in a section focused on homeland security needs.
 
IHL officials hope to get building projects on track
Higher education officials are hoping that during the 2018 session, legislators resume the practice of awarding them bonds to finance long-term construction projects. On Thursday, the 12-member Board of Trustees of the state Institutions of Higher Learning (commonly referred to as the College Board) voted to make a request for the upcoming 2018 legislative session of building projects totaling $506 million. Those projects will be pared down during the legislative session. IHL officials say they have an urgent need because during the 2017 session, no bond projects were awarded as negotiations broke down between the House and Senate leadership. At Mississippi State in Starkville, projects totaling $99.6 million for the main campus and $46.7 million for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine are being requested.
 
IHL, universities vow not to leave next legislative session empty handed
During the Mississippi Legislature's 2017 session, no bond bill funds were appropriated to meet requests from the state's eight public universities for maintenance and construction projects totaling $569,878,901. The board of trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning and university presidents say they won't allow that to happen again. "This is one of the absolute priority issues in this legislative session in the upcoming year. We just can't let this happen again," IHL commissioner Glenn Boyce said Thursday. "This is all about students. We're being as creative as we possibly can and we're transforming what we have in place," he said.
 
U. of Southern Mississippi reorganization plan approved
Trustees are approving a plan for the University of Southern Mississippi to reorganize its academic units. The College Board voted Thursday for a plan that will reduce the number of component colleges from six to four at the 14,000-student university, which has campuses in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast. USM Provost Steven Moser says that the plan will create greater opportunities for working together and reduce duplication. He doesn't have an estimate of savings, saying changes aren't aimed at cutting jobs.
 
Rodney Bennett: Southern Miss' reorganization plan 'transformative'
The trustees of the state Institutions of Higher Learning approved Thursday the University of Southern Mississippi's plan to reorganize its colleges and schools. "Our ability to evolve will determine our level of success in today's competitive landscape of higher education," President Rodney Bennett said in a news release. "I am excited about the transformative potential of the Plan for Academic Reorganization, and I appreciate the hard work of all who were involved in developing this strategic path forward for academic affairs at USM." The impetus for the plan was the steady decline in state funding, trends toward more collaborative scholarly work and external political, economic and technological forces.
 
Auburn president Steven Leath to name chief of staff during fall semester
Auburn University has assembled a screening committee to search for a chief of staff to work in President Steven Leath's office. The chief of staff will work with Leath to manage day-to-day operations in central administration, said Brian Keeter, director of public affairs. Keeter is serving as the interim chief of staff until a more permanent replacement is found. "It allows Dr. Leath to spend much more time out of the office, engaging with the campus community, the Auburn family and partners in business, industry and government," Keeter said in an email earlier this week. "We expect that hiring a chief of staff will assist Dr. Leath (to) achieve his goals of improving efficiency and streamlining operations." The creation of a chief of staff position is one of several organizational changes Leath is considering.
 
White nationalist Richard Spencer is 'not welcome' on LSU campus, university president says
White supremacist Richard Spencer isn't welcome on LSU's campus following violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. "We will take the necessary precautions to ensure that our campus is safe from violence, that our students and faculty are safe from people trying to stir up troubles," LSU President F. King Alexander told The Advocate. Spencer's people have been making calls to LSU officials trying to arrange a visit to Baton Rouge, Alexander said. "He's not welcome," he said. LSU's rejection follows similar decisions on campuses across the country, including Texas A&M and the University of Florida, which have both canceled his campus speaking events in recent days.
 
U. of Florida students find their new homes
The lawn outside of Broward Hall at the University of Florida was crowded with cars Thursday as first-year and transfer students became the first ones to move into on-campus housing. Students, parents and friends carried pillows, bulletin boards, tea kettles and clothes-drying racks while UF student volunteers rolled mini fridges and futons on luggage carts. Garrett Ort, 18, and his father moved luggage from the car to the dorm room while his mother unpacked bags. Ort, from Boca Raton, is considering studying finance. He wants to join a fraternity, he said, and picked UF, more than 300 miles away, because of its location. "It's not too close to home but not too far away," he said. Grace O'Brien, 18, had a different idea. Her home is just outside of Boston, and she wanted a new perspective. "I needed something different, a change," she said.
 
U. of Tennessee welcomes freshman class to campus, move-in starts
Boxes of unpacked clothes and bedding, wall decorations and pillows lay strewn around the dorm room of Emily Clevenger and Anna DuPree at the University of Tennessee Wednesday morning. The girls were going for a "rustic" decor complete with barn wood headboards and shelving, pink accents and a white washed bull's head statue hanging on the wall. "I've been a fan of the Vols my whole life and I wanted to come to an SEC school, so I thought, 'Why not come to the one closest to my house?'" said DuPree, who is from Knoxville. The girls are among more than 6,000 new students expected to arrive at the Knoxville campus this fall, many of whom have already begun the process of moving in. Preliminary numbers show UT is expecting 4,828 freshmen and 1,225 transfer students for the 2017-2018 school year.
 
Arkansas Professor Kyle Quinn Hid At Friend's House After Being Misidentified On Twitter As Racist
In the aftermath of the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., many civil rights activists took to Twitter and shared photos of people who allegedly were at the march. The idea was to identify who they were and shame them. But identifying someone from a photo can be tricky --- and the activists managed to make at least one mistake. It was Saturday and Kyle Quinn and his wife were having a quiet afternoon at home. He got a phone call from the university relations office at the University of Arkansas, where Quinn works as a professor of biomedical engineering. "They wanted to confirm where I was," he says. And then it got stranger. "They asked whether I'd heard about what was going on in Charlottesville. I told them I was vaguely familiar." The school official told Quinn his weekend was "about to get a lot worse."
 
Aggie files Title IX suit against Texas A&M, claims male gender bias
A former member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets filed a federal Title IX lawsuit Tuesday against the university, alleging A&M officials violated his due-process rights by showing a male gender bias. The former student, identified in the 47-page petition as "John Doe," is seeking unspecified damages from the university and nine university officials named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Houston by Waco attorney Michelle Tuegel and New York attorney Andrew Miltenberg, who both have represented scores of male students accused of sexual wrongdoing on college campuses. The suit claims that the student, a native of Akron, Ohio, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, was wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct by a female member of the Corps of Cadets and that the Title IX investigative process took place while Doe was hospitalized for treatment of depression without giving him an adequate chance to defend himself.
 
Colleges brace for more violence amid rash of hate on campus
Nicholas Fuentes is dropping out of Boston University and heading south, pressing ahead with his right-wing politics despite receiving online death threats. The 19-year-old joined a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend and posted a defiant Facebook message promising that a "tidal wave of white identity is coming," less than an hour after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. Now, he's hoping to transfer to Auburn University in Alabama. At college campuses, far-right extremist groups have found fertile ground to spread their messages and attract new followers.
 
As Support Grows for Ditching Confederate Statues, Colleges Weigh Their Options
More than 1,500 Confederate monuments remain across the United States -- some on college campuses. And as universities prepare for the fall semester, they must also grapple with a reinvigorated round of calls to bring down the monuments. Those in favor of maintaining Confederate statues -- many of which were erected immediately after Reconstruction or the during the civil-rights movement -- have a powerful ally in President Trump, who has argued in favor of their preservation. But several experts argue that the rally in Charlottesville has made it very difficult to argue that the monument fight is about "heritage not hate." White nationalists with torches marched there and chanted anti-Semitic slogans in support of the preservation of the statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy's most famous general and a figure who is still lionized in the South.
 
Purdue University Tackles Job Training
Purdue University unveiled another outside-the-box move Thursday, announcing a five-year deal with one of India's largest technology outsourcing firms, Infosys, under which the university will perform joint research and provide training and classes for the company's employees. The two parties cast the deal as a significant step in work-force development in both Indiana and the U.S. Given Purdue's high profile as a public research university, it could also prove to be a notable step for higher education, moving four-year institutions further into job training more typically performed by community colleges and for-profits. Purdue administrators hope the partnership addresses a feared talent gap in Indiana between the state's available workers and the technically skilled candidates employers are seeking. Some Purdue faculty members are already unhappy with the new partnership, because they were not consulted about it beforehand.


SPORTS
 
Start of classes sends Mississippi State back to 'grind'
The first day of classes at Mississippi State on Wednesday came with schedule implications for the football team. That being the case, MSU made the most of the final week before classes. MSU coach Dan Mullen labeled it the team's grind week. The team practiced for six consecutive days, the longest stretch in the preseason schedule. "A little bit of installation, but a lot of grinding," Mullen said. "This is going to be the mental, physical grind before the start of school." It was a departure from a preseason that started earlier than most other teams in an effort to give players more off days for recovery.
 
Bulldogs hold final fall scrimmage
The next time Mississippi State steps inside Davis Wade Stadium, it will be for its season opener against Charleston Southern on Sept. 2. The Bulldogs held their final scrimmage in the stadium Thursday and coach Dan Mullen left the field pleased with what he saw. "We did more of a game scrimmage," Mullen said. "There were some positives on both sides of the ball. I liked what I saw. The biggest things for me to see was who our playmakers on offense are and defensively finding out how many guys we can roll through so we can be as aggressive as I want to be." Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, running back Aeris Williams and receivers Donald Gray and Gabe Myles are already proven commodities but Mullen wanted to see which other offensive players stepped up.
 
5 takeaways after Mississippi State's second scrimmage
Mississippi State's training camp is over and the Bulldogs will now move into what Dan Mullen referred to as a "transition week," now that classes have started and before preparing for their opener on Sept. 2. The final part of training camp was the second scrimmage for MSU. The Bulldogs used the scrimmage as an opportunity to learn who can fill out the final rotation spots for most position groups. Here are five takeaways regarding Mississippi State's training camp after speaking with Mullen about it.
 
Texas A&M football team to wear new uniforms for Mississippi State game
The Texas A&M football team will wear a new uniform against Mississippi State on Oct. 28 at Kyle Field. The "Bright Lights" Primeknit alternate uniform will merge two different colored yarns to create a dual-color jacquard pattern that gives the illusion of two distinct luminous colors. Patterned after the look of supercars, the uniform is centered around an all-maroon theme with black accents. The adidas jerseys are highlighted with the A&M moniker on the chest and white numbers that are emblazoned with reflective embellishments to glow at night. The dual-color maroon and black pants feature a reflective A&M logo on the left leg.
 
Houston Nutt's attorney still planning to refile lawsuit in state court
It may be later than expected, but Houston Nutt's lawsuit against Ole Miss will soon be back in court. Thomas Mars, Nutt's Arkansas-based attorney, said he's still planning to refile the lawsuit in state court after the former Ole Miss coach's original complaint was dismissed Aug. 9 in federal court because of a lack of jurisdiction. Nutt originally sued Ole Miss, its athletics foundation and the IHL board for a breach of contract and defamation for what he believes were intentionally false statements made by school officials, including former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork, to spread a false narrative about the amount of violations related to the NCAA's investigation into the football program tied to Nutt's tenure.
 
Nutrition team at U. of Florida puts players on track to succeed
The University of Florida has expanded its sports nutrition staff to serve all 526 athletes in 19 sports. Since 2014, Florida's sports nutrition budget has increased by roughly $700,000, with a staff of nine full-time and hourly employees. While Collier Perno, the head of football nutrition at Florida, is embedded with the football program, Liz Fox serves as director of nutrition at the $25 million Hawkins Center, overseeing men's and women's basketball, track and field, cross country and tennis. "We're very lucky here because we have five dietitians," Fox said. "Some programs may only have one or two dietitians that have to cover all 500 athletes and that's hard to do. But when you have five, it's very nice because each dietitian here has about one to three sports, so (athletes) get the individualized care that they need."
 
Tennessee AD John Currie looks to boost Vols' all-sports standing
Tennessee athletic director John Currie understands the challenge facing him as he enters the first full school year in his new job. The Volunteers were 46th in the most recent Directors' Cup all-sports standings, their lowest finish since the award originated in 1993-94. Tennessee has ranked no better than 33rd each of the last six years. That's quite a fall for a school that never finished below 27th from 1994-2011. "It is my expectation -- it is not a goal, it's an expectation -- that we will improve that standing," Currie said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. Currie, who took over in April, noted Tennessee's tumble during a June meeting of the entire athletic staff. He acknowledges all-sports standings can be cyclical but adds that "over time, certainly where we were the last couple of years across the board just isn't going to be acceptable, given what our history is and what our level of investment is."
 
Answer from Vanderbilt on shared stadium with MLS expected in weeks
A decision by Vanderbilt University on whether the school wants its football team's next home to be an off-campus stadium shared with Nashville's proposed future Major League Soccer franchise is expected early this fall. John Ingram, lead owner of Nashville's MLS expansion bid, said an answer on Vanderbilt's involvement will need to come by the time a formal stadium proposal is presented to the Metro Council for approval. To compete for one of two expansion spots MLS intends to award in December, Ingram and Mayor Megan Barry's administration are working on an aggressive timeline to get a project approved. The mayor's office has indicated plans to file legislation with the council for a stadium funding plan within 30 to 45 days. That sets up a likely October decision for Vanderbilt -- a timeline confirmed by Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams in an interview with The Tennessean.
 
U.S. college teams confirmed safe in Barcelona
Men's basketball teams from several U.S. universities -- including Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona -- were in Barcelona, Spain, when a van drove into pedestrians Thursday in a historic district popular with tourists, but school officials said the players and staff were safe. Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle posted a somber video to social media that conveyed the gravity of what had taken place just outside the Beavers' team hotel. Players were sharing a meal before an exhibition game when the incident occurred, about 5 p.m. local time, he said. Thirteen people were killed and 100 were injured, 15 of them seriously, in what authorities called a terror attack. Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in the historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot, and several of the teams were staying in the area.



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