Monday, February 3, 2020   
Applications now open for medical, science program at Mississippi State
High school juniors interested in health care and other science-related careers can apply to participate in an exploratory, four-week summer program at Mississippi State University. The Rural Medical and Science Scholars Program is now accepting applications for the class of 2020. The program begins May 31 and ends June 26. Participants are introduced to the social and academic aspects of college life while learning about health and science fields. Class members live on campus and take two health science college courses, earning six hours of college credit. They will tour medical facilities and shadow various medical and health care professionals, including physicians and dentists. The MSU Extension Service, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, and the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care support the program.
Industrial park plans coming to city, county leaders this month
City and county officials will have at least three requests on their agendas for their second public meeting in the month of February concerning the North Star Industrial Park. Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins will visit the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 17 and the Starkville Board of Aldermen on Feb. 18 to make three requests he believes will improve the marketability of the industrial park. First, Higgins will request both bodies approve the construction of a "pad" at the park, which is essentially a plot of land where the ground is leveled and concrete is prepared, allowing a potential business to move in quickly if they desire to do so. Next, Higgins said he will ask for a 50,000-square-foot building to be built next to the pad. Lastly, Higgins said he would request both Aldermen and Supervisors to issue Notices of Intent to authorize up to $7 million in bond money in a bid to attract a larger project codenamed Project Trinity.
Empowered: Entrepreneurial women get a big boost from a new group
It might be a form of business world karma that Misty McCraw and Kaitlin Mullins chanced to meet in 2019. It occurred first through their computers, when both were taking part in a national online entrepreneurs' group and McCraw, of West Point, posted a message asking if anyone in the network happened to live nearby. She received a response from just down the road -- from Mullins, in Starkville. The more the two women compared notes, the more they realized their common ground. Both hold full-time jobs, McCraw in human resources at Columbus Brick Co., Mullins at Mississippi State University. They are also both owners of small businesses, or "side hustles." McCraw has Blue Magnolia LLC, an online store creating custom apparel and T-shirts. Mullins does custom monogramming and embroidery through her family's fabric store in Columbus, Magnolia Heirlooms; she also has an Etsy shop, Sew Sweet Tee Co. The enterprising women began meeting periodically to talk over issues they had encountered in business and to use each other as accountability partners.
Natchez woman selected for Mississippi Department of Archives and History board
Natchez native and resident Helen Moss Smith has been elected to serve on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History's Board of Director's, the department announced Jan. 24. Along with Smith, other members elected are Spence Flatgard of Ridgeland and Edmond Hughes of Ocean Springs. Their nominations will be submitted to the Mississippi State Senate for confirmation, the department said. Reuben Anderson of Jackson was elected president of the board, and Hilda Cope Povall of Cleveland was re-elected vice president. Nancy Carpenter of Columbus was elected to a third term on the board. If confirmed by the Senate, Smith would replace current board member Valencia Hall, who is leaving the board along with fellow members Kane Ditto of Jackson and Roland Weeks of Biloxi. Members serve six-year terms. The other members of the board are Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; and Mark Keenum, Starkville.
Laurel shows what's possible; can Meridian get a makeover?
When Johnny Magee joined the Laurel City Council in 1997, there was little reason for anyone to visit downtown. "City Hall was here, the courthouse was here, and you could pay your power bill," Magee said. "Everything else was shuttered up, the stores were closed, nothing happening whatsoever. You couldn't see a car hardly pass by." More than two decades later, Magee enjoys spotting license plates from states across the country as he walks the streets, now the mayor of a city that has become a tourist destination. "It's amazing. Laurel is amazing," Magee said, beaming. It didn't happen overnight. A small group of citizens got involved, determined to breathe life into the area. They chose to live downtown and invest their own money to fix it up.
Exit interview: Glenn McCullough's tenure at MDA marked by record economic growth
The five years Glenn McCullough, Jr., served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority were marked by some of the best economic growth in the state's history. McCullough, who retired to the private sector at the end of January, credits the success to teamwork. "When I arrived at MDA in 2015, we focused on optimizing the relationship of people, process and product," McCullough said. "When those three work together, you will be successful. The talented people at MDA work with the governor, economic development officials, utility partners and workforce development partners, and that's the process. It's the culture of teamwork." That teamwork has led to record capital investment in Mississippi, a record number of people employed who are earning higher salaries, and an increase in the general fund. Mississippi has long been McCullough's home. He grew up in Tupelo, graduated from Tupelo High School and then earned a degree in ag economics from Mississippi State University.
Mississippi communities make top 10, 100 as most disadvantaged in U.S.
Mississippi communities are among the most disadvantaged in the nation, based on income levels, health and social mobility, according to a recent study. A recent analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan's Poverty Solutions initiative and Princeton University's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing created a nationwide index for counties it found to be at a "deep disadvantage" in the country. The study looked at poverty and deep poverty rates, life expectancy and low birth rates, among other factors. It revealed five separate counties in Mississippi in the top 10 list as the most poor areas in the nation. Those counties and their rank are: 3. Claiborne County 4. Issaquena County 5. Holmes County 7. Leflore County 9. Coahoma County. The study also listed a total 21 counties in the state in its top 100 index, which represents more than 20% of the entire country.
Bernie Ebbers, ex-CEO convicted in WorldCom scandal, dies
The former chief of WorldCom, convicted in one of the largest corporate accounting scandals in U.S. history, died just over a month after his early release from prison. Bernard Ebbers was 78. The Canadian-born former telecommunications executive died Sunday in Brookhaven, Mississippi, surrounded by his family, according to a family statement. WorldCom Inc. collapsed and went into bankruptcy in 2002, following revelations of an $11 billion accounting fraud that included pressure by top executives on subordinates to inflate numbers to make the company seem more profitable. The collapse caused losses to stockholders, including those who had invested through retirement plans. Before establishing himself in telecommunications, Ebbers had a diverse career that started in sports. He received a basketball scholarship at Mississippi College, where he majored in physical education. After graduating, he coached high school teams for a year before investing in a hotel; he eventually amassed a chain of Best Westerns in Mississippi and Texas, as well as a car dealership.
Gov. Tate Reeves: Pay raise for teachers, no new money for prisons
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has released his budget proposal that includes pay raises for teachers and no additional money for the troubled state prison system. Reeves' pay recommendation is part of his proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. In the plan released Friday, Reeves recommends that the state spend the same amount on the Department of Corrections in the coming year as in the current year. Writing a state budget is a long process. Legislators conducted budget hearings and started analyzing agencies' requests several months ago. In December, the 14-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee released its recommendations for a nearly $6.3 billion state budget. That would be nearly $94 million less than the state is set to spend during the current year, about a 1.5% decrease.
Legislature approves money to promote census
The Mississippi Legislature has approved funding to promote awareness of the 2020 federal census, which is tied directly to the size of each state's U.S. Congressional delegation and also plays a significant role in the distribution of federal funding. The bill, S.B. 2149, will appropriate $400,000 to be used for efforts to increase awareness of the federal census and of the significant impact that census will have on Mississippi over the next decade. Such efforts may include advertising, marketing and other public relations activities. The Senate passed the bill for census money early last week and the House followed suit on Thursday. There were no dissenting votes in the Senate and only five in the House.
Analysis: Chairman says prisons should not be warehouses
The new chairman of the Mississippi Senate Corrections Committee inherited a challenging job -- sharing oversight of a prison system rocked by violence and burdened by decrepit and underfunded facilities. Democratic Sen. Juan Barnett of Heidelberg said in an interview Thursday that prisons need to be more than warehouses. He also said Mississippi needs to do a better job of rehabilitating inmates so they will be ready to work and earn their own living after they are released. "My focus is to make sure that what we do today is not just good for today, but for decades to come," said Barnett, a former mayor who is in his second term in the Senate. At least 14 inmates died in Mississippi prisons from late December through late January. Most of the deaths happened at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, and many of them happened amid violent confrontations.
Michael Bloomberg establishes Mississippi campaign presence
Michael Bloomberg's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has established a footprint of some 20 people in Mississippi. A former New York City mayor largely self-funding his presidential ambitions from his own personal worth, the Mississippi campaign team has tapped several familiar figures from within the state's ranks of politics and campaigning. Pamela Shaw will serve as the state director and Brad Chism as the senior strategist. Shaw ran David Baria's unsuccessful senate campaign against Roger Wicker in 2018. Chism is a fixture among Democratic campaign operations, both for his work as a pollster and on campaign consulting. Sam Hall will also serve as the communications director for the Bloomberg campaign operation in Mississippi. Hall was until recently the executive editor of the Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson.
The W recognizes campus community members for inclusion, impact
Mississippi University for Women honored campus community members for their work in enhancing diversity and promoting cultural diversity. Penny Mansell was announced as the 2020 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award recipient, and the MUW Galleries under the direction of Beverly Joyce received the Initiative Impact Award at a luncheon Jan. 27. Mansell has directed the Child Parent Development Center (CPDC) for three years. The preschool, located on The W's campus, operates at full-capacity serving children 12 months to 4 years of age. The MUW Galleries, under the direction of Joyce, was recognized for maintaining an excellent variety of artistic and educational programming that fosters diversity and inclusion. Each year IHL allows each university the opportunity to nominate one individual for the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award. Each university nominee will be recognized in conjunction with the IHL Board meeting Feb 20.
Renovations to MUW's Turner Hall bring Demonstration School 'back to life'
From 1985-1995, Alma Turner spent part of nearly every week day in her office at the Demonstration School on Mississippi University for Women's campus. On Friday, she was back, standing outside the office looking at the wall where her portrait now hangs, welcoming visitors to the newly renovated Turner Hall. "After the name was placed on the building, I came by one day and nearly had a heart attack," Turner joked during a re-dedication ceremony for the building, which was attended by more than 200 local and state officials, MUW faculty and students and former students and teachers of the Demonstration School. "I looked up and said, 'Oh my, that's my name.'" Turner served 10 years as principal of the Demonstration School, Mississippi's first "laboratory school" for training teachers. The renovations, designed by Columbus-based architecture firm PryorMorrow, mainly upgraded the existing classroom spaces to more modern furnishings, while adding a new classroom that holds up to 140 students, said MUW president Nora Miller.
Ole Miss student to return from China due to coronavirus outbreak
A University of Mississippi student studying abroad in China will soon return to the U.S. due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. "Three University of Mississippi students have been in Asia for full year programs since August, but only one was physically in China during the past two weeks," UM spokesman Rod Guajardo told the Daily Journal. "That student is not in Wuhan nor in Hubei Province and will be departing within the next few days with no issues expected related to travel." The university's academic programs in China have been suspended or canceled for the time being and the university has restricted university-related travel to the country. MSU has also restricted university-related travel to China for the time being as administrators gather additional information from health officials and the Centers for Disease Control. There are currently no Mississippi State University students studying in China, MSU chief communications officer Sid Salter said. No cases have been reported at UM, MSU or anywhere in Mississippi at this time.
Shepard Smith receives U. of Mississippi media award
Former Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith is set to receive a journalism award from his alma mater, the University of Mississippi. The university's School of Journalism and New Media announced in a news release that Smith is the latest to be honored with its Silver Em award. Smith is to receive the award during a ceremony April 1 in Oxford. Smith, who grew up in Holly Springs, spent more than 20 years anchoring FOX News before leaving the network last year. Smith, speaking to University of Mississippi students last year, said his teachers emphasized journalism's commitment to the public. "You have a responsibility to people who rely on you to find out what in the world is going on," he said in October, according to the university's release.
Ole Miss internship program building pathway to the future
No longer are internships just for college students looking to gain work experience and earn academic credit. They're also a way for companies to build a pipeline that attracts young talent. Conducted by Intern Bridge Inc., CEO Robert Shindell, the workshop attracted 40 company representatives seeking to build and manage successful internship programs. Through in-depth proprietary research, the six-hour curricula for the program has been tested and proven effective in hiring and retaining entry-level workers, said Wesley Dickens. Dickens, assistant director of experiential education at Ole Miss, said the workshop was extremely successful. "For this being a first-time event, we were very pleased with the turnout," he said. "Internships are a great opportunity to identify future hires and increase brand awareness on college campuses. They're also vital for students to build employability skills. It really is a win-win for everyone."
Mississippi Freedom Letters Campaign encourages groups to support incarcerated people
Amid calls for prison reforms following the deaths of at least 12 incarcerated people since late December, many are participating in a letter writing campaign to support those in prison. The Mississippi Freedom Letters Campaign launched in January with the goal of writing all incarcerated people, approximately 30,000, letters of encouragement and support. Garrett Felber, an assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi, said he created the campaign as a creative way to raise awareness and put pressure on the state. "It's a way for a lot of us to understand the magnitude of the crisis and to understand that there is not going to be a really quick fix to this because this crisis was happening long before late December," Felber said. Letter writing events are also occurring at Ole Miss, and Felber suggested using it to build community.
Ant infestation takes over dorms at UM
Since returning to campus from winter break, University of Mississippi students who live in certain dorms have noticed hundreds of ants crawling around their buildings -- in the halls, in the bathrooms and on the beds. Complaints have come from Pittman, Stockard, Hefley and Stewart Hall, and students said they are hesitant to report the infestation to the university. "It was the night before school started this semester," Julia Crumrine, a freshman IMC major, said. "I was about to turn off my lamp when I looked at my headboard behind me, and it was covered in ants. There were more than I could count, just crawling all across it." Crumrine lives on the second floor of Pittman Hall, and she said it looked like the ants were getting into her room from a crack in the wall. While the ants have been gone from her room for several days, Crumrine said several other girls in the dorm have experienced similar issues, and many people have stopped putting in maintenance requests, opting to buy their own at-home pesticides instead.
Delta State pledges to fight student hunger
Delta State University has opened a food pantry designed to address the problem of food insecurity among students. The Statesman's Shelf is located in a back area of the H.L. Nowell Student Union and will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. Adjustments will be made for student needs. All Delta State students may take advantage as long as they have a valid student ID. Transactions are confidential. At the ribbon cutting this week, Dr. Vernell Bennett, vice president for student affairs, cited a survey of 86,000 students that found 45 percent of respondents reported food insecurity in the previous 30 days. "Before, our focus was the student's mental, academic and social needs," said Bennett. "We're now also concerned with their nutritional needs." After much research, the decision to develop DSU's own pantry was made.
Annie Schott Mitchell named new vice president of marketing and communications at Millsaps College
Millsaps College announced that Annie Schott Mitchell, current vice president of marketing and communications at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., has been named to the newly created position of vice president of marketing and communications. In this role, Mitchell will be responsible for Millsaps' brand stewardship, marketing and communication strategy, social media management, public and media relations, editorial content and telling the college's story through photography, the website and all digital marketing efforts. Prior to joining Wofford, Mitchell was director of university marketing and special initiatives at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.; director of marketing for ACT, Inc. in Iowa City, Iowa; and director of media relations, communications and marketing for the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Jackson.
$5 million 'hub' expands effort to close skills gap, increase tech firm investment
An old, historic manufacturing clothing facility -- what city leaders called the "heartbeat" of the community here -- flatlined over 30 years ago. Now, with an investment of $4.7 million, the building is getting an economic lifeline to transform its 64,000 square footage into Mississippi's first rural education and innovation hub and incubator for high school graduates, startup businesses, and corporate sponsors. What was formerly known as Water Valley Manufacturing Inc., the "economic hub" and symbol of the decline of the garment industry, is now reborn as Everest, a technology and education center, co-founders of Base Camp Coding Academy announced recently at a groundbreaking event. Financed with federal and state historic tax credits, new market tax credits, grants, and private donations, Everest will be home to the coding academy and Northwest Mississippi Community College programs. As a partner, the community college shared the expense of an instructor to teach workforce development courses for Base Camp students and allowed students to receive college credit.
U. of Alabama names new director at transportation institute
The University of Alabama has named a new executive director at the Alabama Transportation Institute. Allen Parrish will assume duties on Feb. 17 at the institute, which helps advance modern transportation systems through planning, research and policies at the local, state and national level. Parrish comes to UA from Mississippi State University, where he served as the associate vice president for research and held a tenured appointment as professor of computer science and engineering. He was the founding director of the UA Center for Advanced Public Safety and worked at UA for 26 years. He left UA in 2016 to help start the cyber operations program at the U.S. Naval Academy. "The University of Alabama is very excited that Dr. Parrish will be coming back to UA to lead a signature research institute," said Russell J. Mumper, vice president for research and economic development, in a news release.
FBI and Auburn University strike deal
The FBI is expanding its mission and has turned to Auburn University for some help. FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich came to the Plains on Friday to discuss his agency, its work and its new relationship with AU. Bowdich shared the priorities of the FBI from counterterrorism, cyber-crime, counterintelligence and more. He was asked what he would like to see Auburn focus on, in terms of cyber and security threats. Auburn President Jay Gogue and Bowditch signed a memorandum of understanding spelling out the new arrangement. According to university spokeswoman Amy Weaver, the agreement calls Auburn a partner with the FBI as it expands its workforce and operations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. The university will educate and train bureau employees, and provide the next generation of specialists needed to take on critical roles across the agency.
UGA professors answers questions about coronavirus
With news that the coronavirus called 2019-nCoV is capable of spreading from human to human, many are concerned about the possibility of a new pandemic, and that is not outside the realm of possibility, according to Jeff Hogan, a professor and infectious disease expert in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, who studied the SARS coronavirus. Below, he shares some of his thoughts on the current outbreak, how people can protect themselves and what the future may hold for 2019-nCoV. "First and foremost, avoid direct contact with persons known to be infected with 2019-nCoV. Also, travel to locations where human cases have been confirmed---Wuhan, China, for example---should also be avoided if at all possible. In addition, proper, thorough hand-washing is very effective at reducing the risk of self-inoculation by manually introducing the virus into the nose, eyes or mouth."
Georgia college system halts travel to China because of coronavirus
The University System of Georgia will not approve travel by its students and faculty to China, following federal government guidelines as the death toll worldwide rises from the coronavirus. The system, which oversees operations at Georgia's largest public universities, sent a message Friday to its 26 schools saying the travel ban includes spring semester study abroad, conferences and research. "Summer study abroad programs and travel should continue to be assessed with contingency plans in case the current levels remain in place," Lance Wallace, a spokesman for the system, wrote in one message.
Texas A&M researchers work to farm oysters, preserve their reefs
Texas A&M University System researchers are working to farm oysters off the Texas coast using cages. Overfishing, freshwater intrusion and hurricanes have caused a 43% reduction of oyster harvests in the past four years, according to an A&M press release. Oyster farming with off-bottom cages can mean that harvesting won't destroy existing oyster reefs. "It's a real exciting venture for the Texas A&M University System that is going to create an entirely new industry for the Gulf Coast," Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said in a YouTube video. Joe Fox, HRI chair of Marine Resource Development at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, is working on making Texas oysters a reality. Fox is also a jointly appointed research scientist with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
U. of Missiouri celebrates new Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center
Veteran University of Missouri music professor Eva Szekely had waited more than 40 years for Saturday's grand opening ceremony of the Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center. It was "unequivocally" worth the wait, she said after the ceremony. Head of string instruments, Szekely said she didn't think it would ever happen. There had been many plans for music buildings that had come and gone, including one for the space that is now the Hitt Street garage. "It was a very long time in coming," Szekely said. "The Sinquefields made all the difference. We wouldn't have this building without them." Jeanne Sinquefield gave $10 million to the $24 million project. She's married to well-known political donor Rex Sinquefield. Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said it's the largest contribution in support of the arts in university history.
Alan Dershowitz finds himself thrust into academe's margins
It's significant when something stands out in today's supersonic news cycle. And time seemed to at least slow when Alan Dershowitz offered up his defense of President Trump during the U.S. Senate impeachment trial last week. Part of that defense, in Dershowitz's words, is that "if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment." Those comments were immediately criticized -- including by a number of law professors at Harvard University, where Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus -- as meaning that a president can do virtually anything, as long as he or she believes it's in the public interest. Dershowitz has since said that he was deliberately misinterpreted by his political opponents. He believes that his rivals are smart enough to know what he really meant. The scale of that opposition -- including some 200 constitutional law scholars who signed on to a letter Friday repudiating his constitutional analysis -- suggests the debate is more complex, however.
When the Candidates Come to Campus
Campuses are political spaces. For proof, look to the Democratic primaries for the 2020 presidential election. At universities, candidates have rallied undergraduates, debated policy, and taken selfies, aiming to break through in a crowded field. The Chronicle tracked campus visits for four leading candidates for six months of this stretch -- May 1 through October 31, 2019 -- as they campaigned for their party's nomination. Where they chose to make their case was revealing. Over the six months, the former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and the former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg traveled to a total of 15 states, plus the District of Columbia. All candidates made stops in Iowa, Nevada, D.C., New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas -- for individual or fieldwide events.
Confusion Over What Data Schools Can Provide for 2020 Census
The U.S. Census Bureau this week starts its process of counting students living in college-run housing, but there's confusion over what demographic information university officials can share with the agency. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education said in a memo to schools that they couldn't, if asked, provide information about students' sex, race and Hispanic origin for the 2020 Census. Now the department says schools are able to furnish such data if they strip away anything that could identify a student. The department's new position was issued last week in a revision of a memo it sent out last month to universities about how students living in college housing should be counted. The 2020 Census form "asks for information about the student's sex, Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, and race," said the original memo issued on Jan. 14. "However, school officials may not disclose this information, without prior written consent from the student."
U.S. universities set up front-line defenses to keep coronavirus at bay
On its sprawling campus in America's heartland, thousands of miles from China, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has taken aggressive steps to keep the fast-spreading coronavirus away from its classrooms and students. The school, with one of the highest percentages of Chinese students among U.S. universities, has suspended academic programs in China for the spring semester and banned students from traveling to the country for academic-related matters. It has advised faculty and staff to follow federal travel advisories that, as of Friday, warned against going to China. More than 350,000 Chinese students are pursuing higher education in the United States and 10,000 American students are enrolled in academic programs in China. The sheer number of the students, many of whom have traveled to their home country in recent weeks, makes schools a potential incubator for a widespread outbreak in the United States, given the close proximity of dormitory life.
NIH's new cluster hiring program aims to help schools attract diverse faculty
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is hoping universities will use a controversial---and largely untested---method of hiring junior faculty members to improve the diversity of the U.S. biomedical research workforce. Last week, a top-level advisory group gave NIH officials the green light to launch a $241 million initiative called Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST). The money, over 9 years, would go to help each of roughly a dozen universities and medical schools support a cluster of 10 or more newly hired young faculty members. A growing number of institutions are using cluster hiring to accelerate their capacity to do research in an emerging area, such as computational biology or nanofabrication, and a few of them have also used it to improve faculty diversity.
Mom of Rutgers student hit by train after frat party sues school, fraternity for wrongful death
The mother of a Rutgers University student who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train after becoming intoxicated at a fraternity party has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university, its police department and the fraternity. Claudia Patterson, the mother of Kenneth Patterson, a freshman who attended a Christmas party at Theta Delta Chi on Dec. 9, 2017 before he was killed by the train, filed the suit Dec. 6, 2019 in Middlesex County Superior Court. "We cannot comment on pending litigation," university spokesman Neil Buccino said. A member of the Rutgers Club Lacrosse team, Patterson was invited to TDXmas, a party at the Huntington Street fraternity, which, the lawsuit states, "was on a cease and desist order and was prohibited from sponsoring and/or hosting any fraternity-related events."
UT Austin, Dell Foundation to tackle the Pell Grant gap
The University of Texas at Austin is partnering with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to expand the Dell Scholars program to all students at the university who receive Pell Grants. For participants in the program, the university will cover tuition costs, while the scholarship will provide wraparound supports. Pell recipients with an expected family contribution under $1,000 will get an additional $20,000 for up to six years for basic needs and other education costs. The Dell Foundation will commit $100 million over a decade to the program. "We want to provide the opportunity for more students from low-income families to be successful and graduate," said Gregory Fenves, president of UT Austin. The university's six-year graduation rate is 86 percent for all students, but only 73 percent for Pell recipients. Nationally, the gap is even worse.
Retired state employees could increase limited field of legislative candidates; nearly 45% of seats unopposed in 2019
Bobby Harrison writes for Mississippi Today: During the 2019 election cycle, a staggering 77 of the 174 legislative candidates ran for office unopposed. Perhaps, many of those unopposed candidates did not draw opposition because they were so well thought of in their communities. But perhaps some did not have opposition because there was no one else in their districts interested in being a legislator. Granted, there are some good perks that go along with being a legislator, including lobbyists willing to provide expensive food and beverage, a sweetheart of an enhanced retirement system in addition to the normal state plan, and oh yeah, the ability to help set public policy for the state. But serving in the Legislature can be an inconvenience. Most legislators have other jobs, ranging from attorney to farmer to business owner, that they must perform while being away from home during the week for at least three consecutive months every year in addition to being away for other sporadic days during the year.

Mississippi State wins fifth-straight SEC game
For the past three weeks, Mississippi State has proven to be a second-half team. The Bulldogs solidified that point against Tennessee on Saturday afternoon. MSU went into halftime trailing by six before outscoring the Vols by 19 in the second half for an 86-73 victory. "Overall, we played really well in the second half," said MSU coach Ben Howland. "We shot 69 percent from the field in the second half and beat our opponent on the boards by 15. That's usually going to be a winning formula. We're doing a great job at the foul line. I'm just really proud of our team." It was the Bulldogs' fifth-consecutive conference win after beginning SEC play at 0-3. The victory also snapped a four-game skid to the Volunteers.
Mississippi State storms to fifth-straight SEC win on D.J. Stewart's career day
They did it again. Coming from behind has been the Mississippi State Bulldogs' calling card of late, and Saturday's game against Tennessee was no different. Mississippi State trailed by six points at halftime but it didn't matter. Like they did earlier in the week at Florida, the Bulldogs battled back in the second half to claim another SEC victory -- their fifth in a row. The final scoreboard that hung above the second-largest crowd of the season at Humphrey Coliseum read Mississippi State 86, Tennessee 73. The Bulldogs avenged four-straight losses to the Volunteers. They hadn't beaten the Vols since Feb. 4, 2017. MSU head coach Ben Howland was happy in his post-game press conference, but it wasn't all rosy. "I'm getting way too tired of us always being down at the half and having to mount comebacks," he said. The deficit was rapidly erased, though.
Second half surge lifts Mississippi State to 86-73 win over Tennessee
Everything was clicking for Mississippi State in the second half Saturday. Nick Weatherspoon was flirting with a triple-double. D.J. Stewart had his best offensive output of his career. Reggie Perry quitely had another 20-point plus performance. And the Bulldogs (14-7, 5-3 SEC) were shooting more than 70 percent from the floor in the second half until the final two minutes. Hard to lose that way. "That's usually going to be a winning formula," MSU coach Ben Howland said. It all added up to the Bulldogs' fifth straight Southeastern Conference win, a 86-73 victory over Tennessee (12-9, 4-4) at Humphrey Coliseum. After getting past the Vols, MSU has climbed to at least fourth place in the SEC standings after an 0-3 start in conference play and has won five of its last six overall.
NOTEBOOK: Mississippi State's D.J. Stewart Jr. scores career-high 20
Since D.J. Stewart Jr. entered the starting lineup on Jan. 14, Mississippi State has posted a 5-1 record. Stewart helped the Bulldogs to their fifth-consecutive conference win against Tennessee on Saturday by scoring a career-high 20 points. "He's really just a phenomenal kid," said MSU coach Ben Howland. "He's just getting better and better, remember that he's just a freshman. Tonight with the way he played offensively, I think it's going to be a big boost for him confidence-wise -- especially on those 3s. I'm really excited for him." Stewart, a 6-foot-6 guard from Grace, shot 6 of 9 from the field and was 4 of 5 from 3-point range. His previous career-high was 15 points against Sam Houston State on Nov. 8.
Mississippi State women heading into heart of conference play with date against Georgia
Conference play is heating up. With a three game stretch against ranked opponents just around the corner, the Mississippi State women's basketball team (19-3, 7-1 SEC) welcomes Georgia (12-9, 3-5 SEC) to town Monday for a rematch of the Bulldogs' seven-point win in Athens Jan. 5. "We have to get ready for a really good Georgia team," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "They had a heart breaker last week at Texas A&M, losing by one. They had a great victory at Arkansas on the road two weeks ago. (Coach) Joni Taylor has done a tremendous job there. They are playing at a very high level." With the red and white clad Bulldogs riding a stretch of four straight ranked opponents, Taylor's bunch picked up a much needed aforementioned win over Arkansas Jan. 23 before dropping games to No. 1 South Carolina and suffering a one-point loss at Texas A&M Thursday.
No. 9 Mississippi State seeks 20th win tonight
No. 9 Mississippi State will host Georgia at 6 p.m. tonight for the second battle of the Bulldogs this season. Vic Schaefer's squad defeated UGA in Athens 73-66 on Jan. 5 with Jordan Danberry and Rickea Jackson each contributing 17 points. Danberry leads State with 13.6 points and 2.6 steals per game and ranks second in assists at 3.2. Georgia (12-9, 3-5 SEC) has lost back-to-back games, including a 64-63 defeat at No. 15 Texas A&M last Thursday. Junior guard Gabby Connally leads UGA averaging 12.7 points. A win tonight would give MSU (19-3, 7-1 SEC) its seventh straight season of 20 or more victories. The program had just four 20-win seasons in 38 years prior to Schaefer's arrival.
Mississippi State women, Vic Schaefer continuing to contend with ebbs and flows of youth
Vic Schaefer's patience is being tested. A noted perfectionist on and off the court, the 2020 Mississippi State women's basketball team has forced Schaefer -- who's in the midst of his eighth year in Starkville -- to be more patient with the inconsistencies that come with a young squad. "Look, I learn something new about this team just about every day," he said Friday. "I think what we've seen is how well they can play and we've also seen the flip side of how they've struggled at times. And so my job is to get the to get that consistency from home every day in practice, and every night and again, when the lights come on." While Schaefer continues to cope with the ebbs and flows of his team, the past two weeks have proven a microcosm of how up and down this year's squad can be.
Former Mississippi State standout Chris Jones prepared for Super Bowl LIV
Chick-fil-A closed on Sundays? That's never thrown a wet blanket on Chris Jones' superstition and it certainly hasn't stopped the former Mississippi State star from mauling NFL quarterbacks. "That's what I eat before every game," Jones said. "I grab a chicken sandwich Saturday." Thankfully for the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive tackle, there is a Chick-fil-A location in Miami Lakes, 6 miles from where he will suit up against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. Jones' ritual was cemented in 2018, when he noticed his love for poultry on game day coincided with his NFL-record streak of sacks (11 straight games). In reality, Chick-fil-A is the sandwich of choice only because he doesn't have routine access to his favorite food joint -- Moore's Restaurant in his hometown of Houston. Not that Houston. Houston, Mississippi, may boast less than 4,000 people, but it has produced one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.
Former Mississippi State standout Chris Jones wins Super Bowl with Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowler Chris Jones cut loose after his team won its first championship in a half-century. "This is a night that we're not gonna forget," the exuberant defensive tackle said following his team's 31-20 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night. "I'm not even going to sleep tonight." Jones deflected three balls from the line and helped Kansas City pitch a fourth-quarter shutout after falling behind 20-10. "I feel like (Michael) Jordan Game 5, three seconds to go, we're gonna make something happen," said Jones, who had nine sacks this season. Jones talked about staying in Kansas City and building a dynasty. "Kansas City, we're fixing to build something special here," he said. "We're gonna come back. This is not the only one we're going to get for Coach Reid."
Southern Miss baseball: 6 things to know about the renovated field
Baseball games will look a lot different in Hattiesburg this spring. With the completion of Pete Taylor Park Field Project, Southern Miss is set to play this season on its new turf surface. The Golden Eagles previously played on a traditional grass and dirt field. The first official day of practice was on Friday. The first official day of practice was on Friday. The Golden Eagles start the season at home Feb. 14 against Murray State. "We've been in the top 20 in total attendance for over 20 years now," Southern Miss head baseball coach Scott Berry said. "Our fan base is very passionate just like all of the fan bases in the state of Mississippi." Berry said the baseball program budgeted $1.3M for the project. He believes the final cost is going to exceed the amount and end up with a cost of $1.35 million because of the premium seating. Half of the funds will come from private donors, while the other 50% will come from the university, according to Berry.
Going all in: 18 months after legalization, sports betting brings big bucks to Mississippi
Saturday marks 18 months since sports betting was officially authorized in Mississippi, and the state has reaped the benefits. According to Mississippi Gaming Commission executive director Allen Godfrey, $5 million was wagered in the state during Super Bowl 53 last year. During the 2019 NCAA tournament, $14.4 million was bet in the state. Even so, Mississippi fell short of its projections for sports gambling for the first fiscal year, from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. The state expected roughly $5 million in tax revenue from sports gambling alone but pulled in about $4 million in all. However, Mississippi saw an increase in its total gross gaming revenue. "If the overall gross gaming revenue is higher, then I believe it did what it was supposed to do," Godfrey said. "Did we meet the projection of the sports betting tax revenue? We didn't, but we surpassed it with the tax from the gaming revenue." Much of the tax revenue generated for the state goes to transportation improvements, which will be supplemented by the state lottery. Powerball and Mega Millions tickets went on sale Thursday.
Tennessee football's director of communications departing after three seasons with Vols
Zach Stipe grew up within walking distance to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He read Sports Illustrated from cover to cover and memorized the stats on the back of sports cards. So it's fitting that Stipe wound up working in sports. Stipe, Tennessee's director of football communications since 2017, is stepping down from his role. His wife, Katie, accepted a position in her hometown as a speech therapist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "It was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. We're excited," said Stipe, 34, who spent three seasons as Tennessee's football spokesman. The athletics department is reviewing candidates to replace Stipe. Stipe, a native of Canton, Ohio, graduated from Ohio Northern University before earning his master's degree from Tennessee.
Florida's University Athletic Association rakes in $6M more than last year
Thanks to football, Florida's powerful economic engine, the University Athletic Association has posted another successful year financially, pulling in a profit of $17.9 million for the 2019 fiscal year. That's almost six million more than a year ago, when the UAA's profit was reported at $12,039,389. The big difference between 2018 and 2019 is in severance payments. UF paid out $12,862,810 two years ago, the bulk of that ($12,295,959) going to buyouts for former football coaches Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp. The overall payout in 2019 was only $370,800. As it always does, the football program led the way for UF's 21 sports teams in 2019, producing a profit of $47,950,819. The program had a total operational revenue of $87,450,485 to go along with expenses of $39,499,666. The overall operational revenue for UF's 21 programs was $159,706,937, with expenses of $141,829. The expenses are more than $7 million less than last year's.

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