Friday, February 21, 2020   
Bully's Closet at Mississippi State receives $10,000 grant from Kroger
An organization that helps feed Mississippi State students received a big boost Thursday. Bully's Closet and Pantry received a $10,000 grant from Kroger Foods. Student Affairs and The Student Association helped with the initiative. The goal is to meet students' basic needs while going to college. A number of students cannot even afford toiletries and in some cases food. Research suggested about 30% of all college students fall in that category. This grant and other community partners make it possible to serve students. "This gift that we are getting from Kroger really allows us to think about the future. Think about how we can impact students in the long-run, and how we can make sure that this is here and that we are supporting our individuals," said Montelleo Hobley with MSU.
Kroger representatives present MSU's Bully's Closet and Pantry with a $10,000 check
Kroger representatives presented the Bully's Closet and Pantry with a $10,000 check Thursday. Kroger Store Leader Deco Simmons stood with Kroger Corporate Affairs Manager of the Delta region Teresa Dickerson as they presented Bully's Closet and Pantry with the check. Simmons and Dickerson said the money can be used to purchase more groceries, clothes, toiletries and anything students will need. "It goes back to our promise. We're here to feed the human spirit," Simmons said. "So anyone who's in need, Kroger wants to be behind. The city of Starkville and Mississippi State have always been behind Kroger and we want to show our support." The closet and food pantry is located on Mississippi State University's campus.
Lantern Project at Mississippi State University Libraries
Mississippi State University Libraries is partnering with the University of Mississippi Libraries, Delta State University, the Historic Natchez Foundation, Columbus-Lowndes County Public Library and the Montgomery County (Alabama) Archives for the Lantern Project, which aims to create Mississippi's first institutionally supported digital database of legal records identifying victims of slavery. The project is based on a similar one at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture called "Unknown No Longer," a release from MSU says. The National Historic Publications and Records Committee, a branch of the National Archives, funded the Lantern Project with a $340,424 grant. When completed, the archive will be a fully text-searchable, indexed collection of digital images of original documents, including individuals' names and detailed physical descriptions. The database will use records that slave owners and the 19th century legal system used to track enslaved persons -- including inventories, bills of sale, and probate and other court records -- to trace victims' movements and reconstruct family trees, the release says.
SOCSD nets $900K health and wellness grant for Partnership School
The Partnership School will be equipped with some state-of-the-art health and wellness facilities thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The grant was announced by the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District on Tuesday, and will provide the district with $900,000 toward various health and wellness facilities at the Partnership School. The initiative includes several school gardens and mobile kitchens to teach students about gardening and healthy eating. Exercise equipment will be located at various points in the school for use by teachers and students. A school farmer's market, fitness classes, a school greenhouse and family cooking nights are also in the works. Sixth graders will receive many of this through the Gardening and Overall Wellness (GrOW) classroom, while seventh graders will have a garden pod, incorporating the skills into their daily curriculum.
Georgia Blue prepares for opening day in Starkville
Georgia Blue's Starkville location is set for a March 2 grand opening. Cameron Parker, the Starkville franchise owner, confirmed the restaurant's long- awaited opening to The Dispatch this week. Starkville is now the fifth restaurant addition to the growing Jackson, blue-plate eatery. Starting in March, you can check out some Southern classic dishes including ribeyes, shrimp and grits, rice and beans, salmon and fried green tomatoes. The family-owned enterprise opened in 2010 and boasts other locations in Madison, Flowood, Brandon and Brookhaven. Parker said initially the Starkville location planned to incorporate a Georgia Blue bakery in addition to the restaurant at 207 S. Jackson St. However, he said the Starkville location will only host a restaurant with late night hours for customers. With opening day inching closer, Parker said he's ready to serve the Starkville crowds some home-style greats.
Hundreds of dams lack emergency plans in rain-soaked South
When recent heavy rains swelled a private Mississippi lake and began eroding its earthen dam, Yazoo County Emergency Management Director Jack Willingham was scrambling for a plan. He had no contact information for any of the homeowners who might need to evacuate, so he drove to the scene and began knocking on doors. "I was just fortunate that this was a small area and I was able to do it on my own, door-to-door, grunt work," Willingham said. The emergency plan for Mississippi's Oktibbeha County Lake Dam, which partially collapsed in a mudslide last month, lists the addresses and names of more than 100 property owners in the Starkville area who could be subject to evacuation if the dam fails. The plan includes color maps showing the potential inundation area and lists roads that would need to be closed. It also describes specific steps to be taken depending on the type of problem at the dam, with the phone numbers of various local and state emergency personnel who should be notified.
Pearl River's downstream communities brace for the worst as Jackson's floodwaters recede
Lana Ashley can't help but think of 1979 as she stands in her kitchen looking out the window at the swelled banks of the Pearl River, which cut a temporary new path through her backyard. Normally, the river is at least 30 yards away, down the steep bank from her house. But on Wednesday, the rising water was within about a foot of her house. Ashley pointed to the several sandbags stacked against the back side of her house as she recalled the historic flood that wiped out the livelihoods of so many Mississippians. Though the most threatening flood waters receded in Jackson, thousands of Mississippians down the long, winding Pearl River like Ashley are only beginning to see the worst impacts of the historic flood. Others farther downstream can only wait for the high waters to arrive.
Appeals court keeps block on Mississippi 6-week abortion ban
A federal appeals court is keeping a block on a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions as early as about six weeks --- a stage when many women may not even know they are pregnant. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the decision Thursday, finding that the law is unconstitutional because it would ban abortion before the point of viability, when a fetus could survive outside of the womb. The appeals court judges agreed with a district court judge who blocked the law from taking effect in 2019, soon after it was signed by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican. The only abortion clinic in Mississippi sued the state after Bryant signed what would have been one of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S., banning most abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can be at about six weeks. The clinic said it provides abortions until 16 weeks.
5 plead not guilty in welfare fraud case in Mississippi
Trial dates have been set for the former head of Mississippi's welfare agency and some of the other people charged with misusing money that was intended to help needy people in the nation's poorest state. Court records show former Department of Human Services director John Davis pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Hinds County Circuit Court. Five other people are also charged in the case. Four of them pleaded not guilty this week, and trial dates were set for two of them. Court records do not show a plea for one person. Davis' trial is scheduled to begin June 1. Ann McGrew pleaded not guilty Wednesday, and her trial is scheduled to begin June 1. Nancy New pleaded not guilty this week, and her trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 28. Zach New pleaded not guilty Tuesday. Court records do not show a trial date for him. DiBiase pleaded not guilty Thursday. Court records did not show a trial date for him.
Catching up with freshman lawmakers at the Capitol
We do a lot of stories about the Legislature and the various bills it deals with. But we wanted to step back from the issues and focus on lawmakers as people. On the 37th day of the session, we paid a visit to the Capitol to meet a couple of newcomers who just took office in January. Visitors may be struck by the grandeur of the Capitol building and the complexity of the legislative process. But two freshman lawmakers are seeing it all from a different perspective. Jansen Owen of Poplarville is the new state representative for House District 106. "It's a slow process but it's a good process. There's a learning curve for all of us new members," Owen said of his first impression. "But it's really humbling to see how the process works and what we can do here in this building to effect change in Mississippi." His House colleague Rep. Gene Newman from Pearl just went to work for the people of District 61. "I've worked up here as an industry person before, so I had an expectation to know the first two or three weeks of a four-year term there's going to be a lot of pomp and circumstance," Newman said. "A lot of folks feel like we're just spinning our wheels but it's just part of the process. Next week we'll get into the committees and get to work." At age 26, Owen is the youngest member of the Legislature.
Congressman Michael Guest visits storm damage
United States Representative Michael Guest stopped in Meridian Thursday while visiting the 3rd Congressional District. Guest said he was touring some of the damage left behind by the EF-2 tornado earlier this month. The Republican said he visited the town of Enterprise and met with residents who were affected by the storm. Getting financial aid for cleanup has been the focus on recent weeks and Guest says he wants to make sure they are assisted. "We were in Enterprise touring some of the damage from the recent tornado. I was able to sit down with Sheriff Kemp and talk to him about some of the things they're doing in Quitman. Had a real good meeting with him and some of the local community leaders there," Guest says. Guest also visited the hospitals to discuss healthcare. Guest is facing James Tulp in the Republican primary set for March 10th.
House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime
The House will vote next week on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Thursday. The Democratic-controlled House will vote on the bill, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) on Wednesday. "102 years ago, Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer of Missouri introduced the first antilynching legislation to pass the House, but tragically, that bill would die in the Senate. However, with today's announcement, we are one step closer to finally outlawing this heinous practice and achieving justice for over four thousand victims of lynching, including Emmitt Till," Rush said in a statement. The bill is named for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. The Senate, in a bill introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), passed anti-lynching legislation last year.
'Where would you rather live?': Bloomberg berated Mississippi over 2013 sugary soda law
Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, who has pumped millions into the state of Mississippi, denigrated the state and its leaders in 2013 after the Legislature passed a law prohibiting local governments from banning certain foods and drinks. Bloomberg, then the New York City mayor, banned city vendors from selling large servings of soda in 2012. In response, several state legislatures across the country prohibited similar acts in their states through similar so-called "anti-Bloomberg bills." Mississippi's Republican Legislature passed one of those bills, eliciting a harsh reaction from Bloomberg. "It's the most obese state," Bloomberg said of Mississippi at a 2013 event in Brooklyn, as reported by Politico. "It's got a life expectancy five or six years worse than New York City. It's got a murder rate higher, a suicide rate higher, and they're worried about things that we're doing. Where would you rather live -- there or here? I mean, think about that." Bloomberg, who was New York mayor for 10 years, has hired 24 full-time campaign staffers in Mississippi alone -- the largest Mississippi campaign staff investment of any presidential candidate in history.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton endorses Michael Bloomberg for president
Despite a past practice of sticking to local issues, Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton has plunged into a contentious presidential nominating contest by endorsing Michael Bloomberg's presidential bid. Shelton told the Daily Journal that he believes the former mayor of New York City has the best chance of defeating President Donald Trump in November. "The crux of my endorsement is based upon electability in November," Shelton told the Daily Journal. Shelton admitted that in a state dominated by conservative politics, Mississippi likely will not have much influence in the general election, but he does believe the state could play an influential role in the Democratic Party's presidential nominating process. Shelton admitted that Bloomberg has "some blemishes" on his record, and said he's not here to "sugarcoat anything in (Bloomberg's) background." The Tupelo mayor said his Bloomberg endorsement is simply an acknowledgement of what he thinks is the best path forward for the Democratic Party.
Trump eyes solution to Georgia primary problem by nominating Doug Collins for head of intelligence
President Donald Trump is considering Rep. Doug Collins for the post of director of national intelligence. The president told reporters aboard Air Force One after a Thursday night campaign rally in Colorado Springs that the Georgia Republican was among his potential nominees for the intelligence chief position. Trump was heading back to Las Vegas, where he has been based during a western swing this week. Collins, who is the outgoing ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, recently launched a primary challenge to GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Appointed to replace Republican Johnny Isakson at the start of the year, Loeffler faces Georgia voters in November for the remaining two years of Isakson's term. The campaign infrastructure of the Republican Party is supporting Loeffler and giving her the benefits of incumbency.
Reports: Intelligence official warned lawmakers that Russia was interfering in 2020 to help Trump
Election intelligence officials warned lawmakers that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign with a goal of getting President Donald Trump re-elected, according to several media reports. First reported by the New York Times, the February 13 briefing led to Trump reprimanding Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, and accused him of being disloyal after aide Shelby Pierson told lawmakers aggressive Russian actors were continuing election-intrusion from 2016. Trump was reportedly especially displeased that House Intelligence Chairman, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was included in the briefing, for fear that the congressman would try to use it to undermine the president during his re-election,according to the New York Times. Schiff led the impeachment proceedings against Trump. Pierson addressed Russia's overall efforts, including weaponizing social media, hacking, and diminishing election infrastructures, according to reports. She was not well perceived by House lawmakers who are loyal to Trump, according to CNN.
Deere Surges on Surprise Earnings Growth in Farm Recovery
Machinery giant Deere & Co. delivered an unexpected increase in earnings and maintained its annual outlook as early signs of stabilization in the U.S. farm sector offset a slowdown in construction. Shares jumped. "Farmer confidence, though still subdued, has improved due in part to hopes for a relaxation of trade tensions and higher agricultural exports," Chief Executive Officer John May said in a statement accompanying its fiscal first quarter results. While the CEO didn't mention the coronavirus in the statement, his comments may help ease concerns about how much the outbreak will delay China's return to U.S. agricultural markets as laid out in the phase one trade deal. The tit-for-tat tariff spat with China made American farmers cautious on replacing large equipment, Deere's top moneymaker. The company's cautiously optimistic view on agriculture was supported by government crop projections released Friday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects American soybean stockpiles to sink to pre-trade war levels as China comes back into the market.
Student Housing Sector Braces for Tough Times
The U.S. student housing industry faces choppy waters as a Millennial-driven enrollment boom tapers off and many university markets struggle with oversupply. Growing risks to international enrollment, such as the spreading paralysis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in China and elsewhere, pose further challenges to student accommodation providers. "It's really the secondary markets that keep me up at night," said Laura Formica, vice president of operations at Homestead U at a conference dedicated to off-campus student housing this week. Formica, who oversees more than 8,700 beds and 200 employees at the national student housing operator, noted that her concerns are "really market-specific," citing Ohio State University as an example of a still-growing market where the company is shrugging off the impact of new development. The executive said that Mississippi State and Texas A&M also look more promising as there are no new deliveries this year.
UM student talks xenophobia, returning from China during coronavirus outbreak
Matt Travers didn't want to leave China. In fact, despite the widespread fear brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, he wants to return as soon as it is safe to do so. Travers, a junior international studies major at the University of Mississippi, was recently forced to return to the United States from his year abroad in Nanjing, China, because of the effects coronavirus is having on the region. He went abroad with the American Councils for International Education, which pulled all of its students out of the country as the outbreak progressed. He said that because he lived in China during the outbreak and in the United States following its spread, he has a unique perspective on the international reaction to the virus. In a recent Instagram post, he wrote about issues he has observed revolving around the virus. "Xenophobia and racism have fueled fear and hostility toward Mainland China since the outbreak of the ongoing viral epidemic," Travers said in the post. "It is our responsibility to separate truth from misinformation."
Distinct microbiomes flourish around sunken ships as they become artificial reefs, new research in the Gulf of Mexico reveals
Off the coast of Mississippi, under 4,000 feet of water, a luxury yacht is slowly disintegrating. Marine creatures dart, cling and scuttle near the hull of the wreck, which has been lying undisturbed for 75 years. But there's more than meets the eye when it comes to this shipwreck and others, researchers have now shown --- distinct assemblages of microbes inhabit the seafloor surrounding these structures, helping to turn shipwreck sites into artificial reefs rich in life. Shipwrecks are trespassers on the bottom of the ocean, human-made structures decidedly out of their element. But a wreck's intrusion gradually becomes welcome as various forms of marine life seek refuge among the steel and wood. The macroscopic animals that inhabit shipwrecks are only there thanks to much smaller forms of life, said Leila Hamdan, a marine microbial ecologist at the University of Southern Mississippi.
USM researchers investigating ancient forest under Gulf of Mexico
In South Mississippi, counting pollen is usually done by sneezes or square feet, not individually under a microscope. Most of the pollen being counted by South Mississippians isn't 60,000 years old and trapped under the ocean floor. Andy Reese, a biogeographer at the University of Southern Mississippi, counts individual beads of pollen in his lab. The pollen he counts is "cored" from under the ocean floor from a forest that is over 60,000 years old. "What is now about six miles off the coast of Orange Beach, Ala. used to be land," Reese said. "We think a Cypress-Tupelo swamp was in this depression, and it was able to be preserved when sea-levels rose." Getting the cores from under the water isn't easy. "Core-ing" involves digging up soil samples from the terrestrial dirt found under the ocean floor. They do this by inserting a long tube, think of it like a giant cookie cutter, into the ocean floor. When the tube is removed, it pulls all of the dirt up with it," said Reese. That dirt is full of all the scientific information Reese and his team needs.
Suspect held on $200K bond in off-campus shooting deaths of 2 Alcorn State students
An investigation is underway after two Alcorn State University students were shot to death overnight. Mississippi Bureau of Investigation identified the two students who were killed as 22-year-old James Carr and 19-year-old Tahir Fitzhugh. According to Claiborne County Sheriff Edward Goods, a suspect is in custody. He was captured in Adams County. The suspect, Jerrell Davis, had his initial court appearance in Claiborne County Justice Court Thursday. He is being held on a $200,000 bond. He is currently being held on charges of aggravated assault, but his charges are expected to be upgraded. Two other students were also injured in the shooting. One was taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. There is no word on the condition of the other injured student. Authorities said a group of more than 20 people were at the bonfire when gunfire erupted.
U. of Alabama to offer cybersecurity degree
The University of Alabama will offer students a new degree program in the high-demand field of cybersecurity beginning this fall. "Given the increasing popularity of computing fields and the expected increasing number of cybersecurity jobs, we expect this to be a popular choice for students who want a rigorous degree to prepare them for the field of cybersecurity," said Susan V. Vrbsky, interim head of UA's computer science department, in a news release. The cybersecurity degree will qualify students for such jobs as chief information security officers, security architects, security engineers, vulnerability assessors, information security analysts and security consultants. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, according to the news release. Last year, the Tuscaloosa Police Department began the implementation of a Cyber Intelligence Unit, a specialized task force that will rely on state-of-the-art camera networks, advanced digital technology and trained analysts to disrupt criminal activity.
U. of Arkansas, Fayetteville economic-development official to step down
Stacy Leeds, the first vice chancellor for economic development for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, is stepping down from the position. Leeds, who served as UA School of Law dean from 2011 to 2018, announced Tuesday in a Twitter post that after completing "a decade of service to (and love for)" the university, "it's time for me to recalibrate." UA spokesman Mark Rushing said Leeds may stay in the vice chancellor position through June, depending on the search to find her replacement. After stepping down, she will hold the title of dean emerita and professor of law at the university, Rushing said. Leeds, 48, took the position in 2017 on an interim basis, appointed by Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. In 2018, she was named to the position on a permanent basis and stepped away from her duties as law dean. A 13-person search committee will help find her replacement. The group includes university officials and civic leaders from Fayetteville, Little Rock and elsewhere in the state. Leeds earns a salary of $315,576 in the vice chancellor position, Rushing said.
UF Health's new autism center to reduce waiting time
A new $500,000 autism and neurodevelopment center will officially open Friday and University of Florida Health officials say it will significantly reduce the time some families spend waiting to get help. UF Health officials marked the 15,000-square-foot center's opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, the day before the facility begins accepting new patients. "This really is a one-stop shop for families to get information and services," said Carol Mathews, the center's interim director. "Rather than going to multiple places, they can get their services here." The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment offers a range of programs and caretakers, from speech-language pathologists to physical therapists. The facility includes a gym with a rock-climbing wall, swings and touch pads, and rooms for clinical/behavioral intervention research. Every inch of the hub, which accommodates children and adults, has been designed with autism and neurodiverse disabilities in mind, down to the muted brown-and-green wall paint in the waiting room.
UF study abroad programs to China canceled after coronavirus outbreak
Students whose study abroad trips to China were canceled still have a chance to travel elsewhere or get a refund. The University of Florida International Center had a meeting Friday to finalize the decision to cancel the programs because of the coronavirus outbreak, said Leonardo Villalon, the dean of the UF International Center. The formal announcement was made Monday. Students who paid a deposit for the study abroad fee will be reimbursed if they don't travel. However, the center is giving some students the opportunity to relocate their trip or find a new program, Villalon said. Jenna Waterous said she was disappointed when her study abroad trip to China was canceled. The 21-year-old UF marketing senior said she was supposed to attend a one-week global immersion experience to learn about business in Shanghai. The UF Warrington College of Business relocated her trip to Slovenia and Croatia instead.
U. of Tennessee's newest research initiative focuses on how humans and animals interact with environment
The University of Tennessee announced a new health research initiative today at the Board of Trustees meeting. The UT One Health Initiative will look at how the health of humans, animals and the environment are connected, and improving the health of all three. It will combine the research efforts of UT-Knoxville, the UT Institute of Agriculture, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the UT Health Science Center, Interim System President Randy Boyd announced on Wednesday. "We recognize that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the health of the environment," Boyd said on Tuesday. "We're all one ecosystem. The health of one affects the health of others. We want to do research around those connections and improve the health of them all." Hongwei Xin, the dean of UT AgResearch, said it will be "a holistic system approach." An immediate focus for One Health will be researching Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease that affects deer in Tennessee, Xin said. Another area of focus will be on the health of cattle, which then improves the health of humans and the surrounding environments.
UGA, Georgia Tech presidents balk at in-state early admissions quota
A bill requiring the University System of Georgia to raise the percentage of in-state students offered early admission to the state's top public universities drew opposition Thursday during a legislative committee hearing. The presidents of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech told members of the Senate Higher Education Committee the legislation is unnecessary and would lower the standards for admission to the university system's top campuses. Senate Bill 282 would require the university system's four research universities -- UGA, Georgia Tech, Augusta University and Georgia State University -- to make sure at least 90% of students offered early admission are from Georgia. "I want to keep our best and brightest kids here," said Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, the bill's chief sponsor. But University of Georgia President Jere Morehead said the 90% mandate is unnecessary because UGA already enrolls a high percentage of in-state students.
Texas A&M University System announces major development project in Houston's Texas Medical Center
The Texas A&M University System is building a half-billion dollar complex in the Texas Medical Center that will host the Engineering Medicine program, house medical and nursing students in Houston and provide retail space to the area. The development project will sit on 5.5 acres of land at 1020 Holcombe Blvd., which the System purchased in 2017. The complex will include three buildings, two of which will be constructed through public-private partnerships. The 18-story building that came with the land will be renovated for the EnMed program, while a new 19-story building will be used for housing and a 30-story one will become a medical office building. The complex will cost about $546 million, which includes $145 million for the purchase and renovation of the 18-story building and $401 million in private sector money to construct two new buildings.
U. of Missouri survey: faculty satisfaction improving
University of Missouri faculty are more satisfied, but not about everything, a survey released Thursday shows. Lack of diversity among faculty and pay remain persistent concerns. MU conducts the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education survey every three years. "It's really about our recognition that in any institution, people are the biggest asset," said Provost Latha Ramchand during a news conference. "The way people feel about where they work is critical." The best aspects of working at MU stayed the same in 2013, 2016 and 2019: Quality of Colleagues and Cost of Living. The worst aspect of working at MU also stayed the same: compensation. "Compensation does stand out" among the issues, said Joe Parcell, co-chair of the faculty survey committee. A campus climate survey in 2016 found three of five faculty members had considered changing jobs within the previous year. At that time, faculty cited low pay and a lack of institutional support for their dissatisfaction.
Middle class heavily underrepresented at top private colleges, report finds
Students with similar test scores but different household incomes attend selective colleges at different rates, according to the latest report from Opportunity Insights, a group that has published groundbreaking research on how colleges may affect students' income mobility. But the results contained some surprises. For example, middle-class students attend elite institutions at rates lower than students from the lowest income quintile. Researchers Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner and Danny Yagan looked at how the fractions of students who attend these elite colleges varies based on parental income, using only students who scored exactly 1400 on the SAT. That is the median score for students at "Ivy-plus" colleges, which includes the Ivy League, Duke University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago.
More Students Report Talking With Their Professors Outside of Class. Here's Why That Matters.
The just-released National Survey of Student Engagement celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In a look back, it has pulled out a few key trends suggesting that colleges have improved some measures of engagement. The survey was designed to better understand how undergraduates experience college, on the idea that it could help institutions improve student success. For one, the percentage of first-year students who say they have discussed career plans and other topics outside of class with their professors increased 10 percentage points from 2004 to 2019. "This suggests that by and large, faculty who teach first-year students have devoted more effort to having meaningful conversations with students outside of the classroom -- a form of engagement that helps to socialize new students, promotes their persistence, and facilitates their ongoing development," the survey notes. "It also suggests that institutions have intentionally structured orientations, career services, and support units to connect students to the resources they most need."
Renowned German professor was headed to U-Va. to teach about the rise of far-right extremism. The State Department held up his visa.
When German academic Hajo Funke received word he was selected to be a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, he hastily began preparing. He arranged documentation to apply for a visa and delivered it to the U.S. Consulate in Berlin on Nov. 18, his 75th birthday. After an interview at the consulate in December, Funke rented an apartment in Charlottesville and arranged health insurance. When the consulate returned his passport, it was accompanied not by a visa but by a letter that said a decision about his visa had been delayed for three to six months. The two classes he was set to teach -- one on far-right populism and another on political memory in Germany -- were in jeopardy. On Thursday morning, after spending weeks teaching the course over video conferencing from his home and after an appeal from U-Va. officials, Funke got an email from the consulate saying his visa had been granted. Jeffrey Grossman, the chair of Germanic languages and literatures at U-Va. who is co-teaching the classes with Funke, said students are deeply interested in both classes' topics -- far-right populism and political memory -- in part because of Charlottesville's unfortunate connection with both topics.
UCLA drops plan to use facial recognition security surveillance, but other colleges may be using technology
The University of California, Los Angeles, was the first university to openly propose using facial recognition software for security surveillance. Now it's the first to openly drop that plan. But whether other colleges are using the technology behind closed doors remains to be seen. UCLA first floated the plan last year as part of a larger policy about campus security. Students voiced concerns during a 30-day comment period in June and at a town hall on the issue in late January. Fight for the Future, a national digital rights advocacy organization, launched its own public campaign against the UCLA administration's consideration early this year, in partnership with Students for Sensible Drug Policy. "This victory at UCLA will send a pretty strong message to any other administration who is considering doing this," said Evan Greer, deputy director of the organization. "It's not going to be worth the backlash."
Managing student stress
Angela Farmer, an assistant clinical professor in Mississippi State University's Shackouls Honors College, writes: Stress is a common term used today by adults to explain the challenges they face in modern society. Sometimes it refers to a situation when too little money and too many expectations generate a negative bank balance. Other times adult stress has personal implications regarding familial dysfunction or health concerns. Regardless of the cause or socioeconomic status, there is a general empathy and understanding regarding stress in the adult world. While this is both understandable and relatable, it is critical to recognize that children also experience stress. While it may not necessarily have the same origin as adult stress, students face an environment full of stressors on a regular bases. Whether it begins with a challenging home or family situation, a difficult school setting, or any number of other causes, student stress is a very real and concerning plight to thousands of children across the nation. Some of the more frequent challenges that cause students stress include test and quiz anxiety, fear of presenting to others, social isolation, family issues, and failure to fit in with their peers.

Rickea Jackson, No. 9 Mississippi State beat Auburn 92-85 in OT
Mississippi State surged from behind after struggling most of the way, and Rickea Jackson took over in overtime. The freshman scored nine of her season-high 34 points in OT and the ninth-ranked Bulldogs rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Auburn 92-85 on Thursday night. Mississippi State (23-4, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from a loss at No. 14 Kentucky with its second straight comeback win over the Tigers (9-15, 3-10). "They came out and really punched us and punched us and punched us," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. "We really struggled for three quarters. But I told our team tonight in pregame we were going to find out something about our team."
Auburn's upset bid comes up short in overtime against No. 9 Mississippi State
This one might just sting the worst. The Auburn women's basketball team came within precious minutes of putting together a signature win, but No. 9 Mississippi State came charging back, erased a 14-point second-half Auburn lead, and then spoiled Auburn's upset bid 92-85 in overtime Thursday night in Auburn Arena. Auburn led 60-46 with 3:40 left in the third quarter, shooting sharp and wreaking havoc on defense against a top-10 team. But then the Bulldogs flexed their muscle by cutting the lead down to 62-57 going into the fourth. Early in the final frame Mississippi State completed the comeback and took the lead. Auburn clawed back to take it to overtime but Mississippi State's Rickea Jackson hit a clutch shot with less than a minute left in overtime to put Mississippi State up four at 89-85, and that margin was enough for the visitors to escape the Plains with a victory. Jackson scored 34 points.
Mississippi State pitcher JT Ginn to miss Oregon State series with arm soreness
The injury bug has hit Mississippi State pitcher JT Ginn again. The Bulldogs' sophomore ace will miss his start against Oregon State this weekend due to soreness with his throwing arm, MSU head coach Chris Lemonis confirmed Thursday afternoon. Lemonis said Ginn's status beyond the weekend is unknown. Lemonis said Ginn tried to "get started" in the bullpen on Tuesday but he didn't feel good, so he never threw. "That's when we began backpedaling a little bit, getting him doctors and things like that but he really didn't get a chance to throw his bullpen," Lemonis said. Ginn was plagued by soreness in his right arm during the latter half of last season. He only managed to get through an inning against Tennessee on April 7, and his arm wasn't fully healthy from that point forward. Graduate right-hander Carlisle Koestler will start on Friday.
Mississippi State baseball notebook: JT Ginn out with arm soreness, won't pitch against Oregon State
In a blow to the Mississippi State baseball team's talented pitching rotation, sophomore right-hander JT Ginn is experiencing arm soreness and will not pitch in this weekend's series against Oregon State in Starkville. Head coach Chris Lemonis confirmed the news during Thursday's media availability session after's Kiley McDaniel reported Wednesday night that Ginn was out indefinitely with arm soreness. Lemonis said that Ginn, last season's National Freshman of the Year, felt pain as he warmed up for a scheduled bullpen session Tuesday and never threw. Redshirt freshman Christian MacLeod and sophomore Eric Cerantola will hold onto the Saturday and Sunday slots, respectively. Graduate right-hander Carlisle Koestler, who gave up three runs on five hits in two innings Friday against Wright State, will fill Ginn's spot for now. First pitches are at 1 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.
Mississippi State softball beats Oregon State, falls to Oregon in Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
On Thursday in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California, the Mississippi State softball team lost its first game against a ranked opponent this season. The Bulldogs (10-2), who entered the USA Softball/ rankings at No. 24 earlier in the week, shut out unranked Oregon State 1-0 in their first game Thursday but fell 7-2 to No. 15/17 Oregon in their second contest of the day. A fifth-run fourth inning for the Ducks (11-0) doomed the Bulldogs in Thursday's second contest, as a 2-1 Mississippi State lead quickly turned into a 6-2 Oregon advantage. n the first game of the day, a 1-0 win over Oregon State (8-3), Chloe Malau'ulu hit a home run that stood as the contest's only score. Malau'ulu, a sophomore from Long Beach, California, took Mariah Mazon deep in the top of the fourth inning; it was all Mississippi State needed. The Bulldogs will face UC Riverside at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
As recruiting expenses jump, UGA athletics eyes owning a plane again
Just weeks before much of last season's No. 2 ranked football recruiting class signed with Georgia, an airplane that Bulldog coaches had used for trips to make their pitch to prospects was sold. Shepherd Aviation of Texas purchased the seven-seat King Air plane for $1.4 million from the Georgia Athletic Association on Nov. 23, 2018, according to the school. Georgia turned to charter services earlier that year instead for travel for coaches and administrators as well as road travel for some non-revenue teams instead of spending more than $700,000 on maintenance, service contracts and fuel for its airplane. Now, it might get back into having its own airplane. "I expect to get with the president next month to talk about opportunities," athletic director Greg McGarity said this week. Georgia had owned its plane since 2006 when it bought it used. It now charters aircraft out of Atlanta.

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