Tuesday, July 7, 2020   
Mississippi State University revises fall academic calendar
Mississippi State University announced a revised fall academic calendar, with health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic in mind. Considering the potential effect of a late fall peak of the coronavirus, the restructured calendar has students beginning classes on Aug. 17 with commencement set for Nov. 25 in Starkville and Dec. 1 at MSU-Meridian, the university announced in a news release. The fall calendar substitutes fall break, Oct. 8-9, with class days and class days, Nov. 23-24, with final exam days, the university announced. The university, also, is establishing additional health protocols and enhancing campus operations that follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local public health officials and university COVID-19 task forces that include administration, faculty, staff and students.
Masks now required in Oktibbeha County
All visitors to Oktibbeha County-owned buildings, as well as churches and social gatherings outside the Starkville city limits, must wear protective face coverings in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the board of supervisors voted 4-0 at Monday's meeting. District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller was absent, but the remaining four supervisors agreed that requiring masks is in the public's best interest as confirmed cases of the virus have been on the rise in the Golden Triangle and the state over the past few weeks. On Sunday, 357 new cases and three new deaths were reported to Mississippi State Department of Health. Overall, there have been more than 31,257 confirmed cases and 1,114 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began. Starkville aldermen will consider a similar ordinance at tonight's meeting for businesses and gatherings within the city limits. The mask requirement went into effect this morning and will last until at least the supervisors' next meeting on July 20. District 1 Supervisor and Board President John Montgomery said the board will reconsider the ordinance at each subsequent meeting depending on public health data.
New SFD rating to lower home, business insurance premiums
As of this month, Starkville Fire Department officially boasts a Class 3 rating from Mississippi State Rating Bureau, Chief Charles Yarbrough announced at a ceremony at Fire Station 1 Monday. The Mississippi State Rating Bureau rates departments on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the best and 10 the worst. SFD's new rating puts it in a class with only five other departments in the state, including Columbus Fire and Rescue, which earned a Class 3 rating in 2018. "I am proud (of) the commitment to ongoing improvement at Starkville Fire Department," said Yarbrough, who made a Class 3 rating one of his goals for the department when he became chief in 2015. "The staff that make up this department care deeply about their work to improve the lives of the people of the city of Starkville. ... This improved rating validates the excellent service provided." Other departments, such as Starkville Utilities and Oktibbeha County E-911 had to make their own improvements to help lower the city's rating. "It all came together for a Class 3 rating," Yarbrough said.
Black organizers plan to address divisions within their community
Despite the turnout of a few thousand people at Starkville's racial justice protest on June 6, Eric Chandler said many Black residents of the city did not attend the protest and did not feel their goals and interests were represented. Chandler, who said he does not belong to any community groups, organized an event called "Liberate with Love" that drew more than 30 Black locals to Moncrief Park on Friday to discuss the pursuit of racial justice. The event included two speakers from the Mississippi chapters of Black-run nationwide groups that take a militant approach to fighting anti-Black racism, including the Black Panthers and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club. Chandler and the two speakers at the event -- Commander Vashaun Ferguson of the Black Panthers and Commander Marcus Hunt of the Newton Gun Club -- all said the top priority for Black people should be repairing divisions between them. Ferguson and Hunt both added their organizations believe Black people should openly carry firearms and know how to use them so they do not shoot each other.
Greenville native to lead USDA Rural Development in Mississippi
Greenville native John G. Campbell has been appointed the new State Director for USDA Rural Development in Mississippi. U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) recommended Campbell, who is a senior policy aide in Hyde-Smith's Washington office, for the position. Campbell assumes State Director responsibilities on July 6, replacing John Rounsaville. Campbell has almost 15 years of experience in the agricultural and rural setting, including roles in Mississippi and the nation's capital. He joined the staff of Hyde-Smith in 2018, handling a wide range of legislative and policy areas, including economic development, energy, telecommunications and agriculture. He previously worked 12 years with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce where he held several positions, including State Entomologist, Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry, and Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. Campbell earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University in 2001.
Two Mississippi Museums reopen after 4 months
After being closed for nearly four months due to the pandemic, the Two Mississippi Museums are reopening to the public Tuesday. Both the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are opening again after shutting down in March. Employees were able to return to work last month to prepare a new prohibition exhibit for the reopening. All public spaces in the museums have been sanitized. Masks are required inside the museum. If you don't have a mask, one will be provided. Staff will also make sure people are social distancing inside the museum. A new exhibit for the former state flag, retired last week, will not be open for a few weeks.
Mississippi Aquarium nearly complete and ready for marine life
The COVID-19 pandemic and construction delays put the April opening of the Mississippi Aquarium on hold but construction effort has picked up in recent months and the $90 million facility is close to opening its doors. The water is in all the tanks, the systems have been checked and animals will soon be introduced into their new environment. "The water in our systems are starting to cycle and that means it's getting acclimated so the species can live in the water," explained Mississippi Aquarium CEO Kurt Allen. "It's a long process to grow what we call biologicals. You want good biologicals in the water so you can sustain the life you put in it. We should be able to start loading our species very slowly within the next 10 to 12 days. If everything goes according to plan, we should be able to start loading the animals as early as next week."
Gov. Tate Reeves blames media, protesters for rise in COVID cases in Facebook Live
Gov. Reeves took to Facebook Monday afternoon to slam the media and protesters for the rising number of coronavirus cases in Mississippi without citing evidence for his assertions aside from "common sense" and references to "cable news." After months of steadily increasing case counts in Mississippi, coronavirus cases in the state have been spiking in recent weeks -- and the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients hit a new high Monday. While some cities and states in the South are taking action and now requiring masks in public, Reeves criticized the media with little discussion of policy. According to Reeves, the spike can be largely explained by two factors. Large outdoor protests for Black Lives Matter in early June spread COVID; meanwhile, the media stopped covering coronavirus, which led Mississippians to believe it was a hoax and "put their guard down." Reeves cited no evidence to support his claims.
Mississippi governor blames 'liberal media' for not linking coronavirus surge to protests
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Monday accused the "liberal media" of blaming increasing coronavirus cases on family gatherings rather than protests, despite data indicating no spikes in the cities that saw the largest demonstrations. "Liberal media is trying to claim the increase of Coronavirus was just caused by family BBQ's on Memorial Day," Reeves tweeted. "They completely ignore the fact that our uptick (and other states) began within days of massive protests all over -- which they celebrated." While coronavirus numbers nationwide have skyrocketed in recent weeks, cases have not spiked in the cities that saw the biggest protests after the police killing of George Floyd, including Minneapolis, New York and Washington, D.C. While all 50 states have seen protests, in settings ranging from small towns to major cities, cases are currently surging in a group of Southern and Western states in particular. Public health officials say no link has emerged between protests and coronavirus outbreaks and have blamed the reopening of indoor venues -- particularly bars -- and socializing by young people.
MSDH: 'No evidence' protests caused spike in Mississippi's COVID-19 cases
Gov. Tate Reeves continues to stand behind his claim over the weekend that recent increases in coronavirus cases here are tied to protests that happened here, and he says the same is true nationally as well. However, his own state health department says there is no evidence to support that claim in the Magnolia State. Reeves clarified on Monday his recent social media posts criticized national media for their coverage of COVID-19 and recent protests -- not local news outlets -- even though Sunday's post specifically referenced Mississippi. The governor did not, however, roll back his claim blaming protests for a spike in coronavirus cases, when he said that reporters "completely ignore the fact that our uptick (and other states) began within days of massive protests all over." Mississippi's state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, debunked this claim days before the governor's tweet. "We don't have any evidence to that effect. Our investigations have not revealed any specific links to protests," Dobbs said July 1 at a press conference with Reeves in attendance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warns US is 'knee-deep' in first wave of coronavirus cases and prognosis is 'really not good'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday that the United States' handle on the coronavirus outbreak is "really not good" and that action is needed to curb the spread. In an interview via Facebook Live, the nation's top infectious disease expert said, "We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this. And I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline." New cases in the U.S. have reached record highs, climbing to around 50,000 a day. Nearly 3 million Americans have contracted the virus, with more than 130,000 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University. Fauci, speaking online with the National Institutes of Health, linked some of the surge in new cases to some cities and states who may have reopened too quickly.
Gov. Tate Reeves tests negative for COVID-19 after scare
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has tested negative for the coronavirus, a day after announcing he was going into isolation after being in contact with a lawmaker who tested positive. "My girls and I tested negative for COVID-19," Reeves tweeted Tuesday morning. "Limited contact with the people who were diagnosed, but better safe than sorry! If someone you know gets the virus, get a test!" Reeves has not identified the lawmaker who he came into contact with who tested positive. During a Facebook Live video Monday afternoon, Reeves said a "large number" of legislators have tested positive for the virus. The Mississippi Department of Health has not released more information. Reeves said he came into contact with an individual who has tested positive "briefly" last week. The governor was visibly in close contact last week with House Speaker Philip Gunn during the signing of a bill that removed the Confederate emblem from Mississippi's state flag. Gunn announced Sunday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
More representatives from South Mississippi test positive for COVID-19
At least two state representatives from South Mississippi have tested positive for coronavirus. Among those who were concerned they may also have the virus were Gov. Reeves. However, the governor tweeted Tuesday morning that tests for him and his family came back negative for COVID-19. Reeves chose to get tested after having limited contact with some state legislators who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Included among the Coast representatives who have tested positive are Rep. Manly Barton of Moss Point and Rep. Greg Haney of Gulfport. Haney, 60, confirmed Tuesday morning that he tested positive for the virus and does not have any symptoms. Barton, who is 71 years old, confirmed that he tested positive on Monday, noting that he has been coughing a lot.
Other than the flag, what did Mississippi lawmakers get done this year?
Medical marijuana and prohibition. Abortion issues and a Jim Crow-era election system. A $1.2 billion battle between lawmakers and the governor. The 2020 Mississippi legislative session had plenty of intrigue even before lawmakers passed a bill to change the state flag. They left the Capitol last week with no firm date of return, but they must return at some point soon -- to hash out a budget disagreement, and possibly to address coronavirus funding. So what did lawmakers get done between January and July? For one, they passed leaner budgets for most agencies just as the new fiscal year began last week. The cuts won't be as bad as some feared, but many state agencies are staring down trims of around 5%. Lawmakers also divvied up about $1.2 billion in federal CARES Act funding for virus relief.
Coronavirus outbreak leaves Legislature's plans in limbo
The Mississippi House, reeling from its presiding officer, Speaker Philip Gunn, and multiple other members testing positive for the coronavirus over the weekend, sent most of its staff home Monday for two weeks. The House clerk's office will remain open to accept Gov. Tate Reeves' signings or vetoes of the dozens of bills passed by the Legislature last week, according to people familiar with the operations of the House. A spokesperson confirmed at least one person on the Senate staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Senate is following the recommendations of the Health Department concerning with COVID-19. It was not clear Monday how or when the Legislature will address the budget for the Department of Marine Research, which is a regulatory and law enforcement agency on the Gulf Coast. The Legislature left last Thursday after funding all of state government for the new fiscal year that began on July 1 except for Marine Resources. There was a dispute over the $50 million the agency receives from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. House leaders said the Legislature should have more oversight of the funds.
Vaping age and penalties increase under bill awaiting governor's signature
If the governor signs the legislation, Mississippi will increased the age to 21 to buy tobacco and vaping products and penalties will increase for selling to minors. In addition to penalties for sellers, minors will face penalties for possessing and use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Senate Bill 2596 conforms Mississippi law to new federal law to purchase tobacco and vaping products. Mississippi law currently prohibits use and sales of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products to anyone under 18. If Gov. Tate Reeves signs SB 2596, the measure will increase the age to 21 to possess and purchase the vaping products. The bill is due from Reeves on Wednesday. He hasn't indicated whether he will sign it. For anyone selling or providing alternative nicotine products, the penalty increases from $250 for a first offense up to $1,000 for a third and subsequent offense.The maximum penalty is currently a $100 fine for a third or subsequent offense. Rhonda Shirley, Government Relations director of The Partnership for A Healthy Mississippi, said the legislation is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
Cap on direct sales at craft breweries removed by new law
Buying a six pack of beer directly from one of Mississippi's craft breweries just got a lot easier after Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill into law. Senate Bill 2552 will remove the prohibition on the amount of beer that can be sold directly to consumers at craft breweries. Right now, brewers are limited to selling either 10 percent of the beer produced there or 1,500 barrels, whichever is the lesser amount. The new law, which is now in effect after being signed by Reeves on June 23, eliminates this sales cap. Under present regulations, brewers have to sell their wares to the public through a wholesale distributor unless those sales were conducted to those visiting their brewery. Once a brewery exceeded the cap, it could no longer sell beer to visitors at the brewery. Two years have passed since Mississippi legislators passed a law that allowed craft brewers the ability to sell their products to visitors to their breweries. The state has 14 craft breweries and brewpubs at present, but several have ceased operating such as Lucky Town (Jackson) and Slowboat (Hattiesburg).
Lowndes supervisors vote to move Confederate monument to Friendship Cemetery
The Confederate Monument that has sat outside Lowndes County Courthouse for more than a century is moving to Friendship Cemetery. Lowndes County supervisors voted unanimously Monday to relocate the monument to the cemetery where both Confederate and Union soldiers are buried. The vote came three weeks after supervisors voted 3-2 in June to leave it where it is. During those weeks, Lowndes County witnessed multiple protests calling for an end to systemic racism against African Americans, which were partly spurred by District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders' comments to a reporter that Black people had remained "dependent" in society since the end of slavery. Between the two votes on the Lowndes monument, the Legislature voted to remove the Mississippi flag, which for 126 years has included the Confederate battle emblem in its upper left corner. Sanders, who made the racist comments while he was explaining his June vote to leave the monument in place, told The Dispatch Monday he now no longer has a problem with relocating it. Trip Hairston of District 2 and John Holliman of District 3 on Monday also changed their original votes on whether to relocate the monument.
Lafayette County supervisors reject proposal to relocate Confederate monument
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors on Monday evening unanimously voted to reject a proposal to relocate the Confederate monument that prominently stands in the middle of the Oxford Square to another location of county-owned property. The board, composed of all white men, was not initially scheduled to vote on relocating the monument. However, the board amended its agenda at the beginning of the meeting to include voting on the monument proposal. Several board members said they did not believe that relocating the monument would cause genuine unity in the county and community. The vote comes after the county officials allowed Lafayette County residents on June 22 to voice their opinion for relocating the monument and keeping the monument in its current place. One of the people who spoke in favor of relocating the monument was Don Cole, a former administrator at the University of Mississippi. Cole told the Daily Journal on Monday evening that the board's vote was a mistake and he believes that "history will prove them to be on the wrong side and this particular battle will continue."
Bolivar County will remove its Confederate monument
The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors has voted to remove the Confederate monument in front of the Cleveland courthouse. Supervisor Jacorius Liner made the motion to remove it; no supervisors voted against the motion. At their last meeting, the board authorized attorney Ellis Turnage to look into the legality of removing the monument. Turnage informed the board of state law at their regular Monday meeting -- that for a Confederate monument to be moved it must be placed in a suitable location such as a cemetery or historical Civil War site. No decisions have yet been made by the board as to where the statue will go, when, or how much it will cost. "Our responsibility today is not to find a suitable place [for the monument to go], but to make a decision to have it removed and then we can begin to have those discussions with the appropriate entities across the state later," Liner said.
County residents ask Lee County supervisors to relocate Confederate monument
A group of around 15 people gathered in the downtown area on Monday morning to ask the Lee County Board of Supervisors to relocate a Confederate monument that currently stands on the grounds of the Lee County Courthouse. Leah Davis, a native of Tupelo, is leading the effort to relocate the monument. She addressed the board at its regular meeting where she asked the five-member group to "imagine a future for our community so that we can truly move forward." "We have to reveal a more honest history, and not the romanticized version that's inscribed on the Confederate monument," Davis said. "We need to acknowledge that 100 years ago, Lee County was entrenched in the painful parts of Mississippi. We must acknowledge that this decision echoes our community today." A majority of the board told the Daily Journal that they would be opposed to relocating the monument. District 4 Supervisor Tommie Lee Ivy, the only Black supervisor on the board, told the Journal he would like to see the monument relocated to a more appropriate place.
Rooting for and rooting out the Confederate mascot in small town Mississippi
Graduating senior Teri Shellman was one of few Black students at her school in the small, rural northeast Mississippi town of Caledonia. She arrived there in third grade after the U.S. Air Force stationed her father at the base in nearby Columbus. Shellman and her classmates were the "Confederates" -- the public school's current nickname and the name of the Southern army that fought to preserve slavery in the 1860s. She said she never learned that fact about the Confederacy in her history classes, at her school located on Confederate Drive, but she does remember when her parents refused to purchase the band's T-shirt for her in middle school. Following protests against Confederate imagery across the country, a group of parents are now petitioning the Lowndes County School District to change the mascot. Caledonia -- a town of about 1,400, where nearly nine in ten people are white -- is home to the better-ranked schools parents have flocked to in recent decades as the quality of the majority-Black Columbus Municipal School District declined. Efforts to change the nickname, which began with conversations among the military families, have riled some locals, who made their opposition known through crass comments on a neighborhood Facebook page.
Republicans in danger of losing huge portion of their women senators
Senate Republicans could lose nearly half of the women currently in their caucus come November after recently making painstaking gains -- the latest potential blow to the party in the Trump era. Out of nine Senate GOP women serving, four face highly competitive races this year in Arizona, Maine, Georgia and Iowa. It's a dynamic that exists in part because Republicans have had some success in chipping away at the gender gap in Congress: the Senate GOP currently has an all-time high of women after nearly doubling the number of women in its conference since 2016. House Republicans have also enhanced their recruitment efforts after seeing their ranks shrink in 2018. Republicans citing progress highlight the recent appointments of three who are up in 2020: Sens. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, Martha McSally of Arizona and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi. They also note that former Rep. Cynthia Lummis is on track to replace retiring Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Even some Democrats privately acknowledge the effort Republicans have made recently. But the push could stall this year as Trump's poor polling threatens to pull the GOP's Senate majority down with him.
U.N. Predicts Rise In Diseases That Jump From Animals To Humans Due To Habitat Loss
A new United Nations report warns that more diseases that pass from animals to humans, such as COVID-19, are likely to emerge as habitats are ravaged by wildlife exploitation, unsustainable farming practices and climate change. These pathogens, known as zoonotic diseases, also include Ebola, MERS, HIV/AIDS and West Nile virus. They have increasingly emerged because of stresses humans have placed on animal habitats, according to the U.N. Environment Program report Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, released on Monday. The new report recommends that governments adopt a coordinated "One Health" approach pulling together public health, veterinary and environmental experts to combat these outbreaks of zoonotic diseases. "To prevent future outbreaks, countries need to conserve wild habitats, promote sustainable agriculture, strengthen food safety standards, monitor and regulate food markets, invest in technology to identify risks, and curb the illegal trade in wildlife," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said.
East Mississippi Community College names James Rush VP of instruction
Longtime East Mississippi Community College employee Dr. James L. Rush has been named the college's vice president of instruction. "James is a thoughtful leader who is committed to providing faculty the support they need to ensure the education our students receive is second to none," EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. "He is an asset to EMCC and I can't be more pleased to announce his promotion to this key position." Rush, who assumed the position July 1, has served as interim vice president of instruction since December of 2019. After graduating from EMCC, Rush earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a focus in Management from the University of West Alabama. He also earned a Master of Science at UWA in Counseling/Psychology, with 18 additional credit hours in Education. In May of this year, Rush was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Back-to-school looms for kids without Wi-Fi -- and Congress
About 12 million children in the United States lack high-speed internet access at home, according to the Joint Economic Committee. That means many students are unable to attend classes conducted virtually. A survey of 849 students conducted in March and April by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media found that nearly half of teenagers had not participated in online learning. Federal regulators and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have sought to address the problem. Congress provided $31 billion for education in the initial coronavirus relief package, including online learning grants and $13 billion for elementary schools. But with the start of the school year looming, the clock is ticking for many school districts that have scrambled without additional help from the government. The decision to reopen school buildings in September has been made more difficult because of uncertainty surrounding a possible second wave of the coronavirus.
Campus Rec at Auburn reopens today with new safety measures
Auburn University's Recreation and Wellness Center is reopening this morning with new policies in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Campus Recreation posted its guidelines on Friday for students and members to follow inside the building in light of the reopening. Members are asked to wear face masks and face coverings while moving about the common areas of the facility in accordance with other University facilities, according to the guidelines. Because increased oxygen intake is normal and necessary for high-intensity exercise, the facility does not suggest face coverings to be worn during such workouts. "Some masks are suitable for physical activity," Campus Recreation said. "Members choosing to wear a mask and exercise should 'listen to their bodies' and reduce intensity as necessary." Only two people will be allowed in an elevator at one time, and Campus Rec members are asked to take the stairs if possible.
Reversing course, University System of Georgia will require masks on campus
The University of Georgia and other Georgia public colleges will require everyone on campus to wear face masks beginning July 15. The university system announced the new rule on its Twitter account Monday evening, along with other, stronger health protective measures system administrators say schools must implement when, they hope, in-person classes can resume in August. Those who don't obey face university disciplinary proceedings. The changes come in the wake of a mounting rebellion against the system's reopening plan, seen by many as out of touch with public health guidance, a lack of concern for workers and not in step with other comparable universities and university systems. One leading critic welcomed the changes, with some skepticism and reservations. "This news is a big relief for the University System of Georgia. Can anyone tell me if the opening line is true?" asked UGA psychology professor Janet Frick in a Tweet, referring to the CDC. "Again, I'm not cheering. This is the bare minimum and it took too long."
U. of Florida begins COVID-19 screening and testing for students
After spikes in COVID-19 cases caused the University of Florida to postpone releasing its Fall schedule of classes, the university has begun to prepare students for their return to campus. Students who are registered for classes in Fall began receiving emails Monday from UF Vice President for Student Affairs D'Andra Mull with instructions on how to get screened and tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus. All students must undergo screenings by the start of Fall, according to UF spokesperson Steve Orlando. Testing is optional. The screening is part of UF's Screen, Test & Protect program, an initiative from UF's reopening plan for the upcoming Fall semester. The program requires all students and faculty to complete a survey that determines COVID-19 risk factors, to ensure the number of infections stays as low as possible. The contents of the survey or the types of questions it will entail are not clear.
Provost: Texas A&M still finalizing plans for fall semester
Plans for teaching classes and other issues facing Texas A&M University in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are being finalized. Classes in sports facilities, longer passing periods and later schedules are a few of the changes Texas A&M University will implement this fall as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Making these plans and implementing the adjustments is a major part of Provost and Executive Vice President Carol Fierke's job after university President Michael K. Young appointed her last week to lead the school's response to the novel coronavirus. The idea of welcoming students back on campus is exciting but simultaneously concerning, she said. Administrators are making efforts to preserve what it's like to be in college -- with everything from in-person classes to extracurriculars -- while keeping everyone as safe as possible, she said. She said the worst-case scenario in her eyes includes having to return to completely remote courses as in the spring.
Jackie Lewis named new U. of Missouri vice chancellor for advancement
Jackie Lewis will start as the new vice chancellor for advancement at the University of Missouri on Aug. 12. University of Missouri System president and MU interim chancellor Mun Choi announced the appointment on Monday. Lewis, the vice president of university relations at the University of Maryland, College Park, leads a team of 300 professionals and executed the university's $1.5 billion campaign, which has raised $1.3 billion so far. "Jackie brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience that I believe will take MU's office of advancement to the next level," Choi stated in a news release. "She is a proven leader of securing support for a public university, even in the midst of challenging times. We are excited to welcome her to MU." She replaces Tom Hiles, who announced his retirement last August and led "Mizzou: Our Time to Lead," a campaign that surpassed its $1.3 billion goal to support and advance the educational and research goals of MU. Lewis will oversee 180 employees, including 62 major gift officers.
Department of Homeland Security rule bans international students from online-only instruction models this fall
New guidance for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has stoked anger and confusion from students, faculty and immigration advocates. The new temporary final rule, issued Monday afternoon, prohibits international students from returning to or remaining in the United States this fall if the colleges they attend adopt online-only instruction models amid the pandemic. This is a shift away from the exceptions put in place during the spring and summer terms, which allowed international students residing in the U.S. to take a fully online course load as colleges transitioned to online instruction in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 90 percent of international students chose to remain stateside in the spring, according to a survey by the Institute for International Education. Should the pandemic worsen, the new rule would not allow such flexibility for those students. Sarah Spreitzer, director of government relations at the American Council on Education, said she expects many institutions to try to work around the guidance, and for more colleges to consider hybrid online and in-person instruction models as a result.
Colleges Plan to Reopen Campuses, but for Just Some Students at a Time
With the coronavirus still raging and the fall semester approaching, colleges and universities are telling large segments of their student populations to stay home. Those who are allowed on campus, they say, will be living in a world where parties are banned, where everyone is frequently tested for the coronavirus and -- perhaps most draconian of all -- where students attend many if not all their courses remotely, from their dorm rooms. In order to achieve social distancing, many colleges are saying they will allow only 40 to 60 percent of their students to return to campus and live in the college residence halls at any one time, often divided by class year. Professors, students and parents all seem to be conflicted over how these plans will work out. College administrators say they are in a bind and doing the best they can to bring students back to campus to get at least some of the social and academic benefits of being surrounded by their peers. Cornell University is bucking the trend and allowing all its students back to campus, with a mixture of in-person and online instruction. Cornell said it based its decision on an analysis that found that conducting a semester entirely remotely could result in far more students becoming infected -- up to 10 times as many -- compared with reopening the campus.
Cornell president: In-person fall classes will be safer for our students than all virtual semester
Cornell University President Martha Pollack told CNBC on Thursday that holding in-person classes this fall during the coronavirus pandemic is safer for her school's students than opting for all virtual instruction. "If we are having residential instruction, we can mandate testing, and tracing and isolation, on a very aggressive regular basis," Pollack said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "We will be much less able to do that with students who are online and just happen to be living in Ithaca, as opposed to Chicago or Atlanta or wherever." Cornell is the latest university to announce its plans for the fall, following upheaval to spring semesters across the U.S. as the Covid-19 outbreak prompted a switch to remote instruction. Decisions about the fall have implications for students and staff, as well as for the financial outlook for schools and the communities they are in. Pollack stressed on CNBC that Cornell's decision to reopen its Ithaca campus -- while still holding a hybrid mix of in-person and online classes -- was best for the university, based on many students' intentions to return to the town anyway.
An optimist takes the helm at the National Science Foundation
The new director of the National Science Foundation, Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, is familiar with the dark clouds over the agency. His boss, President Donald Trump, keeps proposing big cuts to NSF's budget. Two recent executive orders on immigration make it harder for foreign scientists -- who make up a sizeable share of the U.S. research enterprise -- to enter the country. In Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike have lambasted NSF and other research agencies for not doing more to stop the Chinese government from stealing federally funded technology. New cases of sexual harassment within the academic research community that NSF funds seem to pop up weekly, and the growing national debate over racial inequities has highlighted the chronic underrepresentation of minorities and women in science. But those problems are no match for his relentless optimism, expressed in his first public interview since taking office on 23 June. Speaking remotely with Science last week in advance of his move to the Washington, D.C., area, the Indian-born computer scientist was unabashedly upbeat about the future of U.S. academic research -- where he has spent most of his career -- and about NSF's role in supporting that community.
Former Gov. Phil Bryant set stage for faith to supplant battle flag
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: The Mississippi Legislature plowed new ground last week when members heroically voted to banish the Confederate battle flag from the state flag, uprooting a long-time symbolic vestige of our segregationist past. The unexpected success resulted from a rare convergence of liberal, conservative, business, and religious groups who provided resources, strategic messaging, and influencers to get the job done. Think about it. Just getting to consider the bill to replace the flag took a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules in the Mississippi House and Senate where conservative Republicans hold super-majorities. The key votes were 84 to 35 in the House and 36 to 14 in the Senate. The actual bill to change the flag passed 91 to 23 and 37 to 14. It also took those two-thirds majority votes to get a reluctant Gov. Tate Reeves to agree to withhold a veto. Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, who called for a flag change in 2015 and authored the final bill, and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann played key roles. Other leaders and organizations outside government stepped up. Then, there was former Gov. Phil Bryant who set the stage for this momentous success.

Virtual Road Dawgs Tour Begins July 7
Mississippi State Athletics will host a five-episode Virtual Road Dawgs Tour presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance. The tour will feature virtual roundtable discussions with "Voice of the Bulldogs" Neil Price, MSU head coaches and Director of Athletics John Cohen. The first episode is scheduled for July 7 with a lineup including head football coach Mike Leach, head softball coach Samantha Ricketts and head track and field coach Chris Woods. Fans will be able to log on to the official Mississippi State Athletics Facebook (Facebook.com/HailState) and Twitter (Twitter.com/HailState) pages to take part in the virtual tour with streams for each episode beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Concerned Power 5 leaders remain in wait-and-see mode about on-time start for college football
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb throughout the country, the level of concern among college football's decision-makers has risen, too, but the Power 5 conference leaders have told ESPN they still aren't ready to make any major changes to the sport's calendar, instead targeting the end of July to determine if the season can start on time. "We said from the onset of this pandemic that circumstances around the virus would guide our decision-making, and it is clear recent developments related to COVID-19 have not been trending in the right direction," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement provided Monday to ESPN. "There are important decisions to be made in the coming weeks, and by late July there should be more clarity about the fall season. In the meantime, our athletics programs will continue to effectively manage the health and safety of our student-athletes as they continue voluntary activities on their respective campuses."
The Ivy League Might Take a Pass on Football This Fall
The Ivy League hasn't produced a national football champion since 1927, but the small eight-team conference sometimes serves as a bellwether for the giants of college sports. Which is why everyone is bracing for the prospect that the Ivy League is going to take a pass on football this fall. Officials from the Ivy League will announce on Wednesday the status of athletics for the 2020-21 academic year. The best-case scenario is that fall sports will shift their competitions to the spring of 2021. At worst, fall sports will be called off with no chance for seniors to recoup their lost year of eligibility. While the conference may not produce champions at the clip it did in the early 20th century, it often sits on the leading edge of reform and action within college sports. Back in March, the Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its men's and women's basketball tournaments. Within 48 hours, college sports in America were called off entirely. A telling indicator of what will happen to Ivy League football is the fact that not all students at most member institutions will be allowed to return to campus in the fall.
Project Identifies Athletic Facilities Named After Figures With Racist Pasts
At least 19 Division I basketball and football facilities on college campuses honor former administrators, coaches and donors who exhibited racist behavior, some directed specifically at Black college athletes, according to a new study project by sports administration and management faculty members published in the Journal of Sport Management. The project, conducted by faculty members at Ball State University, Western Carolina University, the University of Louisville, the University of Florida and Texas A&M University, analyzed facilities at institutions that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top division for college football. The list of athletic facilities includes notable football stadiums and basketball arenas, including the Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Kyle Field at Texas A&M, according to the project. Edwin Jackson Kyle was the son of a captain in the Confederate army, the project report said. The Georgia Tech coliseum and the football stadium at the University of Tennessee, Neyland Stadium, are named for former coaches who refused to compete against college teams with Black players. Robert Neyland, who was Tennessee's football coach and an administrator until 1962, also "verbally abused" a Black student for attempting to try out for the basketball team, the project report said.
As schools ponder cutting sports, tennis proves vulnerable
The promise of college tennis lured Abhimanyu Vannemreddy from his home in India to the United States, where he settled in at Winthrop in South Carolina. Now he's pondering his future thousands of miles away from his family as financial reality crashes down on his sport. Winthrop announced last month that both its men's and women's tennis programs will be dropped because of budget woes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Tennis has been hit hardest among college programs as athletic departments nationwide ponder cutting sports to save money. "I was definitely caught by surprise," Vannemreddy said. "No prior warning or rumor about the program shutting down. It was just a random call one day and just found out it's done." Dozens of college tennis players across the country are in similar situations. Men's and women's tennis are the only sports dropped by more than four Division I schools since the start of the pandemic, according to AP research.
NCAA will ask Supreme Court to take case about benefits that college athletes can receive
The NCAA on Monday said it will ask the Supreme Court to take up a case in which a district judge and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled that the NCAA cannot have association-wide limits on education-related benefits that college athletes can receive. The NCAA, along with its 11 major-conference co-defendants, made the disclosure in a filing that asks the 9th Circuit to stay an injunction issued in March 2019 by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken. Wilken's injunction is set to take effect soon after the 9th Circuit formally mandates that it go forward, a step that is scheduled Wednesday. While Monday's filing is not the NCAA's formal petition to the high court -- that will not be due until Oct. 15 -- it provides the contours of the association's arguments for why the justices should hear the case and overturn the decisions made so far. The NCAA contends that the 9th Circuit's decision conflicts with decisions of the Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts and deals with "an important question of law."

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