Nov 262014


By Nathan Summers
November 26, 2014

At the periphery of the hoopla surrounding East Carolina’s Justin Hardy setting the NCAA record for career receptions last weekend, another, lesser appreciated phenomenon was at play.

As Hardy added to his ECU legend with not only a record-setting 350th catch against Tulane but also his sixth 100-yard outing of the season, the give-and-take between the senior centerpiece and the large cast of fellow receivers around him continued to produce remarkable team results.

Like never before, Hardy was the center of attention for a Green Wave defense that tried to wash over him with double coverage, especially as he approached the record in the first half. No one wearing black-and-purple jerseys minded, as the record was inevitable and in the meantime it left great mismatches elsewhere on the field.

That’s become a common occurrence for ECU the last few seasons.

“It’s been deep all season,” senior quarterback Shane Carden said of his supporting cast. “I talked in the preseason this year about the guys around Hardy, and really all of our athletes in total, running backs included. If they try to focus too much on Hardy, there’s going to be a lot of good guys open.

“(Tulane) kind of started doing that there in the first quarter after his first couple catches,” Carden said of the Pirates’ 34-6 victory. “They were putting a lot of pressure on him, focusing on him and that left a lot of good guys open for us to move the ball. The next three games, that doesn’t change.”

This season, 1,106 of Carden’s 3,574 pass yards and 89 of his 294 completed passes have landed in Hardy’s hands. That means roughly 70 percent of Carden’s completions have gone elsewhere.

One of the principal beneficiaries of that trend is senior outside X receiver Cam Worthy, who turned in his fourth 100-yard performance of the season and the third in his last four games against Tulane.

“You can’t double-cover the whole team,” said Worthy, who lit up Virginia Tech for a career-best 224 yards in a win at VT early in the season. “You make a mistake when you leave one man (open) on our team, and not just me. It could be Davon (Grayson), Jimmy (Williams), Isaiah (Jones). You leave one of us in one-on-one, we feel like we can make that play.”
Neon Breon

With 808 rush yards through 10 games and three more left to play, senior tailback Breon Allen knows a certain magic number is looming.

Although he won’t allow himself to get caught up in thinking too much about his chances at a 1,000-yard season, Allen is well aware that he could become the third consecutive ECU rusher to reach the milestone. Fellow junior college transfer Vintavious Cooper did it each of the last two seasons.

“I try not to get too hyped into it, but of course that’s a personal goal of mine, especially in this offense,” said Allen, who has produced a trio of 100-yard games this season, including a career-high 211 against North Carolina on Sept. 20. “I want to keep carrying the torch how Vintavious Cooper ran for two 1,000-yard seasons. I know one of the younger backs behind me is going to do the same thing next year.”

Nov 262014


November 26, 2014

I recently read about crime decreasing in the university neighborhood due to Chief Aden’s policing tactics coupled with the property owner’s renovations and improvements.

I often walk in the neighborhood with my children in the stroller or take bike rides and have recently noticed a big change in the neighborhood: it is much cleaner, seems to be well-kept and the houses seem to be looking better than previous years.

I attended one of the University Neighborhood Association meetings where property owners, residents, ECU students and Sgt. Rudy Oxendine from the Greenville police were present. It was very informative and I learned that a lot of their success in reducing crime was contributed to the property owners and residents partnering with police.

Sgt. Oxendine answered questions about a particular area of concern in the university neighborhood with great precision. Also, the head of the University Neighborhood Association, Jim Blount, was very persuasive in asking members and those attending to purchase older, run-down properties that needed improvements. He also included the students and residents in the discussion by asking their thoughts on how to make the neighborhood safer.

I feel the university neighborhood has turned the corner, and I hope the residents and property owners will keep re-investing in the area in order for it to continue to thrive.

Allison Siebel


Nov 262014


By Molly Corbett Broad

November 26, 2014

Across North Carolina, thousands of first-generation, low-income high school seniors recently took a crucial first step on the path toward earning a postsecondary degree by submitting an application to the college or university of their choice.

An effort that started in a single Siler City high school in 2005 as a pilot College Application Day is now North Carolina College Application Week, a statewide campaign that focuses especially on those students who might not otherwise have attended college. More than 500 high schools participate, and by the time last year’s week was over, more than 28,000 seniors submitted over 63,000 applications. Three-quarters of those who participate ultimately enroll in college.

But what many North Carolinians might not realize is that our state was the impetus for a comprehensive national initiative, the American College Application Campaign, that this fall will reach all 50 states, touch the lives of 230,000 students and play a key role in lowering the barriers that too often stand in the way of individual students whose families don’t have a college-going culture.

It is a remarkable story that began when I was the president of the University of North Carolina. Bobby Kanoy, then a UNC system associate vice president, recognized that there was a need to make the college application process less intimidating for many students, particularly first-generation and low-income students whose parents hadn’t graduated from college.

Bobby, now a senior fellow at my current organization, the American Council on Education, ultimately helped form ACAC and launch a steering committee of government and nonprofit education leaders in 2010 to turn ACAC into a nationwide initiative.

The national growth just since last fall, when 2,500 high schools participated in 39 states and the District of Columbia, has been exponential. This fall, almost 4,000 schools across the country are taking part, and projections show that within six to eight years, 80 percent of all high schools nationally will participate.

The application campaigns are run independently in each state, with various public and private entities organizing the effort with technical assistance from ACAC. Application events are held at high schools, during the school day.

Seed funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Bank of America, the College Board and USA Funds also have been supporters, and as ACAC continues to grow it is expanding strategic alliances with organizations in the philanthropic, business and education communities.

We have seen a pronounced surge in high schools participating in a number of states including Arizona, New York, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Utah. The enthusiasm and deep commitment at the state level have been central to this progress. The importance of helping at-risk students take this first step on the path to a postsecondary degree is recognized at the highest levels of our government.

President Obama has declared November to be National College Application Month, noting in his proclamation that it is vital “to encourage all students to take control of their own destiny by applying to continue their education beyond high school and to let them know that no matter where they come from or who they are – it does not matter if they are the first in their family to apply to college or if they have been told that they are simply not college material – there is an opportunity for them.”

ACAC is a key part of this drive to ensure the barriers are lowered for those types of students, notes Martha Kanter, a former U.S. secretary of education and a member of the ACAC steering committee.

“When President Obama proclaimed November as National College Application Month, he noted that a college degree is the surest path to a stable, middle-class life,” Kanter says. “The American College Application Campaign is providing states, communities and schools across the country with the necessary tools to help place hundreds of thousands of young people on that path.”

In short, what began in a single Siler City high school in 2005 is now a national movement.

Just applying to college can loom as a seemingly insurmountable hurdle for too many students. ACAC’s goal is to lower those barriers and show first-generation and low-income students around the country that there is indeed a way to get the help you need to apply to college and pursue a life-changing education.

Molly Corbett Broad is the president of the American Council on Education and former president of the University of North Carolina.

Nov 262014


November 26, 2014

CHAPEL HILL — UNC-Chapel Hill officials on Tuesday identified Jaimie A. Lee as one of the employees fired in the wake of the Wainstein report that outlined years of bogus classes aimed at keeping some athletes academically eligible.

The university had previously said nine employees were disciplined or terminated as a result of the scandal, but leaders refused to identify them.

Lee, 32, an academic counselor for the football team, was dismissed from UNC on Oct. 22, according to university records. That was the same day Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor hired to investigate the allegations of academic and athletic fraud, released his 131-page report.

According to the report, Lee – along with football team counselors Cynthia Reynolds and Beth Bridger – “were aware of every irregular aspect of these paper classes.” After learning that Deborah Crowder – the mastermind of the bogus classes in the African- and Afro-American Studies Department – was planning to retire, Lee and Bridger met with the football coaching staff to encourage players to take the classes while they still could, the report said.

Lee was instructed to build a relationship with Julius Nyang’oro, the former AFAM department chairman, about continuing the paper classes after Crowder retired, according to Wainstein.

On Monday, 10 media organizations, including The News & Observer, sued UNC to get the names of those disciplined in the scandal.

The organizations state in their complaint that under North Carolina’s public records law, the date and reason for any demotion, suspension or dismissal of a state employee must be available for public inspection.

Department heads have the discretion to release even more information in the employee’s records, according to the law, if it is “essential to maintaining the integrity of such department or to maintaining the level or quality of services provided by such department.”

The Wainstein report said more than 3,100 students – about half of them athletes – took bogus AFAM classes over an 18-year period that ended in 2011.

Nov 262014


November 26, 2014

The following editorial appeared in Tuesday’s Washington Post:

University of Virginia officials are fond of talking about the principles of honor and character on which Thomas Jefferson’s school was founded. Living by those principles is another matter, if we are to judge by the sorry way they handled the case of a young woman who alleges she was gang-raped during a fraternity party.

Only after a damning story roiled the Charlottesville campus, bringing unfavorable national attention, did officials act. Only now have they suspended, for a few weeks, activities of fraternities and sororities. Only now have they promised to investigate the incident – which took place in 2012.

Rolling Stone magazine recounted the harrowing allegations of an 18-year-old freshman who says she was raped by seven men during a party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The particulars of the alleged assault churn the stomach, but no less disturbing is the indifference she reportedly encountered from friends who warned her not to seek help and from an administration clearly not anxious to open the school to scandal.

Decisions about whether to report sex crimes, whether on- or off-campus, are generally left to victims, and this young woman declined to report. But the circumstances raise questions about the kind of advice and support she received. Even more worrisome is that university officials had been told about other instances of sexual assault at this same fraternity but failed to investigate until the Rolling Stone reporter started asking questions.

Since the controversy erupted, President Teresa Sullivan and other U-Va. officials have released a series of statements stressing how seriously they take rape. Their message is undercut by other victims who maintain that the experience detailed by Rolling Stone is not unique on a campus where the fraternity system is king and heavy drinking is part of the culture. Not a single student has been expelled by the Sexual Misconduct Board in the past 10 years, even as dozens have been kicked out for honor-code violations such as cheating. A student-run media outlet at U-Va. released a video recording of the dean who handles sexual assault cases saying that even an admission of guilt is not likely to result in expulsion. In other words, there are no real consequences. That perpepuates sexual violence.

More than canceling a few parties and giving lip service to doing better are needed. School officials need to recognize rape by students against other students for what it is: a serious crime. If the Rolling Stone article is accurate, the seven male students should be not only expelled. They belong in prison.

Nov 262014


NOV. 26, 2014

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Shocked, tearful and at times defensive, members of the board that oversees the University of Virginia insisted that they would combat the problem of sexual assault on campus after a magazine article reported a gang rape at a campus fraternity and allegations that the university was more concerned about its reputation than a history of sexual assault embedded in its hard-drinking social life.

The unusual emergency meeting, which included students, a representative of the fraternity system and the Charlottesville police chief, did not end with specific policy prescriptions for the university. A legal firm was assigned to the university to help come up with new guidelines at a time when Congress and the Obama administration have put intensifying pressure on schools that fail to report and punish assaults.

But the mere existence of the meeting of the Board of Visitors — held as most students began to scatter for the Thanksgiving holiday — appeared to signal a crossroads for the university, one of the nation’s most prestigious and historic. Virginia suddenly finds itself with the potential to become either the national symbol of the problems of sexual assaults on campus or a leader in substantive policy changes to address the problems. The board said it would come up with recommendations in a few weeks.

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia,” said the rector, George Keith Martin. “The status quo will no longer be acceptable. I am appalled, simply appalled.”

The article in Rolling Stone magazine last week, which detailed a student’s account of being gang raped at the University of Virginia in 2012, prompted Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the university, to contact the Charlottesville Police Department to request a criminal investigation. “There were bystanders,” said the police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., who is also in charge of an investigation of the death of a university sophomore, Hannah Graham, who disappeared in September. “I hope that those bystanders have the moral courage to come forward and help us with that investigation.”

Sexual assault on campuses “points to an entrenched cultural problem in student life,” said Dr. Sullivan, who said news of the sexual assault had left her numb. “Now is the time, and this is the generation of students when it must stop,” she added. Protesters lined the room and were also outside the campus building where the meeting was held.

Dr. Sullivan suspended all activities for campus fraternities and sororities through the rest of the year, although members of the board suggested Tuesday that the ban could continue until new policies were established to prevent sexual assault and other crimes.

Much of the meeting focused on the use of alcohol by students, and little on the role of the administration, which has come under fire for what critics say are overly soft punishments for felony sexual crimes. “Part of the reason we got here is because we swept things under the rug,” said Helen E. Dragas, a board member, who began crying as she spoke. She made a motion for a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual assault.

Experts in campus safety say that colleges and universities could cut down on binge drinking, and put a dent sexual assault and hazing, by expelling students and shutting down organizations for the most serious alcohol-related offenses. But moves like that would invite a backlash from parents and alumni, and administrators are unwilling to take the risk.

On Tuesday, Virginia’s chief deputy attorney general, Cynthia Hudson, sent a letter to Mr. Martin to inform him than an independent law firm would serve as counsel to the board to manage the issues of sexual violence.

One board member, Stephen P. Long, warned that fraternities were being unfairly maligned and seemed disturbed by the news media attention on the school, where television cameras have landed for not the first time. “What this board is doing and will continue to do is look at facts,” Mr. Long said. “What we cannot do is act precipitously. We cannot respond solely to emotion. Concerning fraternities, he said, “we must not throw any organization under the bus.”

Thomas Reid, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, carefully defended Greek life, now under assault, even as he denounced what was reported to be the rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house now under investigation. “Our university is in the wilderness right now,” he said.

The Phi Kappa Psi chapter here dates to the 1850s, making it the second-oldest of the fraternity’s more than 100 chapters nationwide, and one of the oldest at the university. In the social pecking order on the Grounds, as people here refer to the campus, it occupies a prominent spot, known for having more than its share of wealthy, well-connected members, and it has a similar reputation at many other schools.

Several of its chapters have also run into recent trouble. Just days before the Rolling Stone article, Brown University suspended its Phi Kappa Psi chapter, after two women said they had been drugged at a fraternity party and one said she had been sexually assaulted; one woman tested positive for a date-rape drug, and test results on the other are still pending, the university said.

Since 2011, a history of hazing and alcohol abuse has led to the closing of Phi Kappa Psi chapters at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Arizona, and the suspension of chapters at the University of Dayton, Cornell and West Virginia University. The national organization declined to answer questions about its record.

Another source of embarrassment for the university has been the fight song “From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill,” with lyrics that celebrate drunken excess, sex and, by some accounts, sexual assault. The song dates back generations — though new verses have been added over the years — to a time when the university was all male and unabashedly a bastion of privilege.

The Charlottesville campus began to admit women in significant numbers in 1970, but it took much longer for serious objections to the song to take hold. The marching band stopped playing it in 2010, but the Glee Club did not retire the song until after it was extensively quoted in the Rolling Stone article last week.

Nov 262014


By Nick Anderson November 25

The University of Virginia’s governing board unanimously approved a statement of “zero tolerance” of sexual assault Tuesday, less than a week after a magazine story detailed an alleged gang rape in 2012 at a university fraternity.

Leaders of the U-Va. board said they plan to meet again as early as mid-December to consider a plan of action from the university administration to address issues raised in a Nov. 19 Rolling Stone article that detailed allegations of a brutal sexual assault. The board also plans to draft a full statement on sexual assault in coming days and to make it public, leaders said.

Also Tuesday, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring named the law firm O’Melveny & Myers as independent counsel to U-Va.’s Board of Visitors on ­sexual-violence issues. Among the lawyers involved in the assignment will be Walter Dellinger, a former acting U.S. solicitor general.

Herring said in a statement that he expects the lawyers to conduct an “aggressive and consequential” investigation of how U-Va. handled the alleged 2012 incident and other aspects of sexual violence.

The board, meeting for three hours in Charlottesville, heard from student leaders and activists, a faculty representative and the city police chief — all of whom expressed an urgent desire to change the culture of the university to prevent sexual assault.

Appalled at revelations in the article, which portrayed an indifferent university response to the plight of assault victims, board members pledged strong reforms.

Some said the university faces a crisis. Board member L.D. Britt likened U-Va.’s predicament to what Penn State University confronted in the recent sexual-abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach. Britt said U-Va. must shake up whatever is necessary to get the zero-tolerance message across.

“There will be no traditions deemed sacred if it puts our students in harm’s way,” Britt said.

Board member Helen Dragas grew tearful as she spoke. “Like so many of you, I have been heartbroken over the last several days,” she said, adding that the board must push hard to ensure major change. “No parent will ever fault us for micromanagement of their child’s safety.”

Board member Allison Cryor DiNardo said she couldn’t read the whole Rolling Stone article the first time she tried because she was too upset. “Full disclosure: It took me another day to finish the story,” she said. “I was just horrified.”

Timothy Longo Sr., the Charlottesville police chief, pleaded for anyone who witnessed the 2012 incident at the heart of the article to contact authorities.

“We so much need people to come forward,” Longo said. The chief pounded his fist on the meeting table for emphasis, to send what he called “a clear message” on sexual assault: “Not on these grounds. Not now, not ever.”

Virginia’s flagship public university, which has about 23,000 students, has been abuzz since the article appeared online last week. It recounted the experience of a student — given an alias to shield her identity — who said she was gang-raped in her freshman year at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The student did not file a police report.

On Saturday, University President Teresa A. Sullivan suspended fraternity and sorority activities until Jan. 9 to give the community time to discuss the next steps. Sullivan also has called for any witnesses to the alleged rape to step forward to help authorities.

Much of the board meeting focused on connections between fraternities and sexual misconduct.

“Sexual violence is a problem in fraternities and the Greek system,” senior Tommy Reid, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, told the board. “We don’t want to hide that. We need to change it. We need to confront it.”

Board member Bobbie G. Kilberg said the university should crack down on all underage drinking at fraternities. Brotherhood should not be defined by “alcohol bonding,” she said. “A ban, I think, is what really would make a difference.”

Reid replied that the university should be wary of any move that would push drinking “more and more underground.”

Nov 252014


By Jane Dail
November 25, 2014

East Carolina University will begin partnerships with area companies to start a millennial campus and possibly add several more around Greenville.

Chancellor Steve Ballard said at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting the pharmaceutical companies Patheon, Hospira and Mayne Pharma have agreed to partner to create a Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

The collaboration will be among five ECU colleges and will use the assistance of the N.C. Biotech Center to move forward with the partnerships.

“This is the beginning, really the first step of many steps that we are taking to create the millennial campus and to build better public-private sector partnerships that will both grow our research and also make an economic development impact on the region,” Ballard said.

Interim Provost Ron Mitchelson said the Department of Chemistry already has started to develop a Good Manufacturing Practice course in preparation.

“The center is currently planned for location within the Brody School of Medicine, which will be designated as a millennial space during the spring 2015,” he said.

Ballard said there are more than 8,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs within 50 miles of Greenville.

“These partnerships will be great for our research opportunities but great for hundreds of students who are being prepared right now to be competitors for those 8,000 jobs,” he said.

The university’s board of trustees discussed the potential for more than one millennial campus in the Greenville area. Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Rick Niswander said millennial campuses are a designation by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and is the same concept as N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus that encourages public and private partnerships.

He said the university is looking at two to three locations for the campuses.

Niswander said potential locations include the Stratford Arms area, Greenville’s warehouse district, behind Bostic Sugg Furniture and several other sites in the area.

Trustee Vern Davenport said he visited N.C. State’s Centennial Campus and would like to see how ECU can replicate what is going on at the Raleigh campus.

“It’s the most amazing place,” he said “… It’s not the facilities but what’s done of the facilities, that’s the thing that’s breathtaking there. It’s not the building or the location or how we get the land, it’s what’s happening with that asset.”

Niswander said N.C. State had a distinct advantage because much of the land was donated. ECU likely would have to buy land at fair market value.

Davenport said he wants to see hot spots for several activities, including bioengineering.

Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Brinkley said the university’s community is eager to see the millennial campuses come to fruition.

“I think that people are getting excited about it when we start talking about not a location but what we want to do there,” Brinkley said.