ECU moves ahead with Heritage Hall | The Daily Reflector

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May 292015


By Holly West
Thursday, May 28, 2015

The creation of a Heritage Hall at East Carolina is one step closer to becoming a reality now that a working group has established a series of open meetings to hammer out the details.

A group of ECU trustees, faculty members, staff, students and an alumnus met Thursday to discuss possible locations for the project and how it should be organized.

ECU history professors John Tucker and Kennetta Perry have been working on determining how the university’s history should be presented.

They prepared a list of important events in ECU’s history that should be included in the displays.

“I’ve included the good, the bad and the not-so-wonderful,” Tucker said. “It gives you an idea of the richness of our history.”

Tucker said there are two basic approaches the group could take to conveying the information: narrative or thematic.

Under the narrative approach, the information would be divided chronologically by the eras in the university’s history, including its founding, East Carolina Teacher’s Training School, East Carolina Teacher’s College, East Carolina College and East Carolina University.

If the thematic approach is used, the information would be divided into categories such as students, athletics, Greenville and North Carolina history, diversity and inclusion, service and leadership, and faculty and curriculum.

Working group members did not decide Thursday which approach should be used. Some suggested the approach should be a combination of the two.

In order to contain a large amount of information in a small space, some group members suggested using interactive technology that would allow viewers to explore several layers of history with the touch of a screen.

“I like the dynamic approach because you can just dial in and bore in as deep as the individual wants to go,” said John Fields, director of facilities engineering and architectural services at ECU.

Fields also said this would allow the university to easily add more to the display in the future.

ECU alum Dennis Mitchell said he would like to see a blended approach.

“It can probably be a combination of everything — print, using wall space, also using digital media,” he said.

Tucker also suggested that instead of creating just one central display, current historical markers could be expanded upon and others could be put up in historically significant places around campus.

If a central location is decided on, Bill Bagnell, associate vice chancellor for campus operations, told the board about several areas that potentially could house the hall.

A survey conducted by student representative Tedric Taylor found that Mendenhall Student Center was the top choice among students, followed closely by the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

Mendenhall also was a top choice of student body president Mark Matulewicz, who is part of the working group.

“That’s going to be the most trafficked area,” he said.

But others noted that the building of a new student center will change that.

“While Mendenhall is always going to be an important building, it’s not going to be as prominent a location five years from now,” said Christopher Dyba, ECU’s vice chancellor for university advancement.

Several group members liked the idea of housing Heritage Hall in the new student center. The building will be home to many student services offices, including the university registrar, admissions and some counseling services. The Wright Cultural Center also will move there.

“This is someplace all future students would be trying to come to, all current students would need to go there and alumni might want to come back there,” Bagnell said. “It sounds like a one stop shop.”

Also on the list of locations proposed for consideration were the Old Cafeteria Complex, the Whichard Building and the building that will be vacated by the cultural center, among others.

The working group has met before, but this was the first meeting open to public attendance. The next discussion will be held on June 11 at 1 p.m. and another will be held on June 23 at 1:30 p.m. Both are at Greenville Centre.


ECU research team tagging sharks in coastal waters | WITN

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May 292015


Updated: Thu 10:43 PM, May 28, 2015
By: Dave Jordan/Stacia Strong

To view news video at WITN, click here.

An ECU researcher, who’s already determined Bull sharks have made it into the Pamlico Sound, is shedding light on what sharks are coming into our coastal waters to give birth.

Chuck Bangley is not only tracking how many sharks are coming to give birth in different areas, but also what types of sharks.

Thursday, we headed out on the water with him as his team went shark fishing in the Back Sound near Beaufort in Carteret County.

Bangley says, “Basically we’re trying to figure out where sharks come into the sound to give birth and where some of the smaller species that aren’t as well known, we’re they’re going to feed and give birth in some cases.”

Bangley says, “I did not realize how many sharks were willing to come in here where there is a lot of boat traffic and there’s a port over that way, a lot of commercial fishing going on here and there’s plenty of sharks, it doesn’t seem to be bothering them.”

The sharks Bangley and his team are catching are mostly juvenile or newborn sharks.

The information he is getting from them will help them understand the impact these sharks have to an area.

Bangley says, “It’s important to know where these predators are going because where the predators go, the prey is scared out of the area, and that can actually have cascading effects all the way down to helping sea grass grow.”

While most of Bangley’s research is focused on the Back Sound, he was able to find out that more Bull sharks are giving birth in the Pamlico Sound, which was previously unknown.

By tagging some of the bigger species of sharks, Bangley and his team will be able to track their movement through GPS tracking systems.


ECU leaders discuss Heritage Hall after controversial dorm renaming | WNCT

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May 292015


Updated: May 28, 2015 10:23 PM EDT
By Brandon Goldner, Digital Journalist

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Several East Carolina University leaders gathered Thursday as part of a committee tasked with planning Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall will be an educational space designed to recognize important school figures.

It was formed after a February decision by the ECU Board of trustees to rename Charles B. Aycock Hall.

The dorm was named after the former North Carolina governor who critics contend held racist views.

Heritage Hall will present the governor’s contributions to the school and his controversial opinions.

A committee of school leaders is tasked with determining what will go into the space and where it will be located.

Options include Mendenhall Student Center, the new Student Services Building and the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center.

“If we’re going to do this exercise; if we’re going to raise money for it; if we are really going to honor and celebrate a great university that we are, try[ing] to do it right is such an important thing,” Vice Chancellor Christopher Dyba said.

The committee will present its recommendations at a Board of Trustees meeting in July.


ECU red hot into regional | The Daily Reflector

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May 292015


By Ronnie Woodward
Thursday, May 28, 2015

The college baseball world is now divided into 16 hubs, each one consisting of four teams hoping to emerge victorious from double-elimination drama this weekend and advance past the NCAA tournament regional round into super regional play.

East Carolina mostly has overachieved in its first season under coach Cliff Godwin’s tutelage, but the late-season prowess shown by the Pirates (40-20) has them as a No. 2 seed at the Coral Gables Regional and equipped with an eight-game win streak heading into today’s opening day of NCAA play. ECU is set for a 1 p.m. start at Miami’s Mark Light Field against No. 3 seed Columbia (31-15), which is also riding momentum thanks to a third straight Ivy League championship.

ECU’s latest victory was a 9-1 win against nationally-ranked Houston in Clearwater, Fla., to capture the American Athletic Conference tournament championship. It was a game outfielder and team home run leader Luke Lowery didn’t completely commit to saying was the Pirates’ best showing to date, but opted to say that, “It was definitely a good time and a good situation.”

Pitching for the Pirates — who are back in the NCAAs after missing out the last two seasons — is left-handed sophomore Evan Kruczynski, which leaves ace Reid Love to potentially face the favored Hurricanes (44-14) on Saturday night. Miami plays No. 4 seed Florida International (29-29) tonight at 7.

“It’s better than I ever imagined, just the fact that we are still playing baseball,” said Kruczynski, who is 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA. “There’s only 64 teams left now.”

Kruczynski, one of eight sophomores on the Pirates’ active roster, went on to say that ECU isn’t satisfied despite already having 40 wins and winning an AAC title.

He and other players remained consistent this week that the end goal is to guide East Carolina to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series for the first time.

The Hurricanes boast one of the best traditions in college baseball and are the only team in this regional that has been to the CWS, which is held after the super regional round. Miami is 31-4 at home this year and is led by an offense featuring standout catcher Zach Collins (15 home runs, 65 RBIs) and third baseman David Thompson, who is tied for the national lead with 19 HRs and leads the country with 80 RBIs.

Thompson started 30 games in 2014 as a sophomore and totaled 15 RBIs. This season, he’s helped the ’Canes, who are the No. 5 national seed, to 430 RBIs compared to 187 by their opponents.

The Pirates’ offensive stalwarts include Lowery (12 HRs, 49 RBIs), leadoff hitter Hunter Allen (.353 average, 71 hits, 38 runs scored) and Love (.300, three HRs), but it’s the starting pitching trio of Love, Kruczynski and Jacob Wolfe that has helped the Pirates to a slew of close victories.

Freshman closer Joe Ingle has also excelled, posting an ERA of 0.88 and eight saves in 302⁄3 innings.

During its eight-game win streak, East Carolina has held its opponents to 2.6 runs per game and Ingle has pitched in six of the contests, totaling 81⁄3 innings with one run allowed and 10 strikeouts.

“The big (goal) is to get to Omaha, and I think this team has a shot to get to Omaha,” Kruczynski said. “With the way we’ve been playing lately, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”

ECU is 17-4 in its last 21 games.

Kruczynski will be opposed today by junior righty George Thanopoulos, who has made 12 starts and is 5-5 with a 3.65 ERA. Opponents are batting .248 against him compared to a .274 average against Kruczynski.

The Lions’ offense features Joe Falcone and Gus Craig both batting higher than .330. Falcone, a senior outfielder, has a .347 average, 19 doubles, 11 home runs and 52 RBIs.

The Pirates have lost their last two regional debut games — both to St. John’s — and are 1-3 in their last four openers.

The one victory was in 2009, when the Pirates were a host and beat Binghamton 11-7 in their first game before eventually taking down South Carolina twice to win the regional out of the losers’ bracket.

“It is important because if you lose the first game then you have to play more games and your pitching is going to get thinner,” Godwin said. “You can win a (regional) after losing the first game, but obviously the percentages say that you need to win that first game.”

With pitching always key during NCAA games, Love said the players have to balance embracing the spotlight while also not trying to do too much. The Pirates’ left-hander enters with a 2.84 ERA and has a quality track record against strong competition.

“You have to take it like you would any other game,” he said. “You go out there and execute every pitch and play the game hard.”

FIU earned a regional bid after winning the Conference USA tournament. The Panthers scored at least six runs in all four of their C-USA tourney games, including 15 twice and also a 6-5 victory over Rice.

“We’ve said all year that we kind of compete against ourselves and don’t really worry about who is in the other dugout,” Lowery said. “We’ll just go out and win one pitch at a time and hopefully we can keep this momentum going. With this team, everybody really cares for each other and nobody is selfish about anything. It’s very, very fun and exciting in the locker room and the dugout.”


Pirates peaking at proper time | The Daily Reflector

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May 292015


By Ronnie Woodward
Thursday, May 28, 2015

Since mid-April, East Carolina’s baseball team has ascended onto the national radar, culminating with last week’s American Athletic Conference tournament championship and a national ranking for the first time this season.

The Pirates checked in at No. 23 in the Baseball America rankings on Monday, a few hours after they earned the No. 2 seed for the Coral Gables (Fla.) Regional as part of the NCAA tournament.
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Naturally, the tournament puts more pressure on players and coaches and magnifies their mistakes and triumphant moments more than any other time this year. ECU, which has a 40-20 record and is on an eight-game win streak, begins play in the double-elimination regional today at 1 p.m. against No. 3 seed Columbia.

Host Miami, which has won 31 of its 35 home games, faces No. 4 Florida International at 7.

For the quartet of teams playing in Coral Gables and the 60 others dispersed at 15 regional sites, the goal is to survive this weekend and win a super regional next weekend to earn a spot in the eight-team College World Series. The Pirates long have talked about the goal of making it to the CWS in Omaha, Neb., but ECU, Columbia and FIU have never made it that far in the NCAA tourney.

“We got better every single day,” first-year East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin said of the Pirates’ season. “Early in the season we weren’t as good as we could be, and as coach you just want to see your team progress. … We are playing good baseball in all aspects of our game right now.”

ECU had a 20-15 record about halfway through its campaign before a slew of one-run victories sparked the team’s success. The Pirates are 17-4 in their last 21 contests.

The team was joined by Pirate fans at Buffalo Wild Wings on Monday to soak in the attention during the NCAA tournament selection show. After the event, Godwin and his players talked about being proud and embracing the moment but not overreacting to the hype.

“These guys have been pretty well grounded throughout the year,” Godwin said. “This is a good group and it’s been fun to coach.”

The trip to Florida brings positive vibes for the Pirates. They won all four of their games last week in Clearwater, Fla., in the AAC tournament, including a 9-1 victory over nationally-ranked Houston in the championship game on Sunday.

ECU also has three players from Florida, including top pitcher Reid Love.

“It’s a good ways from my house, but it will be good to be back there,” said Love, a Dunedin, Fla., native who is one of two seniors on the team. “Coming off the (AAC) championship and the win streak and everything, we’re just going to take that and keep rolling.”

It has been an eventful season for ECU, beginning with three home losses to defending national champion Virginia in mid-February. Since then, there have been ups and downs, and the team now is looking to continue its wave of momentum.

Miami is the favorite at the regional thanks to its explosive offense featuring third baseman David Thompson, who is tied for the national lead in home runs and the outright leader in runs batted in. The Pirates will try to counter with their formula of timely hitting and a quality pitching staff led by Love, Evan Kruczynski — today’s starter against Columbia — and freshman reliever Joe Ingle.

Columbia has won three straight Ivy League championships and comes into today’s contest having already collected a school-record 31 wins. The Lions’ recent success creates an intriguing start to the Coral Gables Regional — ECU and Columbia are both riding momentum and hoping for a Day 1 win so they have even more confidence heading into a likely showdown with powerful Miami on Saturday night.

“We went through our downs and now we are at our high, and we just have to stay there as long as we possibly can,” Kruczynski said.


Editorial – Par for the course on UNC cuts | Star News Online

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May 292015


By the StarNews Editorial Board
Published: Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 11:50 p.m.

The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors pulled out its machete and got busy last week, slashing 46 degree programs across its 16-campus statewide network.

Locally, the University of North Carolina Wilmington got off relatively easily. It will lose its degrees in physical education and musical performance, cuts that had long been anticipated. (Student musicians at UNCW can now aspire to diplomas in general music and music education.)

Elsewhere, though, the cuts were bloody. East Carolina University lost nine degree programs, while UNC-Greensboro lost eight.

What’s notable, though, is the pattern of the cuts. Music, art and theater programs took big hits, as did programs in African-American studies, women’s studies and Hispanic studies. Programs to train foreign language teachers in French and German were axed at ECU, and math education and Latin were eliminated at UNC-Greensboro.

In some cases, the argument was that many of these programs had few students enrolled, so continuing to offer them wasted money. More generally, though, the Governors appear to be following the lead of Gov. Pat McCrory and his pal Art Pope – slashing back on classes that aren’t directly training students for a career.

McCrory, after all, famously remarked that anyone who wants to study gender issues should do so at a private university (and, incidentally, hope their daddies can pay the tuition).

The ultimate object of this seems to be to retract the UNC system into a network of pre-professional trade schools, supporting values that the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy (funded by Art Pope’s family) identifies as “the morality of capitalism” and “limits on government.”

That’s simply wrong. “Liberal education” doesn’t mean studying the collected works of Nancy Pelosi or Rachel Maddow; it refers to teaching students to think independently. That requires exposure to the fine arts, to alien points of view and to foreign cultures.

Cutting funds to train a future generation of high school foreign-language teachers is especially wrongheaded, at a time when we’re told we have to compete in a “global” economy. How can we do that if we don’t understand what the other person is saying?

Members of the Board of Governors are elected by members of the state legislature. If voters don’t like what they’re doing to our state’s public universities, they need to tell their Honorables – good and loud.


UNC-Chapel Hill trustees to rename Saunders Hall ‘Carolina Hall’ | The News & Observer

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May 292015


May 28, 2015
By Jane Stancill


Saunders Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill became “Carolina Hall” on Thursday, when the university’s Board of Trustees stripped the name of purported 19th-century Ku Klux Klan leader William Saunders.

The board’s 10-3 vote followed about a year of deliberation after student activists demanded the name change. Protesters stood by Thursday with signs calling the building “Hurston Hall,” their preferred name that would have honored African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston.

Calling Thursday’s action a comprehensive solution, the trustees voted unanimously on two other resolutions – a 16-year freeze on the renaming of other buildings, and a broad effort to curate UNC’s history with accurate markers and the possibility of a permanent historical collection somewhere on campus. Task forces will begin to work on those issues, including the idea of an online orientation program for students to learn about UNC’s history.

Trustees said they struggled with the controversial issue, and some who voted for the change said they were initially inclined not to erase a piece of history from the university landscape. But they said the trustees in 1920 erred in their decision to name the classroom building for him, specifically citing Saunders as “head of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina” as a qualification for naming.

The current board had the obligation to right the past board’s wrong, said trustee Alston Gardner.

“We’re not changing history, we’re not rewriting it,” he said. “We’re shining a bright light on it.”

Voting against the name change were Haywood Cochrane, Peter Grauer and Dwight Stone.

“Some of us chose not to focus on a name only, but more fully on our history – good, bad and sometimes very ugly – and combining that with our university’s mission to teach our history, to learn from it, to let it show us how far we’ve come, but also to let us understand how far we need to go,” Cochrane said, speaking on behalf of the dissenters. “This history is ours. We can’t change it, we can’t distance ourselves from it.”

A historical marker will be placed on the building, explaining contributions by Saunders, a UNC graduate and trustee who was secretary of state in North Carolina from 1879 to 1891 and a collector of Colonial-era records. He also was an editor at the Raleigh Observer newspaper, which would eventually become The News & Observer.

The new Carolina Hall plaque will invoke a famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence: “We honor and remember all those who have suffered injustices at the hands of those who would deny them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Lux Libertas. UNC Board of Trustees 2015.”
‘Unifying name’

Trustee Chairman Lowry Caudill said the choice of Carolina Hall was important and called it “a unifying name.”

Students who wore black T-shirts that said “#HurstonHall” said the new name was innocuous, but not unifying. They plan to continue calling it Hurston Hall, honoring the writer who once studied unofficially at UNC.

“It wasn’t a request; it was a demand,” said Nathan Swanson, a graduate student in geography, which is housed in the building. “So it’s still Hurston Hall to us, and we’re continuing to celebrate that and to honor that.”

Added fellow graduate student Rachel Cotterman: “We feel it’s a really important statement to name the building after a woman of color as a way of honoring students of color on campus.”
‘Substantial issues’

Swanson said the 16-year renaming ban was silly. “It is very much a reflection of this willingness to want to end the conversations that are happening about race on campus,” he said.

Gardner congratulated student activists for their perseverance but added: “Now I hope you direct your passion on more substantial issues.”

Trustee Chuck Duckett said he would have liked to ask the late UNC basketball coach Dean Smith his advice on the issue, but instead turned to Smith’s pastor, Bob Seymour. Smith and Seymour worked to integrate Chapel Hill.

“He said, ‘Chuck, the name over the door is not important. Who welcomes you through that door is,’” Duckett said. “We all need to be there to welcome any that come to this university and through that door.”

Duckett urged students to keep learning history on campus and beyond.

“We are imperfect,” he said. “Good people have done things that are incorrect or wrong. Yet we evolve.”


UNC takes on its past, renaming hall that has long honored a KKK leader | The Washington Post

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May 292015


By Susan Svrluga
May 28 at 1:34 PM

The University of North Carolina will rename a building on campus that has long honored a former trustee who was a Ku Klux Klan leader, school officials announced Thursday.

Similar debates about buildings are playing out at other colleges, as leaders and activists argue about the legacy of slavery and racism and how to balance historic truth with efforts to make all feel welcome on campus. Leaders at Clemson recently decided there were more meaningful, less symbolic changes they could make than renaming a building, and cited the importance of understanding and learning from history. Leaders at Brown launched a series of initiatives teaching about the university’s long-ago ties to slavery.

At UNC, some students had called for Saunders Hall to be renamed, with protesters wearing nooses around their necks and signs that read, “THIS is what SAUNDERS would do to ME.” Many had asked that the building honor, instead, the first black student at Carolina before integration, the famous writer Zora Neale Hurston.

The building was named in 1920, after alumnus William L. Saunders, citing his contribution to the history of North Carolina by compiling and editing Colonial records that formed the foundation of the state’s archives, his role as N.C. secretary of state — and his leadership of the KKK.

“The KKK was a violent, terrorist organization that was illegal in the United States during Saunders’ era,” the university noted in a statement about the change. “He was compelled to appear before a Congressional hearing in 1871 to answer for his reputed involvement in the KKK, but he refused to testify, pleading his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.”

Citing his KKK role was a mistake, trustees concluded. The school’s policy allows names to be revoked if it would “compromise the public trust, dishonor the University’s standards, or otherwise be contrary to the best interests of the University.”

After a year of discussions on campus which included historians, students, faculty and others, trustees voted to make three changes to help the telling of the school’s 221-year history: Stop renaming buildings for 16 years, begin new curatorial and educational efforts, and rename Saunders Hall.

The trustees did not choose the student activists’ recommendation of Hurston Hall.

The building will now be known as Carolina Hall, they announced, with a plaque that reads, “We honor and remember all those who have suffered injustices at the hands of those who would deny them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Today’s decisions make an unequivocal statement about Carolina’s values and the importance of continuing to cultivate an inclusive and positive educational atmosphere for our campus,” Lowry Caudill, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “We want to prepare our students to be effective leaders with an understanding of history, but also with an eye to the future. These efforts to curate the campus and teach the past with greater context will present future generations with a more accurate, complete and accessible understanding of Carolina’s history.”


Virginia has a new plan to combat campus sexual assault | The Washington Post

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May 292015


By Nick Anderson
May 28

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) announced a new state plan to combat campus sexual assault Thursday, an approach that includes proposals to improve prevention education, track the extent of sexual violence, minimize barriers to reporting incidents and coordinate response from colleges and law enforcement.

The plan, with 21 recommendations, is the result of a task force Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) created last year as sexual violence became an increasingly prominent issue for colleges across the country.

“It is still a significant problem, but we’ve made tremendous strides,” ” Herring said in a telephone interview. He said the state is “committed to making sure that colleges in Virginia are safe places to live, learn and work.”

The recommendations, to be sent to the governor, range from the straightforward to the technical.

The first is to direct colleges and universities to develop “a comprehensive prevention plan” that would be supported and carried out by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Herring acknowledged that many colleges would probably claim to be in compliance already, but he said the idea is to encourage them to intensify their efforts.

“It’s important to communicate these prevention messages, not just at the beginning of orientation or the beginning of the school year, but throughout a student’s entire time at the university,” Herring said. The messages need to be tailored to various constituencies, he said, such as athletic teams, minority groups, and fraternities. And the education needs to be assessed periodically.

Another proposal is to “improve and increase reporting options using emerging technologies, infographics, and online portal options for reporting sexual violence.” Herring said that colleges should be in tune with how students communicate.

“College students are used to doing everything online,” he said. “We really need to meet them where they are. That is really important.”

To ensure that colleges have a handle on the problem, another recommendation calls for public colleges and universities to assess how often sexual violence occurs through “climate surveys” administered to students at least every two years.

Some recommendations would require legislation. One calls for a law to require public and private colleges to establish “sexual assault response teams.” Another calls for a law to require colleges to enter into memoranda of understanding with either state police or local law enforcement, spelling out how they will work together to prevent sexual assault and respond to incidents.

The task force, which Herring chaired, includes students, law enforcement officials and higher education leaders. Among them were Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University; Allen Groves, dean of students at the University of Virginia; and Christopher Ndiritu, student body president at Old Dominion University.


U-Va. student left bloodied in arrest faces September trial date | The Washington Post

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May 292015


By T. Rees Shapiro May 28 at 11:36 AM

CHARLOTTESVILLE — A district court judge here set a September trial date in the case against a black University of Virginia student left bloodied in an arrest by white police officers with the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control.

Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. set trial for Sept. 30 for Martese Johnson, 20, who was nearing the end of his junior year when the confrontation occurred on a strip of bars and restaurants known here as “The Corner.”

Johnson was arrested in the early morning hours of March 18 outside an Irish pub adjacent to campus as students took part in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. According to Johnson’s lawyer, Daniel P. Watkins, Johnson had been denied entry to the bar while using his valid Illinois license, which indicated he was underage.

On Thursday Watkins said that he believed that police mishandled the arrest and that the charges against Johnson should be dropped. Last week, he filed a motion seeking for the case to be dismissed.

“It’s been approximately 70 days since the incident took place,” Watkins said. “Our main frustration is the specter of police misconduct has caused this trial to be pushed back. Facing criminal charges is a very, very serious thing and it’s very difficult to go through. Martese has been doing a great job handling all the pressure. But it’s a big deal to have jail time hanging over your head potentially.”

Watkins added that he was disappointed that the trial is not proceeding sooner, saying “we’d say that justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Speaking to reporters outside of the Charlottesville court room, Johnson thanked supporters who had been following his case. On Thursday, about two dozen people dressed in black sat in the courtroom on Johnson’s behalf.

“I hope that in the near future this process will end,” Johnson said. “It’s endured a bit longer than we all expected, but I believe that justice will be served at the end of the day.”

According to court documents Watkins filed, the ABC officers then stopped Johnson by grabbing his arm after noticing that his eyes were “red and glassy.” After Johnson attempted to remove himself from the ABC officer’s grip, the student was pushed to the ground and arrested for public intoxication and obstruction without force. Court documents about the arrest noted that police officers described Johnson as “very agitated and belligerent” at the time of the arrest.

Witnesses captured the dramatic events with cellphone pictures and video. Johnson received 10 stitches to his head after apparently hitting it on the sidewalk. Images that spread widely on social media showed Johnson, blood streaming down his face, as the officers pinned him to the bricks.

“The two agents slammed Mr. Johnson headfirst into the sidewalk, causing his head to bleed considerably,” Watkins wrote in court filings. The agents then “shackled Mr. Johnson’s ankles and transported him away from the scene.”

Johnson’s arrest catalyzed a student-led movement on campus seeking better racial relations at the state’s elite flagship campus. Dozens of black students, who represent 6 percent of the university’s 16,000 undergraduates, rallied and demonstrated in front of the school’s African-American studies department, holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”

Johnson’s arrest came amid heightened nationwide attention on race and police tactics, including use of force. The confrontation also renewed focus on the law enforcement arm of the ABC. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has ordered the state police to investigate the incident and also called for ABC agents to undergo additional training.

Watkins said the charges should be dropped because he believed the police officers lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him.

“Prior to the seizure, there is no allegation that ABC agents believed he had consumed alcohol for any reason, including his speech, outward appearance, manner, walk, or odor,” Watkins wrote in the court document.

A double major in Italian and Media Studies, Johnson serves as an elected representative to the university’s prestigious Honor Committee, which helps uphold the school’s honor code. A Chicago native, he also is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. His lawyer said that Johnson will spend the summer in Washington for an internship on Capitol Hill.

Watkins said that Johnson’s next appearance in court is scheduled for June 12.


Class of 2015 Is Summa Cum Lucky in the Job Market | The Wall Street Journal

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May 292015


By Josh Zumbrun
May 28, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET

Adam Quade worried his younger sister would have the same trouble he had landing a job after college. He started looking his senior year and by graduation in 2010 he had been rejected by more than a dozen companies.

Mr. Quade, age 27, who studied biology at Saint John’s University, a liberal arts school in Collegeville, Minn., said he was stressed out, nervous and scared until finally he was hired by a dental sales company in Des Moines, Iowa. He didn’t want to move to another state but counted himself lucky.

Turns out, he wasn’t as lucky as his 23-year-old sister, Mackensie, who graduated last year with a biology degree from St. Olaf College, a liberal arts school in Northfield, Minn. She also started looking for work during her senior year.

“Everyone had told me, ‘When you graduate, everything’s going to be rough, you’re not going to be able to find a job, blah blah blah,’” said Ms. Quade. “By Thanksgiving, I was sitting around eating turkey, had a job, feeling great.”

Ms. Quade’s bragging rights are likely to continue for years and the difference has little to do with sibling rivalry, according to economists. Labor market research shows that the lower the U.S. jobless rate at graduation, the better the career prospects for grads, yielding significantly higher wages compared with those who finish school amid higher unemployment.

When Mr. Quade graduated, the unemployment rate was 9.5%. When his sister graduated four years later, it was approaching 6%, which, according to economists, means she will hold a wage advantage for a decade or more.

With the unemployment rate now at 5.4%, this year’s graduating class is among the luckiest in decades. They will be starting first jobs with an unemployment rate below the average of the past 40 years, foretelling career success, according to labor economists.

“There really is something special about that first year,” said Jamin Speer, a University of Memphis economist who has published research showing that students who graduate during a time of elevated national unemployment often have their earnings crimped for years.

Generally, people who enter the labor market during a recession experience lower wages in the formative years of their career, according to researchers and Department of Labor data, while those who graduate in better times enjoy a tailwind of economywide earnings growth.

Americans born in the late 1950s, for example, weren’t so lucky: Those attending college likely graduated in the depths of a recession during the early 1980s. Research found the group as a whole earned lower wages for more than a decade as a result. Americans born just a few years later, in the early 1960s, and who finished college after the 1980s recession, were especially lucky. They entered the labor force at the start of an economic boom that carried through the 1990s.

The college graduates of 2009 and 2010, by contrast, faced a weak job market that paid diminished wages and had fewer openings.

The class of 2015, meanwhile, enters the workplace on the other side of the storm. They are welcomed by an economy with a jobless rate of about 5.4%. Worries over their record student debts should be eased by better-paying jobs. And their diploma appears to hold them a spot at the front of the line: The overall unemployment rate for college graduates was 2.7% in April.

Looking ahead, these graduates will likely earn more money over their lifetime compared with others their age who didn’t finish college. Those with a bachelor’s degree, on average, earn 80% more than those with just a high school diploma, according to the Labor Department, a record earnings gap between the two groups.

Members of the class of 2014 had an average starting salary of $48,127 a year, up from $45,327 for the class of 2013 and $44,259 for the class of 2012, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a group made up of schools as well as companies that recruit from campuses. Those annual salaries mean many graduates enter the labor market earning more than the average yearly wage of private nonfarm payroll workers in the U.S., which is just under $45,000, according to the Labor Department.

Employers seem especially eager for graduates in science and technology. Engineering students, for example, who expected entry salaries of $56,000 are getting average offers of $65,000, according to NACE.

Bright prospects for the class of 2015 mark a sharp turnaround. Graduates who started careers from 2007 to 2009 had lower starting salaries and more sluggish wage increases. Philip Oreopoulos, a labor economist at the University of Toronto, studied the careers of graduates in past recessions and said many workers later caught up. “But it was slow,” he said, “and took over 10 years.”

Luis Medina, 27 years old, is one of those still trying. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego in the summer of 2009, as the national unemployment rate climbed toward 10%. Before graduation—and for six months after—he looked for financial services companies that trained new employees and had a promising career path. He had no luck and finally got an agency job the following year tutoring middle- and high-school students.

Economists Jaison Abel, Richard Deitz, and Yaqin Su, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, published research in 2014 that showed Mr. Medina was a textbook example. Graduates born between 1986 and 1991—and who finished college during the worst of the downturn—faced more underemployment and lower job quality than their predecessors. The economists this month posted a follow-up that said the tide has turned for the class of 2015, with falling underemployment and unemployment rates for young college graduates.

Good fortune has yet to rub off on Mr. Medina. Since graduating, he passed exams in 2011 and 2012 that qualified him to work as a certified public accountant. As he searched for his first accounting job, he hit another barrier.

“All the entry-level jobs at firms that are capable of offering quality training, the firms most capable of bringing up somebody with no experience, they do all the recruiting on campus,” Mr. Medina said.

Mr. Medina landed jobs at smaller accounting firms that didn’t offer much of a future. For one job, he moved to Sonora, Calif., and, for another, he went to Plano, Texas. Both jobs lasted only a single tax season. He took an unpaid internship with a defense contractor that eventually led to part-time work; that job, too, disappeared, as defense funding shrank, he said.

Six years after graduation, Mr. Medina is now back in San Diego, again unemployed. He says he is hobbled by the economic troubles of years past.

“Look at how someone from human resources would look at my résumé now,” said Mr. Medina. “I have three short-term jobs. They’ll interpret that as, ‘Maybe this person isn’t very capable or competent.’ You think it’s going to get easier when a new pile of currently enrolled graduates come looking for these jobs? No way. It gets harder year after year.”

Campus recruiting, meanwhile, is better than ever. Marcie Holland, the director of the internship and career center at the University of California, Davis, said there are more recruiters offering better positions than in previous years.

“I noticed that the management training programs were starting to come back,” she said. In February of 2014, the gymnasium holding the career fair was so crowded that the fire marshal had to control entry and exit. This year’s fair had to be limited to 155 employer tables, she said.

Ravneet Kaur, an economics and international relations major, attended last year’s fair as a junior and landed several job interviews.

“I was pleasantly surprised that there were multiple offers coming in,” Ms. Kaur said, “I thought I’d have to settle for whatever I could get.” She took a paid internship after her junior year with Triage Consulting, a company that advises hospitals.

Ms. Kaur got a full-time offer at Triage and will begin in September, after graduation and some summer travel. She has been promised training and advancement opportunities. After 21 months, she will be eligible for promotion to a senior associate at the firm, she said, a management position.

Many in the generation of Americans coming of age in the recession and its aftermath—also known as millennials—have been labeled as laggards reluctant to leave their parents’ home.

But Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist for Standard & Poor’s, said millennials have been divided by the U.S. economy: Older members of the generation who started their careers during the recession, and those who were in high school when it ended.

“There’s way too much pessimism on the millennial generation with respect to their economic prospects,” Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia said. “For a lot of majors it’s a truly great time to be graduating from college.”


Locals offer feedback on UNC search | The Daily Reflector

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on Locals offer feedback on UNC search | The Daily Reflector
May 282015


By Holly West
Thursday, May 28, 2015

UNC system officials were on hand at East Carolina Heart Institute on Wednesday night to hear feedback from students, faculty and community members about the search for a new system president.

At the feedback session, 11 people expressed their opinions about what they would like to see in a leader for the state’s public university system.
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The new leader is expected to be chosen in the fall and will take office in January. He or she will replace Tom Ross, who was forced to resign from his position in January.

A major theme among those who spoke was a desire for a president who has experience in higher education.

“The University of North Carolina system is not a business, it’s not a governmental agency,” ECU English professor Marianne Montgomery said. “There are specific skills that come with managing higher education.”

Andrew Morehead, chairman of ECU’s faculty, a chemistry professor and father of two students in the UNC system, echoed that sentiment.

“It must be an individual who has taught students, who has carried on research and who has led a faculty with a core and central mission of teaching, advising and mentoring students as they prepare for a life as a productive and engaged citizen,” he said.

Biology professor John Stiller, who will take over Morehead’s position as faculty chairman next year, said the complexity of running a university system should make this the paramount consideration.

“I really like my auto mechanic, but no matter how much I like him or my insurance salesman, who I trust a great deal, I’m going to go to my physician when I want to know about a pain in my chest and what to do about it,” Stiller said. “Likewise, I wouldn’t go to my physician if my car is breaking down.”

ECU Student Body President Mark Matulewicz said it is important for the next UNC system leader to be receptive to student input in the decision-making process.

ECU English professor Brian Glover said he thinks the next president should focus on two areas: encouraging interactions between faculty and students, in the form of reducing class sizes and improving faculty working conditions, and expanding and promoting the humanities.

“What remains most important is education,” he said. “These are two areas that need to be addressed.”

Rajendra Jagad, founder and program director for manufacturing company Exchange Effect, said it is important for the system’s new leader to have a mind-set of innovation.

“Be a visionary,” he said. “Be able to see beyond the traditional role of the university. (UNC) has a responsibility and a role to play as a leader.”

Wednesday’s input session was one of four being held by system leaders as part of the presidential search process. The next session will be held today at N.C. Central University, and the final one will be held at UNC Charlotte on Monday.

All sessions will be streamed on the system’s website and archived there after they end. Feedback also can be submitted via email to, text to 919-590-3630 or on social media using #UNCSearch.


ECU baseball surprised some by making NCAA field, but not its coach | The News & Observer

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on ECU baseball surprised some by making NCAA field, but not its coach | The News & Observer
May 282015


May 27, 2015

After a two-year absence, East Carolina is returning to the NCAA baseball tournament. And although there might be some raised eyebrows at the Pirates’ accomplishments, first-year head coach Cliff Godwin isn’t surprised.

“Everybody would ask me before the season,” said Godwin, who was an all-conference catcher during his playing career at ECU (1998-2001) and made three trips to the NCAA tournament. “The expectations were not very high outside our facility. But like I told the local media (Monday), we were not going to put parameters on this team. We expected to get better every day and play for a championship.

“Our guys bought into that vision. We expect to play for championships at East Carolina, and that’s what we expect every year.”

ECU (40-20) won the American Athletic Conference tournament, and as an automatic qualifier was named the No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional with host Miami (44-14), third-seeded Columbia (43-15) and fourth-seeded Florida International (29-29).

ECU will play Columbia at 1 p.m. Friday, with Miami and FIU meeting at 7 p.m. The losers and winners play each other Saturday.

The Coral Gables Regional champion will play the Dallas Regional champion in the super regionals. The Dallas field has Dallas Baptist, Texas, Oregon State and Virginia Commonwealth.

The Pirates are making their 27th regional appearance, but only twice have they advanced to a super regional, in 2004 and 2009. Both times they hosted regionals when they advanced.

Godwin, voted the AAC coach of the year, characterized his team as “selfless,” adding, “We’re not really deep, not the most talented. It’s been somebody different every day, on the mound or at the plate.”

Senior shortstop Hunter Allen was named the AAC tournament MVP after hitting .500 (9-for-18) with a double, triple and six runs scored. He was also the Pirates’ leading hitter this season at .353.

Allen tore a ligament in his thumb in midseason but opted against having surgery and missing the rest of the season because he wouldn’t have qualified for a medical redshirt.

“He never takes BP, never takes a swing in practice, only live in games,” Godwin said. “He’s solidified our leadoff spot and is the guy who gets us going.”

Pitcher-center fielder Reid Love and left fielder Luke Lowery also made the all-tournament team. Love, the Pirates’ No. 1 pitcher, went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA and hit .300 as a regular outfielder. Last week, he was named among 21 semifinalists for the John Olerud Award, emblematic of the best two-way college player.

“He’s one of our most talented players, for sure,” Godwin said of the senior left-hander from Dunnellon, Fla. “His biggest strength is he’s a great competitor.”

Lowery, a junior, leads the Pirates in home runs (12) and RBIs (49) while hitting .313.

Godwin has two more lefties behind Love in his rotation, sophomores Evan Kruczynski (8-4, 3.06), who will start Friday against Columbia, and Jacob Wolfe (5-2, 3.35). Both earned wins in the AAC tournament.

“Kruczynski at 6-4 has got some deception in his delivery,” Godwin said. “He throws 85 to 88 with good movement. Guys don’t see the baseball real well against him. He throws downhill a little bit.

“Wolfe’s kind of a different guy, almost sidearm. His ball moves so much, a lot of times you don’t know which way it’s going.”

The Pirates also got an all-tournament performance last week from freshman closer Joe Ingle, a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Fayetteville’s Terry Sanford High. Ingle (1-0, 0.88 ERA, 8 saves) posted a win and two saves in the tournament, and junior lefty Nick Durazo won the championship game with five innings of shutout relief in the 9-1 title win over Houston, the AAC regular-season champion.

“Joe has evolved into our closer,” Godwin said. “Not to give our staff a lot of credit, but we’ve slowly worked him into that role because freshmen are kind of feeling their way through college baseball.”

Godwin said he didn’t know much yet about Columbia, the Pirates’ first-day opponent. “We’re just gathering reports right now,” he said Tuesday. “I just know they’re good because they beat Houston two of four games this year.”

FIU was a Conference USA rival of ECU’s last year, when the Panthers swept a three-game series in Greenville.

Then there’s Miami, which is making its NCAA-record 43rd consecutive tournament appearance and was awarded the fifth seed nationally after a runner-up regular-season run in the ACC.

“Everybody’s good,” Godwin said. “It’s all about who’s playing well right now.”

ECU is certainly one of those teams, having won eight in a row and 20 of its last 25 over the last month. The Pirates went 11-12 this year against eight teams in the NCAA field.

“I’m happy for the guys and East Carolina University,” Godwin said. “I played here in such a great era, and I’m happy East Carolina baseball is back in the postseason.”


Broncos, pirates, professors: all powerless before corporate march | Times Higher Education

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on Broncos, pirates, professors: all powerless before corporate march | Times Higher Education
May 282015
From Where I Sit illustration (28 May 2015)

Rain and a blustery wind spoiled the big reveal of the Bronze Bronc statue, a weighty upgrade on Bucky the Bronc, the moth-eaten mascot for the basketball team at one of my former universities, the University of Texas-Pan American. Our university hoopsters on the Mexican border often lost by double or triple digits. Bucky was less an indomitable mustang, more a bipolar donkey on the skids.

A substantial chunk of alloy created by a “renowned artist” from another state, the Bronze Bronc was unveiled in 2002 and was a welcome reinforcement to his foppish counterpart. “Nuevo Bronc” stood on his concrete plinth as if eternally ready to charge headlong anyone doubting the credibility or virtue of the university’s sports teams, students, faculty and administrators.

So the colourful mariachis played on loudly, if not well, at the games; the dignitaries rendered their dreary speeches; and hope sprang eternal among the gathered crowd.

Imagine, then, the pushback a decade later when UTPA’s “athletic branding committee” selected a new mascot, the “Vaquero”, to replace both the Bronze Bronc and sidekick Bucky the Bronc. The vaquero “embodies strength, determination, pride and respect”, we were told. We also got a new motto: “We are one”.

In the corporatisation of many US public universities, rebranding and marketing includes not only the renaming of football stadiums and library carrels in honour of donors, but also the reshuffling of the basic principles on which our institutions rest. Students are now customers.

At East Carolina University, my current institution, the sports mascot PeeDee the Pirate was turned from a ferocious marauder into a Disneyesque metrosexual with a smile any orthodontist would be proud of. There was also a five-year, consultant-driven university reorganisation mandated by our state legislature.

With the new mascot came the expected paraphernalia: hats, wallets, jackets, number-plate frames, infant clothing, jewellery, children’s toys and games, sunglasses, key chains, coffee mugs, rainwear, luggage and the “East Carolina Pirates Vintage Art Glass Night Light”.

Also came the new university motto: “Tomorrow starts here”.

Leaving aside just where tomorrow really begins, along with the new mascot and the new motto marched the purposeful commodification of most educational goods and services, including the professoriate. Like many others, I remain unsure how faculty fit into a system in which public resources are privatised and no one seems to notice.

Included in this backstage list fabricated by highly paid consultants is the deskilling of university faculty, university instructors paid poverty wages, the fetishising of assessment and its metrics, the proliferation of online classes taken by resident students and the assumed professional superiority of all staff winning research grants.

As graduation events come and go this year, I see far too many of my student-customers ushered off the graduation stage with no clue as to what they have learned or why they have learned it. As they begin their careers, these same student-customers are frequently burdened by outlandish debts.

After our restructure, faculty seem left with little function, place or role in educational institutions reconstructed to ape industrial parks. This new system does nothing but leave the professoriate courtside with little to do but cheer on our student-customers to supposed victory – just like the Vaquero and PeeDee the Pirate.

Robert Lee Maril is professor of sociology, East Carolina University.


NOAA says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal | WTVD

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May 282015


Wednesday, May 27, 2015 04:54PM


For the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which officially runs from June 1 – November 30, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes.

“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew – a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida.

The news of a below average season came as local and state emergency managers, meteorologists, and researchers gathered Wednesday at East Carolina University’s 6th annual Hurricane Conference.

Experts said looking back at past storms can be valuable, but could also serve as a “gotcha” when you think one storm will be just like the last. Rather, every storm is different, and that’s why North Carolinians need to prepare early.

“We always say it only takes one right?” Michael Sprayberry, the North Carolina Emergency Management Director said Wednesday.

Five days before the official start to hurricane season, emergency managers and first responders from across the state gathered in Greenville to share the latest forecasts, evacuation plans, and where they’ll set up shelters for those in need.

Director of the National Hurricane Center Dr. Rick Knabb said no one should ever let their guard down.

“Don’t think it’s just a beachfront problem,” he told Eyewitness News. “We can have inland winds, and certainly we can have tornadoes.”

History proves why it takes coordination and planning from government leaders to you at home.

“The inland track that usually causes statewide damage, especially if that storm is really strong like Hurricane Fran was,” John Cole, Meteorologist NOAA/NWS Morehead City told the crowd.

In 1996, Fran brought damaging hurricane-force gusts as far inland as Raleigh. In our coastal low-lying areas, flooding is always a concern regardless of whether NOAA predicts a tame hurricane season like the one we’re about to enter.

“Look what Arthur showed us last year,” explained Knabb. “In a below-average year, we can have a hurricane landfall.”

“I would just urge folks to make sure that they are prepared individually for any type of emergency at their homes,” said Sprayberry.

He said you should be stocking your emergency kit now with water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered radio, and other supplies listed here: ABC11 Hurricane Center

“I don’t presume that I’m ready forever,” said Knabb. “I get ready again every year.”