Dorms You’ll Never See on the Campus Tour | The New York Times

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Jul 302015
 

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JULY 29, 2015

Nap pods and gaming arcades. Walk-in closets and private bathrooms. Rooftop pools and maid service.

With modern campuses caught up in what is popularly known as the amenities arms race, it is hard to blame incoming freshmen for expecting cushy suites and flat-screen TVs.

But most colleges have a residence hall or two that you’ll never see on the campus tour: the ones that look suspiciously like the fluorescent-lit dorms of yore.

Actually, they are the fluorescent-lit dorms of yore. Built in the middle of the last century or even earlier, they have survived to shock and dismay new freshmen with their cinder block aesthetic and dingy common rooms. Air-conditioning is a distant luxury. Bathrooms are nasty, crowded and few.

There are compensations. Older dorms are usually the cheapest, and cramped quarters foster friendships, students say. But that does not stop freshmen from looking ahead, with more than a little anticipation, to a new year — and new lodgings.

With incoming freshmen receiving their dorm assignment about now, we decided to cherry-pick a few of the bunkers that former residents like to warn about. The most loathed on their campuses? Indeed, but sometimes also the most loved.

Last fall, when Alexis Block was moving into Hill, her father announced that it looked exactly the same as when he had lived there in the early 1980s. “Not really what you want to hear,” Ms. Block said recently.

A brick fortress surrounded by a moat, Hill was designed by the modernist Eero Saarinen in the 1950s. But its rooms are small and narrow. Some first-floor windows have bars on them. And it can be unbearably hot in early fall (air-conditioning will arrive over the next few years; in the meantime, the website warns to bring fans).

Incoming Penn freshmen tend to prefer the Quadrangle, a century-old Tudor Gothic complex, all masonry curlicues and graceful courtyards. “When a majority of your friends live in the Quad, and they’re talking about how comfortable it is, and you’re talking about how you’re sweating all night, it’s like, well, Hill sucks,” said Alex Kaplan, who lived in Hill for the past academic year (and insists he loved it). Quad, which comprises three houses, has its own flaws. It is also old, leaky and, said Jacob Kahn, who spent last year there, favored by vermin, including “interesting long pink insects, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.”

Quadrangle Hall, University of Iowa

The university is building a new dorm — a $95 million, 12-story complex on the Iowa River with a dining hall, gym and clusters of private bathrooms, to be completed in 2017. But before it opens, Iowa will demolish one of its oldest dorms, a low brick building that was designed as a World War I barracks but now houses freshmen who consider themselves unlucky in the extreme. “It kind of always smells like it’s 100 years old,” said Riley Coyle, a nursing major. “It’s kind of like a mixture of mildew and old people, I would say.”

The water pressure is all but nonexistent, when the plumbing is working. Cockroach sightings are common. Ms. Coyle’s bed is an arm’s length from her roommate’s. But she is happy to have just one roommate. Some rooms house four. She calls it the “insane asylum” aesthetic.

Michael Kessler lived here as a freshman three years ago. “When you’re coming in, that’s not the dorm they show you on the tour,” he said. “Quad is probably your last choice coming into Iowa.”

Still, he emphasized the camaraderie born of mutual suffering. “I would not take it back for the world.”

Andros, University of South Florida

The trouble began as soon as Caitlin Corollo walked into her freshman-year dorm, in a 1960s complex called Andros.

“I was just so mad,” said Ms. Corollo, a business major. “It’s just so depressing.”

Do not ask her about the showers, so small she has trouble raising her arms above her head to lather her hair, with water temperatures that veer from freezing to scalding. Plus, the 60s-era soap holders are an exact match for her grandmother’s.
Photo
The scene outside of the Andros complex, at the University of South Florida. Credit Brian Blanco for The New York Times

“There are funny smells, unusual carpet stains, and crazy (sometimes sketchy) things happening,” wrote one former resident in a guide to the university’s freshman housing options. “If you’re going to be living here, make the best of it.”

Recognizing that Andros has aged badly, and needing more student housing, the university plans to tear down its eight structures over the next few years and replace them with a student “village,” including a dining hall, gym, outdoor pool and shops.

For the university, the benefits go beyond student comfort. The project proposal insists that the complex “have a positive impact on prospective students’ perceptions of U.S.F. during the campus tour.”

Low Rises 6 and 7, Cornell University

The squat brick Low Rises 6 and 7 are on the north side of campus, with a reputation for inconvenience and worse. The ceilings are cracked. The toilets are temperamental. The furniture is chipping. The heaters often work at full blast, or not at all, as happened over winter break this year, forcing students who had stayed over the holidays to sleep in the common rooms. Hair so frequently clogs some of the shower drains that clumps of it begin, mysteriously, to accumulate on the side of the tubs.

Even the lights, compared to newer residence halls like Mews Hall, seem “a little bit dimmer,” said Ritwik Dan, who lived in Low Rise 6 as a freshman.

CU Nooz, Cornell’s Onion-style website, put a wickedly fine point on it in October, when it published an item headlined “Students Organize Carwash to Support Suffering Residents of High and Low Rise Community.”

When students received their dorm assignments, some “literally started crying, because they were so upset,” said Rebecca Merenbach, a Low Rise 7 resident for the past year. “We have beautiful dorms here, but this is so ugly.”

A mazelike layout of isolated “suites,” each dorm houses seven students sharing a bathroom. The split-level design was, it happens, an architectural experiment meant to foster community. And Ms. Merenbach and other students say they have come to appreciate Low Rise for just that. Students gather in common areas after nights out or to study instead of retreating to their rooms.

“I actually really like living there,” she said. “It’s made us all become closer.”

Garner Hall, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

In 2011, DormSplash.com, a now-defunct website, ranked Garner the worst dorm in America. But the university had long before acknowledged that the hall, built in 1958, had “outlived its useful life,” as its website says, and the dorm was torn down. The demolition, the year after the ranking, was coincidence, said Kirsten Ruby, an associate director of housing, adding that the “worst” distinction was based on just a handful of reviews.

But even the least frilly dorms can inspire nostalgia among alumni, who include the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson (440 Garner Hall, 1959-60). Some 300 donors remember Garner fondly enough to have paid $150 for one of its bricks. Funds go to room and board for students with financial need.

About 200 bricks are left. The pitch: “Now is your chance to preserve a small part of Garner Hall for yourself and your family. Own a piece of history.”

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Do college rankings mean anything? That depends on your perception of No. 1 | The Washington Post

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Jul 302015
 

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By Jeffrey J. Selingo July 30 at 8:00 AM

When Money magazine released its “value-based” colleges rankings, several readers questioned their validity because of two Massachusetts institutions that appeared near the top of the list, Babson College and Bentley University. One reader asked: How could you take these rankings seriously if Babson ranked above MIT?

The concept of quality in American higher education remains an ambiguous and ill-defined term. It’s mostly a matter of perception. We tend to judge quality not by any standardized test or any other measure of a student’s success after four years of college, but instead by three historical standards that really have nothing to do with quality:

Selectivity. Selective colleges receive the most attention only because they reject most of their applicants. Their education must be good if so few people can access it. But admissions selectivity is purely a measure of who comes in the door of a university — a distinguished group of students with the best test scores, GPAs, and impressive list of extra-curricular activities in high school.
Wealth. We perceive the best schools to be wealthiest. After all, those colleges can spend the most money on research, faculty, facilities, and attracting talented students from all backgrounds (although they still tend to enroll few students from the bottom income brackets).
Research. Universities don’t just teach, they help discover the next frontier of knowledge. So in our mind, those institutions that attract the most dollars to do research and hire top scholars must be the best.

Of course, none of those measures look at what students actually learn in college or what happens to students after they graduate. Many alumni of top institutions go on to successful careers, of course, but not necessarily because of where they went to college. Those students were pretty good to begin with and colleges simply nurtured them for four years.

Our idea of the “best” colleges today is largely one of perception that is greatly shaped by the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Although a list of “best” college existed long before U.S. News started its rankings in the early 1980s, that exercise was largely an informal and convenient way to group institutions, like the Ivy League, for example. U.S. News helped cement the names of certain colleges in our minds, often in a specific rank order.

If you look at the U.S. News rankings of national universities from 1989, the first year the magazine started to publish them annually, you’ll notice several institutions not on today’s top 25 list. Those universities, mostly public institutions, have fallen in the rankings over the years, and as a result, are no longer top of mind when we think of the “best” colleges.
The U.S. News & World Report rankings from 1989.

Those early rankings were based solely on reputational surveys sent to college presidents and admissions officers. Over the years, U.S. News changed its methodology to include many more so-called input measures, such as SAT scores, class rank, and faculty resources. While U.S. News still includes some reputational score in its final ranking, if the magazine had kept that original methodology it’s very possible its first list of best colleges would have largely stayed the same and changed our perception of the validity of other rankings that followed.

I asked Kim Clark, a senior writer at Money, about how its list came together and why schools such as Babson and Bentley ranked near the top. A third of the Money rankings, she said, were based on outcomes, mostly how much money students make after they graduate. Bentley has a large accounting major, and many of its graduates end up as well-paid accountants in nearby Boston. “They are making more than $57,000 within five years,” Clark said. That puts Bentley in the top 50 in outcomes, Clark said, ahead of the likes of Bowdoin College, a highly regarded liberal arts college in Maine.

Bentley also is helped in the Money rankings by its location. Accountants in Boston get paid more than those in less-expensive cities. Clark said they rankings don’t consider regional differences in salaries, so if Bentley were in the middle of Iowa and sending its graduates to firms in Des Moines, it probably wouldn’t have ranked as high.

College presidents tend to criticize the various rankings when in public, but behind the scenes some of them care very much about where their schools end up in the list. Bentley’s president, Gloria Cordes Larson, said she doesn’t take the Money rankings any more seriously than other rankings because her institution did so well. And neither should students and parents, she said.

“Rankings are one of many tools to be used in the college search,” Larson said.

Kim Clark, of Money, who once worked as a reporter at U.S. News, said that magazine’s rankings set the bar for other publications, so it’s inevitable that any new list is compared to the original. If students and parents are using rankings as part of their college search, she urged them to consult many sources that have varying methodologies.

“Some schools in the U.S. News list are coasting on their reputation,” she said, “and they don’t have much else in their favor.”

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Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members sue Rolling Stone over retracted U-Va. rape story | The Washington Post

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Jul 302015
 

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By T. Rees Shapiro
July 29 at 7:05 PM

This story has been updated.

Three Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers are suing Rolling Stone magazine in New York federal court for defamation, alleging that a now-retracted December 2014 article on rape at the University of Virginia identified them as taking part in a vicious gang rape.

The three U-Va., graduates, George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford and Ross Fowler, filed the lawsuit in New York federal court Wednesday against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the journalist who wrote the 9,000-word account, which alleged a gang rape at the Phi Psi fraternity house during a party. The article was retracted in April after a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism review concluded that it was deeply flawed.

“As young men who have dedicated their lives to obtaining the merits to attend UVA, maintaining good grades and obtaining undergraduate degrees, while also becoming involved in UVA activities, pledging a fraternity and finding lifelong brothers and friends, Plaintiffs have been embarrassed to admit that they are members of Phi Kappa Psi as a result of the article and its accusations,” according to the filing entered in U.S. District Court in New York.

The three fraternity brothers are requesting a trial by jury and seek more than $75,000 for “mental anguish and severe emotional distress,” caused by the article and its aftermath.

The lawsuit (read the entire document below) centers on Erdely’s reporting of a brutal sexual assault that had allegedly occurred inside the U-Va. Phi Psi house in Sept. 2012. The story led with a detailed description of a fraternity party inside the house that devolved into a ritualized rape for new members of the fraternity. The main character, a U-Va. junior named Jackie, claimed that seven Phi Psi members took turns raping her in a second floor bedroom while two older fraternity brothers watched.

According to the lawsuit, Elias lived in a second floor bedroom of the fraternity at the time of the alleged attack, which led members of the U-Va. community to intuit his involvement in the crime.

Several members of the fraternity told The Washington Post that they were deeply affected by the story but knew it was false almost immediately after it was published.

In an interview with the Washington Post in January, Elias. who works for a Washington-area construction firm, said that he treasures his years at Phi Psi but that after the Rolling Stone article published, he found himself doubting the people he knew best. As the fraternity was vilified, Elias said, he hesitated to admit to co-workers that he was a member.

“The day it came out was the most emotionally grueling of my life,” Elias told The Post, adding that the alleged ritual gang rape hit the hardest. “It assumes that everyone that is part of the frat had to do that, and that hurt a lot of us.”

Though none of the alleged attackers were described by their real names in the Rolling Stone story, the three fraternity brothers allege in the lawsuit that they were harassed after the article’s publication and that details in the article led members of the public to begin identifying them as being involved in the assault.

A Charlottesville Police Department investigation concluded in March that there was no evidence that a sexual assault had occurred in the Phi Psi house as described in the Rolling Stone article.

This is the section of the Post story in January that included Elias:

George Elias, a 2013 graduate, said he took pride in the bonds he forged with the 16 other members of his Phi Psi pledge class. He arrived in Charlottesville in 2009, coming from the Philadelphia suburbs as the only senior in his 1,000-student graduating class to enroll at U-Va., and he joined Phi Psi after he was impressed by the brothers.

“I didn’t know anyone in the frat,” said Elias, 24. “They were very accepting of all kinds of people, and they didn’t judge you from your background.”

Elias treasures his years at Phi Psi, but when the Rolling Stone article was published, he found himself doubting the people he knew best. As the fraternity was vilified, Elias said, he hesitated to admit to co-workers that he was a member.

“The day it came out was the most emotionally grueling of my life,” said Elias, who works for a Washington-area construction firm.

He said that members of the fraternity began analyzing the article and quickly challenged troublesome assertions, including that the alleged gang rape was part of a hazing ritual at Phi Psi.

“That ritual part hit hard for everyone,” said Elias, who lived in the Phi Psi house his junior and senior years, including in fall 2012, when the attack was alleged to have occurred. “It assumes that everyone that is part of the frat had to do that, and that hurt a lot of us.”

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Former University of Virginia Fraternity Members Sue Rolling Stone | The New York Times

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Jul 302015
 

newyorktimes

By DANIEL VICTOR
JULY 29, 2015

Three former members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone on Wednesday for defamation and infliction of emotional distress, saying the magazine’s discredited article on a campus gang rape had a “devastating effect” on their reputations.

The article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published last fall, set off a national discussion with its vivid account of a student’s assault, but it was retracted in April after it fell apart under scrutiny by journalists and law enforcement officials. A report by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism uncovered an assortment of journalistic lapses, including a lack of skepticism and a failure to interview those accused of the assault.

The lawsuit also names Ms. Erdely and Rolling Stone’s publisher, Wenner Media, as defendants.

Friends, family members and acquaintances were able to identify George Elias IV as one of the accused attackers based on details in the article, including the location of a bedroom that was described as the setting of the assault, the lawsuit said. They “interrogated him, humiliated him, and scolded him,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in United States District Court in New York.

The two other plaintiffs, Stephen Hadford and Ross Fowler, faced embarrassment and distress that “emotionally wrecked” them, the lawsuit said. All three have graduated from Virginia.

“Plaintiffs have each suffered emotional turmoil, were entirely unable to focus at work and in school following the release of the article, and are still being questioned often about the article’s accusations,” the lawsuit said.

In May, Nicole P. Eramo, an associate dean of students, filed a defamation suit against Rolling Stone, saying the article portrayed her as discouraging the reporting of sexual assault to protect the university’s reputation. She is seeking nearly $8 million in damages.

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University of Cincinnati police officer who shot man during traffic stop charged with murder | The Washington Post

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Jul 302015
 

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By Kevin Williams, Wesley Lowery and Mark Berman
July 29 at 10:06 PM

CINCINNATI — A white campus police officer was charged with murder Wednesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black man after a routine traffic stop last week, an incident a local prosecutor decried as a “senseless, asinine shooting.”

The episode added Cincinnati to the list of cities where white officers have shot and killed black civilians, drawing national attention and fueling an ongoing debate over police use of deadly force against minorities.

A similar shooting in 2001 provoked violent riots here. With that memory still fresh, local officials moved swiftly and deliberately to try to contain the fallout.

“It was so unnecessary for this to occur,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said at an afternoon news conference. Of more than 100 police shootings reviewed by his office, Deters said, “this is the first time that we’ve thought, ‘This is without question a murder.’”

University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, 25, now faces life in prison for shooting Samuel Dubose, 43, on the evening of July 19, roughly two minutes after pulling him over for failure to display a front license plate. At first, Tensing said he was forced to shoot Dubose because he was being dragged by the car and nearly run over, according to the initial police report. But Deters said that didn’t happen, and Tensing was wearing a body camera that captured the incident.

The video, released Wednesday, appears to show Dubose turning the ignition after Tensing tells him to take off his seat belt. The officer reaches toward the door, yells “Stop!” and draws his gun. Then he thrusts the weapon through the open car window and fires a single round, striking Dubose in the head.

“He wasn’t dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing with someone who didn’t have a front license plate. This was, in the vernacular, a pretty chicken-crap stop,” Deters said, adding: “I’m treating him like a murderer.”

Police officers are rarely charged for fatally shooting people in the line of duty. Of 558 fatal shootings by police so far this year, according to a Washington Post database tracking such shootings, the death of Dubose is only the fourth to result in criminal charges against the officer.

Of the others, two also involved white officers shooting black men; the third victim was white. All three were captured on video.

On Wednesday, Tensing surrendered to police and was taken into custody as university officials announced his firing. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. His indictment by a grand jury comes just 10 days after Dubose’s death — and almost exactly one year after the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., which sparked protests and energized a national civil rights movement.

Before the indictment was announced, Tensing’s attorney, Stew Matthews, seemed to anticipate that outcome, blaming “the political climate here and nationally.” Afterward, Matthews told WCPO, an Ohio TV station, that Tensing “was thrown under the bus by everyone in this city.” Matthews did not respond to further requests for comment.

Some local officials and activists complained that officials had not released the body-camera footage sooner, especially since it contradicted the version of events police released immediately after the shooting.

“There was no transparency, no grace towards the family,” said Iris Roley, a leader of the Cincinnati Black United Front, a civil rights group.

But at a news conference, ­Audrey Dubose, the mother of the slain driver, expressed relief — and forgiveness. She had prayed that the truth about her son’s death would come out, she said, adding: “I’m so thankful that ­everything was uncovered.”

Calling her son a righteous, joyful man, Dubose said she thought the officer who shot him should have been “locked up on Day One” and said she wondered why he was still walking the streets.

“I thought it was going to be covered up. I heard many stories and everything. But . . . I trust God, and I knew everything was going to be all right,” she said. She added that she could forgive Tensing now if he asked for forgiveness.
Dubose’s mother: ‘So thankful that everything was uncovered'(2:38)
Audrey Dubose, the mother of the unarmed black man shot by a University of Cincinnati police officer earlier in July, delivered an emotional statement after prosecutors charged the officer with murder. (Reuters)

Mark O’Mara, an attorney for Dubose’s family, urged against any violent or aggressive response.

“Sam was a peaceful person,” O’Mara said. “We do not want any violence, any anger to come out in a way that denigrates who he was and who he wanted to be remembered as.”

Local reaction to Tensing’s indictment was muted. Before the announcement, the University of Cincinnati canceled classes out of “an abundance of caution.” On Wednesday evening, about 250 people gathered for a hastily called rally in front of the Hamilton County courthouse, but the event was dampened by a passing thunderstorm.

The rally was organized by Black Lives Matter and featured several family members of Sam Dubose. The rain kept many people under umbrellas and ponchos. Police maintained a distance as family and friends of Dubose addressed the crowd.

“The indictment was handed down today and the family was satisfied, but justice won’t be served until he is found guilty,” said Don Allen, a nephew of Dubose’s.

One of the more moving moments of the demonstration was when one of Dubose’s children took the megaphone and addressed the crowd.

“They shot him in the head. It was murder and the officer thought he would get away with it,” said Samuel Debose, 9, his voice shaking.

Debose’s sister, Kim Thomas, also addressed the crowd, her voice angry.

“I want the officer to spend the rest of his life in jail,” she said, and called for other officers involved in the traffic stop to also be indicted.

The crowd responded with chants of “I am Sam” and “Black Lives Matter!”

A couple of hundred people then marched to police headquarters where demonstrators faced off with lines of officers. The protest was peaceful but several streets downtown were shut as marchers then snaked their way through the Main Street business district and headed back to the courthouse.

“Justice will be served when Ray Tensing is convicted of murder and other officers are charged with accessory,” said Emmanuel Grey, an organizer with the Black Lives Matter activist group in Cincinnati.

Earlier in the day, mourners gathered around the spot about half a mile from the university campus where Dubose was killed. A makeshift memorial had taken shape with balloons and poster board.

“Sam was a really good guy, a really brilliant musician,” said Robyn Jones, who said she had known Dubose since he was 13. “He was very driven and a wonderful family man who touched a lot of lives.”

“I was very relieved we got justice,” Jones added. “A campus police officer had no business doing a traffic stop in an urban area.”

Joseph Norris, who lives in the neighborhood, was waiting for sweet-and-sour chicken at King Wok, a restaurant just off the sprawling campus.

“My record is clean, but as a young black man I start shaking whenever a police car pulls up behind me,” Norris said. If university police are going to make traffic stops, he said, “they need better training.”

Deters questioned why the university had a police force at all. “I don’t think a university should be in the policing business,” he said.

But the university’s president, Santa J. Ono, said he thought the school’s force should be improved rather than disbanded. School officials had previously announced that they would bring in an outside investigator to review the department’s policies.

Meanwhile, amid concerns about the shooting, the school announced last week that its officers would patrol and make traffic stops only on campus.

Tensing was about a half-mile south of campus when he pulled over Dubose’s green Honda Accord at 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday evening. The body-camera footage shows a routine traffic stop that abruptly escalated to bloodshed.

“Hey, how’s it going, man?” Tensing begins. He explains to Dubose that he stopped him because he was not displaying a front plate. Tensing asks Dubose for his driver’s license multiple times, but Dubose hands over only what appears to be a bottle of gin. Dubose finally admits that he doesn’t have his license with him, adding: “I just don’t. I’m sorry, sir.”

With that admission, Tensing asks Dubose to take off his seat belt, presumably a prelude to asking Dubose to get out of the car. Dubose protests that he had not done anything wrong and appears to turn the car back on. At that point, Tensing yells “Stop!” and draws his gun.

After the shooting, the car lurches forward and comes to a stop some distance down the street. Tensing runs after it, yelling to a dispatcher that medical attention is needed.

One minute and 53 seconds had elapsed since Tensing first approached the car.

“Could you imagine the outrage you would have if this was your kid, if this was your brother, over a stop like this?” Deters said. “And he didn’t do anything violent towards the officer. He wasn’t dragging him. And he pulled out his gun and intentionally shot him in the head.”

In 2001, Cincinnati was riven by riots, looting and protests after a white officer shot and killed an unarmed black man, Timothy Thomas. At the request of then-Mayor Charlie Luken (D), the Justice Department launched a review of the Cincinnati police, and a series of reforms followed. The officer, Stephen Roach, was charged but later acquitted.

Over the past year, protests have raged in Ferguson, New York and other cities after similar encounters, often because authorities failed to press charges against officers involved in the fatal incidents.

With Tensing’s indictment, Cincinnati appears to be following a pattern laid out earlier this year in North Charleston, S.C. There, Michael Slager, a white police officer, shot and killed a black man, Walter Scott, after a traffic stop.

At first, Slager reported that Scott had taken his Taser, but a bystander’s cellphone video later emerged to contradict that account. It showed Slager firing multiple shots into Scott’s back as he ran away.

Tensing “was wrong,” said Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. “And when we’re wrong, we need to be held accountable.”

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Should college police officers be armed and challenging people off campus? | The Washington Post

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Jul 302015
 

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By Susan Svrluga, Nick Anderson and Mark Berman
July 29 at 6:29 PM

The high-profile shooting of a man during a traffic stop by a University of Cincinnati officer this month raised a question: Just what is the role of campus security?

Most universities now allow their campus officers to carry guns, according to Department of Justice statistics, and most campus security officers patrol areas both strictly within campus limits and those nearby.

[University of Cincinnati police officer who shot man during traffic stop charged with murder]

Fatal shootings involving campus police officers, like the one in Cincinnati, are unusual. But gunfire is not. And as the lines blur between on- and off-campus life – at some schools, most students live off-campus, while at others, the campus may function almost like a small city plunked in the midst of a rural area – it can be difficult for college officials to decide where to draw boundaries.

“I don’t think it’s straightforward at all,” for them, said Robin Hattersley, executive editor of Campus Safety Magazine. Colleges are so deeply enmeshed in the surrounding community, often with considerable tensions between the university and the rest of the population, “it’s very challenging. Colleges often find it necessary to manage not only their physical campus, but their surroundings.”

Students and parents may have an expectation that the school will keep them safe from external threats, while the outside community often expects the university to keep student behavior, even off campus, in check.

Many states are now allowing people to carry weapons on campus, Hattersley noted. And tragedies like the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 transformed the way people think about risks on campus.

S. Daniel Carter, director of a campus safety initiative that is part of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shootings, said he believes campus safety has never been more discussed than it is now. But he thinks people have the wrong idea about it.

“I think campus policing is widely misunderstood,” Carter said. “Many people think of them not as real police, dealing with inconsequential matters. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Carter said that many campus police officers are sworn officers, and in colleges with sworn officers, more than 90 percent have officers who are armed.

“Many of them are career campus police officers,” Carter said. “It used to be a hodge-podge, officers on the way up, officers on the way to retirement. I think many people don’t appreciate just how important a role they have.”

The movement toward sworn, professional campus public safety agencies is not new. According to the BJS survey, two-thirds of the more than 900 U.S. four-year colleges and universities with 2,500 or more students use sworn police officers to provide law enforcement services. More than nine in 10 public colleges and universities used sworn officers, the Justice Department found.

These sworn officers undergo the same training as their local or county counterparts. Sworn police officers have full arrest powers granted by a state or local authority.

“We have the same training, the same continuous training, the same background standards,” as other police agencies, said William F. Taylor, chief of police at San Jacinto College in Texas and president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He said he was disheartened after seeing video of the incident involving the University of Cincinnati officer.

“Not what I see in the officers I hire,” Taylor said. “I feel so terrible for the family,” he said, referring to Samuel Dubose, 43, who was shot and killed during a July 19 traffic stop by Officer Raymond Tensing.

The prosecutor who announced the charges against Tensing said university police should not be on patrol, something that could be handled by Cincinnati city police. “I don’t think a university should be in the policing business,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said Wednesday.

Santa J. Ono, president of the university, said that he thought the force could be improved, rather than disbanded. University officials had already announced since the shooting that they will bring in an outside investigator to review the department’s policies and procedures. Last week, owing to concerns about the Cincinnati shooting taking place off-campus, the school said its officers would only patrol and make traffic stops on the campus.

Taylor said that the Cincinnati shooting should not taint all campus police, who protect more than 17 million college and university students nationwide.

“I would hate the idea of the actions of a single police officer at a single institution, on a particular day, broad-brushing the entire campus law enforcement. You know what I mean?” he said. “It’s an isolated, singular incident.”

Fatal shootings by campus police, Taylor said, are very rare.

Taylor said the modern campus police force began taking shape in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the height of student unrest during the Vietnam War.

He said campus police need to be armed because, in addition to dealing with students and faculty, “they deal with whoever else wanders onto the campus. You notice, most campuses don’t have walls and fences. Anything that can happen anywhere in the community can happen on a campus.”

Taylor said that many universities have become more engaged in recent times in surrounding communities, often because the schools have bought property in adjacent neighborhoods or because of heavy student and faculty presence there. That has led to expanded university police patrols in some cities on the periphery of campuses. He said that city police often appreciate the help.

“No one would cast aspersions on municipal police departments because one officer engaged in alleged misconduct,” said Carter, of the Virginia Tech Victims foundation. “Taking away campus police departments that provide very specialized services to communities that they know would be very dangerous, in my estimation.”

Traffic stops are one of the most common and routine duties of a campus officer, just as with any agency, Carter said. “Just like with any police department, there are some aspects of it that may seem day-to-day but they can turn very challenging, threatening and tragic in an instant.

“You don’t know if at the next traffic stop the person is going to pull a gun on you. Obviously the reverse happened at the University of Cincinnati. But the officers don’t know that.”

In the nation’s capital, most university police do not carry firearms. The only two D.C. universities with armed police are Howard and the public University of the District of Columbia, said Sally Kram, director of governmental and public affairs for the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.

[From the archives: D.C. universities want some police powers to extend into neighborhoods]

Unlike many areas, Kram said university police in D.C. are only authorized to patrol on campuses.

Kram said she cannot recall any incidents in the past two decades in which a campus police officer fatally shot someone in the District.

But elsewhere, fatal shootings on or near campus involving college police do happen. Last month, for example, the New York Daily News reported that a state police trooper shot a man who Boston University police had approached; the man appeared to be threatening them with a knife.

In May, prosecutors announced that there would be no charges filed after a San Antonio University officer fatally shot a man who refused to put down a saw, even after being Tased, according to ABC7 News.

Last spring, Columbus State University officers shot and killed a man who was seen loading a gun near a campus complex where more than 400 students live, according to the school.

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300-Year-Old Spanish Shipwreck Holds Million Dollar Treasure | National Geographic

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Jul 292015
 

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By Jane J. Lee, National Geographic

PUBLISHED July 28, 2015

Shipwreck divers have announced quite the anniversary present for the flagship of a 1715 Spanish treasure fleet, the Capitana: 52 gold coins, 40 feet of gold chain, and 110 silver coins and buttons all worth over one million dollars.

The find, made over a month ago on June 17, was kept under wraps until now. The Florida family that made the discovery, led by Eric Schmitt, wanted to wait so their announcement would coincide with the 300-year anniversary of the fleet’s sinking off the coast of Florida.

The 11 ships were part of Spain’s Tierra Firme and New Spain fleets, regular convoys of vessels that transported gold, silver, and other precious resources from Spanish colonies in the New World to Europe.

“The Tierra Firme fleet serviced South and Central America,” said Jennifer McKinnon, a maritime archaeologist at East Carolina University, in an interview earlier this year. She was not involved in the current find. The fleet “was vital to the flow of materials back to Spain as well as provisioning the New World with Old World goods.”

The ships sank during a hurricane that hit them on July 30 and 31, 1715 as they sailed past Florida on their way back to Spain.

Schmitt and his family had been working the 1715 vessels under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a Florida company with exclusive rights to the wrecks, for several years.
Unexpected Haul

Usually Schmitt and his team come up empty-handed. “Typically we excavate empty holes and find beer cans,” the shipwreck diver says.

But this time, in 15 feet (4.5 meters) of water about 1,000 feet (305 meters) off a beach in Fort Pierce, Florida, the divers got lucky.

The day started out like any other, Schmitt says. But around 9 or 9:30 in the morning, a gold coin popped out of the sand he was clearing on the seafloor. The dive team started to shift more sand, and ended up recovering the treasure. “It was absolutely unreal,” says Schmitt. He called Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels to check out their discovery. “I was blown away,” Brisben says. “I was literally shaking.”

Brisben and his company’s contractors have been working the wrecks since 2010. But the current find “is probably the biggest in terms of volume and rarity,” he says. The gold coins included an extremely rare specimen called a Tricentennial Royal worth over $500,000.

Regular coins in those days tended to look a bit rough, Brisben says. Their makers were more concerned about the coins’ weight and quality of gold or silver. But “they made a certain number of coins perfect, called the Royals, which they would present to the king.”
Splitting the Take

Schmitt and his team have continued to work the site that yielded that million-dollar haul. They’ve found some more silver coins and buttons and several candlesticks since then. But nothing like that initial find.

All of the artifacts are under the jurisdiction of the United States district court of the southern district of Florida under the care of Brisben’s company. The state of Florida is entitled to 20 percent of anything Brisben or his contractors find.

Every year, Florida will send representatives to examine anything the teams find, and put in a request for items they’d like to transfer to museums to the Court. If the Court agrees, the company turns the items over, Brisben says.

With the current find, after the state takes its share, Brisben and the Schmitt family will split the rest evenly.

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NEW INFO: Driver charged after hitting ECU bus | WITN

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Jul 292015
 

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Updated: Tue 9:57 PM, Jul 21, 2015

The driver of a car that police say struck an ECU transit bus is now facing multiple charges.

The accident happened around 9:20 a.m. on East 10th Street in front of the Highway Patrol station.

Greenville police say Kristopher Little, 27, has been charged with careless & reckless driving, driving left of center and failure to reduce speed.

Officers say Little’s car went left of center and struck a Jefferson’s Florists van. The car then spun around, and struck the bus.

There were seven people on the ECU bus, but none of the passengers, nor the driver were injured.

Little, and the driver of the van, Julia Dixon, were both taken to Vidant Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries.

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Auditor: Ousted community college head spent on himself | The News & Observer

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Jul 292015
 

newsobserver

July 28, 2015

By EMERY P. DALESIO Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C.

The former president of Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington spent nearly $36,000 in vending machine funds on personal expenses and nearly $3,000 extra to operate his leased car, a state audit released Tuesday said.

The report by state Auditor Beth Wood’s office urges the college to consult attorneys about whether it should sue former President Ted Spring to recover misappropriated funds. The school’s board of trustees said in a written response to the audit that they started that process last month.

Spring also spent $48,000 in unapproved pay raises, promotions and new positions for senior managers that should have had budget oversight by campus trustees, the report said.

The audit report validates a suspected “pattern of misappropriation of funds and deceptive practices” by Spring, the college’s board of trustees said in its response to the auditor’s report.

Spring resigned in January under pressure from campus trustees, who did not explain the president’s ouster. Spring filed a lawsuit in March claiming a violation of his employment contract. Spring was hired in November 2012 at a salary of $250,000 a year. That was raised to $268,000 annually months before his ouster.

Spring has no listed telephone number in Wilmington and could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Gary Shipman, said Spring did nothing wrong.

“Absolutely nothing referenced in the State Auditor’s report was done secretly, at Dr. Spring’s sole direction, or without the concurrence of others whose job that it is to insure that everything is done in accordance with policy,” Shipman said in a statement.

Spring “violated established policies” and “received inappropriate benefits” during his two years heading the college, auditors said. That included Spring using vending machines revenues — money that could be used for discretionary spending by the school — for club memberships, meals and his wife’s travel, the report said.

About $21,500 of Spring’s questioned personal spending came from leasing vehicles for himself and the athletic department, the report said. Spring obtained “a motor vehicle at the expense of the college that he was not entitled to under the Employment Agreement,” then used it at the school’s expense after trustees told him to return it, lawyers for the college trustees said in a response to the ex-president’s employment lawsuit.

Another $7,500 paid a public relations firm Spring hired “in response to negative media coverage concerning the expenses of the former president,” the auditor’s report said. Wilmington television station WECT last year broadcast a series of stories about Spring’s spending.

Auditors faulted the college for failing to adopt policies for proper use of vending funds, which generated an average of $172,000 in each of the past two years.

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Warrants: UNC students visited Chapel Hill bars, party before fatal crash on I-85 | The News & Observer

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Jul 292015
 

newsobserver

July 28, 2015
By Tammy Grubb

CHAPEL HILL

An underage UNC student visited two bars and a party before troopers say he drove drunk and killed three people in a head-on collision July 19, search warrants show.

Chandler Kania, 20, of Asheboro, was released from the Orange County jail on a $1 million secured bond Tuesday afternoon.

The rising junior is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count of serious injury by motor vehicle. He also is charged with driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, possessing an open container of alcohol, possession of alcohol by a person under age 21 and driving by a person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol.

State Highway Patrol officials said Kania was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 near the Interstate 40 split when he collided with a Suzuki, killing three people: the driver, Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte; Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte; and Jahnice Baird, 6, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Kania’s friends have provided investigators with details about that night.

Kania and a group of friends were at a party until around midnight July 18, according to search warrants. They left and went to La Residence in Chapel Hill, where door staff checked Kania’s identification, a witness told officers.

La Residence has provided officers with surveillance footage, but owner Frances Gualtieri said they have not found records that Kania bought anything.

A roommate told officers that Kania had been going to the restaurant regularly, using a driver’s license issued to an older Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brother, Alcohol Law Enforcement warrants state.

The group then went to He’s Not Here on Franklin Street. Officers have obtained a $14 credit card receipt in Kania’s name from the bar, warrants state. The receipt shows the bill was paid at 1:48 a.m. July 19.

Friends told officers that they tried to keep Kania from driving, warrants state.

The first call to 911 that Kania’s Jeep Wrangler was heading in the wrong direction on Interstate 85 came in at 3:06 a.m., the warrant states.

Kania “had a strong odor of alcohol about his person at the collision scene,” troopers reported.
Past violations

He’s Not Here and La Residence have had alcohol-related incidents in the last 18 months, according to police records.

Officers responding to a fight at He’s Not Here in November found three underage men outside who had been drinking, said police spokesman Lt. Josh Mecimore. Two men were cited for underage possession of alcohol, he said, while the third was cited for underage alcohol consumption.

The men were not at the bar when police found them, but “the likelihood of them drinking somewhere else is pretty slim,” Mecimore said.

Two violations were reported at La Residence on West Rosemary Street, including a possible alcohol overdose in December. Mecimore said the person in that case was charged with having a fake Ohio driver’s license, possessing alcohol under the age of 19 and underage consumption.

Police also found fake identification when they stopped someone walking out of La Residence in October with a beer in hand, Mecimore said.

Both businesses also have faced the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in the past.

He’s Not Here will face the commission again Aug. 12. The new case involves a sale to an underage buyer on April 2 and four instances where the bar failed to determine the buyer’s age, reports show. The bar could have its permit suspended for 50 days or pay a $5,000 fine, ABC officials said.

Eighteen bars, retailers and restaurants in Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been cited for alcohol violations since January, according to ABC Commission reports.

He’s Not Here and La Residence require BARS (Be a Responsible Seller) training at the restaurant two or three times a year. Law enforcement teaches servers how to spot fake IDs and what to do when they think someone is underage.
ALE challenged

ALE has 102 sworn positions in a state of 9.9 million people and more than 29,000 businesses with ABC permits, ALE head Mark Senter said in an email.

“Budget cuts over the last several years has reduced the available funding to conduct covert operations,” he said. “With the explosive growth of ABC outlets, gangs and violence at some outlets, Alcohol Law Enforcement has become more reactive in enforcement efforts as opposed to proactive.”

A joint Durham Police Department and ALE operation this month cited employees for selling alcohol to minors at 31 locations, including three Krogers, two Food Lions and two restaurants.

Durham Sgt. Dale Gunter said they try to do alcohol compliance checks at least once a year.

With all the systems in place – from distinctive licenses for minors to point-of-sale systems that require a date of birth to make a sale – the majority of people who sell to minors make a conscious decision to disregard the law, Gunter said.

“It only takes two second to check it,” he said.

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Sketch of men sought in UNC, Duke robberies released | The News & Observer

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Jul 292015
 

newsobserver

July 28, 2015

DURHAM

Duke University police have put out sketches of two men whom they are seeking in connection with a robbery near the campus last week and who have been linked to two similar stickups in Chapel Hill and two on the UNC campus.

The drawings are based on the recollection of a man who was robbed outside a university-owned apartment building at 301 Swift Ave. at 1:40 a.m. Friday.

Late Wednesday, a man and a woman were robbed on the University of North Carolina campus near Raleigh and Country Club roads, UNC police said.

Shortly after those robberies, two men were robbed in the area of East Franklin Street and North Estes Drive, Chapel Hill police said.

Victims’ descriptions were similar in each case, police said.

In the Duke sketch, the man on the left was described as being 5-6 to 5-8 and weighing about 145 pounds. He has a very dark complexion and held a gun used in the Duke robbery in his right hand, police said.

The second man, on the right, was described as bald, 6-1 to 6-2 and weighing about 180 pounds. He has a dark complexion, police said.

Duke police asked anyone in Durham with information that might help investigators identify the men and find them to call Duke Police Investigator Jeff Frisbie at 919-684-4714 or Durham CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200 or visit the campus CrimeStoppers website.

CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases. Callers may remain anonymous.

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George Washington University Drops Sat and Act Scores for Applicants | The New York Times

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Jul 292015
 

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By ASHLEY SOUTHALL
JULY 27, 2015

George Washington University will no longer require most applicants to submit SAT or ACT test scores to be considered for undergraduate admission. The new policy, announced by the school on Monday, makes George Washington one of the largest colleges in the nation to adopt a “test-optional” policy. The change takes effect on Aug. 1 and will apply to the 2016-17 school year. It was made in response to the recommendations of a university task force formed in 2014 to explore ways to expand higher education opportunities for low-income students. The testing requirement will still apply to applicants who are home-schooled, those who come from high schools that provide only narrative evaluations, college athletes and students applying to a seven-year program for aspiring physicians.

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How to combat sexual assault in college? The Senate wants to know. | The Washington Post

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Jul 292015
 

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By Nick Anderson
July 29

What should be done about sexual assault in college?

And what, if anything, should Congress do?

The Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions takes up those questions Wednesday morning in a hearing that suggests sexual assault will become part of the debate in revising the nation’s higher education law.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), plans to hear from a bipartisan group of senators who want to set standards for training about sexual assault at colleges and establish new penalties for schools that fail to follow federal laws related to safety and gender discrimination.

Those senators include Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

Also scheduled to speak are Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California; Dana Bolger, a recent graduate of Amherst College who is involved in an anti-sexual assault group called Know your IX; and representatives of the Association of American Universities and the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers & Professionals.

Skeptics said the hearing appeared to be one-sided. Families Advocating for Campus Equality, a group that seeks fairness and due process in college investigations of alleged sexual misconduct, said in a statement that it wants Congress to take into account the perspective of students accused of misconduct.

These students, the group said, “face the full weight of punitive consequences: suspension and/or expulsion from their college or university and the life-altering stigma of having been disciplined for ‘sexual assault’ when the sexual activity did not meet the standard of a criminal offense or even a violation of most social mores.”

Sexual assault has seized attention in Washington and on campuses across the country. A Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June found that 20 percent of young women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted. Surveys of students at the University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere also have found evidence of widespread sexual misconduct.

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Grant funds youth kayak excursions | The Daily Reflector

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Jul 282015
 

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072815Kayaking-5_0-6_0

Youth Kayak Program Coordinator Liz Houde helps the kids from the Boys & Girls Club stop along a beach for a rest while kayaking with Sound Rivers along the Tar River on Thursday July 16, 2015. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)

The East Carolina University Adventure Program has received a $2,500 grant from the Paddle Nation Grant Program to take Pitt County fifth- through eighth-graders out on local waterways.

The Adventure Program, part of ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness in the Division of Student Affairs, used the grant funds to purchase two rafts and related equipment to take local youths on kayak and paddle trips along the Tar River.

“For many of these young people, this is their first time in a kayak,” said Brad Beggs, assistant director of adventure in Campus Recreation and Wellness.

“In fact, we have found that it’s the first time on the water in any capacity for some of the kids,” he said.

The Paddle Nation Grant Program is an initiative connecting young people to their rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. It is funded by the National Park Service, Outdoor Retailer and several paddle-sport industry manufacturers, retailers and stakeholders.

Children with Building Hope Community Life Center took an kayak excursion last week. Trips are planned with children with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center on Wednesday and with the Girl Scouts on Friday.

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Sexton: Transition from Kid to Young Woman almost complete | Winston-Salem Journal

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Jul 282015
 

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July 28, 2015
By Scott Sexton
SEVEN DEVILS — The Kid Who Lives in Greenville could not stop talking.

She does that sometimes when she’s nervous or excited. Or just awake.

This time, though, there was ample reason for the verbosity. She was about to set sail on a tour at Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zip Line with her brother and me, and she could not stop thinking about a 12-year-old girl who died last month after falling from a zip line at a YMCA camp.

The Chatty Cathy act wasn’t because she was afraid; The Kid Who Lives in Greenville understood that the incident was a freak occurrence. Rather, she was worried about the camp counselors who were working that awful June day.

“They’ll have to live with that the rest of their lives,” she said to others on the zip line tour who were talking about the same accident but for a different reason.

Two minutes before she leaps off a tower to soar across a mountain valley and my kid is thinking about how badly another kid might be feeling?

That’s my girl.

‘Like Neil Armstrong’

The Kid Who Lives in Greenville is in transition this summer.

She’s changing her college major, and has plotted out a course for a career in sales. She’s working an actual job waiting tables at a local restaurant, and has managed to bank most of her money — a world away from the high school kid who couldn’t hold onto a nickel with both hands and a vise.

One of her first acts this summer was to take her car to the mechanic because she thought the brakes felt “squishy.” She walked right in and asked the guys at West End Auto Clinic if they could take a look. They bled the brakes, and gave her the bill. And she paid it. With her own money.

This is a kid who not that long ago couldn’t (or wouldn’t) order a pizza over the phone, and who just the other day flubbed her first try at the road test for her driver’s license. So now she’s taking care of her own car and paying the bill?

The Kid Who Lives in Greensville turned 20 earlier this month, a milestone that she was both lamenting and looking forward to passing. Lamenting only because dirty old men in their 30s might feel less inhibited about trying out a line on a 20-year-old; chatting up a teenager is downright creepy.

Other than that small objection, The Kid Who Lives in Greensville seems to be growing up gracefully, making sound decisions and handling her business.

“So far my 20s have been pretty good,” she said over a leisurely dinner Sunday. “I mean, I got myself some new shoes.”

Then she turned philosophical, and started on about “those darn kids today” — hilarious from the mouth of a newly minted 20-year-old.

“I just adore old people,” she said out of the clear blue sky. “They have so many stories and so much knowledge and stories about their adventures in life. Like Neil Armstrong.

“And my generation, what do we have? Stories about having an iPhone7 when they were 15. That’s what being young is all about now.”

Crafting a plan

The zip line tour, taken last week, was all her idea.

She wanted the “Eagle Tour” — 9 lines over three miles, including two that stretch for nearly one-half mile and hit speeds approaching 50 mph — and not the shorter, smaller one.

She knows full well that this summer is likely the last time she will ever live at home full time, so she is determined to make a few last memories of her time as a kid.

“If you go, you gotta go big, right?” she said.

The Kid Who Lives in Greenville lives that motto. This week’s project, fueled by an email that ECU sent to the entire student body, involved a semester studying in Italy. Last-minute cancellations in the school-backed program opened up a few slots, and she decided she wanted one of them.

“It’s once in a lifetime, Dad,” she explained.

She wasn’t asking for permission so much as sharing an idea, looking for support and discussing it. The semester abroad starts in mid-September and she needs to apply ASAP. There are a lot of details and questions still to be answered, but she’s realistic about them. She’s hopeful, but not delusional.

She has figured out a plan for how to pay for it that doesn’t involve peeling hundreds off that tree where some college kids think money grows.

What do you say to a kid like that? The only thing I could think of was to hug her, tell her I love her and that I was proud of her. What other option is there? If she’s going to go, she might as well go big, right?

The Kid Who Lives in Greenville has become the Young Woman with Big Goals. I knew the day was coming, but who knew it would be this fast?

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