Apr 232014



APRIL 22, 2014

Leaders in higher education, upset by Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision upholding Michigan’s ban on race-based preferences in college admissions, said the ruling would nudge them further along the path of finding alternative means to promote diversity in their student bodies.

Race remains a permissible element in admissions in states without such a ban, and many educators hailed the dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, which emphasized the continuing significance of race. Still, they said affirmative action appeared to have a limited future.

“Most of us have already started to look at other variables than race, especially first-generation students, and low-income students,” said Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In debates taking place in various parts of the country, many educators have argued that such methods produce diversity but far less effectively.

The California Senate, seeking to increase minority representation at state university campuses, passed a bill this year that would have eliminated Proposition 209, that state’s 1996 ban on racial preferences. The bill was backed by many Latinos, but opposed by many Asian groups. Last month, the State Assembly speaker sent it back to the Senate without taking any action.

This month, in what could become the next round of affirmative-action litigation, the Virginia-based Project on Fair Representation set up websites featuring photos of Asian students in an attempt to find plaintiffs for race-based discrimination suits against Harvard, the University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, has argued that colleges can achieve diversity without considering race, through such measures as admitting the top students from each high school in the state, taking family income into account and ending preferences for legacy students.

“Colleges don’t want to do it because they’d rather assemble a class of wealthy students of all colors,” he said.

Some who support state bans on racial preferences said such prohibitions might spread as a result of the Supreme Court decision.

Roger Clegg, president of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, said he hoped to see the bans proliferate, whether through ballot initiatives or legislation.

“Not every state has ballot initiatives, but where ballot initiatives are not available, state legislatures should act,” he said. “And where state legislatures won’t act, then action should be taken at the local level.”

But some of the prime movers behind the bans said they did not expect a flurry of new ones — in part because they believed their fight against racial preferences was mostly won.

“I think this issue is largely settled,” said Ward Connerly, president of the American Civil Rights Institute. “Most Americans have made up their minds that the government should not treat people differently based on race, and they’re kind of impatient that we continue to wrestle with the question.”

Mr. Connerly, a former California regent who took his campaign to ban racial preferences to eight states, said he had no plans to work toward referendums in more states, and would be surprised if any other organization decided to spend significant resources to do so.

“I think where this is going to go is more universities trying to craft policies that rely on socioeconomic factors, and they won’t get much of a quarrel as long as they don’t make those policies smell like race-based factors,” Mr. Connerly said.

And Jennifer Gratz, a plaintiff in one of the cases against the University of Michigan and founder of the XIV Foundation, said that while she would support efforts for more bans, she was now interested in moving beyond such a fight.

“At this point, I think there needs to be a process to start to talk with people who believe they need race preferences to succeed, and tell them why in this day and age, no one needs a government preference based on their skin color,” she said.

Many who have backed the continued use of race in admissions criteria say the growing focus on social and economic factors is a matter of practical politics.

“The reason we’re moving to income-based affirmative action is that it’s politically viable, and allows a coalition we haven’t seen since Bobby Kennedy, of working-class whites and minorities,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. “But it won’t solve the problem, since our system of higher education now faithfully reproduces race and class differences across generations.”

Since 1994, he said, higher education has become increasingly two tiered, with 85 percent of white students going to the top 500 four-year colleges, and 75 percent of black and Latino students going to open-admissions schools. “In the end, you can’t avoid dealing with race,” he said.

Kati Haycock, president of the liberal Education Trust, said she could not deny that most people who follow the Supreme Court believe the clock is running out on race-based admissions policies.

“I just keep wishing that the people who spend so much time trying to end racial preferences in higher ed would work to end the racial differences in the education we provide K-12, which is why we need the racial preferences,” she said.

A version of this article appears in print on April 23, 2014, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline: Turning to New Means of Promoting Diversity. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Apr 232014


By Valerie Strauss

April 22 at 1:17 pm

By upholding Michigan’s ban on the use of racial preferences in college and university admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday dealt a new blow to racial justice.

Technically the court ruled that Michigan’s Proposal 2, a 2006 ballot initiative that led to a state constitutional ban on race-conscious college admissions, is constitutional (a decision that overruled a lower court). The ballot initiative, challenged by a coalition of organizations supporting affirmative action barred students from lobbying schools to consider race as a factor in admissions. Of course athletes, donors and alumni are not banned from lobbying for special admissions access. That’s why Mark Rosenbaum, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the case, said in a statement:

“This case is ultimately about whether students of color in Michigan are allowed to compete on the same playing field as all other students. Today, the Supreme Court said they are not.”

Since Proposition 2 took effect in 2006, there has been a sharp decline in minority enrollment in state institutions of higher education. At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, African-American enrollment fell 33 percent between 2006 and 2012 while overall enrollment grew 10 percent.

The court did not directly address the issue of using race as a factor in college admissions, and the justices took pains to note in their decision that they were only ruling on the process Michigan undertook to institute its ban. That doesn’t mean that opponents of affirmative action won’t read more into the decision, just as they did in June, when the court ruled in the case of Fisher vs. the University of Texas, in which a white student sued the school claiming that its affirmative action admissions program had deprived her of a spot in the freshman class.

The court didn’t stop the university’s admissions program but did take steps to make it harder to create a diverse student body. The justices sent the case back to a lower court where, as Richard Rothstein wrote in this post, “the university will have to prove that it could find no other way to get a diverse student body without explicitly considering race, and will have to prove that it used “good faith” in use of race to achieve diversity.” Rothstein, a research associate at the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute and an author, wrote:

The University and its civil rights group allies have, from an understandable tactical need to defend affirmative action by whatever means are available, accepted a Supreme Court framework that undermines equal rights in the long run. That framework is “diversity.” According to it, we pursue affirmative action not to remedy the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and continuing discrimination, not because equal opportunity for African Americans is an end in itself, but because

  • having a diverse student body improves the educational experience for white students, and because
  • it trains corporate and military leaders who will be more effective if they look like and have a better understanding of those they lead.

Forgotten has been the idea that African Americans are underrepresented at the University of Texas and at other elite institutions because, as Justice Ginsburg put it in her lonely dissent, they suffer from “the lingering effects of an overtly discriminatory past, the legacy of centuries of law-sanctioned inequality.” In reality, affirmative action is necessary not to make white students more comfortable in the presence of blacks, but to remedy those effects.


Apr 232014



APRIL 22, 2014

The serene College of Charleston campus is now the site of regular demonstrations.
Credit Dylan Wilson for The New York Times

CHARLESTON, S.C. — In keeping with this city’s veneration of things old, stately and Southern, the College of Charleston remains a genteel enough place that for spring commencement exercises, male students don white dinner jackets while women slip into white dresses.

But in recent months, two rancorous and still-evolving disputes — one centered on the newly selected president’s affection for the history of the Confederacy and another about encouraging incoming students to read the memoir of a lesbian — have thrust this oldest college south of Virginia into protracted turmoil as the latest flash point in the nation’s culture wars.

The serene campus is now the site of regular demonstrations by some of its more than 11,000 students. The Faculty Senate has decreed that it has no confidence in the college’s governing board. And in Columbia, the capital, certain conservative lawmakers speak openly of reducing the college’s budget.

For a place that occasionally markets itself as offering an “education in paradise,” the extent and longevity of the furor has showcased the depth of the rift between the institution and the elected officials who help oversee it.

“We are not a hell-raising political institution that I’ve ever seen, but for some reason this semester, that is all we’ve become,” said Jordan Hensley, a senior whose term as student body president ended last week.

And Alison Piepmeier, the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, said the college “has become a battleground.”

“People are fighting back,” she said.

Although the troubles have intensified this semester, they began when the college announced “Fun Home,” a memoir with themes that include sexual orientation, as the selection for a voluntary book experience last fall. For $52,000, the college bought thousands of copies of the book to distribute and arranged for its author, Alison Bechdel, to speak here.

But the selection angered religious conservatives. The Palmetto Family Council condemned the work as “pornographic,” a characterization its author disputes, and a state legislator, Garry R. Smith, ultimately led an effort to cut the college’s state budget allocation by $52,000. (Mr. Smith also targeted the University of South Carolina Upstate for a smaller reduction because of a different book selection.)

Mr. Smith, a Republican, did not respond to requests for an interview. But in a February Twitter post, Mr. Smith said the College of Charleston’s book selection “was purely about promotion, not debate or critical thinking.”

Although the budget cut has not become final, Mr. Smith and others in the Legislature have been widely denounced here as bigoted nuisances, especially after one lawmaker warned of deeper reductions after the college announced plans for dramatic performances of “Fun Home.”

“Columbia wouldn’t give us the time to catch our breath before they would hit us with something else,” Ms. Hensley said of recent decisions. “We kind of feel like we’re under attack from the State House.”

Some at the college have said lawmakers are trafficking in “oppression” that threatens academic freedom and converts public dollars into cudgels.

“This is not about the money,” said Jenna Lyles, a College of Charleston graduate who joined a protest on campus this week, one observed from afar by P. George Benson, the college’s president. “This is about silencing queer people’s stories. This is about making an example out of two public universities that have fancied themselves independent.”

Questions of political independence are also shadowing Mr. Benson’s expected successor, Lt. Gov. Glenn F. McConnell, who has been the subject of a separate debate here after a selection process that critics contend was a secretive charade intended to install the Republican in a plum post. The decision, they say, bypassed better qualified candidates.

Although Mr. McConnell has deep ties to the college — he is an alumnus who once led the student body and later represented Charleston in the State Senate for decades — he has no experience as an academic administrator. More troubling to some of his detractors, he has supported keeping the Confederate battle emblem on the grounds of the State House, participates in Civil War re-enactments and once ran a store here that sold, among other items, souvenirs related to the Confederacy.

“I’m not saying he’s the world’s most virulent racist, but his unrepentance reflects a certain kind of prejudice for people of color,” said Matthew R. Rabon, a junior studying philosophy who said Mr. McConnell’s actions could also reflect “a severe lack of judgment.”

But to Mr. McConnell and his supporters, his record has been willfully distorted and misinterpreted. Backers point to his efforts to direct lottery proceeds to historically black colleges and universities, and to his work on a monument to black history.

“Judge me by my record, not by someone’s rhetoric,” Mr. McConnell said in a lengthy interview on Monday at a Charleston McDonald’s. “It’s easy to mischaracterize someone rather than understand them.”

And Mr. McConnell, who is expected to inherit a college where black students made up 6 percent of the undergraduate enrollment last fall, dismissed charges that he is a racist as “totally fictitious.”

In a letter to the college’s Board of Trustees, Robert Ford, a former state senator who is black, praised Mr. McConnell.

“His record is one that should be applauded and not twisted simply because he participates in historical re-enactments,” Mr. Ford wrote in the letter. “I can tell you categorically that the members of the African-American community who are attacking Glenn McConnell as an enemy of diversity don’t know him. They have never worked with him. And they are dead wrong.”

Through a college spokesman, the board’s chairman, Gregory D. Padgett, declined an interview request, but he defended Mr. McConnell and the search process in a written statement.

“The board considered the feedback from every campus and community constituency before selecting Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the next president of the college,” Mr. Padgett said. “I’m confident the board made the best decision for the future of the College of Charleston and the educational needs of our students and our state.”

He added that he was certain Mr. McConnell, who is expected to take over in July, “will endeavor to earn the full trust of every member of our campus community, including his critics.”

Mr. McConnell vowed as much: “I will disprove the naysayers.”

 But many here worry that the discord will hurt the college’s reputation and that the damage could endure well beyond this semester, especially amid discussions of the institution expanding its academic offerings and perhaps merging with the Medical University of South Carolina.

“I can’t say that it’s a death knell for this school, but it can’t be good,” said Mr. Rabon, who is from Charleston. “And we were on a path to success doing what we were doing, and now that is in peril.”

A version of this article appears in print on April 23, 2014, on page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: Upsetting the Gentility That the South Lays Claim To. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe

Apr 232014


By ,

Published: April 22

American University is investigating potential student misconduct after the disclosure of a string of e-mails and other documents laced with expletives and slurs and referring to assault, raucous parties and rape.

The e-mails — leaked last week through the Web site Tumblr and cited in a story in the Eagle, the campus student newspaper — appear to chronicle lewd conversations between AU students and allude to a campus “brotherhood.” The messages, which could not be immediately authenticated, include references to a group that calls itself Epsilon Iota and appear to come from a Google group of the same name.

The school is looking at e-mails, disclosed last week, that discuss assault, parties and rape.

Although there is no officially recognized Epsilon Iota fraternity at AU, the group is a known social organization on the private university’s Northwest Washington campus. AU openly discourages its students from joining.

The e-mails have sparked an uproar. An online petition drive — “No More Silence” — is demanding that the university take steps to prevent sexual assault and suspend any students involved in the e-mails, which include many crude references to women. Some of the messages date to 2012.

On Monday, AU President Cornelius M. “Neil” Kerwin said in a statement to the campus that “harmful behaviors” depicted in the e-mails “not only conflict with our values and standards, but also may represent breaches of our student conduct code and of the law.”

Kerwin pledged “swift and deliberate action” to investigate. He said AU would apply its student conduct code “to its fullest extent” and cooperate with law enforcement if any crimes are uncovered.

“This situation cannot be viewed as an isolated set of circumstances,” Kerwin said. “It raises broader concerns about student conduct and high risk and harmful behaviors. Over the ensuing weeks and months, we will review with the community the steps we have taken to educate and address such issues and solicit ideas about what else might be effective in curtailing dangerous, damaging and illegal behaviors.”

One person whose name appears on some of the e-mails that were posted said, “I can’t talk to you right now” when reached by telephone Tuesday. Another hung up when reached by telephone, and a third did not immediately return a voice-mail message. Other people whose e-mail addresses are in the string of posts did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.

It is unclear whether those people actually wrote the messages, which contain private conversations and discussions across a range of subjects and documents attributed to the group. One document contains suggestions for T-shirt slogans Epsilon Iota could use as they recruit during “rush”; a string of messages discusses a fight that led to an allegation of assault; and others refer to heavy drinking and womanizing.

Epsilon Iota once signified an AU chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega national fraternity. But the national fraternity and the university withdrew recognition of the chapter 13 years ago.

Wynn R. Smiley, chief executive of Indianapolis-based Alpha Tau Omega, said Tuesday that its AU chapter was closed in 2001 because of “ongoing alcohol issues” and other concerns. ATO, Smiley said, has no connection with the organization known on campus as EI.

On Tuesday afternoon at the Kay Spiritual Life Center on campus, Kerwin fielded questions from students who were upset by the e-mails. One woman said the incident made her feel unsafe. Another pressed the university to do more to prevent sex assaults, declaring: “I am revolted, and nauseated and disgusted.”

Gail Short Hanson, AU’s vice president of campus life, said university officials share their anguish. “What a huge, huge devastating letdown for all of us,” Hanson said. She pledged a full review. “There isn’t anyone here who doesn’t feel this, at their core, let down in a horrible way.”

Scott Weathers, a junior from Chapel Hill, N.C., who was in the audience, said the administration’s reaction to the incident seemed slow. “I don’t think they fully grasped how big a deal it is,” he said. “It’s already getting such huge traction online.”

Apr 222014


By Dan Kane


April 21, 2014

CHAPEL HILL — Mary Willingham, a former learning specialist for athletes who exposed a long-standing academic fraud scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill, is resigning at the end of the semester.

Willingham made the decision after an hourlong, closed-door meeting with UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on Monday. Willingham has been an adviser and instructor since leaving the athletes’ tutoring program four years ago.

She confirmed her resignation in a short email to The News & Observer but said she could not provide details until she posts grades for her students and talks to her attorneys and the university’s human resources staff. In an interview last week, she said she had been weighing leaving the university after the semester ended.

Jay Smith, a history professor at UNC who is collaborating with Willingham on a book about the scandal, said she made the decision to resign after the meeting with Folt.

Smith said Folt spent much of the meeting berating Willingham for her comments about the scandal in recent months, which included interviews with national media that gave the scandal a wider audience and had become a major embarrassment for the university.

One dramatic exchange came when Willingham told CNN that a former basketball player struggled to read. That angered Coach Roy Williams, who challenged her claim and said she was disparaging the athletes. But he later turned down her offer to meet, saying it was not his place.

“There was no attempt to repair the relationship or to build a bridge,” Smith said of Willingham’s meeting with Folt on Monday. “Instead, from what I understand from Mary, it was just a tongue lashing, and I think that’s what kind of tipped the scales for Mary. When she realized that even Folt is beyond reach there isn’t much point in continuing.”

‘A productive meeting’

Folt could not be reached. Joel Curran, UNC’s vice chancellor for communications and public affairs, said the meeting was not antagonistic. He said Folt did not seek Willingham’s resignation or threaten to fire her.

“(Folt) said that she had what she felt was a productive meeting,” Curran said. “Mary had an opportunity to really share her points of view on anything that she wished, and the chancellor had her opportunity to share her points of view, but the chancellor did not characterize it as anything but a productive meeting.”

Curran said Willingham did not tell Folt she was resigning but did say she was taking some time off after the semester.

Willingham has a grievance with the university over her work environment, but Curran said that was not a subject of discussion.

Monday’s news drew dozens of tweets from UNC fans who saw her decision as evidence she wasn’t being truthful. Some of those who tweeted also had disputed there was ever a scandal to begin with.

Earlier this month, the university released reports from three outside experts challenging Willingham’s claims that the majority of a subset of athletes – many of them football and basketball players – who were tested for learning disabilities could not read at the high school level. The experts said Willingham had likely misread the test scores and had used a test that was not recommended for determining reading skill at the grade level.

Willingham had said the experts weren’t given access to all of the information she used to determine how well the athletes were reading. Her data involved roughly 180 athletes tested over an eight-year-period, but it was not vetted by an experienced co-investigator. Neither the full data set nor the underlying tests the athletes took have been made public.

No-show classes

In August 2011, Willingham told The N&O that the tutoring program for athletes was steering athletes to lecture-style classes that never met and only required a term paper at the end. Subsequent investigations have found more than 200 confirmed or suspected no-show classes within the African and Afro-American Studies department dating back to the mid-1990s. Athletes accounted for 45 percent of the enrollments; they make up about 5 percent of the undergraduate student body.

UNC officials have confirmed the classes were fraudulent and cheated students out of an education. But they have disputed Willingham’s claims that it was an athletic scandal because nonathletes were also enrolled and received the same typically high grades.

Records obtained by The N&O show counselors with the tutoring program steered athletes to no-show classes, including sending academically struggling freshmen football players to one that was listed in a course catalog as a senior seminar. A former counselor told a tutor in one email about the class: “Just remember, guys are in this class for a reason – at-risk, probation, struggling students – you are making headway … keep it positive and encouraging!”

The scandal has triggered dozens of reforms at the university, a felony fraud charge against Julius Nyang’oro, the former head of the African studies department, and an overhaul of the athletes’ tutoring program.

A newly formed investigation led by a former high-ranking U.S. Justice Department official, Kenneth Wainstein, is looking into the athletic connections to the fraud. Willingham met with Wainstein last week.

Willingham, 52, had worked for roughly seven years as a learning specialist to athletes before taking a position outside of the athletes’ tutoring program. She told The N&O she left the program because staff there were doing nothing about the cheating that she witnessed.

Kane: 919-829-4861; Twitter: @dankanenando

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/21/3800584/unc-whistle-blower-resigns-after.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Apr 222014


Monday, April 21, 2014

Carol Dashiell, director of jazz studies at East Carolina University, and Johnny Wooten, a seasoned musician from Pitt County, will perform and talk about the influences of their eastern North Carolina musical roots tonight at the Pitt County Arts Council.

Viewing Photo 1 / 2 Carroll Dashiell plays an original composition by Billy Taylor entitled "One for the Woofer". (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

Carroll Dashiell plays an original composition by Billy Taylor entitled “One for the Woofer”. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

The free program, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., coincides with the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival, which is featured in the new guidebook, African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina.

Dashiell, who also is director of the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival, will discuss meeting the musical icon as a student and Taylor’s effect on his career as a musician.

Wooten, a music educator and band leader, will share stories about his life as a musician in eastern North Carolina decades ago.

The program will include Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, and Michelle Lanier, one of the authors of African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina and director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission.

The 218-page guidebook, which charts a cultural journey through eight counties, is the first publication to help travelers explore African-American music in North Carolina. In the guide, readers meet past and present artists from Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson counties and learn about events, museums and historical sites along the way.

Pitt County’s African-American musical heritage featured in the guidebook includes Billy Taylor. His family was from Greenville, and he lived here until moving to Washington, D.C., when he was 5 years old. Also featured in the guidebook is the jazz studies program at the ECU School of Music, which oversees the Billy Taylor Jazz Festival each spring.

“We try to make the festival a very varied experience for everyone by bringing in world-class jazz musicians and having them interact with students and communities,” said Dashiell, director and associate professor of music who started the festival in 1989 and renamed it in 2003 to honor Taylor.

Dashiell grew up next to Taylor’s mother in Washington, and the jazz great became a mentor to the budding bassist.

“When I approached him about naming the festival in his honor, he felt very honored,” Dashiell said when the guidebook was released. “It renewed his connection to North Carolina.”

Dashiell said the African American Music Trails project and guidebook are essential to sharing the region’s musical heritage.

“It’s not just about educating the people who aren’t here, but also the people living here now need to know about and be proud of their heritage,” he said. “It’s a lineage, and if we don’t carry it on, the lineage will be broken. I hope the book will encourage locals to explore their culture and also give visitors destination points.”

Wooten grew up in Greenville in the 1930s and 40s and became a professional musician and music educators. He is a longtime band instructor and band leader in Pitt County. He taught at C.M. Eppes High School during segregation, and later at J.H. Rose High School, and Aycock and Greenville Middle Schools.

“During my growing up, the minstrels used to come, like the Silas Green Minstrels. They would come to Greenville and put on shows, and we would go,” Wooten recalls in the guidebook. “Well, the show would open with a bunch of pretty girls coming out dancing in these fancy costumes. We were more interested in the guys playing instruments “There was no type of entertainment … and that’s why some of those minstrel shows were so successful, because at that particular time people were looking for something to do. And whatever the cost was, they came up with it.”

Dashiell and Wooten, as well as co-author Michelle Lanier, will be available to sign copies of the guidebook following the program.

The Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge is at 404 S. Evans St. in downtown Greenville. Call 551-6947 or visit www.pittcountyarts.org.

Apr 222014


By Kristin Zachary

East Carolina University police still are searching for three men who robbed a student on campus early Saturday but have determined no weapon was used in the crime.

A 21-year-old woman, identified by a police report as Nicole Linda Blyskal, was walking alone near the Mendenhall bus stop at 12:36 a.m. when three masked men dressed in all black approached her and snatched her purse, valued at $20, according to Lt. Chris Sutton.

Blyskal originally reported she was hit over the head with the butt of a handgun before the men ran through campus toward Fifth Street, but she since has said she did not see a weapon, Sutton said.

The victim had no visible injuries but was transported to Vidant Medical Center for evaluation, Sutton said.

“There was no assault with a deadly weapon on campus,” he said. “There was a robbery, and we continue to seek the suspects who were responsible.”

Blyskal had consumed an undetermined amount of alcohol, which may have led to inaccuracies in her first account of what occurred, Sutton said.

The woman’s intoxication “played a role in the length of time from when it occurred to the time she reported it,” he said.

The woman did not report the incident, but was found by a group of men who transported her to the campus police department and called ahead to alert officers of the incident, which was reported at 12:49 p.m.

“That played into the delay in us being able to send out an alert message,” Sutton said. ECU issued an alert about 1:30 a.m.

Police conducted a campuswide search for the robbery suspects, but no persons matching the given description of the men were located. The department stepped up its patrols and added additional officers in response to the incident, Sutton said.

Officers are continuing to review footage from several surveillance cameras to determine the path the men took onto and off of campus, Sutton said. The robbery remains under investigation, and Sutton said he is confident the department will be able to identify and charge the men responsible.

Sutton encouraged students to consume alcohol responsibly and walk with others or arrange transportation ahead of time.

“Individuals play a role in their own safety,” he said. “I think it’s important people try very diligently not to put themselves in situations they can’t control or don’t want to be in.”

A person’s level of intoxication can make him or her an easier target, Sutton said, especially if the impaired person is walking alone at night.

“It’s not a good practice on ECU’s campus, as safe as we try to make it; it’s not a safe practice to do it in the city of Greenville or any big city across the country,” he said.

“A lot of times, people don’t see the danger involved in that until it’s too late,” Sutton said.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact the ECU Police at 328-6787.

Information can be provided anonymously to Pitt-Greenville CrimeStoppers at 758-7777.


Contact Kristin Zachary at kzachary@reflector.com or 252-329-9566. Follow her on Twitter @kzacharygdr.

Apr 222014


Jeff Montgomery and Molly Murray 12:07 a.m. EDT April 22, 2014

Llangollen Estates resident Raymond E. Majewski took time out from his graduate work at East Carolina University on the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, to attend an environmental “teach-in.”

It was a time of widening public awareness about sick rivers, polluted air, toxic dumps, threatened wildlife and lost habitats. Those first years of protests and public debate sparked decades of cleanups, energy efficiency gains and environmental reform.

“I think there’s much more awareness now, but I don’t think things have improved that much,” said Majewski, who lives within a few miles of several state or federal superfund sites, a large public water wellfield threatened by pollution and the Delaware City Refinery.

“People seemed to be much more concerned about the world back then. Now, it’s focused more on immediate gratification, diversional activities,” said Majewski, retired head of therapy and rehabilitation services for Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Others counted down a long list of local and national accomplishments over the last 45 years, many to be celebrated Tuesday at events large and small, including a program at Rodney Square in Wilmington with 30 vendors, focused on a “Clean Waterways” theme.

There have been giant strides since 1970, said W. Michael McCabe, a former staffer for Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del, and a former deputy Environmental Protection Agency administrator who now lives in Chadds Ford, Pa.

“We’ve come very far. That decade of environmental legislation and the laws that created them really formed the basis for the accomplishments that we’ve seen,” said McCabe, who served as director for national Earth Day activities in 1980.

What followed were years of “greater public awareness, technological improvements and a recognition by industry that not only do they have to comply with environmental laws, but it makes economic sense to do so in the most efficient way,” McCabe said.

But even as all of that happened, McCabe said, emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants have mushroomed, threatening to set off a global environmental calamity.

“It all pales in comparison with the challenges that climate change and the impacts of climate change are foreshadowing,” said McCabe, who convened a public program in 1998, while serving as EPA regional administrator in Philadelphia, to draw attention to the threat.

“It is upon us and it’s progressing at a faster rate than we anticipated in the past,” McCabe said. “It really has a broad impact, and one that we ignore at our peril as a species.”

Lorraine Fleming, a longtime environmental activist, said one reason there was so much success was that people joined together and insisted on change.

“Everybody had had it,” she said.

Fleming said she believes a similar ground swell is brewing over climate change.

Bill Moyer, with the nonprofit Inland Bays Foundation, was teaching biology at a school in Pennsylvania and completely unaware of that first Earth Day.

But a few years later, he moved to Florida, where residents were very concerned about the environment, he said.

These days, “So much of the concentration is jobs and the economy,” he said. And in Delaware, so many environmental policies are formed by committees, he said.

“It doesn’t really reflect what the people want,” Moyer said.

Contact Jeff Montgomery at 463-3344 or jmontgomery@delawareonline.com and Molly Murray at 463-3334 or mmurray@delawareonline.com

State and Federal Environmental Highlights

Federal: Endangered Species Act; Clean Water Act; Clean Air Act; Superfund; Toxic Release Inventory.

State: Coastal Zone Act; Tidal Wetland Act; State Superfund; Brownfields; Power Plant Carbon Controls; Green Energy.

Not Yet in Delaware: Freshwater Wetland Protection; 94-percent of rivers and streams still unfishable and unswimmable.