Augusta University volunteers prep to receive Hurricane Dorian evacuees Sunday in Augusta. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

AJC On Campus: Schools brace for Dorian; new presidents at GT, CAU

The fall semester is less than a month old and for many South Georgia students, the routine has been interrupted by Hurricane Dorian. Several schools closed as Hurricane Dorian menaced the Georgia coastline.

Our weekly AJC On Campus takes a look at how South Georgia colleges and universities are helping for the storm and helping others, as well as other news over the last week in higher education.

Hurricane Dorian campus closures

The College of Coastal Georgia, Georgia Southern University’s Savannah campus, Mercer University’s College of Medicine, the Savannah College of Art & Design’s main campus and Savannah State University all closed in preparation of the storm. Augusta University, Fort Valley State University and South Georgia State College have been receiving students. No timetable has been set for when classes resume. Dorian’s path has been unpredictable.

Local schools help students stuck by Dorian

Bethune-Cookman University’s football team has practiced at Clark Atlanta University after the team could not return to Florida due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian. Clark Atlanta officials have also allowed the team to eat at its cafeteria. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bethune-Cookman University’s football team made the trip here from its campus in Florida on Sunday to play Jackson State University. Bethune-Cookman’s return has been delayed by Hurricane Dorian, but some local universities are helping them. Clark Atlanta University has fed the football team and allowed them to practice on its field. The team returned to Florida on Wednesday

New presidents arrive

Clark Atlanta University and Georgia Tech welcomed new presidents to their campuses this week. George T. French Jr. is the new leader at Clark Atlanta, which is working with other Atlanta University Center campuses on public safety issues after four students (two from Clark Atlanta) were shot at an unauthorized block party the night before classes began. One suspect turned himself in Wednesday evening. Ángel Cabrera, a Georgia Tech alumnus, is the new leader on its campus. Cabrera is scheduled to address students, faculty and employees on Thursday. Georgia Tech’s leaders spent much of last year working on changes to its ethics guidelines after several administrators resigned or were fired due to various violations.

UGA tightens account access after theft case 

The University of Georgia has enacted changes it believes will make it tougher for employees to steal money from student organizations with accounts managed by the school. News reports emerged last weekend about a University of Georgia employee who investigators believe stole an estimated $1.3 million over the last decade from the school’s Greek Life Office. Here’s our report. The employee, Lasina Evans, an administrative associate, committed suicide in June as investigators began to focus on her as a suspect, officials said. Employees are now prohibited from acting as a signatory on any bank account held by any legal organization other than the university, unless under certain conditions, according to information provided by the university. 

Spelman College to ramp up STEM education

Graduates wait to take their seats at the 132nd Spelman College commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the Georgia International Convention Center. (Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Educators have been vocal in recent years about the need to help more young women to excel in courses that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. To that end, the all-female Spelman College announced Tuesday it has received a $2 million federal grant to address minority under-representation in the sciences, particularly in computer science, mathematics and physics. The Atlanta school will establish a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM that will serve as the hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities at Spelman. Students pursuing STEM degrees has increased significantly at Spelman, to 26% in 2017, officials said. 

Georgia Tech honors its first African-American students

The original clay models of “The Three Pioneers” sculpture, honoring Ralph A. Long Jr., Lawrence Williams and Ford C. Greene, that will be placed in Georgia Tech’s Harrison Square.“The First Graduate,” honoring Ronald Yancey, shows him sitting down. (Courtesy Georgia Tech).
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Tech on Wednesday unveiled two bronze sculptures on its campus to honor its first four African-American students. Here’s our report on the trailblazers.  

U.S. Education Dept. makes student borrower changes

November 28, 2017 Atlanta - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos talks to GSU students during Georgia State University Tour and Roundtable with Students at GSU Advisement Center on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Maureen Downey/Get Schooled

Federal education department officials announced Friday afternoon changes that it believes will better protect students borrowing money to attend college from fraud or if their school abruptly closes. The changes, which would impact loans made after July 1, 2020, include extending the closed school discharge window from 120 days to 180 days, the feds said “ensuring that students have a meaningful opportunity to obtain relief if they cannot complete their programs due to school closures and encourage institutions to close only after the completion of well-planned teach-outs.” Critics said the changes roll back changes made in 2016 they fear will make it tougher to bring claims against their schools. 

Health care costs rise for University System workers

University System of Georgia employees recently learned they’ll have to pay more for health care insurance next year, but what had many of them riled up is a monthly $100 surcharge for some workers. The fee is for working spouses who choose not to get health insurance from their own employer. System officials said health care costs are expected to increase by 6% this fiscal year and noted more employers have similar surcharges. To read more about this, click here.

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