Georgia lawmakers ended the 2019 legislative session, (called Sine Die) shortly past midnight Tuesday and what had been a quiet period on the higher education front got very interesting. Senate Bill 273 would have combined Georgia’s three public historically black colleges and universities into one that would be known as the Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University System. Those schools are Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities. There had been no public discussion about such an idea and many people, particularly graduates of the schools, were furious. The legislation was withdrawn. Note: Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University was the name of the fictional school on the now-cancelled BET television series “The Quad.”
Meanwhile, House Republican Andy Welch of Henry County proposed a bill that would create an independent board, with the University System of Georgia Chancellor forming a body to appoint members, to set reporting standards for journalists that could sanction violators. One critic thought the bill was an April Fools joke. The bill was tabled.
One piece of legislation that did pass was House Bill 218, which extends eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship from seven to 10 years. The bill would apply for students who receive the scholarship for the first time starting this July. Gov. Brian Kemp must still sign the bill.
Eviction notices roil Emory
Mock eviction notices were placed on some Emory University residence halls and in off-campus apartments earlier this week, angering some students and community leaders. The notices were placed by Emory's Students for Justice in Palestine. “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state of Israel’s ongoing attempts to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants and maintain an exclusively ‘Jewish’ character of the state,” the notices read. Emory Hillel, a Jewish student organization, said in an email to students, parents and alumni that Jewish students weren’t specifically targeted. Some of the notices were posted in unauthorized locations and the university is investigating.
Mercer-Gordon State deal
Mercer University and Gordon State College recently signed an agreement that will allow Gordon State students to complete an associate degree and then transfer to Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts, School of Engineering or Penfield College to complete a bachelor’s degree on the Macon campus, online or at one of university’s two Atlanta area regional academic centers. Eligible students may pursue bachelor’s degrees from Mercer in communication, computer science, criminal justice leadership, engineering, healthcare leadership, human resources administration and development, informatics, liberal studies, organizational leadership, psychology, theatre or visual arts. The agreement lasts through 2023.
Kennesaw State on a hiring spree
Kennesaw State University's first year president, Pamela Whitten, has been filling out the administrative roster in the last two weeks. The school named Ian Ferguson dean of the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, Shawn Long dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Tim Blumentritt will serve as dean of the College of Professional Education. Blumentritt was interim dean.
Students sentenced in hazing death
Three former Penn State University fraternity members, including a 21-year-old from Cherokee County, were sentenced to jail time Tuesday in the 2017 death of a pledge, Timothy Piazza. One of the frat members, Rocco Cipparone, had transferred to Kennesaw State University, according to his attorney. There's some irony here. Piazza's cousin, Juliana, is also a student at KSU. She works with Parents United to Stop Hazing to combat hazing in Greek life. We wrote about her efforts to end hazing last year.
#MeToo Movement leaders to visit Atlanta
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, and other guests are scheduled to hold a few meetings and events on April 9 at the Atlanta University Center, which includes several historically black colleges and universities (HBCU). Burke and educator Yaba Blay are scheduled to hold a chat at Morehouse College's Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, but attendees are being asked to register online. Burke and others are visiting several HBCUs across the nation to talk to students and others about issues they're facing on campus, explore the disparities in resources HBCUs have to address sexual misconduct issues on campus and to set in motion some strategic actions to close the resource gap.
Jill Biden visits Morehouse School of Medicine
Jill Biden, center, listens as Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice discusses cancer research during Biden's March 31, 2019 visit to the campus. PHOTO CREDIT: MOREHOUSE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE.
Jill Biden, wife of former Vice President (and future presidential candidate?) Joe Biden, made a stop at Morehouse School of Medicine on Sunday to talk to students about cancer research. Jill Biden has been holding meetings across the country with different groups to discuss the realities of living with cancer and the ripple effects a diagnosis can have on families and communities. The Biden’s son, Beau, died from brain cancer in 2015.
Emory professor wins big
Novelist Tayari Jones talks about her newest novel “An American Marriage” inside the lobby of the Emory University Conference Center Hotel. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Acclaimed novelist and Emory professor Tayari Jones won an NAACP award for her most recent book, “An American Marriage.” The New York Times best-seller tells the story of newlyweds whose pursuit of the American dream is violently interrupted when one of them is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. The NAACP honored the book in the category of “Outstanding Literary Work — Fiction.”
A fresh start
Saint Leo University is offering a one-time award, equivalent to the cost of tuition for one class at either the undergraduate or graduate academic level to former Argosy University students. It's called "A Fresh Start." The deadline for the Summer 1 term is April 19. Information is available at https://www.saintleo.edu/transfer-credits-admissions. Argosy University closed in March due to financial problems. There was a campus in Sandy Springs. Saint Leo's is also holding an open house on April 16 for its newest campus. The location is 2450 Piedmont Road N.E., Suite 200 in Atlanta.
Georgia student has many college options
Jakelia Baker has quite the dilemma. She's been accepted to 50 colleges and universities, according to news reports. Baker, 17, valedictorian of Augusta's Lucy C. Laney High School, has a 4.1 grade point average, has played on several varsity teams, served on the National Honor Society, student council, math team and academic decathlon.