Registered Sex Offender Plays Football at Alcorn State

Alcorn State University has enrolled Jamil Cooks, who has become a star player on the institution's football team. ABC News reported that Cooks moved to Alcorn State University after he was convicted in a court martial of sexual assault while a student at the Air Force Academy, which expelled him. Last year, Alcorn State was criticized for having a transfer on its football team after being arrested on rape charges while he was on the team at Vanderbilt University. Cooks is a registered sex offender. He was recently named Alcorn State's male athlete of the week.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association told ABC News that there are no rules that ban those with criminal convictions from playing intercollegiate athletics.

While the university says it has no problem enrolling him, others disagree.  “If you’ve been convicted of sexual assault or rape you shouldn't be allowed to play on the team,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat who said that the NCAA should change its rules. The current system "hows that there is not a value put on the person who the crime was committed against," she told ABC News.

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Berkeley chancellor blocks attempt to rescind invitation to Bill Maher

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Student group that invites commencement speakers votes to rescind invitation to controversial comedian, but chancellor vetoes their move, citing the importance of free speech.

Survey of college presidents shows mixed views on climate surveys, politics

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Survey of college leaders finds significant minority in public sector feel pressure from governors. And as lawmakers want colleges to use climate surveys on sexual assaults, presidents support concept, but only a minority say their institutions are doing so.

Georgia Player Must Sit Out 4 Games for Selling Autographs

Todd Gurley, a football player at the University of Georgia, must sit out a total of four games -- or 30 percent of the season -- for selling autographed memorabilia, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Wednesday. The NCAA is also requiring Gurley to donate a portion of the $3,000 he earned to a charity and complete 40 hours of community service.

Georgia, which had already suspended Gurley for two games, is appealing the decision. "In determining the appropriate reinstatement conditions, a 30 percent withholding condition is consistent with precedent in similar cases," the NCAA stated. "Additional withholding was strongly considered because the violations occurred over multiple years with multiple individuals and the student received extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs."

No matter the punishment's consistency, many fans and observers criticized the sanction as treating Gurley like a criminal. "Please consider the insanity of the NCAA, which is not a judicial body and does not consider Todd Gurley an employee, punishing a guy by forcing him to part with money he'd literally made off his own name," Tom Ley wrote at Deadspin. "What are they going to do if he doesn't pay? Book him and throw his $3,000 in an evidence locker?"

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Dramatic Testimony in Trial on College's Accreditor

Press accounts are describing dramatic testimony in the second day of the trial of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which stands accused in a lawsuit in California court of being unfair in its evaluations of City College of San Francisco.

Barbara Beno, president of the commission, made two admissions in testimony Tuesday that were seen by supporters of the college -- whose accreditation the commission voted to revoke -- as key evidence. First, she admitted that when the commission identified new problems at the college, which was at risk of losing accreditation, it did not give the college required time to respond, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Beno made this admission only after a judge told her she hadn't been answering the question and needed to do so.

Second, she admitted that she asked the accrediting team to remove some positive language from the report, and that the team did so. The removed language said that the college “demonstrated a high level of dedication, passion and enthusiasm to address the issues, and provided evidence of compelling action to address previous findings.” Beno told the court that she asked that the passage be removed because she was concerned about a lack of "clarity" in the phrase "compelling action."

The commission has maintained that its findings on City College of San Francisco were appropriate.



17% of Female MIT Students Say They Have Been Sexually Assaulted

About 17 percent of undergraduate women who responded to a survey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have been sexually assaulted, but only 5 percent say they ever reported the crime. Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart said the findings, detailed in a report released by the university on Monday, highlight a challenge in sexual assault prevention and education on campus. (The survey defined assault as "unwanted sexual behaviors involving the use of force, physical threat, or incapacitation.")

Students seem to have differing ideas on what might constitute an assault or how serious of a crime it is, Barnhart said. More than 70 percent of students who did not report the "unwanted sexual experiences" said they didn't believe the misconduct was serious enough to report. MIT began distributing its survey in April, prior to the U.S. Department of Education urging colleges to conduct similar "climate surveys." Legislation announced by eight senators in July would require colleges to undertake such surveys. "What we find from the survey is that we need more education in our community," Barnhart said in a press call. "That's exactly what we're positioning ourselves to do."

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President under fire for hiring top aide who had yet to graduate

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Chattanooga State president under fire for hiring as a top aide someone he met in Barbados who had not yet formally earned her college degree.

Foundation Bought Alabama Coach's Home for $3.1M

Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, sold his home to the Crimson Tide Foundation for nearly $3.1 million, reported. The private nonprofit foundation, which helps fund athletics at the university, bought the home from Saban in January 2013 and has paid taxes on the property since then. The coach and his wife still live in the 8,759-square-foot home. "It's not all that unusual in the world for universities to provide the housing," Scott Phelps, assistant secretary of the foundation, said. "We want to keep him happy. We think he is the best coach in America."

Saban earns $6.9 million a year, not including performance bonuses.

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Hirings Up for College Graduates, but Salaries Stagnant

Hiring of college graduates this year is expected to reach levels not seen since the early 2000s, but the starting salaries of those positions are improving at a much slower pace, according to new reports authored by Phil Gardner, the director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. The number of internships -- and paid ones at that -- is also expected to increase. After several years of slow growth, hiring of recent college graduates will increase by 16 percent for the 2014-2015 school year, according to Gardner's report released earlier this month. According to a separate report, based on the same survey of 53,000 companies, 40 percent of employers say they will enlarge their intern pools this year, while only 4 percent say they will decrease the number of interns.

More than 70 percent of employers say they will pay their interns. Last year, that share was 67 percent. Starting salaries remain largely stagnant, Gardner said, with six in 10 employers saying they will not increase their starting pay and those who will offer salary increases will only do so by 3 to 5 percent. “Pressure on employers to increase starting salaries has been minimal since the market crash in 2008,” he said.

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Catholic College Presidents Urge Aid for Refugee Children

The presidents of more than 50 Roman Catholic colleges and universities have issued a joint statement urging compassion and help for the refugee children on the U.S.-Mexico border. "We, the undersigned presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, are committed to this welcoming ethos, and to fostering a humanizing and ethical stance on America’s refugee emergency," the statement says. "We pledge to support activities designed to raise awareness and understanding of refugee issues among our students and the broader communities that we serve. These may include a National Day of Reflection/Action, campus prayer services, and social media campaigns. We also pledge to help advance the wide-ranging and specific recommendations of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, and to promote dialogue and actions consistent with Pope Francis’s call to welcome and protect these boys and girls."


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