Entries in University (6)


UNC Chapel Hill Student Murdered in Apartment

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Police are investigating the murder of a 19-year-old University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student, the second murder at the university in four years.

Undergraduate Faith Hedgepeth, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of Hollister, N.C., was found dead in her off-campus apartment on Friday. Police said they are treating the case as a homicide, but do not think it was a random killing, according to ABC News affiliate WTVD.

Police said that Hedgepeth's body was discovered by friends, though they have not identified the individuals, according to the report.

In 2008, student president Eve Carson was kidnapped from her home and taken to a series of ATMs to withdraw money before being killed. One of her killers pleaded guilty to the murder and another was found guilty earlier this year.

Now, counselors on UNC's campus are once again being made available to help grieving students. Chancellor Holden Thorp sent an email to students following the discovery of Hedgepeth's body, notifying them of the "sudden death of one of our students."

"Law enforcement officials do not believe that there is danger to other students, faculty or staff," he wrote, according to WTVD.

Hedgepeth was a biology major who worked as a waitress at a local Red Robin, according to the report.

Members of Hedgepeth's family and tribe gathered Sunday for a vigil. The university also plans to hold a vigil today at on campus.

Calls to Chapell Hill police and the Hedgepeth family did not immediately return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Virginia Tech on High Alert After Report of 'Shots Fired'

Virginia TechUPDATE: The campus lockdown has been lifted, officials announced at an afternoon news conference.

(BLACKSBURG, Va.) – Two people, including a police officer, are dead after a shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech, and students are being urged to remain indoors as officials search for the gunman.

“Shortly after 12 p.m. today, a Virginia Tech Police officer stoped [sic] a vehicle on campus during a routine traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall,” campus spokesman Mark Owczarski said in a statement Thursday. It was during that traffic stop that the police officer was shot and killed, Owczarski said.

“Witnesses reported to police the shooter fled on foot heading toward the Cage, a parking lot near Duck Pond Drive. At that parking lot, a second person was found. That person is also deceased,” Owczarski said.

“Everyone should seek shelter or stay where you are," Virginia Tech's website said earlier Thursday.

The university’s website described the suspect as a “white male, gray sweat pants, gray hat w/neon green brim, maroon hoodie and backpack.”

“Status of the shooter is unknown,” Owczarski said. “The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus.”

On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the campus, killing 32 students and faculty before turning the gun on himself.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Universities Slash Budgets Nationwide, Face 'Hardest Year on Record'

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Colleges across the country are facing layoffs, program cuts, tuition hikes and possible campus closings as they brace for major reductions in state funding -- again.

The leaders of Penn State University are wondering if they'll have to close some of their branch campuses next year, and more than 400 faculty positions may be on the chopping block.

In California, class sizes are swelling while class offerings are shrinking. One community college district in San Diego has cut 90 percent of its summer courses. And in Washington, universities are increasing the enrollment of out-of-state students, who pay about three times as much as in-state students, while considering trimming resident enrollment.

Colleges and universities, which can levy revenue through tuition hikes, are a primary target for cuts when states are in a budget bind.

"This year is going to be the hardest year on record," said Dan Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which has 420 member institutions. "Any new revenue at the state level is being gobbled up by Medicaid and K-12 education," he said, and much of the federal stimulus money expires this year, setting up the perfect storm for higher education.

At least 28 states, including Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Nevada and Washington, are talking about reducing aid to higher education for next fiscal year.

Thousands of students and faculty members in California and elsewhere have protested the proposed cuts. Last month, 10,000 Cal State students waved signs and flooded administration buildings to show administrators and the governor that cuts aren't going unnoticed. In Pennsylvania, hundreds of students crowded the Capitol in Harrisburg to tell legislators that their schools can't afford more funding reductions if they want to stay affordable and competitive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Colleges Use Facebook to Recruit Students

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- According to a recent Kaplan survey of college admissions officers, 82 percent of American universities have set up Facebook pages to communicate with prospective students during the admissions process.

"College-aged kids use social networking a lot," said Jeff Olson, Kaplan's vice president of research. "A majority use it every day. Now colleges are recognizing what a powerful tool it can be."

Olson said that over the past few years, attitudes toward colleges using social media have changed. Initially, people saw universities engaging with prospective students over sites like Facebook as a negative interaction, he said.

"There was this 'Oh, no!' reaction at first," he said. "But as social networking becomes more popular, people are warming up to the idea."

A lot of the fear stemmed from the belief that colleges would use information found on an applicant's Facebook profiles against them, he said.

Kaplan's survey of college admissions officers suggests that about 10 percent of officers have checked an applicant's online profile. This figure has not changed since 2008, despite more colleges using social media to recruit students.

Olson remembers how one student posted comments on his Facebook, bragging about how he was "too good" for a certain university that accepted him. An admissions officer saw the comments and rescinded the school's invitation to enroll. But Olson admits that cases in which students harm themselves using social media are "isolated."

"In the end, your Facebook is far less important than your transcripts," he said.

This year, Boston University received nearly 42,000 freshman applications. With that many applications to review, checking the Facebook page of every potential student would be impossible, said Colin Riley, Boston University's spokesman.

"It would be too time-consuming," he said.

He said, however, that if there is a compelling reason to look into an applicant's online profile, admissions representatives may do so.

For example, if a student writes an essay about how they organized a charity event through Facebook, or maintained a school club's social media accounts, the admissions staff may look into the student's profile for support.

Olson predicts that as social media becomes more popular, the practice of colleges using Facebook and similar sites will become even more common.

Such technology can be a great way for students to get information, he said, but he does warn students to be careful when using it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


For Duke Students, No More Tailgates

Courtesy - Dukedotedu(DURHAM, N.C.) – Duke University has cancelled future student tailgating before football games after an underage teen was found unconscious in a portable toilet, according to local ABC affiliate WTVD.
Duke University officials say the incident, which occurred prior to Saturday’s game against Virginia, came in the wake of growing concerns over previous behavior during tailgates.

"This incident has vividly revealed that tailgate as is practiced at Duke must come to an end," said Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs, in an e-mail to students.

The school will re-evaluate the new tailgate policy before next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Ex-Dean Accused of Making Students Do Personal Chores

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An ex-dean at New York's St. John's University is facing forced labor charges after being accused of exploiting students by having them run errands and do chores at her home.

Cecilia Chang, 57, the recently fired dean of the Institute of Asian Studies and the vice president for international relations at St. John's, allegedly threatened to withdraw scholarships from students if they did not perform the personal tasks.

According to allegations in a federal complaint, students were forced to make meals at Chang's home, answer her personal e-mails and even deliver cash to her at a casino. The complaint also said that students were allegedly made to wash her clothes, shovel snow at her home and drive her son to the airport at 3:00 a.m.

Ron Rubenstein, Chang's attorney, stated that she is "not a slave-driver" and that students prepared Chang's home for school-related dinners that she was hosting and that the work is similar to other college work-study programs.

Officials from the university said that students working under Chang will not lose their scholarships.

This is only the latest in a torrent of accusations against Chang, who was arrested on September 15 on state charges that she embezzled approximately $1 million from the University. The charges, which she has denied, led to her dismissal from St. John's and further investigation into her treatment of students.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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