USG eclips for July 24, 2019

University System News:


Atlanta Business Chronicle

These are the best employers in Georgia, according to Forbes

By Tim Gallen and Eric Mandel

Google isn’t just the go-to place for everyday online searching — the tech giant is also Georgia’s best employer, according to a recently published ranking. Alphabet Inc.’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Google sat atop Forbes’ inaugural “America’s Best Employers by State” list, in front of a few well-known Peach State organizations: Emory University and Shaw Industries. The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Piedmont Healthcare, Emory Healthcare and the Shepherd Center were the other Atlanta-based employers in Georgia’s Top 10. …The first-ever rankings were compiled by Forbes with help of market research company Statista to pinpoint the organizations liked best by employees.  #13 University of Georgia; #20 Georgia Institute of Technology



Columbus native cast in feature film to be shot in Columbus, “Electric Jesus”

By Alex Jones

A Columbus man is heading to the silver screen in a new movie being filmed in the Fountain City. Will Oliver, a Northside High School graduate and current Columbus State University student, is joining the cast of “Electric Jesus.” Oliver is taking on the role of Jaime, who is described in a press release as the “lead guitarist for a small town Christian heavy metal band: confident, easy-going and more into Jimi than Jesus.” Oliver, who is pursuing his BFA in Theatre Performance at CSU, made his feature film debut in Ty Manns’ “Redeemed,” which was also filmed in Columbus.


Valdosta Daily Times

Haggard governor’s teaching fellow

Valdosta State University’s Dr. Dixie Haggard was recently selected as a 2019 governor’s teaching fellow for the summer symposium program offered through the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. Haggard, a professor of history, was one of 18 professors from across the state chosen for the program after a highly competitive application and selection process. Established by former Gov. Zell Miller, the governor’s teaching fellows program provides higher education faculty members from accredited public and private colleges and universities across Georgia with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills, university officials said. The program’s goal is to move college faculty members to the leading edge of instructional practice by exposing them to emerging technologies and instructional tools.


Tifton CEO

ABAC President Dr. David Bridges on The Center for Rural Prosperity

Dr. David Bridges, President of ABAC, discusses the Center for Rural Prosperity’s role in helping strengthen Georgia’s rural communities.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

NEW FINDINGS: Influential Georgia lawmaker against HBCU consolidation bill

By Eric Stirgus

One of Georgia’s most influential African American lawmakers said publicly Tuesday he’s against a bill introduced earlier this year that its author says would strengthen the state’s three public, historically black universities by consolidating them under a new funding system. The bill “would also unnecessarily and perhaps unwittingly diminish the particular role each public HBCU plays in this state by assuming that their needs and ability to educate Georgians are different from those of non-HBCUs,” state Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, said in a news release. Smyre’s comments were part of a letter he wrote Monday to University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley. …Smyre, the longest-serving member in the Georgia House of Representatives, graduated from Fort Valley State in 1970 and currently serves as chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. Smyre, first elected to the House in 1974, said the best solution is to ensure the three universities get necessary state funding. He’s vice chairman on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. “Simply separating the three historically black universities off to one side, however well-intentioned it may be, is a nineteenth-century solution to twenty-first century challenges,” Smyre said.



ASU president responds to state representative’s opposition of HBCU bills

Albany State University’s (ASU) president released a statement Tuesday in response to a House representative’s opposition to Senate Bills 273 and 278. Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), also dean of the Georgia House, wrote a letter to Steve Wrigley, University System of Georgia chancellor, strongly opposing the bills. ASU President Marion Ross Fredrick issued a statement in response to Symre’s opposition of the bills.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia lawmaker defends his HBCU funding bill

By Eric Stirgus

An African American Georgia lawmaker defended his plan Tuesday evening to create a new system to fund the state’s three public, historically black universities. State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, said in a telephone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his legislation to move Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities from the University System of Georgia into a proposal Georgia Agricultural & Mechanical University system could result in more money for the three schools. “I think there are a lot of people who don’t understand the bill,” Jackson said of some complaints about his plan. Jackson’s legislation, SB 278, which he introduced earlier this year, has been criticized by several lawmakers, the latest being state Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, the longest-serving member of the Georgia Legislature. …Jackson said his bill would result in the three HBCUs having greater authority over its curriculum and alumni would have more input over the presidential selection process. Jackson plans to have a public hearing in Atlanta about his bill in late September and meetings with University System leaders. The Savannah lawmaker he’s not upset about Smyre’s criticism.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Jolt: Vote to condemn Israeli boycott prompts maneuvers from John Lewis, Hank Johnson

By Jim Galloway Tamar Hallerman and Greg Bluestein

…Your state Capitol has official rules, which are written down, and unofficial ones that are not. One of the unwritten rules is that state Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, the longest-serving member of the Legislature, can kill a bill with a glance – even if he’s a member of the minority party .On Tuesday, Smyre tackled an issue that has been roiling African-American leaders across Georgia – a legislative effort to pull the state’s historically black colleges and universities out from under the state Board of Regents to form their own smaller system. Smyre came out against it, essentially dooming its chances. …Smyre said the reorganization that Jackson has proposed would “advertently or inadvertently, provide license for the same abuses the ‘separate but equal’ system created.”


The Savannah Tribune

NAACP July Mass Meeting To Address Savannah State University’s Future

On Sunday, July 28, 4 pm, the Savannah Branch NAACP will hold a Mass Meeting at First African Baptist Church located at 23 Montgomery Street. Don Waters, chairman of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia, and Savannah State University Interim President Kimberly Ballard-Washington will address public concerns questioning the future of Savannah State University.


Emanuel County Live

Seckinger appointed EGSC Chief of Police


Deryl “Mack” Seckinger has been appointed Chief of Police for East Georgia State College. Seckinger has served as Interim Chief of police since January. Before that time, he was an officer at the college. Seckinger has been involved in law enforcement for over 25 years. He was named the Chief of Police at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga., has served as a patrol commander at Valdosta State University, and, most recently, before coming to East Georgia State College, he was the chief of police for the Metter Police Department. While actively working in law enforcement, Seckinger has taught classes in criminal justice and political science at Savannah Technical College and Armstrong State University.



Georgia Southern building closed due to asbestos risk

The Math/Physics building at Georgia Southern has been closed due to “a potential release of asbestos materials,” university officials say. A Georgia Southern spokesperson said the discovery was made around 3 p.m. Monday during a routine HVAC repair. The Math/Physics building was immediately evacuated and closed for further inspection. Meanwhile, summer classes taking place in the building have been relocated as air monitoring is underway.



Asbestos scare empties classroom building on Georgia Southern campus

Officials at Georgia Southern University say they expect to know more today about a potential release of asbestos materials in the math/physics building on campus.

Graham Cawthon

Officials at Georgia Southern University say they expect to know more today about a potential release of asbestos materials in the math/physics building on campus. An email sent to the university community Tuesday says the investigation began after “a potential release of asbestos materials inside of Math/Physics during a routine HVAC repair.” The building was evacuated as a precaution and is closed pending air monitoring.



UNG steeple gets a fresh coat of gold after 20 years

By Avery Bryson

It has been nearly 20 years since the iconic gold steeple atop the University of North Georgia’s Price Memorial Hall in Dahlonega has had a facelift. The first time the steeple received a delicate layer of gold was in 1973, in honor of the 100-year anniversary of UNG; The steeple was gilded for a second time in the late 90s. With roughly 20 years of wear and tear, University administrators knew it was time for the steeple to get yet another fresh coat of gold, and moved forward with the project this summer. The Gilders Studio, a company based out of Maryland, traveled to UNG to lay delicate layers of gold leaf to the steeple. These same gilders travel all over the world to practice their art form in places like Dubai, China and Hawaii to name a few.


GPB News

UGA To Launch Tissue-Box Sized Satellite

By Virginia Prescott, Jake Troyer & Emilia Brock

The first launch is scheduled for late 2019 for one of two cube satellites made by the Small Satellite Research Laboratory at the University of Georgia. Cube satellites, otherwise known as CubeSats, weigh less than three pounds and are approximately the size of a loaf of bread. Catching a ride on a rocket from a “launch provider,” each satellite plans to be in orbit between two and two and a half years. The Spectral Ocean Color Satellite, or SPOC, plans to gather images from space of Georgia’s coast, helping researchers at UGA better assess the health of ocean and marsh ecosystems. The second satellite, the Multi-view Onboard Computational Imager, MOCI for short, strives to innovate satellite pre-processing of data before it gets sent back to earth. If successful, this new technique could revolutionize practices for other NASA projects.



UWG to add indoor track and field program

From Staff Reports

The University of West Georgia announced Tuesday that it will be adding its 14th sponsored championship sport this winter.


Higher Education News:


The Chronicle of Higher Education

More States Are Passing Campus Free-Speech Laws. Are They Needed, or Is the Crisis Talk Overblown?

By Katherine Mangan

…So what gives? If free speech is guaranteed under the First Amendment, why are so many states in a rush to enact bills doubling down on those protections? Are they, as one skeptic suggests, largely symbolic gestures aimed at appealing to conservative voters who feel their views are being quashed in academe? Or are they a necessary check on campuses that are going overboard in shielding students from views that offend them? At least 16 states have approved such laws, which proponents say are needed to prevent controversial speakers from being disinvited or shouted down by protesters. Many of the laws also aim to ensure that an entire campus — not just a designated free-speech zone — is open to demonstrations and protests.


Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Congressional HBCU Caucus Gets Five New Members

by LaMont Jones

Five new Senate and House members have joined the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus as the bipartisan coalition prepares for its second annual Congressional Diversity in Tech Summit. The new members are Democratic representatives Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Andre Carson of Indiana, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Lucy McBath of Georgia and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The Caucus was founded in 2015 by Dr. Alma S. Adams, a Democratic representative from North Carolina, and Rep. Bradly Byrne, R-AL, to promote bipartisan legislation that supports HBCUs and their graduates. …“As a proud graduate of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, I am honored to join the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus to highlight the value historically Black colleges bring to higher education,” said Garcia.