Syracuse Hires Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to ‘Review’ Campus Police

Syracuse University (SU) said on Monday it has hired former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to lead an independent review of the institution’s Department of Public Safety after criticism over last week’s suspension — revoked a day later — of 30 students protesting racial incidents on campus and their alleged mistreatment by DPS police officers.

In a statement Monday posted on SU’s website, Chancellor Kent Syverud apologized for how the situation was handled.

“I am not proud of how last week’s events involving student protesters in Crouse-Hinds Hall were handled. I take responsibility and apologize to the students — especially those misidentified in suspension letters sent out,” Syverud wrote.

Campus publication The Daily Orange said that #NotAgainSU, a movement led by mostly Black students, has organized a sit-in at SU’s Crouse-Hinds Hall since Feb. 17 to protest more than two dozen hate crimes at the university since November. Student protestors say no concrete action has been taken to address the racial incidents.  The 30 students were suspended for not vacating the hall past closing time. They said the campus police make them feel “unsafe.”

The public security department “sealed Crouse-Hinds off Tuesday and Wednesday, preventing outside food and medicine from entering until Wednesday afternoon,” said both the campus paper and the protestors.

“SU provided lunch and dinner to organizers Tuesday and breakfast Wednesday. DPS (Department of Public Security) Associate Chief John Sardino physically struggled with a student last week to prevent them from entering Crouse-Hinds, a video posted on social media shows,” the publication added.

On Tuesday, February 18, campus police tweeted saying, “students claiming we’re restricting their access to food are free to leave the building any time.” #NotAgainSU said it wants Sardino to resign.

In the face of this backlash, Syverud talked about why the university decided to appoint Lynch to review the institution’s public safety department.

“I believe this review is necessary given that concerns have been raised through several channels about how DPS engages with our community

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Report: Open Educational Resources Save Students Money at a Manageable Cost to Colleges

Free digital learning materials, or Open Educational Resources (OER), have been celebrated as a way to reduce student costs and even encourage them to take more credits. But how well do they work?

According to a new study, these online resources do save students money and at a manageable cost to colleges.

The study — conducted by SRI Education and rpk GROUP — assesses the impact of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative. Over two and a half years, the program enabled 38 community colleges in 13 states to offer 6,600 OER course sections, reaching nearly 160,000 students. About 2,000 instructors chose to participate, developing and facilitating these courses, which is more than Achieving the Dream leadership anticipated.

“It was, in fact, the largest ever study of (the) impact of Open Educational Resources and maybe even the largest ever orchestrated, mobilized movement to scale OER,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit for higher education reform. “The study shows that OER implementation at scale saves cost for students, that it improved their learning experience and it’s cost-effective for institutions.”

Achieving the Dream announced the report’s results at its annual conference in Maryland last week. The study showed that students at participating schools saved $65 per course on average, collectively saving roughly $10.7 million on textbooks.

About 41% of students surveyed said OER courses would significantly help them afford college. That percentage was higher for minorities and low-income students, highlighting the “equity dimension to this work,” said Rebecca J. Griffiths, principal education researcher at SRI Education. The study shows “some positive results in terms of affordability, access, equity and student success.”

Meanwhile, OERs also helped students to come to class more prepared than they otherwise would have been. In the past, more than half of students reported not buying the required materials, mostly because of cost.

“If you start by thinking about what that experience is for a student taking a class without the required textbook … you can imagine that that’s a real barrier to success,” Grif

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Education Department Upgrades Website to Better Explain Student Loan Information

The U.S. Education Department has upgraded its student aid website,, with several new features.

According to a press release, the site now offers an “Aid Summary” which provides students with detailed information regarding grants and loans they have received; a “Loan Simulator” which suggests and compares personalized loan repayment plans; and a “Make a Payment” pilot program which allows a subset of the Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) 42 million student borrowers to make payments directly online.

Secretary Betsy DeVos meets with students.

As of now, only borrowers who are currently repaying federally managed loans and who are assigned to Great Lakes or Nelnet servicers can participate in the pilot program. Eventually, the department hopes to expand the program to all direct loan borrowers.

“Students deserve to be treated like the unique and valued customers they are,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“Congress created a cumbersome and confusing web of loan and repayment options, but we continue to make great strides at FSA in providing borrowers with more detailed, personalized and actionable information so they can take control of financing their education.”


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UGA to Name College of Education After its First Black Graduate

The University of Georgia (UGA) will name its College of Education after its first Black graduate Mary Frances Early this week, reported Jackson Progress-Argus.

Early earned her master’s degree in music education in 1962 and her specialist in education degree in 1967. In 2013, she was presented with an honorary doctorate from the university.

Mary Frances Early

The naming of the Mary Frances Early College of Education celebrates UGA’s first Black graduate’s impact as a civil rights advocate and music educator. After helping integrate the university, she taught in Atlanta Public Schools, Morehouse College, Spelman College and served as head of the music department at Clark Atlanta University.

In 2013, Early was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university. The Mary Frances Early lecture was established in 2001 by the Graduate and Professional Scholars student organization to honor Early.

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