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Writing and Reporting by Jenna Duncan

Posts Tagged ‘higher education

If she tells grads to reach for the stars, she may mean it literally

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Published May 9, 2011 in The Boston Globe MetroDesk Blog

Speakers travel from far and wide to deliver commencement addresses to college graduates, but the University of Massachusetts Amherst speaker just can’t make the trip.

Catherine “Cady” Coleman taped a speech instead, which will be played to the 4,300 graduates Friday, because Coleman will be floating in orbit around the earth, aboard the International Space Station.

Coleman completed her undergraduate career at MIT, and earned her doctorate in polymer science and engineering from UMass Amherst in 1991.

She became an astronaut in 1992, and has been on two previous NASA shuttle missions.

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Written by jdunccc

May 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

Child rape case against Stonehill tutor dropped

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Published April 28, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B3

-shared byline with Katherine Landergan

After weeks of deliberation, a grand jury has not indicted a Stonehill College student accused of raping an 8-year-old girl he tutored in Brockton, and he will not be prosecuted, authorities said yesterday.

As a result, Kevin Treseler, 21, of Millis will be welcomed back to Stonehill, from which he was suspended last month following the allegations.

Treseler is not sure he will return to the Easton school, his lawyer said.

“Kevin Treseler’s name has been cleared,” said his attorney, Michael P. Doolin of Dorchester. “I hope that he’s able to go back to the life that he had, and his family is very relieved and gratified for the findings of the grand jury.”

Matthew H. Malone, superintendent of Brockton’s public schools, said officials believe a crime was committed and the school district will continue to work with law enforcement to identify a perpetrator. He did not indicate whether another participant in the tutoring program would be targeted.

“First and foremost, our priority has always been and will continue to be the 8-year-old girl in the center of this case, who has clearly been victimized in some way,” he said. “We’re continuing to support the student as we support many students who are victims of trauma.”

Bridget Norton Middleton, spokeswoman for the Plymouth district attorney, concurred. “Our concern now is the victim and that she has all the services she needs,” Middleton said.

Brockton police arrested Treseler March 21 on two counts of rape of a child with force and two counts of indecent assault and battery of a child younger than 14.

Treseler was a math tutor at Angelo Elementary School, where the assaults allegedly took place from January through March. At his arrest, his initial lawyer, Kari D. Cincotta, said the circumstances did “not bear out to support [the alleged victim’s] allegations.”

Treseler worked at the school as part of a federal work-study program, America Counts. The tutoring sessions were held in a regular classroom, under the supervision of a teacher.

Yesterday’s announcement came as a relief to Treseler’s family. “His parents are very happy and relieved,” Doolin said. “It’s been very difficult.”

A Stonehill spokesman, Martin McGovern, said in a statement yesterday that Treseler is welcome back to school.

“We look forward to helping Kevin reintegrate into college life and to supporting him as he makes that transition, if that is his wish,” he said.

Written by jdunccc

April 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

Harvard names new provost

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Published April 15, 2011 in The Boston Globe MetroDesk Blog

Alan M. Garber, a Harvard College alumnus who is a professor at Stanford University, will become Harvard University’s next provost, officials announced today.

Garber will succeed Steven E. Hyman, who has held the post since December 2001 and will leave the post at the end of the academic year and remain on the faculty.

Over the summer, President Drew Faust said she would oversee all academic functions until Garber starts Sept. 1.

Written by jdunccc

April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

Risque race is too risky, Tufts decides College head calls an end to traditional Naked Quad Run

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Published on March 15, 2011 in The Boston Globe, Page B1

-shared byline with Peter Schworm

For decades, bright leaders of tomorrow at Tufts University have found respite from their high-minded pursuits in the noblest of college traditions: streaking around the quad in a madcap dash through a cold December night.

But to the chagrin of nudist revelers everywhere, college administrators have called a stop to the alcohol-fueled antics, saying the annual student celebration has gone too far.

In a sharply worded column published in yesterday’s Tufts Daily, university president Lawrence Bacow said the Naked Quad Run has become an increasingly unruly and dangerous event that puts students’ lives at risk.

“Given that we can no longer manage the run, we cannot allow this `tradition’ to continue,” Bacow wrote in the student newspaper. “Even if I did not act now, NQR would end some day. The only question is whether a student has to die first. We cannot allow this to happen.”

But students expressed disappointment at the loss of a cherished tradition they said created many classic college moments, a burst of semester’s end bonding before the final exam crunch.

“There are not that many shared experiences for students,” said senior Ben Gittleson, who reported Bacow’s decision for the student newspaper. “This is one of them, and a quirky one at that.”

Gittleson and other students said most participants, though certainly not all, are sober, and annoyed that inebriated students had ruined the fun.

But Bacow said “alcohol fuels” the run, and many students need to drink “to fortify themselves to shed their inhibitions and run in subfreezing conditions.”

This December, the college said, was a particular nightmare. A dozen students were hospitalized after the event, two with blood alcohol levels over 0.3 percent, more than three times the legal limit for adult drivers (most undergraduates are below the legal drinking age). Drunk students who went to a local hospital to check on a friend disrupted the emergency room, Bacow said, and another student was arrested in a confrontation with police.

Over the years, the combination of heavy drinking and running has led to broken bones and a host of other injuries.

“Clearly this past December we once again only narrowly avoided a tragedy,” Bacow wrote.

As president, Bacow has frequently spoken out against the culture of binge drinking on college campuses, and he meets personally with students treated for alcohol-related problems. As far back as 2002, Bacow frowned on the Naked Quad Run, chiding students for drunken escapades that left the campus littered with broken bottles.

“The combination of consumption of alcohol with a mad dash through an icy, hilly campus at night cannot continue,” he wrote students at the time. “I also heard reports of students being groped while running, and other examples of poor and disrespectful behavior. Tufts is better than this.”

Bacow had wanted to end the event at the time, but students and alumni persuaded him otherwise. Instead, the college wound up sanctioning the run in an effort to make it safer, erecting barriers between spectators and runners, salting and sanding the course, and providing police details.

Participants were urged to wear shoes for better traction, and the student government provided food so that participants wouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.

By lending the run its support, however, the school brought a fringe event to the mainstream, drawing upwards of 1,000 spectators in recent years and gaining a measure of national fame.

“Ironically, their management of the event only made it more popular,” Gittleson said. “It wasn’t just crazy students running around the quad anymore.”

A university spokeswoman, Kim Thurler, said the widespread troubles caused by the most recent quad run convinced administrators the event could not be justified.

“We tried to make it safer,” she said, “but finally concluded it just wasn’t possible.”

The tradition started in the 1970s, as a protest by men who opposed coed housing. Sometime in the 1980s, women joined in. In recent years, residents of Medford and Somerville have also participated.

Ben Ross, a sophomore from Connecticut, said the tradition is too special to surrender: a thrilling whirl of liberation, whether one drinks or not.

“It’s definitely a release,” he said.

Kaitlin Zack, a senior who described the event as “mass chaos,” said that relatively sober students can negotiate the run without difficulty. It’s the drunk runners who struggle, often careening into each other, she said.

Students are sad to see the run go, she said, but generally understand the administration’s decision.

“I think it’s a really fun tradition and can be great, but I do understand,” Zack said.

Still, students have griped about the decision on Facebook, and are already discussing plans for a secretive streak next time around. A protest, of sorts, just the way it started.

“It means a lot to a lot of people,” said senior John Atsalis. “A few bad apples, so to speak, ruined it for the rest.”

Written by jdunccc

March 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Posted in The Boston Globe

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Harvard reports spike in applications

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Published on January 14, 2011 in The Boston Globe MetroDesk Blog

Applications for admission to Harvard College have increased almost 15 percent from last year, to about 35,000, Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said.

Last year, 30,489 students applied for admission; 2,110 were admitted. Just four years ago, the college received 22,955 applications.

Why are so many people applying?

“Over this period, Harvard has significantly enhanced its need-based financial aid program to ensure that talented students from low- and middle-income backgrounds will find Harvard affordable and accessible,” the Harvard Gazette reported today.

For families with annual incomes below $60,000, Harvard is free. For families with annual incomes of up to $180,000, the college asks, on average, no more than 10 percent of income. Seventy percent of students currently receive some form of financial aid, the college said.

In an article in the Gazette, administrators also cited an increased interest in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an increase in students applying online.

“Such services enable students, especially those with few counseling or economic resources, to apply to college more easily,” the article said.

The students who applied will find out if they made the cut on March 30, when electronic notifications and letters are scheduled to be sent. This year, 92 percent of applicants requested the electronic notification.

 

Written by jdunccc

January 14, 2011 at 12:00 am