Dartmouth plans new strategy to prevent sexual misconduct

CONCORD, N.H. – The president of Dartmouth College says the Ivy League school will announce a sweeping plan next month to prevent and respond to sexual assault. A lawsuit filed last month by seven current and former students accuses Dartmouth of ignoring years of harassment and assault by former faculty members in the school's psychology … Continue reading “Dartmouth plans new strategy to prevent sexual misconduct”

CONCORD, N.H. – The president of Dartmouth College says the Ivy League school will announce a sweeping plan next month to prevent and respond to sexual assault.

A lawsuit filed last month by seven current and former students accuses Dartmouth of ignoring years of harassment and assault by former faculty members in the school's psychology department.

College officials deny ignoring the complaints. In an email to the Dartmouth community Wednesday, President Philip Hanlon says the college will explain its actions soon in court filings. He says that he regrets the existence of an environment at odds with Dartmouth's values and that he shares the plaintiffs' goals for reform.

The new plan will be announced in January when students return to campus.

Temple University condemns, but does not punish, Marc Lamont Hill over alleged anti-Semitic comments

Temple University's Board of Trustees formally announced its "disappointment, displeasure, and disagreement" Tuesday with professor and former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill over remarks he made last month that critics said called for the destruction of Israel.

However, the board declined to take further action against Hill, saying that he "was not speaking on behalf of or representing the University" at the Nov. 28 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People event at the United Nations.

"We recognize that Professor Hill’s comments are his own, that his speech as a private individual is entitled to the same Constitutional protection of any other citizen, and that he has through subsequent statements expressly rejected anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence," the board said in a statement.

During his speech, Hill referred to "a free Palestine from the river to the sea," a phrase often used by Hamas and other groups advocating the end of the Jewish state. At another point in his remarks, Hill poured himself some water and told participants that he just got off a flight from “Palestine” and that “I was boycotting the Israeli water so I was unable to quench my thirst.”

Hill claimed on Twitter that his use of the phrase "was not a call to destroy anything or anyone. It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza."

"I support Palestinian freedom. I support Palestinian self-determination," Hill said in another tweet, adding: "I do not support anti-Semitism, killing Jewish people, or any of the other things attributed to my speech. I have spent my life fighting these things."

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However, the board of trustees noted in its statement that "from the river to the sea" is "used by anti-Israel terror groups and widely perceived as language that threatens the existence of the State of Israel."

CNN cut ties with Hill the day after his remarks but did not give a specific reason for his dismissal.

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A Temple alum, Hill joined the university's faculty last year as a professor of media studies and urban education. He previously taught at Morehouse College in Atlanta and Columbia University in New York City.

Bowie State places marching band on probation for hazing

BOWIE, Md. – A Maryland university has placed its marching band on a yearlong probation following a hazing investigation.

Bowie State University also announced Friday that Symphony of Soul band director Adolph Wright has resigned.

News outlets report the announcements came nearly a month after the university suspended the 88-member band's activities following hazing allegations.

The university says the allegations included paddling, "intentional physical discomfort; punishment for certain conduct; harassment and ridicule."

University President Aminta H. Breaux described the hazing as "serious," but said it didn't "rise to the level of harm and tragic outcomes of other recent, high-profile acts."

The band will not be allowed to take overnight trips and will perform only on campus during select academic and ceremonial functions. New students can't join until fall 2020.

Ban on parents at school lunchrooms roils Connecticut town

DARIEN, Conn. – One mother shed tears when she read the superintendent's announcement. Another said it felt like a body blow.

After struggling with growing numbers of parents in school cafeterias, the Darien school system said parents and guardians would no longer be welcome to visit with their children during lunch at the town's elementary schools.

The decision has stirred strong emotions in Darien, a wealthy shoreline community that prides itself on its high-performing public schools. While some parents said it was time to stop a disruptive practice, others have protested at town meetings and in online forums that the change has deprived them of cherished time to check in on their children and model good social behavior.

"It feels like a punch in the gut," parent Jessica Xu, whose oldest child is in first grade, said in an interview. "I chose the town for the schools. I'm so frustrated the schools don't want me there."

Elementary schools generally set their own rules for parent visits, and policies vary widely. Some allow it on children's birthdays or other special occasions. In some areas districts say it's not an issue because parents do not or cannot visit because of work or other obligations.

In a Darien, a town of Colonial-style homes behind stone fences where the median household income exceeds $200,000, so many parents had begun attending lunch that principals felt they were affecting the day-to-day running of the elementary schools, according to Tara Ochman, chairman of the Darien Board of Education. On a typical day, Xu said, six or seven parents were in the cafeteria of her child's school.

"We believe that schools exist for children, and we work to develop the skills necessary for students to grow into engaged members of society," Ochman said in a written statement. "We work every day on this mission so that our students embrace their next steps confidently and respectfully."

The Darien superintendent and elementary school principals declined to comment, but a veteran of school lunchrooms in the nearby town of Weston, Kelly Ann Franzese, said parent visits can be taxing because children become upset when their parents leave and school staff members feel their every move is being scrutinized. Some Weston parents visited their children every week, she said.

"From a professional perspective, when we're the ones left dealing with your child when you leave, it wasn't good," said Franzese, who worked for eight years as a special education therapist in Weston until earlier this year. "We would call them helicopter moms."

One Darien mother, Beth Lane, said at an education board meeting last month that she welcomed the change.

"It was good because kids have to be able to learn how to work with each other and socialize with each other, and putting a parent in changes the dynamic dramatically," she said.

But others who spoke up at the meeting said the midday visits allowed them to see how their children were faring and to help them resolve friction with other children. For the youngest children, they could offer helping opening milk cartons and finding items in the lunchrooms.

Terry Steadman, a parent, told the board she was shocked and driven to tears by the news.

"To just ban parents from the lunchroom, which is effectively what you're doing with this email, I don't think it's right. I don't think it's in the spirit of a collaborative environment," she said.

Other districts have wrestled with lunchroom visitation policies including Beaverton, Oregon, where restrictions were added last year because many Indian and Pakistani families were bringing warm lunches from home daily for their children. The elementary school added a rack where parents can drop off lunches, and the district assesses visit requests on a case-by-case basis, district spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler said.

"It's about managing the numbers in the school," she said. "You just can't have parents hanging out at the school, just watching."

The practice is unheard of in many urban and poor areas where parents may not have the same engagement with schools.

"In some schools it's not really an issue at all because based on the population, parents aren't able to come and have lunch. It's something maybe parents aren't able to do," said Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for schools in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Despite the change, Ochman said, the Darien school board values collaboration between schools and the community.

"We have volunteers in our schools daily," she said, "and we are lucky to have such a engaged thoughtful community that cares for kids in Darien."

Four administrators reassigned from Parkland school after massacre report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Four administrators at a Florida high school where 17 people were fatally shot are being reassigned following a report from the state commission investigating the shooting.

Broward County Public Schools released a statement Monday that three assistant principals and a security specialist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff members were being reassigned to other administrative locations. It didn't say why they were being reassigned.

The decision was made after the latest meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission.

The school system says it's using material from the commission to improve school safety and student services.

Twenty-year-old Nikolas Cruz has pleaded not guilty in the Feb. 14 shooting rampage. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Four administrators reassigned from Parkland school after massacre report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Four administrators at a Florida high school where 17 people were fatally shot are being reassigned following a report from the state commission investigating the shooting.

Broward County Public Schools released a statement Monday that three assistant principals and a security specialist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff members were being reassigned to other administrative locations. It didn't say why they were being reassigned.

The decision was made after the latest meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission.

The school system says it's using material from the commission to improve school safety and student services.

Twenty-year-old Nikolas Cruz has pleaded not guilty in the Feb. 14 shooting rampage. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Fan post suggesting FSU coach lynching prompts investigation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State University President John Thrasher is calling a fan's social media post depicting football coach Willie Taggart getting lynched "ignorant and despicable."

FSU ended a disappointing first season under Taggart with a loss Saturday to in-state rival the University of Florida. Many fans took to social media, expressing their disappointment.

But one Facebook post included a meme depicting Taggart, who is black, being lynched, along with the words: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing your rep."

In a statement issued Sunday, Thrasher indicated the post is being investigated by the state attorney. Thrasher also said "Coach Taggart has our full support" and is a "respected member of the FSU family."

FSU ended its season with a 5-7 record.

The Facebook post has been taken down.

Florida State president condemns racist post targeting football coach Willie Taggart

Florida State University's president took to Twitter Sunday to call out a fan's Facebook post calling for the lynching of first-year head football coach Willie Taggart.

"A recent racist social media post aimed at our football coach is ignorant and despicable," University president John Thrasher wrote on the school's official Twitter account. "I speak for the entire FSU community in expressing our disgust and extreme disappointment, and I am glad the state attorney is investigating. Coach Taggart has our full support and as true Seminoles know, he is a respected member of the FSU family."

Florida State wrapped up a disappointing 5-7 campaign under Taggart with a 41-14 home loss to in-state rival Florida on Saturday. The loss snapped FSU's five-game winning streak over the Gators, secured the Seminole's first losing season since 1976 and ensured the program would not reach a bowl game for the first time since the 1981 season.

Many fans took to social media to express their disappointment, but one Facebook post included a meme depicting Taggart, who is black, being lynched, along with the words: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing your rep." The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the poster responded to a critical comment by writing: "I'm dead F—– serious. This is how far I'm willing to go to get rid of this clown."

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The Facebook post has since been taken down.

Taggart previously coached at Western Kentucky, South Florida and Oregon before being hired by Florida State to replace Jimbo Fisher, who departed after last season to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.