WSU president: Campus should not be embarrassed by past mistakes

Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 @ 4:27 PM

            Wright State University president Cheryl Schrader delivered her first state of the university address on Wednesday.
Wright State University president Cheryl Schrader delivered her first state of the university address on Wednesday.

Wright State University should not be embarrassed by the mistakes and scandals that have plagued it over the past few years, the school’s president said Wednesday.

In her first “state of the university address,” president Cheryl Schrader said administrators, staff, faculty and students need to discuss Wright State’s problems in order to solve them.

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Just before Schrader arrived, Wright State slashed $30.8 million from its fiscal year 2018 budget in an initial attempt to correct years of overspending. The university has also faced multiple lawsuits over its canceled presidential debate and investigations into possible H-1B visa misuse that have lingered over the last two years.

“First let me say that there is no need to be uncomfortable speaking about what occurred,” Schrader said to a room full of people in the student union. “Recognizing, understanding and discussing it will only help us as we set a bold course for the next 50 years.”

Talking about the university’s issues made Schrader’s speech unlike any state of the university address she had given before, she said. But, discussing those issues is necessary because “we need to be able to look at reality,” Schrader said.

RELATED: As president, Schrader wants to be Wright State’s ‘warrior’

Earlier this year Schrader began seeking feedback for what Wright State should become 10 years from now. The initiative is part of a strategic planning process Schrader and her administration will be developing during her first year in office, she has said.

The responses Schrader received showed that the campus community is mostly concerned about Wright State’s finances, academic programs, campus life and morale at the university.

“The challenges of the last few years have been a stark wake-up call that business as usual is not an option. We can’t go back to the way we have always done things,” she said.

Schrader has been adamant that she can help move Wright State past its recent struggles and on Wednesday she said the “vast potential of this university far outweighs the temporary setbacks we are experiencing.”

RELATED: Wright State president encourages students to anonymously report hate

During her address, Schrader also gave a shout-out to her new chief business officer, Walt Branson. Branson, who previously served as an administrator under Schrader at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, started this week at WSU.

“His unquestioned acumen and integrity are a great addition to Wright State,” Schrader said. “Walt and I will work together with the campus community to place this institution in as strong a financial position possible by the end of this fiscal year.”

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Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? 13 things to know about Parkland high school’s namesake

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:12 PM

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, was the scene of a mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018 that killed 17 people. The high school, which opened its doors in 1990, was named for author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who spent her life working to save the Florida Everglades.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images, State Archives of Florida
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, was the scene of a mass shooting on Valentine's Day 2018 that killed 17 people. The high school, which opened its doors in 1990, was named for author and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who spent her life working to save the Florida Everglades.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images, State Archives of Florida)

When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name.

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Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life.

  • Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.”
  • Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist. 
  • Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature. 
  • It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed. 
  • “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.”
  • Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.  
  • In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem.
  • In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today. 
  • Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.”
  • Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later
  • When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.”
  • She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College. 
  • On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm.
Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 

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Florida teen brings knife to school with list of students' names, deputies say

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Authorities booked Benjamin Mendoza, 18, into jail in Collier County, Florida, on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering or disrupting school administration functions.
Collier County Jail
Authorities booked Benjamin Mendoza, 18, into jail in Collier County, Florida, on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering or disrupting school administration functions.(Collier County Jail)

A Florida high school student was arrested Monday after deputies said he brought a knife, gas mask and other disturbing items to school.

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Benjamin Mendoza, 18, was booked into the Collier County Jail on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering/disrupting school administration functions. 

Deputies said they received a tip about Mendoza Friday from someone who said Mendoza had brought a gas mask to Palmetto Ridge High School and previously had made disturbing comments to him about the Las Vegas mass shooting.

>> Related: FBI didn't investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz before deadly school shooting

When confronted at the school, northwest of Naples, detectives found several items in Mendoza’s backpack, including: 

  • A fake, but realistic-looking, Los Angeles Police Department badge;  
  • A drawing of a body with bullet holes to the chest and the words “dead ha ha dead” written on the back of the paper; 
  • A small notebook containing stories and drawings depicting victims and suspects in murders and other crimes;  
  • A Palmetto Ridge High School map; and
  • A note that said “shoot up school” and “school shoot animae (cq) dead.”
Other students also told detectives that they saw Mendoza with a knife and gas mask at school. 

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Middletown woman charged with felony animal cruelty after dogs starve, with one decapitated

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

Tina Marie Jackson. MIDDLETOWN JAIL
Tina Marie Jackson. MIDDLETOWN JAIL

A Middletown woman has been jailed and charged with felony animal cruelty after several dead animals were found in her backyard, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The county dog warden’s office received information last week advising that there were dead dogs in the yard at the residence in the 1300 block of Oxford State Road.

Four dogs were observed by the humane officers when they arrived on Feb. 16. Two of the dogs were found in dog houses, another one was found in a black plastic tote along with a decapitated dog’s head, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner, Tina Marie Jackson, said she ran out of dog food and she never provided bedding in the dog houses to keep the dogs warm. She did not offer an explanation for the decapitated dog.

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Necropsies were conducted on all four dogs, and three were found to have no food in their stomachs, and the cause of death was ruled starvation. There could not be any determination on cause of death of dog with the severed head due to lack of evidence in the specimen.

“I am beside myself,” said Sheriff Richard Jones. “Owning one animal and treating it like trash is appalling but this woman had four. I am disgusted that these poor animals suffered and I am glad Ms. Jackson is behind bars.”

Jackson, 39, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty to companion animals. She is currently housed in Middletown City Jail in lieu of $5,000 bond. Jackson is scheduled to be back in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

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Clayton chief seeks to reassure community after Florida shooting

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:54 PM

            Clayton Police Department badge. CONTRIBUTED.
Clayton Police Department badge. CONTRIBUTED.

With the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., last week that left 17 students and staff dead, Clayton Police Chief Matt Hamlin wants to reassure his community that they are taking precautions to keep residents, students and teachers safe.

After many concerned parents asked what the school district protect their children, Hamlin offered an overview of the steps the two school resource officers (SRO) and local law enforcement take.

Northmont High School has resource officer in the building for 40 hours a week. The officer is trained in the Active, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate program, called ALICE.

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For three days per week, the middle school has one resource officer.

The officers are always ready and on alert, the chief said.

The resource officers conduct a safety meeting with area law enforcement and Northmont staff—usually reviewing and discussing any concerns every month. Yearly training sessions, with local law enforcement, are conducted in Quick Uniform Attack on Drugs (QUAD) and active shooter drills.

Local law enforcement agencies also conduct five regular firearms training sessions per year that focus on firearms, shot placement, and retention. LasorShot and Simulator Training are training tools used to prepare for active shooter events, traffic stops and other potential deadly encounters.

For additional information, contact Hamlin at (937) 836-5000.

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