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News in higher education

The University of Memphis will hire consultants to study the feasibility of an on-campus football stadium -- a shift on an issue that pitted pro-stadium boosters against President Shirley Raines' administration.

"This thing is splitting our camps. We don't want that. We're all Tigers," athletic director R.C. Johnson said.

"We don't want those factions out there. I think this will dispel it, one way or another. I think this will bring things to a head."

Johnson disagreed with the notion that Raines had shifted her position by approving a feasibility study.
The University of Memphis will hire consultants to study the feasibility of an on-campus football stadium -- a shift on an issue that pitted pro-stadium boosters against President Shirley Raines' administration.

"This thing is splitting our camps. We don't want that. We're all Tigers," athletic director R.C. Johnson said.

"We don't want those factions out there. I think this will dispel it, one way or another. I think this will bring things to a head."

Johnson disagreed with the notion that Raines had shifted her position by approving a feasibility study.

Two days earlier, however, Raines had issued a statement that began:
"The University of Memphis has no plans to build a football stadium on the University campus.

"Our priorities remain focused on academic needs, including an audiology/nursing building, a research building, the replacement of West Hall dormitory, and the music center."

Raines, in that statement, said any "financially feasible" on-campus stadium proposals would be reviewed, but that none had been presented to the school.

Now the school is taking the step to study the issue, with Johnson saying, "What we decided was at this point it was prudent to have a feasibility study done.” (The Commercial Appeal, Sept. 21, 2007)

Six universities in Tennessee now add "green fees" to their tuition.
The fees, capped at $10, pay for clean energy projects and green power.

The schools include University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, University of Memphis, Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Tennessee Technological University.

"Tennessee Board of Regents was thinking about making it mandatory, but they decided that they wanted students to vote on it," said Micky Morton, vice president of Initiative for Clean Energy (ICE). "Because when they see that $7 on their tuition they're like 'Hey, we voted on that.' And then they can be invested in it."

Established two years ago, ICE, along with faculty and staff, has been instrumental in developing the newly implemented program and education about the clean energy initiative.

"When we first formed, we were talking way too big," said Morton. "We were like let's take coal and replace it with something else, and ETSU didn't even have recycling. So last semester we decided to just focus on recycling and getting that going first. Just get one thing going, and other things will follow."

Recycling will be followed with an alternative transportation program in association with the Center for Physical Activity and the cycling club called Yellow Bikes. (East Tennessean, Sept. 24, 2007)

Universities across the state are beginning to recruit Hispanics in an attempt to diversify their student bodies.

Hispanic college students in Tennessee consistently number fewer than their African-American classmates and often Asian students, as well even though Hispanics are the most numerous minority in the nation.

In response, schools have hired Hispanic advisers, increased visibility in the Hispanic community and begun contacting prospective students earlier in their careers even before they reach high school.

Francisco Gallego, a junior biology major at Middle Tennessee State University, welcomes the effort. He moved with his family from Colombia eight years ago to Miami and then Erie, Penn., before settling in Tennessee.

"I have my friends who are Hispanic, but there's just a couple of them," he said. "It's hard to find them here."

Attracting Hispanic students from outside the state has proven particularly difficult, according to a recent study showing nearly half of Hispanic undergraduates attend about 8 percent of universities in the United States.

The study, conducted by Washington-based Excelencia in Education, a Hispanic issues think tank, found that Hispanic undergraduates were concentrated in the country's universities where at least 25 percent of undergraduates are Hispanic. None of those is in Tennessee. (The Tennessean, Sept. 23, 2007)