Former Michigan State University Athletic Director Merritt Norvell Dies at 79

Former Michigan State University athletic director Dr. Merritt Norvell – one of the first Black Division I athletic directors – died Monday in Lansing at age 79, the Detroit News reported.

Dr. Merritt Norvell (Photo by Michigan State Athletics)

Most recently, Norvell served as executive director of the National Association of Coaching Equity and Development.

During Norvell’s time as MSU’s athletic director from 1995 to 1999, he fundraised millions for various athletics-related building projects and supervised three Hall of Fame coaches: Nick Saban for football, Tom Izzo for basketball and Ron Mason for hockey.

“The thoughts of the entire Michigan State athletics family are with the family and friends of Merritt Norvell,” Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman said in a statement. “Beyond his contributions at Michigan State, his impact was felt across college athletics, including at the national level. Over the last couple days, I’ve been particularly impressed with the number of athletic directors I’ve heard from who were impacted by his mentorship. It’s quite a tribute to him professionally and personally.”

Norvell played football for the University of Wisconsin–Madison Badgers, playing as part of the 1962 Big Ten Championship and in the 1963 Rose Bowl.

“Throughout his career, Merritt was a strong advocate for minority coaches and championed leadership and professional development,” said Dr. Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, in a statement. “We appreciate the time and care he spent helping the NCAA develop leaders for our industry through his work with our coaching and minority development programs.”

Read more:

Texas A&M Professor Penalized for Participating in Scholar Strike

Critical race theorist Dr. Wendy Moore, an associate professor of sociology at Texas A&M University, received a formal reprimand and a two-day suspension without pay for participating in the Scholar Strike, a national movement for academics to pause on Sept. 8 and 9 to reflect on racism. A letter will go in her file saying she willfully violated system and university rules, she said.

She’s one of a growing list of faculty members who have come under pressure for their activism this fall.

“I’m glad I didn’t get fired,” Moore said. “I was prepared for it. I was not prepared financially – I knew it was going to ruin me for a little while – but I had kind of mentally come to grips with the fact that that could happen.”

On Sept. 7, Moore sent an email to her students explaining her participation in the Scholar Strike. She canceled her Tuesday class section and office hours and told students they could join her Thursday class if they wanted. She also offered to stay late to answer any questions about the Scholar Strike movement or class materials.

Within hours, she heard from her department’s interim dean who told her administrators wanted her to do a teach-in instead of a work stoppage. She said he told her, “I don’t want to lose you.”

Meanwhile, on the Facebook page of the Rudder Association, a student group, comments piled up, including some from parents and alumni.

“The best part of waking up isn’t Folgers in my cup — it’s getting the ability to get rid of horrible professors who broke the law and lost all of their employee rights, including tenure,” one commenter wrote. “An administration that believes in the law is like cream and sugar in my coffee.”

That same afternoon, a memo went out from Texas A&M University general counsel Ray Bonilla, saying that anyone who participated in the strike would be in violation of Texas law which prohibits “an organized work stoppage against the state” by public employees.

“I immediately took issue with it,” Moore said. “It was a huge restraint on what I said was a pedagogical choice to participate in,” she told administrators via email response.


Read more:

Hampton University to Remain Online in Spring 2021

Classes at the historically Black Hampton University will remain online in spring 2021 due to considerations of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13NewsNow reported.

“With the cases spiking on college and university campuses, including HBCUs, and in a majority of the states, we have determined that it is in the best interest of the entire Hampton University community to continue virtual instruction for the spring 2021 semester,” announced Hampton University president William R. Harvey in a letter to campus.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 8.3 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with the number of cases increasing in most states.

In response to student feedback, two notable changes will be made to the spring semester. Those changes include an additional break in the calendar and the requirement that all faculty record their lectures.

“Many students have had to take on additional responsibilities like a job, take care of siblings, as well as deal with deaths and illness because of COVID –19,” Harvey wrote. “It was suggested that the spring 2021 semester calendar include an additional break. Another suggestion was to require faculty to record all lectures so students living on the West Coast and outside of the country may be accommodated. I have asked for this to be done.”



Read more:

EAB Launches Initiative to Close Higher Education Equity Gaps by 2030

With the establishment of the “Moon Shot for Equity” initiative, EAB, a higher education consulting firm, will partner with four-year universities and community colleges to close equity gaps by 2030.

As part of the first cohort committed to the initiative, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), Milwaukee Area Technical College, Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside will work toward improving graduation and enrollment rates of underrepresented students.

Tom Sugar

“This is work we have been doing, but now we are going to double down and we are going to be holding not only ourselves accountable but our region accountable,” said Dr. Phyllis King, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at UWM. “It is a collaborative effort and it’s a support network. We are working together to really grow more graduates, which will ultimately lead to a better quality of life and outcomes for our community and our region.”

Over the years, the city of Milwaukee has faced equity challenges as many of its high schools are considered the most segregated in the United States, according to Tom Sugar, vice president of partnerships at EAB.

“We saw through the pandemic that the outcomes on health are very inequitable as well,” he added. “Even though [those leaders] may face the same kind of budget cuts and concerns around enrollment, they decided … to charge forward.”

Around half of Black and Latinx students earn their degrees within six years compared to 70% of White students, according to LaToya White, senior director with EAB’s Student Success Collaborative.

While earning a postsecondary degree, the overall financial cost can create barriers for many students. Beyond tuition and housing, students may accumulate fees during the semester such as parking or additional course fees.

Additionally, first-generation students often lack a support system that is familiar with the structure of higher education.

“Whether it is because of their experiences that they are bringing in or because of systemic barriers they might bring in, it is important that the foundation of how schools operate recognizes that every student needs a

Read more:

National Weather

Click on map for forecast