All posts by Xarissa Holdaway


Missouri Southern State U. and Its President Part Ways

Bruce Speck is no longer president of Missouri Southern State University, the institution’s Board of Governors announced in a terse statement on the university’s Web site. The board’s chairwoman, Sherry Buchanan, says in the statement that Mr. Speck is leaving “by mutual agreement” of the parties. According to The Joplin Globe, he had two years left on his contract. Neither Mr. Speck nor the university provided any details on the reasons for his departure or information on any severance package …


David Foster Wallace’s Commencement Speech Is Revived, This Time in Video

Not many commencement speeches survive the day they’re given. Even fewer are active well beyond the lifetime of their author. The speech that the writer David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005 breaks both rules.

His address, informally titled “This Is Water,” was never filmed. However, it has been circulating on the Internet for years in transcribed form, particularly after Wallace’s suicide, in September  2008. Unlike his heavily footnoted, fractal-like novels, the speech was relati…


The Terror of Student Debt, in B-Movie Form

Ever get that tingly feeling that you’re being followed? Not by a turnip-wielding serial bludgeoner or an animated rocking horse—because those are just this reporter’s own personal nightmares—but by the specter of your student-loan payments? Then The Red, a new short film released online last week, is for you.

Borderline Films, the partnership behind the award-winning thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, directed The Red. All the classic tropes are in place: There’s a shivering, defenseless young …


Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Pay Student Loans for a Few New Graduates

The City of Niagara Falls, N.Y., will contribute toward student-loan payments for 20 recent college graduates who promise to live downtown, The Niagara Gazette reports. The city, which is struggling with population loss, hopes that the program will help entice other young residents and make the downtown area a more attractive place to live. Graduates accepted into the program will be eligible for $7,000 each in loan-payment reimbursements over two years. The city will spend $200,000 on the effort, called Live NF.

Similar projects, such as Kansas’ Rural Opportunity Zones, also aim to keep young people in economically depressed areas by offering to pay parts of their student loans.

Bobbie Thoman, one of the first awardees, said she is excited to collaborate with fellow participants in the program and has already started to explore the idea of establishing a community garden in the designated area. “Anything you can do to get involved in the community, it makes you, I feel like, live a fuller life,” Thoman said.

Read more at:


Manhunt for Marathon Bombers Follows Shooting Death of MIT Police Officer

Officials search an area at Massachusetts Institute of Technology following reports of a shooting, Friday, April 19, 2013, in Boston. State police say a campus police officer at the school has died from injuries in a shooting on the campus outside Boston. State police spokesman Dave Procopio says the shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. Thursday outside an MIT building. The injured officer was described as a male but no further information about him was released. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Officials searched an area at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology early Friday, following reports of a shooting. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

[For more on this story, see this Chronicle article. Last updated: 11:51 a.m.]

The authorities identified the MIT police officer shot dead by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as Sean A. Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass. They said Officer Collier had been found in his car, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, roughly 10 minutes after the police rece…


Pseudo-Academic Journals Proliferate Online

A New York Times article takes a look at the new wave of conferences and journals that have sprung up along with the open-access movement. Capitalizing on academics’ need to publish, some of the journals seem willing to print nearly any research for a “hefty fee,” and use prominent academics’ names for recruitment. Some experts estimate there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of the journals.

In 2012, Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver, told The Chronicle that he keeps a list of “predatory” open-access publishers, whose main goal is to generate profits. Such publishers, says Mr. Beall, “add little value to scholarship, pay little attention to digital preservation, and operate using fly-by-night, unsustainable business models.”

About two years ago, James White, a plant pathologist at Rutgers, accepted an invitation to serve on the editorial board of a new journal, Plant Pathology & Microbiology, not realizing the nature of the journal. Meanwhile, his name, photograph and résumé were on the journal’s Web site. Then he learned that he was listed as an organizer and speaker on a Web site advertising Entomology-2013.

“I am not even an entomologist,” he said.

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Roger Ebert Maintained Ties With U. of Illinois and Student Newspaper

Until his death on Thursday, the acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert was one of the most visible and vocal supporters of his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and its student newspaper, The Daily Illini, where he was editor in chief 50 years ago. In 2012, when the paper threatened to fold, Mr. Ebert fought to raise funds to ensure its survival.

“Many, including myself, would say that they owe their careers at least in part to their experience at Illini Media,” Mr. Ebert said in a letter circulated to other alumni. “It’s now time to give back.”

Mr. Ebert also donated heavily to the university and promised to bequeath his papers and other materials to it.

Mr. Ebert had been scheduled to return to Urbana-Champaign this month as host of a film festival known as Ebertfest, The Daily Illini reported. The university, in a statement expressing its sadness over Mr. Ebert’s death, said the festival will go on as scheduled, April 17 to 21.

Last year, he helped the paper raise money as it struggled financially, and worked with students on the guide to the annual film festival he held on campus.

The current Daily Illini editor, junior Darshan Patel, says he and other students are “in shock” over Ebert’s death.

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Humans vs. Zombies Game Continues on Campus, Despite Killjoys

Napa Valley College officials are the latest to interfere with a popular campus-based game of tag called Humans vs. Zombies. More than 600 campuses in the United States play some version of the game, which originated at Goucher College.

To win, zombie players try to “infect” or tag the humans, thereby turning them into zombies, and the humans must protect one another from being tagged. Sometimes the teams also have missions to complete. In some iterations, the tags are tracked with person-specif…


Emory & Henry College Sets the Bar for New Logo Low. Very Low.

Sometimes we spend hours diligently scouring the Internet and checking in with sources to find Tweed items that will entertain, inspire, or horrify Chronicle readers. Sometimes universities are kind enough to send them directly to our inboxes. Today’s example is an email from Emory & Henry College, featuring a tantalizing hint of a new logo, scheduled to be revealed on Thursday:



There are also images on the college’s Facebook page showing “rejected” versions: 301580_10151431546693138_215625244_n

734303_10151432494193138_909516416_nWe can only assume this campaign…