Howard University students demand answers in financial aid scandal

Howard University students protested on Thursday following news that six university employees were fired for "double-dipping" financial aid.

An outside auditor found last year that university employees misappropriated financial aid funding over the course of nine years. Some university employees were receiving grants from the school to attend classes, while also receiving tuition remission, the investigation found, earning more money than their education cost and pocketing the difference. The university did not disclose the specific amount of money that might have been misappropriated.
The public did not find out about the allegations of financial misconduct until Tuesday, after blogging platform Medium posted an expose which has since been deleted.
Students at the historically black university in Washington, DC are demanding answers, and some have called for University President Wayne A.I. Frederick to resign. Jessica Brown, a Howard alumna, spoke to CNN affiliate WJLA saying that she is heartbroken. "You have students who dream about going to Howard, whose families risk everything."
    "The investigation found that from 2007 to 2016, University grants were given to some University employees who also received tuition remission," Frederick confirmed in a statement released Wednesday.
    "The audit revealed that the combination of University grants and tuition remission exceeded the total cost of attendance. As a result, some individuals received inappropriate refunds."
    Frederick says Howard has made reform efforts following the investigation. "Significant new policies and procedures have been implemented to strengthen Howard's internal controls with respect to the awarding of financial aid," he said. The reforms include new procedures for grant approvals and a way for students to access information on the annual budgets for each category of financial aid.
    The employees implicated by the investigation were fired for "gross misconduct and neglect of duties," the statement adds. The terminated employees have not been publicly identified due to protocol measures, Howard University Spokesperson Alonda Thomas said.
    The outside auditors hired by the University delivered their findings in May 2017, while Howard University was in the midst of their own internal investigation. The University's investigation began in December 2016 and lasted through September 2017, when an investigation of individual employee actions was completed and the six employees terminated.

    Advertisers Ditching Laura Ingraham’s Show Over Attack On Parkland Survivor

    The Fox News host mocked 17-year-old David Hogg for not getting into a few colleges.

    Several companies announced Thursday that they were pulling the plug on advertising during Laura Ingraham’s show after the Fox News host bashed a teen survivor of the Parkland school shooting.

    Nutrish, the pet food line owned by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, was the first to tweet that it would no longer advertise during Ingraham’s show. 

    “We are in the process of removing our ads from Laura Ingraham’s program, as the comments she has made are not consistent with how we feel people should be treated,” a spokesman for Nutrish told HuffPost in a statement.

    Hours later, travel site TripAdvisor and home goods retailer Wayfair followed suit.

    In a statement to HuffPost, TripAdvisor said Ingraham’s comments crossed “the line of decency”:

    We believe strongly in the values of our company, especially the one that says, “We are better together.”   

    We also believe Americans can disagree while still being agreeable, and that the free exchange of ideas within a community, in a peaceful manner, is the cornerstone of our democracy. 

    We do not, however, condone the inappropriate comments made by this broadcaster. In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency. As such, we have made a decision to stop advertising on that program.

    Ingraham did not address the controversy on her show, “The Ingraham Angle,” on Thursday evening. Several national retailers still featured advertisements during the commercial breaks, including Gillette and Progressive Insurance, although ThinkProgress’ Judd Legum noted that the Ad Council was also featured, possibly as filler material after some companies distanced themselves from the program.

    A spokeswoman for Wayfair, which pulled its ads, told HuffPost that Ingraham’s comments were “not consistent with our values.”

    “As a company, we support open dialogue and debate on issues,” the Wayfair spokeswoman said. “However, the decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values. We do not plan to continue advertising on this particular program.”

    The companies’ announcements came a day after Ingraham mocked David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for not getting accepted into a few of the colleges he’d applied to.

    In response, Hogg called on people to pressure a dozen companies to remove their ads from Ingraham’s programs, which include “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News and a morning radio show on Talk 1370 AM of Austin, Texas. Nutrish, TripAdvisor and Wayfair are pulling their commercials from the Fox News show, the companies confirmed to HuffPost.

    Ingraham apologized Thursday afternoon on Twitter for “any upset or hurt my tweet caused [Hogg] or any of the brave victims of Parkland.”

    Hogg dismissed Ingraham’s apology in an interview Thursday with The New York Times.

    “She only apologized after we went after her advertisers,” Hogg said. “It kind of speaks for itself. ... I’m not going to stoop to her level and go after her on a personal level. I’m going to go after her advertisers.”

    Expedia and Nestlé told HuffPost on Thursday that they would no longer advertise on Ingraham’s show, but did not immediately specify when this decision was made or whether her remarks about Hogg played a role in it.

    “We have no plans to buy ads on the show in the future,” the Nestlé spokesman said.

    Johnson & Johnson told HuffPost on Thursday that it “will pull advertising from Ms. Ingraham’s show.” Stitch Fix also confirmed to HuffPost that it would stop purchasing ads on her program.

    Hulu tweeted that evening in reply to Hogg, saying it would similarly cease such advertising.

    HuffPost reached out to every company on Hogg’s list of Ingraham advertisers, as well as others the teen tweeted out from a list compiled by Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog. Nutrish, TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Expedia, Nestlé, Johnson & Johnson, Hulu and Stitch Fix have responded or otherwise made public statements. Jos. A. Bank also told The Daily Beast it had no plans to buy ads on her program in the future.

    A representative of Fox News declined to comment beyond Ingraham’s apology on Twitter.



    Linda Brown, Center Of Brown v. Board Of Education, Dies At 76

    Linda Brown, the young girl at the center of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, died on Monday at the age of 76. 

    Brown’s sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death to the Topeka-Capital Journal. Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel of Topeka independently confirmed Brown’s death with HuffPost.

    “Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer tweeMonday. “Linda Brown’s life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world.”

    It was Brown’s father, Rev. Oliver Brown, who sued the Topeka school board to allow his daughter the right to attend an all-white school in the Kansas capital city. Four other school segregation cases were combined with Brown’s to be heard by the Supreme Court, but the justices’ unanimous ruling was named for Brown.

    Brown, who was also known as Linda Carol Thompson after her marriage in the mid 1990s, was forced to attend an all-black school far away from her home even though an all-white school was only blocks away.

    Linda Brown (left) with her parents, Leola and Oliver, and little sister Terry Lynn in front of their house in Topeka, Kansas, in 1954.

    Brown told MSNBC in 2014 that she remembered the embarrassment of being separated from her neighborhood friends and the long walk to the bus stop.

    “I remember a couple of times turning around and going back home because I — you know, it was a small town,” she said. “I got really, really cold and would get home and be crying. And mother would, you know, she would try to warm me up and tell me it would be all right and everything.”

    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Brown. In its decision, the court overturned the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, marking the case as one of the biggest legal victories of the civil rights era. It was due to Brown v. Board of Education that the federal government could force states to integrate schools, allowing children of color the opportunity for an equal education to white children.

    Brown credited her father and the other families who took their cases to court for removing the “stigma of not having a choice” during a 1985 interview for the PBS documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.”

    “I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown v. The Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land,” Brown said during the interview. “I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second class citizenship. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today.”

    Even with the decision, it took years of protest and legal battles before segregation would end. Only three years after the Brown case, nine black students had to be escorted by federal guards in order to safely attend the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, called Brown heroic for her role in helping to end “ultimate symbol of white supremacy.”

    “The life of every American has been touched by Linda Brown,” Ifill said in a statement released to HuffPost. “This country is indebted to her, the Brown family, and the many other families involved in the cases that successfully challenged school segregation.” 

    Linda Brown (center left) in 1984.


    Sen. Marco Rubio Tells Students He Does Not Agree With The March For Our Lives

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    Rubio made sure the students knew that some Americans view them as a threat to the Second Amendment.

    On a day when hundreds of thousands of people marched in support of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivors, one senator took time to tell those students he does not support their cause.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a Saturday statement that there are “many other Americans who do not support a gun ban” because they view it as a threat to the Second Amendment.

    While Rubio included in his statement a line about respecting the demonstrators’ right to peaceful protests, he quickly expressed his opposition.

    “While I do not agree with all of the solutions they propose, I respect their views and recognize that many Americans support certain gun bans,” the senator said.

    Those against gun bans “want to prevent mass shootings” too, Rubio continued, but they “view banning guns as an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens that ultimately will not prevent these tragedies.”

    Students at the March For Our Lives rallies repeatedly attacked Rubio and his ties to the National Rifle Association on Saturday, even before he released his statement.

    At the D.C. rally, Parkland students wore orange price tags listed at $1.05, which is what they said they were worth to the Florida senator. The $1.05 price tag represents the number of students in Florida divided by the amount of money the NRA has donated to Rubio’s campaign, the demonstrators explained.

    Rubio has an A+ rating from the gun rights group for supporting NRA-friendly legislation. According to the New York Times, he has received $3.3 million from the group.

    The Republican senator faced off with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a CNN Town Hall in February. There, he defended his support of the NRA, telling the students he is influenced by the millions of people within the NRA ― and not the millions of dollars they give him.

    “The influence of these groups comes not from money,” Rubio said at the time, speaking to students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “The influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda, the millions of Americans that support the NRA.”



    Naomi Wadler, Young Alexandria Girl, Inspires Crowd At D.C. Rally

    Image result for Naomi Wadler

    Unlike her fellow speakers, Naomi Wadler, is 11-years-old, and she was there to represent black women affected by gun violence.

    Among the many student leaders who addressed the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. on Saturday was Naomi Wadler. Unlike her fellow speakers, Wadler is just 11-years-old and helped organize the walkout at George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria on March 14.

    Addressing the rally, Wadler said the students at her school walked out for 18 minutes, not the 17 minutes that was standard across most school walkouts. Wadler said the extra minute was for 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington, a senior at Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama who was shot and killed at her school in March.

    Randall Woddfin, the mayor of Birmingham, thanked Wadler in a tweet for taking the time to remember Arrington.

    "I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington, I am here today to represent Hadia Pendleton, I am here today to represent Tiana Thompson, who at just 16 was shot dead in her home here in Washington D.C.," Wadler said. "I am here today to acknowledge and represent the the African American girls whose stories don't make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don't lead on the evening news.

    "I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls who are full of potential."

    At the walkout at Wadler's school, organized by her and her fellow classmates, the students held a lie-in on school grounds.

    "For far too long, these names, these black girls and women, have been just numbers, I'm here to say never again for those girls too," she said.

    "People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own," Wadler said. "People have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult.

    "It's not true."

    Wadler wasn't the only young girl at the rally. Yolanda King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, made a surprise appearance on the stage and addressed the crowd.

    "My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," King said. "I have a dream that enough is enough."

    Wadler's presence at the march and her poised and inspiring speech electrified the crowd and others watching.

    Saturday's rally in Washington D.C. comes in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students and protesters at the march are there to demand and end to gun violence in American schools and communities. Along with the D.C. march, protesters gathered in cities and communities across the U.S. with the same message for change.




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