Syracuse assistant basketball coach being investigated for child abuse

Just two weeks after Penn State was rocked by a child sex-abuse scandal, ESPN reported Thursday that police were investigating an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University on allegations of child molestation, the Associated Press reports. Shortly afterward, Syracuse placed longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave “in light of the new allegations and the Syracuse City Police investigation,” the school said. Connellan told the newspaper that police received information on the case Thursday but would not say who provided the information. The university said it had conducted its own investigation and couldn’t find witnesses to corroborate the allegations…

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Amazon may be planning smartphone

Amazon, which began shipping a tablet computer this week, may be eyeing the smartphone market, Relaxnews reports. Citigroup said in a research note published on Thursday that it believes the Seattle-based online retail giant plans to launch a smartphone next year.

“Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12,” Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney said.

“We believe (Foxconn) is now jointly developing the phone with Amazon,” Mahaney said, and it will be manufactured by Hon Hai’s TMS business group, which makes Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader and Kindle Fire tablet…

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Anne Hathaway supports students at Occupy Wall Street

Thursday afternoon, protestors marched toward Union Square in New York City, and a famous face was among them, the Huffington Post reports. Holding up a sign showing support for students, Anne Hathaway stood among the crowds in a dark hoodie and sunglasses. At least 175 people were arrested for blocking streets near the New York Stock Exchange. Hathaway has long been an advocate for education, and urges young people to “make their voices heard” through The Creative Coalition, a social and political advocacy organization aimed at educating arts community leaders on arts advocacy and public education…

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Mobile apps make college sporting venues more like home

Colleges have struggled to install Wi-Fi networks in football stadiums.

Stanford University’s athletics department released a smart-phone application this fall that might help the stadium experience compete with the ever-improving living room experience.

The crystal clarity of big screen high-definition TVs, the boom of surround sound, and the convenience of a kitchen a few steps away—all advantages of the couch-bound sports fan, who doesn’t have to fight circuitous lines for nachos and a soda, and who has a perfect view of the field from start to finish.

Stanford unveiled two mobile applications that could add convenience to an often inconvenient day at the school’s sports venues.

The Stanford GameDay Live app and the iCardinal app give fans real-time replays, live game statistics, and crowdsourced video that lets fans download game footage from their seats and share it with others who have downloaded the app.

And for the Stanford faithful who want a hot dog and a cold drink, the GameDay Live app lets fans place orders using the Bypass Lane. A fan orders her food, pays with a credit card, and waits for a text message saying the refreshments are ready for pick up.

The Bypass Lane, said Kevin Blue, Stanford’s associate director of athletics, has proved popular with fans who don’t want to miss a critical play while cramped in line at the concession stands.

“It can be very inconvenient to order food and miss a portion of the game,” Blue said, adding that the stadium applications were an outgrowth of the high-profile technological innovation Stanford has become known for. “This is a way … to demonstrate leading edge thinking and progress. Stanford takes a lot of pride in that. It’s about upholding the spirit of technological leadership, especially on the internet, which is really the foundation of our university over the past 20 years.”

The university has yet to market the iCardinal and Stanford GameDay Live apps, and the school doesn’t know how many students and sports fans have downloaded the apps. Blue said the mobile apps would be improved during Stanford’s basketball season.

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USC: 4-year degrees online?

Local lawmakers support USC's online initiative.

Students at the University of South Carolina’s two-year regional campuses would be able to get a bachelor’s degree through online coursework under a plan the university is developing.

USC President Harris Pastides discussed the plan Tuesday, when he met with journalists at The State to highlight an overall vision for the university that he hopes people will embrace as it moves ahead with its $1 billion fundraising campaign, called “Carolina’s Promise.”

Pastides, USC’s president since 2008, is linking that fundraising campaign to his administration’s new vision for the university, which he says will make USC a worthy investment for donors and a critical part of moving the state forward.

That new vision, called “Focus Carolina,” has seven key points, including making it easier for “place-locked” students to get four-year degrees from the state’s flagship university.

Offering students a chance to get a four-year degree through online coursework would put USC in more direct competition with for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix, Webster University and Virginia University.

Those schools long have made flexibility a core part of their efforts to appeal to non-traditional, often older students.

In going over the broad outlines of the plan, Pastides said the idea isn’t simply to take on the for-profit schools. Rather, Pastides said the main aim is to give students in smaller communities in South Carolina easier access to a four-year degree from USC.

“The whole point is to meet people where they live,” Pastides said. “We’re improving access to a four-year degree at these campuses.”

Pastides said not all of the details of the plan have been worked out and the university’s trustees have yet to give their approval.

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Opinion: Have big-time sports distorted higher education?

New to teaching, I was proudly gazing at a sign on my office door proclaiming “Assistant Professor Grossman,” when the department secretary knocked.

“Would you like seasons tickets for the faculty cheering section in the football stadium?” she asked.

“No thank you,” I said, effectively ending my social life at the University of Nebraska, says Ron Grossman, a Chicago Tribune reporter and former history professor. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a question but an imperative. Faculty members were expected to wear sweaters with the school colors and hold up colored pieces of cardboard to spell out, in giant letters, eternal verities like: “Hold That Line!”

So I wasn’t surprised that, when a sex-abuse scandal engulfed Penn State, students didn’t rally in support of the university’s fired president. In a not-so-peaceful demonstration, they protested the sacking of the football coach…

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Understanding SOPA: The House debates the Stop Online Piracy Act

This week, some of the biggest companies on the web came out in full force to oppose a proposed anti-piracy bill wending its way through Congress, Today in Tech reports. The bill is known as the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, and it expands the U.S. Department of Justice’s power to enforce copyright—and to demand that internet entities like social networks and search engines take an active role in doing so too. Prior to a congressional hearing this morning, a consortium of nine companies that would be affected by the bill (eBay, Twitter, AOL, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Mozilla, Zynga, and LinkedIn) released an open letter publicly criticizing SOPA . The hearing only featured a single witness against the proposal: Google’s policy counsel, Katherine Oyama…

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U-Md. Baltimore President Jay Perman takes on childhood obesity

Jay Perman is president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He’s also a pediatrician. Naturally, Perman tends to get animated when he talks about childhood obesity, the Washington Post reports. His university hosted a summit on that topic this week, and Tuesday state and university leaders announced the creation of a new Institute for a Healthiest Maryland. The institute will “focus on obesity prevention, tobacco cessation and the reduction of hypertension and high cholesterol, and will link local health departments and community leaders to proven interventions in health and wellness,” according to a news release…

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America’s ‘brain drain’: Best and brightest college grads head for Wall Street

For employers in need of fresh talent, there are few better places to go than the Stanford University career center, where intelligent, over-achieving, creative and ambitious students stop by on their way toward picking up a degree or three, the Huffington Post reports. Access to these top recruits is extremely valuable, and Stanford, like many other top-tier colleges, sells it to the highest bidder. The Career Development Center (CDC) is quite explicit about the process. Its website advertises an “Employer Partner Program” that gives participating companies “a premier position in regard to on-campus recruiting.”

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Occupy Berkeley protests focus on cuts to education

Police arrested 95 Occupy protesters and students Wednesday who stormed into a downtown San Francisco bank and shouted slogans as they tried to set up camp in the lobby, the Associated Press reports. The arrests came after about 100 demonstrators rushed into a Bank of America branch, chanting “money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations.”

Elsewhere, students and anti-Wall Street activists settled into a new encampment at the University of California, Berkeley, and visited the state Capitol to demand the restoration of funding for higher education. At Berkeley, police watched over about two dozen tents that were pitched Tuesday night on a student plaza despite a campus policy that forbids camping. Police warned that protesters could be arrested if they didn’t leave. Seth Weinberg, a 20-year-old cognitive science major, said he slept in a tent on Sproul Plaza to press the university to lobby for more public education funding…

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