In the Loop

  • UGA Administrators Dispute Faculty Report on Baldwin Hall


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    Photo Credit: Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA

    A memorial erected last year at Baldwin Hall honoring the people whose remains were found underneath it during construction.

    The UGA administration released a point-by-point response last week to a scathing Faculty Senate report on the Baldwin Hall debacle.

    Administrators admitted that they should have done more to ascertain whether there were graves underneath Baldwin before digging, such as using ground-based radar. Under Gwynne Darden, the head of the Office of University Architects, new procedures are in place, such as retaining an independent archaeologist to advise on construction projects. They dismissed the charge that faculty should have been consulted, noting that no one spoke up until the remains were discovered in 2015. Although they did not hold a town hall meeting, administrators wrote that they met with members of the Athens community individually and in small groups, and that painting those individuals as “sycophants” is insulting.


  • Three Stores Closed or Closing at Epps Bridge Centre

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    The gap where The Gap had been.

    LifeWay Christian Store in Epps Bridge Centre currently is holding a going-out-of-business sale and will be the third store in the Oconee County shopping center to close this year.

    Gap closed in January, and Kinnucan’s last month.

    The second phase of Epps Bridge Centre—across the Oconee Connector from the initial phase—has only one tenant, Hobby Lobby.

    Much speculation has centered on Costco as a tenant for that second phase, but Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell said last month that Costco isn’t coming to the county any time soon.


  • LaKeisha Gantt Picked as Clarke County BOE President

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    The Clarke County Board of Education chose LaKeisha Gantt as its next president at a called meeting Thursday.

    Gantt, who represents District 7, replaces District 4 representative Jared Bybee, who is resigning from the board at the end of the month because his wife, UGA law professor Mehrsa Baradaran, has taken a job in California.

    Gantt will serve out the remainder of Bybee's term as president, which runs through the end of the year. Much as it did earlier this year to fill Vernon Payne's District 2 seat, the board will choose a new District 4 member once Bybee resigns.

    Gantt is a psychologist and former CCSD employee who now runs a small private practice and teaches at Piedmont College. She is relatively new to the board, having been elected in 2018.

    The board chose her over District 3 representative Linda Davis. She remains the vice president.


  • Memorial Service Scheduled Friday for UGA Professor Marianne Shockley


    A memorial service for University of Georgia professor Marianne Shockley will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Apalachee United Methodist Church in Madison, according to her obituary.

    Shockley, 42, was an award-winning professor in the UGA College of Agriculture. Her specialty was entomophagy, or eating insects. Flagpole wrote about her work in 2015 and again last year.

    Former students remembered her as a passionate teacher and generous mentor.


  • Ethics Complaint Filed Against CCSD Superintendent Demond Means


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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means.

    An ethics complaint filed against Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means alleges that he plagiarized part of a letter to colleagues, accepted an inappropriate gift and may have lied about his dissertation on his job application.

    Patrick McKee, a Newnan lawyer, filed the complaint with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which certifies educators, on May 3. McKee formerly represented the PSC as a senior assistant attorney general and currently is general counsel for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accrediting body.

    McKee told Flagpole that he “represents a group of parents and taxpayers” in Athens, but would not say who. “At some point, the group will become more visible,” he said.


  • Controversial UGA TA Cleared in Disciplinary Hearing


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    Irami Osei-Frimpong.

    University of Georgia philosophy PhD student and teaching assistant Irami Osei-Frimpong did not violate the university's Student Code of Conduct, a University Judiciary panel of two students and a faculty member ruled on Monday.

    The panel found that Osei-Frimpong did not furnish false information or omit facts on his application about his attendance at the University of Chicago or his arrest during a 2011 protest, which a judge later ruled unconstitutional.

    The Office of Student Conduct launched a three-month-long investigation into Osei-Frimpong’s past after receiving an anonymous tip that he had lied on his application to graduate school about his academic history and criminal record.

    The investigation was launched shortly after recent UGA graduate Andrew Lawrence, who had written an article for a right-wing website on Osei-Frimpong’s racial views that angered conservatives, claimed that a donor had threatened to withhold $2.5 million as a result of Osei-Frimpong’s comments. Although UGA’s Equal Opportunity Office had cleared him of violating the university’s discrimination policy because his remarks were made on his own time and protected by the First Amendment, after Lawrence’s tweet, UGA said it was “vigorously exploring all available legal options” with the state attorney general’s office.


  • Baldwin Hall Protesters Rally Again


    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    A week after they first sought a meeting with UGA President Jere Morehead about the university's handling of slave remains found underneath Baldwin Hall, protesters gathered again for what one activist, Imani Scott-Blackwell, dubbed #MoreheadMonday.

    The group of about 50 gathered at the Arch on Monday afternoon before marching through North Campus, waving signs and chanting slogans. They paused briefly at the Administration Building—where campus police threatened to arrest them last Monday—but did not try to enter the building. It has remained locked since a confrontation Thursday with a sign posted on the door stating that "expressive activities are not permitted in interior spaces."


  • Oconee Dems Briefed on Firefly Trail

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    Photo Credit: Lee Becker

    Stephanie Doerr, a board member of Firefly Trail Inc.

    Stephanie Doerr’s commitment to multi-use trails was obvious from the outset.

    “For my bucket list, I’m determined to ride on every trail in every state,” Doerr told the gathering of the Oconee County Democratic Party.

    Doerr listed 27 states as “done.”

    Doerr was joined by Ivette Bledsoe. Both are members of the Board of Directors of the Firefly Trail Inc., a Georgia non-profit incorporated to create a multi-use trail from Athens to Union Point.


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