Campus updates for start of the spring term

February 18, 2015 / Volume XXXVII / Issue I

Preferred names on student I.D. cards

Starting this term, the Office of the Registrar is allowing preferred names to be used on I.D. cards. Previously, the only way to have a preferred name on an I.D. was through a formal name change, which entails court documents and monetary costs, a process that the Registrar understands is not a feasible option for every student.

“We would like to give everyone the opportunity to have the correct name on their I.D. card, but because of state laws and state regulations, we’re constrained,” Assistant Director of Records Philip Carrasco said. However, the new preferred name program was able to work through some of those constraints. The new I.D. cards will feature the preferred name at the top. The legal name still be present on the bottom; however, the preferred name will show up in the Student Evaluation System (SES) as well.

“It will give us the opportunity, especially for our offices, to make sure that we’re using the correct name,” Carrasco said. The preferred name process is now much more systematic and straightforward. Students simply come into the Registrar’s office and fill out the preferred name form with their N numbers, their legal names, and their preferred names. Then, preferred names are transferred into the system and show up on the SES within 24 hours.

There is a $10 charge, which is standard for optionally receiving a new I.D. card that is not broken, and the preferred name does not carry over to students’ email addresses and transcripts, which only comes with a formal name change. However, with the subject of preferred names surfacing nationally among many colleges and universities, more changes could be made in the future.

“Everybody is trying to figure out what they can do best,” Carrasco said. For right now, this new preferred name program was chosen because it could be implemented quickly.

Carrasco encouraged students to ask any questions they may have about the process by stopping in the Registrar, calling, or emailing.

“We like answering questions,” Carrasco said.

McCord returns for Plant Biology

Professor of Biology Elzie McCord, who retired late last fall after spending 13 years at New College, is back on campus to teach Plant Biology this term. McCord expressed appreciation for the welcome he has received since returning.

“It’s gratifying that students and faculty greeted me so warmly,” McCord said.

Up until right before the semester started, Professor of Biology Christopher Frost was slated to teach the course. However, students who attended Frost’s mini-classes instead met Professor of Biochemistry and Chair of the Natural Sciences Division Katherine Walstrom who informed them that Frost would be leaving for a job offer in Kentucky, a move supported by the understandable needs of his family. Consequently, Plant Biology was cancelled indefinitely, and students appeared devastated at the news.

“When Professor Frost decided to leave, they were looking for someone to continue his class because students had already registered for them. It was fortunate that I just hired a new nurse to take care of my wife that same day,” McCord, who then accepted to teach the course in module one, said. “I had to teach the class in the spirit that he advertised it in.”

The possibility of a module two course is still uncertain.

“I only agreed to teach it mod one because I wasn’t sure how my home life is going to work with this new nurse,” McCord said. “If it works out well, then I will probably teach the advanced class in the second mod.” This is because biology, marine biology and plant biology students need the information from the course for their curriculum.

McCord told students to check Moodle for any updates on the course, and that he is available for contact by telephone or by email.

Bike thefts over break

Within the first week or two back from Winter Break this year, the number of stolen bike reports from students had escalated to about 15, much higher than the norm.

“At that point, we became very proactive,” Lieutenant John Tully said. The Campus Police Department disseminated extra officers, hired private security and closely monitored security cameras on locations hit the hardest. Alerts were also sent out via email to keep the community well-informed of the situation.

Early on, the police did not have much to go on. Up until the last stolen bike, only one person called in to report a suspicious person. Officers followed up on the suspicious person, who was later located near the school. Police were not able to arrest the individual at that time because he was found with a different bike than the one reported stolen.

“Ultimately, it ended up being him,” Sergeant Christopher Rivett said. This individual, who was later arrested, was stealing bikes on campus about a year or two ago as well. “He came back to his old stomping grounds,” Rivett continued.

There are a number of precautions students can take going forward. “Students really need to be vigilant of strangers on campus,” Rivett said. “Call us and let us know.”

Bike and laptop registration is also encouraged. “The most successful people who get their bikes back are the ones who had them registered with us,” Tully said.

However, the best defense is locking and securing personal possessions. It may sound simple, but, as Rivett pointed out, “a lot of students tend to go in the HCLs or Hamilton Center or the library and just leave personal property behind, sometimes it’s as small as a cup or as large and expensive as a laptop.” This feeling of comfort breeds complacency. “The worst thing that happens is nothing,” Rivett continued. “You come back, and it’s there. You get complacent.”

Students can rent sturdy bike locks from the police for free. “Some people take advantage of it, but not as much as we would like,” Tully said. “We have to make it more difficult [for the criminals].”

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