News in Brief
Former UCI Professor’s Alleged Murderer Pleads Not Guilty
Marlon Martinez of Long Beach, 21, pleaded not guilty on Aug. 28 for the murder of former UC Irvine professor and UC Riverside instructor, Lindon Barrett. Charged with first-degree murder upon being found with Barrett’s missing vehicle on July 13, Martinez has been held on a one million dollar bail for the past month.
Although the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department has yet to determine the exact cause of death, pending toxicology reports, authorities say that Barrett appeared to have been dead for several days before being found in his Long Beach apartment. Martinez is due back in Long Beach Superior Court on Sept. 30 for a pre-trial hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to call for a trial.
Congress Passes Higher Education Act for First Time in 10 Years
After the approval of both houses of Congress, President Bush signed a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and amend it with over 60 new provisions on Aug. 14.
Traditionally renewed every five years since its enactment in 1965, this reauthorization is the first in 10 years.
According to the House Committee on Education and Labor, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 will “address the soaring price of college and remove other obstacles that make it harder for qualified students to go to college” by expanding financial aid programs and requiring colleges and universities to disclose their costs more publicly.
Under the new provisions, higher education institutions will have to report tuition costs to the Department of Education, which in turn makes the information available to prospective students and their families.
Colleges will also have to disclose the costs of course textbooks to students in advance, allowing assessment of the total cost of courses prior to enrollment.
The new legislation will also make the Federal Pell Grant Program’s need-based grants available to students year-round in addition to increasing the maximum grant amount to $6,000 in 2009 and $8,000 in 2014.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will also undergo changes under the new bill. Describing the current FAFSA form as “excessively long and confusing,” the House Committee on Education and Labor has added provisions to help “streamline” the application process for federal financial aid, including the creation of a two-page “FAFSA-EZ” form for students from low-income families.
Samueli Sentence Postponed
The sentencing for Henry Samueli, a well-known businessman and philanthropist in Orange County, has been postponed. Samueli pleaded guilty to having a role in backdating employee stock option grants for his company, Broadcom Corporation. Originally scheduled for Aug. 18, the sentencing, which would make Samueli a convicted felon, will be pushed back to Sept. 8.
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine was named in his honor following a $20 million donation Samueli made to the school. However, due to Samueli’s potential status as a convicted felon, the renaming of the school has been considered.
Still, according to Bill Ross, the Director of Marketing Communications at UCI there has not been a decision to change the name of the school.
“We don’t have any plans to make any changes and any changes would come through the office of the President in Oakland after their review of the situation,” Ross said.