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Offshore-drilling study will resume

FAYETTEVILLE -- An offshore-drilling safety study led by a UA professor has been cleared by federal officials to resume after an approximately nine-month delay.

The approval came 10 days before a Sept. 27 announcement of updated federal safety regulations, according to information provided by a spokesman with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in the U.S. Interior Department.

Greg Parnell, an industrial engineering professor, serves as chairman for a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee that met once before a federal order in December halted their work, which aims to provide recommendations about safety inspections to the bureau. Parnell declined an interview request.

The published updates to federal regulations have drawn some criticism. Diane Hoskins, a campaign director for the nonprofit Oceana, said in a statement that the updates "allow offshore oil companies to self-police and prioritize industry profits over safety."

Tiffany Gray, a public-affairs specialist with the bureau, said in a statement that the regulations update came "in response to Executive and Secretarial orders to review and revise regulations that created an unnecessary burden to the safe and sustainable exploration, development, and production of our nation's offshore energy resources."

Alums' $50,000 gift to fund new award

FAYETTEVILLE -- A $50,000 gift from a Rogers couple will create a scholarship for university students.

The Jim and Jana Harris Advance Arkansas Scholarship is intended to give preference to students who are the first in their families to attend college and who live in Carroll County in the northwest part of the state, according to information released by UA. The first award is set to be given out in fall 2019.

Both Jim and Jana Harris earned bachelor's degrees from UA, and Jim Harris works for the university as an associate vice chancellor for advancement.

"We wanted to support Advance Arkansas because it's Arkansas-based and need-based. We were attracted to the program because of its emphasis on first-generation college students, like us," Jim Harris said in a statement.

Students move over mold in dorm rooms

FAYETTEVILLE -- Four students have changed dormitory rooms because of mold.

Two students in Pomfret Hall and two students in Reid Hall were relocated as the university worked to clean away the mold, spokesman Christopher Spencer said Friday.

Others affected include Sarah-Grace Hampton, 18, who said she spotted mold Monday on the ceiling of her room in the Northwest Quad.

"They offered to give me a room in another suite for the time being but I am not comfortable staying with three strangers and shuffling back and forth for my belongings," Hampton said in an email.

Hampton, who said she has asthma and an autoimmune disease, described being ill recently, including with "serious, exacerbated asthma symptoms." She said that in August she reported flooding on the floor above her.

She said a puddle in her room was cleaned, but more could have been done.

"I appreciate housing and the University's current efforts in fixing this problem, however a simple checkup on the area could have prevented me from being sick this entire time," Hampton said.

Spencer said UA as of Friday had received 11 reports of mold since students arrived for the fall semester, most reports arriving on Friday.

"Our testing shows these issues are localized to specific rooms that have been cleaned and sanitized," Spencer said in an email.

Former employee charged with fraud

FAYETTEVILLE -- A former university employee faces felony charges after an internal audit showed credit cards had been used for "unauthorized, non-University related purchases."

Sharon Annette Vaughan, 42, has been charged in Washington County Circuit Court with fraudulent use of a credit card, second-degree forgery and theft of property.

An internal audit made publicly available last month described Vaughan as an administrative analyst with UAteach -- a program to help prepare future teachers of mathematics, the sciences and computer science -- until she resigned in March on the same day she was questioned about some purchases. The audit concluded that there were $14,994.78 in unauthorized charges.

Court documents show charges were filed on Sept. 20. A court document dated Sept. 20 states in part an accusation that Vaughan "spent the University of Arkansas's money without their consent on personal expenditures" on or between July 2, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2018.

Metro on 10/14/2018

Print Headline: Alums' $50,000 gift creates scholarship to fund new award Students move over mold in dorm rooms Offshore-drilling study will resume Alumni gift to aid first-gen students Students relocated over mo...

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