The low down, down south

University of California, Davis

University credit cards used to take thousands from area casino

A UCD financial clerk faced arraignment Friday in Yolo County Superior Court for three felonies, including embezzlement. Linda Diana Serna allegedly stole thousands of dollars from the campus. If convicted of the felony charges (identity theft, embezzlement and grand theft) she could be sentenced to as many as five years in state prison.

Law enforcement officials say Serna, 53, was able to obtain employee credit cards using the names of former UCD employees, and used her position in the campus’ financial services department to falsify accounting records so the card balances were paid with UCD funds.

Because the university was paying the bills, word never got to the former employees that their cards were still active.

A university press release said Serna had admitted her guilt to investigators.

UCD spokesperson Lisa Lapin said investigators had determined that the former employees were not involved in or aware of the fraud.

The scheme may have cost the university tens of thousands of dollars. UCD has placed a hold on Serna’s assets and expects to recover its losses, while investigators continue to search for any additional losses.

The exact amount of money Serna was able to bilk from the university remains uncertain, and it is still unclear where it all went. But she is known to have withdrawn $1,000 cash advances at nearby Cache Creek Indian Bingo and Casino.

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Courtesy of The California Aggie

Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

Legal battle on horizon for Vanderbilt

Members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy said they decided last weekend at their convention in Jackson, Tenn., to use any legal means necessary to stop the name change of Confederate Memorial Hall.

In a meeting last week with members of the UDC, top Vanderbilt administrators said they made it clear that the name will change.

“Chancellor (E. Gordon) Gee was clear at the meeting that we’ve done what we’ve done,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice chancellor for public affairs. “He offered them the opportunity to make some other suggestions that we would consider.”

UDC’s lawyer, Bob Notestine, said there will be no compromise.

“They have decided to take whatever steps are needed to preserve the name on Confederate Memorial Hall,” Notestine said. “Their stance is that the name needs to remain on the building.”

But administrators said they are holding their ground.

“We have looked at the legal issues of the name change and we are confident (in our position),” Schoenfeld said. “We will vigorously defend any legal action.”

“I hope they (the University) are open-minded enough to hear our side,” said UDC’s Confederate Memorial hall committee chair, Betty Hughes. “I have spent time in the archives researching the donation, and it is absolutely a sin to do something like this when people put so much time and energy into a cause.”

The UDC donated $50,000 in 1935 to construct the dorm. The name change concludes a three-year debate over the structure’s controversial identity.

Courtesy of The Vanderbilt Hustler

Tufts University, Massachusetts

Pelvic exams at medical school scrutinized

A growing national controversy over procedures performed on patients while they are under anesthesia has put teaching hospitals — including those affiliated with Tufts — in an uncomfortable limelight.

The procedure in question is pelvic exams conducted on anesthetized women by medical students without the women’s explicit consent, something that a Tufts Medical School alumnus has accused the school of doing.

Tufts Medical School administrators claim that exams done solely for the students’ benefit do not occur at Tufts, although Dr. Michael Greger has claimed otherwise — both in a book criticizing medical education and in public lectures across the country.

Medical students receive their first experience performing a pelvic exam, which involves inserting two fingers into the vagina in order to locate and examine the ovaries, as second year students. This first examination is conducted on a conscious woman contracted for this specific purpose. However, as third-year students, during a required obstetrics/gynecology clerkship, students conduct pelvic exams on patients who will undergo surgery.

Tufts said that its policy is very clear. “The only time that patients are examined under anesthesia is when it’s relevant to the medical procedure,” said Dr. Robert Kennison, a professor of OB/GYN at the medical school. “The exam is always important for the performance of the medical procedure.”

Greger’s claims contradict the medical school’s, at least with regards to the procedure five years ago when he was a student.

In his book, “Heart Attack: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student” he writes, “at Tufts, medical students — particularly male students — practice pelvic exams on anesthetized women without their consent and without their knowledge. Women come in for surgery and, once they’re asleep, we all gather around; line forms to the left.”

The Tufts administration categorically denies that this sort of practice, to their knowledge, ever took place. Students contacted either did not respond or would not speak on the record.

Courtesy The Tufts Daily

Buffalo State College, New York

What’s all this talk about Dyngus Day?

Imagine a celebration where boys soak girls with water and hit each other with pussy willows, then dance and sing to polka music. Sound odd? Well it does exist and the celebration is called Dyngus Day.

Students who are not from the Buffalo area or from Polish descent may have been confused when hearing all the talk about Dyngus Day, which was held this year on April 21.

Dyngus Day, or Smigus Dyngus, means Easter Monday or Wet Monday. The celebration originated in Poland and celebrates the arrival of Christianity there. There is a strong Polish community in the Buffalo area so Dyngus Day is very popular every year on the Monday after Easter.

Originally, girls being doused with water symbolized purity and fertility. Only a small number of rural areas in Poland still practice this tradition.

Courtesy of Bengal News Online