Thursday, December 14, 2017


Claire McNeill, Times staff writer

Claire McNeill, Times staff writer

Claire McNeill covers higher education for the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the paper in 2014 and covered general assignment news in Pasco and Pinellas counties. She grew up in a one-square-mile town in South Jersey and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where she studied journalism and political science. She has worked for The Boston Globe and The Charlotte Observer. She lives in St. Petersburg.

Emma Sulkowicz, a senior visual arts student at Columbia University in New York City, carries a mattress in protest of the university's lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year. The federal Title IX law prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded institutions, forcing universities to deal with it. [Getty Images]

Why do universities handle sexual assault cases, anyway?

News stories about campus sexual assault often get the question, "Why do schools handle these cases, anyway?"Readers often wonder how universities got tasked with handling these convoluted cases in the first place. Where, they ask, do the...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/11/17
A doctoral student in psychology is suing the University of South Florida board of trustees for what she calls Title IX violations in the aftermath of a 2016 sexual assault. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times]

Lawsuit: USF ignored student’s fears after she alleged sexual assault

TAMPA — Last November, a psychology student named Samantha Garrett told a professor at the University of South Florida that her classmate had raped her, leaving her bruised and bleeding.The gears of the university’s student conduct system began...
Published: 11/29/17
Updated: 11/30/17
Collin John Cole, 26, is accused of causing a multi-vehicle crash while driving drunk and the wrong way on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. (Hillsborough Sheriff's Office)

Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash that injured several people late Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving...
Updated one month ago
USF adjunct English professor Mike Ruso reads a letter from former adjunct professor Robert Ryan, who used to share the office before dying of cancer earlier this year. Ryan, whose books personal items are still in the office, has become a kind of martyr for the cause of USF adjuncts pushing to start a union.

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he...
Updated one month ago
Pam and Les Muma, seen here at their Belleair home, already are USF's biggest donors but have decided to make another gift of $15 million. They hope the donation sends a message that people should keep giving to the school even though its fundraising campaign is winding down.

With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

TAMPA — The university had already hit its $1 billion fundraising goal, and the college sweethearts had already cemented their spot as the top donors to their beloved alma mater.At a black tie gala at Amalie Arena on Saturday, though,...
Updated one month ago
The Marshall Student Center, in the background, is a focal point at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The school is under a second federal investigation for possibly mishandling a case of campus sexual violence. USF already has a lingering investigation from 2014, which stemmed from a student's complaint that the university failed to properly investigate her case. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]

New federal investigation targets USF handling of sexual violence case

TAMPA — The University of South Florida is under a second federal investigation for possibly mishandling a case of campus sexual violence.Federal officers took up the case last week, following a student complaint against USF in late August with...
Updated one month ago
Florida State University's campus

Have financial need? Tell FSU, and your application fee will be waived

With an eye toward increased access for underrepresented students, Florida State University is waiving its $30 application fee for prospective students who tell the university they have financial need. In the past, FSU hopefuls had to jump a...
Updated: 2 months ago
Students and families continue to shoulder higher college costs as tuition sticker prices rise.

College costs keep climbing, but financial aid isn't keeping pace

The latest look at the cost of college in America paints a fairly bleak picture for students and parents already struggling with the outsized financial burden. Tuition keeps rising, and financial aid isn’t keeping pace, according to
Updated: 2 months ago
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Protesters scream at supporters of Richard Spencer after his speech at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida.  [Thursday October 19, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Richard Spencer speaks, and Gainesville emerges weary but at peace

GAINESVILLE — Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk."Go home, Spencer," hundreds...
Updated: 2 months ago
A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

Spencer: ‘A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power’

In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.Spencer stormed into the room in a three-piece suit...
Updated: 2 months ago