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Samford in the News – Sept. 1-15, 2013

Posted on 2013-09-19 by Philip Poole (205) 726-2823

A round-up of selected Samford University references in news outlets around the nation. It is compiled by the Office of Marketing and Communication from the university's media tracking service and may not be a comprehensive list.

Carroll Comments on McNair’s Compassionate Release
After Birmingham politician Chris McNair was released recently from prison under a compassionate release program, John Carroll, dean of Cumberland School of Law, said there’s another reason for the early release. “It saves the federal government money,” Carroll told Birmingham’s CBS affiliate in an interview. Carroll also was interviewed on the McNair release by Birmingham’s Fox affiliate.

Biggio Discusses Syria Crisis
What is America’s responsibility when it comes to possible military strikes in Syria? Nancy Biggio, Samford’s assistant provost and political science faculty member, told Birmingham’s Fox affiliate that Americans should care about the stability of Syria because things often boil over into neighboring countries. “The more instability there is in a country…the more opportunities there are for terrorist training grounds,” Biggio said.

Social Media Seminar Draws Media Attention
A recent law and social media workshop hosted by Cumberland School of Law was featured in a special report on “Social Media in Court” report aired by Birmingham’s NBC affiliate. “Five years ago this wasn’t a phenomenon,” said law dean John Carroll. “Now, it’s a huge phenomenon, and the court system has to figure out how to deal with it.”

Carroll Speaks on Potential Election Fraud in Tuscaloosa
In an interview distributed by National Public Radio, Cumberland School of Law dean John Carroll discussed potential election fraud in the recent city elections in Tuscaloosa. “The questions really are two,” Carroll said. “Was there vote-buying, and, if so, who did it?”

Howell Speaks on Prevalence of Spiders in Alabama
Retired biology professor W. Mike Howell was featured prominently in recent stories published by The Birmingham News and distributed through on the unusual prevalence of spiders this year in Alabama. "We have had a mild winter and a wonderful spring with lots of water,” Howell said. “When you have lots of water you have a lot of insects. There's just a lot more bugs out there for the spiders."

Bakkegard, Biology Class Featured in Spider Stories
A class led by biology faculty member Kristin Bakkegard also was featured in the recent story series on spiders published by The Birmingham News and distributed through The class found an unusual species at Oak Mountain State Park. "Its closest relatives are generally tropical, South America, Africa, Australia -- this is the only member of this group in North America,” Bakkegard said. "It has traditionally been around the coastline. In Texas and Florida, it is relatively common down there, but not here."

Westmoreland Speaks on Samford-Arkansas Game
In a fun question-and-answer interview distributed by Arkansas News prior to the Sept. 7 football game between Samford and the University of Arkansas, Samford President Andrew Westmoreland was asked about how he planned to balance his allegiances as Samford’s president and a University of Arkansas alumnus. While discussing the famous “hog hats” and other game topics, Westmoreland said he had nothing to do with arranging the game. “That was the doing of coach Pat Sullivan and athletic director Martin Newton. I stood on the sidelines and cheered the decision,” Westmoreland said.

Shepherd Comments on Potential Military Action in Syria
In a Sept. 10 interview with Birmingham’s CBS affiliate, political science faculty member Fred Shepherd spoke on President Obama’s proposed military action in Syria. “In the wake of Iraq and a real blunder in the Middle East . . . I think [the president] is very, very cautious and very, very gun shy,” Shepherd said. “On the other hand, he has committed himself to responding to a humanitarian crisis.”

Greene: Hair Styles Should Not Affect Employment
In a story distributed by The Indianapolis Recorder, law professor Wendy Greene, said the issue of trying to regulate hairstyles has been carried into the boardroom. “Your hair has nothing to do with your ability to perform a job well. This speaks to formal and informal grooming codes in the workplace. They end up having a real effect on one’s ability to maintain or obtain employment. Unfortunately there’s been very little protection under anti-discrimination laws as it relates to these kinds of codes and implementation of them,” said Greene.

Alumna Featured in UA’s The Crimson White
Cindy St. Clair, a 2009 Samford graduate and current doctoral student at the University of Alabama, was featured in a recent story published by UA’s The Crimson White about her journey from a career as a paralegal to accomplished concert pianist. “It was a different life for me, and I was very unhappy and very bored, so I went back to Samford and said, ‘You know, I think I’d like to take a few piano lessons,’” St. Clair said about her career shift.

Other news coverage
Other stories that garnered local, regional and national media attention were reports from the Sept. 6 meeting of Samford’s trustees, Samford’s rise in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings released Sept. 10, record fall enrollment, Samford’s involvement in various events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, and an appearance on campus by Johnny Moloto, deputy chief of mission for South Africa.

Links to this compilation and other Samford news can be found at


Chandra Sparks Splond, managing editor in the Office of Marketing and Communication, assisted in compiling this Samford in the News. 

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