Tuition stays level for state public universities
Massachusetts public colleges and universities will not raise tuition next year, but students fees may rise to compensate for drops in state aid.
The Board of Higher Education voted last Thursday to leave tuition levels unchanged. Still, fees account for most of the cost of education and support the campus budget — students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will see a level tuition payment of $1,714, but the current cost to attend the university is $10,232.
Commissioner Richard Freeland also called on the state’s schools to encourage students to apply for federal student loans, saying it would provide students with an additional $59 million in aid each year.
Tuition at seven state colleges will stay between $910 and $1,030 and between $720 and $780 at the 15 community colleges.
Worcester store owner who shot robber won’t be charged
R.I. police departments to tackle racial profiling
WORCESTER — Police have cleared a Worcester liquor store owner who shot and killed a robber, saying he was defending himself and his brother.
Police say that on Dec. 10, Evan Rivera and an accomplice walked into Big Bob’s Liquors and drew a handgun on Kevin Varderesian, who was working behind the counter.
His brother, owner Robert “Big Bob” Varderesian, was sitting nearby and pulled a gun from his waistband, shooting Rivera several times. The 40-year-old Rivera dropped to the floor, his accomplice fled, and still has not been caught.
Rivera died later at a local hospital.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early said last Friday that investigators determined Varderesian acted in self-defense because he and his brother were put in “fear for their lives.”
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Police chiefs in Rhode Island are moving to meet a key provision of a state law intended to track racial profiling.
The state’s police chiefs association announced last Monday a standardized process and complaint form to investigate when drivers allege that they were stopped because of their race.
It is also encouraging individual police departments to adopt uniform policies and procedures for eliminating racial profiling.
The association held a press conference last Monday afternoon at the Cape Verdean American Community Development building in Pawtucket to announce its plan.
Rhode Island’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said last year that data shows blacks and Latinos are twice as likely to have their cars searched as whites in Rhode Island, even though police found more contraband in the whites’ cars.
Mass. zoo operator planning $53M reconfiguration
A Boston-area zoo operator is planning a $53 million reconfiguration it says will create good jobs, even in a tough economy.
Zoo New England runs the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham.
Besides creating jobs, Zoo New England says it is aiming to draw new visitors and donors and develop new exhibits.
Planned improvements include a 30-by-50 foot walk-in bird cage at Franklin Park that will allow visitors to interact with hundreds of parakeets.
At the Stone Zoo, the first ape exhibit since the early 1990s is planned.
Attendance at the two zoos has risen from about 456,000 in fiscal year 2006 to 524,000 last year.
Zoo England president John Linehan told the Boston Herald he believes the changes will “transform the cultural landscape of the city.”