Howard University Students Rally Against Sexual Assault
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Howard University Student Accused In Financial Aid Scandal Prepping $10 Million Lawsuit Against HBCU

Tyrone Hankerson Jr. says his life has been “turned upside down.” 

Howard University is facing one of what could become several lawsuits stemming from a recent financial aid scandal. Tyrone Hankerson Jr., who was accused in a blog post of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars meant for other students, plans to file a $10 million lawsuit against the historically black college for leaking his financial records.

The money mismanagement came to light last month in a since-deleted blog post on the website Medium, that claimed Hankerson embezzled more than $400,000 while working in the financial aid office. Photos of Hankerson wearing expensive clothing and traveling the world went viral hours after the post was published.

Howard University president Wayne Frederick later admitted that six employees were fired for “gross misconduct and neglect of duties.”

Frederick said that he was informed “that there may have been some misappropriation of University-provided financial aid funds,” in 2016. An internal investigation was immediately launched, along with an outside audit, to help determine the “magnitude” of misappropriation. The investigation, which was completed last May, found that between 2007 and 2016, grants were given to “some university employees” whose tuition had already been waved. “As a result, some individuals received inappropriate refunds,” Frederick said.

Howard students responded to the misconduct by staging a “sit-in” at the school’s administration building last week where they called for Frederick's resignation, among other demands.

Hankerson, however, has repeatedly proclaimed innocence. In an interview with CBS News earlier this week, Hankerson said that he has become a victim of “bullying and harassment” as a result of the blog post. He also clarified that he was not among the six employees fired, but left his job to finish law school.

Hankerson went on to detail how his life has been “turned completely upside down” by the scandal. "I've tried to manage by pulling myself away – I have a great support system of friends making sure I'm OK at the law school," he said. "We're just trying to get through it as best as possible. But the biggest thing is safety concerns because people are tweeting and posting while I'm in class. I would hate for somebody to target me and for anything to happen to any of my classmates."

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South Carolina High School Students May Soon Take A Personal Finance Class

High school students in South Carolina may now have to pass a personal finance class in order to receive their diploma.

According to reports, Republican lawmakers Luke Rankin and Horry County Senator have filed a pre-bill that will require high school students to take a class that will aim to help students learn how to better budget their money.

"You can really put yourself in a really bad hole that you're gonna be digging yourself out of the rest of your life," financial planner Dr. Christopher St. John said.

The course will cover insurance, taxes, retirement planning, budgeting, banking, and how to avoid too much debt.

Finance website Make Lemonade reports there are more than 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt within the United States. Student loan debt has become the second highest debt among consumers followed by mortgage debt.

The class of 2016, reportedly has $37,172 in student loan debt.

If the bill is passed, it would go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. The course would be required and student who take a test at the end of the year prior to graduation.

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Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced For Killing Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, could end up serving just over three years in prison for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months Friday (Jan. 18), and according to the Chicago Tribune , the former officer is eligible to receive credit for good behavior.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had to decide between sentencing Van Dyke for second-degree murder or aggravated battery, the latter of which carried a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, the Tribune reports. Gaughan decided that it made more sense to sentence Van Dyke for murder, which makes him eligible for early release.

McDonald was shot to death in 2014. At the time, authorities claimed that the teen was behaving erratically while carrying a small knife. The police department waited 13 months to release video of the shooting. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the cops as Van Dyke opens fire, shooting him 16 times. Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, was arrested and quickly released on bond the day that the video was made public. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and more than a dozen charges of aggravated battery last October.

Darren O'Brien, Van Dyke’s lawyer, pushed for sentencing “leniency,” due in part to his client’s clean criminal record. Depicting O’Brien as the victim, Van Dyke stated that his client feared for his life when he killed McDonald.

“He didn’t start the confrontation,” O’Brien said. “He reacted to what Mr. McDonald did..Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald.”

Gaughan called the court case a tragedy for families from both parties. “It’s just so senseless that these acts occur because you can see the pain on both sides. This is a tragedy for both sides."

Van Dyke's sentence came a day after a Cook County judge acquitted three CPD officers charged with covering up the shooting.

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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