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Large-Scale Wind and Solar Farms in the Sahara Would Increase Rain and Vegetation

September 6, 2018
Contacts: 

 Lee Tune 301-439-1438

 

North Africa showing the Sahara

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new study led by University of Maryland (UMD) scientists conducted novel climate and vegetation model experiments to show that wind and solar farms could lead to a more than doubling of rainfall in the Sahara and an increase of up to about 20 inches (500 mm/year) in the Sahel, a semi-arid transition region that lies south of the Sahara.

Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara could provide enough energy to replace the fossil fuel energy used currently and in the foreseeable future. The primary effect of such renewable energy farms would be a substantial reduction of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting mitigation of climate change. However, such large-scale wind and solar farms could also affect regional climate due to changes to land surface properties. An international group of researchers, led by UMD scientists, explored such climate impacts by including bidirectional vegetation feedbacks between a global climate model and a land/vegetation model. Their findings were published today in Science.

"Our model results show that large-scale solar and wind farms in the Sahara would more than double the precipitation in the Sahara, and the most substantial increase occurs in the Sahel, where the magnitude of rainfall increase is between ~200 and ~500 mm per year," said Yan Li, a lead author of the paper who was a UMD postdoctoral researcher when the study began and is now at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "As a result, vegetation cover fraction increases by about 20 percent." 

"Precipitation increases predicted by our model would lead to substantial improvements of rainfed agriculture in the region, and vegetation increases would lead to the growth in production of livestock," said Safa Motesharrei, UMD Systems Scientist and a lead author of the paper. "The Sahara, the Sahel, and the Middle East include some of the driest regions in the world, while experiencing high growth of population and poverty. Our study has major implications for addressing the intertwined sustainability challenges of the Energy–Water–Food nexus in this region."

"Moreover, the availability of vast quantities of clean energy would allow for desalination of seawater and transporting it to the regions that suffer most from severe freshwater scarcity, in turn, leading to improvement of public health, expansion of agriculture and food production, and even restoration of biodiversity" added Motesharrei about the broader societal, economic, and ecological impacts of their novel scientific findings.

Past as Prelude

"In 1975 Jule Charney, my PhD advisor at MIT, proposed a feedback mechanism to help explain the drought in the Sahel, the semi-arid transition region south of the Sahara: Overgrazing increased surface albedo [reflectivity], reduced precipitation, and in turn further reduced vegetation,” said Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland Distinguished University Professor and a lead author of the paper. “About a decade ago, I had the idea that this feedback would work in the opposite direction in the presence of large solar panel farms, since these would reduce the surface albedo. Similarly, wind farms would increase land surface friction and convergence of air, thus producing upward motion and precipitation. This is a second feedback mechanism that was discovered by Y.C. Sud in 1985, but again in the opposite direction. These feedback mechanisms suggest that both large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would significantly increase precipitation and vegetation. Our results support this conclusion." (See Figure.)

 The figure and related code and data available at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7045547

"Solar and wind power projects in Africa and the Middle East are already underway, from Morocco to Dubai to Ethiopia, including over 200 GW of solar power planned by 2030," said co-author Jorge Rivas, a political scientist. "This renewable electricity could be transported to regions a few thousand kilometers away, and long-distance transmission lines have already existed in Africa and elsewhere for decades." 

"This study accomplishes something completely new: it looks at how human action can affect the land surface through construction of solar and wind farms, and shows that for land use change of this magnitude, it is fundamental to look at the impact on regional climate using global climate models that account for land–atmosphere feedbacks," said Paolo D'Odorico, Professor of Ecohydrology at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not a co-author. 

This study shows "that dynamic vegetation feedback could enhance the impact of land use changes on climate in this specific region [Sahara and Sahel]," said Guiling Wang, a Professor of Hydroclimatology at the University of Connecticut, who was not a co-author. "Studies using models with static [prescribed] vegetation may underestimate the effects on regional climate of anthropogenic activities such as deforestation or wind and solar farms." 

"These experiments with dynamic vegetation feedback in our model show that the positive precipitation–vegetation–albedo feedback accounts for about 80 percent of the simulated precipitation increase in the wind farm experiments," said co-author Eviatar Bach, PhD Candidate at the UMD Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOSC). The dynamic vegetation model was developed by co-author Ning Zeng, a Professor at UMD AOSC, and coupled into the global climate model developed by co-author  Fred Kucharski, a climate scientist at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Italy. 

"While it was known that surface roughness and albedo can affect climate and rainfall, the conclusion that including dynamic vegetation would lead to a strong positive feedback in rainfall is new," said J. Shukla, a renowned climate scientist and Distinguished University Professor of Climate Dynamics at George Mason University, who was not a co-author. "This research certainly suggests that it will be possible to create a self-sustaining renewable energy system, which will be greatly beneficial for the socioeconomic development of the region."

"The Sahara has been expanding for some decades, and solar and wind farms might help stop the expansion of this arid region," said Russ Dickerson, a leader on air quality research and a professor at UMD AOSC, who was not a co-author. "This looks like a win-win to me." he said.

 “Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation” by Yan Li, Eugenia Kalnay, Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas, Fred Kucharski, Daniel Kirk-Davidoff, Eviatar Bach, and Ning Zeng. Science, 2018 September 7. DOI: 10.1126/science.aar5629

 

 

UMD Recognized as "Best of the Best" Top 30 LGBTQ-friendly College for 2018

September 6, 2018
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- The University of Maryland has been named by Campus Pride as a “Best of the Best” Top 30 LGBTQ-friendly college for its LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices. The university was selected based on its overall rating on the Campus Pride Index's LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures. UMD received 5 out of 5 stars for its efforts to create a safer, more inclusive campus learning environment.

The Campus Pride Index, currently rating more than 330 campuses, is the premier national benchmarking tool which self-assesses a wide range of factors, including LGBTQ support & institutional commitment, student life, policy inclusion, and housing & residence life.

"We continue to be on the cutting edge, and we're proud of the good work of this campus,” said Shige Sakurai, acting director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity Center. “At the same time, we must continue to make strides, especially for transgender and gender nonconforming communities and communities of color.

The university's LGBT Equity Center will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. UMD launched a new initiative during the 2017-2018 academic year: #TransTerps, a campaign designed to raise awareness about best practices for trans inclusion on campus, and has built on its Lavender Leadership series, a racial justice focused leadership development series reaching dozens of LGBTQ+ and allied students. The University Health Center also released a trans health guide last school year. 

To learn more about UMD’s LGBT Equity Center visit https://lgbt.umd.edu/. For the full list of colleges, visit www.campuspride.org

University of Maryland Announces ‘Year of Immigration’

September 4, 2018
Contacts: 

Sarah Marston, 301-405-4312

Year of Immigration Banner

COLLEGE PARK, MD—The University of Maryland (UMD) today announced that the campus will commemorate the 2018-19 academic year as the “Year of Immigration.” Driven by the support of faculty, staff and students across UMD’s schools and colleges, the Year of Immigration will support the university's mission to cultivate global citizenry by transforming dialogue into impact on urgent issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees.

“One of the University of Maryland’s great strengths is our international diversity, both on campus and in our surrounding neighborhoods,” said Ross Lewin, UMD Associate Vice President for International Affairs. “We hope the Year of Immigration will provide opportunities to learn, discuss solutions, and connect in ways that will foster a more inclusive community.”

Migration is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. and the world at large. As of last month, more than 500 migrant children were yet to be reunited with their families following separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, and bipartisan agreement on U.S. immigration reform remains a challenge. Last year, a record 68.5 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution and poverty. That’s an average of one person displaced every two seconds.

Working to advance UMD’s mission to prepare students for an increasingly global society, the Year of Immigration will offer curricula and programming under three interconnected themes:

Conversation will include a series of educational opportunities to raise awareness and deepen knowledge in the UMD community on key issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees. This includes the selection for the 2018-19 First Year Book, “The Refugees,” by Vietnamese-American novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, who will visit campus in October as part of the Arts & Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series. The initiative will highlight immigration and migration-themed courses from across the university’s schools and colleges, Education Abroad programs and Global Classrooms.

Community will provide UMD community members with opportunities to engage with local international and immigrant communities. UMD’s Office of Community Engagement will host a series of translation and interpretation events throughout the year, as well as a fall “Design Thinking” workshop with area non-profit organizations that will focus on immigrant civil rights issues.

Culture will recognize and celebrate the international diversity and cultures of our campus, surrounding communities and beyond. This will include original storytelling, a film festival, international food events through UMD Dining Services, exhibitions presented by UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and numerous globally-focused arts performances, including an opera and chamber music series as part of the School of Music Maryland Opera Studio’s Kurt Weill Festival beginning in October.

As the largest public research university in the Washington, D.C. region, UMD has a student body representing over 130 countries. More than one-third of our graduate students and 1,300 scholars come here from other countries to study, teach and conduct research. UMD also partners closely with the surrounding Prince George’s County community, where nearly one in four residents are foreign-born.

“The Year of Immigration provides an opportunity for us to highlight and engage students, faculty and staff in the wide range of research, teaching and service conducted on the flagship campus, illuminating contemporary and historical aspects of the movement of peoples across and within borders,” said Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean of UMD’s College of Arts & Humanities.

For more information, visit www.yearofimmigration.umd.edu, or engage on social media with #YearofImmigration.

 

University of Maryland Ranked Among the Top 15 Public Colleges in the Nation

August 29, 2018
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621 

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - In its annual assessment of the best colleges, Forbes has ranked the University of Maryland as the No. 2 public university in the state and No. 12 public university in the country. Maryland’s overall ranking puts the institution in the top 10 percent of the 650+ schools listed. 

In its 11th year, the Forbes ranking urges students to make the best college decision based on the academic criterion they value most. This unique ranking highlights higher education outputs such as retention & graduation rates, debt after graduation and alumni salaries.The universities included have proven, through a host of many factors, to prepare students best for post-graduate success. 

Emphasis on new academic discoveries and proximity to the nation’s capital contribute to UMD’s top 50 ranking among best research universities and best colleges in the northeast. The University of Maryland has also been honored as the best in state, and is No. 15 among public colleges in the Forbes ranking of America’s Best Value Colleges

The full Forbes list of America’s Top Colleges is available here

$1 Million from the State of Maryland will Match Brin Family Donation for Two Endowed Professorships in Computer Science at UMD

August 29, 2018
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md.–  The University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) will receive $1 million from the state’s Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI) to match a private donation establishing two Brin Family Endowed Professorships in Theoretical Computer Science.

“The Brin family is extremely grateful to the state of Maryland for this match,” said Samuel Brin (B.S. ’09, computer science), who spearheaded the effort on behalf of his family. “Our family is committed to Prince George’s County and the University of Maryland, our home for many years. These professorships will help the computer science department continue to push forward and thrive, across all frontiers of computation.”

In addition to Samuel, the Brin family includes his brother and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin (B.S. ’93, mathematics and computer science); his father, UMD Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Michael Brin; and his mother Eugenia Brin, a retired NASA scientist who worked on issues related to climate and weather forecasting.

The MEI, which launched in 2015, is designed to spur private donations to universities in the state for applied research in scientific and technical fields by matching such donations. UMD has received over $8 million from MEI—more than any other institution in the state.

“This strong public-private partnership will help generate the knowledge that powers high-tech innovation in the state,” said UMD President Wallace D. Loh. “Together, the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Brin family will enable us to recruit two more world-class scientists to our growing computer science hub. We appreciate this important support.”

CMNS has received $7.3 million from the program to establish six new endowed professorships in computer science and four new endowed chairs in computer science, the life sciences and mathematics. The endowed chair in mathematics was created in 2015 thanks to a donation from Michael and Eugenia Brin that was matched by the state. The Michael and Eugenia Brin E-Nnovate Endowed Chair in Mathematics is currently held by Visiting Professor Michael Rapoport

“These endowed faculty positions allow us to expand our college’s innovation ecosystem by recruiting new faculty members and providing them with the critical resources they need to enhance the regional and state economy through their research endeavors and the students they teach and mentor,” said CMNS Dean Amitabh Varshney.

The new Brin Family Endowed Professorships will be held by computer science faculty members who work in the area of theoretical computer science. By applying rigorously developed theory and algorithms, computer scientists are solving practical problems arising in networks, computer graphics, image processing, architecture, social networks and epidemiology. Theoretical computer science also provides the foundation for research priorities such as cryptography, data science and machine learning, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. 

“Theoretical computer science continues to make important contributions to computing by laying the foundational building blocks for the technologies of today and the future,” said Ming Lin, chair of the UMD Department of Computer Science and holder of the Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Endowed E-Nnovate Chair. “With the support of the Brin Family Professorships, the Department of Computer Science at Maryland can further solidify its global status and reputation in these important research areas.”

In addition to the Brin Family Endowed Professorships in Theoretical Computer Science, the computer science MEI endowments include:

  • The Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Endowed E-Nnovate Chair, held by Lin since January 2018, which was funded by Elizabeth Iribe and funds from the state.
  • The Paul Chrisman Iribe Endowed E-Nnovate Professorship, held by Dinesh Manocha since May 2018, which was funded by Elizabeth Iribe and an equal match from the state. It honors Elizabeth’s brother.
  • The Reginald Allan Hahne Endowed E-Nnovate Professor in virtual reality, held by Matthias Zwicker since March 2017, which was funded by Elizabeth Iribe and an equal match from the state. It was named for her son Brendan Iribe’s high school computer science teacher.
  • One Capital One Endowed E-Nnovate Chair and two Capital One Endowed E-Nnovate Professors in machine learning, data science and cybersecurity, funded by Capital One and an equal match from the state.

“My heartfelt thanks to the Brin and Iribe families, as well as Capital One,” Lin said. “If they didn’t have the vision and desire to give back, none of this would have been possible. The students are the biggest beneficiaries of these gifts, which also help elevate the department to the next level.”

As the Department of Computer Science searches for candidates to fill the Brin Family Professorships and the Capital One Chair and Professorships, construction continues on the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation. A cutting-edge research, education and entrepreneurship facility for computer science at UMD, the facility is expected to open in 2019. The new building became a reality thanks to a $31 million gift from alumnus Brendan Iribe, co-founder of the virtual reality company Oculus. 

These generous gifts support Fearless Ideas: The Campaign for Maryland, UMD’s $1.5 billion fundraising campaign focused on elevating and expanding the university’s mission of service, enhancing academic distinction and bolstering UMD’s leading-edge research enterprise.

“The support for a new building and endowed faculty positions is transforming the university, the region and the state, as our students graduate and go on to develop technological innovations that impact society and drive the economic growth for the state of Maryland,” Lin said.

 

Responding to Cholera Before It Strikes

August 28, 2018
Contacts: 

Leon Tune, 301-405-4679

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Research by University of Maryland microbiologist Rita Colwell is enabling a new British-led international aid effort to predict and stop potential epidemics of the disease cholera before they happen.

This international effort, which has already begun in Yemen, draws on decades of Colwell’s work to understand the water-borne bacterium Vibrio cholerae that causes the disease, and uses a computer model designed to forecast cholera outbreaks developed by a team of U.S. scientists led by Colwell, a Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, Antar Jutla, a hydrologist and civil engineer at West Virginia University, and UMD’s Anwar Huq, a former graduate student of Colwell’s who is a research professor in the university’s Maryland Pathogen Research Institute.

Colwell—who began studying the bacterium in the late 1960s and first conceived the idea of forecasting and proactively fighting cholera outbreaks in 1995—said seeing her vision realized in this new endeavor “is the greatest satisfaction any scientist, mathematician, or engineer could possibly have… essentially a dream fulfilled.”  

Using data from NASA satellites and other sources, the team's computer model provides risk maps for cholera in Yemen and other regions in the world based on factors that include air and water temperatures; precipitation amounts; severity of natural disasters; availability of clean water; sanitation and hygiene infrastructure; population density; and severity of natural disasters.

“By being able to predict when and where cholera is of highest risk, it makes it possible to deliver supplies and arrange for safe drinking water effectively and accurately,” said Colwell, a former director of the U.S. National Science Foundation whose highly acclaimed career bridges the disciplines of microbiology, genetics, ecology, infectious disease, public health, data analysis and satellite technology.

This spring, based on the model’s predicted locations and timing for cholera outbreaks in war-torn Yemen, the British government together with UNICEF began providing aid to lessen both the spread and severity of the illness, which causes severe diarrhea that can lead to dehydration, and even death, if untreated. Aid workers have distributed supplies for water sterilization and personal hygiene to reduce people’s exposure to the bacteria, and provided rehydration salts, intravenous fluid packs and other supplies to reduce the severity illness in those that became infected.   

“The conflict in Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with millions of people at risk of deadly but preventable diseases such as cholera,” said Department for International Development Chief Scientist, Professor Charlotte Watts. “By joining up international expertise with those working on the ground, we have, for the very first time, used these sophisticated predictions to help save lives and prevent needless suffering for thousands of Yemenis.”

“This [collaborative effort] means public health intervention accurately, precisely delivered when and where needed,” said Colwell. “It is truly satisfying to be able to see one’s research, including that done here at the University over the past forty plus years, incorporated into an effective public health success on a global scale.”  

“I certainly hope other governments, NGOs, and the United Nations will incorporate our model into their ongoing work,” she said. “Cholera offers a superb model for other waterborne and vector transmitted diseases.”

A Vision Realized

The ability to predict and better respond to potential cholera epidemics is the direct result of Colwell’s five decades of award-winning work to understand Vibrio cholerae and how it multiples and spreads to cause disease.

Her first key discovery was that the natural habitat for this bacterium was water, particularly among and within the microscopic animals and plants that constitute plankton. This meant that cholera outbreaks must first arise from consumption of contaminated drinking water drawn from sources such as rivers and ponds. Later she identified environmental conditions that determine whether these disease-causing bacteria lie dormant in their aquatic environments or flourish and proliferate.   She also developed a simple, inexpensive and effective method of using readily available used sari cloth to filter pond and river to greatly reduce the incidence of cholera in villages in Bangladesh. 

 In 1995, while looking at colorful NASA satellite imagery showing a coastal bloom of plankton that are home to Vibrio cholerae, Colwell realized that satellite data could be used to forecast potential cholera outbreaks. More recently, Colwell has worked with colleagues Jutla, Huq and others to advance the science and computer science needed to develop this predictive capability. She also has led research that has increased our understanding of how changing environmental factors, such as the world’s warming climate, are affecting the health risks posed by Vibrio cholerae and other vibrio bacteria.

“We still have a lot of work yet to do to increase accuracy and geographic applicability [of our predictive model]," said. “We also need to continue to accumulate ground truth data to strengthen the model. This means continuing our valuable molecular biology and genomic research on cholera done here at the University of Maryland.  And we will be expanding our work in Africa where cholera continues to be devastating.”

In addition to her cholera work, Colwell is known for pioneering research in computational biology and DNA sequencing that helped lay the groundwork for the bioinformatics revolution. She holds a dozen U.S. patents and is founder and chairman of CosmosID, Inc., a microbial genomics company focused on molecular diagnostics of human pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. Colwell has received many national and international awards and recognitions, including the 2017 Vannevar Bush Award given by the U.S. National Science Board; the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden; the 2006 National Medal of Science awarded by the president of the United States; and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star bestowed by the Emperor of Japan.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the first female director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (1998-2004), Colwell also has long been a powerful voice calling for investment in and encouragement of STEM (science technology engineering and math) research and careers as essential to the health, welfare, social stability and national security of the U.S. and all nations.

 


Video: Using Precipitation Data to Assess Risk of Cholera Outbreaks. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

University of Maryland Named a Top Producer of Minority Graduates

August 27, 2018
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland has been named a Top 100 Minority Degree Producer by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. UMD is listed as No. 1 in the state for conferring bachelor degrees to minority students. 

In the only national reporting of its kind, UMD ranked in the top 25 for Asian American bachelor's (19), African American bachelor's (21) and total minority professional doctoral degrees (24) in all disciplines. 

Specific program areas UMD ranked in the top 5 include:

    • Total minority students with Doctoral degrees in Mathematics and Statistics (1)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Social Sciences (2)
    • Asian American students with Doctoral degrees in Mathematics and Statistics (2)
    • Total minority students with Master's degrees in Multi/interdisciplinary studies (3) 
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (4)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Agriculture and Agriculture Operations (4)
    • African American students with Master's degrees in Engineering (4)
    • Asian American students with Master's degrees in Multi/interdisciplinary studies (4)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Natural Resources and Conservation (5)

Diverse reports the number of combined bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral-level degrees awarded increased across the country by more than 58,000 degrees since last year. 

For more information and complete Diverse rankings, visit http://diverseeducation.com/top100/

 

 

University Statement on Jacksonville Shooting

August 27, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4621

The alleged shooter in the August 26, 2018 Jacksonville, FL, shooting was previously a University of Maryland student enrolled beginning in September 2014. David Katz was not registered for classes as of 8/26/2018 and did not live on campus. His major was Environmental Science and Technology.

 

University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said today: 

“Our community grieves for the families of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s horrific shooting in Jacksonville. When our community was directly impacted by the shooting in Annapolis this summer, I said that more than silent reflection is needed to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country, and I will say that again today. The alleged shooter was previously enrolled here and was not registered for classes this semester. I encourage anyone at our university with relevant information to reach out to law enforcement to aid in the investigation happening in Florida.” 

 

 

University of Maryland Statement - August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018

Statement from the University of Maryland: 

On August 29, 2017, university administration first learned that the then-Athletic Director directed the hiring of an attorney, who had been representing two student-athletes in a sexual misconduct case for approximately two months. The attorney had been promised funds controlled by the Athletic Department to represent the accused. 

This was brought to the attention of the President’s Office immediately by the then-Executive Athletic Director after first learning of the arrangement when the lawyer submitted an invoice to the department. The President's Office, the Office of General Counsel, the Athletic Compliance Office and the then-Executive Athletic Director were not involved in or consulted on the original decision made to hire and pay the lawyer. Protocols requiring General Counsel to retain outside counsel had not been followed in the hiring. 

In response, the President’s Office immediately directed the then-Athletic Director to cut ties with the attorney. 

NCAA bylaws allow member institutions to pay for legal counsel for proceedings that might affect a student-athlete’s eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics. However, the decision to hire this lawyer showed a serious lack of judgement in a sexual misconduct case, given the university’s commitment to a fair and impartial handling of all such matters.

On September 27, it came to the attention of the President’s Office that its previous instruction to cut ties with the attorney had not been followed. The President’s Office directed the Office of General Counsel to immediately launch an internal investigation to determine why this had happened.  

This sexual misconduct case was handled by our Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct independently, impartially, and without favoritism. Legal representation is common in proceedings related to sexual misconduct, and while lawyers can advocate for the rights of the accused, they do not determine the outcome or verdict. That is the job of our independent Standing Review Committee.

Federal privacy laws prevent releasing the outcomes of individual sexual misconduct cases. There were six expulsions for sexual misconduct in the last fiscal year (July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017). 

The President briefed the Board of Regents last fall to update them on this matter. 

University of Maryland Recognized as a Best College in the Nation, No. 1 in Maryland

August 21, 2018
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, jenburr@umd.edu, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland been named one of America’s best colleges by Money magazine, a leading source for personal finance news and advice. UMD’s value was ranked No. 1 in Maryland, in the top 20 among public colleges and top 30 among all 727 schools considered. 

In an annual ranking to help students and parents assess the costs and payoffs when making college decisions, Money pooled the nation’s top experts in education quality, financing and value to assess each institution on graduation rates, tuition charges, family borrowing, alumni earnings, and 22 other data points. UMD’s 87 percent graduation rate, low average student debt and high early career earnings were key factors in the university’s ranking. 

The full Money magazine list of the Best Colleges in America is here: http://time.com/money/best-colleges/  

 

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