The Scoop: WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Friday, May 19th, 2023

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WMNF Daily news digest, called "The Scoop"

Environmental groups veto bill

Environmental groups are calling for the governor to veto a bill that they worry will limit environmental protection in Florida. WMNF’s Chris Young reports that one group calls the bill the “death knell” of growth management.

New College of Florida alternative graduation

About three quarters of this year’s graduating seniors at New College of Florida held an alternative graduation for students at the Sarasota Art Museum last night. They invited lawyer, professor, and civil rights activist Maya Wiley, to speak. Wiley said that we live in a country that believes in democracy, but she noted there is also a rise in hate crimes against, Jewish, Black, and LGBTQ communities, which may be exacerbated by a new Florida law to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion in state funded schools.

“And we know that the difference between being indoctrinated with hate and being filled with love for a community and the ability to be in community across difference is a good quality education. And these laws get in the way of the ability to create the beloved community, which is what Dr. Martin Luther King called for. And you can’t do that….Democracy dies with lies, but it lives in the light of education.”

Graduating history student Lisa Hyde says that hope lives on through alumni.

“Students are still going to push back no matter what, but students are still feeling dejected because there’s just not a lot you can do when you have trustees that refuse tenure to professors that are completely qualified or fire a librarian who has given 5 years to New College. That’s leaving a lot of people feeling dejected, but I think something like this and what they were saying about how now we’re graduated, and now alums, I think there is a lot of hope that there’s a sense of community there.”

More than 2,600 New College alumni and supporters donated for the alternative graduation. $70,000 is left over for a student activities fund to be controlled by students so they can have a firewall of influence against the college in an attempt to maintain the culture they have grown to love over the years. The official commencement ceremony is tonight in Sarasota.

New president of Florida International University

It’s official – Kenneth Jessell was formally sworn in as the sixth president of Florida International University on Thursday. The career academic took his oath at a time when advocates say higher education in the state is under attack. Kate Payne reports.

Bike to Work Day

Even as commuting to the office and going to school plunged at the height of COVID lockdowns, outdoor recreation, and cycling in particular, surged in country after country as people looked to escape isolation in a relatively safe way. In response, cities worldwide have developed bikeways with new urgency since 2020. The question is whether people stick with their new cycling habit in these closer-to-normal times. Today is Bike to Work Day in the U.S., and the automatic counters that record each passing cyclist in many cities will get the latest numbers. But what’s clear from a Rutgers-Virginia Tech study of cycling in various North American and European cities is that many new bikeways were built during the height of COVID-19. And these efforts were rewarded with increased cycling in places that undertook robust development. Montreal did more than any other North American city studied. In Europe, London, Paris and Brussels stepped up more than most. A study in Bogota, Colombia, also noted an uptick in cycling there.

Andy Rourke passed away

Andy Rourke, bass guitarist of The Smiths, one of the most influential British bands of the 1980s, has died after a lengthy illness with pancreatic cancer, his former bandmate Johnny Marr said today. He was 59. In a lengthy post on Instagram, guitarist and songwriter Marr paid tribute to Rourke, who he first met when both were schoolboys in 1975. During their short time together as a four-piece band between 1982 and 1987, The Smiths deliberately stayed away from the mainstream of popular music, garnering a cult following on the independent music scene.

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