- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006



GOP fundraiser resigns regents post

The Maryland Republican Party’s most prolific fundraiser has submitted his resignation as a University of Maryland regent because of a new law that prohibits regents from raising money for political campaigns.

Richard E. Hug said his resignation, effective May 31, was prompted by “the silly legislation that passed … making it unlawful for people on the Board of Regents to be active in political fundraising.”

Mr. Hugh said he made a commitment to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. years ago to be his finance chairman. He was named a regent in March 2003.

Mr. Ehrlich vetoed the bill, but the veto was overridden by Democrats in the House and Senate. Supporters of the bill said during the session that there was a potential conflict between a regent representing the university and at the same time engaging in partisan fundraising.

Mr. Hug said the law may be unconstitutional, but he will not challenge it because he doesn’t want further publicity for the board or the governor.


Deaf students back Gallaudet protests

Some high-school students at the Maryland School for the Deaf are joining the protest against the newly chosen president of the District’s Gallaudet University, the nation’s only liberal arts college for the deaf.

Three student government leaders held a brief forum yesterday afternoon in an auditorium on the Frederick campus to share with others their impressions after visiting the protesters’ tent city at Gallaudet. About 75 students attended the forum.

Two of the student leaders wore “Unity for Gallaudet” T-shirts and all three said they object to the selection of Gallaudet Provost Jane K. Fernandes to lead the world-renowned university.

Student government Vice President Rachel Benedict, a junior from Germantown, said the protest isn’t about whether Mrs. Fernandes is “deaf enough,” as some reports have suggested, but rather about her leadership ability and the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among the three white finalists.

“The two demands of the protest are to have the presidential search process reopened and to have no reprisals for the students, staff, faculty and alumni,” Miss Benedict said in sign language.

Ryan DiGiovanni, a Gallaudet freshman and protest leader from Jupiter, Fla., who attended the forum, said later that Fernandes hadn’t done enough during 11 years as a Gallaudet administrator to improve academic programs. He said he hasn’t been challenged academically as much as he expected.

“We can’t expect her to lead us if she lowers the level of expectation,” he said. “I want to feel my degree is worth something when I graduate.”

Mrs. Fernandes was born deaf but didn’t learn American Sign Language until she was 23. She is married to a retired Gallaudet professor who can hear, as can the couple’s two children.


Horse park seen boosting economy

The proposed Maryland Horse Park and Agricultural Education Center would boost the local and state economy but would worsen traffic woes at the former Naval Academy Dairy Farm, a state report shows.

The Maryland Stadium Authority will release the $265,000 study today. The center would cost $114 million and road improvements to overcome increased traffic would total $1.5 million.

Authority Executive Director Alison Asti said the bond market would be the likely source of funding, with approval from the state Board of Public Works.

The equestrian center would add $9.3 million a year in taxes to the state, county and city of Annapolis. An estimated 800,000 visitors would create revenue totaling $122 million a year, $104 million in Anne Arundel County alone, the study concluded.


Council OKs funds for student laptops

Talbot County ninth-graders could be issued laptop computers after a vote by the County Council to fund the computers.

Some council members agreed to spend $209,000 on laptops for incoming ninth-grade students next school year. The money is in addition to funding for the computers for sophomores already in the budget. The council will vote on the proposed budget May 23.

Johns Hopkins University is studying the laptop program in Talbot County, the Easton Star Democrat reported.



Priest put on leave after abuse charges

A Catholic priest has been placed on leave amid charges that he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with two girls more than 25 years ago, church officials said yesterday.

The Diocese of Arlington was investigating claims against the Rev. Tran Dinh Nhi of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale stemming from 1975 to 1980, when the girls were between the ages of 13 and 17.

After a preliminary review Monday, the diocese’s Review Board advised Bishop Paul S. Loverde that the charges appeared to be credible. The diocese is cooperating with authorities and continues to look for any additional victims, spokesman Soren Johnson said.

Father Nhi, 61, has denied any wrongdoing.

“We take any allegation of misconduct seriously,” Bishop Loverde said. “As a family of faith, we have an absolute responsibility to provide for the safety and welfare of our children and young people.”

At the time the abuse is said to have occurred, Father Nhi served at the St. Rita and St. Lawrence parishes in Alexandria and the St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Arlington. He has been in Annandale since last year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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