Thursday, November 23, 2017


Claire McNeill, Times staff writer

Claire McNeill, Times staff writer

Claire McNeill covers higher education for the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the paper in 2014 and covered general assignment news in Pasco and Pinellas counties. She grew up in a one-square-mile town in South Jersey and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where she studied journalism and political science. She has worked for The Boston Globe and The Charlotte Observer. She lives in St. Petersburg.

Collin John Cole, 26, is accused of causing a multi-vehicle crash while driving drunk and the wrong way on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. (Hillsborough Sheriff's Office)

Tampa couple recounts wrong-way DUI crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash that injured several people late Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving...
Published: 11/18/17
USF adjunct English professor Mike Ruso reads a letter from former adjunct professor Robert Ryan, who used to share the office before dying of cancer earlier this year. Ryan, whose books personal items are still in the office, has become a kind of martyr for the cause of USF adjuncts pushing to start a union.

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Pam and Les Muma, seen here at their Belleair home, already are USF's biggest donors but have decided to make another gift of $15 million. They hope the donation sends a message that people should keep giving to the school even though its fundraising campaign is winding down.

With $15 million donation to USF, top donors urge others to follow their lead

TAMPA — The university had already hit its $1 billion fundraising goal, and the college sweethearts had already cemented their spot as the top donors to their beloved alma mater.At a black tie gala at Amalie Arena on Saturday, though,...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/11/17
The Marshall Student Center, in the background, is a focal point at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The school is under a second federal investigation for possibly mishandling a case of campus sexual violence. USF already has a lingering investigation from 2014, which stemmed from a student's complaint that the university failed to properly investigate her case. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]

New federal investigation targets USF handling of sexual violence case

TAMPA — The University of South Florida is under a second federal investigation for possibly mishandling a case of campus sexual violence.Federal officers took up the case last week, following a student complaint against USF in late August with...
Updated one month ago
Florida State University's campus

Have financial need? Tell FSU, and your application fee will be waived

With an eye toward increased access for underrepresented students, Florida State University is waiving its $30 application fee for prospective students who tell the university they have financial need. In the past, FSU hopefuls had to jump a...
Updated one month ago
Students and families continue to shoulder higher college costs as tuition sticker prices rise.

College costs keep climbing, but financial aid isn't keeping pace

The latest look at the cost of college in America paints a fairly bleak picture for students and parents already struggling with the outsized financial burden. Tuition keeps rising, and financial aid isn’t keeping pace, according to
Updated one month ago
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Protesters scream at supporters of Richard Spencer after his speech at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida.  [Thursday October 19, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Richard Spencer speaks, and Gainesville emerges weary but at peace

GAINESVILLE — Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk."Go home, Spencer," hundreds...
Updated one month ago
A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

Spencer: ‘A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power’

In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.Spencer stormed into the room in a three-piece suit...
Updated one month ago
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs talks with reporters Wednesday about white nationalist Richard Spencer's planned speech on Thursday. He said of Spencer:

UF president Kent Fuchs: ‘Charlottesville changed everything’ (w/video)

GAINESVILLE — Wednesday evening, hazy rumors of an impending Neo-Nazi march reached some wary protesters. A few quickly rallied to denounce the marchers in downtown Gainesville, only to find plazas empty but for police.The march that never was...
Updated one month ago
The view from the balcony at the University of Florida's Phillips Center, where white nationalist Richard Spencer will speak on Thursday. Spencer is distributing about 700 tickets. Protesters and Spencer supporters are expected to attend. [University of Florida]

Q&A: Eight things to know about Richard Spencer and his visit to UF

As Richard Spencer’s controversial speech approaches, the University of Florida has been making extensive preparations and reassuring its students. Here, we answer some of the questions swirling around his visit on Thursday.Who is Richard...
Updated one month ago