Co-Lin board updated on dorm burglaries

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 3, 2008

WESSON – Some dormitory break-ins almost two weeks ago werehandled quickly and thoroughly by campus police, Co-Lin officialssaid at Thursday’s monthly board meeting.

College President Dr. Ronald Nettles told the board that thepolice department was on the case as soon as the thefts werereported and had apprehended three suspects in 24 hours.

“There are still a lot of questions to answer,” he said. “And wehad to assume they had some kind of key, so we’ve replaced locks inFranklin Hall.”

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Wilfred Journet, 19, of 139 Petunia Lane, Lafayette, La.;Timothy Jones, 21, of 205 Hillard St., Starkville; and LaQuintonWall, 18, of 2553 Wynndyke Cir., Jackson, were all arrested lastweek in connection with the dorm burglaries and charged with 15counts of burglary of a dwelling.

Fourteen rooms were burglarized. Nettles said while some of theitems have been located and returned, some are still missing.

Meanwhile, the students will be dealt with not only legally butalso will receive disciplinary action from the school.

“We don’t anticipate they’ll be returning, to say the least,” hesaid. “This is a student issue and certain processes are involvedin an unfortunate event like this.”

Nettles said additional security cameras that are being addedaround the Wesson campus will help insure against similarhappenings in the future.

In other business, board member Thelma Newsome said the sitevisit team that has been on all three campuses to evaluate theLicensed Practical Nurse program were pleased with what they hadseen. She said the team found only that the faculty-student rationeeds to be improved.

“They were highly complimentary of the faculty and facility atall our campuses,” she said.

The college will be given provisional accreditation, withevaluators returning in two years to check the progress. If it isfound to be adequate, the school will receive full accreditationfor six years after that.

New lights on the softball and soccer fields are hopefully rightaround the corner after being unanimously approved by theboard.

“This has been in our long-range plan, and it’s time to moveforward with it,” said board member Melton King.

Nettles said priority has been placed on the softball field ifonly one of the fields can be done.

“We may have to break it up to make sure we can do both,” hesaid. “But we wanted it for the softball field first and then weadded soccer, so the softball field will remain the priority.”

In other board proceedings, Physical Plant Director DarrylJordan told the board that warm showers have been restored todormitories that had lost hot water when a heater went downrecently.

“We have a new 260-gallon heater, but we had to order it becauseyou can’t just get those at the Wesson hardware store,” Jordansaid. “It took five or six days to get it here, but now it’sinstalled and we’re good to go.”

Nettles said during the time the hot water was down, showers inthe gymnasium were made available to the students.

“We did this as fast as we could, but it’s never fast enough.Not for us anyway,” he said.

Jordan also said a water coil break in the Billy B. ThamesCenter that flooded and damaged three bedrooms, two suites andseveral offices overnight recently was possibly the result of adefective part.

“We don’t know if it was workmanship or a defective coil or whatat this point,” Jordan said.

Nettles said as the repairs are made, the search for the actualcause of the leak is ongoing.

“We’re looking for the cause, and it definitely wasn’t a goodsituation,” he said. “They had a mess over there that day.”

Meanwhile, board member Dr. Steve Wells received a plaque for 20years of distinguished service to the college. Wells told the boardhe was grateful for the award, and that the years had passedquickly.

“My first board meeting, they told us someone was bringing a $40million lawsuit, and I questioned if I wanted to be on this board,”he said, laughing. “Now, 20 years later, I’ve decided it’s a goodthing, even though that $40 million scared me.”