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Crime and punishment
May 16, 2014
Facebook/ColumbiaUniversity

At Columbia University, someone is going into bathrooms and writing the names of four men under the headings "sexual assault violators on campus" and "rapists on campus," the New York Daily News reports.

Fliers with the names have also been found across the university, with the first list found on May 7. The graffiti — which was quickly removed by facilities staff — appeared after 23 Columbia and Barnard College students filed a complaint in April with the U.S. Department of Education over how the school handles allegations of sexual assault. "It doesn't surprise me that the school's first priority is their reputation," Leah P., a junior, told the Daily News. "Most people on campus know someone who has heard of somebody getting raped."

While some students say public shaming isn't going to help solve the problem, others see it as a necessity. "It's not like this was a fun thing to do for whoever wrote it, I'm sure," Cami Quarta, a sophomore who said she is a sexual assault survivor, told WPIX. "Honestly, it was a last resort, just out of desperation." Catherine Garcia

long walks
10:45 a.m. ET

If Disney is looking for a sequel to Homeward Bound, this is it: An 8-year-old Shar Pei mix named Georgia trekked through 35 miles of California canyons and suburbs to return home through the backyard doggy door after having been missing for nine days, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Georgia got lost while chasing a rabbit in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve in late June. Due to a high number of coyotes in the region, rangers told her owner, Kris Anderson, that the 30-pound dog likely wouldn't survive even a night.

However, at 8:30 a.m. over a week after she went missing, Georgia unexpectedly ran into Anderson's room and jumped on the bed. The dog was emaciated, covered in scratches, and in need of a good bath — but she somehow walked at least 35 miles home from the park, braving a storm, Fourth of July fireworks, traffic, and maybe even a coyote or two.

How animals find their way home after getting lost is a bit of a scientific mystery: In 1920, Bobbie the dog walked from Oregon to Indiana to get home, and in 2013, a Florida cat walked 200 miles home, from West Palm Beach from Daytona. Some scientists have found evidence that mammals can construct mental maps, similar to the way a rat finds its way out of a maze.

We may never know how Georgia did it — it's just all the more reason to wish animals could talk. Jeva Lange

Greek debt crisis
10:31 a.m. ET
Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

New Greek Finance Minster Euclid Tsakalotos reportedly showed up to an emergency summit in Brussels to determine Greece's economic fate without any written proposals in hand. While Tsakalotos was urged to offer his reform proposals in written form, three eurozone sources speaking on the condition of anonymity said that he only offered Greece's creditors an oral update on the country's financial situation, The Associated Press reports. Details of what updates Tsakalotos gave in his oral presentation were not available.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will soon arrive at the summit in hopes of working out a bailout deal. On Sunday, Greece soundly rejected austerity measures proposed by European creditors in a bailout plan. Becca Stanek

keeping up with caitlyn
10:16 a.m. ET
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

For the first time since Bruce Jenner transitioned to become Caitlyn Jenner, a major piece of the decathlete's Olympic memorabilia is going to auction. Heritage Auctions estimates that the 1984 Summer Olympic Torch that Jenner carried through Lake Tahoe, Nevada, will sell for at least $20,000. Auction director Chris Ivy described the 24-inch torch as a "wonderful symbol that masculinity and femininity are not mutually exclusive."

After becoming a national hero upon winning the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal, Jenner attracted the spotlight again in June when she came out as a transgender woman and revealed herself as Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair. Jenner will accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards on next week for her courage in coming out as a transgender woman. Becca Stanek

college costs
10:07 a.m. ET
David McNew/Getty Images

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests that federal student aid programs are doing more harm than good. When subsidized federal loans have the effect of "relaxing students’ funding constraints," universities respond by raising tuition to collect the newly available cash.

The resultant tuition hikes can be substantial: The researchers found that each additional dollar of Pell Grant or subsidized student loan money translates to a tuition jump of 55 or 65 cents, respectively. Of course, the higher tuition also applies to students who don't receive federal aid, making college less affordable across the board.

The report also found that subsidized federal loans do not appear to increase enrollment. "[W]hile one would expect a student aid expansion to benefit recipients," the study authors wrote, "the subsidized loan expansion could have been to their detriment, on net, because of the sizable and offsetting tuition effect." Bonnie Kristian

Winter is staying
10:02 a.m. ET

With highs well into the 80s these days, Boston's record-breaking, snowy winter seems like a distant memory. That is, unless you visit the city's last pile of snow: a 12-foot, trash-choked mound of solid ice whose slow, steady melting is a lasting reminder of the grueling winter, The New York Times reports.

The last of Boston's so-called "snow farms," the pile was created in an empty lot so plows would have somewhere to dump some of the 110 inches of snow that blanketed the city. Once 75 feet high and covering a full four acres, new snowfall could make it look "beautiful… like the White Mountains," said Michael Dennehy, the commissioner of public works. These days, the slowly shrinking snow pile is mostly notable for its trash — the tons of urban detritus also swept up by the snow plows. City workers have pulled out everything from candy wrappers to newspaper boxes and manhole covers. And as the mound gets smaller, more and more trash is revealed. As the Times notes, city workers cleared 12 tons of trash from the pile in May. In June, 56 tons.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has asked people via Twitter to guess when the snow pile will finally be gone. The winner gets a "meet and greet" with Mayor Walsh.


For many, though, they'll just be happy to see the snow go. One woman summed up what surely must be the feelings of many Bostonians in regards to the snow: "It's almost gone — thank God." Marshall Bright

Really?
9:56 a.m. ET
Philippe Huguen/Getty Images

It's conventional wisdom that if a police officer pulls you over late at night, you can proceed slowly to a well-lit, public area to make sure the stop is safe and legitimate. But when DaJuawn Wallace, a graduate student at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, attempted to put this rule into practice, he found himself arrested and slapped with a felony charge for "fleeing and eluding" police.

The stop took place at 2 a.m., while Wallace was out purchasing medicine for his girlfriend. When he saw police lights behind him, he slowly drove to a nearby Sam's Club, waving for the officer to follow him. "I live in Detroit, and I know some people who were robbed by fake police officers," Wallace explained. "I was not speeding up, turning off my lights or trying to get away." He was only pulled over because the cop thought his car resembled one he'd seen driving on a sidewalk earlier that day.

Wallace has been offered a plea deal to reduce his charge to a felony, but taking it would cause him to lose his job and any financial aid opportunities for his master's program. He is pushing for a complete dismissal of charges because, he says, "I feel like I didn't do anything wrong." Bonnie Kristian

afghanistan war
9:51 a.m. ET
Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

Members of the Taliban leadership held talks with at least one senior Afghan official in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, The New York Times reports. The Afghan government has expressed hopes that the meeting will lead to negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the Afghanistan War.

Taliban leaders dismissed similar meetings earlier this year in Qatar, Norway, and China as being unofficial talks between individuals and the Afghan government. While it remains to be seen how the Taliban will respond to news of the talks today, Pakistan's role as a go-between is significant, since it is the home of the Taliban leadership in exile and a haven for extremist militants who have long staged raids across the porous Afghan-Pakistani border.

There is also speculation that the threat of ISIS, which has made inroads with the Taliban's base of support, has made the Taliban especially eager to seek peace with the Afghan government, The New York Times reports. Jeva Lange

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