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Thursday Morning Scoop: A Cuban Turnover

Plus, news on Fresno State, Cornell and Joliet Junior College.



Welcome to the Morning Scoop for April 19, 2018. Someone not named Castro will lead Cuba for the first time in nearly 60 years, and free speech is at the center of news from campuses in California and Illinois. 

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Cuba’s Castro Era Coming to An End

Raul Castro, right, shown with his late brother Fidel. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Raúl Castro, who took over for his brother Fidel 12 years ago, is set to step down as president of Cuba today, passing the torch on to someone outside the Castro dynasty for the first time since the Cuban revolution half a century ago.

The New York Times reports, “During his two terms as president, Mr. Castro, 86, opened up his Communist country to a small but vital private sector and, perhaps most significantly, diplomatic relations with the United States. It was a notable departure from his brother’s agenda, yet it was possible only because he, too, was a Castro.

Raúl’s handpicked successor Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, a Communist Party loyalist, will take over as president.

Fresno State Prof. Who Called Barbara Bush ‘an Amazing Racist’ Is Under Investigation 

Fresno State University announced yesterday that it would investigate an associate professor who tweeted that former First Lady Barbara Bush, who passed on Tuesday evening, was “an amazing racist” who raised a “war criminal.”

The university initially released a statement saying that they disagreed with professor Randa Jarrar, but would take no action, since she was speaking as a private citizen. They changed course quickly following an intense backlash over the tweets. Fresno President Joseph Castro said that “a professor with tenure does not have blanket protection to say and do what they wish.”

Jarrar eventually made her social media accounts private, but not before tweeting that she was “happy the witch is dead” and that she wanted the Bush family to “fall to their demise the way 1.5 million Iraqis have.” She later tweeted that she made $100,000 and “would never be fired.”

Illinois Student Settles Lawsuit After Having Free Speech Rights Violated

Earlier this year, Ivette Salazar was detained and questioned by campus police on the Joliet Junior College (JJC) campus in Illinois. Her offense? Handing out political flyers to students that read “Shut Down Capitalism.”

The case was settled yesterday, and on top of a $30,000 settlement payment, JJC has changed its freedom of speech policies and committed to training its faculty and employees for these changes.

CMN’s Carla Loebenstein has all details, plus an exclusive interview with the the organization that helped bring the changes to Joliet’s campus.

Today in a Tweet 

Twitter is having fun with the  challenge, which asks gamers to choose four  video games that define them…

Last But Not Least: Cornell Student Saves Travelers Big on Flights. For Free.

Cornell student Nick Doyle, a 21-year-old computer science major, recently posted on Reddit saying, “I will find you cheap flights (again) for free. All I ask is that you think about doing something nice for someone else :)”.

Doyle received a flood of requests from other users seeking flights from Cairo to London, Australia to Utah, and Washington to Alaska. Doyle was able to grant 30 requests.

CMN’s Roxanneh Mousavi has more details on Doyle’s deeds in her report. 


This Thursday Morning Scoop was compiled from contributions by Natalia KolenkoRoxanneh MousaviCarla Loebenstein and the CMN Staff. Did you know we’ve started a page dedicated to journalism-related scholarships? Well, we did and we’re adding to it every day. 

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

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