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Thomas Jefferson Law School student Stephanie Germani receives GI Bill benefits to help pay for her legal education. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The federal government recently stripped California of its ability to determine which schools can accept students’ GI Bill benefits — and the state’s treatment of San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson Law School is a big part of the reason.

“California’s Department of Veterans Affairs suspended Thomas Jefferson from enrolling new students with veterans benefits in late 2017 and removed the school from the GI Bill program all together last year,” Lyle Moran reports in a new story. “The state acted in response to the San Diego law school being placed on probation by its national accreditor.”

But the federal VA said the state agency made a mistake, and the state agency eventually reversed course. 

It didn’t end there, though. The federal VA took over the state VA’s GI Bill duties this month after the Thomas Jefferson incident and others.

During the period in which the school couldn’t accept GI Bill benefits, it stepped up to cover students’ expenses.

“The VA erroneously taking away GI Bill funding for Thomas Jefferson students when the ABA placed us on probation could have completely derailed my legal education,” one student told Moran. “I’m so thankful that my school stepped up during what could have been a very devastating time financially and emotionally so I could continue my education.”

SDSU Ups Offer to the City for Mission Valley Land

The standoff between the city of San Diego and San Diego State University over the purchase price of land around the Mission Valley stadium appears to have been short lived. In a letter to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, according to the Union-Tribune, university officials offered to pay $19.5 million more than previously proposed. The university now is offering to pay $87.7 million for the land to cover the cost of demolishing the old stadium, construct a new river park and account for the value of the the land’s appreciation since 2017.

The university and city had been in a dispute about whether the previous offer, of $68.2 million, rightfully accounted for the cost of the river park and demolition of the stadium or whether it forced the city to indirectly pay for the park, which was expressly prohibited by last year’s Measure G. If this dispute is resolved, it would mark a major step in SDSU’s progress toward developing the land.

Downtown Migrant Shelter’s Future Is Unclear

Border policy for the last two-plus years has been defined by change. 

It was a change in federal policy in October 2018 that left San Diego officials scrambling to accommodate a crush of asylum-seekers federal officials were suddenly dropping off in San Diego without plans for how to reach sponsors and family members elsewhere in the country. That set off a mad scramble to locate and fund a facility to shelter those migrants. 

It also led to a lawsuit by the county against the Trump Administration.

But another federal policy change — the Remain in Mexico program for Central American asylum-seekers — has slowed the flow of migrants who utilize the shelter.

In the latest Border Report, VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan re-examines the circumstances that led San Diego officials to create the shelter and points out that its future is unclear, since the facility’s lease only runs through the end of this year.

Inside San Diego’s ‘Gold Standard’ Prison

If I told you there was a place in Santee with a coffee spot, a farmer’s market and gardening classes and an amphitheatre for movie nights, you might think there was a hot new neighborhood worth driving to East County to check out.

That place, though, is the Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility, and a new Washington Post Magazine piece calls it “a gold standard for gender-responsive corrections.”

Before the facility was rebuilt, jail officials brought in a director from the Center for Gender and Justice to advise on improvements.

The resulting facility and policies offer examples that other jails should look to, the piece argues: “At Las Colinas, the women have access to unlimited feminine hygiene supplies, including tampons. Unlike at some facilities, they aren’t routinely strip-searched when they walk in the door. The visiting area has a playroom for kids.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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