News Briefs

Al-Arian appeals decision

Attorney C. Peter Erlinder, an acquaintance of former USF professor Sami Al-Arian, filed an appeal on his behalf Tuesday to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal aims to strike down Judge James S. Moody’s May 1 decision in which Al-Arian was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail. Since Al-Arian has already served three years in jail, he would have to serve an additional year and a half before being deported as part of a plea agreement.

Al-Arian entered a guilty plea on April 17 on one count of conspiracy to provide services to benefit members of a terrorist organization, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Prior to Al-Arian’s signing of the agreement, the case was at a standstill after Dec. 5, 2005, when Al-Arian was found not guilty of eight of the 17 charges he faced and the jury deadlocked on the nine other charges.

The new developments in Al-Arian’s case have not prompted a new response from USF’s administration.

“He hasn’t worked at the University in over three years. Anything that’s happening in his case is in the hands of the federal authorities and we really have nothing to add,” said Lara Wade, interim director of Media Relations.

Track complex to be built

USF and the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners came to an agreement to build a new track and field complex on campus.

Hillsborough County gave $2.79 million to USF to support the project, which will help the county and USF host more events like the Special Olympics, which were held April 28-29.

There are also plans for the complex to host NCAA meets. The track is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2007.

– Staff report