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Judge Approves Force-Feeding Detainee, UA Campus Pushes for Diversity

Etowah County Detention Center
Hannah Rappleye
NBC News
Visitation entrance at Etowah County Detention Center, Gadsden, Ala.

A federal judge has authorized the force-feeding of one detainee on hunger strike at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Etowah County.

Chief U.S District Judge Karon O. Bowdre authorized the force-feeding last week, if needed, for a detainee reported to be in deteriorating health. Bowdre also authorized medical monitoring of other detainees participating in the hunger strike.

48 detainees at the Etowah County Detention Center began a hunger strike two weeks ago today, on Nov. 25. 15 continue to participate.

The New York-based organization Desis Rising Up and Moving says all of the strikers came to the United States seeking asylum. They are demanding improved conditions at the Etowah County facility and an end to indefinite detention.

ICE released a statement saying the agency is closely monitoring the strikers' health and no detainees have yet been forcibly fed.

The University of Alabama is set to take a step toward greater diversity today.

The strategic planning committee for the Tuscaloosa campus is scheduled to meet. UA's new president Dr. Stuart Bell wants to name a Central Diversity Officer with a specific diversity plan to help make the school more inclusive.

Bell also named Student Government Association President Elliott Spillers to the committee. Spillers says having a safe space for students of color at the University of Alabama is one item on his agenda.

“Seeing a space, for not just for people of color, but all students who are underrepresented here on campus, to have that space on campus that they can call their own, I think, right now, there’s no social space for anyone who’s not a Greek student here on campus, I think it’s important that we enhance the social experiences of those students as well.”

The strategic planning committee’s job is to draw up a plan to enhance graduate program enrollment, add faculty, and expand facilities and research. That’s in addition to achieving greater diversity.

Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry is packing his bags for New York City.

Henry, along with Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey are the nominees for the Heisman Trophy presentation this Saturday.

Henry has 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns for the SEC Champion Crimson Tide. He says winning the Heisman never really crossed his mind this season.

“I just never really tried to focus on that. I knew if I did what I was supposed to do about how I play and how I prepared and practiced with my teammates that everything would take care of itself. I never really focused on that because I knew that we had a lot of games left to play that’s why I just focused on how I play.”

If Henry were to win the Heisman, he would be the second player in Alabama football program history to hoist the trophy. Mark Ingram won it in 2009. The winner will be revealed Saturday night at seven on ESPN.

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