Auburn University

Auburn University fully returning to on-campus operations

Feb 8, 2021
Auburn University


Auburn University has resumed on-campus classes and activities after putting operations on hold due to the coronavirus.

The school's optional remote instruction has ended and most employees are back on campus after working virtually.

The university's number of COVID-19 cases has been trending downward since 113 cases were originally reported back in January,

Auburn provost Bill Hardgrave


Faculty members at Auburn University have called for a vote of no-confidence in provost Bill Hardgrave over his handling of class scheduling amid the coronavirus pandemic. The University Senate is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to address the complaints.

Grievances have been voiced for months since more than 500 faculty members met virtually in November to address Hardgrave's insistence on returning to in-person instruction in the spring.

Auburn University


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A new study will look at how the pandemic is affecting poor communities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. 

An announcement from Auburn University says the yearlong research will examine how leaders can get people in low-income, vulnerable communities to take collective action during a crisis. Researcher Kelly Dunning says the study will look at how science-based messages are received in such places compared to wealthier communities.


CAMP HILL, Ala. (AP) — The new mayor of an Alabama town faces a couple of unusual challenges: Namely, going to class and doing his homework. 

Auburn University student Messiah Williams-Cole defeated an incumbent to be elected mayor of Camp Hill, Alabama. Besides operating the town of about 950 people, he’s getting ready to graduate in May with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. The 21-year-old led Mayor Ezell Woodyard-Smith by a margin of 259-156 in last Tuesday’s runoff election.

Auburn University


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University is asking fans to avoid rolling its replanted oak trees with toilet paper as football games begin on campus. 

A statement from the school says two oaks that were planted in 2017 and 10 descendant trees all had a good growing season this year. But a specialist says the trees still need special care, and a ban on rolling will allow time for them to become acclimated to their environment.


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University is setting aside space on campus to recognize its historically Black fraternities and sororities. 

Plans are moving ahead for a plaza to recognize social groups that are part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which is composed of nine Black sororities and fraternities. Construction is set to begin in 2022.


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn expects to return to practice Monday minus 16 players sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests. 

Coach Gus Malzahn said Sunday night that the Tigers had five positives early in the week and four more after additional testing Thursday. With contact tracing, seven others who had close contact with them face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University said a number of students are quarantined after COVID-19 cases were reported in a campus residence hall and a fraternity house. 

Spokesman Preston Sparks said Wednesday that the university is aware of multiple students who have tested positive for COVID-19. He did not say how many students are quarantined. The school did not name the fraternity or dorm.

drought farmer
Kevin D. Liles / WSJ


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A $3 million grant will help encourage new conservation practices by Alabama farmers. 

A statement from Auburn University says the college of agriculture is getting the money to help row farms through an Agriculture Department program. Project leader Rishi Prasad says many soils in the state are low in organic matter and need rebuilding.


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Spring and summer graduates of Auburn University will be recognized in two ceremonies in August. 

The university, in a news release Tuesday, said the ceremonies are planned for Saturday, Aug. 8, at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Officials say the stadium was the overwhelming choice of a sample of graduates asked for feedback on various commencement plans.

Both ceremonies will be live-streamed for guests unable to attend.

Pat Dye
Associated Press


Former Auburn football coach Pat Dye has died at the age of 80. 

Dye took over a downtrodden program in 1981 and turned it into a Southeastern Conference power.


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Former Howard quarterback Caylin Newton, the younger brother of ex-Carolina Panthers starter Cam, says he is transferring to Auburn. 

Newton announced his decision on Twitter Friday, following in his brother’s footsteps. Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy in 2010 while leading Auburn to the national championship.

IRONDALE, Ala. (AP) — Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville is stressing his status as a political outsider in his bid for U.S. Senate.

Tuberville is part of a crowded Republican primary field competing with former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he held for two decades.

Boosted by fame from years as a college football coach, Tuberville  has become one of the front-runners in the competitive field.


The FBI is partnering with Auburn University.

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich visited Auburn recently to discuss the relationship. The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Bowdich discussed FBI priorities such as counterterrorism, cyber-crime, and counterintelligence.

University spokeswoman Amy Weaver says the new agreement describes Auburn as a partner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the agency expands its workforce and operations at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. The newspaper reports that Auburn will help educate and train FBI employees.

The city of Auburn is considering a temporary moratorium on new student housing.

WSFA-TV reports that the Auburn City Council may consider the measure because of a glut of existing student housing.  

Auburn Mayor Ron Anders says it would be a 90-day pause to evaluate and consider future options. The mayor says Auburn University has about 32,000 students, but there are 37,000 beds designed for students throughout the city.  

The measure will go before the City Council next month. 

Auburn University

Auburn University is launching a partnership with Auburn City Schools to offer dual-enrollment classes to high school students.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that the partnership will allow Auburn High School students to begin taking Auburn University classes to help prepare them for college. Officials say the program allows students to earn high school and college credits at the same times. Auburn University calls the dual-enrollment program Auburn First.

Beta Theta Pi

A national fraternity is disbanding its chapter at Auburn University after school officials suspended the organization over repeated allegations of physical abuse and alcohol infractions.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Beta Theta Pi announced the decision Thursday. Auburn suspended the group from campus last month and ordered members to vacate its house.

The fraternity cited mistreatment of new members, called hazing, and unsafe social practices for its decision. The chapter will remain off campus for at least four years.

Rod Bramblett
Auburn University

An Alabama judge is revoking the bond for a teenager charged in a deadly crash that killed an Auburn University radio announcer and his wife.

News outlets report a judge ordered the arrest of 16-year-old Johnston Edward Taylor during a hearing Wednesday.

A defense lawyer calls the decision fair. Taylor was free on bond while charged with reckless manslaughter in the death of Auburn broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula. Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke the bond because Johnston received at least three tickets in November for speeding and reckless driving.

A fraternity at Auburn University in Alabama has been suspended for at least four years over sustained allegations of alcohol and physical abuse.

News outlets report the school launched an investigation into the Delta Zeta chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity in September after it received a report of possible misconduct.

The school's newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, reported Monday that letters addressed to past and present fraternity members said the chapter was being suspended for physical abuse, servitude and alcohol.

Rod Bramblett
Auburn University

An Alabama prosecutor is asking a judge to revoke the bond of a teenager charged in the crash that killed Auburn University broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife.

News outlets report the Lee County district attorney's office alleged continued unsafe driving in asking a court to jail 16-year-old Johnston Edward Taylor of Auburn. A defense attorney says Taylor is “a very troubled young man” who needs help.

A college town in Alabama has proposed temporarily halting construction on any new student housing developments amid concerns the number of existing facilities exceeds the amount of students in the city.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — An Auburn University executive says private, off-campus apartments could be a solution to help ease a campus housing crunch.

Bobby Woodard, senior vice president for student affairs, made the comments at a recent work session of Auburn University’s board of trustees.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University is retiring its 20-year-old golden eagle mascot two years after it was grounded from flying at football games because of heart disease.

A university statement issued Friday says the bird named Nova is being replaced by another golden eagle named Aurea that will become War Eagle VIII.

A ceremony marking the transition is planned for Auburn’s home football game against Samford University on Saturday. Nova has been sidelined since 2017 after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which is a chronic heart disease.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University says it’s investigating after an extension cord tied into a noose was found inside a campus residence hall.

Tweets sent late Wednesday by the school’s safety and security department say the noose was discovered and removed Wednesday from a common area of the building.

The tweets say nooses are linked to racial violence in the United States, and that intolerance, intimidation and threatening behavior have no place on campus.

active minds
@active_minds on Twitter


AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Students at Auburn University are trying to connect with friends and strangers to talk about mental health.

The Opelika-Auburn news reports that the student organization Active Minds held a series of events throughout last week to promote mental health awareness.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University says its famed golden eagle Nova, also known as War Eagle VII, could be in the early stages of heart failure.

The university made the announcement Tuesday in a news release.

The 20-year-old male eagle for more than a decade soared above the crowd at university football games. He was sidelined from the pregame tradition after a 2017 diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama fan who admitted poisoning Auburn University's famed oak trees is due in court for a hearing on whether he should be jailed for not paying restitution.

A Lee County judge scheduled a hearing for Wednesday afternoon for 71-year-old Harvey Updyke, who pleaded guilty to poisoning the trees in 2013.

The retired Texas state trooper wrote in a public Facebook post he's taking a bus to Auburn from his Louisiana home and expects to be jailed. But a doctor who treats Updyke submitted a letter saying the man is too ill to travel.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A $3 million grant will help fund climate change education at Auburn University.

The school announced recently that money from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship will be used to teach students how to study the changing climate.

Faculty members will work with about 85 graduate students to create an interdisciplinary team. The team will work over a five-year period.


OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The family of an Alabama college student who died from complications of improperly prescribed birth control medication has been awarded $9 million in their wrongful death, medical malpractice suit.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Army criminal investigators have arrested a deployed soldier accused of raping an Alabama college student last year.

Auburn, Alabama, police Capt. Lorenza Dorsey said in a news release Tuesday that 27-year-old Ryan Charles Petro of North Carolina has been charged with five counts of first-degree rape.

Investigators say he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Auburn University student, an acquaintance of his, at a hotel. He was identified through the analysis of forensic evidence. Authorities didn't specify what type of evidence was tested.