comma and "and"

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jctgf

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"But Ryerson University officials accused him of going too far with an exhortation to "input solutions" to assignment problems, and Avenir was made to attend an expulsion hearing last week."

hi,
this is an excerpt from a today's newspaper and I would like to know if the comma between the words "problems" and "and" (bold text) is a common and good usage in English. normally, comma and "and" are mutually exclusives, aren't they?
my second doubt is about the underlined expression: does "was made to" mean "was forced/compelled/obliged to"? is it a more informal way of saying it?
thanks
 

mykwyner

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The comma you are referring to is mandatory in written English. When you are connecting two independent clauses in one sentence, it is common and correct usage to use a comma and a coordinating conjunction such as and.

"Was made to attend" means exactly what you thought it means, and it is no less formal than your other choices.
 
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