Category Archives: News

The News page is your source for everything you need to know about university administration, the Student Government Association, health, housing and much more!

Getting to the heart of Heartbleed

By Olivia Krauth–

A new bug called Heartbleed was discovered this past week, and it may have been in computer software for two years. However, professionals are unsure if it has affected anyone yet.

“Heartbleed is a recently discovered vulnerability in a common software toolkit used by many web servers to encrypt sessions between the website and the end user,” explained Andrew Wright, a computer information systems assistant professor at U of L.

Wright said that Heartbleed “creates a serious vulnerability” in sites that do not have the most current version of OpenSSL project software. Attackers can have access to user data on the affected sites.

“This data could include user ids, passwords, and even the server’s own keys that could be used to impersonate the web site or potentially decrypt sessions with end users that are supposed to be secure,” said Wright. “While the bug has existed for two years, it is not thought that hackers knew of its existence until earlier this week. Attacks are very likely against unpatched servers in the coming days and weeks.”

U of L’s IT department sent students an alert email about the issue on April 10. The email warned about the power of Heartbleed, and suggested students change all passwords to online accounts. The email also said that IT had “identified and patched the affected enterprise systems” prior to the sending of the email. Wright noted this, saying, “Most of the major web sites on the internet are moving quickly to install updates, as well.”

As the bug may be found in sites that use the open source toolkit in OpenSSL project software, anyone can be a target. Several popular sites, including Facebook and YouTube, use the software. Some sites, including Amazon, do not use the software, therefore not affecting users. Wright suggests that students check out lists online to see which sites have protected themselves and their users against the bug.
Wright does not believe that college students will be more affected by the bug than the general community.

“This vulnerability affected so many popular sites, it is likely that most of us will have to take action to protect ourselves after these sites have been patched,” said Wright.

“Heartbleed is a vulnerability in web server software, so end users won’t have to install any updates on their own computers to address it,” said Wright when asked about prevention of Heartbleed. “However, once a vulnerable site that you’ve logged into in the last two years is fully patched, you should change your password on that system. If you’d used that same password on other systems, you should consider them at risk and change those, as well.”

Wright believes that fake emails will be sent out in attempt to “prey” on users. “This may be confusing to users because they will also be receiving legitimate requests from affected sites asking them to reset their passwords after the sites have patched their web servers,” said Wright. He recommends going straight to the site to change your password as opposed to following links in emails.

Handout photo of the first four to undergo task-specific training with epidural stimulation at the Human Locomotion Research Center laboratory, Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville

U of L researcher helps paralyzed move again

By Jacob Pleas–

A U of L neuroscientist has given motion to the motionless.

Susan Harkema, rehabilitation research director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, found that paralyzed patients were able to move their toes when electrical stimulation was applied directly to their spinal cord.

This is the first time electrical stimulation has allowed for voluntary activity.

The patients are now able to do things ranging from wiggling their toes to doing crunches. Although they are not sure why the process works, experts believe that this technology is a major step toward allowing the paralyzed to walk again.

“Improving the technology is a high priority because it will be needed in order to make any gains in mobility a reality in daily life,” said Harkema.

In the procedure, a stimulator is implanted into the patient and is controlled by an external remote controller.  The stimulator is connected to the spinal cord via wires, which conduct the electric pulses.

The device has had other benefits.  One patient has had great success in improving his bladder, bowels and sexual performance.  Patients are able to move their legs and torsos after years of paralysis, allowing them to regain lost muscle.

Since the discovery, over 1,700 people have asked about utilizing this technology. U of L has received funding to implant the device in eight more patients.

“We need more studies to understand both its safety and efficacy in a wider population,” said Harkema.

Only men have been researched so far. Harkema hopes to begin research on women soon. “Only 25 percent of the spinal cord population are women so they are more difficult to recruit,” said Harkema.

The biomedical and electrical engineering departments at U of L are working with Harkema’s team.

“I am proud to be a part of a school that is that is making such exciting discoveries,” said bioengineering major Ryan Bailer.  “I believe that these discoveries add prestige to both J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the University of Louisville Medical School.”

Photo courtesy Reuters

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Ramsey announces fundraising success

By Jacob Abrahamson–

On the steps of Grawemeyer Hall, U of L President James Ramsey announced that the University has surpassed the $1 billion goal of the “Charting Our Course” fundraising campaign.

“This is a big day for the University of Louisville, an important day in the life of the University of Louisville,” said Ramsey. The campaign initially aimed to meet the $1 billion goal by 2015, and surpassed the goal by nearly $5 million.

“Our capital campaign has been one of our strategies to move forward in a tough fiscal environment,” continued Ramsey.

The donations will be used to create 17 new endowed chairs and 190 scholarships.

A goal of $600 thousand was set forth in the early stages of the campaign, but the amount went up as the process continued.

According to Bob Hughes, chairman of the board of trustees, the bar “just kept raising and raising and raising.”

“The trustees said that they would rather strike out in the major leagues than hit a homer in the minors,” said Ramsey.  “But today we didn’t strike out. We hit a grand slam home run.”

“They have just scoured the country searching for funds,” said Hughes.  “We hit a billion and we’re not done yet.” The campaign ends with the fiscal year on June 30 after its beginning in 2007.

The large event was made up of students, faculty, staff and community members. U of L’s marching band also made an appearance.

Other speakers included student Lashawna Ford and faculty members Dave Simpson and Andrea Bearman, who discussed the benefits of the scholarship programs and research funding supported by this campaign, respectively.

“I think it is a great campaign,” said Monali Haldankar, SGA President-Elect.  “It is going to help basically every aspect of student life and faculty life.”

“Today is the beginning of a better future for this university family,” said­­ Hughes.

Photo by Jacob Abrahamson / The Louisville Cardinal

Asian studies hosts 4th annual Lang Seminar

By Simon Isham―

Four academics — three professors and one researcher from the United States Congressional Research Service — formed the panel for the 4th annual Lang Seminar, an initiative by U of L’s Asian studies department to promote discussion on topics related to modern Asia.

“We’re proud to have all these esteemed speakers from other universities and the Congressional Research Service with us to present their research,” said Dr. John McLeod, professor of history, who hosted the event. “We are also happy to have four faculty members from the University of Louisville with us to comment on the presentations.”

McLeod also thanked Helen Lang, founder of Crane House, an institute in Old Louisville dedicated to the study of Asia. It is after Lang and her late husband, Calvin, that the Lang lecture is named. The Langs also gave generously to the university to support their Asian studies department. The Center of Asian Democracy also provided resources to make the seminar possible.

Dr. Alice Ba of the University of Delaware specializes in Southeast Asia. Her presentation was titled “Asia’s Shifting Constitutional Landscape: ASEAN, China & the United States.” ASEAN refers to a conglomerate of independent southeast Asian nations that band together in order to increase their political impact against China, Japan and South Korea.

“The Southeast Asian is usually the last one on the panel,” said Ba, who presented first, alluding to the relative dominance of economically booming  countries in academic discussion.

Ba presented a comprehensive historical analysis of ASEAN from its beginnings to its modern place in the political landscape, in addition to its strengths and weaknesses.

Michael Martin, of the US Congressional Research Service, was the next to present. His presentation was titled “Regional Implications of the Globalization of the Chinese Currency, the Renminbi.”

“(It) is globalizing faster and farther than expected,” he said.

Martin’s presentation was the product of a very detailed analysis of the spending and banking habits of Asians — not just Chinese — who use the Renminbi as a currency, both inside and outside of China. He discovered that many millions of Renminbi are sitting in offshore accounts, indicating that people have confidence that the currency has resiliency and growth potential.

Rina Williams of the University of Cincinnati discussed the upcoming Indian elections by summarizing the platforms and recent history of the parties currently campaigning for power.

Williams noted that the Indian elections are the largest in the world, with over 814 million voters. Unlike in most countries, most of these voters are rural and uneducated.

Update: Williams successfully predicted the outcome of the elections, with Modi winning the vote on the BJP ticket, despite not having released a party platform until the day of the elections.

Dr. Samit Ganguly of Indiana University talked about “Indian Views on the Responsiblity to Protect,” or humanitarian intervention. He observed that it “has not always been unwavering,” but “at other times, it has been quite robust.”

The seminar was held today from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Ekstrom Library. Complimentary breakfast and lunch were provided to attendees.

SGA confirms new chief justice

By Jacob Abrahamson–

SGA Senate confirmed Ben Shepard as the next Chief Justice of SGA Supreme Court after only one person dissented his election. His term began immediately after the vote went through.

SGA President Carrie Mattingly announced the nomination at the March 18 SGA Senate meeting, saying she felt most comfortable nominating someone with experience on the court.

“He is the most experienced out of the justices, and he is very knowledgeable on SGA precedent,” said Mattingly. “I am very confident in Ben’s ability to lead the Court ethically and effectively as Chief Justice.”

“So I’m now officially the Chief Justice of the SGA Supreme Court, which is exciting,” said Shepard. “It’s certainly an honor to have made it to that position.”

SGA Supreme Court is responsible for drafting election rules, hearing disputes related to elections and settling disputes related to SGA and Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs).  According to the SGA Constitution, the “Chief Justice shall preside over all Supreme Court functions, and is responsible for assigning the writing of any opinion.”

Shepard is a second-year law student at the Brandeis School of Law, with undergraduate degrees in political science and history. He has spent five years as an associate justice on the Court.  He has also been selected as the Editor-in-Chief of the U of L Law Review.

In his new head role, Shepard hopes “to first of all fill the mandate of the Constitution of what I’m required to do.”

“We are the branch that is supposed to be above politics and above reproach,” said Shepard.   “When we are called to come in and adjudicate a case … we can do that in a dispassionate way and in a way that doesn’t create a perception of bias.”

Shepard’s appointment comes at the heels of the resignation of former Chief Justice Brandon McReynolds earlier this semester. At the time, there was a discussion of impeachment, leading McReynolds to leave his position.

“He is nothing but, in my experience, an individual of integrity,” said Shepard on McReynolds. However, he wants to clearly define his role to prevent similar situations.

His philosophy as an SGA Supreme Court Justice seemed to be derived from the U.S. Constitution, calling the system “somewhat of a mirror of the way that things are conducted in real life.” Shepard believes that the Supreme Court best shows that parallel.

“One day I’d love to be a federal judge which is why the student government system is of such interest to me,” said Shepard.

Shepard’s involvement in SGA began with him as Co-Chair of the A&S Freshman Council.  He then worked his way up from Task Force Freshman to the Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President.  At the end of his first year, he was appointed to a vacant spot on the Court, holding an associate justice position since.

During his term, Shepard has worked on changing the election codes for SGA, which he saw as difficult to interpret.

“The form that the election rules take today really is my responsibility,” said Shepard. “I divided the elements and codified them into the chapters and sections that they’re in now. Beyond being involved with the drafting of the election rules, I have tried from time to time to persuade the Chief Justice and my colleagues to see about getting the election rules sent back as something that the Senate is responsible for doing.”

Shepard claimed that the court’s task of interpreting election rules becomes difficult when they wrote the rules.  He believes that the court should only be in charge of interpreting and executing the rules.

Shepard’s initial nomination was unanimously approved by the Executive Board on March 25. However, some expressed concern that his workload as U of L Law Review Editor-in-Chief, law student and Chief Justice may be too much.

“In terms of time management, it’s really never been a problem for me,” said Shepard. “Prioritizing work over play was a lesson that my father taught me very early on.”

 

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Brief: Ann Larson named CEHD dean

By Olivia Krauth–

Ann Larson has been chosen as the new dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Larson currently serves as the vice dean of the college and has been at the University for 19 years.

“I’m truly excited about the opportunity to lead and serve as the next dean for the college,” said Larson in a press release from U of L. “We have built some incredible momentum and I can’t wait to get started.”

Larson becomes dean on July 1.

Photo courtesy U of L

Brief: armed robbery reported at The Province

By Olivia Krauth–

A non-U of L student reported an armed robbery at his apartment at The Province Tuesday around 3:30 p.m.

According to police reports, four suspects entered the student’s apartment, allegedly stealing his cell phone and other items. One of the suspects had a handgun.

The suspects are described as four black males, all “very tall,” with facial hair. The suspect with a gun wore a gray shirt. If you have information, contact campus police at (502) 852-6111.

This is a developing story. 

Student group hosts Islamic Awareness Week

By Jacob Pleas–

Last week,  the U of L Muslim Student Association (MSA) celebrated Islamic Awareness Week. The group hosted events designed to educate campus about Islam.

“Many religion classes teach about Islam, but teachers and students of those classes would like to see Islam beyond just studying the religion,” said Obieda Atiyani, president of MSA.  ”MSA brings Muslims and non-Muslims together to learn about the religion of Islam and clear up some misconceptions about the religion.”

The week started with Fast-A-Thon. All members of the campus were invited to try fasting from sunrise to sunset.  The fast was then broken as a group with a Mediterranean meal.  Dr. Kia Jahed discussed the fourth pillar of Islam, fasting, at the event.

Additional events in the week included a converts panel, a lecture on women in Islam and a lecture on the prophetic character. Friday prayer rounded out the week.

“I had a history teacher along with her class attend our Friday prayer service during Islamic awareness week,” said Atiyani. “They were very happy to observe Muslims practicing the prayer and also asking questions about the religion.”

  

Documentary sparks conversation about industrial hemp

By Lubna Hindi–

A screening of the pro-hemp documentary “Bringing It Home” allowed campus to discuss the legalization of industrial hemp and its potential impacts.

Linda Booker, director and producer of the documentary, attending the screening on March 25 to talk about her work.

After reading a news story about Anthony Brenner, a father whose daughter was born with a genetic disorder that caused seizures from chemical exposure, Linda Booker and friend Blaire Johnson were inspired to explore the versatility of hemp and create a documentary.

“This was going to be a film that we wanted to really reach into communities, get it to farmers, builders, consumers, and legislators, the policy makers.” Said Booker. “Hemp offers so much in the way of being able to create thousands of sustainable and environmentally friendly products.”

In the documentary, Booker presented the uses of hemp. Some uses included fabric and clothes, building supplies for toxin-free homes, even a topping for things like yogurt and ice cream.

“The film was extremely insightful into the multiple uses and benefits, both environmental and economical.” said junior finance major Daniel King. “I had already been a strong advocate for the legalization of industrial hemp, the documentary simply reaffirmed this stance.”

Many states throughout the U.S. have already proposed the legalization of hemp, Kentucky being one of them. Many argue that legalizing hemp will create jobs and provide farmers with a product that is versatile.

Industrial hemp is currently legal in Kentucky, and state Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer believes farmers are preparing their fields for the first season for industrial hemp. State legislature is currently working on regulations for growing the plant.

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The Grove faces worries, prepares for incoming residents

By Olivia Krauth–

The newest off-campus student housing option, The Grove, is preparing for it’s first year on campus – and with residents.

With nearly 600 students being forced out of on-campus housing due to the housing lottery last fall, demand for off-campus student housing is growing. The Grove noticed, responding with 252 rooms and the ability to house 654 students beginning in August.

“Based on our research of Louisville, we identified a significant shortfall in the availability of purpose-built student housing in the area,” said Hayley Cook, a media relations representative for Campus Crest, the student housing developer in charge of The Grove.

Students are taking advantage of the new option. “My roommate for next year didn’t get the on-campus housing lottery, so we had to live off campus,” said freshman Ann Wood. Wood says she picked The Grove based off of prices and availability.

Sophomore English major Emily Klein said she fell in love with The Grove after taking a tour. “I just felt like I could really call it home,” said Klein. “I also loved that it was brand new and that it was really eco-friendly.”

Although students are signing leases at the new complex, it is far from ready for move in day. While construction is visible at the future spot of The Grove on Fourth Street, the building is incomplete.

“We are pleased that construction is going according to plan and The Grove at Louisville is on track to be complete by the start of the 2014/2015 academic year,” said Cook. 

While The Grove may be confident in their construction progress, some students are concerned that their room won’t be ready before the scheduled move-in day of August 23, the Saturday prior to the first day of classes.

“Yeah, I’m kind of worried,” said Wood when asked if The Grove’s construction progress bothered her. “My parents are worried about it, too.”

“If it’s not done by move in day then where are all these people going to live?” asked Klein. 

Cook noted that this timeline excludes any inclement weather, as well as any other events that may hinder process, leading some to wonder where residents would be placed. At  the time of press, no back up plan had been presented to future residents or the Cardinal. When asked if this bothered her, Wood replied, “I mean it does worry me, but I remember when they were building the SRC and it didn’t look like they were going to get it finished on time, but they did.”

For more information on The Grove, visit their website at Gogrove.com/louisville or visit their leasing office in West Hall.