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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.”


Ann Larson07

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.


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 or visit their leasing office in West Hall.

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SGA wins ‘The Space Race,’ Provost responds

By Jacob Abrahamson–

Provost Shirley Willihnganz has made the decision to allow the old gym space in the Student Activities Center (SAC) to be renovated to include meeting rooms and convocation space. This decision confirms the plan offered by the Student Government Association (SGA).

In a statement to all students, SGA President Carrie Mattingly confirmed the approval. “The SGA executive leadership will be working closely with university officials to determine the details of the renovation,” said Mattingly.

The decision came a few days after the SGA launched the “Students First” initiative, which included a petition and rally plans. According to Mattingly, the petition received the signature of around 800 students. The initiative was begun by a resolution to keep the space for SGA which was unanimously approved by the SGA Student Senate.
Athletics originally wanted part of the space to be used for the cheerleading team and Ladybirds. The team currently has to practice at a space in Indiana, which has led to inconvenience and problems in their practice schedule.

“I felt that I had two very legitimate sets of needs,” said Willihnganz. “My actions were always focused on how we could move forwards with the best interest of students at the heart of the issue.

As a compromise, a larger expansion onto the SAC was suggested. In the interim, the two of the basketball courts would be used by spirit teams for two years while money could be raised to pay for the expansion which would “fulfill a longer term need for all kinds of additional space for everybody and produce a win/win scenario,” according to Willhnganz.

The plan to attempt a $20-25 million renovation was rejected with the recent SGA resolution.

“Once the resolution passed I talked to the President [James Ramsey], and while I was disappointed that our students would not approve the interim plan, we agreed that the renovation could proceed,” said Willihnganz.

The space is set to be renovated “as soon as possible,” according to Mattingly, and will be funded by the Student Building Fee bundled with tuition.

“The renovation will move forward within the limits of the budget that the student fee on the SAC can generate,” said Willihnganz. The fee is also used to maintain the building and pay for future repairs and updates.

In the aftermath of this decision, the spirit teams currently remain without a practice space, and the larger expansion on the SAC is not set to happen.

“I’m working with athletics to try to find a solution, which will probably involve moving something else out of space it currently occupies,” said Willihnganz. “This is disappointing since I think all of our students could have benefited more if we’d given the larger project a chance.”

Willihnganz pointed out that this should not be seen as a fight between student and the university administration. She claims that the SGA petition portrays it in that way.

“That was simply wrong, and the misrepresentation of the conversations I had had with SGA was very unfair to athletics, and, frankly, to all of us.”

“I was very careful in advising students who put together and shared the petition to appropriately represent both sides,” said Mattingly in response to this claim. “I do not think anything was misrepresented based on my experience in SGA over the past few years, but I will meet with leadership on this topic soon and plan to ask about what they feel was misrepresented.”



HSC ready for annual Book and Media Sale

By Bev Upton–

Honors Student Council is gearing up to hold their second annual Book and Media Sale, better known as BAMS.

The sale, which will take place in the Red Barn from April 1 – 5, will raise money for Kosair’s Pediatric Oncology Unit.

“The Book and Media Sale is a tremendous undertaking and Honors is fortunate to have so many amazing students working on a project like this,” said Luke Buckman, honors adviser.

Last year, the sale raised enough to renovate a pod for the unit and furnish it with medical equipment. Honors Student Council member Alex O’ Keefe said that the renovation helped a sick child stay in one area of the hospital.

Since April 2013, 30 HSC members have been working to beat their numbers from last year. An executive team of eight has been focusing on BAMS by advertising, creating outside fundraisers and collecting and sorting donations.

“Though most people just see the footwork we do in collecting items and having the sale, we are driven by the knowledge that the money we raise goes to help sick children,” said HSC Vice President, Marianna Michael.

Because of the wide success of the council’s Yule Ball last year, the council thought they could do even more to draw attention to the sale. HSC added new events to increase awareness of the event. Events included a Zumbathon and a trivia night.

“Our long-term goal is also our short-term goal: to create events that contribute to the U of L community as well as raise funds for a worthy cause,” said O’Keefe.

“The success is rewarding [but] we focus on helping others,” said O’Keefe.

This year, the council decided not to collect religious texts, dictionaries, textbooks and VHS tapes to maximize space. Items for sale include books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games and systems and vinyl records.

Most items in the sale will be two dollars or less. April 1 is preview night, which requires a $10 admission fee. From April 2 – 4, the sale will be open from 9 a.m. -7 p.m. April 5 is the last day of the sale, with doors open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, check out their Facebook page at and by following their Twitter @UofL_BAMS.


Brief: Ky. Senate passes budget

By Kaylee Ratliff–

The Kentucky Senate passed their version of the biennial budget on March 24. The Senate version restores some of the funds previously cut to higher education.

“Testimony on the floor indicated that the Senate considered the budget through a lens of a commitment to students and families and the impact of tuition and felt this overall approach was where the money could be best spent,” said Ramsey.

It did not fund Bucks for Brains, because it “would create additional debt to the state,” President Ramsey said in an email to staff. It also cut funding needed for a Belknap classroom building.

The proposed bill would not appropriate funds for the Quality and Charity Care Trust Fund, but “maintains funding for the Trover Campus at Madisonville,” according to Ramsey.

The bill is in the process of returning to the House where it is expected to fail. The conference committee will meet and resolving differences with the House. The final vote is anticipated for March 31.

“We are hopeful that the committee will find a way to restore the proposed funding for Bucks for Brains and allow us to make capital investments on our campus,” said Ramsey.

Photo courtesy