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Exit interview with SGA President Kurtis Frizzell

By James El-Mallakh–

Student Government Association President Kurtis Frizzell will be graduating this year with a degree in political science and a minor in social change. Frizzell took office last year after beating out presidential candidates John Weber and Travis Gault. He has since overseen a number of developments at the University of Louisville.

Some of these achievements these include implementing university mobile, a texting service, along with overseeing the Senates’ resolution of support for the expansion of Greek row. He also oversaw the Senates’ resolution to not support the sale of the SAC fitness center to U of L Athletics.

He has also been engaged with initiatives that span over several administrations such as eliminating the diploma fee and continuing the project of the upcoming student recreation center which will begin construction in early May.

Frizzell will be taking a year off of school but is considering law school. He will be succeeded by incoming president, Justin Brandt.

The Louisville Cardinal conducted an entrance interview with Frizzell after he first took office one year ago. Now, at the end of his term, The Cardinal joins Frizzell once again to reflect on his service as Student Body President.

Q: Name some of your greatest successes as SGA President.
A: The greatest successes I’d say definitely the diploma fee. Getting rid of the diploma fee saved students $85,000 a year on this campus. Another great success was our bill in Frankfort [the College Affordability Resolution]. We’re the first SGA that’s ever done that. I think the other great success we’ve had is all the new programming, whether it’s the K-help or tax service or the president’s council or starting the building our nest.”

Q: What have been some of your greatest failures as SGA President?
A: I think we’ve had two failures in SGA this year. The first one was since we had to start a lot of new programs. Some of them weren’t as successful as we’d hoped: the president’s council, we had maybe ten members show up regularly. That’s supposed to be a body of 300 RSOs. Obviously, we got to talk to all of them in the beginning, but it kind of dwindled over the year. The other one is I wish that SGA had a little more messaging to students than we do.

Unfortunately, since we are a subsection of the university, we have to abide by university policies. That’s always going to be a failure for SGA until we completely have control over messaging to students.

Q: Looking back on your administration, what would you have done differently?
A: Looking back, I would have approached a couple things differently. One, I would have tried to utilize the Board of Trustees a little bit more. I didn’t utilize it as much as some of the past presidents. I wish I would have made a little more connections with the Board of Trustees and helped them see a lot of what SGA does. The only other thing I would have approached differently is staff. I think there were some areas where we needed some other types of [SGA] staff members and I think there were areas that maybe didn’t have enough work for certain staff members as well.

Q: Is there anything that Justin [Brandt] is working on that you’re passing on?
A: He’s going to continue a lot of things, but he’s also got his own agenda as well and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of the things he wants to do. He’s different than me in a way that he focuses on some of the details a little more than what I did, so he’s going to be focused on things like more outlets in the library, some of the smaller things that students have asked for and requested, whereas I’ve been focused on dealing with Frankfort, decisions about the SAC and those kinds of things. We’re different but he’ll make a great president.

jelmallakh@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Austin Silvero/Student Government Association

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U of L administration break ground on new recreation center

By James El-Mallakh–

Twelve shovels scraped into the dirt laid out in the parking lot of Billy Minardi Hall. University of Louisville students and administration tossed the dirt over the mound and the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new student recreation center was complete.

“It’s something that our university desperately needs,” said SGA president-elect Justin Brandt when discussing the upcoming recreation center that is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2013. “When you look at the current SAC space and Humana gym, they’re out of date and overpopulated.”

The ceremonial groundbreaking on April 18 between Kurtz and Minardi Halls was attended by many members of the university’s administration. Members of SGA from current, upcoming and past administrations also attended the event and President Ramsey commended student government for their initiative in overseeing the projects approval:

”It was our students and the leadership of student government over a number of years, not just one group of student government leaders but really over a period of over four or five years that said, ‘we’ve got to have this. If we’re going to be a premier institution, we need a premier student rec center.’”

One year ago, the U of L board of trustees approved the construction of the 128,000 square-foot recreation center between Bettie Johnson and Minardi Halls, along with the $98 semester fee on incoming students to help cover the cost. The rest comes from private funding.

The upcoming rec center will offer more space for physical activities than what is available in the SAC. The SRC will include an exercise and weight facility, six basketball courts and an indoor turf field, among other features.

Official construction on the recreation center is set to begin on May 7 or 8.

Some of the concerns raised by students about the new recreation center are the construction and how it will affect parking.

Director of Housing and Residence Life for U of L Shannon Staten said that there will be minor disruptions, “[the construction workers] are not going to be doing loud, loud stuff late at night. It will be more affecting to [students] early in the morning when they’re trying to sleep.”

In regards to parking, Larry Owsley, the vice president of business affairs, said, “We’re working on a lease that would provide 750 spaces to recover the displaced parking on this site, so that’s being finalized and will be in place for the fall term. During the summer months, we’ll have sufficient parking to cover that period of time.”

Many students feel that more space beyond what is offered in the SAC is needed as complaints of overcrowding have become commonplace.

“During certain seasons like the first week we come back after winter break or during intramural sports basketball games, times like that it gets packed,” said freshman communication major and SAC fitness center staff member Cecili Carter.

Abby Jacob, a sophomore psychology major and a supervisor at the intramural office, thinks the new expansion of space in the upcoming recreation center is needed, “The facilities here are great but they’re definitely lacking. We need to expand to accommodate for our students so I think it’s definitely necessary and I’m really excited about it.”

jelmallakh@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Shelby Stafford/The Louisville Cardinal

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News briefs 4.17.12

Ekstrom will open on dates before finals

The east wing of the Ekstrom Library will stay open until 2 a.m. on the following day: Wednesday, April 18; Thursday, April 19; Sunday, April 22; Monday, April 23; Thursday, April 26.

Budget forum with James Ramsey

President James Ramsey, along with other university officials, will hold an open budget forum to discuss matters about U of L’s budget and the budgeting process. The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 19 at 1 p.m. in the Floyd theatre of the SAC. Students are encouraged to come and ask questions.

Employees eligible for class action suit

Up to 55 University of Louisville employees may be eligible to participate in a class action suit regarding the College Retirement Equities Fund that has been filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

According to the University of Louisville website, U of L Today, “The suit alleges that CREF delayed the processing of account transfers or withdrawals from October 2005 through March 2008 due to a system conversion, but then disbursed funds based on account values as of the date of application, rather than the date of disbursement.”
The university is not a participant in this action.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Lara Kinne/The Louisville Cardinal

WalkinToDaSacFoLunchndouglas

U of L decides not to extend academic school year

By Baylee Pulliam–

Last semester, the University of Louisville considered adding class time or crossing through fall break to meet a new requirement from its accreditation board.

But don’t cancel your fall break plans just yet.

“The short answer: no change for now,” said Vice Provost Dale Billingsley in an e-mail.

Under authority of the 2008 reauthorization of the 1965 Higher Education Opportunity Act, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said in June 2011 it would set a minimum of 2,250 minutes of class time for a three-hour course, per semester.

That’s about 50 minutes of in-class time and two hours of out-of-class work per credit hour, over the course of 15 weeks.

Now, U of L operates on a 14-week semester schedule, equating to a two-week deficit for the academic year. It’s the only Kentucky public university in non-compliance.

To meet the standard, some suggested adding Saturday classes, adding five minutes to every class or eliminating some days the university would normally be closed, beginning in fall of 2012.

But that might not be necessary.

The Provost’s office points to a clause in the SACS mandate, that says schools can have a shorter semester, as long as they meet the 2,250-minute requirement “over a different amount of time.”

According to U of L’s revised Policy for the University Academic Calendar and Awarding of Course Credit, the university will fall in step with the SACS standard with a few tweaks:
Course catalog descriptions should clearly state the calendar and credit hour requirements, and both the catalog and course syllabi should list expectations for out-of-class instructional activities. The out-of-class activities requirement will jump to two and a half hours per week, per credit hour, to make up the missing class time.

Syllabi also need to stipulate “valid, assessable course learning outcomes.”

After hashing out the details with the faculty senate and other U of L campus leaders, the Provost decided “course objectives were being met under the present calendar,” Billingsley said.

According to a memorandum circulated to U of L Executive Cabinet, the current calendar lets students “move efficiently through their degree requirements” and allows ample time for summer terms, residence hall maintenance and a fall term break.

SACS will conduct a check of U of L in 2013, but current academic leadership expects to stay the course, Billingsley said.

In the interim, “we do have time to make a change if necessary,” he said.

For now, SGA president-elect Justin Brandt said, “Students should be glad with the decision made by the University administration to not make this change before they absolutely have to.”

“With that being said, students should also prepare for a change,” when and if it comes.

bpulliam@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Nathan Douglas/The Louisville Cardinal

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Love is color blind: In relationships, race is less and less of a factor

By Cailtyn Crenshaw–

When Ashton Dowell started dating her boyfriend, who happened to be of a different race, in high school, she said her parents were “really supportive,” and “once they met him, they really just fell in love with him.”

And when college students go looking for love, they see race less and less.

In 2010, the number of interracial relationships reached an all-time high, accounting for 8.4 percent of all marriages, compared to 3.2 percent in 1980.  Interracial relationships are becoming increasingly accepted in society and, more specifically, in college.

Dowell, a freshman dental hygiene major, said, “It has really enriched my view of the world and seeing different people for something other than what their skin looks like.”

As the millennials approach ages where dating and marriage are part of life, the occurrence of interracial relationships has the pote

In 2010, 8.4 percent of all relationships were interracial, a 5.2 point increase from 1980.

ntial to increase.

According to the 2011 census data, an estimated 4.5 million married couples in the country are considered interracial.

Alexi Lyninger said, “I’ve had interracial couples in my family ever since I was a little kid, so I’ve always seen it as a little more acceptable.”

Lyninger, a senior Spanish major, said, “I don’t think that it turns heads like it used to.”

Interracial couples may not turn heads as in the past decades; however, these couples still face obstacles in their relationship solely due to their different races coming together.

Dowell said the biggest challenge “was my parents.” Unlike Lyninger, who has experienced interracial relationships in her life before adolescence and college, “no one in my family had gone against the norm of society,” said Dowell. With time, Dowell’s parents accepted Dowell’s relationship. She said, “They saw that he treated me well, and we really get along well.”

As college students enter interracial relationships, with or without the blessing of their families and friends, the definition of a relationship is developed individually.   College students “might be willing to accept cultural differences and not have the same stereotypes… the same stigmas,” said Lyninger.

Also, students, while developing their academic abilities, “are developing their own independence and thoughts on what a good relationship is,” said Dowell.

Since coming to U of L and coming to the city, Dowell has experienced less turning heads due to the contrast in skin color between her and her boyfriend, Kevin.

“The main thing is just discrimination more of when I was in my hometown just for the simple fact that they weren’t used to it.  They thought that it was betraying the norm,” said Dowell.

“An interracial couple might face some of the challenges as say an interfaith couple,” said Lyninger.  The differences seem to be weighted equally in the minds of younger generations.  Lyninger said, “I think that more people are more accepting particularly from a younger demographic.”

With a widened view of the world and increasing tolerance from millennials in interracial relationships, the coming generations have the potential to build on the tolerance and acceptance that has begun to take root in society regarding interracial relationships.  Dowell said, “Not to look at the person from the outside but from the inside is what I really hope [my children] gain.”

ccrenshaw@louisvillecardinal.com
Photos: Caitlin Williams/The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L community brought together during Relay for Life

By Josephine Lee–

There is probably nothing more moving than seeing over 600 participants start the first lap in Relay for Life. Relay for Life took place for 12 hours, starting at 7 p.m., on Friday, April 13 on the Lutz Hall lawn. The theme of the event was appropriately titled Scaring Away Cancer, since the event fell on the superstitious date of Friday the 13th. Relay for Life executive board members encouraged teams to incorporate this theme into their campsite decorations and also included various relay games and competitions that pertained to the theme.

Men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla gave the opening speech that preceded the ceremonial Survivors Lap. Lolla compared the first diagnosis of cancer to a completely dark campus and importance of channeling positive energy in order to help fight back against cancer.

“In the midst of all that panic, that fear, that distress, when all the light suddenly disappears and nothing is visible, if someone brings out a small LED light, just bright enough so we can begin to see each other again…we wouldn’t be as confused, we wouldn’t be as disorientated, we wouldn’t be as scared. A little bit of life diminishes a lot of anger and a lot of fear when we’re dealing with darkness,“ said Lolla.

Thirteen cancer survivors were in attendance, as well as many more “virtual survivors,” who were honored with pictures at every campsite. Cancer survivors and caregivers walk the first lap of the evening in order to celebrate the lives of those still with us and to honors those who have passed on.

The second ceremonial lap was the Luminaria ceremony, which takes place after dark. This ceremony is in remembrance of those who have lost their battles with cancer. White bags are lit with candles and stay lit the rest of the night to remind relay participants of their purpose at the event. Participants walk the track together with the unifying all.
Sophomore Maggie Ising gave the Luminaria ceremony speech and explained why she relays.

“I’m relaying for my parents and my other family members, because they no longer have this opportunity. This is our chance to fight back and show cancer who’s boss,” said Ising.

The final ceremonial lap is the Fight Back ceremony, which is held at the end of Relay events. The final lap is symbolic of a cancer patient fighting back against cancer since Relay participants are often exhausted toward the end of the event, but still continuing on toward the end.

Between the ceremonial laps, there were various activities to keep participants involved. Each campsite sold an item to go toward their fundraising goal. Some campsites also sponsored a spotlight activity. Spotlight activities were competitive events that were done at certain times throughout the night that were meant to bring individuals from different campsites together.

Together, the participants in Relay for Life were able to raise over $40,000, the record amount in school history. This money will go directly to the American Cancer Society, but the experience taken away from this relay will bring more hope to those fighting cancer.

jlee@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy RelayWallpaper

Students can transfer unused meal plan flex points

By Baylee Pulliam–

With just a few weeks left in the semester, some students’ meal plans are just about gone.

But for those who have beaucoup bucks left on their Cardinal Card and worry they won’t be able to spend it all before it expires – why not feed a friend?

The university is offering a meal plan transfer program this year, that would allow students to transfer their unused flex points to another student.

Both students must be in good standing with the university and have their tuition accounts paid in full. Meal swipes cannot be transferred.  The deadline for flex point transfers is April 17.

All meal swipes will expire on May 2, and all flex points will expire on May 16. All expired swipes and flex points will be forfeited without a refund.

Visit the Cardinal Card website to check your balances and learn more about the transfer program.

 

 

bpulliam@louisvillecardinal.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Judge rules U of L student cannot collect damages

Photo courtesy WLKY

By Michelle Eigenheer–

A federal judge has ruled that a former University of Louisville student will not be able to collect damages cited in her lawsuit against U of L.

Nina Yoder, a former nursing student, sued the university in 2009, claiming that her rights to free speech and due process had been violated.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III ruled that Yoder waived her rights to free speech when she signed an honor code that included a non-disclosure requirement.

Yoder was expelled from the nursing school after the university learned of a MySpace blog post she had made that described, in detail, a live birth that she had witnessed.

“At last my girl gave one big push, and immediately out came a wrinkly bluish creature, all Picasso-like and weird, ugly as hell, covered in god knows what, screeching and waving its tentacles in the air,” Yoder wrote. “15 minutes later it turned into a cute pink itty bitty little baby girl.”

The university found this to be in violation of the nursing school’s Honor Code and confidentiality agreement that was signed by Yoder. This agreement mandated that Yoder was to only share her observations with her professors, not with the public.

Initially, Yoder won the lawsuit against the university and was able to return to school and graduate. However, on appeal by U of L, the decision was overturned and sent back to district courts. These courts have just ruled against Yoder, saying that the Honor Code and confidentiality agreement that she signed are not unconstitutional; therefore her rights were not violated.

“Certainly, that was information about the mother’s pregnancy and health care, and it was presented in written form on a publicly-accessible internet site, rather than ‘only’ to Yoder’s instructor,” Judge Simpson III wrote in his decision.

According to Yoder’s attorney, Dan Canon, Nina Yoder will be appealing this decision.

“It is definitely a surprise,” Canon said. “As far as I know, no court in the country has ever approved this degree of control by a university over its students’ speech.”

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal

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Students, faculty and staff submit budget cutting ideas

By Caitlyn Crenshaw–

Almost 190 faculty, staff and students put on their thinking caps when the university asked for suggestions to save money in the upcoming operating budget with the cut of state appropriations totaling about $9.6 million. With the state cutting resources distributed to higher education, the university is not only planning for the next fiscal year, but years to come as well.

President Ramsey said, “Our faculty, staff and students have come up with some good suggestions.”

The university wants to “see which [ideas] we can do quickly and which ones will take longer to do,” said Mike Curtin, vice president for finance. With the cuts imminently approaching, the university is taking action now.

These ideas are not expected to be realized immediately. “If we can pull it off and make some things happen, there are some things we can implement before July 1; other things will take one or two years to do,” said Curtin.

The next step, according to Curtin, is to “present ideas to the [leadership team] with the pluses and minuses, and the timeline it will take to do it.” Each aspect of every suggestion is considered before further action or implementing a policy by the university leadership team consisting of President Ramsey and Provost Willinghanz.

Through the website, “eight people suggested the university implement employee furloughs or unpaid time off.” These furloughs varied in length of time. The university replied to these suggestions that furloughs “would save a significant amount of money. However, there are a number of challenges to utilizing this approach.”

Of the many ideas offered “one that came forward was to curtail certain cell phone uses throughout the campus,” said Curtin. From this suggestion provided by a member of the university community, the university is “looking at standardizing all of the cell phone contracts in the university,” said Curtin.

As the state budget cut anticipates future cuts to higher education, the university is preparing not only for the present, but for the future as well. “We are looking into many of the ideas they brought forth as we position ourselves for the future,” said Ramsey.

The university community of leaders and outside resources, such as a recently hired consultant, are taking multiple steps to save money where needed without cutting corners in students’ education. It is important to realize that the suggestions from faculty, staff and students “is just one prong in the multi prong approach,” said Curtin.

Some of the other most popular suggestions were conserving energy by closely monitoring heating and cooling, lighting and the use of appliances, early retirement options, cutting back on administrative pay, offering different employment packages to employees, centralizing a list of vendors for catering, coffee, cleaning chemicals, stockrooms items and eliminating the Physical Plant Department or outsourcing its operations.

ccrenshaw@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo/Flickr: ImagesofMoney

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News Briefs 4.10.12

Expansion set for football practice facility

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees gave approval to athletics officials to start fund-raising for an expansion of Schnellenberger football complex at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
According to a U of L press release, the expansion would add 11,500 square feet for a weight room and an additional 4,000 square feet for training and storage facilities. It is set to cost $7.5 million and the funds would be raised privately. The expansion still needs approval by the U of L Athletics Association and the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Alisha Ward pleads guilty

Alisha Ward, a former employee of U of L’s equine industry program, plead guilty to six counts of wire fraud and money laundering on Monday, April 2.
Ward was fired from the University after an audit accused her of forging signatures, creating fake PayPal accounts and doctoring invoices to embezzle money.
U.S. Attorney David Hale, in exchange for Ward’s plea, is recommending a sentence of three years and one month along with restitution of $461,899 to the university. She will be charged on July 9.

Campus entrance construction set for April

The entrance to the Belknap campus from Cardinal Boulevard will undergo construction to install decorative walls and add landscaping and a water feature.
The construction will begin in April and will close the parking lane and sidewalk on the north side of Cardinal Boulevard between Brook street and Second street. Delays in traffic are expected.
The project will extend over the summer, over which time road closures will be necessary. The project is scheduled for completion by mid-August.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Michael Baldwin/The Louisville Cardinal