Holcombe Hall Incident Still Under Investigation

Holcombe Hall Incident Still Under Investigation

A reported rape incident that happened on campus in September is still under investigation by UAPD. No further deails have been disclosed.

Holcombe Hall

By Parker Tillson
The Razorback Reporter

A reported rape in a dorm room Sept. 2 triggered a RazAlert at the UofA. A later report showed details different from the original account.

The victim reported the rape at 1:37 a.m. Monday in Holcombe Hall on Garland Avenue, when she said that a stranger came into her room and assaulted her, UA Police Capt. Gary Crain said.

The next day, the victim of the alleged assault said she was acquainted with the accused, and that the perpetrator was invited in to the dorm room by the victim, Crain said.

UAPD is investigating the case, but no further details have been disclosed.

Crain encouraged students to take safety precautions such as locking bedroom and car doors to reduce the possibility of crimes.

Rape is committed by someone the victim knows 80 percent of the time, according to rainn.org, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

Sex crimes are a common issue at universities, according to data. In fact, one in five women in college experience sexual assault, and students are at a higher risk of sexual assault in the first few months of their first and second semesters of college, according to womenshealth.gov, an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

These first few months are referred to as the RedZone, according to thetab.com, a news website with articles from students at top universities. After gathering more than 800 reports of rape and sexual assault cases from crime logs at 12 colleges, the data showed that more than 32 percent of sex crimes happened from September to November.

Most new students live in dorm rooms during their first year of college, and most are coed, where boys and girls are in close proximity. The results of the same study from thetab.com showed that 46.9 percent of the 800 cases from those universities occurred in freshman dorms.

Grant Could Help Crack Down on Concrete Deficiencies

Senior Walk, an integral part of the University of Arkansas campus, spans five miles of pavement etched with graduates’ names reaching back to 1876.

As the university’s oldest tradition, and as the only Senior Walk in the country, preservation of the pavement is vital. When walking around campus, however, it is hard not to notice the cracks and wear that stretch along the pathways.

Now Senior Walk and other future campus concrete projects might benefit from research supported by a recent $500,000 gift from the Oklahoma/Arkansas chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association. The intent is for researchers to study methods of creating stronger, more cost efficient concrete.

The half-million-dollar pledge will make the U of A a national leader in concrete pavement research, said Cameron Murray, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. It also supports Campaign Arkansas, the university’s $1.25 billion capital campaign to advance academic opportunity.

This gift comes at an appropriate time; many noticeable sections of campus pavement could use a touch up, including portions of Senior Walk that have been mauled by construction or simply become worn over time.

“We have cracking sometimes. Concrete cracks,” Mike Johnson, the associate vice chancellor for facilities management, said. “We try to put in joints so it cracks where we want it to crack. We’re quasi-successful.”

New concrete is always tested when it is placed, Johnson said.

“They’ll take cylinders and they’ll break cylinders at 7, 14 and 28 days and look at the compression to make sure we actually have what we paid for,” Johnson said.

The association gift will be provided in five yearly installments and will support teaching and research activities in the concrete laboratory at the Engineering Research Center, Murray said.

“Early on it looks like we will mostly use the money to fund graduate students who will do work related to concrete pavements,” Murray said. “In particular we will be looking at ways to make more efficient, more cost effective concrete pavements.”

More cost efficient concrete could make it easier for the university to make some quick fixes around campus.

They can approach the matter of more efficient pavements by either selecting more cost effective combinations of ingredients for concrete or by proposing different designs to the pavement, Murray said.

“For example, we can look at how the ‘structure’ of the pavement is designed, trying to use a thinner section that will be more cost effective,” Murray said.

Concrete is designed for its specific application, said Daniel Clairmont, the director of engineering and construction.

“Foundations, patios, sidewalks and roads are all different strengths and different thicknesses,” Clairmont said. “If it is expected to carry heavy loads, it would generally be thicker and stronger.”

These differences in the pavement around campus might explain why some portions look pristine and have held up well over the years, while adjacent areas are cracked or otherwise damaged.

“Senior walk is a totally separate formula and process because it has to be a very smooth surface so we can glue down the rubber stencils and do the sand blasting,” Johnson said. “So it’s higher strength; we pay more attention on how it’s finished and that type of thing.”

The quality of the base on which the concrete is poured also plays a factor in its longevity, Clairmont said.

“A poorly compacted base, or if it is not protected from water infiltration and erosion, will almost guarantee the concrete will crack and fail,” Clairmont said.

As graduating classes are added to Senior Walk, alumni will appreciate any effort to preserve the names that have been engraved for decades.

“Concrete is pretty simple,” Johnson said.

Fulbright Student Panel to Give Students Internship Tips

By: Student Reporter

Students work internships because they want jobs, college career counselors advise.

Toward the goal of landing an internship, a student-focused panel, Internship Tips from Fulbright Students, is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m., Oct. 30 in 512 of the Arkansas Union.

“It’s vital for students to prepare for jobs and they should spend a lot of time connecting with professionals in the area,” said Erica Estes, director of Employer Relations at the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.

“It’s not enough to just upload an application and resume. Getting connected is key. That’s where the magic happens,” she said. “Students should spend 60 percent of their time connecting, 30 percent should be researching and 10 applying.”

The panel will feature six Fulbright College students – representating math, journalism, international studies, political science, music, social work and biology. They have been asked to give their peers the inside scoop about how they found their internships, describe the application process and discuss their internships.

Math major Nicole Norman completed an internship with Anheuser-Busch in Portland, Oregon. Molly Feigle completed a journalism internship with Universal Pictures in Rogers. Maya Ungar, an international studies major, has worked internships at The Washington Center, Churches for the Middle East and the Peace Corps.

Emma Kromer, a political science and music major who worked internships with the Faulkner Performing Arts Center, Fulbright College Advising Center, and the Washington County Planning Office. Aja Pence, a social work student, completed an internship with Potter’s House through the United Way and Tyson Community Summer Internship Program.

“Plan your internship right, get tips from your peers,” Estes said.

History professor Alessandro Brogi, who is director of Undergraduate Studies, will moderate the panel.

Some students get help outside the university.

“For me, my mom actually found the internship, but it was great as I want to work in the medical field and this position gave me great exposure. It sealed my passion for medicine and gave me knowledge how to work in a clinical setting,” biology major Johnson said.

Students can find more info about the event on the Handshake website.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you do not know,” she said. “Your bosses are not expecting you to know everything, but they do expect you be active in acquiring information you do not know.

“Be professional. Our generation has a reputation for not having certain aspects of professionalism, such as proper dress, email etiquette and being on time to work,” Johnson said.

Spring Launch Set for Career Connections Class

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The UofA is scheduled to launch a Fulbright college career connections class in the spring semester. The 3000-level course will provide a platform to connect students with employers while also giving students the opportunity to look into diverse career communities, UA career professionals said.

“In the last several years, I have not had individual counseling appointments with students. Instead I’ve been developing relations with employers in order to relay that to students. However, some of that is transforming, because in the spring we will be offering a Fulbright Career Connections class,” said Erica Estes, director of Employer Relations for Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.

Titled ARSC 3013 in the course catalog, the class will incorporate life-design, a concept employed at Stanford University, Estes said. By using human-centered designs and applying it to the career class Estes believes this class will be “fairly large” and “very interactive.”

“Based on my experience running the Fulbright Advising Center, this will be a course that should be a very popular elective for students of all majors. I hope that plenty of students take advantage of it. I know the content and I think it will be a very worthwhile experience for students,” said Shane Barker, Fulbright assistant dean for advising.

The UofA also offers a one-hour Career Exploration Course (UNIV 1401). It allows students to graduate from the nationally recognized, Career Track Razorbacks that is offered by the Career Development Center. The class also is an eight-week session.

Coursework will include self-awareness, career exploration, experience, job search strategies, resume/cover letter writing, interview skills and professional networking.

Estes also recommends that students enroll in the Design Your Life nine-week mini-session.

“If you’re anxious about your next steps after graduation, consider enrolling in the Design Your Life nine-week mini session class. I will be co-teaching this class with two highly knowledgeable faculty and staff,” Estes said.

“We will move through the human-centered design thinking process to help students feel more confident about building their plans for the future,” she said. “In order to enroll in UNIV 3401, you must email me at ericae@uark.edu before the first class meets.”

The mini-session is a one-hour class but Estes said, “we hope to continue offering this for students and are wanting to expand the course to two hours.”

The class will include lectures on career communities as well as have an online component where students can cultivate e-portfolios. “We want to plug students into something we’ve been growing for years,” Estes said.

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UAPD Bike Cop and K9 Officer Share Retirement Party

Two veteran members of the UA Police Department retired Friday after years of service to the department.

Officer Steve Meyer served the department for 43 years, working as one of the department’s primary bicycle cops.

K9 Officer Dingo, a German Shepherd, served the force for six years, 42 in dog years, working with his handler, Cpl. David Nguyen.

UAPD Director Steve Gahagans thinks that Meyer stayed with the department so long because he cared deeply for the UA students he protected, he said.

Officers have to have “a deep-seated love for the UofA and the people you serve” to stay for 43 years, Gahagans said.

Meyer thinks that small positive interactions with students on a day-to-day basis helped keep him encouraged over the years, he said.

Mike Terry, who worked in the UAPD from 1981 to 1998, said that he was persuaded to join UAPD after talking to Meyer in a training course.

“You could tell he loved the UofA by the way he talked about it,” Terry said.

Dingo was trained in Austria to detect narcotics like methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and heroin by smell, Nguyen said.

Nguyen was selected as Dingo’s handler and only works with him, he said. When Dingo is not on the job, he lives with Nguyen and his family.

“When he’s at home, we treat him as a pet,” Nguyen said. “We don’t do any training at home.”

Nguyen thinks that Dingo is one of the friendliest dogs UAPD has, and he would often take Dingo around to meet with students, especially during finals, he said. Some students even recognize Dingo around campus.

“They know him as the lovable one, the one they can pet,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen thinks Dingo is still in great physical shape, but UAPD policy is for dogs to retire after seven or eight years of service, he said.

“He’s still young enough to enjoy retired life,” Nguyen said.

Now that he is retired, Dingo will probably just be a lazy house pet, Nguyen said.

UAPD still has four other dogs working for them, Nguyen said. Three of them are trained to detect explosives and one, Ricky, will take over Dingo’s job of narcotics detection.

Meyer will continue to support his former coworkers by delivering refreshments to officers on duty during game day, Gahagans said.

Hertz Fellowship Supports STEM Education

Students interested in obtaining doctoral degrees in STEM fields can apply for a Hertz Foundation Fellowship.

The foundation encouraging research in applied physical and biological sciences mathematics and engineering. Applications are due by Oct. 24.

Executive Director Kathy Young described the fellowship as “incredibly competitive,” because fewer than 2 percent of applicants are accepted.

“We are really looking for the top students,” she said.

Since the foundation was established 1957, Hertz Fellows have founded more than 200 companies and they have received over 200 major awards, including two Nobel Prizes in physics, according to the website.

“A lot of our applicants apply because they want to be a part of the Hertz community,”

Young said.

Young sees the foundation as an opportunity for professionals to form networks.

“We have a lot of gatherings with Hertz fellows across disciplines, generations and geography and they are able to share ideas and collaborate,” Young said. “Many of them have started businesses together or wrote papers together.”

The Hertz Fellowship differs from most because students are not committed to work on their adviser’s projects, Young said, because they have their own funding. They can work on whatever project they want.

“You are not only receiving the financial value and the freedom that comes with the fellowship. You are also part of the Hertz community,” Young said.

The five-year fellowship covers full tuition for participating institutions, Young said.

Applications can be found on the Hertz Foundation website, hertzfoundation.org.

Researchers Tracking Fungus

Nearly one-third of the global rice production is lost each year to a disease known as blast. That much rice could feed 60 million people, a UA researcher said.

Martin Egan, assistant professor of plant pathology in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life sciences, obtained his Ph.D. in molecular plant pathology from the University of Exeter, UK, a leading institution in rice blast research. Egan recently received a $110,332 grant from the UofA Chancellor’s Innovation Fund to study the cell functions of M. oryzae, the blast fungus.

“It’s a serious threat to global food security,” Egan said.

Arkansas rice growers are responsible for about half of the rice grown in the U.S., so the disease is especially costly here.

The airborne disease is spread by spores that land on rice leaves and stick tightly, Egan said. Within eight hours, the spore germinates and forms a dome-shaped infection cell called the appressorium. This structure generates an enormous amount of pressure that builds up to allow it to punch its way physically through the leaf, where it begins colonizing the tissue and dampening the plant’s immune system.

“You don’t really see disease symptoms for about three days after infection, so it’s kind of silently colonizing the tissue,” Egan said.

This intrusion is made possible partly by a ring-shaped structure called a septin ring. The blast spores produce filaments made of septin, a class of protein. The filaments then grow into a ring structure where the appressorium is attached to the plant.

The septin ring is essential to spreading the fungus. Researchers are working to discover ways to stop that spread.

Egan and his co-investigator, Yong Wang of the U of A physics department, will be looking for other proteins that might play a role in controlling or regulating the septin filaments that build the septin ring.

Wang employs a Nobel Prize-winning technique called “super-resolution fluorescence microscopy” to help understand how the proteins that build the septin ring structures organize.

The technique, invented between 2006-2008, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

“Conventional fluorescence microscopy has a special resolution of 200 nanometers,” Wang said. “It’s not good for the proteins inside the bacteria, because the bacteria itself is about 500 nanometers in diameter, and the proteins are, like, 5 nanometers.”

The super-resolution technique is about 10-20 times better than conventional fluorescence microscopy, Wang said, allowing them to see the individual proteins inside the cells, bacteria or fungus.

“We would like to look at the septin ring at different time points and see how this ring structure develops,” Wang said.

Alvaro Durand-Morat and Lawton Nalley, both professors of agricultural economics and agribusiness, have researched and published reports on the global economic impact of the blast disease.

Rice is an important food staple for more than half of the world, according to a 2016 report by the professors. Therefore, the world supply must double by 2050 to keep up with the food demand from population growth.

Some strains of the fungus are quickly growing resistant to fungicides, so the need to identify new ways of addressing the disease is urgent.

Additionally, there is now a population of blast fungus that has adapted to infect wheat crops in South America.

“It’s the same organism, it’s just made a host leap,” Egan said.

Egan said one way of potentially preventing rice blast is planting cultivars that are genetically resistant to the disease. However, he also said the pathogen will adapt and overcome that resistance within a matter of one to three years.

Results from the researchers’ 2016 study showed that, by eliminating blast from production in the Mid-South, U.S. rice producers would gain $69.34 million annually and increase the rice supply to feed an additional one million consumers globally.

UA Recruiting Efforts Yield Record Enrollments

By Megan Wilson:

The University of Arkansas broke multiple enrollment records during the 2018-2019 school year, according to enrollment data.

Preliminary enrollment shows 27,778 UA students, an increase of 220 from fall 2017, according to the UA website.

The freshman class includes 2,507 students from Arkansas, another record, making freshman enrollment 5,019, according to the website.

The university set a diversity record with 20 percent minority students, with African-American and Hispanic students comprising the two largest minorities, according to the website.

Lynn Mosesso, director of Graduate and International Recruitment and Admissions, reported 1,433 international students from 115 countries.

The Multicultural Center has “different activities to educate the campus community about specific cultural groups and [they] engage student learning through games, presentation and conversation” said Brande Flack, director of Retention Programs at the Multicultural Center.

Suzanne McCray, vice chancellor of Enrollment, said her department has been making efforts to reach and recruit students across the state. College recruiters want to go where the students are, McCray said, but some high schools don’t let recruiters visit classrooms.

“There are some schools in the state that don’t allow you to come in to the school. There we’ll do a coffee chat in the community,” she said.

She said the university wants to be the university for the entire state and to do that they have to meet people where they are and take them information about the school.

Providing access to the flagship institution to students across the state is “a very important part of our mission,” McCray said.

“Being out there, being in the schools, letting students know you care and that they’ll find community on our campus, I think that’s incredibly important,” McCray said.

Many students from the university are from small towns in Arkansas and they need to be able to feel like the UofA is a home away from home, McCray said.

“It’s a combination of bringing the information to them and the excitement of going to college and the possibility of them going to the university,” she said. “Then getting them on campus so they can see if this a good fit for them.”

There have been initiatives to bring underrepresented students to the university by offering scholarships.

“In order to diversify a Predominantly White Institution like the UofA, we must work actively to recruit and support students of racial minority status,” Flack said. “Providing scholarships is one way to assist with the college expenses while fully investing in the diversity we value on our campus.”

 

 

Fall Deadline Near for Undergrad Research Grants

Students in a variety of academic fields and are interested in a research grant should apply for an undergraduate research grant by Oct. 17.

Almost 200 UA students applied for the research grant tailored for undergraduates during the 2017-2018 school year. Of those applicants, 42 received what is called a SURF grant, or Student Undergraduate Research Fund.

SURF grant supports UA students who research projects in Arkansas. The grant offers undergraduate students up to $3,250 for a living stipend and travel money, said Jonathan Langley, assistant director of Enrollment Services.

The program is designed to allow sophomores, juniors and seniors to complete research projects in their major, Langley said.

“SURF grants are available for students in all majors, from architecture to zoology. Any eligible student performing undergraduate research is encouraged to apply,” Langley said.

With almost $4,000 paid by the university, students can use the money to go on one of the 40 to 50 faculty-led study abroad programs.

“From broadening my horizons about the world to making a ton of new friends, study abroad has positively influenced me and served as a highlight of my time in college,” said senior Amrit Kannan, who studied in Belize during the summer of 2018.

Study abroad and the SURF grant give students an in-depth learning experience, Kannan said.

“Studying in a classroom has its limits. Instead of looking at a picture in a textbook, study abroad allows you to live in that picture, and experience it for days on end,” Kannan said.

A recipient also could have higher chances of finding other scholarships or being accepted into graduate school, Langley said.

“Many students who received SURF funding at the University of Arkansas have gone on to win nationally competitive scholarships and gain acceptance to some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the world,” Langley said.

The total $4,000 SURF award comes from a combination of funding from the UofA and the state, according to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards website.

Chancellor plans to cut costs

Cutting administrative costs will allow UA administrators to give back to students, faculty and staff support programs, the UA chancellor said in his annual State of the University address.

 

Reducing the amount spent on supplies for the more than 4,000 printers on campus, as well as other administrative costs, would result in money that could better serve students and faculty and staff, Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said.

 

“For every $2 we identify in cost savings, we will return $1 to student support and $1 to faculty support,” Steinmetz said.

 

Another example of cost-cutting that would provide money for student and faculty support services is searching for efficient test-taking services used in classes with hundreds of students, Steinmetz said.

 

Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium

 

Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium allowed a professor who was forced to use an exam-proctoring service that cost $90,000 each semester to provide test proctoring for five tests each semester to switch to a better in-class option that cost less, Steinmetz said.

 

“Frankly, that’s $90,000 I’m glad we’re not paying anymore,” Steinmetz said.

 

Steinmetz also stressed the importance of creating more campus jobs for students. He thinks it would be less expensive than outsourcing the work.

 

“I know our students would appreciate the chance to earn some extra income,” Steinmetz said.

 

The UofA also reached records in freshman retention and graduation rate, Steinmetz said. These are two areas he has tried to improve as during his nearly three years as chancellor.

 

The UofA retained just under 84 percent of freshmen students from last year and the six-year graduation rate reached 65.5 percent, Steinmetz said.

 

Steinmetz thinks that retaining freshman can raise the graduation rate, he said.

 

“There is a ripple effect we see in the junior, sophomore and senior years,” Steinmetz said.

 

Increasing freshman retention has been a part of Steinmetz’s plan to level out UA enrollment at 30,000 students on campus, he said.

 

UA administrators conducted a study of the campus and decided that 30,000 students is the ideal number for the UA campus at its current size, Steinmetz said.

 

In addition to increasing retention, the school has begun to intentionally limit the number of freshmen it enrolls each year, with just over 5,000 new freshman this year, Steinmetz said. This was an increase of approximately 250 students over last year’s enrollment.

 

UA administrators also try to balance 50 percent Arkansan students with 50 percent out-of-state students, Steinmetz said.

 

In the last year the UofA has been able to achieve that balance of in-state and out-of-state students within one percentage point, Steinmetz said.

 

To encourage Arkansan students to attend, 87 percent of scholarship money at the UofA is awarded to Arkansas students, Steinmetz said.

 

Steinmetz thinks that the mindset of UA students, faculty and staff, should be accepting to new ideas and willing to creatively tackle problems on campus, he said.

 

“When presented with a challenge or a new idea, let’s focus on saying ‘yes’ instead of defaulting to ‘no’,” Steinmetz said.