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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Idaho State University

ISU eyes new house for school president

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Idaho State University wants to spend about $600,000 to buy a new house for the school's president. The Idaho State Journal reports ( that the State Board of Education will vote on whether or not to spend the money on Monday during a special teleconference meeting with school officials. The 6,000-square-foot house school officials are eyeing is south of the Pocatello city limits and includes several acres of land. The current house for ISU presidents was built in 1917 by a wealthy sheepherder and is a few blocks from the ISU campus. It became the home for ISU presidents in 1951.

Pocatello says ISU campus security cleaned up scene of campus shooting before calling cops

Pocatello city officials say Idaho State University security officer have been overstepping their authority, even cleaning up the scene before calling police after an accidental shooting in a classroom, the Idaho State Journal reports. In the September incident, a chemistry professor shot himself in the foot when a gun in his pocket went off during a lecture. “I cannot impress upon you enough that the intent of the Public Safety Officers is to only enforce the university's rules and regulations,” city attorney Dean Transmer wrote. “For anything other than university rules and regulations, it is purely the responsibility of the Pocatello Police Department and other qualified law enforcement agencies to enforce, investigate, cite and arrest.”

Idaho State University is the only one of the three major public universities in Idaho to employ its own campus security force. Boise State and the University of Idaho contract with local city police departments to provide campus security. Click below for a full report from the State Journal and the Associated Press.

Prof who shot foot in class ID’d, student predicts it’ll probably happen again

The instructor who shot himself in the foot with a concealed handgun while lecturing to 20 students in a chem class at Idaho State University on Tuesday has been identified, and it wasn’t just some guest instructor – it was an assistant professor of chemistry who’s taught at ISU since 2007. The Idaho State Journal reports today that the instructor involved was Byron Bennett, assistant professor of chemistry, who holds a current Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons Permit, an Idaho Basic Concealed Weapons Permit and a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit.

A new law passed by Idaho’s Legislature this year over the objections of the state’s colleges and universities allows anyone with the enhanced permit to carry a concealed firearm on public campuses, except in dormitories or large arenas.

The State Journal talked to several ISU students today who were divided about the new law. “It’s probably going to happen again,” said student Randi Leissring. Freshman Taylor Hansen of Chubbuck said her parents plan to buy her a gun.  “I’m a girl and I’m little,” Hansen said. “But I’m going to take some safety courses so I don’t shoot myself in the foot.” The State Journal’s full report is online here.

Twenty students were present when ISU instructor shot self in foot with concealed gun

KTVB-TV reports today a key new detail about this week’s accidental shooting on the Idaho State University campus: 20 students were present when the instructor, who has an enhanced concealed carry permit, accidentally shot himself in the foot in a chemistry classroom on the campus. The male instructor had a loaded handgun concealed in his pants pocket, the station reports; it went off while he was teaching. KTVB’s full report is online here. Idaho lawmakers this year passed legislation allowing people with those permits to carry concealed guns on Idaho public college and university campuses – over the objections of every one of the state’s public colleges and universities, and at the urging of the National Rifle Association.

ISU instructor shoots self in foot, when concealed gun accidentally fires in classroom

An Idaho State University instructor was shot in the foot yesterday after a concealed, loaded handgun he was carrying accidentally discharged in a classroom around 4 p.m., the Idaho State Journal reports. The wounded instructor had an enhanced concealed carry permit, the type of permit required to carry a concealed weapon on an Idaho public college campus under a controversial new law passed by the Legislature this year. “It was in his pocket,” Pocatello Police Department Lt. Paul Manning told the newspaper.

After the shooting in the Physical Science Complex on the ISU campus, the chemistry instructor was treated and released from Portneuf Medical Center. ISU President Arthur Vailas called the shooting “unfortunate,” and said, “I’m sure the incident was scary and embarrassing.” He added, “When they passed this law it was bound to happen.” Other people were present when the gun discharged; discharging a firearm within city limits is a misdemeanor, but police said they are still investigating the incident. The State Journal’s full report is online here.

ISU students targets of tax prep scam

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) ― A 38-year-old Dallas man has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he conspired to falsify income tax returns for Idaho State University students. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Moses Mukuka pleaded guilty Wednesday in Pocatello to conspiracy to file false claims for a refund and making a false claim against the United States. Sentencing is set for Feb. 13. Prosecutors alleged Mukuka entered into an agreement with another person to place flyers around the ISU campus advertising himself as an accounting student who would do income tax returns for $10. Mukuka sent the students' paperwork to another individual who submitted returns to the IRS with false information designed to increase the refund. Mukuka distributed a small portion of the refund to the taxpayers and wouldn't provide them with copies of their returns.

ISU faculty senate dispute leads to federal lawsuit

Here's a news item from the Associated Press and Idaho State Journal: POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Faculty leaders at Idaho State University claim administrators violated their free speech rights when blocking the provisional faculty senate from sending emails to the campus community. The Idaho State Journal reports a complaint filed Tuesday alleges the university started blocking emails from faculty leaders in November, following a disagreement over the adoption of a new faculty constitution. On Tuesday, a university spokesman said administrators had not yet seen the complaint and would respond in “due course.” The state Board of Education is expected to discuss faculty governance issues at ISU during a meeting Thursday in Boise. The board voted last year to dissolve the university's previous Faculty Senate, which been at loggerheads with school President Arthur Vailas. The university then elected new, temporary faculty leaders to adopt a constitution and bylaws.

ISU students vote to back campus smoking ban

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Students at Idaho State University have voted to support a proposed smoking ban on the Pocatello campus. The existing university policy requires smokers to be at least 20 feet from buildings. School administrators sought feedback last year on the smoking policy and wondered if they should leave it unchanged, ban smoking or designate a few areas where smoking is allowed. The Associated Students of ISU to pass a resolution two weeks ago in support of making the campus smoke-free. The Idaho State Journal reports ( ) student president Shaun Stokes said the resolution was prompted by campus surveys and also driven by health concerns about secondhand smoke. Elsewhere in the state, the College of Southern Idaho, North Idaho College and Boise State University already have smoking bans in place.

State Board stands behind embattled ISU President Vailas

The State Board of Education is standing behind embattled Idaho State University President Art Vailas, the Idaho State Journal reports today, while he remains deeply unpopular with some faculty members at the university in Pocatello. Board vice president Ken Edmunds said there are no immediate plans to replace Vailas. “We are letting him see through the changes that he saw fit for the university,” Edmunds told the State Journal. “We will then evaluate his performance after he has had the opportunity to carry out his vision.” Click below for a full report from the Associated Press.

ISU sanctioned for ‘poor faculty governance’

Idaho State University has been sanctioned for poor faculty governance practices by a national association of university professors, and while ISU is dismissing the sanction as “meaningless,” one of its major donors disagrees and says the sanction will hurt faculty recruitment. The Idaho State Journal reports that ISU President Arthur Vailas' request to suspend the ISU Faculty Senate, a move the state Board of Education backed, was sharply criticized in the organization's sanction statement. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press, and read more in the State Journal here.

ISU faculty, administration still in turmoil

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — Faculty members at Idaho State University have elected new leaders in a shake-up endorsed by the state Board of Education. The board voted in February to dissolve the university's previous Faculty Senate, which had clashed with school President Arthur Vailas and called for his ouster. While new faculty leaders were elected this month as part of a plan to smooth things over, the two sides still appear at odds. The locks at the Faculty Senate offices were changed after Vailas successfully pushed to dissolve the group. But when the newly elected faculty leaders asked the administration for a key so they could immediately begin their work, that request was denied. The Idaho State Journal reports university administrators want the new Faculty Senate to wait until the fall.

Adler to head UI public policy center

Former Idaho State University political scientist David Adler has been named director of the University of Idaho’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, where the UI says he will “take the University of Idaho to center stage” on public policy issues and civic education.

“He brings a blend of scholarship, national prominence and dynamism to the role,” said Katherine Aiken, dean of College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. “We are confident of the deep engagement the center will enjoy promoting civic education and public dialogue on critical issues that face Idaho, the region and the nation.”

Adler has been an ISU political science professor since 1985, and is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles that have appeared in political science journals, law reviews, books and encyclopedias. The McClure Center provides non-partisan public policy research for Idaho and the region, along with work to improve civic education, increase public dialogue, promote collaborations and more. Adler’s work at the center will include sponsorship of research, publications, conferences, forums and lectures; he’ll also seek external funding for the center’s activities. Adler said the McClure Center will generate research to “tackle the great public policy challenges of our time.” He started in his new post yesterday; click below to read the UI’s full announcement.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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