Posts tagged: University of Idaho
The State Board of Education is meeting in Moscow on the University of Idaho campus today, and considering tuition and fee increase proposals for state colleges and universities. The U of I is requesting a 5.9 percent increase in tuition and fees next year; BSU, 8.6 percent; ISU, 4.5 percent; Eastern Idaho Technical College, 4.9 percent; and Lewis-Clark State College, 4 percent.
Since fiscal year 2009, state funding for the four-year institutions, UI, BSU, ISU and LCSC, has dropped by $41.1 million, while total tuition and fee revenue has increased by $74.7 million. So far this morning, U of I officials and student leaders have spoken out in support of the proposed increase; you can watch live here. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna said, “I don’t think we talk much about what a bargain it is to go to our universities here in Idaho, when you look at even the surrounding states, what they charge.”
With the proposed increases, full-time resident tuition and fees for a year at the U of I next year would be $6,580; at BSU, $6,392; at ISU, $6,344; at EITC, $2,122; and at LCSC, $5,784.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho State Board of Education has named Donald Burnett as interim president of the University of Idaho. Burnett is the dean of the College of Law at the Moscow-based university. The board voted unanimously on Wednesday to place Burnett in charge while it searches for a permanent replacement for Duane Nellis, who is leaving to become president of Texas Tech University. Burnett will be paid $240,000 a year and his new position becomes effective on June 1. Nellis took over UI's top administrative post in 2009 after an 11-month search. Since 2003, UI has had four different leaders, including two presidents and two interim presidents.
University of Idaho President Duane Nellis has been named the sole finalist to become president at Texas Tech University, signaling he'll be leaving the U of I after four years. Nellis called the Texas post a “unique and exciting opportunity.” Click below for the full announcement from the U of I; and a full report from the Associated Press.
The University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research is inviting the public to a Symposium on Federal Fiscal Issues on Tuesday evening, with panelists including Sen. Mike Crapo, Congressman Mike Simpson, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, retired Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The free symposium will take place from 8-10 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium and will be streamed live online; those who would like to attend are asked to reserve their free tickets at www.uirsvp.com.
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The state of Idaho is suing the federal government for nearly $1.6 million because state attorneys say members of the U.S. Navy's Reserve Officer Training Corps negligently caused a fire at the University of Idaho. The lawsuit was filed in Boise's U.S. District Court earlier this week. Deputy Idaho Attorney General Mike Gilmore says members of the Navy ROTC program at the University of Idaho caused serious damage to a World War II-era building when charcoal briquettes were left smoldering after a BBQ last year. The state contends that that the federal government was responsible for the upkeep of the ROTC building, and that Navy ROTC officers and students should have known that dumping briquettes in a flowerbed would pose a fire risk. Click below for a full report.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) ― University officials are trying to figure out how to respond after a series of falls from buildings that have injured students at the University of Idaho and Washington State University campuses. But they also acknowledge the challenge of changing student attitudes on alcohol and dangerous behavior. Washington State University Dean of Students Melynda Huskey says more needs to be done to help educate students on risky behavior. But she also says males in their early 20s aren't always the best judges of personal risk. Since September, the Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/TvTIVM ) there have been five cases of students suffering injuries after falling from buildings at both campuses. Alcohol was a factor in four of five falls. WSU has created an alcohol and drug task force as part of its response.
Click below for a full report.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is giving $5 million to two Idaho universities to better equip and train teachers. The grant announced Monday will be divvied up between the University of Idaho and Northwest Nazarene University. The money will be used to create two new centers for innovation and learning. The centers ― scheduled to open early next year ― will focus on developing new teaching methods for incorporating technology in the classroom and studying the latest hardware and software available for teachers and students. University of Idaho President Duane Nellis says he's hopeful the research that emerges will help the state make better choices for bringing technology into classrooms in the future.
The grant actually totals close to $8 million over three years; in the first year, NNU will get $4.6 million, and UI in Moscow will get $983,000. UI then will get subsequent payments in the second and third years of $962,000 and $1.1 million, respectively.
Idaho's state Land Board has voted unanimously in favor of a land exchange to trade the University of Idaho's McCall Outdoor Science School property for a 32,138-square-foot office building in Idaho Falls that houses Battelle Energy Alliance, the contractor for the Idaho National Laboratory. The office building, known as Education Research Center 1, has an existing lease with Battelle that runs for another seven years, and annual base rent is $538,312. That compares to the $248,000 that UI is currently paying to lease the McCall property, which is adjacent to Ponderosa State Park.
The university plans to buy the McCall property from the office building owner for its appraised value, $6.1 million. UI has leased the McCall property from the state endowment for 65 years; this year, the annual lease payment went up fivefold. Land Board members had several questions before their unanimous vote, noting that the two properties being exchanged have equal value and the rate of return to the state endowment will substantially increase.
“I want to thank the staff for the background information that they provided that showed the impact this would have on the property tax base in Bonneville County and also historically the impact that state owned lands has had on the property tax of Bonneville County,” said state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. “It was helpful for me, it answered my questions.” Lands Department staff reported that Bonneville County collected $36,000 in property tax in 2011 from the office building, and once it becomes state endowment property, it'll generate no local property tax, meaning the rest of property taxpayers in the county make up the difference. However, since statehood, 64,669 acres of endowment land has been sold to private parties in Bonneville County, an estimated $45 million in property value that generated nearly $550,000 in local property taxes in 2011.
Click below for a statement from the University of Idaho about the transaction involving “one of the most beautiful and pristine settings in the world,” its McCall outdoor science campus.
Idaho's State Board of Education has unanimously approved the University of Idaho's purchase of its McCall campus, which is along the shore of Payette Lake adjacent to Ponderosa State Park. It's currently endowment land managed by the state Land Board, and the UI has leased it for 65 years. The site includes the university's forestry camp and other education programs through its College of Natural Resources.
The Land Board raised the lease rate this year from about $50,000 a year to about $250,000, prompting the university decide to buy the land. Developed over the last several years, the complex transaction includes a land exchange. A private party, IW4 LLC, plans to acquire the property from the Department of Lands through a land swap for commercial property, and then sell it to the UI at its current appraised value, $6.1 million.
The UI plans to draw on its internal reserves to cover acquisition costs, and then reimburse the reserves from a future bond issue; it also is fundraising, and hoping to reduce the size of the future bond issue with major gifts. It's forecasting that the university will end up saving money on the deal, because its debt service on the bond should be less than the $250,000 annual lease payments.
The board is gathered for a special meeting this morning; among items on its agenda are possible repeal of the requirement that Idaho high school students take two online classes to graduate from high school, now that voters have rejected the “Students Come First” school reform laws that proposed the online grad requirement.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) ― The University of Idaho has fired football coach Robb Akey, with the team 1-7 and coming off a blowout loss. The school announced the move Sunday and promoted offensive coordinator Jason Gesser to interim coach. Gesser, a former Washington State quarterback, has been on the Idaho staff for two seasons. Akey was 20-50 at Idaho since taking over in 2007. He had one winning season with the Vandals, going 8-5 in 2009 and beating Bowling Green 43-42 in the Humanitarian Bowl. Idaho lost 70-28 to Louisiana Tech and allowed 839 yards Saturday. “The president (Duane Nellis) and I believe it is important to make this move now so we can immediately begin the process of hiring a new coach for the 2013 season,” athletic director Rob Spear said. “We appreciate Coach Akey's enthusiasm and dedication to the University of Idaho, but this is the right move at this time.” Akey's contract runs through the 2014 season. Idaho is a member of the Western Athletic Conference, which won't have enough members to compete in football beyond this season. The school already has plans to play as an independent starting next season.
You can read more here.
The University of Idaho is launching a review into staff salaries, according to a memo sent to employees, with the goal of making its compensation policies more equitable and understandable, the Associated Press reports. A faculty group recently complained about hefty raises awarded to some administrators and staff, but university spokeswoman Karen Hunt said the review into staff salaries is not related to concerns raised by the Idaho Federation of Teachers. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.
The Lewiston Tribune reports today that a 21-year-old University of Idaho student is in serious condition at a Spokane hospital after falling from the second floor of his fraternity house this morning, suffering facial fractures and other injuries. After officers were called to the Alpha Tau Omega house at 12:30 a.m., witnesses reported that the student had climbed out of a window and was trying to open another window on a locked room when he fell; he reportedly had been drinking earlier in the evening at a party at another fraternity. You can read the Trib's report here.
Among previous incidents: In September of 2009, a 19-year-old woman fell from the third story of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house after a drinking party and suffered permanent injuries; a court just dismissed her family's million-dollar lawsuit. In August of 2009, a 20-year-old male student fell three stories from a window at the Delta Tau Delta house and suffered serious injuries. In October of 2011, a 19-year-old male student fell up to 25 feet from a fire escape at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house; alcohol was believed to be a factor in the fall. In 1993, an 18-year-old woman fell three stories from her UI sorority house and was seriously injured, after drinking at two fraternity house parties earlier in the evening.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) ― A state judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the University of Idaho by a student who fell from a fraternity house window in 2009. The Lewiston Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/MYkJv7 ) that 2nd District Judge Michael Griffin tossed the suit on Friday brought by former student Amanda Andaverde of Caldwell and her parents. Andaverde was a 19-year-old sophomore when she fell from an upper story window during a Sigma Alpha Epsilon frat house party and suffered debilitating injuries. The university recently rejected the parents' $1 million offer to settle the case. In court earlier this month, a UI lawyer told the judge the university can't control what students do on private property and shouldn't be held liable for accidents. Andaverde family attorney Warren Dowdle says a decision to appeal is pending. Click below for a full report.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) ― A University of Idaho attorney says the school can't control what students do on private property outside of school hours, and so it can't be held liable for injuries a 19-year-old sophomore sustained when she fell out a fraternity window after a party. Lewiston attorney Theodore Creason presented the school's arguments in 2nd District Court Wednesday, asking Judge Michael Griffin to throw out a lawsuit from former student Amanda Andaverde and her parents. The Andaverdes contend the university, state board and several fraternities and sororities on the Moscow campus didn't do enough to ensure the safety of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house where their daughter was injured in 2009. The judge took the matter under advisement and will issue a written ruling at a later date; click below for the full report.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press/Moscow-Pullman Daily News: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) ― A 2nd District Court Judge in northern Idaho is scheduled on Wednesday to hear arguments concerning a request by the University of Idaho and Idaho State Board of Education to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the parents of a former student who fell from a fraternity house window. Esmeralda Banda and Raul Andaverde in September filed the lawsuit claiming the university, state board and several fraternities and sororities on the Moscow campus didn't do enough to ensure the safety of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house where their daughter was injured. Amanda Andaverde was seriously injured in the 2009 fall. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/Pds6if) the school and board of education have filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the lawsuit.
The University of Idaho says it has raised $1.1 million in gifts and pledges for renovation of the old Ada County courthouse, now known as the Capitol Annex, into a new Idaho Law Learning Center. The old courthouse, which hosted two sessions of the Legislature while the state Capitol was being renovated, has stood vacant since; it's tabbed as the future location of the Boise branch program of the University of Idaho College of Law; the Idaho State Law Library, which is open to the public; state judicial education offices; and other law-related public programs.
The UI also says it's raised another $500,000 from donors for education programs at the new center, which initially will include the third-year law school Boise program authorized by the State Board of Education in 2008 and started in 2010. That program, which has graduated nearly 60 students, is currently housed at the Idaho Water Center at Broadway and Front. Click below for the UI's full announcement.
The Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is holding its interim meeting in north-central Idaho today and tomorrow, and today the lawmakers, along with State Board of Education members, state Division of Financial Management officials and staffers, toured the University of Idaho's research facilities and labs in Moscow and talked with professors and students. UI President Duane Nellis said over the past four years, the university has lost $30 million in state funding, but has partnered with 250 private and public entities to keep research and academic programs going. “While we're very proud and very grateful for the non-governmental support we've received, we realize that there is a limit to the lifelines others can provide,” Nellis said in a statement. “We believe our legislators will understand that we're exceptionally good stewards of our resources.”
The legislative budget writers will be in Lewiston and Orofino tomorrow, with stops including the Port of Lewiston, the Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino, Clearwater Valley Hospital, and a juvenile corrections center in Lewiston.
In addition to a series of changes on the University of Idaho campus, the settlement of a $3 million tort claim that the family of slain grad student Katy Benoit reached with the university calls for the university to pay the family $375,000 in exchange for the family dropping all legal claims. “The Benoit Family has chosen to donate all settlement proceeds to charitable causes,” the family and university said in a joint statement yesterday, “primarily via the Katy Benoit Memorial Fund, which has been established through the Idaho Community Foundation.”
The dollar amount was revealed today pursuant to a public records request; the state Board of Education unanimously approved the settlement yesterday at its meeting in Moscow. The settlement also calls for stepped-up communications between the university and the Moscow Police Department; a new system for anonymous complaints by students or faculty; improved sexual harassment training for students, staff and faculty; and an annual on-campus safety event named for Katy.
The young woman was shot to death by former professor Ernesto Bustamante, who then killed himself. “Katy’s life and the events pertaining to her death have provided an abundance of lessons that the Benoit Family and the University of Idaho are fully committed to learning from and helping others learn from,” the family and university said in their statement. “It is our hope that these lessons can help create a perpetually safer and wiser culture not just at the U of I, but on other campuses throughout the nation.”
Newly elected Idaho State Board of Education President Ken Edmunds has issued the following statement on behalf of the board, regarding the settlement reached with the family of slain UI grad student Katy Benoit:
“The settlement announced yesterday between the Benoit family and the University of Idaho was unanimously approved by the State Board of Education. The Board members, individually and collectively, want the family to know we are profoundly sorry for their loss. The Board is thoroughly committed to providing a safe and supportive environment at all of Idaho’s public education institutions. We appreciate the efforts of the Benoits and the University to focus on the best interests of Idaho students. They deserve all we can do to safeguard their future.”
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― The University of Idaho and the family of a graduate student who was killed by a professor she had previously dated have reached a settlement. School officials and Katy Benoit's family issued a joint statement Thursday night. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but Benoit's family plans to donate the settlement proceeds to charitable causes. The statement also detailed actions that would be taken to make the campus safer as part of the settlement, including improved communication with police. Benoit complained to the university last June about psychology professor Ernesto Bustamante, saying she ended their relationship after he pointed a gun at her head, threatening her life. Police say Bustamante resigned Aug. 19, days before killing Benoit then himself. Benoit's family filed a $3 million tort claim against the university in December. Click below for the full joint statement.