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Posts tagged: Duane Nellis

Trib: Nellis Squandered Opportunity

Idaho needed candor from Duane Nellis as he departed the University of Idaho presidency on his way to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Nellis didn't provide it. In a farewell essay published in the Idaho Statesman Tuesday, Nellis wrote: “If I could give one final piece of advice to my friends in the state Legislature, it would be to invest in these people (faculty and public employees). I would hope that your highest priority next year is CEC - Change in Employee Compensation.” Faculty and state workers have taken it on the chin these past few years as first the bottom fell out of the state budget and then lawmakers opted to funnel what little new money they received into tax cuts for the well-off and corporations. But is that really the primary crisis facing Idaho education?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does Nellis leave behind any kind of significant legacy?

UI Can’t Keeps Its Good Presidents

Stability at the top has emerged as a key ingredient as the State Board of Education begins its search for the next leader of the University of Idaho. When Duane Nellis departs this summer, the university will be on its sixth president - four interim and two who stayed four years each - since the resignation of Robert Hoover in 2003. “We need to find someone who is going to be there,” Ken Edmunds, immediate past board president, told the Idaho Statesman. “It is highly detrimental to keep having this turnover”/Bill Roberts, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Why can't the University of Idaho keeps its presidents?

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‘We Are THE University Of Idaho’

From blog by Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman, a statement by UI President Duane Nellis re: Idaho Bored of Education decision to remove “flagship” from UI designation: “I have just returned to Moscow from the Idaho State Board of Education meeting in Boise and let me tell you it feels great to be “home.” I am very disappointed in the board’s decision today to remove the word “flagship” from our mission statement. This edit does not change who we are or how we will operate going forward. We are THE University of Idaho. I agree wholeheartedly with ASUI President Samantha Perez who said today that “flagship” is a factual definition of who we are at our core. Thanks to all of you for your support and good wishes as we work through this disappointment.”  Full post here.

Question: Do you think this move by the Bored of Education has anything to do with Boise State's football dominance?

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UI Shooting Yet To Prompt Changes

The murder of a University of Idaho graduate student quickly spurred security reviews at other local and regional campuses this fall, but little change has been instituted. To date, only Boise State University has signaled a policy shift, emphasizing security and safety over the privacy of its employees and students.  “(The) tragic set of events at the University of Idaho provides many lessons for us and we are carefully reviewing our policies, procedures and communication methods to ensure our system is as effective as it can be,” a BSU official said in an email. “Safety and the proper assessment of concerning behavior are of the utmost importance and in the best interest of security for all”/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (AP file photo of murder victim Katy Benoit)

Question: What are Idaho colleges & universities waiting for?

Edit: What UI Should Have Told Police

In his blog today, editorialist Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman focuses on UIdaho's failure to report to Moscow police that associate professor Ernesto Bustamante had pointed a gun three times at eventual victim Katy Benoit: “Would this have made any difference? Would this have prevented this abusive relationship from ending in murder-suicide? That is unknown. And unknowable. This much is evident: U of I officials did a disservice to police, and to Benoit, by withholding evidence of a series of violent crimes”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Now that you've had time to digest the murder-suicide involving associate professor Ernesto Bustamante and victim Katy Benoit, do you think this tragedy could have been prevented?

Firm Didn’t Talk To UI re: Bustamante

The New Jersey company that offered Ernesto Bustamante a job as he was being investigated by the University of Idaho for sexual harassment never called the university for references, a company spokeswoman said today. “The references he provided were not from the University of Idaho,” said April Perrone, human resources manager at Hi-Tec Systems, an aviation industry engineering and research company based in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The assistant professor of psychology agreed to resign his position with the university effective Aug. 19, three days before gunning down graduate student Katy Benoit, with whom he had an intimate relationship. Soon after killing her, he committed suicide in a nearby hotel room/Kevin Graman, SR. More here.

Question: How did this guy slip through all the cracks?

UI Stiffens Faculty-Student Date Ban

The University of Idaho is strengthening its ban on faculty-student relationships after the slaying of a 22-year-old graduate student by her professor, who then killed himself. University President M. Duane Nellis announced the changes Wednesday in Moscow, Idaho, as the university released employment and other records of the professor, Ernesto Bustamante (pictured). Judge John Stegner ordered disclosure of the public records, which were sought by several news organizations, including The Spokesman-Review. The records, more than 4,200 files including personal Bustamante emails, were expected to be delivered to the media today/Kevin Graman, SR. More here.

Question: Did you ever — or anyone you knew — date a teacher in college? How did that turn out?

Bustamante: UI Releases Timeline

In response to questions from reporters, UI President Duane Nellis said former professor Ernesto Bustamante was allowed to resign rather than fired because it was “the fastest way to make that happen.” He said, “We were interested in expediting this, and that was the fastest way to get that done.” Asked if UI personnel gave recommendations to Bustamante, who reportedly had other employment lined up, Nellis said, “Not to our knowledge.” He said, “I think we acted aggressively and appropriately.” Nellis said, “We did immediately contact the Moscow Police Department.” But asked why the university didn't immediately inform the Moscow Police that the professor had assaulted graduate student Katy Benoit with a handgun and threatened her life, UI general counsel Kent Nelson said, “That was information that Katy had and did not want us to disclose it to police. … We respected Katy's wishes”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you hope to learn from the release of the associate professor Ernesto Bustamante's personnel records?

UI: Short Term Cuts ‘Not Sustainable’

The University of Idaho implemented a “strategic hiring freeze” in fiscal year 2009. It's now down 44 regular faculty and 36 staff positions, not including changes in part-timers; the total reduction in full-time equivalent employees from the general education budget is 136. Add in 73 cut from the Ag Research and Extension Services, and the total cut is 203 positions. All non-essential travel has been cut. The UI also has furloughed most of its employees. “The freeze on hiring and the reduction in travel have been important management tools, but these are short-term cuts and they're not sustainable,” Nellis told lawmakers/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Finalist Wants To End Career At UI

Duane Nellis stood before a packed house at the University of Idaho on Tuesday and said he would like to finish his career by making it a better school. Nellis, 54, is the provost and senior vice president at Kansas State University, and one of two finalists for the top job at the UI. He told those who attended a 90-minute open forum the next UI president needs to stick around for a while if he is to build lasting, fruitful relationships with donors, the business community and state government. “You can’t do it if you’re only there for a few years,” Nellis said. “You need some stability. I’m looking at my next move as a president as hopefully my last move”/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here

Question: Is it important to you that the new University of Idaho president stay on the Moscow campus at least five years?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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