Around the Big Ten: IU journalism school fights for independence

Around the Big Ten: IU journalism school fights for independence

News from the universities and cities of the Big Ten:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana University's century-old School of Journalism is fighting for its independence after the university's provost proposed merging the school with other communications departments and placing the new entity under the jurisdiction of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel said in her first State of the Campus address earlier this month that she'll recommend that mass media studies be rolled into one new School of Communication, Media and Journalism.

The move to put the journalism school back under the College of Arts and Science's umbrella has rankled many students and staff. The school separated from the college in the 1980s and became an independent school within the university.

Interim journalism Dean Michael Evans told the Bloomington Press Club last week that a merger would increase the school's resources and bring together different faculty members. But he balked at losing the journalism school's independence and said there is no precedent for moving an existing school inside a college at IU.

"I have been in favor of the idea — carefully worded — the idea of a merger, because I think properly done, a merger could be wonderful in a lot of ways," Evans said. "I am adamantly opposed to moving it into the college."

Robel's proposal sparked a backlash from students, faculty and alumni who say it will decrease the presence and prestige of journalism, affect tenure and promotion policies and put the school into a culture where it doesn't fit.

"It was broken off in 1989 for a reason," J.R. Ross, a former IDS editor, Associated Press reporter and president of the IU School of Journalism Alumni board, told The Herald-Times ( ). "Why you'd try to pound this round peg into a square hole 20-plus years later makes no sense to us.

"One of the messages the provost delivered was that by doing this, it would create efficiencies," he added.. "Adding another layer of bureaucracy does not look like an efficiency. This is 1984-speak if I've ever heard it."

Many also have voiced concerns about the future of Ernie Pyle Hall, the building that houses the journalism school. Robel's plan would move journalism into a renovated Franklin Hall.

A Facebook page titled "Save Ernie Pyle Hall" had more than 800 likes as of Friday.

Robel said she understands that a school with 100 years of history will be protective of its legacy and reputation but stressed that the new school "comes with incredible possibilities."

"The thing I think is important to keep our eyes on is we're talking about creating something better. Not getting rid of something good," Robel said.

Robel's recommendation goes to IU President Michael McRobbie and the Board of Trustees for consideration.

Purdue University freezes tuition for 2 years 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University is freezing its tuition costs for the next two years in response to the nation's lingering weak economy.

The freeze announced Friday means the cost of basic in-state tuition at Purdue will remain about $10,000 a year until the end of the 2014-15 school year. The last year without a tuition increase at Purdue was 1976. Tuition increases during the past 10 years have averaged about 6 percent, according to a Purdue news release.

"In this period of national economic stagnation, it's time for us to hit the pause button on tuition increases," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement.

Under the freeze, the current base tuition for Indiana and out-of-state students on the West Lafayette campus will remain unchanged for two years. Sometime in the next few weeks, Purdue will announce a savings plan with a focus on administrative efficiency.

The freeze applies only to Purdue's campus in West Lafayette. Regional campus tuition is determined separately based on factors such as enrollment, programs offered and the state funding for that campus.

"I have found a broad consensus among faculty and staff to put the interests of our students and their families first," Daniels said in a statement. "Our students and their families deserve a high-value education that they can afford. We will fit our spending to their budgets — not the other way around."

$7.5 million fund aims to boost U-M medical discoveries 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A new $7.5 million fund aims to help University of Michigan medical discoveries move from the laboratory to the market.

The Ann Arbor school says Monday the effort will help its Medical School and its Office of Technology Transfer identify and advance medical research projects with a high potential of commercial success.

The fund will be called the U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences. MTRAC stands for Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization.

The effort is funded in part by a $2.4 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's 21st Century Jobs Fund.

It's one of several research commercialization efforts funded by the MEDC.



Natural gas sales at Lincoln airport growing 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Increasing use of compressed natural gas in vehicles in the Lincoln area has surprised officials at the Lincoln Airport which has seen dramatic increases in use of its fueling station, one of just two in the city.

The Lincoln Journal-Star ( ) reports the airport's compressed natural gas station, opened in late 2011, has seen increasing traffic as more government agencies convert vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.

Airport Operations Director Bob McNally says he's seeing a consistent increase by other users including the city libraries' Bookmobile and other city and state vehicles that have been converted to run on natural gas.

He's also seen more traffic from Interstate 80 including buses, semi-trailers and even a fleet of garbage trucks being driven to California.

9 injured after Minneapolis residential fire 

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nine people were injured during a fire in Minneapolis Saturday, a total authorities say could have been worse since there were more than 20 children and adults packed into the older building.

"If we didn't get there sooner, there definitely could have been fatalities," Fire Marshal Perry Ebner said.

Firefighters arrived in less than three minutes early Saturday and extinguished the blaze in 15 minutes.

Nine people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Four people had smoke inhalation, while five residents had other injuries.

The Star Tribune reports ( one man jumped through a first-floor window and injured his head.

Flames from the basement fire were just starting to spread to the first floor when firefighters arrived around 5:45 a.m. to the two-story house sectioned into eight rental apartments. But heavy smoke that blanketed the house made residents frantic to escape. Some were hanging from windows screaming for help, said firefighter Robert Martin.

"'Let him go,'" Martin yelled from below before a couple dropped a 4-year-old boy safely into his arms. "It was pandemonium. If they're hanging out windows, then they're trapped."

Two other firefighters used a ladder to rescue the couple.

"It was chaos, people screaming and hanging out of windows," Captain John Romero said. "Everything was moving fast. We were dealing not with minutes, but seconds."

Officials are still investigating the fire's cause.

Michigan State to celebrate the great outdoors 

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University is set to host the 98th annual Agriculture and Natural Resources Week.

This year's edition is to get under way on Saturday and run through March 9.

ANR Week is held on the school's East Lansing campus.

It features meetings, workshops and conferences on the topics of agriculture, horticulture and natural resources.



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