After a summer that saw the completion of the Commonwealth Avenue Improvement Project, the fall 2008 semester has seen its fair share of changes, not the least of which include a hiring freeze and the highest number of international students ever attending BU. Here are some of the biggest news stories reported this semester:
President freezes hiring, future projects
BU President Robert Brown implemented a hiring and construction freeze on Oct. 1 to prevent the struggling economy from affecting BU’s operating budget. About 200 to 250 positions would remain unfilled because of the freeze, Executive Vice President Joe Mercurio said in an Oct. 2 Daily Free Press article.
The Student Village Phase III has been postponed indefinitely because of the freeze, and College of General Studies fifth floor renovations have also been halted. Projects that include maintenance or necessary renovations, or those already in progress will continue despite the freeze.
COM senior stabs boyfriend
COM senior Victoria Lee was arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend, Joshua Clarke, at Sutra Lounge, a New York City nightclub, on Nov. 30. The Manhattan District Attorney has since charged Lee with assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree.
Lee struck Clarke over the head with a glass until it broke, and then took the remains and stabbed his neck, Sutra Lounge owner Ariel Palitz said.
Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony, meaning Lee could be sentenced to a maximum 25 years in prison, New York County Attorney spokeswoman Jennifer Kushner said. Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony, which means a maximum of seven years.
Lee’s court date is set for Dec. 29.
BU Central performer dies
Last Lights lead singer Dominic Mallary died Friday after a Dec. 4 BU Central performance. He had wrapped a microphone cord around his neck as part of his act, a move he had done many times before, band member Patrick Murphy said. The move is thought to have temporarily blocked air to his brain, though College of Arts and Sciences junior Jeanne Mansfield, who attended the performance, said he was active after the show.
‘It was probably one of the most energetic performances I’ve seen in a while,’ she said. ‘We were all just really surprised. It was so unexpected.’
Brown’s salary released
Boston University paid President Robert Brown at least $901,692 during the 2006-07 academic year, placing him among the top 20 of highest paid school presidents.
Suffolk University President David Sargent ranked first, with a compensation of $2.8 million
Union passes initiatives
The BU administration passed a Student Union initiative over the summer to extend the BU shuttle bus hours to run until 2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday this semester. Union President Matt Seidel said the Union joined forces with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore to establish the late night shuttle after several reported student attacks during the spring 2008 semester.
The Union Residence Life Committee also successfully pushed to have condoms available for purchase in the vending machines of the 11 large dormitories and one South Campus location. The Trojan Elexa condoms cost $2.50 for a pack of two and are available for the full academic year.
Bedbugs plague campus
The Office of Residence Life received an unusually high number of complaints about bedbugs this semester, forcing the ORL to develop a bed bug policy, BU spokesman Colin Riley said.
ORL sent bedbug-detecting beagles into 575 Commonwealth Avenue after receiving several complaints from residents in late September, and complaints continued on until mid-October. Exterminators sprayed the rooms on a case-by-case basis, which often came at the inconvenience of students.
‘BU was not helpful in this situation,’ CAS sophomore Kat Oxley said in an Oct. 2 Daily Free Press article.
COM radio tower comes down
COM Dean Tom Fiedler approved the removal of the radio tower that stood on top of COM for more than 50 years, citing that the tower sent ‘the wrong message’ about COM and was ‘old technology.’ The tower came down on Nov. 29.
Fiedler said some ideas he has to replace the radio tower with include a sign stating, ‘COM,’ or a giant LED screen.
attendance BU events
More than 4,600 students attended the PC-sponsored Welcome Back Weekend, and the PC-sponsored Sept. 20 Girl Talk concert sold out 1,500 tickets in two and a half hours. PC eventually opened up 150 balcony tickets, which sold out in 15 minutes.
More than 1,000 people lined up to get into the Sept. 6 Bo Burnham performance at BU Central. People began lining up to get into the show at around 6:30 p.m., even though the show did not begin until 9 p.m.
Nobel Honor for BU Research
Former BU adjunct professor Osamu Shimomura won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his 1962 discovery of the green fluorescent protein, a tool used in biomedical research when observing microscopic processes.
Shimomura won the award alongside Columbia University biological sciences professor Marin Chalfie, who attached the protein to a transparent roundworm to illuminate cell activity, and University of California, San Diego pharmacology professor Roger Tsien, who mutated the protein into different colors.
The three winners shared the 10 million kronar prize, which amounts to about $1.4 million. The ceremony took place Wednesday.