2009-2010 Year in Review
As another school year draws to a close, The Observer takes a look back at the top ten stories that made you pick up the paper on Friday mornings.
Issue date: 4/23/10 Section: Opinion
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1. DC++ shut down permanently
The popular intraweb file-sharing network - known commonly as "the hub" - was shut down after Case ITS informed hub administrators that the protocol used to run DC++ would be permanently banned from the Case network. Hub administrators graciously shut down the network before the protocol was forcibly banned by ITS, thanking students for their support of the hub since 2002. In its eight years on campus, over 5000 unique accounts were set up on the hub and shortly before it was closed over 90 terabytes of media and other files were being shared. Since the shutdown, however, Case students have complained of slow internet speeds, frequent connectivity problems, and inadequate bandwidth, suggesting that without such an intranet file-sharing network, students are resorting to frequent streaming on websites such as Hulu and illegal music torrenting.
2. Performing Arts at Temple-Tifereth announced
The show will go on for the theatre, dance, and music departments, and that show will eventually take place in the stunning Temple-Tifereth just west of Wade Lagoon. At a press conference on March 19, president Barbara Snyder revealed that Case Western would be taking over the Temple-Tifereth Israel to transform it into a performing arts center with seating for over 2000, as well as rehearsal rooms, studios, and offices for the theatre, dance, and music department faculty. Although the estimated cost of remodeling the space into a state-of-the-art performing arts center is estimated to be roughly $25 million, Case is well on its way after Milton and Tamar Maltz, a local philanthropic couple with long-standing ties to Case and the Cleveland Jewish community, donated $12 million to kick off the fundraising.
3. SEC Controversy take 1, take 2
Early January and February issues featured constant coverage of the SEC/Media Board salary referendum. The referendum, which asked students if it was appropriate for student salaries to be paid out of Student Activities Fee (SAF) money, sparked some controversy after allegations that the senior class officers had sent out emails biased against student salaries. In the end, 60 percent of the 1300 students who voted opposed the use of SAF for student salaries, ending a fiery SEC debate.
However, just weeks later it was announced that two different proposals to reexamine Greek life funding had been filed with SEC by the Class Officers Collective. Once again, SEC meetings were consumed with contentious debate as varying proposals - from cutting Greek Week funds to eliminating Greek life's SAF funding entirely - were discussed at length. SEC voted to remove 19 percent [approximately $7000] of Greek life funding less than 24 hours after an accumulated $80,000 rollover was discovered in Greek life's budgets. Greek life immediately obtained the 800 signatures necessary to start a USG-sponsored campus-wide referendum, similar to that of Media Board's in January, but Greek life has been denied the opportunity of a referendum this semester by the USG executive board, which claims that there is too little time left in the year to sponsor such a referendum.
4. Fire at Sigma Nu
Shortly after fall classes began in August, a fire broke out on the third floor of the Sigma Nu fraternity house. The fire, which began in one student's room, not only destroyed the room in which it began but also caused significant smoke damage in the hallway outside and in some of the surrounding rooms. Although the property damage was high, everyone was evacuated safely and no one was injured during the fire. Brothers were temporarily relocated to Cutler on Northside and everyone had moved back into the repaired house by the end of the fall semester. The fire prompted Housing, Residence, and Greek Life staff to perform stringent fire and safety inspections of residence halls and Greek houses throughout the rest of the semester to ensure that such an event would be less likely to recur.
5. Swine flu frenzy
Throughout the summer of 2009, Case had 12 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza, more commonly known as swine flu, but no cases appeared on campus again until early October, when six students tested positive within one week. Immediately signs were posted around campus cautioning students and staff not to enter campus buildings or attend classes if they had been running fevers or were experiencing flu-like symptoms. By the end of the month, more than 25 students had tested positive for swine flu, although it was suspected that dozens more suffered from swine flu than reported. More than 1000 Case students rushed to receive both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines in hopes of preventing further spread of either virus.
6. Summer Crime Wave
Students were shocked to open their email accounts last June only to discover that a Case graduate student had been sexually assaulted in broad daylight while jogging around Wade Lagoon. Students were even more upset a day later when another security alert was issued for a robbery that had taken place, also at Wade Lagoon. A third security alert - this time occurring at the Cedar-University Rapid Station and involving two individuals not affiliated with the university - was sent out a week later. The fourth security alert, sent a month later, detailed an incident involving a Case student abducted at gun point and forced to withdraw money from several local ATMs. Both University Circles and Case Western police forces immediately began additional foot and bicycle patrols and added a second Safe Ride vehicle for students' use. Despite the additional measures, however, students were still shaken by the crime spree, which left many students with a permanent feeling of unease.
7. Cleveland orchestra goes on strike
The world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra struck a rare sour note early this year: after extended contractual disagreements with the group's management, during which the management ultimately proposed cutting musicians' salaries from those comparable to a tier-one orchestra is to those of a tier-two, the 101 musicians went on strike. Orchestra members and supporters stood obstinately outside Severance Hall for several days, protesting the management's proposals. However, the strike officially lasted all of one and a half days, as orchestra members and management sat down and settled the conflict, in hopes of minimizing the damage. Although the orchestra missed one engagement at Indiana University, it still made their engagements in Miami, FL where they started making sweet music again.
8. Leutner renovations announced
When students returned from fall break this year, they were surprised to see a large chain-link fence and construction equipment surrounding Leutner commons, the Northside dining hall. Though largely unpublicized, the Leutner remodeling project began on Oct. 19 and is on track to finish by the beginning of the 2010 school year. When finished, the new exterior will look similar to that of the Mandel Center for Non-Profits nearby on Bellflower Road, featuring exposed beams and large panes of glass. The newly renovated Leutner will be more accessible, featuring elevators and bathrooms on the top floor as well as overflow dining room seating and a cozy, 24-hour study space. The Spot will also be transformed into a chic, lounge-like coffee house space with comfortable furniture.
9. Water main freezes, breaks
When students living on Southside woke up one particularly chilly Saturday morning in February, they were disappointed to discover they had no running water. Early in the morning on Feb. 6, a 24-inch main at the corner of Adelbert and Murray Hill Roads burst, flooding the intersection with thousands of gallons of water and totally submerging the RTA and CSX railroad tracks for the weekend. Damage to Case facilities was light - the art studio, the closest campus building to the break, had no flooding at all. However, confusion ensued as both the Cleveland Department of Water and Case sent different emails at different times announcing boil alerts for the Southside area. The boil alert expired at the end of the weekend, and roughly two weeks later, construction workers had patched over the broken main so that the intersection would once again be accessible to vehicular traffic.
10. Case hosts Kindle DX experiment
Forty lucky random CHEM 111 students were offered the opportunity to test out electronic versions of textbooks with brand new Kindle DXs last August. Case was only one of seven universities invited to participate in the experiment sponsored by Amazon and the Kindle. Students had both electronic and traditional textbooks and were able to report back on how their study habits varied depending on the type of textbook they were using. Shortly into the spring semester, however, Case had to strike a deal with the Department of Justice following a lawsuit filed by a blind student against Arizona State University who argued that ASU's use of the Kindle was discriminatory against blind students. Case agreed not to pursue future use of the Kindle until it had been redesigned to be more user-friendly for blind students. However, this agreement will not affect this year's experiment, nor the researchers' recommendations following the results of the Case-Kindle experiment.