UM has garnered local, national and international attention this school year as a hotbed for political action and social debate, among other things. What follows is a rundown of the 10 most influential news stories of the year:
A student received an unwelcome surprise when insects and feces came out with his coffee from a Hecht vending machine. The company that owns and operates the machine, along with administration, immediately took action to remedy the situation. This article received a record number of hits on The Hurricane’s website, and incidentally, letters to the editor were received claiming that this was not an unusual occurrence with the vending machines. Yuck!
Crime on campus:
A series of crimes on campus had students on edge after a disabled teenager was sexually assaulted in the Wellness Center locker room. Several e-mail alerts were sent out informing students of that and other incidents: an unwelcome “hugger” by Stanford Circle, “flashers” in several parking lots on campus and a purse-snatcher by the School of Music. No e-mail alerts have been sent out since.
President Shalala launched the billion-dollar fundraising effort to improve students, faculty and facilities at UM. Along with the official announcement came news of the $33 million donation from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost to the School of Music, which was renamed in their honor. It was the largest donation to a university-based music school in the United States. To date, the Momentum campaign has raised $600,455,961.
Gay Activism at UM:
Gay issues were spotlighted throughout the year as campus organizations took a stand on equal rights. Student Government passed a resolution against the Federal Marriage Amendment, SpectrUM hosted the first-ever statewide conference to address GLBTQ issues and OUTspoken held a symbolic wedding to represent equal rights under the law.
Due to multiple alcohol violations on the local and state level, the charter of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at UM was officially suspended early in the school year. After a thorough investigation, the national chapter removed their charter, meaning that the fraternity is no longer on campus.
Affirmative Action Becomes an Issue:
The Advocates for Conservative Thought caused an uproar in the UM community with their “Affirmative Action Bake Sale.” International and minority student organizations countered with their own “free bake sale,” and students are currently working together to arrange discussion forums to raise awareness on this issue.
Department of International Studies Closes:
In a surprise move by administration, the Department of International Studies was closed in favor of a Global Affairs Program. Student mobilization brought forth an apology by College of Arts and Sciences Dean James Wyche concerning the way the situation was handled. Currently students, faculty and administration are working together to decide the new direction of the program.
Student Government Elections:
“The Storm” ticket emerged victorious after the highest voter turnout in UM Student Government election history. Almosy 3,000 people voted in the highly publicized elections, complete with eight competent presidential candidates, controversial Hurricane editorials and campaign mudslinging.
Kerry Rocks the Rock:
Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry drew thousands of people to the Rock when he came to campus for a campaign rally. A preview for the debates to come, students dispelled rumors of political apathy as they gave up their Sunday to hear Kerry speak.
Presidential Debate to be held at UM:
The announcement that put UM on the map. UM will make headlines this fall, and this time it will be for something other than football. Students will get the opportunity to be a part of history, as the first 2004 Presidential Debate will take place at the Convocation Center on Sept. 30. The event is expected to bring huge crowds, tight security and extensive media coverage.