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Beyond the books…

AAUP censure?

As a result of President Judy Genshaft’s handling of the Sami Al-Arian case, the university may be censured this summer by the American Association of University Professors. The AAUP holds an annual meeting in June, and in February, after Al-Arian was terminated, Jonathan Knight, associate secretary for AAUP said the organization was concerned with how the situation was handled. It seems likely the USF could find itself censured after the meeting.

Budget cuts

Beginning today, state lawmakers enter a two-week special session to determine what will be done about the state’s struggling budget. A final vote will be taken May 27. The outcome will determine tuition and fee increases for the fall semester, so students would be wise to keep informed on the proceedings. The plan now includes a 12.5 percent tuition increase for students and a budget cut for public universities totaling more than $100 million.

New Provost

USF Provost S. David Stamps surprised students and faculty when he announced his resignation during the last week of spring classes. Stamps cited health concerns as a reason for stepping down. Renu Khator, presently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will take over as interim provost July 1. That arrangement will last until the university finds a permanent replacement.

C-USA Debut

Entering its seventh season, 2003 is another landmark for the USF Bulls football team. The Bulls play their first year in Conference USA. Last year’s season ended with the Bulls at 9-2. Their first game for the 2003 season is Sept. 27. On Oct. 4, they will play their first C-USA home game against Louisville. Their schedule includes games against eight of the 10 C-USA teams. The move to C-USA will test the progress of head coach Jim Leavitt’s team.

New student body president

After a runoff, two disqualifications and a Student Government Supreme Court trial, a new student body president was finally named. The Omar Khan and Ryan Morris team was inaugurated as the new student body president and vice president. The previous year, history was made when, for the first time, a ticket won two consecutive terms. What remains to be seen is how the students and staff adjust to Khan and Morris after two terms of Mike Griffin and Dave Mincberg. Keep an eye out to see how smoothly the team transitions into USF chief ambassadors and how Khan handles his new position on the Board of Trustees.

Housing additions

Striving to reach a goal of housing the second highest number of on-campus residents in the state by 2004, new housing will be completed this summer, while other renovation projects begin. Both located on Maple Drive, construction of Greek housing and the new Maple residence hall should be finished by August. Renovation will then begin on Beta Hall. If all goes as planned, the university will avoid the overload of last fall when Residence Services guaranteed about 230 students housing when they didn’t have room for them.

Al-Arian’s case may go to trial in July with his persistence for a speedy trial. On May 1 he elected to represent himself in the proceedings. It is still unknown whether he’ll get his wish since defense attorneys claim they need another year to review paperwork and taped conversations before the trial. If Al-Arian does choose to represent himself, this could turn national attention back to USF.

Alumni center expansion

After more than $4.7 million and seven months of construction, the expansion of the Alumni Center should be finished by June. Additions to the center include an alumni ballroom which seats 200, two conference centers and an outdoor courtyard. Also, an existing clubroom will be renovated to seat 200 people. The renovations will leave the center’s interior with a more traditional look. Lisa Lewis, director of the Alumni Center, said the building will be used to for alumni as well as community events.

New athletic center

In February, the Florida Board of Education approved funding for the construction of an athletic facility. The two-story center will be located on the north side of the Sun Dome. The 103,000-square-foot facility will include locker rooms for men’s and women’s sports teams, weight training areas, athletic department offices, athletic team offices, an academic support center, a sports medicine center and meeting rooms.

Marshall Center renovation

A renovation of the Phyllis P. Marshall Center is almost ready to begin after a year of planning. By the end of the summer, the Tampa Room is expected to be renovated to include more food options and it will resemble a mall-style food court. Also included in these plans is the opening of the Bulls Eye Sports Grill and Bar. This would be a venue that serves alcohol and is expected to be located in either the basement or on the first floor of the Marshall Center. Furthermore, this summer, Freshens, an ice cream and smoothie chain, will replace the natural health food store. The store, scheduled to open today, will sell fruit, yogurt, coffee-based smoothies, scoop ice cream and soft-serve frozen yogurt.