A recap of the the summer’s news

| Senior News Editor

The 2008-09 academic year at Washington University was one of many administrative, environmental, political and campus life-related changes. Issues and events that arose in the past two semesters will continue to play a role and affect students throughout this year. Several of these changes have been summarized below.

Metro Restorations

Last summer, Metro received $12 million in stimulus money from the Missouri legislature and $6 million from the Federal Transit Administration to restore 55 percent of the cut bus service. Metro also made changes to routes affecting Danforth Campus. On March 30, Metro had cut 44 percent of its bus service, 32 percent of its light rail service and 15 percent of Call-a-Ride service. St. Louis County is now considering putting Proposition M—transit sales-tax hike—on the April county ballot. This initiative was on last November’s ballot, but it failed by 3 percent. School leaders hint that another campaign could be in the works. The measure would restore full transit service.

Construction Projects

The topography of the South 40 has undergone significant changes this past summer, with the demolition of the former Wohl Center and completion of the new Umrath Hall and the first phase of South 40 House. Both construction projects began in early 2008. In place of Bear Mart and Center Court, students will find the new Bear’s Grill and Bakery and a redesigned Bear Mart in South 40 House. Meanwhile, the construction of Brauer Hall across from Brookings for the engineering school, which began in October 2008, is going as planned. At Convocation on Thursday, Wrighton said that the building will be ready to open in spring 2010.

Financial Troubles

Amid this past year’s global economic crisis, Chancellor Mark Wrighton announced in April that the University was facing significant financial troubles of its own. In an e-mail to the University community in March, Wrighton addressed the status of the endowment, which he estimated had dropped 25 percent since July 2008. The Danforth Campus, according to Wrighton, will operate on an anticipated annual deficit of $20 million to $25 million in fiscal 2011 due to “the need for greater financial aid commitments, the rise in benefits costs, the diminished prospects for philanthropic support, and the likelihood that tuition increases will be smaller in the future.” High-level school officials held a “State of the University” address late April to answer questions and speak to concerns of students, faculty and staff. In spite of the projected financial shortfalls, Wrighton said in a recent interview with Student Life that the University will be “placing a lot of emphasis as we look ahead to securing more commitment for [student] financial aid.”

Admissions Director

The University welcomed Julie Shimabukuro as its new director of admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions in July. A 1987 University graduate and former director of international recruitment, Shimabukuro brings 16 years of experience as an admissions officer to the table. During her undergraduate career, she studied psychology, volunteered with the Student Admissions Committee as a tour guide and served as a residential advisor. Shimabukuro succeeds Nanette Tarbouni, the University’s former admissions director of 14 years and admissions office employee of 25 years. Tarbouni is now director of college counseling at John Burroughs School, a college preparatory day school in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue.

Art Sci Computing

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences will now have to obey a new pay-for-print system this fall. One-sided printing will cost 4 cents per sheet, two-sided printing 6 cents per sheet and color printing 25 cents per sheet. According to Arts & Sciences Computing, the policy change was made in an “effort to manage resources more carefully and encourage conservation.” Restrictions have been lifted on what material and how many copies students can print. In addition, the Computing Center in the basement of Eads Hall will have more printers.

Tobacco Ban

The University announced a comprehensive smoking and tobacco ban on all University-owned property late April, effective July 2010, citing its commitment to creating a healthier and more comfortable environment for all in the University community. The administration has formed three separate committees to help relay new information throughout the planning process and gauge feedback from undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. Following the announcement, Student Union passed a resolution decrying the lack of student input in the administration’s decision and requesting a balance between compromise and student involvement in the process.

With additional reporting by Kate Gaertner

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