Updating some of this year’s biggest stories

By Kalan K. Birnie, Hayley Burcher, Holden Fatheree, Christopher Francis, Katherine Na, & Ethan Tan

This semester, the Foghorn has covered a number of pressing news stories affecting the USF community. Many of these situations have developed since the original stories were published.

In a nod to the New York Times’ slogan, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” the Foghorn has put together a collection of updates that are fit to print for the final issue of the semester.

CURTAINS CLOSED: PRESENTATION THEATER OFFICIALLY SHUT DOWN THIS FALL (Aug. 29)

It is still unclear when Presentation Theater will be opening its doors again, if ever. While official channels are still suggesting that renovations will be complete by spring 2020, this remains a generous estimate. A handful of student organizations are joining forces to advocate for the theater’s swift reopening. These organizations — which include the College Players, ASUSF Senate, Voices, Culturally Focused Clubs Council, International Student Association, Kasamahan, and USFTv — have written a letter to the Provost urging the University to prioritize the needs of the community. The group, lead by ASUSF Senate VP of Finance Tiana Valerio and USF Director of Performance Spaces Joshua McDermott, has also worked with administration to help orgs deal with the liminal period between Presentation’s closing and (possible) re-opening. This has mainly been focused on the relocation of events to either on or off campus locations. 

A CAMPUS UNDER CONSTRUCTION (Aug. 29)

The Foghorn reported in August that the opening of the new Lone Mountain Residence Hall had been delayed from fall 2020 to spring 2021. The University website now lists the opening date as fall 2021, a full year behind the original schedule. The initial delay was caused by unexpected issues in the permitting process, complicated soil conditions, and the discovery of asbestos. It is not clear what the specific cause is for the new delay. Construction crews began installing individual windows on Nov. 19. When the project is finally completed, the University will be able to guarantee on-campus housing for all first- and second-year students who want it. Meanwhile, the Wolf & Kettle Café, which is being expanded to provide twice as much seating as before, is on track for completion in summer 2020. The construction of the Sobrato Center at War Memorial Gym, which began in summer 2019, is still going strong.

CAF QUIETLY IMPROVES HEALTH SAFETY SCORE TO 86; ‘ADEQUATE’ AT LAST (Oct. 16)

In August, the Market Café’s health score improved from an 80 to 86 — but the caf’s signage did not initially reflect this change. A Foghorn reporter contacted Bon Appétit management about not posting the updated scores, as well as continuing to post a scorecard of a 98 from the on-campus catering service in the Market Café. Soon after this communication, management placed the appropriate scoresheets in the caf, but the sheets have been moved from the main entryway to Bon Appétit’s office door. The misleading “98” scorecard was not removed until later in the semester.

Some students have noticed a correlation between the posting of the 98 and weekends when parents or alumni are invited to campus. Bon Appetit’s USF leadership has repeatedly denied any connection between displaying the misleading scorecard and special events like Family Weekend, which this year coincided with CelebrateUSF.

COOKIES, EMAILS AND BROWSING HISTORY: USF’S TRACKING STRATEGY (Oct. 24)

Two Foghorn staff members submitted Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requests on Oct. 15 to review data that the University had collected on them during their admissions processes. The FERPA requests, which were fulfilled during the week of Nov. 4, didn’t reveal any information beyond the expected. The files included standard documents, such as copies of the Common Application, high school transcripts, USF acceptance letters, and USF transcripts. These findings suggest that Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Michael Beseda was accurate in describing USF’s data tracking and collection practices as “conservative.”

TUITION TO POTENTIALLY INCREASE BY 4.9% (Oct. 29)

On Friday, Dec. 6, the Board of Trustees will be voting on a potential tuition increase of 4.9% at their quarterly meeting. Dons for Fair Tuition, an on-campus student advocacy group, is organizing a protest against the tuition hike that same day, just outside of the Board’s meeting. The University Budget Advisory Council (UBAC) will be meeting the following week on Thursday, Dec. 12 in a joint meeting with the President’s Cabinet to review budget assist proposals, which are non-discretionary funding requests made by departments. An anonymous member of UBAC told the Foghorn that UBAC received an email response to their memo, which listed questions about the potential tuition increase on Nov. 21. UBAC sent the memo to the Provost’s Council on Oct. 28. The memo had stipulated that UBAC wouldn’t recommend the tuition increase until it received answers to its questions — now that UBAC has received a response, it’s unclear how they will respond to the tuition hike.

INSIDE iWALLET (Nov. 7)

The Foghorn reported that iWallet was in violation of University and Student Leadership Engagement (SLE) bylaws by partnering with Green and Gold student organizations to recruit users. At the time of publishing, SLE was unaware of the violations. Since then, SLE and administrators have begun reviewing iWallet’s practices and its presence on campus.

In the meantime, iWallet CEO and founder Jim Kolchin was recognized at halftime of the Nov. 11 USF men’s basketball game against Yale. He was presented with a Dons basketball jersey by Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director Frank Allocco. iWallet is an official sponsor of Dons Athletics for the 2019-20 season.

iWallet continues to partner with on-campus organizations. On Nov. 26, iWallet tabled with the Entrepreneurship Club in front of Lo Schiavo.

NO CONFIDENCE? PROVOST HELLER SUBJECT OF FACULTY PETITION (Nov. 21)

On Nov. 20, the USF Faculty Association (USFFA) received 95 signed petitions calling for a no-confidence vote in Provost Donald Heller. The USFFA also approved the formal procedures of a no-confidence resolution. Prior to the circulation of the petition, the union did not have formal procedures for a no-confidence resolution.

The USFFA held general membership meetings to discuss the resolution on Dec. 3. The next day, an electronic secret ballot was sent to all 428 members of the union. The ballot will remain open for 10 business days. Upon closure of the ballot the USFFA Executive Board will have five business days to present a written report on the confidence/no confidence vote to the USFFA Policy Board, the subject of the petition, and other relevant parties. Upon delivery of the report, the results of the vote will be communicated to all members of the USFFA. 

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UNDER THE RADAR

Issues to be aware of:

ASUSF Senate Vacancies

ASUSF Senate, the undergraduate student government, has five vacant positions at the time of publication. 

Vice President of Internal Affairs Elijah Evans resigned early in the semester. He was replaced by then-Senior Class Representative Cassie Murphy. Vice President of Advocacy Paolo Sayas resigned in November, citing concerns with his schedule. Junior Class Representative John Iosefo tendered his resignation upon the conclusion of the semester, as did Sophomore Class Representative Chloe Famighetti. Both will be studying abroad in the spring. 

As of Dec. 3, vacant positions are: Vice President of Advocacy, Senior Class Representative, Junior Class Representative, Sophomore Class Representative, Military Veterans Student Representative, and Students of Color Representative. At the time of press, Senate was in the process of interviewing applicants.

Dean Camperi Stepping Down

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Marcelo Camperi is stepping down from his position as dean for the 2020-21 academic year. Camperi has been in the position for the past 10 years, starting his tenure in November 2010. Camperi, a physics and astronomy professor, told the Foghorn that he “personally decided a while ago that [he] was not going to seek an extension to [his] current contract.” Once he steps down, Camperi plans to return to research and is excited to get back into the classroom to interact with students.

He noted that he has enjoyed his tenure and creating “an excellent academic experience for students and a nurturing environment for faculty and staff to thrive personally.”

In the search for a new dean, the union hopes to have a seat at the table, as Provost Donald Heller has the power to select Camperi’s replacement. 

A dean is responsible for all parts of their college, from curating course offerings, planning, and managing faculty. The dean also works closely with University leadership and is seen as the liaison between the college and the administration. 

Heller explained in an email that a dean typically serves on contract for five years and that in “the final year of a dean’s contract, I discuss with him or her the possibility of staying on for a subsequent term or not.” There is no term limit, Heller addeds that University Library Dean, Tyrone Cannon, has served for the past 24 years.

Professor Sonja Martin Poole, president of the USFFA, said that the union has not been formally notified that Camperi is stepping down. She added, “In the event a search for a new dean is called, faculty are typically asked to serve on the search committee.” 

A new search is expected to start on Jan. 1, 2020, according to Heller, as Camperi has finalized his decision to not seek reappointment. To address faculty concerns, Heller stated that he would follow prior precedent by having a faculty well represented on the search committee, as this is not the first time Heller has appointed a dean or an interim one. He as of December 2019 has appointed three permanent deans. More recently though on August 2019, Heller appointed Charles Moses as interim dean of the School of Management.

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