News Briefs

Credit and debit cards nationwide potentially compromised, PSU officially partners with Smithsonian Institution, State government establishes stand on education reporting, University librarian candidates to visit PSU, Panel to discuss the role of the student press in reporting campus controversies

Credit and debit cards nationwide potentially compromised

Several major credit card companies have found their databases compromised, which puts credit card and debit card holders at potential risk.

Global Payments, a partner of several major card companies that execute transactions, acknowledged that there is potential risk to Visa, MasterCard, Disover and American Express cardholders’ accounts. In a company statement issued on April 1, Global Payments announced that more than one million card numbers may have been leaked via a hack into its system.

“The company continues to work with industry third parties, regulators and law enforcement to assist in the efforts to minimize potential cardholder impact,” Global Payments stated in the press release.

While the numbers themselves may have been accessed, the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of cardholders were not obtained by the hacker. Cardholders who the companies suspect may be in danger of unauthorized charges will not be held liable for those charges.

Individuals who hold accounts associated with these major card companies are advised to pay special attention to their accounts for the foreseeable future and to inform their banks and other card issuers of any possible fraudulent activity.

Oregon Queer Youth Summit seeking community involvement

An empowering organization seeking to provide support and training about personal identity and social change is looking for community support from those who share a passion for the cause.

The Oregon Queer Youth Summit, set to take place May 12 on the Portland State campus, is currently looking for conference volunteers, workshop proposals, keynote speaker nominations, personal recruitments to attend the summit and organizations to table at the summit. They are hoping the 2012 summit will be the largest one yet.

“Coming to OQYS has taught me that I am intelligent and have something to offer my peers. I loved showing others what I love to do and helping them do the same,” said an attendee of 2011’s summit.

Any workshop used at the summit will come with a $50 reward for its proposer, and each keynote speaker at the summit will earn $50 in gratitude for their participation. Organizations that table at the summit will incur no charge.

Tabling request forms are due by April 30 and can be found at:

Workshop proposal submission forms are due by April 15 and can be found at:

Governor approves measuring gauges for Oregon schools

In the 2012–13 school year, the Oregon public school system will closely analyze 197 school districts, 17 community colleges, seven universities and the Oregon Health and Science University, in an effort to test the learning skills of various groups of students. This process will be part of a statewide education reform system meant to discover weaknesses and focus on fixing them.

The hope is that this process will move the Oregon education system closer to the established goal of a “40-40-20” future, wherein 40 percent of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent have some higher education experience and 20 percent have a high school degree or equivalency.

“In terms of meeting 40-40-20 goals, PSU is doing everything we can to expand classroom space, increase the number of advisors on campus and do everything possible to meet the needs of students,” said Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU.

Areas of focus for these proposals are said to include studies of which high school students pass a certain number of classes, how many community college students eventually transfer to four-year universities and how many students at four-year universities are able to retain on a year-to-year basis.

PSU officially partners with Smithsonian Institution

Portland State and the Smithsonian Institution have been researching together since 2004, but will now be officially complementing each other.

The two organizations signed an agreement on March 20 agreeing to allow Smithsonian researchers to study the area around PSU, while PSU researchers are allowed to make use of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center near Chesapeake Bay. Both organizations agreed to the deal based on a feeling of mutual benefit from the resources each has to offer.

“We are an academic institution. The Smithsonian is one of the greatest resources for research, history, architecture, et cetera, and working with them will be a huge boon for us,” said Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU.

SERC is one of nine research centers operated by the Smithsonian Institution, and PSU may have the opportunity to branch out its research if the partnership is successful. University leaders believe that this partnership will be a chance to display PSU’s research and development talents to a large audience.

State government establishes stand on education reporting

Oregon schools will have significant educational milestones to reach this coming year.

For the 2012-13 school year, state school districts will have specific requirements that must be met, as a part of the government’s quest to improve the quality of Oregon education. The state will send out reports on April 2 detailing how many students have met the specific requirements in the recent past, and schools will have to decide by July 2 what their proposals for improvement will be. They will be notified and reprimanded if their goals are too low.

“We’re trying to develop more scholarships to get more financial aid to students to attend PSU so they can finish on time,” explained Scott Gallagher, director of communications at PSU.

Categories that will receive special interest will include third-grade math and reading test results, absences among sixth graders, credits earned by ninth graders, college credits earned during high school, overall time spent to graduate high school, and the overall number of high school graduates and college graduates.

University librarian candidates to visit PSU

Portland State is in the process of hiring for the position of University Librarian. Three candidates will be visiting campus and giving presentations. The candidates have been asked to address the following questions: What opportunities and challenges do you foresee for academic libraries in the next five years? How do we begin addressing them now? Do you think libraries serving urban universities have different opportunities, responsibilities, and challenges? Why?

According to an email sent out by Provost Roy Koch, candidate names and materials will be posted on the Office of Academic Affairs webpage 24 hours prior to their visits to campus. There will also be a forum for posting feedback for each candidate.

Presentation schedule

Candidate A: Monday, April 9, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Smith Memorial Student Union room 236, Cascade Room

Candidate B: Thursday, April 12, noon to 1 p.m., SMSU room 338, Vanport Room

Candidate C: Monday, April 16, 1 to 2 p.m., SMSU room 236, Cascade Room

Panel to discuss the role of the student press in reporting campus controversies

On Thursday, April 19, PSU will host an open forum panel discussion in the Cascade Room of the Smith Memorial Student Union. The panel will address Grant High School’s coverage of their own school’s hazing incident, as well as controversial topics about Portland State that have been printed in the Vanguard.

The panel includes: David Austin, advisor to Grant Magazine, former Oregonian reporter and member of the news team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007; Christian Gaston, managing editor of the Forest Grove News-Times; Tracy Mattner, a PSU student and campus news reporter for The Rearguard; Grant High School students and reporters Ryan Yambra, Ruby Sutton and Hanna Olson.

The event will be moderated by PSU Professor Paul Collins.