PSU advocate Debbie Murdock dies — 08/14/07 Debbie Murdock, the government relations advocate for Portland State who was credited with helping the university grow immensely for more than a decade, died in August from complications due to cancer. Murdock worked as a lobbyist to the state Legislature, advocating for funding on behalf of PSU. She was highly respected among colleagues and state officials, having worked in her role for more than 14 years. The City of Portland and PSU held two ceremonies to commemorate her life in late September and a clock tower at the Southwest corner of the Urban Plaza was dedicated to her in May.
PSU advocate Debbie Murdock dies — 08/14/07Debbie Murdock, the government relations advocate for Portland State who was credited with helping the university grow immensely for more than a decade, died in August from complications due to cancer.Murdock worked as a lobbyist to the state Legislature, advocating for funding on behalf of PSU. She was highly respected among colleagues and state officials, having worked in her role for more than 14 years.
The City of Portland and PSU held two ceremonies to commemorate her life in late September and a clock tower at the Southwest corner of the Urban Plaza was dedicated to her in May.
OSPIRG losses access to student fees — 10/12/07The Student Fee Committee cut OSPIRG’s access to student fees, stating OSPIRG should not be considered a student group because students do not make decisions about how the group operates and that most of the student fee money it receives is taken off campus.
OSPIRG is a long-standing student group at Portland State that focuses on research and advocacy that will potentially benefit students. They have sister programs that do similar advocacy at statewide and national levels.
The group was slated to receive $128,235 in student fees, $102,000 of which would have been used to fund operations off campus. Because they lost their status as a student group, they were told to vacate their office, and did, in February.
Student Flee Committee – 01/08/08Even before budget season, the most important and time-consuming part of the Student Fee Committee’s year, the committee had experienced drastic turnover, losing all but one of its elected members.
The SFC is made up of eight members who are given the task of allocating $12 million in student fees each year. Seven of those members are elected, and by January six had already resigned, calling into question validity of a committee made up of almost entirely appointed members.
The committee was the center of attention again in February, when Rudy Soto asked the SFC to put money designated for the Oregon Student Association in a reserve until the association accepted his highly contentious proposal to alter OSA’s structure. The SFC finished out the year by not increasing the student incidental fee for 2008-09, which hasn’t happened for three years.
Sustainability office finds new voice — 02/19/08Portland State has been actively involved in making itself more sustainable for some time. When Noelle Studer was hired as campus sustainability coordinator in February, she came with a host of new green plans.
She spearheaded plans to submit a report in the summer to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, which will track PSU’s sustainability. She also came to PSU with plans to increase the visibility of the sustainability office and working to bring in greater campus involvement.Other accomplishments this year, by Studer and many others involved in sustainability, include making less waste during the annual 10-week RecycleMania competition, taking a comprehensive look at PSU’s utility consumption and the formation of the Sustainability Advisory Council, which met for the first time May 23.
Vikings make first trip to March Madness — 03/20/08A historic season from the men’s basketball team was the pinnacle of sports news–at that, any news at Portland State–this past year. After defeating Northern Arizona in the Big Sky Tournament championship game at the Rose Garden, Portland State earned its first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Vikings headed to the Midwest to face off with a star-laden Kansas team. The No. 16 Vikings came up short, losing to No. 1 Kansas by 24 points.
The Big Sky Championship, also a first for the Vikings, and appearance in March Madness capped off a season where Portland State strung together a nine-game winning streak and boasted both the conference’s most valuable player in junior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez and coach of the year in Ken Bone.
PSU athletes arrested in Mexico — 03/31/08Less than two weeks after they led the Vikings to a debut at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Scott Morrison and Jeremiah Dominguez were arrested in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on charges of assault and battery. The story drew headlines nationwide and made the front page of The Oregonian five days in a row.
While the basketball standouts were vacationing with friends at the spring break hot spot to celebrate their appearance in March Madness, Morrison and Dominguez became implicated in an incident that left another college student from Michigan, who was working in Cabo during spring break, with a shattered jaw. A few days later, local police tracked down and arrested the pair.
After spending two nights in a Mexican jail, Morrison and Dominguez were released and returned home. Since then, the charges have been dropped because evidence against the PSU athletes could not be substantiated. Morrison and Dominguez both denied any involvement.
Debate team hosts national competition — 04/11/08When the PSU Debate Team hosted the 2008 U.S. National Debate Championships–a competition that brought 64 teams from around the country to campus–they had already experienced a year of successes.Throughout the year, the team brought in awards from many competitions, such as the second- and third-place win, in different categories, by team co-coordinator Josh Gross at the 2008 World Universities Debating Championship, which was held in Bangkok during winter break.
The national debate competition came after months of preparation from the team and a year of anticipation. It ended up being 20 percent larger than the 2007 competition held at Claremont McKenna College in California.
Faculty pay disputes comes to a head — 04/11/08After months of salary negotiations and mediations–as well as murmurs of bitter feelings and discontent–between the PSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the university administration, the AAUP declared a state of impasse April 11.
Battling over what the AAUP sees as unfair pay in their still unfinished 2007-09 contract, the union left the mediation process it began in January and took one step closer to a possible strike with the impasse declaration.
The union has stated that they receive significantly less pay than their contemporaries. According to the AAUP, PSU faculty make $3,000 to $7,000 less than University of Oregon and Oregon State University professors.
If a contract agreement is not made between the two groups, the union said they may strike-but not until at least fall.
Wim Wiewel named eighth PSU president – 05/02/08After two of the three finalists in the running for the PSU presidency dropped out early, Wim Wiewel, the only remaining candidate, was hired as Portland State’s next president.
Many around the university considered Wiewel, who currently works as the provost and vice president of the University of Baltimore, the frontrunner for the position. Wiewel will take over for interim president Michael Reardon, who has been PSU’s acting president since Daniel Bernstine left the job in June 2007.Wiewel’s academic background is focused on urban planning. His goals include becoming a civic leader and focusing PSU’s success with sustainability. The State Board of Higher Education hired him on May 2.
Bomb threats activate PSU Alert – 05/07/08Portland State’s new emergency notification system, PSU Alert, was put to the test this spring when an anonymous caller threatened a bomb would detonate in the Branford P. Millar Library at noon.
The new system sent out mass e-mails and text messages throughout the day to students, faculty and staff who signed up for the system, notifying them of the threat and updating them about the progress of searching for the bomb and the reopening of the library.
No bomb was found and the library was reopened later that day. Two bomb threats occurred earlier in the year, but both were also false alarms. The administration began seriously considering a notification system after the massacre at Virginia Tech last year and the first bomb threat. They eventually spent $30,000 for the new alert system.