The Daily Iowan's semester in review

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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A victim of the 2008 flood, and after years of sitting abandoned, Hancher Auditorium came down this semester.

The building, which had been in use for 40 years, was destroyed by flooding in summer 2008 and was torn down in September.

A new Hancher is under construction, and the shape of the building will be completed this spring. Construction is on time and budget, officials have reported.

The new building will be completed in 2016.


As part of a two-year renovation, the University of Iowa Main Library added the Learning Commons, which was completed in August.

The commons includes a new coffee shop, interactive electronic displays, and numerous study rooms.

The construction in the library began in 2011 and is part of a three-phase renovation of the facility. The renovation cost $14.5 million to complete the 37,000-square-foot area.

The Main Library, whose first part was constructed in 1952, has finished all major construction, but renovations continue.


Independent movie theater FilmScene opened up to the public officially in December after a semester of showing movies on a more sporadic basis.

The theater is the first regular cinema in downtown Iowa City since 2007, when Campus 3 closed.
FilmScene, run by independent filmmakers Andrew Sherburne and Andy Brody, had been in discussions since 2011. It came to fruition in Marc Moen’s two-story Packing & Provisions Building, 118 E. College St.

The theater is combined with Bijou, a student organization that showed films on the UI campus until it merged with FilmScene this fall.

FilmScene was largely funded by a crowd-funding campaign, in which the group asked donors in the Iowa City area to donate online to reach the goal of $75,000. The group exceeded its goal in its set time frame, and as of Dec. 6, is now showing movies regualrly.

TA scandal

This fall, “sexting” was brought to the forefront of discussion after a UI teaching assistant in the Mathematics Department accidently emailed roughly 80 students nude pictures of herself, as well as a video of inappropriate actions.

The students received the email in late October and many turned to social media to share their findings.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said university officials would look into the action, and shortly after, the TA was removed from the classroom. While she is still employed for the UI, she does other teaching-assistant duties that do not involve students.

Tuition Freeze/Tuition Cut

As many anticipated, the state Board of Regents voted to freeze in-state tuition for undergraduate students at the regent universities for the second-straight year in early December.

The tuition freeze, pending approval from Iowa legislators, would apply for the 2014-15 school year.

In addition, the University of Iowa College of Law tuition was also dropped by 16.4 percent for both in-state and out-of-state students. This decision follows a recent decrease in the number of applicants and overall students in the college. Since 2010, the college has seen a roughly 24 percent decrease in the number of applicants.

Ped Mall

After becoming a highly contested issue surrounding the homeless population in Iowa City, the Iowa City City Council voted in September to pass the Pedestrial Mall ordinance, which drastically changes loitering policies in the Ped Mall.

Many community members saw the change being directed at the homeless population, but city councilors said the new ordinance was directed at anyone who displayed inappropriate behavior downtown.

The ordinance specifically prohibits storing personal property downtown, the use of public electrical outlets, soliciting at parking meters and Pedestrian Mall entrances, lying on planters, and lying on benches from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sexual assaults

UI Housing and Dining received three reports of sexual assault this semester, with two of them occurring on-campus.

The first sexual assault was reported in August in the area of Byington Road and Melrose Avenue.

Two sexual assaults were reported in November: one in a fraternity house and another in a residence hall.

All three people who filed the complaints reorted they were assaulted by acquaintances; none of them chose to press charges.

The UI officials received flack from some students who said they did not receive warnings in a timely manner, and they said the would continue to try to improve the process.

Shutdown affects Iowa

For 16 days, Iowans and people across the country watched as the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to come to an agreement on funding the government. This disagreement was largely based on the Republican controlled House insistence to defund the Affordable Care Act.

During the first shutdown since 1995, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch was shuttered along with some federal institutions in the state — including the USDA National Resources Conservation Service.

The Iowa National Guard furloughed 116 employees who were deemed “nonessential.”

Grassley announces he will run for re-election

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa announced in September he would run for re-election in 2016, which would be his seventh term in the Senate. The 80-year-old senator announced his intentions on the public television show “Iowa Press.” Grassley’s announcement means he will not follow his colleague Sen. Tom Harkin into retirement — Harkin announced he would not seek a sixth term in January.

Currently, three members of Iowa’s congressional delegation will be changing jobs in the coming years. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa announced his plan to retire this week, and Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa is running to replace Harkin in the Senate.

Election Night brings new councilors and keeps 21-ordinance

The 21-ordinance was upheld on Nov. 5 with 66 percent support as the 2010 ordinance, which prohibits people under the age of 21 being in the bars past 10 p.m., remained in effect. The ordinance has been voted on three times in the last six years. Iowa City also saw Kingsley Botchway, a six-year Iowa City resident, become the youngest face to join the Iowa City City Council. He came in with 41 percent of the votes for the at-large seat, joining incumbent Susan Mims. The 28-year-old’s platform focused on diversity initiatives and many socioeconomic developments that expand beyond downtown.

Newly elected Coralville Mayor John Lundell received a surprise call from Vice President Joe Biden to congratulate Lundell on the position after controversy swirled before the elections and grabbed national headlines. The debate was over the involvement of the interest group Americans for Prosperity, which campaigned against the city’s debt.

The voter turnout was large at 24.36 percent voter turnout. Lundell received 65 percent of votes and plans to focus on Coralville’s debt.

Ludell replaced Jim Fausset, who had been affiliated with Coralville for more than 50 years.

Brown found guilty

Brandon Brown was found guilty of the first-degree murder of 30-year-old Donelle Linsdey on Nov. 20.

On June 21, 2012, Brown asked Lindsey to walk with him and after a short distance, the two got into an argument. Brown then shot Lindsey with a handgun several times at close range near Mormon Trek and Melrose approximately 11:30 p.m.

Lindsey was transported to the UI Hospitals and Clinics but was pronounced dead from bullet wounds. Brown fled to Chicago and was apprehended on Aug. 21, 2012, and transported to the Johnson County Jail.

Brown’s sentencing is set for Jan. 6, 2014, at 1:30 p.m.

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