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That was the year that was

BY STACEY MURRAY | MAY 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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Dance Marathon

Dance Marathon celebrated its 20th “Big Event” in February. The dancers in lime green danced for 24-hours straight, with no sitting, no caffeine, and no sleeping. The organization said it raised a record $1.8 million, $271,000 more than the previous year.

This year’s fundraising brought the 20-year total to more than $13 million.

Flood recovery

Flood recovery continued on several UI construction projects, but the colder-than-usual winter and archaeological discoveries in Hubbard Park held up some projects.

IMU construction is set to finish by April 2015.

Crews working on the new Hancher worked around-the-clock to ensure its construction stayed on time. The arts-building project went vertical in March, and officials said the project remains “consistent” with the original plan.

Athletics

After an 8-4 regular season, the Iowa football team traveled to Tampa, Fla., to play in the Outback Bowl against LSU. Iowa lost on Jan. 1, 21-14.

The Hawkeye men’s basketball team broke the collective hearts of Iowa City, finishing 20-13 and going from a top-10 team to one that lost in a play-in game in the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks finished 9-9 in the Big Ten and suffered an embarrassing 67-62 loss to Northwestern.

The Iowa wrestling team finished fourth at the NCAA Tournament with 78.5 points; it had a 15-2 regular-season record. The Hawkeyes split a share of the Big Ten dual-meet championship with a 7-1 conference record. Tony Ramos won the national championship at 133 pounds.

Party School

The University of Iowa took the top spot.

In August 2013, the UI moved from second place to first on the Princeton Review’s list of party schools. The ranking is determined by surveys done by 126,000 students from across the nation. An average of 333 students are surveyed per campus.

According to the report, the UI is No. 1 in “Lots of Hard Liquor” and No. 4 for the “Lots of Beer” and the “Students Study the Least” lists.

UI spokesman Tom Moore told The Daily Iowan the UI has engaged in work to decrease the amount of high-risk drinking. Since 2009, the number of students engaging in high-risk drinking has dropped 17 percent, according to the National College Health Assessment survey.

UI officials have maintained that there is no scientific or valid method behind the survey.

Sexual assault

During the 2013-2014 academic year, 12 sexual assaults on campus were reported to UI officials. During a monthly Q&A session between The Daily Iowan and University of Iowa President Sally Mason, she said the goal would be to end sexual assault but said, “That’s probably not a realistic goal, just given human nature …”

The quote sparked outrage from the university community, and some interrupted Mason during the 31st-annual Presidential Lecture to protest her comments. At that point, eight sexual assaults had been reported to UI officials.

Following the backlash from the community, Mason held a listening post and shared her story of having her breast grabbed by a strange man while she was an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky.

At the listening post, UI students, faculty, and staff called for a zero-tolerance policy that would ensure students accused of sexual assault are expelled. At the time, UI Dean of Students David Grady said no students had been expelled in recent years for this type of misconduct.

Mason then outlined a six-point plan to combat the issue on the UI campus: cracking down on offenders, increasing support for survivors, improving prevention and education, improving communication, additional funding, and listening more and reporting back.

Since the plan was announced, funding for Nite Ride has increased, the wording in warnings sent to the university community following a reported assault has been changed, an advisory committee of students has been formed, and one student has been expelled for sexual misconduct.

The issue also took its place in the national spotlight. President Barack Obama released recommendations to colleges across the nation in April after forming a task force in January. The call for federal intervention followed outrage in several schools across the country, including UMass-Amherst and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Gateway

The Iowa City City Council approved design parameters for the Gateway Project earlier this year. The design will raise a portion of Dubuque Street to the height of a 100-year flood plus 1 foot and redesign the Park Street Bridge to the height of a 200-year flood plus 1 foot, with a through-arch design.

The project will cost more than $40 million; it aims to protect the city from flooding levels similar to 2008.

TA scandal

In October 2013, a UI teaching assistant in the Mathematics Department accidently sent inappropriate photos to roughly 80 students in her class instead of solutions to math problems.
The TA was removed from teaching that class. She remained a TA but performed non-teaching duties.

Students turned to social media to share their findings, eventually being picked up by popular websites such as Gawker.com and TotalFratMove.com.

21-ordinance

Iowa City voters turned to the ballot box yet again in November 2013 to determine the fate of the contested 21-ordinance.

And yet again, it failed to pass.

Voters upheld the ordinance that prevents underage patrons from being in bars past 10 p.m., with 66 percent of voters backing the ordinance.

The 2010 ordinance has been voted on three times in six years; this was the second time the ordinance was upheld.

Since November, many Iowa City establishments have applied for exemptions. Most recently, Union Bar had its exemption revoked, and the Summit was denied an exemption after it had one cited sale to a patron under the legal age and a lack of a plan to host 150 live shows — a requirement for the exemption.

The Union had its exemption revoked after its ratio of minors cited for alcohol possession to police visits rose past the acceptable threshold.

Union owner George Wittgraf has appealed numerous times, with the most recent appeal being rejected earlier this month.

Tuition Freeze

The state Legislature approved funding allowing the state Board of Regents to freeze undergraduate resident students tuition for the 2014-15 academic year. In total, the bill allocated $538 million for the three universities.

This is the second-straight year tuition has been frozen for that group of students at the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, and Iowa State University.

The freeze following a slight bump in the road after House Republicans and Senate Democrats disagreed on how much funding should be directed to the UI. House Republicans claim the UI had extra money in the bank, which contrasts how much ISU and the UNI have saved.

But the bill managed to pass in the Senate on a 28-21 vote and in the House, 89-8.

Efficiency Study

The state Board of Regents hired the Deloitte consulting firm to review the spending of the regent universities in an efficiency study. Funds found from inefficiencies will be reinvested into the areas in which they were found.

The study is the first of its kind since the 1980s and will cost the regents $2.45 million.


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