Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Flandrau Science Center temporarily closing its doors
The Flandrau Science Center will be closing its science- and space-oriented exhibits, planetarium presentations and theater shows in order to focus on an improvement for the center.
"Flandrau Beyond Tomorrow" is a plan to revamp the current center and plan for a new facility that will be part of the Rio Nuevo Downtown Redevelopment project.
Flandrau, located on the UA Mall at North Cherry Avenue and East University Boulevard, "will suspend regular operations" beginning Sept. 6, according to a press release.
Flandrau will use the "year of prototype development" to focus on planning and testing out future exhibits and theater shows for the UA's future Rio Nuevo Science building, according to the release.
Flandrau plans to reach out to the public for input on what the community wants from the new science center.
"We will spend the next year gathering information for our regional residents and organizations and explore creative and effective ways for the new science center to serve the community," said Alexis R. Faust, executive director of Flandrau, in the press release.
In order get opinions on what the new science center should offer, Flandrau will host future events and discussions with the community during the year of planning, according to the release.
When the center reopens on Sept. 1, 2006, it will house "a set of prototype exhibits and planetarium programs for the public to experience and evaluate" for use at the downtown center, according to the release.
At that time, Flandrau will open its doors to introduce the community to the new programs and concepts as well as take input from visitors.
When Flandrau reopens its doors in 2006, it will provide Tucsonans a chance to test out exhibits and give feedback, said natural resources senior Nicole Dinardo, an employee at Flandrau.
The UA's downtown science center, a building that has been conceptualized as a bridge over Interstate 10, will connect both sides of the redeveloping Rio Nuevo District.
The downtown science center is expected to be complete by "2009-ish," said Dinardo.
Dinardo said that her job, as well as other student jobs currently held at Flandrau, "won't be in existence," when Flandrau closes its exhibits in September.
According to the press release, the Flandrau Observatory will remain open with its current viewing schedule throughout the hiatus.
- written by Evan Pellegrino
Mandatory meal plan may be around the corner
The tuition increase sniper just might nab incoming freshmen next if the Arizona Board of Regents implements the mandatory meal plan being proposed, which would increase costs for some UA newbies by thousands of dollars.
The mandatory meal plan, which is backed heavily by Dining Services, would force freshmen residing in residence halls to spend $2,200 at campus eateries for the academic year.
"The idea behind the plan is to create and identify new revenue sources to provide support for the union," says Dan Adams, director of the Arizona Student Unions. Adams says the Student Union Memorial Center is not in financial trouble, but in 2004 the SUMC fell $3 million short of its projected income.
Campus dining services began having discussions about a mandatory meal plan with various campus group leaders last August.
Though Adams said a mandatory meal plan is only in a "conversational" stage, he does maintain other revenue sources are being looked at.
Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cade Bernsen said he is not in favor of the mandatory meal plan for a number of reasons.
"Honestly I haven't met one student who is in favor of the plan," said Bernsen. "The meal plan is far too expensive, it penalizes only one segment of the student body - those living on campus - and the union doesn't have the facilities to accommodate such a plan," Bernsen added.
Allison Wilhelm, a former resident assistant and a material sciences engineering graduate student, said she thinks a mandatory meal plan is a bad idea.
"The union doesn't offer many healthy choices and it shouldn't be a forced requirement," said Wilhelm. "It's a bad way for the union to fix (its) financial problems. Prices for tuition and dorms have already been raised and it just adds another financial burden for students."
Tuition alone, within the past three years, has seen an increase of over $2,000.
The University of Arizona is the only Pacific 10 school that has not enforced a mandatory meal plan and the Arizona Board of Regents recently approved the mandate at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
"This is not a new concept. We're among the last to consider it," Adams said. Students may grumble at the thought of a mandatory meal plan, but Adams added that students need to think of what they'll lose in terms of programming and services if the SUMC and Park Student Union do not get the money they need to stay afloat.
-written by Nicole Mott
Preventing sexual assault
Sexual assault is a crime that can change a victim's life forever. Although assault is never the victim's fault, there are steps students can take to reduce the risk of becoming victims.
In 2004, two sexual assaults were reported to UAPD. Since the beginning of 2005, two additional assaults have been reported, both of which are still being investigated.
UA alumna Elizabeth Ashley said she feels safe on campus, but said she still takes precautions to prevent sexual assault.
"I try and be alert, especially when walking at night. I pay attention to everything I see and hear," she said.
UAPD spokesman Sergeant Eugene Mejia said officers usually investigate between two and four sexual assaults each year, but said many instances of rape or inappropriate behavior go unreported.
Tina Tarin, a violence prevention specialist at the OASIS Program, said many students keep the incidents to themselves because of feelings of guilt or shame.
"There are emotional and physical barriers in society. Many victims feel like it was their fault and others may think they will get in trouble for underage drinking," she said.
OASIS offers free confidential counseling to any student or faculty member who has been affected by sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking. The center also has prevention and education services, including group discussions and self-defense classes.
"The main thing we talk to students about is the strong correlation between alcohol use and any crime. Not everyone on campus is drinking, even though that's the perception," Tarin said.
Mejia said that the reports of sexual assault they investigate usually involve alcohol.
"In these situations, things don't go the way they're supposed to. Someone crosses the line and continues when someone says no or continues when someone is unable to consent," he said, referring to instances in which the victim may be drugged or unconscious.
If students do drink, they should make sure someone is there to take care of them, Tarin said.
OASIS also encourages students who see something that doesn't seem right to take a stand. Tarin said if people did this, incidents of sexual assault would be reduced.
Mejia said there are simple rules to follow to help prevent sexual assaults.
He said students should travel in groups because there is safety in numbers.
If it is after hours for SafeRide, students walking on campus at night can call UAPD for a ride.
Students should also always lock their doors and if they are attacked, they should be loud and find help.
Mejia said most of the sexual assaults they investigate are instances in which the victim knows the suspect.
Tarin said as many as nine out of every 10 sexual assaults are acquaintance rapes.
To prevent being victimized, Mejia suggested that students learn about a person before being in a situation in which they are alone with that person.
"Make the first date an informal get-together in a group setting or an open area," he said.
UAPD officers always encourage victims of sexual assault to report the crime, even if they do not wish to prosecute.
Mejia said it is very important that police know the identity of the person involved so that they can track serial activity.
"The student may learn that they are not the person's first victim - many people re-offend," he said. "Without the full cooperation of the victim, it's hard to investigate matters. We need to be able to identify the suspect so that they can pay for their crime."
Last week, UAPD went through sexual assault investigative training. The training taught officers what to do in a sexual assault investigation and when to do it, said Mejia.
-written by Holly Wells