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Campus briefs: Governor to pick student regent

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
There are no investigations into security measures after an ABC report labeled the UA's nuclear reactor as a national security threat 2 1/2 weeks ago.
By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
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Gov. Janet Napolitano could decide by next week which of the three nonvoting student regent finalists will fill the vacant position.

The nonvoting student regent seat on the Arizona Board of Regents has been empty since Sept. 29, when Kolby Granville, a third-year Arizona State University law student, resigned two months into his two-year term.

Since then, a search committee has interviewed 18 applicants from ASU and referred three to the governor, who plans to begin interviews this week before making the final pick, said Fernando Ascencio, an Arizona Students' Association director and the UA representative on the committee.

"It's up to the governor's office now," said Ascencio, a political science senior.

The three ASU candidates are Brian McNamara, a law graduate student; Ed Hermes, a public policy advocacy lobbying student; and Hayley Ivins, a biology and society student.

Student regents are selected on an annual rotating basis from one of the three state universities, but each regent represents all 115,000 students in the Arizona school system.

Ascencio said though all the applicants had certain strengths, the three finalists best understood how the position should meet the needs of the students in the Arizona university system.

The selection process has also moved more quickly than usual, Ascencio said, which caused the committee to put more weight on the interviews than other materials.

"There was an equal amount of discussion (as usual), but the analysis was perhaps based more on character than record," he said. "But we need someone on the board now and for students to be represented."

Benjamin Graff, the voting student regent, said he hopes the governor chooses the replacement before the next regents meeting on Dec. 1 so he can start training on upcoming issues the regent will be facing.

"I'm looking forward to getting them up to date and working on the issues right away," said Graff, a third-year UA law student.

Graff has already met the finalists and briefly informed them about the specific responsibilities of the position, he said.

"There's definitely candidates that seem to be more qualified and up to the challenge," Graff said. "But I know whoever is chosen will be competent."

The governor's office did not return phone calls as of press time.

No investigation into alleged reactor security breach

An ABC report that labeled the UA's nuclear reactor as a national security threat 2 1/2 weeks ago has not spurred any investigations into security measures.

An official for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that oversees civilian use of nuclear materials, said there is currently no investigation into whether security protocols at the UA are adequate.

Scott R. Burnell, a spokesman for the commission, said no investigation into the UA's reactor security procedures has been launched, despite an ABC report showing ABC interns gaining access to the Engineering building where the reactor is located. The report showed two interns entering the building in the middle of the night and peering from an outside window into the reactor area.

The commission recently visited the UA's TRIGA research reactor on campus, but it was unrelated to perceived security breaches, said UA spokesman Johnny Cruz.

Cruz said the commission's visit was planned prior to the airing of the ABC feature, and the commission visits the reactors periodically to ensure the licensees are safely conducting their activities.

Cruz said the ABC report did not show any breaches in UA's security, saying that there are secret security measures in place that are invisible to the community to prevent such intrusions.

These measures would have been triggered if the interns breached security, Cruz said.

The ABC report cited the UA as one of 25 college campuses nationwide that could be targets of terrorism. It suggested the nuclear fuel contained in the reactor could be used to make a dirty bomb, which would spread radioactive material across the campus.

But UA officials argued that the reactor has been safe since its installation in 1958, and the amount of fuel in the reactor is insufficient for a dirty bomb.

Requests for interviews for the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were referred to the commission.

Mike Gavelek, the supervisor of the UA reactor, referred all inquires to UA media representatives.

- J. Ferguson

Laptops valued at $12,000 stolen from Education building

Six $2,000 laptops were stolen from a computer lab in the Education building sometime between late August and Monday, police said.

The College of Education discovered the laptops were missing early Monday morning after an inventory check was completed.

The last inventory of the computer lab was Aug. 25, and all the laptops were accounted for at that time, according to a University of Arizona Police Department report.

The lab where the computers were taken from is accessible to students and faculty during business hours and is locked at night.

The laptops were not placed in a secure area during nonbusiness hours, and there were no signs of forced entry.

Only three UA employees have access to the computer lab during nonbusiness hours, the report stated.

Because the time frame of when the laptops were stolen cannot be narrowed down further, it will be a difficult investigation, said UAPD spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia.

"It's harder to track down witnesses and suspects when the theft isn't reported within a month or two," he said. "Leads begin to diminish as more time goes by."

Mejia said electronic equipment has become easier to steal as electronics continue to become smaller and more portable.

Students and staff can help prevent theft by paying attention and securing items, he said.

Two men were arrested last week after police found thousands of dollars in stolen equipment in their home while serving a search warrant.

The items recovered included a 42-inch plasma TV believed to have been stolen from KUAT, as well as two laptops, computers, monitors and stereo equipment.

The serial numbers on all of the items had been removed.

Mejia said there is a possibility the two laptops recovered are two of the six stolen from the Education building.

Police will use computer forensics to try to figure out whom the computers belonged to, he said.

Attempts to contact the head of technological services in the college yesterday afternoon were unsuccessful by press time.

- Holly Wells

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