Top 10 in 2011

James Vaughn

Smoking ban goes into effect

A smoking  ban went into effect July 1. Undergraduate Studies Assistant Provost Brian Posler announced Oct. 15, 2010 during a Faculty Senate meeting USI would go smoke free.

“There has been a big push for a smoke-free campus as of late, and the president has decided to implement the recommendation to make USI a tabaccoo-free campus as of July 1,” Posler said.

The ban means no smoking is permitted on campus property or university-owned vehicles. Those who wish to smoke must do so in their vehicles or the apartment area away from all windows.

Colleges merge

The Teacher Education Department and the Physical Education Department merged with the Pott College of Science and Engineering in July 2011. The merger doubled the size of Pott College. This repositioning was in an effort to get ahead of the curb when it comes to teacher education,  and accreditation and to “elevate” the program, as well as to meet the increased emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs, Provost Ron Rochon said.

Occupy Evansville

The Occupy movement spread to Evansville in October. More than 150 occupiers kicked off the Evansville movement with their first march Oct. 16. People involved in the movement protest social and economic inequality and corporate greed. Occupiers call themselves the “99 percent.”

UC East and The Cone opening

The Cone and the UC East opened earlier this year. The $18.4 million project added 17, 785 square feet to the University Center and reshaped 60,000 existing square feet. It became home to two new dining options: Cyclone Salads and Salsa Rico. The expansion introduced a new campus landmark, the cone, which stands 97 feet tall.

Two deans retire

The first dean of the Nursing and Health Professions College announced this fall she would retire at the end of the fall semester after 24 years of service. Many of her coworkers said Nadine Coudret would be missed. “The joyful part is she has provided this university with a body of work that is unmatched by many in her field,” Provost Ron Rochon said of her departure. Dean of Students Barry Schonberger announced his retirement this fall. His official retirement date is Jan. 1, 2013. He worked for the university for 38 years. Immediately following graduate school, Schonberger was hired at USI. “I never left college,” Shonberger said. “I went directly from being a student to working at a college, so I’ve never left college and I’ll finally be departing college.”

Changes for residents

Changes were made to the student housing contract for the 2011-2012 school year. Many students may have not been aware of the new conditions they were signing their names to, such as not being able to cancel a contract without being fined. The new contract requires that students pay half of the year’s total housing costs if the contract was cancelled.

New Liberal Arts dean

Long time USI faculty member, Michael Aakhus, was appointed by Provost Ron Rochon, as the dean for the College of Liberal Arts. Aakhus was a member of the Art Department for 34 years before officially taking the position on March 1. He was chosen from five finalists and was the only one who had previously worked at USI. His plans earlier this year included reorganizing the New Harmony Theater and creating a sustainable program for the New Harmony Writers Workshop.

Fall Break added

This fall was the first time USI has had a Fall Break. The addition of the fall break was an initiative pushed by the Student Government Association (SGA). This was also the first year students were given a study day for finals, and finals were split up over a weekend. Christmas break was also extended by three days.

NCAA ban lifted

The NCAA placed the men’s basketball team on one-year probation until Feb. 1, 2012, and fined USI $2,500 for a violation of rules that was reported in May 2009. The violations included former coach Rick Herdes providing benefits to a basketball player, academic fraud involving Herdes’ father-in-law and the assistant coach, as well as lying to investigators.

SGA president censured

Following an apparent rift within the Student Government Association (SGA), a call for impeachment of SGA President Hope Fussner was made. A grievance form was filed charging Fussner of misuse of power, neglect of duty, and intimidation. While the impeachment motion failed on March 31, a motion to censure her was approved later.

“This attack has simply been a personal matter and should have never been brought to the General Assembly,” Fussner said in a written statement to The Shield.