Back in time: a review of The Spectrum's top headlines of 2014-15

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The Spectrum has put together a list of the biggest stories of the 2014-15 school year so you don’t fall behind. The list ranges from a historic snowstorm to a former UB student being labeled a Level 2 sex offender.

UB creates new gen ed requirements

UB could have new general education requirements as soon as 2016.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Andrew Stott proposed a general education overhaul last September after a survey of more than 3,000 students showed 68 percent of students didn’t find general education valuable. They were unhappy with the general education requirements and viewed the classes as just something to get out of the way.

The General Education Committee’s plan emphasizes critical thinking and communication skills through capstone projects and requires students to create an “e-portfolio” or digital portfolios.

The Faculty Senate passed the new requirements in December.

Law school dean resigns amid perjury allegations

Law school Dean Makau Mutua resigned from his position in September amid allegations he lied under oath in federal court. Mutua served as dean for seven years.

The perjury allegations stem from testimony Mutua gave in which he said a faculty vote to promote law professor Jeffrey Malkan to clinical professor never took place. Seven faculty members testified the vote did take place. The testimony stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Malkan that claims Mutua wrongfully terminated his contract in 2008.

In a written statement to The Spectrum, Mutua said he stepped down because “it was the right time” and he “accomplished what [he] set out to do.”

Mutua officially stepped down from his position in December and was on leave for the spring semester, but the university has said Mutua will continue teaching at UB as a SUNY Distinguished Professor. James Gardner was named interim dean of the law school in December until a new dean is appointed.

‘Snowvember’ storm hits Buffalo, UB remains open

UB students are used to snow but may be a bit unfamiliar with snow days. After a historic lake effect snowstorm last November, students and faculty wondered how much more snow UB needed to cancel classes.

The Western New York region experienced over 7 feet of snow in a historic storm nicknamed the ‘Snowvember’ storm. UB eventually canceled classes a few days into the storm, but not until after protests from students on social media sparked negative media attention.

The storm hit on Tuesday night, but UB did not cancel classes until Thursday of the week. Many other local colleges closed Wednesday and some as early as Tuesday. The areas of UB’s North and South Campuses were not greatly affected, but driving bans and a State of Emergency were declared in the surrounding areas and made it difficult for commuters to reach campus.

Professors assigning and selling their own textbooks questioned

In November, The Spectrum published an article discussing the practice of UB professors selling their own textbooks and found that at least four UB professors assign texts they’ve written and published. The story also found that some professors accept cash for the books from students in the classroom.

Students and other faculty began questioning whether or not this was ethical and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee proposed regulations on the issue. The new rules couldn’t be passed last May because not enough faculty members showed up to the vote.

Capen Library construction

Incoming freshmen won’t know the joys of ‘Club Capen’ until construction is completely finished in one of UB’s many libraries.

As part of the Heart of the Campus reconstruction for UB2020, the third floor of the Oscar A. Silverman Library in Capen Hall – affectionately nicknamed Club Capen – is undergoing reconstruction. The newly renovated library was supposed to reopen this fall, but now won’t open until at least February after asbestos removal delayed construction by two months.

Lockwood Library had to replace Club Capen as UB’s only 24-hour library because of the construction and caused student frustration because of the limited study space in Lockwood, especially during finals week.

Power outage in Red Jacket Hall

Five-hundred students were evacuated from their Red Jacket dorm in the Ellicott Complex on North Campus after a power outage caused by a frozen sprinkler on an early February morning.

UB provided cots in the Triple Gym of Alumni Arena for the students who couldn’t find an alternative place to spend the night. Only 50 of the 500 displaced students stayed in Alumni that night and according to most of the students, they were satisfied with the accommodations that were made. Students were allowed back in their rooms the next morning.

Bobby Hurley leaves for Arizona State

After leading the men’s basketball team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament, head coach Bobby Hurley left for sunny Arizona and took Buffalo’s best player with him.

Hurley accepted Arizona State’s head coaching job and star point guard Shannon Evans transferred to the school soon after. Both departures came after alleged divides between the coach and player and Athletic Director Danny White.

The Buffalo News reported that Hurley was upset with White’s contract offer and at how UB Athletics handled the negations. Evans spoke out against White to several media outlets, including The Spectrum, alleging the athletic director did not make him feel like a priority and that UB would block him from transferring to certain schools. Evans later went back on his statements about White after the athletic director granted him a full release – which Evans used to go to Arizona State.

Former assistant Nate Oats was named as Hurley’s replacement as the Bulls will try to sustain the momentum they had started under Hurley.

Former UB student struggles as a Level 2 sex offender

In August, the entire campus received a mass email notifying students and faculty that a Level 2 sex offender was taking classes at UB. The email included a link to the sex offender registry which included Daniel Lampke’s photo and description.

In May, former Spectrum Editor in Chief Sara DiNatale wrote an in-depth article examining the struggles Lampke, now a former student, faced as a Level 2 sex offender and how New York State determines the levels of sex offenders.

Officers found child pornography on Lampke’s laptop and he pleaded guilty to attempted possession of the pornography in March 2014. Despite never being accused of touching a child, Lampke has a higher and equal rating to offenders who have molested children.

Lampke was denied housing on campus and is unable to use the Internet until 2020. He realized it was too difficult to continue school while being a Level 2 sex offender. He currently has no intentions of going back to school and is still seeking employment.

Gabriela Julia is the senior news editor and can be reached at gabriela.julia@ubspectrum.com. Follow her on Twitter @GabrielaaJulia