Summer news roundup: A rundown of the UB news stories you missed this summer


There was no shortage of news items this summer, so The Spectrum put together a rundown of the most momentous events in case you missed them.

Car accident on Sweet Home Road damages UB North Campus entrance

A single car crashed into the entrance sign at the Rensch entrance on UB’s North Campus and took out a traffic signal this past May. Amherst Police reported the damage to the Department of Transportation to repair the traffic signal at the Sweet Home Road and Rensch Road intersection.

Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht said no injuries occurred during the accident and the driver was not affiliated with UB.

Jeffrey Basil to serve 18 years in prison for Molly’s Pub murder

Jeffrey Basil, former Molly’s Pub manager, was sentenced to 18 years in prison this past July for the death of William Sager, Jr.

Basil pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter after shoving Sager, an Air National guardsman, down a flight of stairs in Molly’s Pub in May 2014. The incident led to the eventual closing of the once-popular bar. The pub received multiple violations from the New York State Liquor Authority and the lease was also terminated, rendering the bar vacant.

Basil was originally convicted of second-degree murder in his first trial in January, but the verdict was overturned after it was revealed that one of the jurors did not disclose her military background and arrest record.

UB physics professor William Kinney and UB student Blake Lamagna testified in the trial – Kinney as an expert and Lamagna as a witness.

UB Communities of Excellence looks to confront global issues

UB is facing global issues head-on and is investing $25 million in a new comprehensive initiative.

Provost Charles Zukoski said the UB Communities of Excellence initiative plans to tackle a wide range of issues including access to quality food and medicine in under-resourced communities. The innovations emerged directly from UB faculty members. The project comprised of faculty, staff and students from various UB schools began over a year ago.

“There will be recognizable reasons to come to UB to be educated, to work or to gain more knowledge,” Zukoski said.

The initiative is made up of four communities – Global Health Equality, Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART), the Genome, the Environment and the Microbiome (GEM) and Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water (RENEW). Each is based out of UB but there is hope to expand across the Buffalo community and share a positive impact with the world.

Distinguished Speakers Series headliners announced

Transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox, singer-songwriter and producer John Legend and actor Kevin Spacey were announced as the headliners of the 29th annual UB Distinguished Speakers Series for the 2015-16 school year. Each event will take place in Alumni Arena.

Cox, the first transgender woman of color to land a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show, is set to speak on Sept.16. Legend, singer of hit song “All of Me,” will appear on Nov. 18. Spacey, a two-time Academy Award winner who currently stars in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series “House of Cards,” is expected to appear on April 27, 2016.

Author Liz Murray, theorist Charles Ogletree, Jr. and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee will serve as the keynote speakers on Oct. 14, Feb. 11, 2016 and April 6, 2016, respectively.

SA announces Fall Fest lineup

The hip-hop trend will continue at UB as the Student Association announced Big Sean as the headliner of upcoming Fall Fest 2015. SA announced the lineup on social media on Aug. 20, but many students were aware that the chart-topping rapper would appear before SA made the official announcement, as Ticketmaster had listed his Sept. 12 performance at Alumni Arena on its website earlier that evening.

This will not be Big Sean’s first time as UB – he performed at Spring Fest in 2010, albeit before his mainstream success.

Rappers Tink and Isaiah Rashad and R&B singer Jeremih will also perform at the event. Last year’s Fall Fest featured performances by rappers T.I., Schoolboy Q and Bas.

Ashley Inkumsah is the news editor and can be reached at