The top 10 stories of the fall semester at UB

The Spectrum’s top headlines of the fall semester


The Spectrum has compiled a list of the fall semester’s most noteworthy news stories. From the “White Only” art project to the Student Association Senate election controversy, there was no absence of news on campus this semester.

1.White Only” art project spreads controversy across campus

When Ashley Powell, a graduate fine arts student,  hung signs reading “White Only” and “Black Only” around campus for a class project this past September, students, administrators and even entire departments were divided on what is art and what crosses the line.

Members of the Black Student Union held an  open forum, staged a peaceful protest of President Satish Tripathi’s annual State of the University Address and met with university officials in the months following the incident. Tripathi said a College of Arts and Sciences policy committee is working to form a policy with clear guidelines on expressive art in public places on campus, and announced an interim policy in December. 

2. UB students face discipline for partying in the University Heights

Police breakup a party on Winspear Avenue in September. There is a conflict between students and residents about the partying situation in the University Heights. / Spectrum File Photo

Within the first few weeks of the semester, 57 UB students went through Judicial Affairs after Buffalo Police cracked down on house parties and underage drinking in the University Heights neighborhood off South Campus. Students were either suspended or required to do community service in the Heights.

The crackdown came in light of  unrest among the residents who had enough of the drinking, noise and litter in the neighborhood. But students felt Buffalo Police’s patrol the first few weekends was excessive and that the police should focus on more serious crime, like robbery and assault, in the neighborhood.

Since then, UB students, faculty, officials, as well as the University Heights Collaborative have discussed possible solutions for the situation in the Heights.

3. New developments in lawsuit against former Law School Dean Makau Mutua

A wrongful termination suit against former UB Law School Dean Makau Mutua (pictured) was recommended to be dismissed. / Courtesy of Douglas Levere, UB News Center

There were several developments in the wrongful termination suit against former Law School Dean Makau Mutua, including UB banning the former professor who filed the suit from campus and a federal judge recommending to dismiss the case.

UB banned Jeffrey Malkan, a former UB law professor who’s suing Mutua for firing him, from campus in October after Malkan sent emails to faculty referencing mass shootings. Malkan, who University Police determined poses no threat, maintains his emails were not threatening and that UB only banned him to gain a legal advantage in the lawsuit. UB officials deny this and say Malkan’s emails freighted faculty.

Then in December, U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder recommended  Malkan’s case against Mutua be dismissed and sanctions against Malkan and his attorney for alleging Mutua committed perjury in the case.

4. SA election controversy stirs up senate

Yaser Soliman (left) speaks to senator Alexis Ogra (right) during his senate chair election speech. Soliman lost the election, which SA's own attorney says was invalid. / Julia Timerson, The Spectrum.

The SA Senate got off to a rough start this semester after a controversial and later deemed invalid chairperson election.

SA President Minahil Khan went against the SA constitution and bylaws by not allowing a senator who came in late to vote and casting a ballot to break a tie between senators Yaser Soliman and Dillon Smith. Khan voted for Smith, while the SA constitution states there should have been a revote. Khan checked in with SA professional staff, which advised her incorrectly, and said she had no malicious intent in how she managed the election.

Soliman resigned as a senator and said he would  advocate for more university oversight of SA, while Smith ran for chair again and was elected.

5. Danny White leaves UB for athletic director job at UCF

Former UB Athletic Director Danny White left for the job opening at the University of Central Florida in November, ending a polarizing three-year tenure. / Spectrum File Photo

After a both successful and controversial three-year tenure, Athletic Director Danny White left UB in November to accept the A.D. job at the University of Central Florida.

White, one of the youngest athletic directors in the country when he was hired, rebranded the program through the New York Bulls Initiative, fired several coaches, increased fundraising and won three team Mid-American Conference Championships during his time at UB. He signed a five-year contract last fall that extended to 2019 and was the highest paid athletic director in the MAC in 2013-14.

Allen Greene was named UB’s athletic director a week later after previously serving as the deputy director of athletics under White.

6. Dean of College of Arts and Sciences steps down

E. Bruce Pitman, dean of the college of arts and sciences, will step down to return to a full-time faculty role at the end of the academic year. / Courtesy of Douglas Levere, UB News Center. 

In October, E. Bruce Pitman, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,  announced he will step down at the end of the academic year. Pitman, who served as dean for five years, said he transition to a full-time faculty role.

Provost Charles Zukoski will begin a search for Pitman’s replacement in early 2016.

7. Jeremy Jacobs gives UB second-largest donation in history

Jeremy Jacobs looks on during the ceremony for his $30 million donation to the medical school, which was then named after him. Other universities have also named their schools after donors - but for much larger sums. / Courtesy of Douglas Levere, UB News Center.

Jeremy Jacobs, chairman of the UB Council and Delaware North, and his family provided UB with its second-largest donation in the university’s history in September.

Jacobs donated $30 million to UB’s new downtown medical school, and the university renamed the school the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in response. This marked the first time UB has ever named a school after someone.

8. Justin Moss expelled from UB

Justin Moss runs down the court during UB's 80-55 victory over Kent State last season. UB removed Moss from the basketball team and expelled him from the university following an on-campus theft, ending his two-year stint with the Bulls. / Yusong Shi, The Spectrum.

After the losses of head coach Bobby Hurley and star point guard Shannon Evans, the men’s basketball team received another blow when MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss  was expelled from UB for robbing a dorm room during the summer.

Moss and teammates Raheem Johnson and Mory Diane were caught stealing $650 from the South Lake Village apartment of two football players. The three basketball players were working in the building to replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The Bulls have gone 7-6 so far this season without their best player.

9. Gun scare occurs in the Union

Several University Police officers patrol the Student Union after a student reported seeing what appeared to be a gun in the Student Union. / Kainan Guo, The Spectrum.

In September, University Police received an  unconfirmed report of a man dropping what appeared to be a gun in the Student Union. UPD was unable to find anyone matching the description of the suspect. UPD determined there was not a threat to campus.

10. Faculty Senate passes textbook resolution

President Satish Tripathi speaks at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the year. The Senate passed a resolution that regulates professors assigning their own textbooks to classes. / Huy Duc Pham, The Spectrum 

The Faculty Senate  passed regulations on professors selling their own self-published textbooks this past October. The resolution regulates professors assigning their own textbooks and stopped the exchange of money in classrooms. The senate was set to vote on the resolution last semester, but not enough faculty showed up to vote.

Former Spectrum editor Emma Janicki wrote an article in November 2014 documenting professors who assign textbooks they wrote and UB’s lack of a policy. The article compelled the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to draft a policy on textbook assignments.

Provost Charles Zukoski and President Satish Tripathi must now approve the resolution.

Ashley Inkumsah is a news desk editor and can be reached at