Top campus news of the summer

Danielle Ferguson

Thielen Student Health Center receives harsh review 

A comprehensive review of Thielen Student Health Center released in March has identified a number of deficiencies at the facility, some potentially “catastrophic.”

The 59-page Keeling and Associates review, commissioned by the Office of the Senior Vice President of Student Affairs and President Steven Leath in 2014, cited problems and offered solutions in 15 areas of concern, among which include the center’s organizational structure, access to services, staffing models and more. 

The report said the “consequences of a prolonged lack of skilled and effective leadership, diligent attention to staffing and the service model … have seriously impaired TSHC’s organizational and operational effectiveness, endangered its accreditation, undermined the quality of care and service it provides to students, created significant risks for the University, and made student health care at Iowa State a source of increasing concern and serious complaints.”

Martino Harmon, associate vice president of student affairs, took over as interim director after former Director Michelle Hendricks retired in September 2014. Mary Hensley, a retired administrator at the University of Minnesota, took over as interim director in July.

Harmon said the university has been working to address the issues since it received the final report in March.

ISU President Steven Leath said what was most concerning to him was the fact the university didn’t catch the issues before the report.

“Students complained and we finally heard it,” Leath said in an interview with Iowa State Daily staff. “We realized we had a lot to do.”

Interim Director Hensley said the revamp of student health services this year will include recruiting quality personnel, looking at fiscal practices and adjusting space to accommodate students.

Boyfriend of Tong Shao arrested in China

The boyfriend of Tong Shao, an ISU international student who was found dead in Iowa City in September 2014, was arrested this summer.

Xiangnan Li, 23, surrendered himself to police in China, his native country, according to an Iowa City Police Department news release. After an investigation with Iowa City Police, Li was arrested June 19 on charges of “intentional homicide,” according to the release.

Shao, 20, was a junior at Iowa State during the Fall 2014 semester when she was reported missing to the Ames Police Department on Sept. 17. Li, a Chinese international student at the University of Iowa, was in a relationship with Shao and is accused of killing her. Shao’s body was found in her Toyota Camry nine days later in Iowa City.

Under Chinese criminal law, Chinese citizens are subject to prosecution for any crimes they commit abroad. Punishments for intentional homicide may include imprisonment over 10 years, life in prison or the death penalty.

Campustown construction accident

Two men working on construction of a new six-story apartment building in Campustown died after they fell from a scaffolding June 19.

Javier Hernandez, 35, of Des Moines, was pronounced dead at the scene. Alfredo Jarez, unknown age, of Des Moines, was treated at Mary Greeley Medical Center before his death June 22. Both worked as siding contractors.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. A witness reported the workers were wearing safety harnesses, but they weren’t tied off to the safety ropes on the scaffolding.

ISU student and Iowa National Guardsman drowns in Guam

A 20-year-old ISU student and member of the Iowa National Guard drowned July 25 while swimming at Marbo Cave in Mangilao, Guam.

Senior airman Drew Bellairs, who had just finished his first year at Iowa State, was a member of the Maintenance Group, 185th Air Refueling Wing, according to an Iowa National Guard news release.

Bellairs, whom had previously been deployed to Japan for a typhoon response, and a group of friends were swimming in the cave during leisure time when Bellairs swam into an air pocket of a cave and wasn’t able to get out.

His friends left to get scuba equipment to help him out of the area, but when they returned, Bellairs was unresponsive.

A funeral for Bellairs was held Aug. 6 in Osage.

Uber arrives in Ames

Uber rode into Ames over the summer, just in time for the flood of a record number of students coming to campus to try it out.

Dan Breitbarth, Student Government president, was the first to ride. He said the ride service can help students find a more convenient ride, can be a job opportunity and provide a safe way to get home.

Ames is the fourth metropolitan city in Iowa to feature Uber.

Prohm selected as men’s basketball coach

Fred Hoiberg, former ISU men’s basketball coach and the man known as “The Mayor” of Ames, moved on to the NBA this summer to coach in Chicago, opening up the slot to coach a top Big 12 school for another eager coach.

The new coach students will welcome into Hilton Coliseum come basketball season is Steve Prohm, formerly men’s basketball coach of Murray State.

Prohm led Murray State to a 104-29 overall record in his four years as head coach. He also led the Racers to a 31-2 record along with a top-10 ranking and to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament during his first year.

ISU Solar Team races to historic victory

Iowa State solar car Team PrISUm raced nearly 760 miles to a historic victory this summer at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. 

The team built the entire car, named Phaeton after the Greek demigod of the sun, from scratch. Not only did the team win for the first time in ISU history by taking the most laps of all, but its 400-pound vehicle made the fastest lap, beating the second-place team by 20 seconds. 

Regents tuition hike

The Iowa Board of Regents proposed a 3 percent, or $100, tuition increase for undergraduate resident students for the spring 2016 semester, but it won’t be voted on until the Sept. 9 meeting.

The increase was proposed after Gov. Terry Branstad used his line-item veto power to cut funding allocated by the General Assembly to offset the costs of a tuition freeze for a third consecutive year. 

The board originally asked legislators for a 1.75 percent base increase in funding. After a drawn out battle at the State House, a 1.25 percent increase and just more than $6.2 million in one-time funding for all three universities.

If approved, spring tuition at Iowa State would rise to $3,424 for resident undergraduates.