Owner of Segway, Inc. Dies in Segway Accident
James “Jimi” Heselden, owner of Segway, Incorporated, died September 26. The 62-year-old former miner was riding his personal Segway on his private property, when he apparently rode over a cliff. His body and the famous motorized scooter were found 30 feet below in the River Wharfe near Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, Britain. His death is not being considered suspicious. Heselden purchased the company just last year, but was only able to ride on his own property, as Segways are banned from roads and sidewalks in the U.K.
University of Rochester Suffers Chemical Leak
Rochester firefighters responded to a chemical spill at the University of Rochester’s (UR) power plant around 9:35 p.m. on September 27. A mixture of chlorine dioxide, a strong corrosive that is used as an anti-bacterial agent in circuitry, was being prepared when its tank began to overflow. Two firefighters and a university employee entered the building in an attempt to stop the chemical process and the overflowing tank. Water was pumped in to wash the spilled chemicals down floor drains in order to dilute the compound before it entered the water treatment plant in Charlotte.
Two university employees and a firefighter were brought to local hospitals to be treated for hypertension and exertion, respectively. The building was turned over to the university once the chemical spill was contained. Neither UR students nor Strong Memorial Hospital employees were disrupted by the spill.
Government Looking to "Wiretap" the Internet
Due to the increasing difficulty of tracing wanted criminals, the Obama administration is looking to create a way for social networking companies and voice over IP service providers to allow law enforcement agents to be able to “wiretap” communications. A similar law already exists for phone and broadband service providers; the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) made it mandatory for these companies to provide a way for law enforcement to intercept communications. Under the CALEA, however, an agent must obtain a court order based on probable cause in order to access the communications.
Current communication technologies, based on peer-to-peer connections and real-time messaging, are not covered under the CALEA, thereby creating a gap that law enforcement agents cannot monitor. Federal agencies such as the FBI, the Justice Department and the National Security Council support the legislation. The idea is still in the planning stages, with neither a draft nor clear timeline in existence.
Suicide at University of Texas Sparks Fears of a School Shooting
September 28 sparked memories of the Virginia Tech and Columbine massacres as a masked man toting an AK-47 terrified the University of Texas campus. He made his way to the top floor of the Perry-Castaņeda Library, where he opened fire and then shot and killed himself. No one else was harmed in the shooting.
The shooter was a 19-year-old named Colton Tooley. The second year math major fired six other shots around campus, aiming at the ground and sky, but never once took a shot at another person.
University of Texas was home to the first school shooting in United States history. On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower and opened fire on those below, killing 16 and wounding approximately 36 others.
Poor Parking Lot Lighting
Concern about late-night lighting in the parking lots was brought before Staff Council. Adel Henen, a representative for Facilities Management Services (FMS), has brought up the topic twice before. According to Becky Kiely, the vice chair, the lack of light has caused some FMS staff members, who come to work at 4:30 a.m., to worry about accidentally hitting students walking in the parking lots. The parking lot lights are not turned on at that hour, which makes it difficult to see anyone wearing dark clothing. Public Safety has been notified, but as of this time has not reported back to the council.
Campus Traffic Light Problems
The traffic lights on John Street, which is located on the east side of campus, have been the cause for much concern. Committee members spoke about the difficulty faced when driving northeast on John Street and then making a left turn either at the intersection with Perkins Road or Jefferson Road. Members would like to see a turning arrow added to the lights. The lack of a turning signal at Jefferson Road can cause traffic to be backed up well down John Street, making it difficult to leave campus quickly.
Changes to SG Election Process Spark Debate
Student Government (SG) experienced their first “heated debate” at their October 1 Senate meeting, as described by recently-appointed Vice President David Mullaney. In a process similar to the freshman senator election process, the NTID and graduate senator positions are now being chosen.
All candidates are subject to a review process by a special selections committee. That committee then chooses three nominees for each of the senatorial positions. The senate then votes on each group of nominees to determine the winner. Many SG officials believe that potential senators are unfairly represented by such a process, which doesn’t support direct election by constituents. Due to these concerns, a number of changes are taking place this year.
The first of the changes would be to fill the freshman senator position this quarter, instead of the middle of winter quarter, as in past years. This would be beneficial in that it would allow the potential senator school-wide representation much earlier in the year.
The debate sparked upon the mention of the appointment of the NTID senator. If subjected to this same selection committee, it would mark a drastic change from past years, where it had been a general election-based position. Randal Jackson of the NTID Student Congress (NSC) brought up a few concerns from the NTID community. He expressed apprehension that, because the selection committee was made up of hearing students, they would be unable to fully understand and relate to Deaf culture and could end up consistently picking hearing students for the NTID role. Jackson also pointed out, to nods of agreement from some of the senate, that many of them do not even fully understand how NTID is run.
Ultimately, it was decided and agreed upon that at least one NSC member would be added to the selection committee. Following the committee’s nominations, the NSC would get to meet the nominees and provide their own list of pros and cons for each candidate to guide the senate’s appointment.
A similar course of action will be taken with the graduate senator position. Nominees will meet with the Graduate Students Advisory Committee, which will provide a similar information sheet pertaining to the candidates. The general consensus was that these measures would mostly be transitory to allow the positions to be filled in a timely fashion. Further refinement of the process was suggested to take place at a later date, with the following year’s elections and appointments in mind.
Plans to Scrap Meeting Broadcast on SGTV
SG discussed the possibility of discontinuing broadcasts of weekly meetings on SGTV. SG’s services committee concluded that the eight to 12 hours of work that go into the filming, digitalizing, editing, broadcasting and archiving of the footage could be better spent on other projects. The videos serve no legislative or reference purpose for SG, as the meeting minutes are defined in the SG bylaws to be the primary source for any questions or archival references. SG, however, will continue to produce online video podcasts that offer a brief summary of each meeting’s discussed topics.
For those with a strong interest in the goings-on of SG, the meetings are open to the public and are held every Friday at 1 p.m. To view meeting locations, visit http://rit.edu/sg/schedule/. Podcasts and senate meeting minutes are also posted online at http://rit.edu/sg/media/.