Wright State faculty ask for laid off colleagues to be rehired

Published: Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 11:49 AM


            Wright State faculty members asked the university’s board of trustees to reinstate instructors who are set to be laid off. Some faculty stood at the back of the room to protest the cuts.
Wright State faculty members asked the university’s board of trustees to reinstate instructors who are set to be laid off. Some faculty stood at the back of the room to protest the cuts.

Wright State University faculty, representing the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors, today asked the board of trustees to reinstate faculty positions that were cut last fall.

The university announced in October 2016 that it would eliminate 23 positions, including six faculty jobs, following spring semester. The cuts were one way the university said it was dealing with its budget issues and a drop of enrollment in WSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

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The first faculty member to speak at the board meeting this morning, Gretchen McNamara, a lecturer in the school of music, said that students “are devastated” to be “stripped away” from their instructors. The elimination of positions in the music school will make Wright State a less competitive university, McNamara said.

The October layoffs included two instructors in the school of music, officials have said.

Another faculty member pointed to arguments that the university needs to up enrollment to increase revenue as a reason why instructors should not have been laid off.

“Faculty are the revenue generators,” said Noeleen Mcllvenna, a WSU history professor. “We need more faculty not less. The rest is just noise.”

Wright State president David Hopkins said he understands faculty concerns and that he hopes enrollment increases so that faculty members who were laid off can eventually return if they want to.

“It’s always the last thing we want to do,” Hopkins said of the layoffs. “Because of the circumstances of the budget and enrollment challenges, these are the tough decisions we’re forced to make.

RELATED: Students call for WSU foundation to divest from hedge funds

Additional faculty stood at the back of the trustees meeting Friday where they held signs protesting the cuts, budget issues and the Wright State University foundation’s hedge fund holdings.

Students today were set to call for the foundation to divest from its hedge fund holdings. Hedge fund holdings make up about $6 million or 8 percent of the foundation’s nearly $80-million endowment, according to a statement from WSU spokesman Seth Bauguess.

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Family displaced, home damaged in Miami Twp. fire

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:33 AM

Miami Township crews battle a garage fire this morning.

A Miami Twp. family will be displaced after a fire damaged their home on Carnation Road Tuesday morning. 

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Firefighters were dispatched to the home in the 6100 block of Carnation Road around 8:10 a.m. and found a fire in the attached garage. 

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The blaze was contained to the garage, but smoke spread throughout the home, according to investigators. 

Two children and an adult were able to evacuate before firefighters arrived on scene. No injuries were reported but the family will be displaced. 

The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation. 

Wright State’s Raiderthon raises $45K for local hospital

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:49 AM

WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY

Wright State University helped raise more than $45,000 for Dayton Children’s Hospital during its fifth annual Raiderthon dance marathon, school officials announced Tuesday.

The event was held Saturday in the Student Union Apollo Room on campus from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday.

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More than 400 dancers registered for the 2017 edition of the fundraiser and school officials said over the last four years nearly $200,000 has been raised for Dayton Children’s.

WPAFB joins in new partnerships for bat conservation

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:12 AM


            An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)
An Indiana bat, a species identified by the federal government as endangered, was one of several bats captured during a mist net survey at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June. Mist nets are lightweight, very difficult for the flying animals to see or detect and are used by biologists and others in bat research. Acoustic surveys for bats, like those currently being conducted on the base, are the follow-on method to determine size and distribution of bat populations. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courtesy photo/Keith Lott)

Aircraft aren’t the only things flying around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Endangered Indiana bats patrol the night skies, foraging for insects over the Mad River corridor. This 8,000-acre installation contains about 700 acres of forested areas along streams, with a wide variety of native trees: maple, oak, hickory and others.

The site is prime summer habitat for Indiana bats; managers discovered a maternity colony in 1993 and have been tracking it ever since.

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Female Indiana bats need forest habitat where they form colonies in summer, roosting in older trees under loose bark, giving birth to a single pup, and foraging for insects along stream corridors. That means it’s important for young trees to grow up to replace old trees as they die off. And while that’s a natural process, sometimes non-native, invasive plants take over, and their impact can literally alter the landscape.

Invasive bush honeysuckle, introduced during the late 1800s for landscaping and, ironically, wildlife habitat, has become common throughout Ohio and the eastern United States. Bush honeysuckle is an aggressive invasive plant that leafs out earlier in the spring than native plants and stays green well into the fall after most plants are dormant. Honeysuckle shades out native plants, preventing the growth of young native tree species needed by bats and other forest wildlife.

That’s what managers began to see at Wright-Patterson. Darryn Warner, the base’s natural resources program manager, noticed that native tree saplings in the understory were being out-competed by honeysuckle, and without management, few young trees would replace older trees as they die off. Over time, Indiana bat habitat could become significantly degraded, or lost altogether. He wanted to address the issue quickly, and thought that the Sike’s Act would be the tool to get it done.

The Sike’s Act is a law that requires all military installations to “provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources.” Under the Sike’s Act, Wright-Patterson and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became partners, with the Air Force funding service work to control invasive species and jump-start forest regeneration in treated areas.

With staff, equipment and expertise from Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana, work began. Crews cut large honeysuckle bushes and treated the area to prevent resprouts on about 115 acres at Wright-Patterson. Native trees like shellbark hickory, favored by roosting bats as maternity colony sites, have been planted. More work is planned over the next five years.

So how is the Indiana bat faring at Wright-Patterson since this work began? With funding from Wright-Patterson, the Service’s Ohio Ecological Services Field Office surveyed the Indiana bat population during the summer of 2017. Using mist nets to capture and release bats, service biologists found a total of 85 individual bats, including five Indiana bats. Adult female Indiana bats were fitted with radio transmitters and tracked to roost trees along the Mad River, on Wright-Patterson property. Biologists observed the trees at dusk, and as many as 17 bats were observed emerging from the trees in one night, confirming that a maternity colony of Indiana bats is still present at Wright-Patterson. This colony has persisted now for at least 24 years at the base, indicating long-term suitable habitat is present.

During the mist net survey several other exciting finds occurred. Biologists were able to confirm the presence of a male northern long-eared bat, a federally listed threatened species, multiple silver-haired bats, and an evening bat. This was the first mist net survey to detect them despite considerable prior effort.

Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats and other cave-hibernating bats nationwide face the daunting threat of white-nose syndrome, a fungus that infects bats during hibernation and has killed millions of bats in the past decade. Ensuring that high-quality summer habitat for maternity colonies is a critical step in helping the bats that do survive white-nose syndrome recover and reproduce during the summer. Wright-Patterson is doing their part to ensure these small pilots have a safe landing spot this summer.

Woman holds decoration drive to help victims of Hurricane Harvey celebrate holidays

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

File photo
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
File photo(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

As Texas continues to recover during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many are trying to figure out how they will celebrate the holiday season after they’ve lost everything.

One woman came up with an idea to help bring a little normalcy for hurricane victims during the next few weeks and help brighten up their temporary homes this Christmas, KBMT reported.

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Meredith Love, with some help from Gretchen Scoggins and schools in Hardin County, Texas, organized a free holiday decoration giveaway.

Love and the others collected donations through social media to provide ornaments, trees and garlands to Hurricane Harvey victims this past weekend, KBMT reported.

Love posted on her Facebook page that more than 200 people were able to collect something to make their living arrangements a little more homey this Thanksgiving and Christmas.