A summer full of surprises for everyone
While many students went home or abroad over the summer, the Daily Wildcat continued covering the UA campus and the local community through the heat and the monsoons as the Arizona Summer Wildcat. Here are some of the stories you may have missed:
FIJI kicked off campus
Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, commonly known as FIJI, lost recognition this month from the UA following an investigation into the death of one its members in April.
FIJI had been on interim suspension since July as the Dean of Students Office investigated allegations of violations to the Student Code of Conduct, including hazing and providing alcohol to minors. The allegations came to light following a University of Arizona Police Department investigation into the death of 19-year-old Michael Anderson who was a freshman in FIJI.
FIJI’s house has now been converted into a residence hall called Rawls/Eller Lodge. The earliest the fraternity can come back to the UA campus is April 2019.
UA marijuana researcher fired
A prominent UA marijuana researcher was fired unexpectedly in June, prompting claims of political retribution against the university.
Dr. Suzanne Sisley had spent years getting approval from the federal government and the UA to conduct a study testing the effects of medical marijuana on treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Arizona state senator Kimberly Yee, however, blocked funding for the study in March.
Some veterans have expressed outrage over Sisley’s dismissal and a petition on change.org to reinstate her has garnered more than 107,000 supporters. The PTSD study’s future is now uncertain as the UA can still conduct the study, but the organization that is sponsoring it wants Sisley involved, which is not possible anymore.
TPD finds actions during March melee justified
The Tucson Police Department found its conduct justified in regards to the melee with rowdy fans on University Boulevard following the Arizona men’s basketball team’s loss in the Elite Eight on March 29.
The inquiry, using footage from officers’ body cameras, third-party footage and a walk-through, concluded that most of the actions taken by officers in controlling the crowd were appropriate and officers displayed “a great deal of self-restraint.”
The inquiry singled out Sgt. Joel Mann, the TPD officer in the widely-circulated video that showed him knocking a woman over a bench, as being inappropriate in his conduct during the melee. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating Mann for potential civil rights violations. In a written statement, TPD chief Roberto Villaseñor faulted the media for excessive coverage of isolated incidents of police violence.
UA goes tobacco-free
After several years of considering the ban, the UA has decided to go tobacco-free on its campuses.
The new policy bans products containing tobacco and nicotine, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs. The tobacco ban is effective today on the UA main campus, the Arizona Health Sciences Center, UA South and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.
Following feedback from the announcement, the policy has been amended to permit the use of e-cigarettes, as their safety is still under review.
Tucson streetcar begins operations
Following years of construction and some delays, the Tucson Sun Link Modern Streetcar began operations in July to a boisterous grand opening ceremony along its four-mile track.
The streetcar’s route takes it from UA campus through the businesses along Fourth Avenue and Congress Street and all the way out to Mercado San Agustin on the west side of Interstate 10. Free 30-day passes to ride the streetcar are currently available to UA students and staff.
Follow Ethan McSweeney @ethanmcsweeney