higher education committee

Higher Ed Committee Meeting Mulls Campus Updates

higher education committee
The higher education committee met at 1 p.m. Tuesday to discuss required reports, NDSU
research and tour the campus.

Campus security, safety and research were focus points of Tuesday’s meeting at the higher education committee in the Memorial Union’s Prairie Rose room.

The meeting brought together representatives of the state senate, North Dakota University System, North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and local media. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Grand Forks) chaired the meeting and said it had “three components” of the afternoon session.

These components included “reports required by the legislature,” a look at NDSU’s research enterprise and a tour of campus.

The tour of campus, Sanford said, would show the committee “the A and the Z of the alphabet of facilities we’ll look at today.”

Hilary Brodeur, campus tour guide and 2014-15 student body vice president, said the STEM building and Dunbar Hall were to be showcased as “the A and the Z” of NDSU’s facilities.

Security Measures 

NDUS CFO Tammy Dolan, who started in November, presented first on security and safety measures at various NDUS institutions.

Her presentation included a report on 2015-17 campus security funding and the $3 million provided to a campus pool for campus security.

Dolan said a survey “done of students to determine students’ needs” identified surveillance, cameras, card access, building walking issues and light on campus as main needs of students.

“Each campus got money in proportion to their requests,” Dolan said.

Following her presentation, Dolan addressed questions from the committee, which ranged from spending to North Dakota’s recent budget shortfall affecting campus security.

“I believe that all the campuses would prioritize students’ safety and security above most things,” Dolan said.

Dolan added she would submit requested reports and numbers to the committee she did not have available Tuesday.

Mike Borr, NDSU police director, and Brodeur presented on the Pathlight app, a safety escort app the university fully implemented April 20.

Brodeur provided a student perspective on the app while Borr elaborated on the app integrating students’ Bison cards as a nice feature.

“Everything ties back to that one ID system,” Borr said, adding that 400 students have downloaded and installed the app on their phone.

That number drew scrutiny from Rep. Thomas Beadle (R-Fargo), who said, “You might wanna tweak your sales pitch when only 400 students signed up.”

“That’s a fair point,” Borr replied.

Safety features

NDUS interim chief of staff Lisa Feldner presented on four topics, the first discussing campus police jurisdiction.

The case of Kroschel v. Levi last year ruled that “a North Dakota State University police officer is without authority to arrest a driver operating a motor vehicle outside university property.”

Morgan Kroschel, then a sophomore, was arrested by NDSU police officer Ryan Haskell outside NDSU’s campus. He had observed Kroschel “turn across a designated turn lane rather than enter a travel lane.” He arrested her for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Other issues of jurisdiction came up in Tuesday’s meeting, including Sen. Carolyn Nelson’s (D-Fargo) inquiry of who has jurisdiction on campus property within the immediate vicinity of NDSU.

“The city has jurisdiction,” Feldner said, but the city “can call campus.”

Nelson’s question referenced the fall 2014 rape of two international students at the Bison Arms Apartment, which stands 121 feet from NDSU’s campus.

Despite Feldner’s response, the matter is not totally resolved who will respond.

“When minutes matter, I think it’s best we have an integrated discussion on this,” said Sen. Tim Flakoll (R-Fargo).

Research Enterprise and NDSU

Kelly Rusch, vice president for research and creative activity, presented information on NDSU research.

Rusch highlighted that NDSU is looking at researching solutions to three grand challenges, including food systems and security, a healthy population and a sustainable environment.

Rusch also presented NDSU’s research data involving big data and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Rusch said NDSU researchers use one of six FAA test sites in the country to test and research with UAVs.

The research conducted with the six UAVs operated by NDSU is centered upon precision agriculture, she said.

Rep. Roscoe Streyle (R-Minot) asked whether or not there is collaboration between UND and NDSU with UAV technology to which Rusch said there was some.

She added that as of now, both campuses have used UAVs for wildlife research, and there may be more collaboration on other projects down the line.

Rusch said that the UAV program will collect 80 terabytes of data, which she added would be useless unless it could be analyzed.

The data from the UAV program woould be collected at the Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology.

Streyle asked why CCAST is at NDSU and not at a state facility set aside for the research.

Rusch said that money left over from earmarks authorized by congress would have had to get approval from congress, or NDSU would have to give $8 million back.

NDSU Explore shows off undergrad research, Rusch said, adding that seven students from four projects have been invited to present their research on a national level.

Maricelis Acevedo, assistant professor in the department of AES plant pathology, also presented information about the research she has been conducting about wheat rust resistance and preserving the quality of wheat.

Acevedo also added that though the industry may not be ready for it now, NDSU is staying up with GMO food technology for future research.

Rusch added the research of Chad Ulven, an associate mechanical engineering professor, has been researching ways to take agricultural waste and turn it into bioplastics.

Rusch said that though federal funding for research has been dropping, NDSU research investment has been increasing, adding that for every dollar invested by the state into NDSU there are about $7.80 returned on investment.

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