2015-2016 farewell to news

Molly Wierman, News Editor

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The news section of The University News began coverage for the 2015-2016 academic year with a series of stories touching on topics close to the hearts of University of Dallas students: the Rome semester, the Due Santi campus and the death of Zachary Clark, ‘16.

From commemorating a beloved classmate, to documenting attempts to rediscover the lost city beneath the UD Rome campus and investigating the new procedure for Rome semester applications, the news team documented a series of changes. These changes took place across the university during the summer and into the fall and spring semesters, in population, appearance and policy.

The news section also covered the arrival of the largest freshman class in UD history and questioned the ramifications of admitting more students than ever.

We reported the handful of changes at the administrative level, the appointments to dean positions as well as the resignation of Director of Student Life Doré Madere.

In light of changes at the faculty level, we strove to get in touch one last time with some of UD’s most beloved professors — biology professor Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden and philosophy professors Dr. William Tullius and Dr. Frank Scalambrino — following their departures over the summer.

Finally, the news section commemorated the lives of two of UD’s most significant former professors, Fr. Ralph March and Dr. Louise Cowan, after their deaths in Feb. 2016 and Nov. 2015, respectively.

Regarding changes in the campus landscape, the news staff heralded the opening of SB Hall at the beginning of the spring semester and announced the administration’s decision to tear down Lynch Auditorium and Carpenter Hall in order to build a new academic hall, administrative building and auditorium over the sites of the old buildings.

As for policy, the news section tracked the development and announcement of and student reactions to the banning of weapons on campus.

Another important theme throughout the year was the many accomplishments of UD professors.The second issue of The University News lauded professor of psychology Dr. Scott Churchill’s successful efforts to sponsor an American Psychological Association (APA) resolution against torture. The following issue featured an article on politics professor Dr. Daniel Burns’ invitation to join a unique group of scholars headed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The biggest article of the academic year also centered on UD faculty.

What the news team dubbed the “hard glass ceiling” article, covering allegations of a discriminatory climate at UD and gender-based pay discrepancies, challenged the section in ways we had not expected.

The month-long endeavor of writing the article involved reading and processing the equivalent of 38 pages of emails between faculty and administrators and attempting to understand the volume of data therein.

Sometimes, the information we had gathered seemed far above our interpretative capacities, and we struggled to put the pieces together.

Another constant struggle the news section faced was its size and relative inexperience.

The news team never exceeded more than six people at its largest, and we typically only had four people working at one time.

I was the only non-senior section editor; and  none of the regular news contributors were seniors.

We all had to learn quickly, sometimes through making mistakes such as failing to fact-check stories, forgetting to interview multiple sources and struggling to meet deadlines.

Because of the size of the staff, we often could not undertake more time-intensive stories — I cannot count the number of times I had to tell inquiring professors or other editors that I was sorry, I just did not have the resources to cover these truly significant and newsworthy stories.

Still, I cannot be more proud of what we all managed to accomplish.

One of my greatest hopes as a brand-new section editor was to publish articles that reached out into the broader community, beyond the Bubble and into Dallas and the rest of Texas.

We published articles ranging from Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s anti-Islamic remarks and the development projects slated for the plot of land around the former Cowboys stadium, to the story of Ahmed Mohammed from MacArthur High School and Bishop Kevin Farrell’s remarks on the global refugee crisis.

For a small section, we had a wide reach, and as I bid farewell to the news section, I know I can leave it in the hands of the next news editor assured that we will only extend this reach and broaden our news coverage.

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