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News from ISU, NIU, EIU and SIU

Illinois State

Lunch bag series takes global approach

NORMAL - An anthropologist specializing in diaspora issues will examine global ethics in the context of current events as part of an international lecture series at Illinois State University.

Junaid Rana will lead the noon talk, "Do We Live on an Ethical Planet? Danish Cartoons, Muslim Migrants, Pakistani Protests," on April 12 in Stevenson Hall.

Rana's talk is part of Illinois State's International Studies Seminar Series that explores topics in global politics and culture. Rana is an assistant professor of Asian-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He is a cultural anthropologist specializing in the study of the South Asian diaspora, in particular Pakistani immigrants. His research and teaching interests include the study of race, racism, Islam and Muslims, and community organizing.

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Northern Illinois

University to resume 4-day work week

DeKALB - Northern Illinois University will resume its four-day work weeks this summer.

University President John Peters has announced the university will be closed on Fridays during the summer. The university has used the cost-saving measure for the past two years and has saved $2 million in utilities and other operating expenses, he said.

The board of trustees also has approved student fee increases for the 2007-08 school year - the most expensive being a 13.2 percent increase in student health insurance. It is now $327 per semester.

Other fee increases range from 8 cents more for student activity fees, which go to support student organizations, to $1.16 more in athletics fees, which will help pay for salary increases and general operating costs.

Eastern Illinois

Historic Blair Hall opens year after fire

CHARLESTON - Eastern Illinois University's historic Blair Halln;has reopened, following a fire that required the near-total interior gutting of the building two years ago.

"The positive that has come out of this is we're going to have a historic structure that has been upgraded with 21st century technology," said Jeff Cooley, vice president for business affairs. "We've tried to put Blair Hall back together as closely as we could to the original building."

But that doesn't mean the fire didn't cause irreversible harm, as countless books and volumes of research were lost. "You can't put a price on that," Cooley said. "That's work that's irreplaceable. There's certainly a personal and emotional cost associated with this fire."

Ironically, the fire likely resulted from heat generated during repairs to Blair Hall's windows, said investigators.

"I've been referring to it as a brand new 1913 building," said Steve Shrake, director of facilities planning and management. Blair Hall's third floor was nearly destroyed while the first and second floors experienced so much water and smoke damage that officials decided to start over - apart from the exterior shell and interior masonry corridors.


Petition seeks to stop student housing hike

CARBONDALE - Members of an SIU-C tenant union say the campus' plan to increase rent at the Evergreen Terrace family housing complex by 25 percent over three years shows disregard for the poorest students trying to get an education.

Marinus van Kuilenburg, a doctoral student of political science and president of the Evergreen Terrace Tenant Union, is shopping a petition around campus, seeking opposition against implementing the increases. The board of trustees is set to vote on the measure at its May meeting in Edwardsville.

Evergreen Terrace houses mostly students with families to support and international students not eligible for the same types of financial aid as American students. University housing officials say they don't like having to increase rates so much, but they need the money to keep up maintenance on the multi-building complex. Officials also say recent fires that have damaged parts of buildings in Evergreen Terrace have increased the insurance policy the university pays on the facility.

Aracely Hernandez of The Daily Chronicle, Nathaniel West of the Times Courier/Journal Gazette, Caleb Hale of The Southern Illinoisan and Michele Steinbacher of The Pantagraph contributed to this report.


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