Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• While in the cold and rain yesterday at The Big Event, KU’s volunteer service event, I had the chance to talk a little bit with Libby Johnson. She’s a KU senior from Lawrence who’s running for student body president under the KUnited ticket.
I jokingly asked her if she was the anti-beer candidate.
That’s because I spotted this article in the University Daily Kansan the other day that talked about the opposing student senate coalition’s candidates wanting to bring 3.2 percent beer back to the Jaybowl.
It’s been there before, and students have asked to bring it back before.
They asked most recently, in 2008, and then-Provost Richard Lariviere rejected the proposal.
"There are a number of reasons why it would not be in the university's best interest, but the one the provost cited specifically in a very brief memo to the board members was the serious nature of alcohol abuse among college students and the social issues surrounding alcohol use," a university spokeswoman said at the time.
The students’ proposal, according to the Kansan, would limit each patron to two beers and wouldn’t allow pitchers of beer to be sold.
In 2008, only four Big 12 Conference schools sold alcohol.
Since then, KU has had a few high-profile student deaths involving alcohol, so I don’t know if administrators would be any keener on allowing booze (even 3.2 percent booze) to be sold on KU property. But at least a few student senators seem intent on getting new Provost Jeff Vitter’s opinion on the matter, so we’ll see what happens.
And, for the record, Johnson isn’t anti-beer, she said. She just isn’t interested in pursuing beer sales in the Jaybowl.
• The figure of 500 volunteers for The Big Event’s volunteer service day included a few KU faculty and staff members, too, in addition to the many students. A couple staff-types I heard were participating included Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success, and Shade Little, husband of the chancellor and unofficial KU goodwill ambassador.
• KU’s debate squad capped off another successful season with a run to the Sweet 16 in the National Debate Tournament.
Senior Dylan Quigley and junior Sean Kennedy lost to a team from Northwestern University that went on to become the eventual national champions. And they only barely lost, as the seven-judge panel split the round 4-3 in favor of Northwestern.
It was a bit of deja vu for the Kennedy and Quigley, who also lost to the eventual national champions in the Sweet 16 last year.
Another team, Patrick Kennedy and Mathew Petersen, also advanced to the single-elimination bracket, but lost in the first elimination round on a 3-2 decision to the University of Texas-Dallas.
Kennedy and Quigley finished the year ranked No. 7 and Kennedy and Petersen were ranked No. 10 nationally.
KU debate has a strong history, and last won the national title in 2009, when Brett Bricker and Nate Johnson took home the trophy. (Here’s a picture of them holding the hardware).
Kudos to the debate squad on another good year.
• When I talked to her about Wednesday’s big Google announcement, Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor for KU Medical Center, mentioned a big hotel project going on right next to the campus in Kansas City, Kan.
With that, and some other major renovations and additions going on at KU Hospital, it’s been a bustling place over there.
The Kansas City Star covered some of the details of the project coming in to the area.
Look for a new four-story Holiday Inn and Suites to go in at the southwest corner of Rainbow Boulevard and Marty Avenue. On the first floor, there will be some retail space, which includes a Five Guys Burgers and Fries and a self-serve frozen yogurt place called Yogurtopia.
• While I don’t have any 3.2 percent beer to offer you, I hope that won’t discourage you from sending in tips for Heard on the Hill. Keep them coming at firstname.lastname@example.org.