Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• I spotted an interesting little item in the University Daily Kansan that deals with some of the pitfalls of transporting drunken college students from place to place.
An issue, apparently, arose with SafeBus, a free bus service offered to KU students between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, running from the downtown area to several areas where students live.
The idea, of course, is to provide safe ride home for students from downtown. Here’s some more information on the program.
The issue, the newspaper reported, arose after residents at one of the stops near Ninth and Maine streets complained of littering, stepping on flower beds and urinating in public. The stop is moving now, to Ninth and Illinois.
I called Casey Briner, a student body presidential candidate last year, who’s serving as the student liaison between Student Senate and KU Parking and Transit. She’s quoted in the Kansan’s story.
She told me that she doesn’t consider the service a “drunk bus” — she’s taken it several times herself to get home from the library. But she acknowledged that, yes, drunken students do use it to get home safely. The bus isn’t concerned with enforcement of underage drinking rules — the priority is to get students home in a safe way.
She said they don’t attempt to regulate the students’ behavior once they leave the bus, either. But they did respond to residents’ complaints in this case by moving the stop.
They got a lot of riders last year — 52,000 — and added Thursdays this year. Briner told me that other than a few complaints in the beginning of the service, she hasn’t heard of any others since the service began in 2007.
• Here’s an online USA Today story by intern Sarah Weaver, who’s a KU senior. She talks about the challenges faced by first-generation college students.
That group of students, she reports, is more likely to work, have more financial responsibilities, be older than a traditional student and drop out of school. In fact, they’re four times more likely to drop out after the first year, she said.
She offers some advice, though, including to “ask for help because it’s out there.” She cites TRIO programs funded by the federal government (they’re at KU, too — I worked for one as an undergraduate student) who can offer some assistance for first-generation students.
• And here’s a write-up from the Windy City Times (an outlet devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news) detailing some research done by KU journalism professor Tien Tsung-Lee involving if the media the public consumes has any effect on people’s attitudes toward same-sex marriage.
The amount of media people consumed wasn’t as strong a predictor, the article reported as whether the person identified as a liberal, or as religious. And many of the choices of what kinds of media people consume are likely associations, the article points out, and not causes of their views on gay marriage.
The article notes that the report shows “the news media might not be able to tell the audience what to think, they can at least tell the audience what to think about.”
The study was published in the Journal of Homosexuality.
• I learned a long time ago that I can’t tell you what to think. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. Here goes … I’m telling you to think of a great tip for Heard on the Hill. Go ahead, take a few minutes. These things don’t just pop out of thin air. Now, I’m telling you to think of pulling up your email program, putting “email@example.com” in the To: box, and firing that tip my way. There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?