With more than 800 stories to choose from, the Optimist staff members have voted on what they think are the 10 most newsworthy stories to recap the 2007-08 school year.
1. With the release of the iPhone last summer, a research group composed of faculty and staff began conversations with Apple to discuss the possibility of providing this cellular device for ACU students. Looking to incorporate the iPhone
in classroom curriculum and give students constant access to the Internet, the university unveiled its plan in February to provide all incoming freshmen an iPhone or a iPod touch, making ACU the first iPhone university in the nation.
2. The ACU campus has seen two student deaths this school year, as well as the death of a former ACU track coach. The ACU community mourned the deaths of student Aaron Fry, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in August of 2007, and student Zachary Swan, who took his life in early February. Coaching legend and former Olympian coach Oliver Jackson died in his home on Dec. 26, 2007, at the age of 87.
3. The administration announced it will change the university’s long-standing alcohol policy, which currently prohibits students of any age from consuming alcohol. The 2008-09 student guidebook will allow for students over the age of 21 to drink responsibility as the university seeks new ways to foster discussions about drinking through venues like Orientation, Residence Life and University Seminar.
4. As part of the 2008 presidential campaign, Gov. Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidate, and President Bill Clinton, campaigning for Sen. Hillary Clinton, stopped in Abilene to rally support for their respective campaigns. With the support of television star Chuck Norris, Huckabee pleaded for the support of Texas voters in the Republican primary. Bill Clinton rallied votes for his wife at the Abilene Aero hanger as the crowds awaited his appearance despite the heavy rainfall.
5. Daniel Reed (D.J.) Jarrett faces penalty of up to life in prison after allegedly attacking his pregnant girlfriend over Christmas Break and intentionally causing her miscarriage, according to police. A Michigan judge has found enough evidence to send the case to trial at the Wayne County Circuit Court. The trial is still pending.
6. After accusations of a rigged election, the Kenyan crisis ensued, which left the once-peaceful African country politically divided. More than 1,000 people died as a result of the upset, and the country was left with limited resources of food and water. The crisis touched the ACU campus as several Kenyan students were affected by the unrest in their home country.
7. Fall enrollment dropped by about 100 students this year as 4,698 students enrolled for the 2007-08 school year. Despite the relatively lower numbers, admissions officials claim the school has seen an increase in international and academically strong students, which has been attributed to the 21st Century Vision. Right now, the university has 4,030 students and is one of the largest private schools in the Southwest.
8. After hearing numerous residents’ complaints, a proposal to end the use of Sherrod Residential Park as a housing complex was initiated by newly appointed Residence Life director John Delony. In the last year, residents submitted about 300 repair requests to Physical Resources, and Delony promised to come
up with a “reasonable solution.” A decision was made to maintain Sherrod as a housing complex for the next three years as the university aims to appease residents.
9. Four faculty members did not have their contracts renewed for the 2008-09 school year as result of a more than $3 million budget deficit and a drop in enrollment numbers. Input from department heads were given to the dean of each respective college who decided which contracts would not be renewed. No tenured or tenure-track faculty members were chosen.
10. The women of Ko Jo Kai and the men of Galaxy broke the six-year winning streak of women’s club Sigma Theta Chi and men’s club Gamma Sigma Phi at Sing Song 2008 “World Tour.” In the mixed voices category, the class of 2008 won for the second year in a row.