Revealed: the “hidden casualisation” of University staff

first_imgThey said: “At the end of my one-year contract, it was renewed – something that was due to my employer’s generosity, who knew that I couldn’t finish my PhD otherwise, because I wouldn’t have had enough money.”They added: “These people are the most academically qualified, yet they can’t afford to rent one room in one house.“I’ve seen people have to pack up boxes and walk out because they can’t afford to pay rent – they’ve had to give up on PhDs halfway through.”Neither does security seem to improve with age or experience. According to one academic, it is normal for academics not to obtain a permanent post until the age of 35, which is “insane in any other business”. He recalled a lecturer who had a series of five prestigious lectureships at a single college. However, once her contract expired she was left unemployed with no protection or provision.However, despite the promise of overwork and little pay, competition for contracts remains fierce, with one academic suggesting that 200 applicants for a single Junior Research Fellowship was not unusual.He continued: “My job won’t exist in June – there won’t be another Graduate Teaching Assistant. I’m going to have to apply for my own job, and we’ll see if I get it. But they can’t just keep me on forever – they are not allowed to.“I’ll apply for upwards of 20 jobs, and I might get one – even though I should be top of the pile, I have a lot of experience in teaching, I’ve been in the Oxford system, I’ve got a book contract with a well-known publisher.”Successful applications also frequently rely on references from current employers, meaning that employers will become aware as soon as academics begin looking for new posts.Speaking to Cherwell, one researcher said: “This also puts us in a very difficult position. A position where regardless of how badly you are treated, you still have to put up with that in order to make sure you get a half decent reference to secure another job.” In the April 2018 report, the University also promised that its quarterly review group would review those who had been on fixed term contracts for between 10-15 years.The report read: “We should expect through its questioning of contract intentions that some employees will be transferred from fixed-term to open-ended contacts.”However, Oxford UCU representative Patricia Thornton told Cherwell: “Open-ended contracts are not the same as permanent employment and do not necessarily confer job security, and the numbers of staff shifted to open-ended contracts did not represent a significant proportion of the total on insecure contracts in the end.”The percentage of academic and related staff moving from fixed-term contracts to open-ended contracts increased from 0.6% to 0.7% in the year to July 2017.There is no strict definition of a ‘precarious job’. The University Administration report only included percentages of those on fixed-term contracts as an indicator of precarity, while the HESA report also deemed ‘atypical’ jobs precarious.The 2016 HESA report recorded that 76.9% of Oxford University academic staff were in these ‘precarious’ jobs, in contrast to an average 50.9% for universities nationwide. The figure for Cambridge University was 64.8%.However, the precarity situation at Oxford and Cambridge is more serious than both the data collected by the University and HESA would suggest. As the data is based on statistics from the central University, college-only personnel, which include all college employees, Junior Research Fellows, and postdocs, are excluded from the findings.Cambridge UCU anti-casualisation officer, Sandra Cortijo told Cherwell that such “hidden casualisation” was endemic at both universities. She said that Oxford’s own higher precarity rating is indicative of the greater teaching co-ordination at Oxford between faculties and the central University, meaning that there are fewer college-only posts. “Most newly-minted academics that I know of— including my own DPhil students and recent graduates— can expect to spend up to a decade moving from fixed-term post to fixed-term post before landing a permanent job.”The number of fixed-term contracts available varies throughout the year, with posts often only open for a single term.One academic, who tutored at another college last Trinity to help with finals, said: “I was teaching 15-25 hours a week – at 15 hrs you start getting counselling because it is such mentally exhausting work, teaching.“In the end I got £1500 out of it and an exhaustion related illness.”Fixed-term contracts are notorious for their vagueness, and often it is up to the discretion of the employer what they will actually entail.One laboratory manager told Cherwell: “In some of our contracts it is stated that working hours are as many as necessary to perform the duties, which leads to abuse from some line managers regarding how many hours you work a week.“It is not uncommon to find people working 70+ hours a week as if they fail to do that, their short-term contracts won’t be renewed.”One academic spoke of experiences where jobs, despite being classified as ‘research’ posts, would actually involve teaching and supervision.One MPhil student revealed that he spent £6,000 a year on his degree despite only officially meeting his supervisor twice a year. In order to cover the costs, the same student was obliged to take on teaching posts at two different colleges, as well as tutoring A-Level students for six hours every Sunday. His monthly income is £800, and his rent costs are £625. However, Cortijo also added that some Cambridge colleges have tried to alter their model to assuage the prevalence of precarious jobs, in ways that Oxford has so far failed to emulate.She said: “A number of Cambridge colleges have moved away from fixed term College Lecturer posts in recent years, preferring permanent College Lectureships, whereas the direction of change may not have been the same in Oxford.“In Oxford, there is some evidence of tutorial teaching and other time-intensive contact with students being shifted away from permanent Tutorial Fellows and on to fixed-term early-career staff, or even graduate students.”While in Cambridge posts to cover for staff on paid research leave often “provide comparable work conditions to a permanent academic position”, despite being fixed-term according to Cortijo, Oxford’s equivalent positions fail to offer the same level of security.Cortijo added: “Oxford has in recent years advertised posts which involve — and pay — for only the specific teaching hours required, with no allowance for research time and no payment outside the teaching term.”Fixed-term contracts in Oxford vary enormously in duration. The majority of academics Cherwell spoke to were on three-year contracts, but some had contracts as short as one to six months.A current associate professor told Cherwell: “At the time that I received my doctorate, temporary positions were still relatively rare: the norm was that newly minted doctoral degree holders either applied for and received post-doctoral research positions for a year or two, or slipped right into permanent, tenure-track positions.“In my case, I succeeded in landing a post-doctoral research position for one year, and then moved right into a tenure-track position. However, within ten years of that, I discovered that the new norm had become not just one fixed-term contract following the conferral of degree, but several.center_img One academic also believed that attitudes to recruitment had changed in the university in recent years.They said: “There is no recognition of loyalty at this University. In any other profession – business, medicine, law – the biggest thing you can give to an employer is loyalty, and you are rewarded for showing that loyalty.“Here, loyalty is seen as the worst thing, a kind of waste product. They now value those who have taught somewhere else, they value experience from outside of Oxford.”Hiring in Oxford is still a highly opaque process however, with many positions still being awarded without being openly advertised.“I got a job at a college through knowing people. One of the professors was on leave for this term, and I got a call over the summer from a candidate who asked me if I wanted the job, without an interview, and without an application.“By the time the college had conducted an interview process, which would have cost them time and effort, they would have ended up selecting someone just because they ticked a few boxes.”The stress of continually looking for jobs in order to survive in one of the UK’s most expensive cities, has been suggested to have repercussions not only for academic staff’s own mental health, but also the quality of their teaching.One academic sighed: “It’s kind of ironic because you hear about mental stress from students on an undergraduate level, and you are supposed to be giving sympathy.“But you go home and you are single, underpaid, overstressed and fucked off about everything.”Although the Oxford UCU have made raising awareness of job precarity one of their key campaigns, academics complain that raising issues with the University is futile. Strikes, one academic admitted, “make absolutely no effect on anything at all”.The researcher said: “I haven’t complained about this as it is kind of our understanding that is how the university operates. I don’t think that it is a fair system but not sure what can we do to change it.“As many other things in this university, including bullying, equality and other policies, we feel that is a bit of façade to make the university appear as a wonderful employer but the reality is very different.“When we raise complains about any matter, we are quickly shut down, ignored or even mistreated. And as we are in a fragile employment situation we just have to shut up and carry on, otherwise we won’t be able to secure employment.”They said the University should be “making sure that these contracts are not legal”, and offering alternatives to HR for staff to report their concerns.Oxford UCU rep, Patricia Thornton told Cherwell: “The entire phenomenon is profoundly detrimental to what a university is and ought to be. It literally renders the notion of academic freedom irrelevant, as no one on a fixed-term contract can be guaranteed to be able to exercise their right to conduct and disseminate resource.“If the new norm across the University becomes precarious employment in academe, then the University will have failed to observe both the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel, which charges universities with the responsibility of ensuring effective support of academic freedom.“We are not quite to that point yet, thankfully; but, personally, as time goes by, I’m getting more and more uneasy about how closely we are skirting that line in academic research.” Oxford University have failed to implement reforms to decrease the number of staff in ‘precarious’ jobs, despite the Higher Education Statistical Association reporting in 2016 that jobs at the University are the most insecure in the Russell Group.An internal report by the University Administration and Services distributed to Oxford UCU members showed that 87% of research staff held fixed-term contracts in July 2017, marking a 5-year high.55.3% of all academic staff above ‘Grade 6’, an Oxford job classification which includes all those who can act as supervisors, held a fixed-term contract in July 2017, compared to 54.6% in 2016.The percentage of academic and related staff moving from fixed-term to permanent contracts also dropped from 1.8% to 1.5% in the year to July 2017.The report was based on headcount rather than per contract as seen in the HESA study, in recognition that many staff members hold more than one fixed-term contract.A spokesperson for the University told Cherwell: “We recognise that the majority of our early career researchers are on fixed-term contracts and we take very seriously the need to do more to support them.“Our recently published Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 commits to enhancing the opportunities and support for early career researchers and we have established an Early Career Researcher Development Forum to find ways of improving their position, including doing more to build their skill sets and offer career support.“We would also note that these figures reflect Oxford being such a research-intensive university, because the way research is funded leads to this type of contract. The figure also includes a graduate students undertaking part-time teaching and this flexibility suits them because they can balance it with their studies.”last_img read more

Oxford University holds virtual open days

first_imgA spokesperson from the University told Cherwell that they welcomed over 35,000 visitors across the two days and answered over 24,000 questions. They said: “This was more people than we would expect to attend a physical Open Day in Oxford.” Article updated at 09.55 on 08/07/2020 to include comment from the University of Oxford. While there were events put on by student service teams,such as the Disability Advisory Service and Fees and Funding, the bulk of theactivities were organised by individual colleges and departments. Colleges puttogether virtual tours and held meet the tutor Q&As, while departments puttogether videos on both the course structure and application tips, includinghow to prepare for the admissions exams and examples of practice interviews. Street also said: “An online Open Day is more accessible formany prospective students than an in person Open Day, especially for applicantswho do not live in the South East.” Class Act, a society for people from under-representedsocioeconomic groups at Oxford, was one of many student societies who tried toreach out to students on the open days. Their communications officer, EllaStreet, told Cherwell that one positive of a virtual open day was thatit gave “students exposure to not just the different colleges and departments,but also to different extra-curricular activities and campaigns, which normallythey might not have been aware of.” Prospective applicants did not seem to be put off by this new virtual process, with over 3,000 questions being asked on Brasenose’s ask-the-students chat room. Moreover, the online format does have the added advantage of allowing for continued engagement, with most events staying online after the 1st and 2nd of July. As is the case every year, current Oxford students were keyto the success of these virtual open days, participating in student Q&As,but also engaging with prospective students through society and JCR socialmedia sites. The open days are just one of a series of admissions eventswhich will need to be held online this year. UNIQ, the University’s flagshipstate school access programme which supports 1,350 students annually, will alsorun exclusively online this year. Image credit to Tetiana Shyshkina/ Unsplash. Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions andOutreach at Oxford University said: “Expanding our digital resources has been amajor priority for the University in recent weeks. Many young people are in theprocess of making important decisions about their higher education future inthe midst of a crisis, and I think it would be deeply unfair for talentedstudents of all backgrounds to lose sight of their ambitions because of theeducation disruption caused during this time. Particularly those experiencingsocio-economic disadvantage.” It was announced last week that Oxford’s December interviews will be conducted remotely, and it has also been confirmed that the Open Day in September will be virtual. A spokesperson from the University told Cherwell: “We will be taking on board the feedback we receive from visitors and staff and student volunteers from July to make sure these are as positive, useful and engaging as possible.” Oxford University’s two summer open days have taken place online for the first time this year as a result of Covid-19. Oxford usually welcomes thousands of prospective students every summer, but this year they have had to navigate their way around Oxford via virtual college tours and social media. “We want to support these students wherever possible and wehope our online resources arm them with the details they need to make aninformed decision around whether Oxford is the right choice for them and makecompetitive applications for entry.”last_img read more

Professors accused of transphobia lead women’s equality programme

first_imgTodd has also supported Woman’s Place UK, an organisation which campaigns for sex-segregated spaces and promotes discussion about the impact of the Gender Recognition Act on cis women. The group has been criticised by the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights, who called the group a “trans-exclusionary hate group”. The campaign’s pledges labelling WPUK as such were signed by politicians including Lisa Nandy, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Dawn Butler, and Emily Thornberry. The Oxford Martin School has appointed the Professor of Modern History Selina Todd to lead the new programme ‘Women’s Equality and Inequality’. Along with co-lead Professor Senia Paseta, she will “identify drivers of individual upward mobility and of generational uplift that can help to eradicate educational and economic inequality for women around the world”, according to a statement from St Hilda’s College. Neither Professor Todd or Professor Paseta responded to requests for comment.  It further states that the appointment of Todd and Paseta “reinforce the feeling amongst trans students that the University does not care about their wellbeing”. A spokesperson for the Oxford SU LGBTQ Campaign told Cherwell: “Oxford SU LGBTQ+ Campaign of course welcomes the foundation of this programme, but finds the involvement of Selina Todd, whose anti-trans beliefs and activism is well-known, to a project that aims to help ‘eradicate educational and economic inequality for women around the world’ very troubling. Professor Todd and Professor Paseta both co-signed a 2018 letter to the Labour Party regarding the Party’s inclusion of transgender women within their all-women shortlists. The letter claimed that this stance was “asserting gender identity over sex-based exemptions” and did not uphold women’s rights to “sex-segregated spaces”. The letter continued that “we will not tolerate women being slurred with the misogynist insult TERF [Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist] or being called ‘cis’ against their will”. Professor Todd, whose writing includes research on working-class history, feminism, and inequality, has previously been accused of transphobia due to her self-described ‘gender-critical’ beliefs and is a “strong supporter” of Women’s Place UK, an organisation criticised by trans-rights groups.  The Oxford LGBTQ Student Union Campaign have previously described Woman’s Place UK  as “transphobic”, arguing that they are “threatening trans people’s rights and safety”. Professor Paseta said: “We are delighted to launch the Oxford Martin Programme on Women’s Equality and Inequality. We agree with Hilary Rodham Clinton that ‘women’s rights is the unfinished business of the 21st century’. Our research on women’s social mobility aims to contribute to the eradication of educational and economic inequality for women around the world.” Selina Todd was disinvited from the Oxford International Women’s Festival in March on the basis of her views of gender identity. The Oxford University History Faculty criticised the decision, saying they could not “accepted the exclusion” of Selina Todd and that “it is not always straightforward to balance the rights of women with the rights of trans people”. Prior to Todd’s invitation being withdrawn, feminist writer Lola Olufemi dropped out of the event, mentioning Todd’s views on transgender women as a reason. In a statement published by St Hilda’s College, Professor Todd said about the Oxford Martin School research: “We’re very proud that Oxford will be home to this new research programme on women’s equality and inequality. The idea for this initiative grew in part from a St Hilda’s research initiative called ‘Mind the Gap’, which brought together academics at all levels, including students, to discuss shared concerns in the research of inequality. That cross-disciplinary focus will also characterise this new research programme in Oxford’s Martin School.” “When trans women of colour and those in the global south experience vastly higher levels of unemployment and poverty, this raises serious questions about the project’s commitment to uplifting all women rather than a select few.” An open letter to the University, signed by 400 students in its first 48 hours, speaks out against “two professors with a history of transphobia” leading the Oxford Martin School programme. It asks Todd and Paseta to “publicly commit to including trans women in their research.” The open letter states: “We also fear the beliefs of these professors will negatively affect the scope and quality of research with which they are associated, resulting in the minimisation or neglecting of trans related issues.” Image Credit: David Levene and Eyevine.last_img read more

Oxford City Council makes plans to pedestrianise the city centre

first_imgMany Oxford streets have already been temporarily pedestrianised, particularly to provide more space for outdoor seating. From 12 April onwards, hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen their outdoor seating. To support them, the City Council has recently launched a funding scheme offering £3,250 per business to recoup costs incurred in infrastructure changes.  Jane Campbell-Howard, owner of Society Café in St Michael’s Street, said that Oxford City Council had been “incredibly supportive” and that they were looking forward to serving coffee and “gently and carefully creating a buzz in St Michael’s Street”. Oxford City Council is planning multiple initiatives to pedestrianise streets in Oxford, including launching a Zero Emission Zone Pilot (ZEZ Pilot) in Oxford City Centre starting August 2021. Between 7am and 7pm, access to the ZEZ will be subject to a road charge based on the vehicle’s emissions. The maximum charge will be £10 per day while emission-free vehicles will face no charge.  “A 100 per cent discount” will be offered to students with “acute financial hardship” when moving in and out at the start and end of university terms, with requests for exemptions made via colleges. Further reductions are available for residents and businesses in the zone, blue badge workers and care and health workers. The ZEZ Pilot is part of a wider envisaged Zero Emission Zone, which will be launched in Spring 2022 based on the level of the pilot’s success and public consultation. It is planned to span from the entrance to University Parks to just past the main entrance to Christ Church Meadows, and from just before Oxford train station to Magdalen Bridge. The ZEZ Pilot will include Cornmarket Street and Queen street (from Waterstones to Westgate), as well as Ship Street, St. Michael’s Street (Location of the Handlebar Cafe and Kitchen), Ship Street and New Inn Hall Street (just after Gloucester Green to Westgate). Oxford City Council has also applied to pedestrianise Broad Street between Magdalen Street East and Turl Street from late June 2021 through to autumn. Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford says that they want to give Broad Street “back to people” and “make more streets safer to walk and cycle”.  Image credit: Oxfordshire County Council Image credit: Palickap, distributed under a CC-SA 4.0 Licenselast_img read more

Today’s City Council Meeting Agenda

first_imgE.ORDINANCE R-2019-27 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 1807 & 1809 Stringtown Rd Petitioner:Jason Paul Owner:Jason Paul Requested Change: C4 to R2 Ward:3Melcher Representative:Jason Paul A.RESOLUTION C-2019-19 A Resolution Encouraging Changes to the 2020 Budget for Fire Station Maintenance Sponsor(s): Mosby Discussion Led By: Councilman Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 VIII.MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS IV.SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY F-2019-20 Amended Attachment: IX.COMMITTEE REPORTS VII.RESOLUTION DOCKET F.ORDINANCE F-2019-21 An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Appropriations and Repeal and Appropriations of Funds Within the Department of Metropolitan Development Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 Notify: Kelley Coures, DMD A.ORDINANCE G-2019-13 An Ordinance Amending Chapter 5.40 (Taxicabs) of the Evansville Municipal Code Sponsor(s): Melcher Discussion Led By: ASD Chair Mosby Discussion Date: 10/28/2019 Notify: Josh Claybourn, Jackson Kelly I.INTRODUCTION B.ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS V.CONSENT AGENDA:  FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS Memo Attachment: D.ORDINANCE F-2019-18 Amended An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Approving and Adopting the 2020 Budget for the Port Authority of Evansville Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 B.ORDINANCE F-2019-16 Amended An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville, Indiana Appropriating Monies for the Purpose of Defraying the Expenditures of Departments of the City Government for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2020 Sponsor(s):Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date:10/14/2019 Notify:Russ Lloyd, Jr., Controller VI.REGULAR AGENDA:  SECOND READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS R-2019-25 Attachment: G-2019-12 Attachment: C.ORDINANCE R-2019-25 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 210 Waggoner Avenue Petitioner: Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, Inc. Owner: Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, Inc. Requested Change: C4 to R2 Ward: 5 Elpers Representative: Beth Folz, Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, Inc. D.ORDINANCE R-2019-26 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 257 259 E Mulberry Street Petitioner: Sarah Schuler Owner: Albion Fellows Bacon Center Requested Change: C1 & R2 to C1 Ward: 4 Weaver Representative: Sarah Schuler, VPS Architecture F-2019-17 Amended Attachment: center_img F-2019-16 Amended Attachment: B.ORDINANCE F-2019-22 An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Re-Appropriations within the Department of Metropolitan Development Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/28/2019 X.ADJOURNMENT C.ORDINANCE F-2019-17 Amended An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville, Indiana Appropriating Monies for the Purpose of Defraying the Expenditures of Evansville-Vanderburgh Levee Authority District for the Fiscal Year Beginning January 1, 2020 Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 F-2019-22 Attachment: A.THE NEXT MEETING of the Common Council is Monday, October 28, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. III.REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS E.ORDINANCE F-2019-20 Amended An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Transfers of Appropriations, Additional Appropriations and Repeal and Re-Appropriation of Funds for Various City Funds Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 R-2019-26 Attachment: Agenda Attachment: II.APPROVAL OF MEETING MEMORANDUM G-2019-13 Attachment: C-2019-19 Attachment: A.ORDINANCE G-2019-12 An Ordinance Fixing the Salaries of Every Appointive Officer, Employee, Deputy, Assistant, Departmental and Institutional Head of the City of Evansville and the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Levee Authority for the Year 2020 and Establishing Salary Administration Procedures Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver Discussion Date: 10/14/2019 F-2019-18 Amended Attachment: City Council Meeting OCTOBER 14, 20191 NW ML KING JR. BLVD – ROOM 3015:30 P.M.AGENDA F-2019-21 Attachment: R-2019-27 Attachment: FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

House Committee Passes Amendments On Gaming Bill

first_imgBy Victoria RatliffTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS- A Gary riverboat casino would be allowed to move inland under a bill approved Wednesday by a House committee – but with a $100 million price tag.That is one of the numerous provisions in Senate Bill 552, the giant gambling bill that was approved unanimously by the House Public Policy Committee. The amended bill covers an array of other gaming issues, including moving a second Gary casino license to the Terre Haute area and legalizing betting on sports, though not via phone or computer apps.Under the amendment offered by committee chairman Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, the Gary casino operator, Spectacle Gaming LLC, would have to pay a $100 million fee to repurchase the license they already have in order to operate at a new location near a northern Indiana interstate highway. Smaltz argued that gaming licenses are the property of the state, so if the location changes, a new fee to acquire it should be assessed.The size of the fee shocked some committee members.“To me it sounds like an address change,” said Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis. “It doesn’t necessarily sound like something that they should have to pay $100 million to do… Even for a rich person $100 million is kind of in the stratosphere.”Gary is seeking to allow the casino to move inland in order to open up its port for economic development.B.R. Lane, who represented Gary at the hearing, said later that the price tag “might have a chilling effect” on keeping businesses in Indiana. Gambling advocates here have kept an eye on Illinois, and the possibility of a casino being placed just west of Indiana’s border.And John Keeler, a lobbyist for Spectacle, said that business already paid for the existing gaming licenses. Under the amended form of SB 552, they would have to pay again, plus lose one license to the Terre Haute area which would go up for bid.“We do hope the license fee will be more reasonable, more business-friendly,” he said after the hearing.“It is a tremendous risk. One is the investment of $300 million in Gary (to build the new casino) and the other is the…potential competition from a Chicago casino.”Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, called for the fee to be eliminated altogether.“To me, I think it should be a zero fee to move. I think it’s fair compensation. They’re taking a risk” by investing millions to relocate the casino, he said.Eberhart, though, was most interested in another provision in the amendment. His community, Shelbyville, has one of two racinos in Indiana, along with Anderson, which combines horse racing and a casino. Those racinos, unlike other casinos in Indiana, do not have live table games, that use human dealers rather than video. A 2015 law allows them to get those live games in 2021, but the version of SB 552 which passed the Senate 38-1, moved those up to this year.“The only reason Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park don’t have live table games now is because of Gov. (Mike) Pence and his threat to veto the entire gaming bill in 2015,” Eberhart said.Also added to the bill Wednesday was an amendment by Rep. Edward Clere, R-New Albany, allowing veterans and fraternal organizations to participate in sports betting as long as the money only goes towards the organization. Clere said that since the bill already would legalize sports betting, a version benefiting charities also should be approved.“I thought it would be an appropriate time to add this new opportunity so that they could conduct spots brackets or pool surrounded events,” he said.Despite numerous questions from the committee, Clere’s amendment was adopted as Smaltz and House Ways and Means Co-Chairman Todd Huston, R-Fishers, both stressed that the bill is a work in progress and will be heading next to that budget-writing committee.Smaltz said his amendment nixed the use of computers and mobile phones for sports betting because he was concerned that that could lead to every community having gambling. If someone could bet on a sporting event from their phone, it would be hard to argue that they couldn’t have black-jack and other casino games, he said.Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, said the bill does represent an “expansion of gaming” in Indiana.“You don’t move boats from water to land and not call it an expansion,” he said.He said the bill opens the door for other casinos to ask to move off the water and on to land. Sports betting and live dealers at racinos also expand gambling, Lehman said.Yet he voted for the bill saying, “We’re here, we’re in. To use a gambling term, we’re all in. We’ve made this agreement and at the end of the day jobs, tax dollars” are dependent on the business.FOOTNOTE: Victoria Ratliff is a reporter for, a news site powered by Franklin College journalism students.Print Friendly, PDF & EmailFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Hoosiers Win Four Big Ten Championships Titles

first_imgThe No. 3-ranked Indiana University men’s swimming and diving team won four more conference titles on Friday night at the 2018 Big Ten Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.With the great night, the Hoosiers reclaimed the lead over Michigan by 10 points, 1,090-1,080. Ohio State sits in third place with a score of 870 points. With the four titles on Friday, Indiana has won nine of the 14 events headed in to the fourth and final night on Saturday.For a second time on Friday, Ian Finnerty rewrote the record book in the 100 breaststroke, winning his third-straight Big Ten title with a school record, conference record, pool record and NCAA A cut time of 50.72. The junior’s great mark ranks as the second-fastest time in the event in the nation this year.Right behind him was senior Levi Brock, who placed second in the Championship Final with a personal-best and NCAA A cut time of 51.45. Brock’s career mark is the fourth-best in school history and moves him ahead of 2016 Rio Olympian Cody Miller as the second-best performer in the event in IU history.Senior Sam Apa was 12th overall with a personal-best time of 53.36, while freshman Matthew Jerden won the C Final, touching the wall with a PR of 53.79. Also in the C Final, classmate Jack Kucharczyk was third to finish 19th overall with a personal-best time of 54.40.In the Championship Final of the 100 backstroke, freshman Gabriel Fantoni led four Hoosiers in the race, winning his first individual Big Ten title with a time of 45.79. Fantoni’s win in the event is the first for IU since James Wells in 2013.Sophomore Mohamed Samy won silver, touching the wall with a personal-best time of 45.84. Wilson Beckman was fifth overall with a PR of 46.87, while freshman Jacob Steele rounded out the quartet in sixth place with a personal-best mark of 47.33.Senior Ali Khalafalla made the most of his appearance in the C Final, winning with a personal-best time of 47.33.Indiana recorded a third 1-2 finish on the night in the Championship Final of the 200 freestyle, as Blake Pieroni won his third-straight Big Ten crown in the event. The senior touched first with a Big Ten meet record and pool record time of 1:31.14. Pieroni’s time was also a NCAA A cut that ranks as the second-best time in the country.Mohamed Samy earned his second silver medal of the night, capping an impressive double with a personal-best time of 1:32.56. Samy’s mark is the ninth-best all-time in school history.Vini Lanza continued his remarkable week, winning his fifth Big Ten title in three days, touching first in the 100 butterfly Championship Final with a school record, Big Ten record and NCAA A cut time of 44.79. Lanza is the first Hoosier to break the 45-second mark in IU history and his time is the second-best in the nation.Nikola Miljenic took second in the B Final to place 10th overall with a personal-best time of 46.44, while Bruno Blaskovic was sixth to finish 14th overall with a mark of 46.78. Also in the B Final, Gabriel Fantoni was seventh to finish 15th.Josh Romany posted a PR in the C Final, winning with a time of 47.02. Corey Gambardella was sixth in the C Final to finish 22nd overall with a personal-best mark of 47.45.For a second event on the night, the Hoosiers had four athletes in the Championship Final. This time, IU divers stole the show and posted 105 points for IU in the team standings.After winning the gold medal in the 1-meter dive on Thursday, Michael Hixon took silver in the 3-meter, scoring a 509.95. Hixon’s total is the second-best in IU history. Freshman Andrew Capobianco announced his presence in a star-studded field, winning bronze with a career-best score of 488.40. The rookie’s total is the seventh-best in school history.James Connor was fourth overall with a total of 479.65, while senior Cody Coldren was seventh with a score of 414.95. Connor’s mark is the 10th-best in IU history. Earlier, Clark Carter scored for IU in the C Final, placing 24th with a score of 334.00.In the 200 freestyle relay, the Hoosier team of Ali Khalafalla, Blake Pieroni, Bruno Blaskovic and Nikola Miljenic were just out-touched at the wall by Michigan, earning silver with a NCAA A cut time of 1:16.56. The time is the second-best mark in school history.Freshman Spencer Lehman placed eighth overall in the Championship Final of the 400 IM, touching the wall with a personal-best time of 3:47.12. Lehman’s finish was the best for a Hoosier swimmer in the event since 2015.In the B Final of the 400 IM, Matthew Jerden touched sixth to finish 14th overall with a personal-best time of 3:49.08, while Trey Hubbuch took 16th overall with a mark of 3:51.05.The No. 3-ranked Hoosiers will continue competition at the 2018 Big Ten Championships on Saturday morning with the prelims of the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and platform dive. The action gets started at 12:00 p.m. ET at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

The Decline In Firefighter Volunteers Fuels Recruiting Crisis

first_imgTwitterFacebook The Decline In Firefighter Volunteers Fuels Recruiting CrisisDECEMBER 11TH, 2018 TYRONE MORRIS INDIANAA shortage of firefighter volunteers is fueling a recruiting crisis in Indiana. According to fire officials, 70 percent of the country’s firefighters are volunteers and their numbers are declining.Volunteer firefighters put their life on the line and even though they’re often running toward the danger they never get any money in return. Chief Tom Tharpe runs a volunteer fire department in Trafalgar.He says afternoons are a big concern because most of his crew work full-time jobs and without a paycheck, it’s difficult for departments to recruit firefightersThe Indiana Fire Chiefs Association is applying for a grant through FEMA.They hope the $1 million will help with recruiting in volunteer fire departments. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Evansville Police Departmemt Citizen’s Academy Announcement

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare The Evansville Police Department would like to invite the citizens of our community to attend our 10-week Citizen’s Academy fall session.The EPD Citizen’s Academy provides the community with the opportunity to see firsthand how the various units of the police department operate. Our goal is to help create a better understanding of the department and provide improved communications between the citizens of Evansville and the members of the EPD who serve.The academy is free of charge and will be held each Tuesday evening Beginning September 6th and continuing through November 15th from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm at the Evansville Police Department, located at 15 NW Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.Please go to to see the Citizen’s Academy flyer and registration form and for further information.last_img read more

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