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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Eagle •



REGENT: Says he wanted it to be clear he was already opposed to program Continued from A1 anonymous student evaluations in an attempt to incentivize and reward better teaching. An associate professor had finished a 10-minute address to regents criticizing a series of ideas from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, and asking the board to distance itself from the group. One of the ideas was the cash-for-evaluations program. A crowd of some 100 faculty members was giving the faculty member a prolonged standing ovation when Adams leaned toward Board Chairman Richard Box and spoke as the mic picked up his words. “We will throw that out,” said Adams, of the awards program, in a video that circulat-

“My opposition to SLATE, or whatever it’s called, was not the result of a 10-minute lecture to us,” Adams said. “I’ve been opposed to itt ffor several months.” Adams said he’s a believer in the value of student evaluations for an awards program, but any such effort should be simpler than the 16 questions now posed to students. He said he’s in favor of developing a new program with input from students and faculty. “I believe evaluations need to be as forthright, focused, simple and user-friendly as humanly possible,” he said. In the video, Box is seen as slightly nodding in response to Adams’ remark. “That basically was an indication from me that I heard what he was saying,” Box said. “That’s all. Nothing more. Don’t read anything

“My opposition to SLATE, or whatever it’s called, was not the result of a 10-minute lecture to us. I’ve been opposed to it for several months.” Phil Adams Texas A&M System regent

ed around the Aggie community Friday. “But we don’t want them to think they did it.” Jaime Grunlan, the associate mechanical engineering professor who received the applause, said of Adams’ remark, “It hurts — it tells me he has no respect for me.” But he also was optimistic, saying, “I hope this attention doesn’t ruin the chance of having them throw it out.” Adams, a Bryan businessman, has been a board member of the Texas Public Policy

Foundation, which advocates for limited government, since 1989. He also is a major contributor to Gov. Rick Perry, a foundation supporter. Adams said he respects M ffaculty Grunlan and A&M and regrets the remark. All he meant, he said, was that he didn’t want people to think he supports ending the program simply to cave to demands, but instead for the right reasons: a dismal participation rate and lack of effectiveness.

more into it than that.” Box in recent days also has expressed a willingness to “revisit” the awards program. SLATE was unrolled in the A&M System in fall 2008, first at the College Station campus and two others and then to all 11 system universities. To the ire of faculty, it was likened to “customer satisfaction” by A&M System Chancellor

Mike McKinney, and gave faculty members awards of between $2,500 and $10,000 based on 16-question surveys. The program, which has given out $2.7 million so far, now offers a fflat $2,500 award. Only around 3 percent of more than 2,800 faculty members at Texas A&M University participated in the voluntary program last fall.




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CRASH: Report may come Sunday Continued from A1 “I saw a lot of open grassy fields on the way over, so I thought it might have turned out OK,” he said. “Then I saw this parking lot, and things didn’t look so good.” Jeremy Pospech lives in a home directly behind the apartments and was outside barbecuing when he said he noticed the plane e ffly “a little low” directly over his house. “It was just gliding down South College, but it didn’t look like it was in trouble,” he said. “Then I heard the crash.” Z Islander resident Steven Harris said he heard no sound prior to the crash. “I heard a really, really loud sound and we walked out and that’s what it was,” he said, referring to the wreckage. “I thought the [apartment complex] windmill fell on the clubhouse because it sounded so metallic.” The plane crashed into Trevon Odom’s white Honda

Civic, which he said is now undriveable. “[A police officer] said it’s the first time he saw something like this,” Odom said. “That’s my transportation to and from work, so I’m going to have to find something.” Dylan Tarpey said he was sitting on the second-story porch of residents Taylor Walker and Samantha Vacek when he saw the plane nearing the ground. “I saw how low it was flying and it caught my attention,” he said. Tarpey said he hesitated before waking up Vacek, who was napping inside, due to shock. Vacek rushed to the scene after Tarpey informed her of the accident. “She was the first one down there,” Tarpey said. Vacek said she called 911 after arriving at the scene, where a woman inside the cockpit appeared to be dead. “The guy was still breathing and I told him not to

move,” she said. Vacek said she was still on the phone with 911 when the paramedics arrived. The Department of Public Safety is investigating the crash but is not expected to have an initial report available until Sunday.

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