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Volume 95 | Issue 40
Sunny 75° / 62°
The Student Newspaper of the University of North Texas
Documents provide clues to Bataille’s resignation Former president butted heads with System BY LISA GARZA
Senior Staff Writer Public records show that during the months leading to UNT President Gretchen Bataille’s resignation, tensions bet ween her a nd t he UNT System erupted over an initiative to acquire a building in McKinney and termination of the lease of the University Center s at Da l la s, w h ich were undertaken without the System’s knowledge. E-mails, letters, and memos obtained t hrough an open records request also demonstrate that Bataille proposed a 5 percent tuition increase to the students after Chancellor Lee Jackson said he was against it. The documents reveal that she privately discussed ways to oppose a plan to combine i n for mat ion tech nolog y depa r t ment s a nd hu m a n resource services. “I prefer to hear what the academic needs are, discuss opt ions i n a professiona l manner and then come to a consensus decision about the best options,” Jackson wrote to the Board of Regents in a Feb. 5 memorandum concerning Bataille’s actions. Bataille said Thursday in a phone interview that she did not act beyond her authority as president and would not
Bataille signed a letter of intent on Jan. 15 on behalf of UNT to the city of McKinney that established a cooperative effort in sustainability, including the possibility of acquiring the courthouse. The universit y president does not have the authority to make purchasing decisions w ithout approva l from the Board of Regents. Bataille told the Daily that she sent Jackson an e-mail informing him of what was happening but said she did not know if he saw the letter. “The details of those discussions were w it h held f rom System staff and our offer of assistance to analyze this project was declined,” Jackson said in an e-mail to the Daily on Thursday. “This has delayed by two months the gathering of the customary engineering and appraisal data that are necessary for any real estate decision.” Bataille told the Daily she PHOTO BY KAITLYN PRICE/PHOTOGRAPHER is aware that the System and E-mails, letters, and memos, obtained through an open records request, show that during the months leading to UNT President Gretchen Bataille’s resignation, UNT Board of Regents must tensions between her and the UNT System erupted over an initiative to acquire a building in McKinney and the termination of the lease of the University Centers address any issue regarding the purchase or receipt of propat Dallas, which were undertaken without the System’s knowledge. erty but “we were not close to proposing either accepting she had spoken w it h t he McKinney Project said participate “in a he said/she Bataille sent an e-mail to McKinney mayor and Cit y proper t y or purchasing or A national search for the said kind of thing with the chancellor that really doesn’t next president will begin soon, Jackson on Jan. 8 informing Council members before the renovating property.” Provost Wendy Wilkins, who have anything to do with the according to school officials. him that a group of senior winter holiday and was told decisions he made about my Interim President Phil Diebel a d m i n i s t r a t o r s t r a v e l e d that the city might contribute was among the administrators will remain in office until the to McKinney to consider a $10 million to the building’s that helped draft the letter of position.” intent, said the purpose was “to “I did not do anything that end of May, when he will be proposed gift of the former renovation costs. The offer was contingent on secure more time to consider was out of line for the presi- replaced w ith a yet-to-be- Collin County Courthouse — dent of a university who was named interim president who a 165,000-square-foot facility UNT using the building as a what our options might be.” research and teaching facility on six acres of land. expected to do what was best will serve a one-year term. Bataille told Jackson that to promote sustainability. for the institution,” Bataille See E-MAILS on Page 2
Airports to use UNT professor tests fish for toxins full body scans BY A LEX CALAMS
BY KRYSTLE CANTU Staff Writer
The Transportation Security Administration is implementing full body scans, swabs and patdowns at all airports. The full body scans peer through the subject’s clothes to create a detailed, nude image. Controversy has arisen over the practice, which some have considered intrusive. More than 20 airports have the full body scan systems installed and in use. “It’s not mandatory,” said Andrea McCauley, a spokeswoman for the administration. “Passengers who do not want to go through the whole body imaging may have a pat-down instead.” All full body scans are optional and will be conducted at airport checkpoints. McCauley said the officers viewing the scans are in a room away from the checkpoint and are not able to view any of the passengers’ faces or a fully lifelike representation. “They do not see the person that goes into the technology,” she said. “On top of that, the face is blurred out and the image is never stored or transmitted. Once that person is cleared, within a matter of seconds, that image is gone forever.”
John Verdi, a senior counsel director for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that’s not the case. The center filed a Freedom of Information Act request in April 2009 asking for the technical specifications for the machines. “We worked with TSA to try to get those specifications released,” Verdi said. “TSA refused to release them, so we sued the agency last year. In December, as a result of the lawsuit, we acquired from TSA the detailed technical documents that discuss what the capabilities of the body scanners are.” Forty body scan units have been distributed, and over the next few years McCauley expects another 350 units to be deployed. “It only pertains to if you’re standing in line for screening or at the checkpoint or beyond the checkpoint,” McCauley, said. “It is body scanning technology or whole body imaging. However, we’ve put privacy filters in place. It’s a robotic image that the officer will see.” Verdi said the documents contradict the representations that TSA has made to the public.
See TSA on Page 2
Don’t Forget to Vote SGA Presidential Voting began Monday and will end at 5 p.m. today. To vote, visit www.unt.edu/sga
See results Tuesday morning at ntdaily.com
The European Chemical Industr y Council and the International Life Sciences Institute are sponsoring a research study by Duane Huggett of the biology department. Huggett is researching the toxicity levels of harmful chemicals in fish. His purpose is to evaluate a fish’s ability to maintain dangerous levels of unsafe chemicals within their tissue. “The study is focused on determining short-term methods for testing if certain chemicals will accelerate in the tissue of fish,” Huggett said. The study has run for about two years as an independently funded research project. It recently hooked grants totaling $120,000 from the council and the institute, expanding the study’s possibilities, Huggett said. “Fish is an upper-trophic species,” he said, meaning they’re just below carnivores because they are predators who hunt for food in their environment. Humans are the ultimate predator, though, eating fish and other animals on a day-today basis. The Wor ld Hea lt h Organization stated in a 2002 report titled “Global and regional food consumption patterns and trends” that “worldwide, about a billion people rely on fish as their main source of animal proteins.” That means trouble for those at the top of the food chain, Huggett said. “We’re concerned w it h humans eating contaminated fish and the human health risks associated with that, as well as the ecological problem of the matter,” he said. Depending on the type of chemical contamination and
severity, food poisoning and death are possible outcomes humans could experience from tainted fish. Chris Adams, a kinesiology junior, said fish food poisoning is nothing to take lightly. “It was the worst feeling I’ve
“We’re concerned with humans eating contaminated fish.”
—Duane Huggett Biology faculty member
ever experienced in my life. It’s terrible,” Adams said. “I spent a couple days bent over the toilet throwing up day and night.” Christopher Henry, a UNT alumnus and associate attorney at the Denton-based firm, Minor & Jester P.C., said health risks and the possibility of death are not the only consequences. The legal liability food companies and restaurants bear also comes into play. “Say you get E. coli from meat or chicken,” he said. “The powers that be responsible for that are also accountable for any and all medical bills and personal injury expenses, both financially and emotionally. In the case of a fatality, a wrongful death action is what would be filed.” Huggett said that his research is based on avoiding all the problems created by contaminated fish. Europe has been serious about eliminating harmful chemicals in consumer-grade fish in recent years, but time and money is a factor, he said. His experiments are reducedfactor tests and simulations.
PHOTO BY KAYTI EDWARDS/PHOTOGRAPHER
Duane Huggett, an Enviromental Science professor at North Texas, is developing a new screening process to detect hazardous chemicals in organisms. They can, with a slight marginof-error, offer the same predictions that studies involving more money and larger populations of fish produce. “I expose fish for one to seven days and measure whether or not the drugs I introduce accelerate in their tissue. Then I compare my outcomes to more standardized results of studies done typically during the course of 42 days,” he said. Huggett said his research
benefits more than just those who eat fish. “I think the pharmaceutical industry can benefit from this research, as well,” he said. “Medications incorporate a diverse set of chemicals. It is important to know the toxicity of these chemicals in an aquatic environment.” Huggett’s research is funded through June 2011. He anticipates great success with all of his experiments, he said.
Friday, April 2, 2010
T.S. McBride, Rebecca Hoeffner & Melissa Boughton, News Editors
UNT student, professor to study Haitian dead BY SHEA YARBOROUGH Senior Staff Writer
Months after the earthquake hit Haiti, dead bodies still line the streets and remained in crumpled buildings. After weeks of waiting, Kailash Gupta, a public administration graduate student, and AbdulAkeem Sadiq of the public administration faculty were granted permission to travel to Haiti using the Quick Response Research Grant, funded by the National Science Foundation. Gupta and Sadiq’s skill set is researching the care of dead bodies. They are the only people in the world who are studying this topic. “This is disgusting and very bad but is an excellent research opportunity, though I would never wish for this to happen,” Gupta said. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake, which hit Haiti on Jan. 12, left thousands dead. Corpses — removed from collapsed buildings and placed on the side of the road — were piled in the streets of Port-auPrince. Some were doused with gasoline and set on fire to rid the city of the stench of decomposing bodies, Gupta said. “That never should have happened,” he said.
Because the Haiti earthquake was so catastrophic, the Science Foundation created the Rapid Response Grant. Gupta and Sadiq submitted a proposal named the Rapid CrossCultural Analysis of Disposition of Identified Bodies in Haiti. They were awarded a $40,000 grant to go to Haiti in May, Gupta said. Mass grave at Tityan Thirty miles outside Port-auPrince, an uninhabited, treeless patch of land is now home to Haiti’s unidentified dead. Front-loading trucks, bulldozers and dump trucks are used to scoop the bodies from the city streets and haul them to the mass grave at Titiyan, Gupta said. “It’s degradation of human beings, treating them like dirt,” he said. Trenches were dug and bodies were piled in by the dump-truck load. The trenches were filled with the white dirt and rock of the surrounding earth, Sadiq said. He couldn’t help but notice the clear blue lake at the foot of the mountain, which served as the backdrop for Titayan. “It was beautiful,” he said. Gupta is no stranger to mass amounts of dead bodies or natural disaster, but he said nothing on this scale or the lack of respect for
PHOTO COURTESY OF ABDUL AKEEM SADIQ
A young Haitian carries her belongings in a wheelbarrow following the destruction of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on Jan. 12 the bodies has been documented in modern times. He said he is worried about the psychological ramifications it will have on the society as a whole. “Unless there is proper closure — family members unable to see the body of their loved one — it will haunt them for the rest of their life,” Gupta said. The Haitian people celebrate death with songs, celebration and bright colors, much likein New
Orleans, Sadiq said, in keeping with their shared Voodoo heritage. But many families of earthquake victims will have no chance to do that. Resilient people Where buildings once stood, tent cities have now taken over, a sign of the resilience of the Haitian people, Sadiq said. Every night they pack in, group together and share in each other’s grief, which
he said is like group therapy. In the morning, they file back out to their everyday lives. Some go back to their houses to salvage what little they have or to take a bath if there’s water, then head to work, he said. “People try to engage in normal activity during the day so they don’t think about the horrific memories they have,” Sadiq said. After their trip in May, Gupta
said he will travel to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to monitor how those countries have bounced back after natural disasters. He and Sadiq will then compile an analysis to help create change in policies for the handling of unidentified dead bodies. “There has to be a simple and effective way to make sure people don’t disappear ..., which is what happened in Haiti,” Sadiq said.
TSA implements new security E-mails, memos reveal conflicts Continued from Page 1 “TSA has represented that the machines are not capable of storing traveler’s images,” he said. “They’ve represented to the public that these are not capable of transmitting traveler’s images.” “What the documents reveal is that these machines are designed and purpose-built to store, transmit and retain images. They are designed and purpose-built to disable any privacy rhythm that may be in place.” Verdi said more information on the case and documents are available and posted publicly at www.epic.org. The administration has employed pat-downs since the administration was started,. McCauley said the administration also plans to implement random swabbing of passengers’ hands.
Continued from Page 1
PHOTO BY CAREY WAGNER/SUN SENTINEL/MCT
The Transportation Security Administration is implementing full body scans, swabs, and pat-downs at all airports including the Dallas-Ft.Worth airport. “We’ve been swabbing baggage for years at the checkpoint,” she said. “This is a real quick swab of the palm of your hand done at the checkpoint. Swabbing is a process used to test for explosive or other chemical residue on the subject. Katharine O’Brien, an interdisciplinary studies senior, said
that the scanners should only be allowed if there is a probable cause. “It’s not right. I would be mad and feel awkward if someone wanted to do a full body scan on me,” she said. “I don’t think that they are bad, but they shouldn’t be used on every person.”
Wilkins said there was concern that the building would be demolished, after media reports surfaced saying city officials had deemed the property “unsalvageable,” and renovation estimates were about $36 million. “There was one moment in time where we thought that somebody else would fund the renovations, but we’ve known for quite awhile that the city is not offering that, at least not at the moment,” Wilkins said. Jackson said the System will continue to review the McKinney proposal. If it is determined to be a priority project that UNT can support and shows precedence over other campus needs, then the System will prepare to support that decision. Diebel and a representative of the System will meet with the McKinney city manager later this month to discuss the project, said Deborah Leliaert, vice president for university relations, communications and marketing. UCD lease After nearly two weeks of e-mail discussions, Bataille and Texas A&M University Commerce President Dan Jones presented a letter to Jackson on Dec. 21 informing him that the Universities Center at Dallas would not renew its lease, effective Sept. 1. “We recognize that the simultaneous expansions of two institutions of higher learning in a single building may restrict both operations,” Jones and Bataille wrote. “Accordingly, the Universities Center at Dallas has decided that we need a home where we can pursue unlimited expansion.” UN T a nd Tex a s A& M University-Commerce offer courses at the Universities Center at Dallas in the UNT System building. Jackson responded two days later in a memo, saying that the letter was the first he was made aware of their intent and that there was no previous mention of a need for more space. He requested more information, including the anticipated educational space needs and financial plans. He also warned that “many agencies and individuals will have to be consulted” and suggested
the use of two empty floors for their expansion needs. The move would contradict the terms of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which approved the System’s purchase of the building in 2006. More than one month later, Jackson was still waiting. “We have had several conversations about the UCD ... but the level of detail you have provided to date is insufficient to allow the UNT System to make a thorough and responsive proposal,” Jackson wrote in a memo addressed to Bataille. Bataille told the Daily that because “UNT in Denton is already short on space, I was interested in exploring any options to accommodate the space needs for the campus.” She also said she supported giving the System full use of the existing space in the building so additional money to renovate f loors would not “add to the debt level for the UNT System.” Shared Services A firm was contracted by the System in January 2009 to evaluate the information technology and human resources functions and make a proposal. The Board asked the System to find ways to consolidate the technology used so each institution could use shared equipment, licenses, staffing and applications. The Board also wanted the System to consider ways to automate human resources services, such as payroll and benefits administration. The firm recommended that employees of both departments work for a team of officials across the System. Bataille and Health Science Center President Scott Ransom sent a letter to Jackson expressing their objections to the recommendations after Bataille sent e-mail requests for support to several administrators. “We recommend that the efforts we have undertaken to reap the benefits of consolidated shared services on our campuses be allowed to continue without the imposition of a centralized-government model from the System,” Bataille and Ransom wrote. In the November Board of Regents meeting, they approved a plan to seek consolidation
within the next few years. “At the time I left UNT, we had established a Shared Services Council that was working its way through these issues to sort out these kinds of questions, and I believed that progress was being made,” Bataille told the Daily. Tuition Increase In a Dec. 22 memo to Bataille, Ransom and John Price of UNT-Dallas, Jackson asked that the spending plans for the next two fiscal years limit tuition and fee increases to 3.5 percent. At a Feb. 3 public tuition hearing, Bataille told students that she planned to propose a 5 percent increase in tuition and fees to the Board of Regents. Two days later, Jackson wrote an e-mail to Bataille. “I expressed my clear intent that we seek to hold our overall academic undergraduate cost increases to less than 3.95 percent, preferably to 3.5 percent, recognizing that other universities in the state face the same challenges we do and are not, so far as we can tell, planning increases above that level,” Jackson wrote. “This is a much less collaborative budget than we should have.” Bataille said in an e-mail to the Daily that she thoroughly considered her decision to recommend the tuition increase but that it became clear that “if we were to achieve the goals we desired in a time, when it was likely that state funds would not meet our needs, we needed to make reasonable recommendations to continue to advance our agenda.” According to Bataille and Jackson’s ca lendars, they met Feb. 7. E-mails show Bataille assumed the discussion would revolve around the tuition proposal that would be presented at the Board of Regents meeting later that week and offered to bring Jean Bush, acting senior associate vice president of finance, to help re-calculate the budget. Jackson declined, saying “you and I need to discuss this first between us ... there are several other Board meeting issues that you and I need to discuss.” Three days later, Bataille announced her resignation. T he Boa rd event ua l ly approved a 3.95 percent increase.