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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Top 10 News Stories of the Year

    Top 10 News Stories of the Year


    Originally launched in September 2008, the UA Transformation Plan aimed to cut $20 from the school’s budget in an effort to save money. Those plans were turned upside down in January when the Arizona legislature delivered $142 million in cuts to the state universities budgets. What resulted was a major overhaul of the university system.

    Dorm baby

    UAPD was called to the Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall on Feb. 25 in reference to a woman who was bleeding.

    When police arrived, Sarah Tatum, a pre-business sophomore, said she had suffered a bloody nose, but officers later discovered Tatum’s newborn baby in a tied plastic bag, lying at the foot of her bed.

    When an officer walked toward a “”large lump on the floor”” Tatum said she had a miscarriage and had been about six months pregnant, according to police.

    Tatum, 19, was taken to University Medical Center, and then into custody after police determined she had given birth to a 7-pound boy and put him in a plastic bag, according to the police report.

    The baby was later diagnosed with hypoxia, an oxygen deficiency, but was released from the hospital on March 12, according to a UMC official. The child was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

    She was indicted on March 17, and is being charged with attempted first-degree murder and child abuse. Tatum was interimly suspended from the UA following the incident.

    Tatum has a case management conference scheduled in Pima County Superior Court on May 13.

    Basketball drama

    The 2008-09 men’s basketball season started off in a peculiar way, and it was only an indication of the ensuing roller-coaster ride. Lute Olson was geared up for a return to the team after taking a season-long leave of absence for the 2007-08 campaign only to retire two days later.

    The first choice to replace Olson was associate head coach Mike Dunlap, but he wasn’t comfortable in the leading role so UA Athletics Director Jim Livengood named Russ Pennell the program’s interim head coach. A few lows early in the season – see head-scratching losses to UAB and USC – were countered by a few upset wins against then-No. 4 Gonzaga and then-No. 11 UCLA.

    Houston guard Aubrey Coleman stepped on UA forward Chase Budinger’s face which sparked a comeback win for the Wildcats against the Cougars and started a seven-game win streak. However, a four-game losing skid followed and left the Wildcats squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but the bubble didn’t pop.

    No. 12 seed Arizona dropped No. 5 seed Utah in the first round and No. 13 seed Cleveland State in the second round before getting trounced by overall No.1 seed Louisville in the Sweet 16.

    “”That last game doesn’t define our camaraderie,”” said senior Fendi Onobun. “”It doesn’t define what we went through. It doesn’t define how hard we worked since day one, since Oct. 26, 2008.””

    ASUA’ loses nearly $1 million

    The Last Smash Platinum Bash sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona certainly smashed something – ASUA’s bank account.

    The five-act concert cost $1.4 million to put on, and only brought in $500,000 in revenue, through ticket sales and merchandising, a loss of more than $900,000.

    Headliner Jay-Z alone was paid $750,000 for his performance.

    ASUA emptied out the entire $350,000 from its emergency reserve fund, and will cover the rest of the $567,000 via an agreement with the UofA Bookstore. ASUA will pay the bookstore back in increments over the next five years.

    Originally slated to sell 17,000 tickets, the show only sold 6,100, with about 5,000 more given away from newspaper, radio and student government promotions.


    After the January announcement that state legislators planned to cut $243 million from the state university system, UA students took action. First staging a small protest on the UA mall on Jan. 20, and then speaking out during the “”call to the audience”” on Jan. 22 at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting, the students seemed determined to fight for their education. More than 1,100 students in 25 buses left Tucson for the State Capitol on Jan. 29 to protest alongside colleagues from the other state schools.

    Obama election

    On the evening of Nov. 4 hundreds of UA students gathered in various eating and drinking establishments along University Boulevard to watch as Barack Obama was elected president of the United States.

    Members of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and UA Votes gathered at Gentle Bens, 865 E University Blvd, to watch the results. Leaders of both organizations said, at the time, that a large voter turn out amongst college age people was what pushed Obama over the top.

    Co-chair of the Arizona Student Vote Coalition and journalism sophomore Elma Delic said she thought the youth vote would “”break history.”” She said she thought a high youth vote would “”set a precedent for future elections,”” and that “”youth will see what an impact they have.””

    Greek organizations’ upheaval

    The UA’s Greek Life has had a whirlwind of a year. Some of the UA’s larger fraternities, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Sigma, Kappa Alpha Order – and Alpha Chi Omega sorority – have been removed from campus for various reasons.

    A commonly cited reason for a chapters removal is “”risk management”” which is an umbrella term that includes issues such as hazing and drinking violations. Alpha Chi Omega had its charter removed by its national council due to lack of members.

    Ice discovered on Mars

    After years of preparation, and with people around the world cheering it on, the UA Phoenix Mars Lander successfully touched down on Mars on May 25, 2008.
    Its mission was to look for signs of life on mars – a mission accomplished with the discovery of water ice on June 20, 2008.

    Harrison gets life without parole

    Former UA student Galareka Harrison was sentenced Nov. 25 to natural life in prison without parole. The sentencing came 14 months after Harrison stabbed her roommate, Mia Henderson, to death in Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall on Sept. 5, 2007.

    Harrison was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder as well as three counts of forgery and one count of identity theft Sept. 19.

    Before sentencing Harrison, Pima County Superior Court Judge Nanette Warner looked her in the eye and said, “”You killed her.”” She said there was nothing Harrison could do for the Henderson family to erase their loss or give their daughter back.
    Warner sentenced Harrison to two and a half years for each count of forgery and identity theft, to be served concurrently.

    When Harrison was given the chance to provide a statement, defense attorney John O’Brien spoke for her, saying she was too overwhelmed to speak. But Warner said she wanted to hear the refusal to comment from Harrison herself.

    After a few minutes of silence, Harrison spoke slowly and quietly, attempting to string words into a sentence. “”I just want everybody to know that – that we all suffer,”” she said.

    “”There are no winners here,”” O’Brien said during his presentation to the court. “”Both sides have lost beautiful young women.””

    ASUA irregularities surface

    This year’s ASUA elections were wrought with confusions, such as the appearance of write-in candidate Chris Nagata on the election ballot, the lack of punishment for those violating elections codes and ASUA changing phrasing on the ballot mid-election.

    The electronic ballot had originally given explicit instructions on how to vote for Nagata, a write-in candidate who appeared on the ballot with a blank space next to his name, that voters were told they would have to fill his name into for their vote to count.

    ASUA changed the wording on the online election ballot in the area assigned for voting for the presidential candidates after several hours of voting had already occurred.

    The instructions changed to directions on how to vote for a write-in candidate, rather than Nagata specifically by name, following a complaint by fellow presidential candidate Shane Cathers, who said that he felt the Elections Commission may have been bias toward his opponent, already a member of ASUA.

    The Daily Wildcat also reported on Feb. 18 that almost the entire field of the then-current ASUA senators and executives had committed election code violations by leaving campaign material online past the allowed time for student government candidates. No punishments were ever handed down.

    ðð-Compiled from Daily Wildcat Archives

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