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U’s Pistol Team Wins at National Competition

(Photo Courtesy of John D Rickard)

(Photo Courtesy of John D Rickard)

It’s not often a sports team wins with an actual bang, but the U’s Pistol Team did just that.

The team brought home several wins from the National Inter-Collegiate Pistol Championships in March, winning four events — two individual and two national — against shooting powerhouses such as MIT. They met with U President David Pershing to celebrate their victories on Monday.

Matt DeLong, the team’s assistant coach, started the team in 1994 in partnership with the U. Since then, the team has become one of the best pistol teams in the country.

“I don’t do this to win national championships,” DeLong said. “Time spent on the collegiate team more than pays for itself through academics. Shooting is all about focus, self-control, mental discipline and training your conscious brain to not interfere with perfectly simple activities.”

Alexis Lagan, a senior in physics, joined her freshman year and is now the president of the team.

“I shoot anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week on the range,” she said. “It not only helps with your focus and your concentration, but it also helps with time management.”

Lagan said prior to joining the team she had only done plinking — shooting at informal targets, such as tin cans or glass bottles — when she was younger. She won the women’s aggregate award this year for the second time, and she is going to the World Collegiate Championships in South Korea, as well as a World Cup event in May to try out for the Olympics.

“Through the coaching staff and the support that you receive, you definitely feel like you have the strength to continue through whatever may come and become a nationally ranked shooter,” she said. “You don’t have to be just limited to a collegiate career.”

Pistol teams are rare on college campuses, especially on the West coast. The only other school in the Pac-12 with a team is Oregon State.

DeLong said people have a misconception that the U is anti-guns.

“The team’s always been supported by the administration,” he said. “Specifically, whenever they were having the big brouhaha about concealed carry on campus — that was irrelevant to the team.”

The team has about eight to 10 students involved on average. Members typically are majoring in physics and engineering.

The group does not receive financial aid from the U, and ASUU has a provision that bans spending money on ammunition, so they rely on donations and membership fees.

Tryouts for the team are next Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. in the basement of the Naval Science Building. DeLong said students don’t need to bring anything, but they’re welcome to pack their own eye and ear protection. Anyone is free to come.

k.ehmann@chronicle.utah.edu

@Ehmannky






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Fraternity Hosts Local Leaders

A group of Sigma Chi fraternity members donned their best suits and ties for a night recognizing influential local and state officials on Wednesday.

The prominent leaders from Utah included Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Utah Supreme Court Justice Constandinos Himonas and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. Chris Coombs, president of Sigma Chi fraternity, said the event inspired fraternity members to be better leaders and to show appreciation for the local community.

“We wanted to learn from their experiences as well as honor them for being positive role models,” he said.

Becker spoke about the sense of enjoyment he has received from serving Salt Lake City.

“The chance to help change a community in a way that meets the aspirations of the people you serve is a huge honor,” he said.

Michael Zoumadakis, a sophomore in business and pre-medicine, said the event encouraged him.

“There is not a better way to learn than to listen to some of the community’s best leaders,” he said.

m.royal@chronicle.utah.edu

@mary_royal






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U Helps Defend Against U.S. Cyber Attacks

(Photo Courtesy of U of U College Engineering)

(Photo Courtesy of U of U College Engineering)

As weapon technology advances each year, the United States Department of Defense must prepare to face the next generation of attacks — and it’s not from guns. Rather, it’s over the Internet.

For the past 20 years, cyber attacks have steadily increased and pose a serious threat to the U.S. For that reason, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding research on these attacks at 10 universities, including the U. Matt Might, professor in the U’s School of Computing, said the agency gave the university $3 million for this.

Cyber attacks occur when someone deliberately infiltrates a computer network or system, gaining access to information such as plans for the military or combat data.

“Anything that you can imagine that has a benefit to an enemy on the battlefield is getting stolen,” Might said.

He also said cyber attacks cost the U.S. half a trillion dollars each year. Countries like China and Russia can cause massive economic harm to the U.S.

“If we don’t anticipate the next generation of attacks now then that problem will continue to get worse,” Might said. “We have to stay ahead.”

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, another professor in the U’s School of Computing, is also working on the team researching cyber attacks with Might.

The 10 universities looking into the security problem are divided into teams, with some creating software hacking programs and others trying to resist the attacks. The groups will work for four years on the issue and continue to receive more funding as long as they’re still developing potential solutions.

“An attack is not just an attack on code; it’s a murder weapon,” he said.

While Venkatasubramanian has seen a growth in cyber attacks, he said this research initiative is nothing sudden or desperate from the U.S. Department of Defense.

“It’s an ongoing battle — the arms race against the attackers,” he said.

Since the rise of the Internet, people have worried about cyber attacks, and academic institutions are often utilized to solve similar problems. What makes the U stand out are its strengths in algorithm analysis and expertise in machines.

c.webber@chronicle.utah.edu

@carolyn_webber






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Students Participate in “Slut Walk”

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

Short skirts, crop tops and bare skin are not signs of consent. This was the message of Students Against Sexual Assault’s “Slut Walk.”

Zak Mahaz, a member of SASA, said the Slut Walk was a response to last year’s sexual assault attacks, especially against women.

“We wanted to raise awareness to the main issue of what is truly happening on our campus and many other campuses across the country,” Mahaz said.

The walk took place on April 21. Students arrived at the event and began making posters with sayings such as, “consent is sexy” and “shame on him, not me.” Afterwards, the team, with some members in body-revealing clothing, walked through campus to promote their mission.

Rachel Jarman, a junior in English, said she attended the event to show her support against disparaging women for their choices in sex.

“I feel like slut-shaming is something that hasn’t been talked about a lot or even explained to others,” Jarman said. “It’s important to be educated about all sorts of issues especially one that is such a main problem for everyone.”

After the march, victims of sexual assault spoke out about the experience and how to address the issue especially if you are a victim.

The speakers encouraged all students who have been in any sexual assault situation to reach out to the Student Wellness Center and told victims that life will get better after the initial horror of sexual assault.

j.skrivan@chronicle.utah.edu

@JulianneSkrivan






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U Alumni Receive Honorary Degrees

(Pictured is Henry B. Eyring, Photo Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

(Pictured is Henry B. Eyring, Photo Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

Three U alumni will be given an honorary degree at this year’s graduation commencement to recognize the achievements they made in their respective fields.

“We had an impressive pool of candidates … and we are proud to present them with the institution’s highest honor,” Julie Barrett, the Board of Trustees honors committee chair, said in a statement announcing the honorary degrees.

The three individuals are, Anne Cullimore Decker, Henry B. Eyring and Mark Fuller.

Anne Cullimore Decker, known for her work as a professional actress in television, opera and theatre, graduated from the U in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and later received a Master of Fine Arts in theatre in 1982. She spent several years as a faculty member at the U and served on the board for Pioneer Theater Company. She was also the chair of the Utah Arts Council and the vice president of the U’s Alumni Association. She will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts.

Henry B. Eyring is an influential member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is currently serving as the first counselor to the presidency of the church. Last year, he was asked to speak at an interfaith colloquium at the Vatican. Eyring, along with many members of his family received his bachelor’s degree from the U. After graduating, Eyring continued his education at Harvard University. He will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Mark Fuller is the CEO of WET, the current industry leader behind water and fire based designs. His work can be seen all over the world, from fountains in Dubai to the ones at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Fuller received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the U and completed his master’s in engineering at Stanford University. He will receive a Doctor of Engineering.

Emily Van Allen, a senior in urban ecology, said she looks forward to hearing more about each of the honorary award recipients at the ceremony on May 7.

“I think it is cool that all three of them are alumni of the U,” she said. “It shows that graduates of the U go out into the community after graduation and really make a difference.”

m.royal@chronicle.utah.edu

@mary_royal






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ASUU Debates Smoking Ban

(Photo by Preston Zubal)

(Photo by Preston Zubal)

During their last meeting of the year, the ASUU Assembly voted in favor of joint resolution 14 to examine smoking concerns on campus.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Shields and Sen. Ryann Cooley, seeks to create a task force of 10 to 15 students and faculty who will draft recommendations about tobacco use at the U. These solutions may including banning all smoking and tobacco products, creating designated smoking areas or not implementing any changes.

The ASUU Senate will hear the resolution tonight at 7 p.m. in the West Union Ballroom for a vote or amendments before going to U President David Pershing for final approval. If the bill passes, the task force will survey students and report back to the ASUU legislature next Fall Semester with their findings. It would be up to the 2015-2016 representatives and senators to implement a plan based on the committee’s suggestions.

Madison Black, ASUU vice president, spoke in support of the bill.

“I believe this is a policy that could really help our campus be healthier,” she said. “And I also think that we are taking the right steps necessary to make sure that we are examining this policy and not just implementing it right off the bat.”

She said the task force will ensure the issue isn’t treated like the “Utah Man” fight song changes from last April, when ASUU members voted to change the lyrics 22 hours before their term in office ended. Instead, she wants students to have a say throughout the process before any measures are put in place. To ensure this, the task force will send out multiple surveys, set up an email account for comments, table at university events and create a referendum — structured like an ASUU election ballot — to gauge student opinions.

Black also hopes if the U becomes a tobacco-free campus, students who currently smoke will take steps to quit with help from support programs at the university. According to a 2011 study by the Center for Student Wellness, that would include about 4.99 percent of U students who consider themselves habitual smokers.

But Rep. Shwan Javdan said it’s not that simple.

“You kept making it seem like everyone who wants to smoke wants to quit, and that’s not true,” he said. “We shouldn’t be shaming people who smoke and don’t want to quit.”

While Javdan ultimately voted in favor of the bill, that wasn’t his only hesitation. He was also concerned with how students would be reprimanded if they disregard the potential smoking ban.

Black said the policy would be enforced by what she called an “honor code” — not related to the well-known BYU regulations. This is based off of similar smoke-free policies at colleges including UCLA and the University of North Dakota, where students informally pledge to abide by the rules.

“It’s not like we’re going to ticket students who are smoking,” Black said.

Currently, 1,543 colleges in the United States are smoke-free, according to the advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. BYU and Dixie State are Utah’s only two schools with no-smoking parameters. Utah State considered a similar shift in February 2014 but has yet to make a final decision.

Additionally, four Pac-12 schools — ASU, University of Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA — are smoke-free. The remaining eight schools, with the U as the final participant, are considering policies, some led by representative committees.

The task force Black has in mind, which is currently being formed although the bill is not completely through the legislative process, would include Academic Senate president Stephen Alder, health officers from U Health Care and incoming ASUU Senior Class President Devin Price, among others.

Rep. Jeff Thomas worries that composition sets the group up to be biased.

“It sounds like you have some pretty influential people on there,” he said. “I think it’s already a loaded committee that is pushing toward this tobacco-free policy.”

Thomas wants students who are not in favor of a smoking ban to be involved as well. Black said there is some flexibility in adding that kind of representation to the committee.

Some students reacted to the idea of a smoke-free campus on the “University of Utah Confessions” Facebook page where an anonymous user wrote: “ASUU wants to ban smoking on campus . . . welcome to BYU North.” The post received 347 “likes” and had 138 comments, as of Wednesday.

One person responded: “I am more worried by those factories up the road than the dude that needs to relax from the stress-inducing exams with a cig.” Another wrote: “You mean people who don’t smoke don’t enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke? Heaven forbid!”

The U currently follows the Utah Clean Air Act with guidelines that include no smoking inside any campus buildings or within 25 feet of entrances. Black believes the joint resolution will bridge gaps she sees in the act’s policies.

“We really want to make sure this is done right and effectively,” she said. “And at the same time, we need to make sure we’re looking at the benefits of the whole picture.”

c.tanner@chronicle.utah.edu

@CourtneyLTanner






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U IT Works to Make UConnect More Secure

(Photo Courtesy of the University of Utah)

(Photo Courtesy of the University of Utah)

The U’s Information Technology office plans to make UConnect, the wifi connection on campus, more secure.

They are currently opening beta testing for a new connection called EAP-TLS. The network is part of an effort to protect students’ passwords and keep them from connecting to fraudulent UConnect sites.

To use the EAP-TLS login, open up a UGuest connection, search onboard.utah.edu and follow the instructions on the screen. If you need help, call U IT at 801.581.4000. Those who do so before May 22 can enter for a chance to win an iPad mini.

Curtis Larsen, a U network engineer, said before this new connection, the U used an authentication process that did not fully validate the server. The old connection is still available, so not everyone has to participate in the beta testing for the EAP-TLS option, which ensures both the server and client are valid. This means an attacker can’t pose as the U’s wifi.

“We are unaware of any specific incidents [of online theft] on campus,” Larsen said. “But we are taking proactive steps to prevent [hacking] since it is a known industry-wide issue.”

The planning for the new network began four months ago.

“Technology and security are constantly changing,” he said. “U IT is always trying to improve its services, and we will watch the beta closely.”

Glen Singleton, a sophomore in Middle Eastern studies, said he hadn’t noticed the change, but he’s glad the U is working on securing their connection.

“I’ve worked with other systems,” he said, “and I don’t think the U takes care of keeping information safe.”

Larsen said the new portal also allows university guests to have a secure connection.

k.ehmann@chronicle.utah.edu

@Ehmannky






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Lyrid Meteor Shower Lights Skies

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

It may appear to the Chicken Littles of the world that the sky is falling, but it’s actually just the Lyrid meteor shower.

The annual shower is caused by debris from a comet that once crossed the earth’s orbit. The U’s South Observatory with the Department of Physics and Astronomy promoted the event Wednesday night so students could witness it. For those who missed it, the meteor shower can be seen again tonight (Thursday).

Paul Ricketts, the South Physics Observatory manager and an AstronomUr Outreach staff member, said it’s called the Lyrid shower because it starts from the Lyra constellation. A shower such as this, he said, can have five to 20 meteors radiating out per hour. The streaks people see are the pieces of debris burning in the atmosphere.

For the best view of the shower, Ricketts recommends visiting the east Uinta Mountains or the west part of Skull Valley around 2 a.m. — the darkest part of the night.

“The best place to watch the meteor showers are usually somewhere extremely dark,” he said. “You should be far enough outside of the city’s dome of light pollution to see all the meteors the show has to offer.”

Ricketts also suggested not looking through binoculars or telescopes because the meteors fall too fast for the limited scope of sight those instruments offer.

If your Thursday night is too packed with finals and studying, Ricketts said not to worry.

“There are meteor showers every month,” he said. “If you miss this one, you’ll have more chances to see them.”

On the South Observatory’s site, web.utah.edu/astro, there is a monthly calendar showing the times and dates of future showers and tips to see them. The Eta Aquarids meteor shower, the next one to watch for, occurs on May 4 and 5.

Sally Goodger, a sophomore in English, was impressed by the Lyrid shower.

“I think there’s something beautiful about watching meteors fall,” she said. “It’s another way that we can reach into our universe and how our universe reaches out to us.”

c.kannapel@chronicle.utah.edu

@chriswritine






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Students and Community Members Get to Spring Cleaning

Students, staff and local residents got rid of their old junk and saved the environment at the same time.

The Sustainability Resource Center, Staff Council, UIT and the Salt Lake Police Department teamed up to help people declutter their homes. An estimate of 500 cars lined up in the Rice Eccles Stadium parking lot to shred unwanted documents and dispose of expired medicines and old electronics.

Jake O’Connor, a member of Staff Council, said at the end of the day there were three semi trucks with four tons of shredded papers each. In addition to old computers and cell phones, O’Connor said he saw “crazy old electronics” such as a Rumba and a Beta Max Player.

O’Connor said they only partly hold the collection in April because of Earth Day.

“It’s after tax season, and it’s a part of spring cleaning to want to get rid of clutter and we want to take it as a cool way to raise scholarship money,” he said.

Fifty percent of the revenue from the collections will go towards scholarships, O’ Connor said.

“We won’t be raising a huge amount, but … every bit counts,” he said.

Local businesses such as Shred Master donated their time and resources to the event.

The Salt Lake City Police Department came to help monitor what was going through the shredder. One local man who donated told Officer Thornton that the event was “rocking the Earth.”

j.skrivan@chronicle.utah.edu

@JulianneSkrivan






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Earth Fest Promotes Sustainability

(Photos Courtesy of University Marketing and Communications)

(Photos Courtesy of University Marketing and Communications)

Outside the Marriott Library, vendors, local businesses and student groups joined ASUU’s Sustainability Board for their annual Earth Fest.

Crystal Davis, the board’s associate director, said the event was to help students be better Earth-conscious citizens. Departments such as commuter services encouraged students to carpool, and campus police gave out bike locks to promote bike riding. Local businesses promoted Earth-friendly initiatives such as beekeeping for local honey. Advocacy groups and volunteer organizations such as the Peace Corps., and the campus vegan group attended as well.

Natalia Southam, a sophomore in health promotion and education and member of the PETA group on campus, got involved with Earth Fest to show students the harmful effects of eating meat.

“Riding your bike to school is helpful, but it comes undone when you eat a cheeseburger,” Southam said.

In addition to free food and sustainable activities, a student band played live music, which Davis noted as the least sustainable portion of the event.

“They aren’t environmentally friendly, but entertainment is important in events like these because they gather people in an attempt to learn about the environment,” Davis said.

Southam said being passionate about the Earth is something all of those who participated share.

“Everyone needs to educate themselves and get angry about what is happening — then you become passionate,” Southam said. “Watch documentaries or come to events like Earth Fest and learn the facts.”

j.skrivan@chronicle.utah.edu

@JulianneSkrivan






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