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Selected news stories

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OSU climate report says humanity is in a climate crisis

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Recreational marijuana use for international students: rights and risks

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ASOSU president looks to increase maximum hour per week allowed for on-campus student employees

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Oregon State receives $4.2 million for climate change research on marine species

ASOSU releases 2023 senator election results, leaves last appointment up to chance

ASOSU crosses $500 threshold for student fees

$4.8 million awarded to OSU, supporting student scholarships in cybersecurity

Tina Kotek meets with students at OSU ahead of election

Tina Kotek, Democratic Candidate for governor, visits Oregon State University to speak with students ahead of election.

Photo by Jess Hume-Pantuso/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

October 26, 2022

 

Democratic Candidate for governor, Tina Kotek, rallied and met with students at Oregon State University’s campus Monday as part of a series of visits around Oregon ahead of the primary election. 

 

Stephanie Weber and Sydney Navas, members of Students for Tina at OSU, opened the evening event by introducing themselves as fellow undergraduates to a packed room of over 70 in the Memorial Union.

 

Weber, sophomore, and Navas, senior, read questions submitted by students to members on Kotek’s staff, while the room awaited her arrival. Kotek, escorted by Senator Sara Gelser, was met with applause, and started off by thanking Weber and Navas for organizing the event. 

 

“The last few years, we’ve had to really think about what we want our world to be,” Kotek said. “I don’t want to live in a country with people living on the streets.”

 

Kotek listed many other issues she’s passionate about, including climate change policies, reproductive freedom, and housing prices. 

 

With the 2022 gubernatorial election set for Nov. 8, Kotek said that, “Betsey Johnson, the independent, cannot win this race; and a vote for Johnson is a vote for Christine Drazan.”

After her speech and answering a few submitted questions, Kotek met with students individually, taking photos with them in front of a wall of ‘Tina for Oregon’ posters.

 

“I had a lot of conversations with students in the selfie line on what they’re working on,” Kotek said. “It’s really exciting.”

 

According to Kotek, she is seeking to keep OSU as Oregon’s flagship institution as well as to improve financial assistance to current and prospective students.

 

“I think one of the biggest issues for students here is housing,” Kotek said. “I don’t want any student to worry about where they’re going to live while they’re in school.”

 

Kotek will continue her tour of Oregon up to election day. Kotek already visited the University of Oregon prior to her appearance at OSU. 

 

“We’re going to visit as many cities as we can,” Kotek said.

The event room was filled to capacity, and only emptied out after students got to shake hands with Kotek.

 

“My worst fear was Tina showing up to an empty room, and we filled every seat,” Weber said.

Weber and Navas will travel to Eugene to volunteer for the Bernie Sanders event on Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. 

 

Ian Junge, a political science major, who attended Kotek’s event says she has his vote.

“I’m from Eugene, and (homelessness) is very bad there,” Junge said. “I read through her plan on homelessness and I’m absolutely on board with it.”

Weber stresses the importance of the upcoming election to every student, even if they are not a registered voter in Oregon.

“Nine or ten months out of the year you still live here, and she’s still your governor whether you voted for her or not,” Weber said. “She’s still in charge of the policy you have to abide by.” 

And more...

OSU’s new upper-classman residence hall met with mixed community reception

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Photo by Ashton Bisner/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli
April 10, 2023

Graduate students and upperclassmen will have expanded housing options starting in the fall term of 2024, after a new residence hall is built on the corner of 11th and Madison Avenue.

Oregon State University is finalizing building permits with the city of Corvallis and plans to break ground for a new, five-story residence hall soon, despite pushback from individuals of the Corvallis community.

The project will cost $56 million –  $6 million of which will be funded by reserve funds held by University Housing & Dining Services and the remaining $50 million being funded by revenue bonds issued by the university – and will take 15 to 16 months to complete, according to UHDS Associate Director Dave Craig. 

 

The bonds will be repaid through revenue generated by the new building, Craig said.

“This residence hall is conceived to house 221 upper-division and graduate students living in a blend of studio and two-bedroom units,” Craig said.

Fences have been put up on the block east of McNary Field in anticipation for Fortis Construction to begin the project, but it comes with mixed reactions.

“(UHDS) has conducted multiple market studies over the past 10 to 12 years using outside firms,” Craig said. “The studies have consistently shown a need for additional housing for upper division and graduate students.”

Though, since 2019, community members have opposed the construction of the residence hall. One, in particular, is Corvallis-based attorney Ron Marek, who objects to the construction, as it is occurring on a state-designated wetland, among other reasons.

“I withdrew from contesting the destruction of the wetland,” Marek said. “When I withdrew… the fences went up and staging the construction has begun.”

Marek said that OSU “has already destroyed” historic neighborhoods in Corvallis, and has contributed to the problem of inadequate accessible parking for Corvallis residents, both on-and-off campus.

“A worker at the Day Care Center across Madison has indicated that sometimes their workers have to walk seven blocks to work,” Marek said. “And that is before several hundred people, potentially with vehicles and few parking spaces, move in across the street.”

Marek pointed out that two graduate student associations — the Fisheries and Wildlife Graduate Student Association and Coalition of Graduate Employees — opposed the project as soon as it was announced, as well.

“Projected rent was (at first) $1,200 or $1,250… now the university says it will be up to $1,500,” Marek said. “That is ridiculous if the university has any intent to keep educational costs for attending college reasonable… I believe housing rent is an income generator for the University and it will charge whatever it thinks it can get.”

Craig said OSU does not anticipate parking issues for future residents of this hall.

“In addition to the 34 spaces being built on the site, parking for hall residents is available at several nearby locations,” Craig said. “This site is significantly served by fare-less public transit operated by OSU and the city of Corvallis (and) is within walking distance of downtown Corvallis and the center of the OSU campus… we believe is not auto dependent.”

Craig said that the residence hall, like other new housing developments in Corvallis, will emphasize walking, transit, biking and carpooling; which is in keeping with state of Oregon guidelines, city of Corvallis community goals for sustainability, and the university’s Pathway to Carbon Neutrality plan.

 

George Heilig, another Corvallis-based attorney who opposes the new residence hall, said OSU is failing to protect the iconic entrance to the lower campus.
 

“No matter how well designed, the mass of the building will diminish the pastoral approach to our land grant university,” Heilig said.

Marek resents the fact that OSU changed its construction plan which initially proposed two smaller dormitories on the same plot of land, after, he claimed, OSU learned that it could not cross utilities between the proposed buildings because of the Protected Vegetation Area designation between the two.

“OSU makes decisions, then tries to sell the decision to the neighborhoods, and if that fails it pushes its decisions, good or bad, through the system… There is no collaboration in the true usage of that word,” Marek said.

Craig said OSU has completed all of the city’s necessary land use processes and that the city’s approval of the building’s construction has been upheld at all appeal levels.

OSU receives federal grant to reduce industrial carbon dioxide emissions

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Photo by Sailor Tungkawachara /The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

April 10, 2023

 

Oregon State University has received a $540,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry by sequestering carbon within cement.

The grant will span three years of research and was awarded to Pavan Akula of OSU and his partners from Sandia National Laboratory in India.

This comes after preliminary research in their proposal introduced a method to capture and trap carbon dioxide emitted by industrial processes within 3D-printed cement.

 

“Improving sustainability is quite important for the construction industry moving forward,” said Akula, an associate professor in the College of Engineering. “It’s associated with almost 13% of the global CO2 emission.”

Even though 3D printing cement requires less manual labor and has proven to be more efficient than conventional processes, it still uses Portland cement, the primary construction material in most countries, which yields high CO2 emissions when manufactured, Akula said.

“This process that we are trying to develop with Sandia and the partners in India is to look at capturing some of the CO2 and trapping it into the concrete that we are making now,” Akula said. “Here we are trying to reduce the amount of CO2 footprint of that 3D printable material by plugging in some of the CO2 back into the material.”

Akula, along with researchers from Sandia, the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, will work together to create cement mixtures that are both sustainable and viable mixtures that can be scaled-up for construction, as two industry partners, Graymont and Verdant Building Alternatives, will provide feedback on sample mixtures made during the research project.

The international partnership was a proposal submission requirement by the Accelerating Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies Consortium, which approved funding for this research project, along with five others. Akula said that each research partner has a unique skillset.

“OSU will do most of the mixture design for 3D printing and carbon sequestration — we’re doing some heavy lifting here,” Akula said.

The carbon-sequestered samples will then be sent to Sandia, and the researchers there will test whether or not they have reasonable engineering properties.

Though the research is still in the development stage — with the project officially set to begin May 1 — preliminary data used in the proposal and accredited to recent OSU graduate Jaxon Moore was promising enough to receive the federal grant.

Moore, who completed his master’s degree in civil engineering at OSU in fall 2022, said he’s “really excited” that Akula received this grant.

“I’m really happy for Dr. Akula,” Moore said. “If this research does prove to yield significant results, then… it’s going to be a good way to kind of make your mark on the world, right?”

Moore said that Akula had presented the idea of recapturing CO2 from the high-emission processes of manufacturing lime, an industrial product, from limestone. Moore would work on and later defend this research for his master’s thesis.

“Dr. Akula came to OSU at the early part of my second year, and he had done some work with lime, and he had done some work with carbon sequestration of cementitious materials,” Moore said. “He kind of had this thought of: ‘Hey, can we combine the two?’”

Moore said he was lucky enough to be the student Akula chose to work with.

“In general, OSU is fostering a lot of creativity among the professors,” Moore said.

This creativity is reflected in Akula’s ambition to trap other, locally-sourced waste material into 3D printable cement mixtures as well, which may lead to a unique cement mixture tailored to Oregon.

“The Indian partners will be looking at adding fly ash to their mixtures and sequestering them, and here we’ll be looking at locally-available products, for example, slag from the steel plants and sequestering them,” Akula said. “Both of us will be working on a set of materials that are common, but then eventually we’ll look at adding certain additives that are locally-sourced.”

Matt Evans, an OSU professor of geotechnical engineering, said that significant time, effort and money has been spent by the geotechnical engineering faculty, school of civil and construction engineering and college of engineering over the past decade to provide facilities to support research like Akula’s.

“Our combination of facilities, faculty expertise, and excellent students makes us an attractive collaborator,” Evans said.

Though Akula aims to create a viable product that can be scaled-up and used in the U.S. and India, he said it is up to the industrial industry to adapt to a more sustainable cement mixture.

“At the end of the day, if you need to capture your CO2, (the industry) has to make some investments in changing how they do that,” Akula said. “We’ll propose the solutions, we’ll publish everything and then it’s up to the industry to adopt it or not.

Akula will be carrying out this research at the civil and construction engineering research lab in Graf Hall, and will be looking for two undergraduates in the beginning of spring term 2023 to assist him with the research. 

 

Benton County continues with the Corvallis-Albany bikeway

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Photo by Rafael Quero Juarez /The Barometer

By Nino Paoli
April 10, 2023

The Corvallis-Albany bikeway will continue to be an ongoing project, and although construction is set to begin in 2024, the completion date may be over 10 years away.

According to the Benton County website, the Benton County Board of Commissioners directed staff to focus on a final destination for the bikeway – which would also be pedestrian-friendly – along U.S. Route 20 in 2017.

After a pause during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the project to build this multi-use path connecting the two towns still has yet to break ground.

 

Currently, there are plans to construct the NE Pilkington Avenue to NE Merloy Avenue section of the bikeway in 2024, and there is a section in North Albany between NW Hickory Street and NW Rainwater Lane that is scheduled to be built in 2025 at the latest, County Engineer Laurel Byer said.

Byer said that Benton County is acquiring right-of-way from property owners where the Pilkington to Merloy connection will be constructed, in anticipation of the 2024 start date.

“We had to delay our project a bit to coordinate construction with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s planned safety improvements along Highway 20,” Byer said. “The State’s construction project is starting next month and will continue through 2024, so it made sense for construction of the path to occur after ODOT’s contractor is done with their work.”

The bikeway, also referred to as the Corvallis-Albany Multi-Use Path, must be broken into phases. The only way Benton County has been able to make progress on construction is by applying for state grants, Byer said.

“The project is very competitive and generally we are successful in securing grant funding, but it only comes available every other year, and to be competitive we limit our funding requests to around $2 million,” Byer said. “Between design, right-of-way acquisition and construction, that might buy us a mile of path and costs continue to rise.”

The timeline for the multi-use path will vary depending on Benton County’s ability to acquire additional funding, and even if funding is attained for one mile every three years, a completion date is still 10 to 15 years away, Byer said.

Byer hopes to receive a major grant award through the federal or state set-aside process, but notes that those are extremely competitive grants and may not be a realistic option for the project.

“The community has been expressing the need for a separated multi-use path between Corvallis and Albany since before 2004 when the first feasibility study was completed,” Byer said.

Byer said that two ways community members can help the process is writing letters of support, as they can be included in future grant requests, and reaching out to state representatives. 

 

ASOSU releases 2023 senator election results, leaves last appointment up to chance

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By Nino Paoli
March 13, 2023

The Associated Students of Oregon State University 2023 senator results names eleven winners, and a rare tie.

Though all election results for the 2023 ASOSU election were intended to be released on March 10, a ballot error – which affected 45 voters – in the senator section postponed the elected senator results, which were released around 4 p.m. on March 13.

According to ASOSU Judicial Council Vice-Chair Ethan Hampton, 45 filled-out ballots listed only 6 of the 18 candidates running for a senator seat. The 45 voters who were affected by the error were given the option to revote on a ballot that named all 18 senator candidates.

Out of the 45 voters, 13 voted on the updated ballots, and the remaining 32 ballots were counted as they were originally filled out.

After these 45 ballots were counted, 11 senators were named, but the final position presents a tie.

 

“The senate race has ended in a tie for the last spot,” ASOSU Vice President Sierra Young said. “According to our statutes, what we have to do is in some sort of public forum, so likely over Zoom, we take the candidates that have tied and we do a drawing by lot, which basically is just a draw from a hat for who wins the seat.”

According to the preliminary 2023 ASOSU election results document, six senators were elected to a 2-year seat in the 2022 ASOSU election and are referred to as “Legacy Senators” as they were elected by the student body prior to the enactment of the new ASOSU Constitution. These individuals, one being Julia Hayes, who ran for ASOSU president this election, will retain their seat until June 1, 2024.

Since there are 18 senate seats in total, the remaining 12 were up for grabs in this election. 

Every senator-elect who won a seat has accepted their nomination, except Sarah Theall, who has not yet been reached by ASOSU, and is tied with Teaghan Knox at 633 votes each.

 

Senators

  1. Maia Brown – 940 votes

  2. Hailey Brown – 897 votes

  3. Katyayani Karlapati – 848 votes

  4. Erica Nyarko – 831 votes

  5. Camryn Lau – 812 votes

  6. Carolyn Pearce – 776 votes

  7. Audrey Porter – 774 votes

  8. Elizabeth Eckman – 749 votes

  9. Ayodola Kayode-Popoola – 729 votes

  10. Olivia Cartwright (Olive) – 694 votes

  11. Riley Walsh – 673 votes

  12. Teaghan Knox or Sarah Theall – To be determined by lot between the tied candidates, if Theall accepts her nomination

 

Continuing Senators

  1. Noa Stoll

  2. Iman Adem

  3. Kaitlyn Kim

  4. Jarrett Alto

  5. Julia Hayes

  6. Chandler Donahey

Graphic by Natalie Lutz/ The Barometer

ASOSU crosses $500 threshold for student fees

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Image by Alan Nguyen/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

February 7, 2023

Student fees may increase by 4.98% to $505.46 each term for the fiscal year of 2024, after the Student Fee Committee held final deliberations for budget requests on Feb. 2.

Joe Page, the student fee committee chair, gavelled the public meeting to order at 5:04 p.m. in the Memorial Union Lounge, which saw eight student fee funded entities – Student Experiences & Engagement, Recreational Sports, Family Resource Center, Performing Arts, Memorial Union, Intercollegiate Athletics, Basic Needs Center, Associated Students of OSU – request dollar amounts for various programs and positions.

A portion of these student fees will be paid back to student workers as all entities, besides ASOSU, requested and were approved a 2.75% Cost-of-Living Adjustment increase – which will be reflected in higher wages for student employees under these units.

Instead of asking for a decision package to increase COLA, ASOSU will support the COLA through in unit payroll cuts as the unit moves from a bicameral legislature to a unicameral legislature.

Though every proposal was ultimately voted through, this was not without pushback from SFC members and members of the public for certain requests.

Student Experiences & Engagement was approved an operating budget of $100.16 per student per term and so were its decision packages, which were the 2.75% COLA increase and a request to fund a Student Organizations Program Coordinator.

The requested operating budget of $117.21 and the COLA for Rec Sports – plus an additional $150,000 for building reserves, which amounts to $2.30 per student per term, and will be used for building repairs and future projects such as locker room renovations, according to Jared Pratt, the recreational sports SFC representative – was approved.

In addition, a third decision package requesting $1.15 per student per term was approved for additional employment opportunities in the fitness, wellness and maintenance areas. In particular, part of this funding will scale-up the Find Your Fit program, which allows students to familiarize themselves with Rec Sports facilities through a student worker fitness partner.

“(The Find Your Fit Program) has been shown to be really positive,” Pratt said. “Students love it and have loved the ability to use it… we want to continue this program and not have it be something that’s short-staffed.”

The Family Resource Center operational budget request of $16.40 per student per term, the COLA, $1.25 to fund an Administrative Program Assistant and $1.45 for custodial services the Memorial Union provides FRC facilities were all approved by the SFC.

Although the Performing Arts operational budget of $7.70 per student per term, the COLA, $0.07 for band logistics and moving, $0.34 for funding for Bard in the Quad were all approved without hesitation, a request for $0.27 for vocal studies and lyric workshop sparked debate about funding an academic program that can be taken for credit.

Sierra Young, the ASOSU Vice President, attended the SFC conference as an impassioned performing arts student, pointing out the vote for Rec Sports was carried out much quicker than the vote for Performing Arts.

“Just because there’s no ball being thrown, I don’t see that there’s any less value,” Young said during a public comment to the SFC.

After a 6-6-1 tie vote, the SFC approved the proposal upon a revote. 

“I’m a saxophone performance minor… it’s always discouraging to hear such scrutiny over Performing Arts,” Young said. “While I understood the pushback… it seemed like a bit too much for 27 cents.”

The Memorial Union operational budget request of $86.92 per student per term, the COLA, $1.32 to fund an Administrative Specialist and $0.91 to fund a Project Manager were all approved by the SFC.

In addition, the reallocation of $1 million from a planned removal of the ADA barrier on the Mezzanine level of the MU – the total cost is estimated to be $7 million, which the MU does not have currently – to an upgrade of the MU Lanes and Games, which will include a gender-inclusive bathroom, was approved by the SFC.

The requested operating budget for Intercollegiate Athletics, $42.71 per student per term, and the COLA was approved by the SFC.

Perhaps the most tense debate stemmed from whether or not a student fee of $1.66 should cover a position for an additional sports psychologist.

Members of the public expressed concerns about equity, and how the sports psychologist would only be available to student athletes while being funded by the entire student body.

“Having experience being a student athlete, there is a lot of unique pressures that come along with that,” Mari Friedman, a senior track and field athlete said in a public comment during the conference.

The proposal was approved, but some students present were not happy with the decision.

“In an ideal world, it’d be an easy yes, but I think it’s an unfair ask of the general student body,” said Emily Erving, a student a part of ASOSU House of Representatives and audience member during the SFC deliberation. “It’s not something that is accessible to all students.” 

The Basic Needs Center operational budget request of $20.82 and the COLA was approved by the SFC.

The ASOSU operational budget request of $32.36 was approved, but no COLA was requested by ASOSU due to their planned payroll cut next academic year. 

Page said that the meeting went smoothly, in comparison to past SFC deliberations.

“Everything that we recommended last night was with the best interest of students in mind,” Page said. “Students are going to feel positive impacts from that.”

Though this is the first time that the total student fees will be over $500 per term, Page said this was bound to happen due to inflation and the addition of programs for students.

“This is the first time we are crossing that $500 threshold, but the actual percentage we are increasing the (student fee) by is lower than it has been the past couple of years,” Page said. “If it wasn’t this year, then it’s next year.”

The next step for approval of these SFC decisions by the ASOSU Congress will take place on Feb. 15 and 22 at 6 p.m. in the MU Horizon Room. These meetings are open to the public. 

$4.8 million awarded to OSU, supporting student scholarships in cybersecurity

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Graphic by Teresa Aguilera / The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

February 6, 2023

Students studying cybersecurity at Oregon State University will be eligible to apply for a full ride scholarship starting next year.

Thanks to the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship for Service program, the cybersecurity program at OSU received a $4.8 million federal grant, most of which will be translated into 29 full-ride scholarships for computer science students.

OSU is the first institution in the state to be awarded money from CyberCorps, a program that provides scholarships for undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity education through the NSF.

The grant will be doled out over a five year period – undergraduates selected from an application process will receive a full scholarship that covers tuition and fees and a $24,000 stipend to cover living expenses each year, beginning in the 2023-24 academic year – and comes after a proposal was submitted by OSU to the NSF in fall 2022, and awarded in December said Dave Nevin, an assistant professor of practice in cybersecurity in the school of electrical engineering and computer science.

“A program director from NSF came out for a pre-award site visit, and one of the first things that he commented on was that he didn’t realize that OSU was so big,” Nevin said. “It’s a big investment on their (NSF’s) behalf, and a lot of their concern (was if) the university would have the numbers of students to support that; and so they got to see firsthand that we really do have a large population of students in our cybersecurity program.”

The SFS has a stipulation however, requiring those who receive the scholarship to work in government cybersecurity upon graduation for the same number of years they receive the scholarship.

Cameron McCawley, the president of the OSU Security Club, a nationally-recognized cybersecurity club, and a fourth-year computer science undergraduate, believes the grant is a wonderful opportunity for students who want to pursue cybersecurity as a career.

“By providing this sort of scholarship for service where people can get the knowledge they need about this field, and then go directly into the workforce and get experience, is super useful,” McCawley said.

In addition to receiving an annual stipend, undergraduate students in this program will receive $6,000 for travel to attend a job fair in Washington D.C. each year as well as other expenses, Nevin said.

Graduate students in cybersecurity are also eligible for the scholarship, but Nevin did not have specific figures for them.

Nevin added that about $800,000 from the NSF was given to support OSU’s CyberClinic, a facility on campus that gives students interested in cybersecurity hands-on experience. 

“We set up the (CyberClinic) here… that is staffed by students in our cybersecurity program and they do that as part of their degree program,” Nevin said. “It’s like a teaching hospital for cybersecurity.”

McCawley is currently earning credit at the CyberClinc in place of his senior capstone.

“The money going towards the CyberClinic as well is great, because that is probably the most hands-on experience and the most accurate experience you’re going to get compared to working in an actual role as a security analyst,” McCawley said.

As of now, the city of Tualatin and the Open Source Labs at OSU are clients of the CyberClinic, McCawley said.

Nevin and Rakesh Bobba, an associate professor at OSU focusing on cybersecurity, are co-leads at the CyberClinic, and will be a part of the team that will look over scholarship applications for the cybersecurity grant.

The NSF SFS program is not new however, just new to OSU.

“When they’re picking schools for this award, they’re looking for innovation in cybersecurity and also the strength of the program… They really appreciated our CyberClinic program,” Bobba said.

Nevin said that the CyberClinic was made with the intention for students to receive credit as well as gain job experience during their time at OSU.

“We did a study of the pay for (cybersecurity) jobs,” Nevin said. “With just a degree, the average (salary) is probably around $60,000 a year with no experience… but if you have a year of experience that bounces that up closer to $100,000; having that year of experience is worth about $40,000 for the students.”

As the cybersecurity program at OSU grows, Nevin stresses how large of a job market there is for cybersecurity.

The total available job openings in cybersecurity amount to 755,743 in the United States, 7,425 of which are in Oregon alone, according to the Cyber Seek website.

“As long as there are organizations, they’re going to need cybersecurity people,” McCawley said. “Organizations need someone there that can help protect their data, their assets, their customers… I don’t see that (need) going away anytime soon, and I think it’s just going to continue to grow.”

OSU climate report says humanity is in a climate crisis

October update of "planetary vital signs" alarms OSU researchers and collaborators.

Illustration by Cat Smith/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli
November 28, 2022

Humanity is unequivocally facing a climate emergency.

This is the main finding that Oregon State University scientists and domestic and international collaborators found in their October report.

The report, “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022,” published in the BioScience journal on Oct. 26, warns that 16 of 35 planetary vital signs point to a climate crisis. As trends in variables such as CO2 emissions, world population, global tree cover loss and energy consumption continue to increase, the report says that the effects of climate change, which disrupt tens of millions of people presently, have been increasing in frequency and intensity.

The lead authors, William Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at OSU, and postdoctoral researcher Christopher Wolf were joined by fellow OSU scientists and international scientists who are credited as co-authors on the report. This report comes as a follow-up to “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2021,” which Ripple and Wolf were lead authors on as well.

“We are now seeing many climate-related disasters, including widespread floods, wildfires, and extreme heat,” Wolf said. “It is very likely that these disasters will continue to increase in frequency and severity, leading to further human suffering. So, we feel that it is important to acknowledge that we are in the midst of a climate emergency.”

In 2021, Ripple and Wolf compiled data from sources including the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, The World Bank, and NASA, on 16 planetary vital signs they thought would best reflect the state of climate change. The 2022 report adds to these compiled datasets, and explores how the effects of climate change are affecting communities today.

Matthew Betts, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU, is a co-author on the 2022 report, and stresses the importance of the report’s focus on “untold human suffering.”

“One of the parts of this paper that wasn’t emphasized much (in Ripple and Wolf’s previous papers on climate change) is that this really is a global equity issue,” Betts said. “The problem is that it’s all of us in the developed world that are burning most of the carbon, and it’s people in developing countries that will pay the price.”

In fact, Ripple says that people in developing countries are already paying the price of climate-related disasters. Ripple points out deadly heat waves that ravaged Pakistan and India in March and April of this year.

“In the paper we recorded climate-related disasters for the year 2022,” Ripple said. “By this last summer, there were deadly floods in Pakistan that killed over 1,000 people and flooded roughly a third of the country, impacting 33 million people including 16 million children.”

Ripple and Wolf agree that it is important to consider international perspectives when reporting on an issue like climate change, which affects all of humanity, but some places more than others.

“Because of the global nature of climate change and how its effects vary spatially, having a diverse group of international co-authors was a top priority,” Wolf said. “Their insights helped ensure that our study is globally relevant and that our proposed steps for climate mitigation are realistic and equitable.”

Ripple and Wolf hope that their updated report will have the same reach as their previous works, papers on climate change they have been periodically releasing to remind policymakers and the general public of the mounting climate crisis, their most previous installment being the 2021 report. Their 2019 installment in the series has been co-signed by over 14,000 scientists from 158 countries.

Currently, their 2022 report has been reported on by 107 news outlets around the world, and has reached over 4 million people on Twitter through people retweeting the link to the report. 

Betts explains that these constant climate updates Ripple and Wolf put out demand attention because of their consistency. 

“The key objective here was to keep bringing it up,” Betts said. “The 24-hour news cycle is brutal. People will hear about something really important and then it’s forgotten within days.”

Ripple and Wolf find some solace in the numbers they have combed through to compile this report. Namely, there is a “dramatic rise” in institutional divestment from fossil fuel companies in many countries. Betts agrees that there is room for hope, if this hope is met with efficient and coordinated efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re gradually coming up with solutions,” Betts said. “Is it fast enough right now? No, it’s not. But even the rate of improvement is increasing.”

film entitled “The Scientist’s Warning” was released concurrently with the 2022 report, and shows how climate change is crippling developing countries.

Betts notes that developed countries are experiencing environmental phenomena too, such as the Oregon heat dome June 24-29 of this year that killed at least 96 people.

 

“Catastrophic climate change has arrived and the situation is very likely to get much worse in the short- and intermediate-term,” Wolf said. “To avoid the most dangerous future scenarios, we need transformative and socially just changes across many aspects of society.”

Betts says that climate change is happening at a rate that hasn’t been seen for thousands of years, and that it’s known to be caused by human emissions.

“We’re already seeing some pretty nasty things that are happening as a function of climate change," Betts said. "If you think about it, we’ve really only warmed about 1 degree Celsius, and we could be warming up to 2 and a half; so if we are seeing these changes already, it highlights the need to change our behavior, and quickly."

Recreational marijuana use for international students: rights and risks

International students are at risk when using marijuana in legalized states like Oregon, and here's why.

Illustration by H. Beck/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

November 28, 2022

Possession and use of recreational marijuana for those age 21 and older was legalized in Oregon on July 1, 2015, but this incongruity between state and federal law creates a gray area for international students at Oregon State University.

International students are required to abide by federal law, which still outlaws marijuana. However, with a State ID, driver’s license or medical marijuana card, all obtainable for those who aren’t citizens of the United States but have established Oregon residence, international students 21 and older are able to purchase marijuana from a recreational retailer.

Although, the repercussions of international students’ recreational use of marijuana in Oregon can spell trouble when traveling home to their countries of origin, depending on certain countries’ laws on marijuana use, and upon returning to the U.S.

Though recreational use of marijuana is legal in Oregon, for all college students that attend federally-funded universities such as OSU, possession, use and distribution is all strictly prohibited in all OSU campuses and facilities, as well as all OSU-run activities.

Additionally, international students are expected to abide by federal law, which would make possession and use of marijuana illegal for them even in places off-campus at any time.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana along with drugs such as heroin and cocaine as a Schedule 1 drug, which the DEA claims are drugs with high potential for abuse and little to no medical benefit. So, while marijuana is legal in Oregon, that doesn’t mean it is legal for international students.

Rachael Weber, the assistant director in the Office of International Services, empathizes with international students in regards to the mixed messages they are receiving about marijuana use.

“(One message) is saying it’s okay as a state law, but marijuana is still illegal nationally,” Weber said. “It is confusing for many students.”

A place for international students — and any OSU students —  for legal advice and counsel with no extra cost is the Student Legal Services, which is offered through Associated Students of Oregon State University. Staff attorney with the Student Legal Service Office Noah Chamberlain says the risks of marijuana use for international students are much steeper than U.S. citizens.

“While (international students) may still be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana here, we advise and encourage students to recognize that there may be collateral consequences to their decisions.” Chamberlain said. “Either upon their return home or if they were to somehow violate the state law.”

Chamberlain says the impacts of international students getting caught using marijuana can vary vastly, from small consequences on the state level to consequences back home or when returning to the U.S.

“Even though you are here, do not operate under the assumption that your actions and behavior here don’t have the possibility of following you home,” Chamberlain said. “If you’ve been cited criminally (for marijuana use or possession), that can have an impact on your student visa in the future.”

When entering a U.S. airport or border from a location abroad non-U.S. citizens can have social media accounts, texts and emails subject to search. There are multiple stories of non-citizens admitting to using marijuana in the U.S. in the past when asked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, only to be banned from entering the U.S.

Regarding the risk of deportation of an international student at OSU for using marijuana, Chamberlain said that each case is fact-driven and contextual.

“Any violation of federal law could result in collateral consequences to that student’s eligibility to either remain in the country, to return to the country, depending on circumstances,” Chamberlain said.

A fourth-year international student from Vietnam explained that even though they are 21, they haven’t experimented with marijuana.

“It is actually the legal consequences of marijuana use that (dissuades) a lot of international students from using it,” the student said.

They say that in Vietnam it is illegal to buy, sell, use, transport and possess marijuana, and that the sale and purchase of marijuana is an act that constitutes the crime of illegal drug trafficking, which is severely punished by law. They do admit that they would try marijuana if they had the chance to.

Chamberlain points out that there are many other issues that international students come to Student Legal Services with, which also affect them differently than U.S. citizens.

“Whether we are talking about the use of recreational marijuana or alcohol consumption or even something as mundane as a driver’s license, insurance, car ownership, those sorts of things I highly encourage students to seek out (Student Legal Services),” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain also says his advice can be applicable to anyone.

“I would say the same thing to any U.S. citizen wanting to travel abroad,” Chamberlain said. “You need to be aware of what the laws are where you’re going, and what’s prohibited and what’s permitted; and that if you break the law while traveling, there can be consequences for you.”

ASOSU president looks to increase maximum hour per week allowed for on-campus student employees

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Photo by Alex Ozeran/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli
January 5, 2023

Oregon State students may have a chance to work more on-campus hours next year if a student government plan goes through.

The Associated Students of Oregon State University will meet in January to finalize a plan that will increase the allowable maximum hours for on-campus student workers starting the next academic year, as part of a push to further improve student worker rights.

President of ASOSU Matteo Paola said that an increase in the maximum weekly hours for student workers had been a frequent topic of discussion within ASOSU during the past two years, while he was a member of the ASOSU House of Representatives.

Now, Paola is spearheading the proposal of a pilot program, which will allow student workers to work up to 24 hours per week starting in fall of 2023.

“Of the people that are working, there are a lot that would be willing to work over 20 hours a week,” Paola said. “A lot work 20 hours a week on campus, and then they also work off campus just to get enough money to survive; but that’s not ideal, if you could do it all on campus instead, would be preferable.”

Paola explained that the increase may also alleviate some stress from on-campus employers as well.

“There’s a lot of worker shortages (on campus),” Paola said. “But there are definitely a lot (of students) that work up to 20 hours that would be willing to go more, and there are employers that are willing to pay for more hours.”

Natalia Catena, a senior and student worker at Java II in The Valley Library, fully endorses this change.

“I never understood the 20-hour cap, personally,” Catena said. “I know people work one or two other jobs off campus also, besides this job, so I feel like if people could get all the hours they need working one job here, why not do that for them?”

Catena noted that on-campus student workers enjoy generally higher wages and tax exemptions as well.

Although the minimum hourly wage in Benton County increased from $12.75 to $13.50 on July 1, 2022, OSU student workers’ minimum wage is now $15.00 or $15.15, depending on if a student worker is under a student fee funded entity or not.

This increase in minimum wage was established last academic year after ASOSU increased minimum wage for student fee funded entities – ASOSU, the Memorial Union, Student Experience and Engagement, Intercollegiate Athletics, Family Resource Center, Human Services Resource Center Recreational Sports and performing arts – to $15, which in turn, pushed Student Affairs to increase their student worker wages to $15.15, Paola said.

In addition, OSU student employees are exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding tax, which enlarges the discrepancy between on-campus and off-campus pay. 

There’s something to be said about the shift in perspective and expectations for employers in a university setting, as well.

“On-campus employers are generally more understanding of school schedules and school commitments and stuff, so I think that has a big benefit,” Paola said.

However, with increased allowable work hours for students comes concerns over academics, and whether or not students will be able to find a balance between the two.

“We looked into some past research, and working over 20 hours does seem to be tied to (and) can impact academic performance,” Paola said. “But also, that’s not true for everyone.”

Paola noted that there are many students working over 20 hours presently, since off-campus jobs do not have work caps. This is only one anticipated issue of increased student worker hours.

“And then there’s also some issues like international students who are on visas; they cannot work more than 20 hours a week. Federal work study only covers 20 hours a week,” Paola said.

Paola explained that the pilot program of 24 allowable hours a week for student workers will be an academic year-long test run to monitor changes in academic performance and help navigate other potential issues that may arise, so that student work hours might be increased even more in the future.

Ultimately, Paola hopes to finalize the pilot program in January 2023 for the next academic year, in a push to increase student worker rights. In addition, Paola will bring to the table a proposed change from a monthly pay period to a biweekly one for all workers on campus, including students. 

 

“Something me and Sierra (Young), the vice president, ran on was student worker rights,” Paola said. “Allowing students to work more hours if they need to, making sure that they’re equitably compensated for that, making sure that they’re paid in a way in which they can afford living, so biweekly instead of monthly (pay), that aligns really with our priorities to improve things for students in terms of student employment at OSU.”

Oregon State receives $4.2 million for climate change research on marine species

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Illustration by Cat Smith/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli
January 6, 2023

Oregon State University received a $4.2 million federal grant to research climate change impacts on key marine species and has begun the four-year-long study, which spans multiple departments. 

The grant was awarded to OSU after winning a national competition, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asked for research proposals focused on multiple stressors in the ocean environment.

In particular, OSU’s proposal aimed to look at different marine climate change effects that impact two key ocean species in the Pacific Northwest: Dungeness crab and krill.

Francis Chan, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Ecosystem and Resources Studies, leads the study that will include data collected in seawater experiments at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and input from researchers in the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, as well as traditional ecological knowledge from tribal communities on the West Coast.

The research will track four climate stressors on Dungeness crab and krill: ocean acidification from increased carbon dioxide in ocean water, ocean hypoxia or the loss of oxygen in ocean waters, marine heat waves and harmful algal blooms, which are connected to warming waters and can cause Dungeness crabs to have high levels of toxins that are dangerous for human consumption. 

 

Chan explained that Dungeness crab and krill are vital to marine ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, for ecological and economic reasons. 

 

“Dungeness crab is the West Coast’s single most valuable fishery,” Chan said. 

Krill play an important role in being the base of the marine food web, and organisms from salmon to whales rely on them as a food source, Chan said.

Not only will the research study how the four climate stressors are currently impacting the marine ecosystem, but it will also project the future of ocean waters.

“Unfortunately changes are happening today. The ocean that we see out there today will not be the same ocean as we will experience in 10, 15, 20 years,” Chan said.

But, Chan hopes this study will help communities better prepare for the inevitable.

“We just (don’t) want to be caught flat-footed on this… What is it we can do differently as changes are manifesting, so that we continue to have an ocean that is productive and sustainable?,” Chan said. “We have these fisheries that are just so important to so many people, communities on the coast (and) communities all through the state.”

Oregon State University athletes embrace opportunity to profit off their name

A recent NCAA rule change allowing college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness pushes Oregon State University athletes to build their brand.

By Nino Paoli

January 17, 2023

Sarah Haendiges didn’t think she would profit off her name when she first committed to play softball at Oregon State University; now she has a merchandise line complete with a replica jersey.

 

This all comes thanks to the recent National Collegiate Athletic Association rule change, which allows college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, and came into effect July 1, 2021.

 

Haendiges, a sophomore pitcher, is just one of many OSU athletes to benefit from the NCAA rule change.

 

“I love this rule change,” Haendiges said in an online text correspondence. “It is great for giving athletes the ability to not only build their resume while in college, but to also create a brand for themselves.”

 

Haendiges has partnered with Belligerent Beavs, an OSU alumni-headed podcast, and created a merch line which includes T-shirts and hoodies with her personal logo and the OSU beaver logo on them – something, she said, that has always interested her.

 

However, Haendiges sees possible inequities that arise when considering what sport someone plays and who they are.

 

“It definitely isn’t extremely fair since football and high-profile athletes will get more money and deals,” Haendiges said. “However, I think it is what you put into it, because with TikTok and other social media, you can get your name out there and be more popular through those platforms to get deals.”

 

The expectation that high-profile athletes and larger schools will have more of a demand for sponsorships is all part of the game, OSU football player Joshua McCormick said.

 

“You could just sit there and say it’s unfair, but that’s just kind of how business works outside of football,” McCormick said. “If you have… a known receiver that gets in the rotation at (Texas Tech University) versus a four-year starter at (University of South Alabama), that receiver is going to be more (influential).”

 

A redshirt freshman kicker, McCormick has already been sponsored to promote brands such as Hyak Fiber Internet on TikTok to his 12,100 followers.

 

Haendiges and McCormick declined to share how much they are earning off their deals, though they both said it was not much. Even so, they appreciate the rule change immensely.

 

Division I athletes are already expected to maintain a public image, McCormick said. And now, they are getting paid for it.

 

“Everyone expects you to be a public figure,” McCormick said. “Once you step foot on a campus to play a D1 sport, you automatically become an influencer; you might not be that big of an influencer, but you’re definitely an influencer.”

 

Case in point, OSU team rosters have started to list players’ Instagram and Twitter profiles in recent years, alongside information including their height, weight, and position.

 

“(As a college athlete) you have to post a certain way on social media, you have to talk certain ways in interviews; so even if you’re not getting paid to do it, you’re still influencing young kids (and) people, and people just expect more from you,” McCormick said. “I think (NIL) is good in the sense that you can get compensated for what your time is worth.”

OSU librarians suspend negotiations with worldwide scholarly information provider

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Illustration by Alex Koetje/ The Barometer

By Nino Paoli

January 17, 2023

Oregon State University librarians have launched new services in lieu of suspended negotiations with Elsevier, one of the largest publishers of scholarly information in the world.

The Valley Library’s contract with Elsevier did not renew on Jan. 1, 2023, as librarians could not reach an agreement with Elsevier, adding OSU to the long list of universities and companies who have boycotted the scholarly information giant in recent years. 

Elsevier is an academic publishing company that provides scholarly resources to many universities in the U.S. According to Elsevier’s website, its research platforms are regularly used by more than 16 million scientists and physicians. 

 

However, many universities in the past couple years have ended their contracts with Elsevier. And now, OSU has decided to do the same. 

Edward Feser, OSU provost and executive vice president, wrote in a statement on Nov. 17, 2022, that although subscription access to Elsevier journals is terminated, OSU researchers will still be able to publish and review scholarly information in Elsevier journals.

The University of Oregon and Portland State University also decided against renewing their contracts with Elsevier, as problems with transparency in price hikes and authors’ rights for their published work plague negotiations, Feser wrote.

Anne-Marie Deitering, the dean of libraries, said that though negotiations for a future contract with Elsevier will continue later this year, The Valley Library is launching new services to ensure campus-wide access to scholarly information.

“We will be providing some services and adding some content that we have not had before,” Deitering said. “We are also taking steps to ensure that we will continue to have access to some of the same resources we had while our Elsevier contract was active.”

Deitering and Kerri Goergen-Doll, interim associate dean and director of the Resource Acquisitions and Sharing department at OSU, pride themselves on The Valley Library’s Interlibrary Loan service, which delivers scholarly resources from other libraries to students and researchers at OSU.

A new Article Delivery service launched in response to the Jan. 1 contract termination speeds up the Interlibrary Loan service, and gives OSU usage data that provides librarians a clear picture of journal titles, allowing them to assess which scholarly information subscriptions are used most.

 

According to Deitering and Goergen-Doll, while funding for other article sources is still needed, the Interlibrary Loan services and Article Delivery service will continue through the foreseeable future.

“We are also investing some of the savings from our Elsevier contract into other resources,” Deitering and Goergen-Doll said. “We recently upgraded our Academic Search Premier database to Academic Search Complete, adding about 1,000 additional journals… (which) is designed to support undergraduate research needs.”

In addition, for many of the high-use journals, OSU will still have access to the volumes and issues of those journals that were received before the contract termination, Deitering said.

As the 2020 pandemic shifted more classes online, digital scholarly information continues to complement, or even substitute, physical textbooks and other printed materials found in libraries and on-campus bookstores.

Ariah Tesema, a fourth-year biohealth science undergraduate, said that she uses open source material and other online scholarly information out of convenience.

“I definitely use (online) scholarly information more than going to the library, because usually I’ll be doing my homework at night,” Tesema said. “I’ll find it quicker (online) than if I call the library.”

As important as access to scholarly information may be to students and researchers at OSU, Deitering and Goergen-Doll said Elsevier failed to satisfy a set of principles that OSU librarians developed with faculty from all colleges, which were endorsed by the OSU Faculty Senate in May 2022, during negotiations.

Deitering said that Elsevier has had problems with the principle of fair and sustainable pricing, based on transparent and cost-effective pricing models, in the past.

“Elsevier’s prices are notoriously opaque,” Deitering said. “How prices for individual titles are set is not transparent, and some of these costs are based on the print market of several years ago; they also include several different types of fees and extra charges, and it is not transparent what value these fees are paying for.”

However, Deitering and Goergen-Doll said their pause in negotiations was not a “simple attempt to save money,” but rather, a decision to not compromise what they believe in.

“Scholarly information costs money, to produce and to preserve,” Deitering and Goergen-Doll said. “We need to think of this as a change in how we are investing our scholarly communication dollars — do we give it all to for-profit publishers who do not share OSU’s mission and goals, or do we shift some of that money to projects that are more open, equitable and community-based?”

Deitering and Goergen-Doll said that they also take issue with how authors are treated within the scholarly information market.

“More and more content in Elsevier’s subscription-based, paywalled journals is available open access because the article authors have paid expensive fees to make it so,” Deitering said. “Researchers are paying these fees, which are supposed to cover the costs of production, but the price of the journals have not changed.”

Though OSU librarians have suspended negotiations with Elsevier, Deitering said that problems with scholarly information providers remain system-wide.

“The ways we access and share scholarly research today reflect a business model that restricts the public’s access to high-quality, expert research and reinforces existing inequities and hierarchies in scholarly publishing,” Deitering said. “This only demonstrates that allowing a small group of publishers to control huge amounts of research, and use it in ways that prioritize their profits above all other values, does harm.”

Elsevier was unable to be reached by the Barometer for comment.

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