UNC-system happenings for March 30
Appalachian State starts electric bike research initiative
Ryan Gillespie, a senior at Appalachian State University, is conducting research with hopes to implement an electric bike rental service in Boone.
The bikes have pedaling abilities but are also attached with electric motors to propel riders faster than a traditional bike. Gillespie said this is especially relevant on the hilly terrain of the campus.
“Boone is extremely hilly. E-bikes make a lot of sense in a lot of places but they especially make sense here,” he said.
Gillespie’s research method involves allowing individuals to borrow e-bikes fit with a cycle analyst — a device that measures energy output, route, elevation and other usage data — for a two-week period to use at their leisure. At the end of this period, the data is quantified for analysis.
“The whole idea of the research is to get an idea of the mileage that people used their e-bike and, on average, how many watts they’re using,” he said.
Gillespie is working with the Renewable Energy Initiative at ASU to get a pilot e-bike rental station set up on campus before he graduates.
The Urban Death Project collaberates with Western Carolina
Western Carolina University is partnering with the Urban Death Project to conduct research into an alternative burial method involving human composting.
The Urban Death Project is working to implement compost renewal facilities throughout the country that allow for natural human decomposition into soil as an alternative burial method.
Katrina Spade, the founder and director of the project, is working with Cheryl Johnston, director of the Forensic Osteology Research Station (FOReST) at Western Carolina, to conduct this research.
“As part of this partnership we are composting five donor bodies at this point,” Spade said. “Essentially what that’s doing is telling us what the best mixture of co-composting materials is to break a body down fully and turn it basically into soil.”
Spade was contacted by an individual living outside of Charlotte who decided to donate his body at the time of death to Western Carolina’s facility.
“I’ve been there six times or so to help with the research and to check in on how things are going, and the energy and enthusiasm of the students around this forensic anthropology research has been really incredible,” Spade said.
The Urban Death Project is expected to build its first full-scale human composting facility in Seattle, Washington in the upcoming 7 to 9 years.
“After that we hope that we would be able to facilitate these places being built all over the country and beyond,” Spade said.
Elizabeth City State University audited for inappropriate behavior
Internal audit reports released in February made allegations of inappropriate behavior at Elizabeth City State University involving hiring and termination, financial aid and admissions and misuse of university resources.
Stacie Tronto, the chief audit officer, noted the specific points of inappropriate conduct for the school and offered recommendations to reform these procedures.
The audits started in October 2014, which coincided with the start of Stacey Franklin Jones' leadership. Jones is the former chancellor of ECSU who resigned abruptly in December without explanation from the university.
An individual identified as “Employee A” is mentioned in their allegations. Jones is not mentioned by name or referenced explicitly in the reports.
She told The (Raleigh) News and Observer that she did not identify herself as "Employee A" and that having a driver — cited as a misuse of resources in the audit — was permitted at ECSU.
"The audit needs to be audited," Jones told The (Raleigh) News and Observer.
Current Chancellor Thomas Conway said there will be further reviews of university conduct.
"The review of processes and procedures at the university will become a regular part of the institution's internal review until management is satisfied that there is sufficient consistency in those areas," he said.
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