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Wednesday, March 29,2000 dailyneb.com Vol 99, Issue 128 internet? opinion^pagiTs
Senator ends tenure of research bill
■ The bill’s introducer said
there weren’t enough sure votes
to pass the bill this session.
By Veronica Daehn
and Jill Zeman
He warned us.
When senators voted last week to pull the bill
that would ban the use of aborted fetal tissue in
research out of committee and onto the floor,
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers warned us.
Chambers said he would take the full eight
hours of debate himself. He said he would stall
the bill with a filibuster.
Tuesday morning, Chambers was on his way.
But after three hours of debate, Sen. John
Hilgert of Omaha withdrew his bill from the
“It was close,” he said about his decision to
pull the bill from the floor.
Hilgert said he knew LB 1405 did not have
enough votes to pass.
The bill would have needed 33 votes to pass
to the next round. Only 28 senators voted to pull
the bill out of committee last week.
With only nine days left in the session and
other priority bills waiting to be heard, Hilgert
said the withdrawal would give the university
time to find alternative tissue sources.
But the bill would be re-introduced next ses
sion by Elkhom Sen. Dwite Pederson if the uni
versity had not done so, he said.
A controversy erupted in November when
the Omaha World-Herald reported that the
” The university has made some changes, and,
hopefully, they ’ll make one more.”
University of Nebraska Medical Center was
using tissue from aborted fetuses for research on
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Because of the controversy, Hilgert drafted
the bill Jan. 20. It was sent to the Judiciary
Committee, in which members were deadlocked
in a 4-4 vote.
Hilgert and Judiciary Committee Chairman
Sen. Kermit Brashear of Omaha motioned to
pull the bill from the committee to the floor for
debate on March 21.
Even though Hilgert withdrew the bill
Tuesday, he said he was pleased with its progress.
It forced the Legislature to respond to a con
troversial issue surrounding the university, he
He said he hoped the university would con
Please see BILL on 3
inside the .
- ... • , Josh Wolfe/DN
JENNA MADSEN hugs her boyfriend, Impact presidential candidate John Conley, after she found out Conley lost In the
March 1ASUN election.
Election night brings shocks, surprises
By Samuel McKewon
John Conley stands at the ground level
of P.O Pears, unsure what to do at his own
party. He looks left, then right and then he
just leans against a staircase railing.
“Let’s go upstairs,” he says to no one in
particular. It’s about that time his cell phone
jingles. It is the call from the vote-counting
office, the one that says “Yes, John, you
win,” or “No, John, you lose,” or “John,
you’re in a run-off.” His future beckons.
Conley, the Impact presidential candi
date, has spent the past two hours at P.O.
Pears waiting, putting on a good face and
planning out his acceptance speech, which
he expected to give in one way or another,
either to announce a run-off with Empower
or an outright victory in the ASUN student
government elections. He expects it. He
“Until I lose, I’m the winner,” Conley
says near the second-floor bar, where his
senators and campaign advisers play pool
behind him. The entire dimly lit room was
reserved for Impact candidates and sup
porters; in the main room below, Duff can
didates nurse a few pitchers of beer.
“Everybody around me keeps saying,
‘You’ve got it, John,’ and of course they’re
going to keep saying that until we actually
“When you’ve got people in Empower
shirts telling their people to vote Impact, it
gives you a good feeling. I’m not sure how
many of (Empower presidential candidate)
Mr. (Heath) Mello’s own people like him,”
Conley is feeling good, confident, sur
rounded by family, friends and a few dozen
hamburgers. His sister, Laina, surprised
him with a visit after she said she’d be held
up by a mandatory class at Northwestern
University. He walked up the stairs of P.O.
Pears and found her there, waiting.
“One of the better surprises I’ve had in
awhile,” he says.
He spends other parts of the night down
on the main floor, amid his two executive
candidates, first vice president Brad Bangs
and second vice president Amy Ellis, and
Duff candidates. He’s at ease, not nervous
for himself, more worried for Ellis, who
must get elected on her own ticket
“I told her not to cry,” Conley says. “I
think she might, no matter if she wins or
loses, but Amy tells me she won’t, so I have
to believe her.”
“God, I don’t want to sound like a hard
ass, but I don’t know when the last time it
was I cried. It’s just not me.”
Ellis, in contrast, is worried for Conley.
“I’ll try not to cry,” she says. “But, I’m
really not worried for myself. I just want to
see John win.”
The reality: They’re all worried, period.
In the two months since the campaigns
started kicking into full gear, things have
changed, and those gears have slipped into
unknown realms. Two parties became four,
and Impact, which once considered itself
the maverick choice to the establishment
and greek-fueled Empower, finds itself
being labeled business as usual.
A-Team and Duff have taken Impact’s
place as reformers. A-Team has picked up
steam, performing well in debates, putting
Please see IMPACT on 9
of life sciences
By John Hejkal
Finding the best ways to do research is always a top priori
ty for universities depending on research for their reputations.
Hence, the faculty-led Task Force on Integration and
Enhancement of the Life Sciences discussed its January report
at a press conference Tuesday.
The report looked at ways to keep the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln a competitive research institution in the life
Life sciences include areas such as biology, agriculture,
environmental sciences and medical research.
The report focused on integrating the life sciences to get
more out of the resources available to UNL.
David Mortensen, co-chairman of the committee and pro
fessor of agronomy, said UNL should implement research clus
ters, which would include faculty from different departments
in life sciences who would work on developing high quality
Mortensen said he’s observed universities with high
degrees of integration in the life sciences that get top funding.
“The feeling is that we could do better, as we look at our
own institution, in integrating those sciences,” he said.
Mortensen also said barriers between UNL and the
University of Nebraska Medical Center need to be broken.
The report called current life sciences research at UNL
“stodgy” and “tradition-ridden.” The report recommended get
ting more outside funding to change such research patterns.
The report also said a problem in the life sciences was that
the “whole” of offerings in research and teaching was not
greater than the “sum of its parts,” which was a reason to work
for greater cooperation among departments.
The committee addressed its recommendation for changes
in the structures of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural
Resources and the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Anthony Joem, co-chairman of the committee and profes
sor of biological sciences, said the report was not an attack on
the areas of agriculture and natural resources.
“The emphasis is not anti-agriculture,” Joem said. “It’s how
do we do a better job with fewer resources.”
Mortensen said changing the structure of IANR and CAS
would mean integrating their activities with other areas in the
life sciences. He said integration would help, not hurt, agricul
“We had no intention whatsoever of weakening the agricul
ture here at UNL,” he said.
The task force included nine members from IANR, five
from the College of Arts and Sciences and two others.
Richard Edwards, senior vice chancellor for academic
affairs, said there was no schedule for implementation of the
task force’s recommendations.
“This report now becomes a matter of consideration and
reconsideration,” he said.
Edwards said the report should have an overall positive
effect on UNL.
“This is not a bad story about science,” he said. “This is the
success of science.”
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