Since you’ve been gone: Summer news you missed

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Summer 2016 has been filled with noteworthy news both on and off campus including: BYU’s Title IX investigation, the popular launch of Pokémon Go and the Big 12 expansion.

BYU requesting feedback on sexual assault issue

Rick Bowmer
BYU Academic Vice President Brent Webb speaks with those who petitioned the university for changes in the way it investigates sexual assault on April 20. (AP Photo)

BYU is inviting feedback on sexual assault response and Title IX compliance as part of a study announced in April by university President Kevin J Worthen.

On Thursday, May 19, BYU announced the creation of feedback2016.byu.edu, a website where people can anonymously leave suggestions for improvements in the way the university investigates sexual assaults. BYU also announced an advisory council Worthen assembled to review the relationship between the campus’ federally mandated Title IX office and its Honor Code office.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Aug. 4 that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has officially opened a Title IX violation investigation at BYU. The investigation started on the grounds of a complaint filed April 18.

BYU students react to sister missionary clothing policy change

LDS sister missionaries are now allowed to wear dress pants in certain missions to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. (LDS.org)

A new guideline encouraging LDS sister missionaries to wear pants while proselytizing to prevent mosquito-borne diseases has received a wide range of reactions since being announced on Friday, May 20.

Many BYU students were surprised to learn about the change and baffled that the long-established sister missionary image had been broken with the approval of dress pants.

BYU students pick up Shia LaBeouf on road trip across the country

BYU students Scott Daly and Hank Hansen picked up Shia LaBeouf on Friday afternoon. (Hank Hansen)
BYU students Scott Daly and Hank Hansen picked up Shia LaBeouf as part of LaBeouf’s latest performance art project, #TAKEMEANYWHERE. (Hank Hansen)

Two days and nearly 1,000 miles after leaving Provo, BYU students Hank Hansen and Scott Daly found themselves on a road trip with Shia LaBeouf in Omaha, Nebraska.

Daly, a junior studying advertising, learned of LaBeouf’s latest performance art project,#TAKEMEANYWHERE, on Wednesday, May 25. The project consists of LaBeouf and fellow collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner periodically tweeting out their coordinates and then hitching a ride with whoever reaches the group first — to anywhere that person wants. The month-long road trip throughout the U.S. began on May 23 and ended on June 23.

BYU joins the Brexit conversation

Since the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union on June 23, many questions have emerged about the impact that this British exit, commonly known as Brexit, could have on the global community.

Several experts in politics, economics and psychology have been called in to give some clarification to these tough questions, including some BYU faculty and alumni.

Carillon Tower updates good for 40 years

The iconic BYU Centennial Carillon Tower has undergone some needed maintenance and repairs over the past few months. Repair crews began working on the bell tower at the end of April up until it was re-opened to the public in June.

Pokémon Go takes over Provo

Pokémon Go has soared to the top of gaming charts and captivated millions. It is considered an augmented reality (AR) game that encourages players to use technology to go into the world and catch all of the Pokémon they can. (The Pokémon Company)

The phenomenon of Pokémon Go and its massive popularity among BYU students could only be described as sensational.

Players can be seen roaming all over campus and around Provo to catch, evolve or battle their Pokémon. One student claims it has doubled, or even tripled, his activity levels.

LGBTQ advocacy group urges Big 12 to pass on adding BYU

An LGBTQ advocacy group has sent a letter to the commissioner of the Big 12 urging the conference to remove BYU from consideration for membership because it says the school has discriminatory policies.

The Big 12 announced during a media conference call on July 19 that commissioner Bob Bowlsby would begin vetting and contacting candidates for potential conference expansion.

Utah Lake experiencing its largest ever algal bloom

FILE - This July 14, 2016, file photo, shows discolored water caused by an algae bloom near the Lindon Marina in Utah Lake in Lindon, Utah. A huge toxic algal bloom in Utah has closed one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi River, sickening more than 100 people and leaving farmers scrambling for clean water. The bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae has spread rapidly to cover almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, turning the water a bright, anti-freeze green and leaving scummy foam along the shore. (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)
A huge toxic algal bloom in Utah has spread rapidly to cover almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, discoloring the water and leaving scummy foam along the shore. (AP News)

Utah Lake, once a popular destination for boating, fishing and water sports, is partly off-limits due to the largest algal bloom ever recorded in the area. The algal bloom has attracted high levels of toxin-producing bacteria. While boating activities are still allowed in the lake, swimmers are not in areas under “warning” advisory.

‘Purpose’ boosts BYU’s Money Magazine ranking

BYU made a significant leap in this year’s ranking of Best Colleges in America by Time’s MONEY Magazine, climbing from No. 15 in 2015 to No. 5 in 2016. This jump has been largely attributed to the addition of a new survey question that asks university graduates whether they believe their jobs make the world a better place.

Zika virus takes a bite out of Olympics participation

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, samples of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. A civilian contract worker has become the first person with a confirmed case of Zika on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus following a trip to Jamaica, the Navy said Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting dengue and Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil. (AP Photo)

Dozens of athletes, present and former, opted out of attending this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for fear of contracting the Zika virus. Brazil has reported more Zika outbreaks than any other country.

On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency. Since July 13, 65 countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission since 2007.

Utah governor Gary Herbert says he’s voting for Donald Trump

Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s voting for Donald Trump and he thinks the Republican presidential nominee’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a running mate brings stability to the campaign.

Local baker “takes the cake” on Food Network

Ari Davis
Pete Tidwell displays his “Cake Wars” championship plaque in his bakery. (Ari Davis)

Pete Tidwell, owner of The Mighty Baker in Provo, and his assistant, Catrina Jones, won Food Network’s “Cake Wars” on Monday, August 1. Tidwell’s cake creation won first place in the “Halo” video-game inspired contest, earning him a trip to the Halo World Championships in Los Angeles and a $10,000 prize.

Tidwell graduated from BYU with a degree in advertising. His bakery creates custom cakes for weddings and other events, as well as gourmet desserts in their Provo storefront.

Judge in Texas temporarily blocks Obama’s transgender rules

FILE - In this May 25, 2016, file photo, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announces Texas' lawsuit to challenge President Obama's transgender bathroom order during a news conference in Austin, Texas. A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration's directive to U.S. public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. Paxton had argued that halting the law before school began was necessary because districts risked losing federal education dollars if they didn't comply. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announces Texas’ lawsuit to challenge President Obama’s transgender bathroom order during a news conference in Austin, Texas in May 2016. A federal judge in Texas is blocking for now the Obama administration’s directive to U.S. public schools. (AP Photo)

A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration’s order that requires public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

Utah is one of 11 states, including Texas, that previously filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for this transgender discrimination policy, outlined in its “Dear Colleague” letter dated May 13.

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