CADAVERS UNEARTHED AT U. IN 2016

(Original Article Here)

By: Marjorie Cortez
Published: February 10, 2018 3:07 pmUpdated: Feb. 10, 2018 4:49 p.m.
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah’s Marketing and Communications office is accustomed to handling visits of A-listers such as civil rights leaders or famous authors, as well as announcing significant medical discoveries or sizable gifts.

But the discovery of human remains beneath a historical building on campus on April 20, 2016, posed a challenge like no other.

How did the remains get there? Who were these people? How would the university share such a sensitive, complex story with the community, or for that matter, the world? Science writer Paul Gabrielsen and communications specialist Brooke Adams, who had each worked as journalists earlier in their careers, settled on producing a podcast.
“One of the issues that made us think about a podcast is that this was a sensitive topic. So we were able to tell the story and control it a little bit that way,” said Adams. Photography or video seemed inappropriate because the burial included more than 1,000 bones and bone fragments, including skulls. “A podcast clearly avoids that,” Gabrielsen said. Months of research and interviews that Adams and Gabrielsen fit in along with their regular responsibilities at the university culminated in a seven-part podcast: “Secrets of the Campus Cadavers. “We wanted to tell the story on our own terms with the team that did this investigation. We worked closely with them and we wanted them to be able to tell their own stories. From early on, it was clear this was a larger story with a lot of different parts and it would be interesting to tell in a more expansive format than just a press release or a media tip. So this podcast gave us a lot of flexibility to tell that story,” Gabrielsen said. The first episode of the podcast dropped Tuesday, Feb. 6. It and subsequent episodes will be available on Tuesdays through March 20. The free podcast is available on iTunesor on Stitcher and the RSS feed, which can be read by podcast players. The podcast follows a nearly yearlong investigation into the discovery of the remains and how they ended up beneath one of the university’s most historical buildings. Early on, police determined that the burial site — beneath a section of the George Thomas Building, the former home of Utah Museum of Natural History on Presidents Circle — was not a crime scene. Nor were the remains those of ancient Native Americans, which is often the case in Utah, the state forensic anthropologist Derinna Kopp told U. officials. She later determined the remains were those of cadavers that medical students dissected as part of their medical education sometime between 1905 and 1933. “The main question that always pops into my mind with any set of human remains I look at is — who was this person?” Kopp says in the podcast’s first episode. It was a question that nagged Adams and Gabrielsen, too. With the help of several experts, they learned that the medical school faculty had close working relationships with area hospitals in the time period. Adams, a former public information officer for the Utah Department of Corrections, wondered if the people were possibly prison inmates. “We took a trip out there. I was aware there were these big ledgers that record details about the inmates in this time period,” she said.

BRIGHT LIGHTS UNDER A DARK SKY

By Abeni Czajkowski

(Original Article)

The safety of all students, faculty and staff is a top priority for the University of Utah. For the past 18 years, administrators, safety experts and volunteers have worked together and focused on ensuring a well-lit and safe campus at night. At the same time, recent sustainability and environmental measures have increased focus on reducing light pollution and helping the U to become compliant with the dark sky initiative of minimizing light trespass and skyglow with specially approved light fixtures.

Walk after dark

When identifying areas of campus that are too dark or seem unsafe, it’s best to experience it first-hand. Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) sponsors an annual “Walk After Dark” during which participants walk every sidewalk on campus to identify areas of concern. Team members use their phones to mark exact GPS locations where they find potential safety issues with lighting.

“The walk occurs in the fall after the sun sets, the leaves are full and the moon is hidden — a night of ‘optimal darkness’” said James Stubbs, associate director of OEHS. “We also identify uneven pavement, broken light fixtures, areas of perceived darkness versus actual darkness and landscape elements that interfere with the light or could provide a potential hiding place. We then analyze the data found in order to find solutions to the problems.”

Ensuring proper lighting across campus was a priority of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety, which requested and received $125,000 for that purpose in this year’s budget.

Light pollution mitigation

The first steps in preventing light pollution is understanding what it is. One example of an inefficient light fixture is the “lollipop light pole,” which distributes uncontrolled light. These are being replaced with more efficient fixtures that keep campus areas brightly lit while also reducing light pollution from “sky-glow.”

“Light pollution is wasted energy in the form of artificial light that impairs one’s ability to see the night sky,” said Bill Leach, sustainability projects coordinator with Facilities Management. “It’s not as simple as just turning off the lights in a campus setting. It’s not just about getting rid of lights but it’s controlling light, working to make sure it’s going where we want it to go and not outside of its parameters.”

Light pollution not only affects the night sky but it affects our bodies as well as the surrounding environment and the inhabitants within it. Motivations to become a Dark Sky Compliant campus include health-related concerns, the environment, wildlife and sustainability efforts.

So how do you control light?

The University of Utah is replacing current fixtures with Dark Sky-Friendly LED lighting. LED light beams travel in a more linear path and therefore can be easier to control. These fixtures don’t allow the light to escape above its horizontal plane. The new fixtures help to minimize contributions to sky glow through spectrum intensity, color temperature and shielding.

“There is no black and white answer for what is adequate because light levels in a given area are perceived differently by each individual,” Leach said. “We can help people feel more safe using lighting but we cannot give it a one-size fits all answer. The night sky is there but people don’t often get to see it in an urban setting. We are working hard and will continue doing so to find a balanced solution.”

Resources

The U offers a number of resources that allow campus community members to raise concerns with lighting safety, which can be found here. Campus police also are available to escort you to a residence hall or vehicle at night, which can be arranged by calling 801-585-2677.

  • Report a light out by clicking here
  • Lighting safety information can be found here
  • SafeU website
  • Campus Police: 801-585-2677

For more campus resources on Dark Sky Compliance:

KEEPING CAMPUS HUMMING

By Abeni Czajkowski

In 2013, the University of Utah began an almost $90 million electrical infrastructure project that would remove all three outdated substations across campus and replace them with new ones — an underground renovation project that is set to carry the campus on reliable new systems for the next 40-50 years.

“The purpose of the upgrade was to replace old systems that had reached their maximum capacity,” said Dave Quinlivan, associate director of utilities and energy with Facilities Management. “They provide redundant power feeds to every building on campus as well as eliminate the chances of unplanned power outages.”

The University of Utah has three substations: One near the hospital, one by the stadium and on near Research Park. Like an electric breaker at home, these substations are wired to every switch on campus and are a crucial asset to all electric-related operations.

Throughout the duration of the nearly five year project, workers laid over 17 miles of new duct bank, 47 miles of cable, and replaced around 160 high voltage switches. Old and rusted switches were replaced with new dielectric switches and manholes were restored to comply with the new electric wiring. The new substations are also integrated with the Cogen Unit — a method that allows a power station to create both heat and electricity at the same time — as well as the high-temp plant on campus.

“The old substations were not only outdated, they were dangerous. The oldest substation we removed was built back in 1958 and the old switches in the manholes were filled with oil,” said Kevin Thomas, the onsite project manager and facility engineer. “They were all underground back then because nobody wanted to see these switches and systems. We pulled the new solid dielectric switches above ground and into a gated enclosure. This change brought the switches out of a dangerous environment as well as eliminated the confined entry spaces for the people who have to work on them, which is a much safer alternative.”

In addition to the new substations, the university also added new electronic monitoring systems which collects live data from the entire system, making control failures easier to detect and faster to remedy. The project spanned over the course of five years and was awarded the 2017 UC&D Outstanding Project Award in the infrastructure category.

Thomas and Scott Jefferson, project engineer with the Planning, Design and Construction office, took the lead on the massive renovation project.