News In Brief Week 1

Research Shows Increase in Antarctica Glacial Loss

A recently published UC Irvine study shows that six large glaciers in West Antarctica are moving faster than they did 40 years ago, causing more ice to be discharged into the ocean and thus raising the global sea level. This research, authored by three UCI researchers from the Department of Earth System Science, was published in a journal of the American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Research Letters.
Glaciologist Jeremie Mouginot, Professor Eric Rignot and Associate Project Scientist for the Rignot Research Group Bernd Scheuchl focused on six massive glaciers: Pine Island, Thwaites, Haynes, Smith, Pope and Kohler glaciers. They conducted their research by using satellite data to look at sequential images of the glaciers, then calculated the rate at which the ice was moving by tracking surface features to determine the distance the glaciers traveled every month and every year.
Their research reports that the amount of ice draining collectively from these glaciers increased by 77 percent between 1973 and 2013. Mouginot specified that almost 10 percent of the world’s sea level rise per year comes from these six glaciers.
According to Rignot, the amount of ice released by these glaciers each year is comparable to the amount of ice draining from the entire Green Ice Sheet each year. If the glaciers melt completely, Rignot added, the sea levels would raise another 1.2 meters, or four feet.

Obama Confirmed to Speak at Commencement

The White House has officially confirmed that President Barack Obama will speak to UC Irvine’s graduating class of 2014 in a commencement ceremony set for Saturday, June 14, in Angel Stadium of Anaheim, to start the campus’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“We are incredibly honored to have President Obama participate in this year’s commencement ceremony. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2014 and also kickoff the 50th anniversary of the campus,” Assistant Dean of Students Edgar Dormitorio said.
Forty-nine years ago in June, President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the land that was to become UCI. This June, President Obama will be speaking to more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional school students, 50 percent of which will be first-generation university graduates. Following the keynote ceremony on Saturday, individual school ceremonies will be held on Sunday, June 15, and Monday, June 16.
UCI initially invited the president to speak in April of 2013 and included an outline of the school’s accomplishments. Last month, a delegation followed up on the invitation by delivering postcards and a student-produced video invitation to the White House Office of Public Engagement.
“We are thrilled that the President has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote address at our commencement exercises this June,” Chancellor Michael V. Drake said. “We will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies of our campus. We are proud of the progress we have made during our first half century, and are looking forward to even greater achievements in the years to come.”
According the UCI’s commencement website, ticket information for the keynote commencement ceremony will be made available today.

UC Sexual Assault Policy Changes

The University of California’s policy for handing cases of sexual assault has changed to comply with recently revised federal law requirements. Among the many changes, the most noticeable include expansions on the types of crimes campuses are required to report to the government, improvements on the training and education provided for officers that investigate sexual assault cases and federal requirements that schools better inform students of their rights and reporting procedures. Furthermore, UCI faculty and staff are now included with students in the revised sexual violence policy.
“We have no tolerance for sexual violence or harassment of any kind,” Janet Napolitano, the UC president, said in a statement. “The university must, and will, hold itself to the highest standards, and I expect all of our locations to do everything possible to make everyone aware of these standards.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the new policy is an attempt to deal with the pressures that many university institutions are under to address the problem of sexual crimes committed on campuses. Because of multiple federal complaints against schools that accused institutions are mishandling cases of sexual abuse, the U.S. Department of Education has opened investigations across the nation. Furthermore, according to the LA Times, President Barack Obama has also convened a federal task force which is due to return with recommendations in April.