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Urinals speak out against DWI

Associated Press

Albuquerque Tribune

February 12, 2007

Susie Gran, Schmidly Picked as Next UNM President

Susie Gran, Hay Wins Faculty Approval

[Note: This material is copyright by the Albuquerque Tribune, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Albuquerque Tribune.]


SANTA FE New Mexico is taking its fight against drunken driving to men's restrooms around the state.

The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes that will deliver a recorded anti-DWI message to bar and restaurant patrons who make one last pit stop before getting behind the wheel.

"Hey there, big guy. Having a few drinks?" a female voice says a few seconds after an approaching male sets off a motion sensor in the device. "It's time to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home."

Transportation Department spokesman S.U. Mahesh said the urinal cakes are a way to reach one group that's a target of state safety campaigns. Men commit about three times as many drunken-driving infractions as women.

The devices, manufactured by New York-based Healthquest Technologies Inc., were invented by Richard Deutsch. He said there's no other device like it on the market.

"The idea is based on the concept that there is no more captive audience than a guy standing at a urinal," Deutsch said. "You can't look right and you can't look left; you've got to look at the ad."

Public awareness campaigns in New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Australia have used the devices, as have commercial advertisers.

In New Mexico, the device uses the state DWI slogan "You drink, you drive, you lose."

Some Albuquerque bars installed the devices this week, and the state plans to distribute them to Santa Fe bars and restaurants as well as establishments in Farmington, Gallup and Las Cruces.

The state spent $21 for each talking urinal cake for the pilot program but will ask bars and restaurants to pay for future orders if the idea catches on, Mahesh said.

The cakes have enough battery power to last about three months.


Schmidly picked as next UNM president

Susie Gran

Albuquerque Tribune

February 17, 2007


David Schmidly has been selected as the next president of the University of New Mexico, hired today by a unanimous vote of the Board of Regents.

Schmidly, president of the Oklahoma State University system, drew strong support from varying groups across the UNM campus, regents President Jamie Koch said today.

Schmidly, 63, drew 91 percent support overall in surveys and anonymous ballots collected by the regents after each finalist's visit. Koch said faculty support was the lowest at 71 percent, but Schmidly had 100 percent support from the deans, the executive council and health sciences; 89 percent of the students and 86 percent of the staff.

"We have come up with a very fine president," Koch said.

During the search process, Schmidly had to answer questions about a lawsuit alleging sexism while he was president of Texas Tech University in 2001. He vigorously denied the allegations, and even his critics agreed that his record of diversity at Oklahoma had been good.

The regents apparently agreed, and this morning offered Schmidly the job over four other candidates.

Also in the running were Meredith Hay of the University of Iowa, Daniel Lopez of New Mexico Tech, Herman Lujan of California State University, Los Angeles, and Robert McGrath of the University of Ohio.

Schmidly became president of the OSU system in 2002. His main projects have been fund-raising, economic development and growing and improving the university's faculty.

In his time there, OSU has spun off 35 start-up companies, with an annual payroll of $25.7 million.

Before OSU, he worked as president of Texas Tech. He was also that school's vice president for research, graduate studies and technology transfer.

He also spent 25 years at Texas A&M University, including five years as CEO of the Galveston campus.

Schmidly has a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Illinois. He has written eight natural history and conservation books about mammals and more than 100 scientific articles. He grew up in Levelland, Texas, and is in the Texas Hall of Fame for Science Mathematics and Technology.

While at Texas Tech, he and the university were sued by a faculty member over allegations that he denied her a promotion because of her sex. He also was said to have used a derogatory term about her.

The lawsuit was dropped when the woman moved on to a different school.

Schmidly brought up the subject with UNM faculty members during his visit here earlier this week. He left Albuquerque having convinced many people he was sincere in promoting diversity and equality, and even critics praised his record at OSU.

In a vote taken at a general faculty meeting earlier this week, members present voted 32-22 not to recommend Schmidly for the job. The faculty present picked Hay as their first choice. The university has more than 1,000 faculty members.

Regent Raymond Sanchez, who chaired the presidential search committee, said that vote shouldn't be a worry.

"That's the nature of the faculty. Different opinions make a university," Sanchez said.

Schmidly earns more than $276,000 a year at OSU, and also receives $100,000 a year in a car allowance and pay from outside sources.


Hay wins faculty approval

Panel sends recommendation for president to regents today

Susie Gran

Albuquerque Tribune

February 14, 2007


Meredith Hay of the University of Iowa won a unanimous vote of confidence from the University of New Mexico faculty, which outright rejected three of the five finalists for UNM president.

Only Hay, Iowa's research vice president and the lone female candidate, and Robert McGrath of Ohio State University "hold the credentials and qualifications to engender respect from the faculty," says a faculty resolution adopted Tuesday.

The faculty endorsement will be forwarded to the UNM Board of Regents today, said faculty member Richard Wood, who led a review of the finalists with about 66 of the 1,000 faculty members at an evening meeting in the Student Union Building.

The regents meet Saturday to select a new president to replace Louis Caldera, who resigned in January 2006. David Harris has been interim president.

Caldera did not have the support of the faculty, a negative situation that the university should avoid this time around, faculty members agreed.

"The faculty wants a positive outcome," said Wood. "We are fully on board with the regents to have a positive outcome."

Hay won fans after her visit to the UNM campus last week, but the four other candidates also had supporters.

"I'd love to work for her," said English professor Finnie Coleman, who served on the regents' presidential search committee.

But Coleman was also passionate in support of David Schmidly, the Oklahoma State University president who was on campus Tuesday and grilled about a dismissed lawsuit that raised questions about his treatment of women.

Coleman said he was heavily involved with the search committee's investigation into the lawsuit and checking out Schmidly's track record on hiring and promoting women and minorities.

"I would follow this person any place," he said of Schmidly. "He has character and dignity."

Coleman said Hay and Schmidly were by far the two "finest people in the pool" and that the faculty should not have rejected him.

The faculty vote on Schmidly was 22 in favor but 32 opposed to recommending him to the regents.

Presidential finalists Herman Lujan of the University of California, Los Angeles, and New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez received only three and four favorable votes, respectively.

Most of Schmidly's opponents were female faculty members suspicious about issues in a 2003 lawsuit, including his communication skills and his temper described by a female law professor, several faculty members said.

They were successful in swinging the vote against him. "There are unresolved questions about his past," said Beverly Burris, sociology professor.

"It's really significant that Meredith Hay is the only candidate with unanimous support," Burris said.

The lawsuit, filed when Schmidly was president at Texas Tech University, claimed he used a derogatory term for a woman, a charge he has repeatedly denied.

Christine Hice, a former graduate student of Schmidly's and now an associate professor at UNM, came to his defense before the faculty vote.

"I know Dave would never say anything like that. He's not a bigot. He would be an awesome president," she said.

Even Schmidly's critics pointed out his track record on hiring and promoting women and minorities has been excellent.

In contrast, the lawsuit accused him of saying he would not hire a woman for interim dean of the Texas Tech law school in 2001. The female law professor who filed the suit dropped it when she was hired as dean elsewhere.

UNM faculty members said Tuesday they contacted the two Texas Tech faculty members who made the allegations - Daisy Floyd, who is now dean at Mercer College, and W. Frank Newton, the retiring at Texas Tech - who said they stood by their allegations, even though Floyd dismissed her lawsuit.

In his own defense, Schmidly cited a sworn affidavit given by Newton saying, "I am haunted by the possibility that I misheard or misunderstood" Schmidly's remark.

Schmidly said independent investigators and the Oklahoma regents found he had not made the remark. To the faculty forum earlier on Tuesday, he said, "You have no idea how these accusations pain me."

There were concerns expressed Tuesday that Schmidly and possibly others would withdraw from consideration due to the controversy over the lawsuit. "I hope we don't lose any of them," said Jamie Koch, regents president.

Even Gail Houston, the UNM Women's Studies program director who alerted the female faculty to the lawsuit, said she felt it would be unfortunate if any of the finalists withdrew.

Koch said he felt the faculty spent too much time questioning Schmidly about the lawsuit and "didn't ask any of the good questions."

Dwelling on a dropped lawsuit was counterproductive, Koch said.

"What about all these other issues?"