Mount Hood

Western Makes Money Moves

2022–23 IFC budgeting process begins after a late start

Mikayla Coleman| Managing Editor and Interim News Editor

On Feb. 2, the Incidental Fee Committee met to begin hearing budget presentations for the 2022–23 school year. Abby’s House, the Food Pantry, Childcare Services, WOLF Ride and the Creative Arts each plead their case on why their group’s budgets should either increase or stay the same as the previous year. 

After giving their respective presentations, there was a Q&A session with the heads of each group for clarification on key details that will be important to consider during the budgeting process. Some ideas discussed were the presence of graduate students and how much they use IFC funded programs; what resources exist for food disparity, lack of transportation and lack of childcare before the groups were created; and how often groups that fall under IFC allow students to get career-specific experience. 

The IFC at Western is made up of faculty, administrators and students. 

Out of these three categories, student members are the only ones that are able to vote. Students on the committee are either elected to serve via Associated Students of Western Oregon University elections or appointed by either the Student Body President or the Western President. 

The IFC process covers the budgeting for specific groups that contribute to student success at Western in many different areas. Student media, Abby’s House, the Food Pantry, ASWOU, Athletics, Campus Recreation, childcare services, Creative Arts, Student Engagement, Leadership, Student Activities and WOLF Ride all fall under the IFC umbrella and are funded through the incidental fees — usually around $350 – $400 per student — that are charged to students taking at least one credit hour at Western. 

With the immense challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented in recent years, groups that are funded by IFC have been digging into a backup fund rather than generating revenue for themselves. It has worked as a part of the emergency response, but it is not a renewable resource and will eventually run dry. As a result of this challenge and enrollment at Western dropping by 11%, the overall IFC budget is expected to decrease. 

The next IFC meeting will be Feb. 9 in which head budget presentations will commence. Following the presentations, there will be an open forum for student input on Feb. 23 on Zoom in two sessions, 5 – 7 p.m. and 7:30 – 9 p.m. 

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Cancer Moonshot Is Reignited

President Biden relaunches program to improve cancer research efforts

Mikayla Coleman | Managing Editor and Interim News Editor

On Feb. 2 the Biden-Harris Administration announced the relaunch of the Cancer Moonshot. Originally released in 2016 when Biden was vice president, the Cancer Moonshot sought to accelerate progress against cancer by over 50% in the next 25 years, as well as find ways to improve the experience of living with and surviving cancer. 

In an official White House statement, they said “Because of recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to set ambitious goals. …” 

The initial experience that brought this issue into the hearts of the Bidens was when four friends of Jill Biden were diagnosed with breast cancer. The following year, she launched the Biden Breast Health Initiative to educate Delaware high school students about cancer prevention at an early age. As first lady she continues to advocate for improving patient, family and caregiver experiences with cancer. 

President Biden is working in conjunction with the United Kingdom to make scientific progress related to cancer research. He is also hoping to form a Cancer Cabinet convened by the White House to address cancer across several departments and agencies.  

The statement has several lists of ideas they hope to focus on that will contribute to the goal of addressing and eradicating cancer, including early diagnosis, prevention, addressing inequities that can lead to cancer, administering the correct treatments and learning from those who have experienced cancer in any capacity. 

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New touch-based language for DeafBlind community emerges in Oregon

DeafBlind community develops language that does not require sight or hearing

Mirella Barrera-Betancourt | Staff Writer

The Pacific Northwest is the birthplace for one of the biggest language advances for the DeafBlind community. The language, named protactile, was created to allow for direct communication between DeafBlind people. It prioritizes touch over visual and auditory senses.

Earlier this year, Western and the DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center were awarded a five year, $2.1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration to aid in training interpreters in the language.

At the heart of this new language is Jelica Nuccio, the DeafBlind educator and leader of the protactile movement. Nuccio recently did an interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud,” where she spoke about the traditional view of language variation and communication for the DeafBlind community. 

“We can’t grow if we always are only getting things second hand from other people who are seeing them in the world first hand because people are uncomfortable shifting to a tactile ground. There have been years and years and years of isolation for DeafBlind people,” said Nuccio.

The need for protactile initially arose 10 years ago as a movement in Seattle, Washington. There, Nuccio worked as an advocate and spokesperson for the DeafBlind community via the Deaf-Blind Service Center. 

Before protactile, there was no method for DeafBlind individuals to communicate directly with each other, as communication and impairment varied widely between individuals. Some used visual ASL, while others preferred tactile ASL, a modified version of ASL that utilizes hand-over-hand signing to help the user track the movements in airspace but still has a visual focus. Protactile, meanwhile, is rooted in touch instead of visual space or sound. 

“Individuals will always have their own idiosyncratic approaches and varying access needs and preferences, but protactile, as an entirely tactile language, is fully accessible regardless of hearing or vision levels, for all users,” said Cole Boeck, junior and interpreting studies major at Western currently learning protactile. 

Nuccio is the lead educator for the DeafBlind Interpreting Institute at Western. Students wishing to get involved with protactile or learn more can contact Nuccio or the DeafBlind Interpreting Institute. They can also view the videos accessible through the DBII Moodle at for more information.

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Construction Craziness Continues

Western continues phase 2 of construction on Monmouth Avenue

Mikayla Coleman | News Editor

Phase two of construction on Monmouth Avenue is continuing efforts to fix Western’s steam line. 

There was never a plan to have a phase two for this specific project, but because of additional damage that was discovered during the first phase, they had to continue working on the line. 

Work on the steam line has taken longer than expected for a myriad of unforeseen circumstances. 

Construction was unable to begin until after graduation ceremonies commenced in 2021, even though the project was approved several months before then. The delivery of piping material and critical valves was delayed substantially, around six to eight weeks, due to supply chain issues. There were also change orders — some of the existing conditions were not fully documented in the existing drawings — which resulted in the need for more materials, different requirements and an increased project scope. 

“Construction work involving utilities services placed in the ground can be slow and unpredictable,” said Mike Elliot, project manager for Capital Planning and Construction. “Most often, the work to be performed is on systems which can be decades old and not always well documented. Because Western is 150 years old, the steam line system has been added to many times in several phases and projects. While all of the information concerning the steam system is available, it has not been collected in a single set of construction drawings. This fact has added to the complexity of completely understanding the total scope of the project.”

All the unexpected discoveries have given construction crews the opportunity to address more issues.

“One goal for the final outcome of the steam line repair project is to produce a single set of ‘as built’ drawings documenting the entire steam line system on campus,” said Elliot. “This will significantly assist the Facilities Department in the future in providing preventative maintenance of the system ensuring the longevity of the new steam line.” 

Originally due to end in Nov. 2021, the best estimate of when construction will be finished is now April 2022.

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