Friday, February 12, 2010

IF YOU ARE GRADUATING: Attend Grad Fair Next Week: *new location*

what:     Spring 2010 Grad Fair
where:   IMU, State Rooms East and West
when:    Weds, Feb 24 - Friday, Feb 26, 2010 from 10:00 - 5:00 p.m. each day

The location of the Spring 2010 Grad Fair has been changed.  The three-day event will be held in State Rooms East and West on the second floor of the Indiana Memorial Union.

The dates and times remain the same:  Wednesday, Feb. 24, through Friday, Feb. 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.  Candidates for graduate and undergraduate degrees will be able to order caps, gowns, announcements, rings, and other items at this event.

IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND: The university's licensed Commencement vendor is Herff Jones.  You can find more information about the Grad Fair at the company's website, and you can also order your apparel there if you are unable to visit the IMU during the event.

More information about caps and gowns, including pricing and pictures, is available in the Caps and Gowns section.

NOTE: Graduate students who are planning on working in the field of higher education may wish to consider buying their own regalia.  Custom apparel is available for purchase from Herff Jones.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free tax assistance offered at Maurer School of Law

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Students from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Kelley School of Business will be providing free tax assistance to low-income, elderly, disabled and limited English-speaking residents over the next month.

The students will be participating in the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) program beginning Wednesday (Feb. 10) at the law school, 211 S. Indiana Ave., in room 122. The walk-in clinic will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays through March 12. All program volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS.

Those with an annual income of $49,000 or less are eligible for the free tax preparation help, provided they have not received income from the sale of stocks, mutual funds or homes, and do not own businesses. Student assistants can help qualifying taxpayers navigate the often complex task of filing state and federal tax returns, said John Allread, an IU Maurer School of Law student and one of the School's VITA program coordinators.

"The VITA program helps low- to moderate-income taxpayers avoid the fees charged by commercial tax preparers while assuring that they receive any tax benefits for which they qualify, particularly the Earned Income Tax Credit," said Allread. "In addition, VITA offers free e-filing, which promptly sends any refund to the taxpayer without need of a high-interest tax anticipation loan."

Those taxpayers wishing to participate in the VITA program are encouraged to bring relevant tax documents to the walk-in clinic: a W-2, photo identification, Social Security card, and documents from other income sources. Copies of last year's tax returns aren't required, but are helpful to tax preparers.

"We oftentimes find clients hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars worth of unexpected refunds," said Jessica Zissou, also a VITA program coordinator.

Ajay Mehrotra, professor of law and the Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow, said the VITA program benefits both residents and students.

"The VITA program is an excellent opportunity for our students to give back to the Bloomington community by using their knowledge to assist low-income taxpayers," Mehrotra said. "It is also a good way for students to learn more about the federal income tax system and how it touches so many aspects of everyday life."

Students from the Kelley School of Business, coordinated by the Beta Alpha Psi honorary fraternity, will also be assisting at the Law School's VITA site.

(IU News: 2/9/2010)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Elinor Ostrum Will Deliver Nobel Prize Lecture

IU Professor Elinor Ostrom's receipt of the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel brought a great deal of excitement to the Bloomington campus. In December, Professor Ostrom travelled to Stockholm, Sweden to accept the award. There, she and the other Nobel Prize recipients delivered lectures as part of the week of activities leading up to the Nobel ceremony.

On Tuesday, February 16, Professor Ostrom will present her Nobel Prize lecture at the Indiana University Auditorium at 4 p.m.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will be much the same as the informal lecture Professor Ostrom delivered in Stockholm. In it, she will give an overview of the research she has done during her extraordinary career.

The lecture is an opportunity for members of the campus community to learn more about her work and to celebrate her accomplishment.


HHE: Session moves to second half

We reached the half-way point of the legislative session last week when the deadline for third reading of bills introduced in each Chamber was reached. This resulted in evening sessions on Monday and Tuesday, but both the House and Senate completed work on nearly all bills that were heard in committee.
A number of bills died as a result of not being heard in committee and thus not being eligible for third reading. Of the total of nearly 800 bills introduced, about 242 bills are still alive as we begin the second half of the legislative session. We started the session with more than 100 bills of potential impact to IU that we were monitoring. At the halfway point, this number has been reduced by more than half to nearly 45.

Here's an update on the status of some of the bills that are still alive that we will be monitoring during the second half of the legislative session.

House Bills:

1001: The bill addresses lobbying reform, but does not incorporate provisions impacting university government relations activities.

1002: The bill would require that at least 80 percent of contractor employees working on public works projects be Indiana residents.

1063: The bill requires that public facilities be designed to meet energy efficient standards.

1065: The bill would prohibit certain restrictions on carrying firearms but the bill includes exceptions for university campuses.

1086: The bill primarily deals with property taxation but also includes a provision that would require state agencies and universities to report certain financial information to the state auditor for posting on a Web site.

1131: The bill would ban smoking in public places but incorporates exemptions for certain businesses.

1135: The bill would require universities to accept credit for advanced placement coursework completed by high school students when they achieve a score of three or higher on the advanced placement exam administered by the College Board.

1297: The bill incorporates a number of revisions to the university bonding statute.

1365: The bill would prohibit tuition being charged for certain dual credit course offerings.
Senate Bills:

25: The bill is similar to HB 1065 by limiting restrictions on carrying firearms but like HB 1065, includes an exemption for universities.

84: The bill provides members of the General Assembly and its staff access to certain university library and research resources, as long as such access does not violate subscription agreements.

114: The bill addresses government ethics and lobbying reform. It would require universities to report certain government relations expenditures and categorize university and state agency government relations staff as "legislative liaisons."

213: The bill addresses illegal immigration issues and includes a provision prohibiting a state agency from entering into a contract for services unless the contract requires the contractor to verify the legal status of its employees through the federally maintained E-Verify program.

This report has been brought to you by the Indiana University Office of Government Relations with editorial and technical support from the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations. 

Please contact IU Government Relations via e-mail at or by phone at 317.681.1776 if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for improvement.

(HHE: 2/8/2010)

230: The bill provides that the governing body of a public agency shall also give public notice by electronic mail to any person (excluding news media) who annually requests notice of meetings.

237: The bill establishes an interim study committee to review state economic development matters, including the role of state higher education institutions.

257: The bill was amended in committee to require the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to review proposed university facility projects within 90 days of submission of a request for review. The bill was also amended to make NACEP (National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships) accreditation for dual credit courses optional.

Looking ahead to next week, the entire legislative process of hearing bills in committee and then second and third readings on the floor of each Chamber are repeated. Of course, the Senate will be working on House bills and the House on Senate bills. With fewer than half of the original number of introduced bills eligible for further consideration, we expect the volume of legislative activity to be diminished but more focused on key issues.

19th Annual HHE Statehouse Visit a Success

The 19th annual Hoosiers for Higher Education Statehouse Visit was held this past Tuesday, Feb. 2. The theme, "Innovation Accelerated by Tradition," demonstrated the broad impact of IU around the state, nation and world. Exhibits from several departments, schools and programs at IU showcased IU's engagement activities. President Michael McRobbie, Trustee Sue Talbot, and IU Southeast student James Bonsall addressed the crowd of more than 500.

Special guests, Rep. Peggy Welch (Bloomington) and Senator Vi Simpson (Ellettsville) also challenged the students to ask their elected officials to continue their support of IU and higher education. Sen. Connie Sipes (New Albany) was presented the Welsh-Bowen Distinguished Public Official award by President McRobbie on the floor of the Senate.

Our Government Relations team extends tremendous appreciation to everyone in attendance and to all of our IU advocates for their vital support of our work in the statehouse each year.

(HHE: 2/8/2010)