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PM Brief: Lawsuit against UVU dismissed & Utah Representatives sponsor energy bill

Photo of Utah Valley University letter sign.
Wikimedia Creative Commons
A federal appeals court struck down a lawsuit against Utah Valley University Wednesday. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Northern Utah

Lawsuit dismissed over former UVU professor’s firing

A federal appeals court struck down a lawsuit against Utah Valley University Wednesday. The wife of former professor Mike Shively sued the school after it had put Shively on leave following what she called a “bogus” investigation. He later died by suicide, which his wife argued happened because of UVU’s actions. Administrators accused Shively of having arbitrary course requirements and threatening students. But many professors at the school say the claims were unsubstantiated and that Shively’s treatment was part of a pattern of problematic investigation tactics. Shively was a tenured anatomy professor and taught at the school for nearly 30 years. The court ultimately said the case did not meet the burden of proof needed to show his rights were violated. — Jon Reed

Pride Center reopens amid controversy

The Utah Pride Center has reopened for the first time in two years. The center provides mental health and social services to the LGBTQ+ community. It closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and let a large portion of its staff go. Since then, two CEOs have left and several staff members have also been dismissed or left. The center has faced controversy over its lack of diversity, accessibility and management practices. Community members and former staff say they want more disclosure about the nonprofit's financial situation and employee retention practices. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez


Utah institutions join water research consortium

Three Utah universities are members of a new national research consortium that will focus on managing water resources and predicting water hazards. The consortium is headquartered at the University of Alabama, but the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Utah State University will all receive funding and support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA will administer $360 million in total funding for the project. Two University of Utah professors will receive around $7 million, and their research will look at how mountain snowpack impacts water supply. — Caroline Ballard


Burgess Owens joins Blake Moore on energy bill

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, announced Wednesday he is throwing his support behind a bill to fast track some permits to lease and drill for oil on federal lands. It was originally introduced by Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, and Owens is now a co-sponsor. The bill would require the Department of Interior to issue pending permits for projects that have completed an environmental review. The department would also have to release information about how many applications are pending approval and why they haven’t been approved yet. International oil prices rose sharply after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That prompted renewed calls from Republicans for the U.S. to rely more on its own fossil fuel reserves. — Caroline Ballard

Bringing stakeholders to the water management table

A new program at the University of Nevada, Reno could be a model for how to frame conversations around drought and water planning — and make sure no one goes unheard. Hydrologist Anne Nolin said the Nevada Water project will bring together all of the groups that use water, provide it to cities and towns or have water rights in the state. That includes tribal communities, whose traditional knowledge could help address problems in the driest state in the country. Nolin said for the plan to work, they’ll need to create mutual trust among all of the group’s members. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

KUER's newscast was produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

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