IU in the News

A daily digest of media coverage about Indiana University

March 16, 2021
IU in the News is a daily review of the important news stories relating to Indiana University. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive gathering of news, and no editorial revisions are made to the content, which is presented as it was initially published or broadcast.

Big News

NCAA tournament site Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall has been a historic venue for more than hoops

This story has been covered by: The Indianapolis Star.

$23.3M grant awarded to international chemical safety project involving IU researchers

This story has been covered by: Inside Indiana Business.

Nonprofits stabilize Indiana's regional economies and employ thousands with well-paying jobs

This story has been covered by: Inside Indiana Business.

IU Making Headlines

The Bloomington Herald-Times

One year ago, IU classes went virtual because of COVID-19

One year ago Indiana University students learned they would not be coming back to classes on campus for the rest of the semester because of COVID-19. Over the next 12 months traditions such as the Little 500 bicycle races, spring commencement and fall football tailgates were canceled. But in recent weeks, the university announced plans to return to mostly normal operations for the fall of 2021. Here's a look back at some of the noteworthy events during one of the strangest periods in IU history.

Indiana Public Media

IU's 2021 commencement plans meant to prevent travel to Bloomington

All Indiana University class of 2021 graduates may attend their commencement ceremony in-person in May. Family and friends may attend the ceremony virtually. Kirk White is IU's assistant vice president for strategic partnerships. He said limiting commencement attendance to graduates is meant to prevent people from traveling to Bloomington and increasing risk of spreading COVID-19. When graduates march into Memorial Stadium, they will be masked and socially distanced. "The students know how to do this," White said. "They're used to it by now. And we've had almost 4,000 of our students that have RSVPs saying that they do want to participate."


Could a new drug help ease Alzheimer's?

About 7 out of 10 Alzheimer's patients wound up free of the brain plaques that are a hallmark of the disease after treatment with a potentially breakthrough experimental drug, clinical trial results show. The drug, donanemab, also significantly slowed the patients' brain decline, according to findings published March 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Donanemab dissolves permanent plaque deposits of amyloid-beta, the toxic sticky protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, said study co-author Dr. Liana Apostolova, a professor of Alzheimer's disease research at Indiana University School of Medicine. ... "The drug was extremely efficient in removing amyloid from the brain, so much so that by the end of the trial, 70% of individuals who entered with high levels of amyloid were essentially in the amyloid-negative range, which is really profound," Apostolova said. "Such a percentage has not been reported today with other drugs that have successfully also removed amyloid, so that's pretty remarkable."

IU Voices in the News

The Indianapolis Star

Here's why some Indianapolis metro counties were hit harder by coronavirus pandemic

Simply put, places with older populations tend to have higher death rates. Johnson County's death rate per 100,000 residents, for instance, was nearly twice that of Hamilton County, which tends to have a younger population. "What we have seen consistently from across studies, age is the largest predictor independent of these other factors," said Brian Dixon, an associate professor of epidemiology at Indiana University's Fairbanks School of Public Health. "Where there’s a larger number of older adults, we are probably going to see higher death rates."   

KPC News

Child Tax Credit increase could be a boon to northeast Indiana

For children under 5, the monthly check is $300. For children ages 6-17, the check is $250 a month. More than 93% of children in the country, approximately 69 million, are expected to receive benefits under the plan at a one-year cost of more than $100 billion, data from the White House said. "In the short term, the package should hopefully have a strong positive impact on the families receiving checks, especially those living at or below the poverty line. There are undoubtedly large gains to improving the lives of children by helping their parents to buy essential supplies such as diapers, books and daycare services," Joshua Bernstein, an Indiana University economist, told KPC Media.


Planning a spring break? These 5 tips can help minimize risk

Airlines do a good job of filtering and circulating the plane's air, and masks add an additional layer of protection. "The mask needs to stay on from the time you leave your house until the time you get to your destination, says Emily Landon, and it should fit snugly -- with no gaps on the side. ... If you follow these precautions, the flight can be "a relatively low-risk activity," says Dr. Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician at Indiana University School of Medicine. ... For now, it's best to limit get-togethers and take extra precautions if unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are included. ... If you're not yet vaccinated -- as is the case with most young adults -- it's best to travel with people you live with or those who have been in your social bubble. If you stick with this small group, and rent a vacation house together or go on a camping trip, "that sounds reasonably safe," says Carroll. No trip is either 100% safe or completely unsafe, he says. "You can do things more safely or less safely," depending on the choices you make during the trip.

The Bloomington Herald-Times

Yes, you can travel safely this spring, experts say

Evan Jordan is planning to take a trip later this summer, when more people have been vaccinated and the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower. But the assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington knows other people are taking a different approach. "The reality is that people are traveling," he said. Fortunately, Jordan and other IU experts say travel this spring poses little risk if certain precautions are taken. ... One of the best stress relievers is time outdoors and that also happens to be one of the lowest risk environments for contracting COVID-19. Thomas Duszynski, epidemiology education director at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said he would recommend traveling within the United States by car to enjoy outdoor activities. "For me personally, if I were planning a trip it would be to a place where I could drive in one day," he said. ... Businesses in the hospitality industry would do well to proactively communicate their COVID-19 safety precautions and options to potential customers. Recent industry reports show about 50% of Americans are still hesitant to sit down and dine at a restaurant, said Becky Liu-Lastres, an assistant professor in the department of tourism, event and sport management at IUPUI. "Knowing spring could bring more business, local restaurants need to let people know about their options," she said. "This is the new normal they need to adapt to."


Why the 'Sunday Scaries' survived the pandemic

Existential dread, as a concept, is probably as old as existence itself. But these days, probably the most common shorthand we use to describe it is the "Sunday Scaries," a term that refers to the general sense of dread we feel in anticipation of the coming week. Like clockwork, the inevitability of Monday announces itself via Sunday Scaries memes on Twitter and Instagram. ... With loss, insecurity, and death as a near-constant, the feeling has become more generalized, equally smeared across the week; as a Mashable guide correctly stated at the beginning of 2021, the scaries now "hit different." But why is this cutesy term hitting at all? As it turns out, it’s not a coincidence that this lighthearted label stuck. Michael Adams, a linguist and English professor at Indiana University, told VICE the term is a type of "lexical deflection," a cute-sounding euphemism for an unpleasant emotion that elides its emotional gravity. ... "It is a term that gives us access to what other people are feeling, even if we're not the ones who are feeling it right at that moment."

The Statehouse File

Over one-fifth of Indianapolis residents live in food deserts, rely on public transportation

With 22% of Indianapolis residents living in a food desert, the Indiana General Assembly is looking at a bill that will cut funding for future bus lines. ... Unai Migeul Andres, a map and data analyst for the IUPUI Polis Center and Savi Program, said that not only is one in five Indianapolis residents living in a food desert, but 10,500 households live in a transportation food desert, meaning they have limited access to public transportation that can get them to a grocery store. The same Savi study also found that those without a vehicle are 32% more likely to live in a food desert. ... Andres also said that cutting future bus lines could impact the frequency of bus routes. ... "I would love for people who are making these decisions to actually have to use the transit once in a while to figure out the issue on dependency, on frequency and why frequency matters," Andres said. "You may not mind if you miss one because 10 or 15 minutes here or there is not really a big deal, but if you have to wait an hour, you may as well just walk."

Indianapolis Business Journal

March Madness could spark new growth in Indy events, conventions

Amanda Cecil, an IUPUI professor of tourism, said hosting the (NCAA tournament) will "be a huge market differentiator" for Indianapolis over the coming years -- especially if the tournament goes well from a public-health standpoint. "I think we probably are going to get opportunities to have a bigger suite of these large citywide events, whether they're in sports, business or cultural events," she said. "But I would stress that Indy has a history of already doing those."

Indianapolis Business Journal

Local restaurants hope to supply food for teams during NCAA tournament

A local hospitality expert said the team-meal program could prove most beneficial to restaurants that offer healthy options, because the teams will likely have staff dietitians who provide strict nutritional guidance for their athletes. Teams "do have a very particular expectation of what their meals should look like," said Becky Liu-Lastres, an assistant professor in IUPUI's tourism, event and sport management department. Liu-Lastres said the program could also create buzz that drives additional business to participating restaurants. If a team really enjoys a meal, she said, those athletes might recommend that restaurant to visiting family members in town for the games. "This could be a potentially promotional opportunity," she said.

The Conversation

Black students have far less trust in their colleges than other students do

Written by Kevin Fosnacht, associate research scientist, Indiana University; and Shannon M. Calderone, assistant professor of educational leadership, Washington State University. Black undergraduates consistently said they trusted the people who run the colleges they attend -- and society overall -- substantially less than their white peers did. We have termed this difference the racial trust gap, and it was not a trivial difference. The trust gaps we observed were of a size rarely seen in education research. We also observed sizable trust gaps for Asian and Latino students, relative to white students. However, the magnitude of the differences were up to three times larger for Black students.

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