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SGA discuss possible osteopathic school

By Bailey Richardson
On February 27, 2014

Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Jason Penry spoke to SGA senators Tuesday night about the benefits of adding an osteopathic medical school to the A-State campus.

Penry said an osteopathic medical school would be a positive addition to the offerings of ASU-Jonesboro because of the educational opportunities it would present for students and the increased health care coverage it would provide for the Jonesboro region.

“Health care access is much needed without question,” Penry said. Adding a medical school on campus will increase the amount of local physicians and increase the accessibility of healthcare.

The economy of Jonesboro would be be boosted as well, Penry said. Over the next 10-15 years, the local economy could be the beneficiary of as much as $90 million in revenue from the proposed medical school.

Through the medical school, ASU students would have a direct line to becoming professional physicians. The construction of a medical school would open more doors for Arkansan and Delta region students who aspire to become doctors, according to Penry.

For every 10 students who apply for medical school, only one is accepted, Penry said. The limited number of medical schools in the country means that an A-State medical school could be a major addition to the osteopathic educational system.

The new medical school is planned to be housed temporarily in a renovated Wilson Hall. After a few years, a separate building will be erected on campus to house the medical school.

The majority of funds for the school will come from the medical school’s tuition but the overall student body will not see a raise in fees for funding. The project cost is estimated to be $15 million.

“It is not cheap, but it is worth it,” Penry said.

The ASU System Board of Trustees will vote Friday on establishing the school. If the vote passes, the proposal will be passed on to the national accreditation body for final approval by late October.

If the school is approved, classes could begin as early as 2016.

Sarah Hamilton, vice president of SGA, said she is in favor of establishing a medical school on the A-State campus.

“This is just another way our university is on the rise to bigger and better things,” Hamilton said. “Implementing a Doctor of Osteopathy program would be extremely beneficial to our community economically and will directly utilize students from our own college.”

University Police Department Officer Tracy Simmons also spoke at the SGA meeting about bicycle theft prevention. Two suspects are being sought in a recent string of bicycle thefts.

Simmons said students should consistently lock their bicycles to the provided bike racks.

“Chain and cable locks are easier to cut,” Simmons said.
U-Locks are most recommended, Simmons said. A U-Lock is a strong metal bar that can be hooked around a bike, rather than a chain that can be wound through a bicycle yet is easily cut or broken.

Students should lock their bikes through the frame and not around any part that can be easily removed, such as the wheels, according to Simmons.

The National Bike Registry, a division of the National Crime Prevention Council, cautions bike owners to lock their bikes in visible, well-lit areas. The chance of theft is decreased when the suspect can be seen or identified in plain sight.

Simmons said students should be aware of their surrounding while outside on campus in order to maintain personal safety.

If a student realizes their bike has been stolen, they should contact UPD immediately.

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