ISU Department of Theatre and Dance announces 2017-18 season

By Idaho State University

POCATELLO — From classic to contemporary, Dr. Seuss to opera, Idaho State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will offer a great selection of productions for the 2017-18 season.

This season’s productions will feature two prominent guest artists: choreographer Lenora Lee with students of the dance program, and a performance of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” directed by guest artist Lenny Banovez. Banovez will also lead ISU’s advanced acting students in an intensive workshop featuring Professors Vanessa Ballam and Stefan Espinosa as members of the cast.

“This is one of the most diverse seasons we’ve done,” said Norm Schroder, theatre and dance department chair. “It is the goal of our department to bring a wide range of literature and performance styles to our audience.”

Season ticket vouchers are currently available and are $45 for any four performances. This can be four admissions to a single performance, or single admission to four performances. Contact Julie Hillebrant at 208-282-6452 or to purchase season ticket vouchers.

Single performance tickets are also currently available at or the ISU box office at 208-282-3595. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $14 for seniors, faculty and staff, $10 for children and $7 for ISU students with ID. Tickets for “Cat in the Hat” are $10 for general admission and $7 for children and students with ID.

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ISU football: Amos builds depth atop Bengals’ QB depth chart

By Madison Guernsey

POCATELLO – For the first time in nearly a year, Gunnar Amos threw meaningful passes at football practice.

After a position switch put his football future in limbo, Amos found a home at Idaho State. Two-and-a-half years at the University of Idaho yielded eight game appearances and 10 pass attempts as Amos sat behind soon-to-be four-year starter Matt Linehan. A move to safety this spring prompted Amos’ departure from UI, and the Bengals coaching staff brought him in to strengthen the team’s quarterback depth.

Amos made his ISU debut Thursday during practice at the ICCU Practice Fields.

“First day went well,” Amos said. “Still a little rusty. … Today was really the first quarterback practice I’ve had since last fall. So it’s going to be a process. I’ll get back into it.”

Amos, a 2014 graduate of Coeur d’Alene High School, was recruited by Idaho State as a high school prospect.

The dual-threat slinger opted for the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Vandals over the Bengals of the Big Sky Conference.

But Amos saw his opportunities to play quarterback at Idaho dwindling. Linehan is cemented as the Vandals’ starter, and Amos’ switch to defense signaled the likely end of his signal-calling days in Moscow.

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Martin Hackworth

Martin Hackworth

By Martin Hackworth

Fiasco (fee-as-koh) noun: a thing that is a complete failure, especially in a ludicrous or humiliating way. “His plans turned into a fiasco.”

Rumors have circulated for a while concerning the potential resignation of Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas.

During this time ISU reported that hard evidence of improprieties at the RISE Complex have surfaced and calls from the athletic booster community have come for President Vailas to resign or be fired.

Then on Wednesday came the word that President Vailas had decided to retire but will be with us for another year.

That’s very disappointing. The last thing that Art Vailas deserves is a victory lap for what he’s done to ISU and this community. Most everyone else just wants him to go. It’s not overly difficult to discern why.

Let’s go down the list of accomplishments racked up during the Vailas era. Since 2006 we’ve seen a clumsy reorganization of the university that disenfranchised and angered a variety of stakeholders, dissolution of the Faculty Senate (twice), sanctions by professional organizations, bungled lawsuits, alienation of donors, faculty layoffs, punitive workload policies, proliferation of administrators, dismissal of critics, unusual fluctuations in ISU’s Carnegie Classification, an opaque attempt at spending a half-million dollars on a new presidential estate, paying administrators for lengthy amounts of leave and headlines in the national press for all of the wrong reasons.

But worse and most obvious the RISE Complex which, in an ironic twist on words, did nothing but sink the career of its director at ISU and somewhere between $3.6 million and $20 million in public funds.

I’m still agog over this. In a state that can barely afford K-12 education how, exactly, does one get away with a boondoggle on this scale? And even now, with facts about the degree of impropriety involved at RISE emerging for all to see, there has to date been no real accountability for any of it. And the guy ultimately responsible for it just got a raise. Can anyone explain that to the rest of us?

Students have arguably suffered most of all. Over the past decade ISU students have experienced routine tuition increases far beyond anything rationally related to the cost of education in Southeast Idaho. Further, in my opinion, they’ve endured frequent attempts to strong-arm speech, the recruitment of thousands of unqualified and unprepared international students for the purpose of treating them like ATM’s, the outsourcing of many health science programs to the other side of the state, reduction of faculty, increases in teaching loads of those faculty left and the myth that the cost of attendance at ISU is a bargain (tuition costs at ISU belie the actual cost of attendance by a lot – a variety of fees present a substantial additional financial burden on students).

Our community, as well, has been ill-served by the Vailas administration and its surrogates — from the alleged 50 burglaries at the residences of international students (a number the police said was highly inaccurate) to accusations of our intolerance in the national press to the promise of jobs that never appeared in a “Gallium Valley.”

One could argue, I suppose, that’s all water under the bridge. What about the future? Well as far as I’m able to glean the future consists of a questionable osteopathic medical school, competition from a community college in Idaho Falls and a very painful investigation into alleged wrongdoing at the RISE.

In times of tough decisions it’s very common for people to vote with their feet. The verdict on Arthur Vailas has been in for a long time.

Upon discovering that their president was, in my opinion, a petty, mean-spirited bully the faculty left (in droves) followed by nearly every able administrator. Next donors, dissatisfied with the general competence level of the entire enterprise, said sayonara. The Carnegie Foundation promoted ISU’s research classification but then downgraded it at the next opportunity. The majority of able researchers showed some leg and stuck out a thumb.

It’s not like there are people lining up replace any of the above either. Positions with attractive salaries across the university go unfilled because no one wants to go come to a place well-known for turmoil and dysfunction.

Students too. Having figured out that ISU, with its crowded classes, limited course offerings, high fees and predilection for populating courses with individuals who make a mockery of academic integrity, is not quite the bargain advertised, those with options have begun to seek greener pastures.

In my opinion who’s left in the Vailas camp? Well let’s see — President Vailas enjoys the support of students? (nope), faculty? (nope), administrators? (not if you ask most of them on the sly), staff (nope), alumni and donors (no), community members? (not anymore). Well then who?

That would be the State Board of Education – the sole reason Vailas will still be with us for another year.

Before I left ISU I used to imagine that the SBOE had found in Vailas a sort of wrecking ball to dismantle ISU in a manner that they could have never gotten away with through policy. ISU has never enjoyed the support that it deserves in Boise and appears to be the red-headed stepchild among Idaho institutions of higher education. That was true my entire career as a member of ISU’s faculty. I rarely shared this opinion because it sounded completely paranoid. Well now it is apparent to me that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not actually out to get you. I might not have been paranoid enough.

Members of the State Board, I challenge you right now to publicly explain why you support Arthur Vailas and his dismal record of accomplishments. What is the greatness that the rest of us just don’t see? Don’t call ISU to lean on the Journal regarding this column either. Show some stones and respond to it.

I’ve been a little unfair to President Vailas in that there are a couple of other groups that at least tacitly support the status quo at ISU.

The first are local lawmakers. Evidently they think that in a time when K-12 budgets are getting hammered, school athletic programs for kids are disappearing and basic services are taking a hit, it’s OK that ISU wastes money on RISE, two presidents for the price of two, many terrible athletic programs, presidential estates and leave for administrators to look for other jobs. Please lawmakers, tell me why I’m wrong and why you think that the status quo at ISU is acceptable.

Finally to one of the few remaining supporters of the Vailas administration, the Idaho State Journal. Can you please explain to myself and everyone else why this newspaper has never called for President Vailas’ resignation? Please explain why this man is worthy of anyone’s support?

I have long maintained that there were two groups of people in ISU’s general orbit: those who already want President Vailas and his administration gone and those who soon will. Just in case you are still wondering the former is far and away the largest group. And “soon” cannot be soon enough.

Associated Press and Idaho Press Club award-winning columnist Martin Hackworth of Pocatello is a physicist, writer and retired ISU faculty member who now spends his time happily raising two sons, llama farming, and riding mountain bikes and motorcycles

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Case against Vailas, Tingey focuses on untruths

Mark Levine

By Mark Levine

Noted author and poet Walter Scott once observed, “Oh what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”

Whether intentional or not, the ISU community is being deceived by a combination of half-truths, misinformation and allegations with regard to the actions and performance of President Arthur Vailas and Athletic Director Jeff Tingey.

The ISJ recently ran a lengthy article, “Football boosters, alumni want ISU President Vailas, AD Tingey removed.” The piece called into question both the decision-making and performance of both individuals. The case was outlined largely on untruths.

In examining the performance of both administrators, let’s assess the facts before believing, as Chicken Little did, the ISU athletic sky is falling.

— Davis Field resurfacing project

Allegation: Track resurfacing was delayed due to lack of funding, thus preventing ISU from hosting the Big Sky Track & Field Conference Championship.

Fact: Davis Field track is currently scheduled to be completed in time to host the event. As has already been pointed out, ISU is a state entity and thus projects are scheduled and completed at the behest of the Idaho Department of Public Works calendar. The University thus doesn’t make the timeline of projects to be addressed.

— Holt Fieldhouse Renovations

Allegation: Needed renovations are lacking at Holt.

Fact: The facility opened nearly a half century ago and as any facility that age needs repairs and renovations. The truth is during the past several years numerous upgrades have been undertaken. These include a $200,000 upgrade of Wi-Fi; and $200,000 to modernize and upgrade fan amenities, specifically restrooms and concession areas. Under Athletic Director Tingey’s efforts and leadership, more than $100,000 was raised to completely renovate the football locker room. Several years ago a new playing surface was installed for both the football and basketball teams; both the result of private philanthropy. In addition, more than $500,000 was secured to pay for a state-of-the art video/score board. Soon the historic facility will undergo a $500,000 lighting upgrade. Adjoining Holt is a state-of-the art practice football field, built through private donations.

Does this remotely sound like neglect by ISU administrators?

— ISU athletic budget

Allegation: ISU has the lowest athletic budget in the Big Sky Conference.

Fact: ISU is in the middle of the pack among its conference cohorts. During my tenure at ISU, my department budget was also in the middle of the pack. That’s the challenge and opportunity of working for a non-football power. Perhaps if FAT and others channeled their passion and energy towards increasing fan attendance, budget resources would also increase.

— FAT to withhold funding

As a professional fundraiser who participated in various campaigns that raising over $2 billion for various institutions, I applaud and admire FAT for raising a reported $80,000 to benefit ISU athletics. However, the myopic decision to withhold this money from the very people it was raised to serve is petty. People who give their hard-earned dollars, whether large or small, give in a spirit that money for a specific cause/project will be used for the same. Playing politics does no one any good and only cheapens FAT in the eyes of donors, future donors and most importantly, the intended beneficiaries of the gift.

— Academic standards

Allegation: FAT contends that ISU’s academic standards are too high.

Fact: Frankly, I had to read this point several times because it’s totally inane. Having spent my career at institutions including Appalachian State, Brandeis University, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois University I find this assertion laughable. No, we aren’t Alabama or UCLA (where according to a recent interview with their star quarterback “football and the classroom don’t mix”) or some other Big 5 conference school, where academics and classroom accomplishment are a sham.

— ISU Leadership

It’s disheartening and frankly unfair that some people continue to bash ISU President Arthur Vailas over his decisions rather than to try and understand the reason(s) behind his action. A wiser person than myself stated it succinctly: “Doing the right thing often isn’t easy nor popular. It’s called leadership. It isn’t always popular. Popularity is distinctively different than leadership. Leadership is doing the right thing. Popularity is gaining the approval of others whether or not it’s doing the right thing.” Leadership takes guts.

Having served numerous institutions during a 40+ year career, I know first-hand how difficult the job of university president is. As one of my mentors used to say, “being president is one of the few jobs that a majority of constituents want to build a statue of you in the morning and by afternoon a different majority want to tear it down.”

Having the University in Pocatello provides not only well-paying employment for thousands and a deep economic footprint, but also a rich tapestry for performing arts, athletics, and a quality of life not found in non-university towns. Without the growth of ISU during President Vailas’ tenure, the complexion of Pocatello and Chubbuck would be much different. The expansion of the surrounding area including new stores, restaurants and affordable housing would be virtually non-existent without ISU’s growth and impact.

Under Dr. Vailas’ leadership ISU is a recognized academic institution in numerous disciplines, offering hundreds of degree program and innovative opportunities for the next generation of Idaho students to make the state and the world a better place. ISU is still one of just a handful of Carnegie-designated research institutions, a testament to faculty, administrators and students. The addition and affiliation of a medical school will help transform the state and help ensure a better life for all. This doesn’t happen without Dr. Vailas’ untiring efforts.

If we are to do an honest, balanced scorecard and appraisal, no one can honestly say ISU isn’t better today than when Dr. Vailas assumed the presidency. While some may disagree with him (every president/chancellor endures this) the undeniable fact is the ISU of 2017 continues to contribute to the betterment of both Idaho residents and the world beyond.

Let’s be proud of who we are and work together to strengthen our academic and athletic programs, realizing that along the way there will undoubtedly be differences as to how to get there.

In closing let’s remember to be very cautious of half-truths; you very well may have gotten the wrong half.

Mark Levine directed ISU’s Marketing & Communication office for four years. Following a four-decade career in higher education/academic medicine he retired from ISU in 2013. He is the CEO and President of Sunshineassociates, a strategic marketing and communications firm in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Florida.

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ISU XC: Season opens with annual cutdown run

By ISU Sports Information

The Idaho State men’s and women’s cross country teams opened the 2017 season Tuesday morning with the annual cutdown run. The structured run was introduced by ISU head coach Nate Houle in his first season in 2015 and has been a baseline fitness measurement for the third-year coach ever since.

“It’s a measurement that I use to be able to see how the summer training went,” Houle said. “For us, summer training is critical. It has to be done right. Though this doesn’t determine travel squads or anything like that, it’s a metric for me to see how the summer went and to quantify that a little bit better.”

Each year, the runners complete a maximum of 18 laps, if they can keep up with the set pace designated beforehand by Houle. For the women, the start pace is an eight-minute mile. The pace increases every two laps until the remaining runners are at about a 5:30 minute mile the last two laps. For the men, the start pace is a seven-minute mile, with the final two laps at about a 4:30 minute pace. If a runner crosses the lap marker behind the set pace, they are out of the run.

“It definitely challenges yourself mentally because it keeps getting faster and faster and you know what those mile paces translate to,” senior Jenica Dodge said. “You’re trying to hold on and make sure you can actually finish it up. It was a lot easier this time around because I had some girls with me. It was a bigger pack which really pushes you along to be able to finish it and feel strong doing it.”

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ISU football: Reynolds finally ready to make long-awaited ISU debut

By Madison Guernsey

POCATELLO – Scooby Reynolds ignored everyone’s positive reinforcements. He knew his ACL was torn.

Last fall, on a play Reynolds and the rest of Idaho State’s wide receivers run every practice, a simple pass-and-catch against a defender, Reynolds and cornerback Anthony Ricks got tangled up. Ricks fell down on top of Reynolds, whose right knee buckled.

Blown ACL. Season over.

“I was heartbroken,” Reynolds said Tuesday after practice at the ICCU Practice Fields. “As soon as I felt it, I knew right away.”

Reynolds was forced to sit out the season, further delaying his Bengals debut.

He was redshirted as a freshman and got injured weeks before he was supposed to line up with ISU greats KW Williams and Josh Cook.

Now a redshirt sophomore, Reynolds says he’s ready to go. He still practices with a brace on his knee, but says the mental ticks that many athletes face after suffering a debilitating injury have dissipated.

Reynolds was limited to play signaling and individual pass-catching work this spring. Despite the setbacks, head coach Rob Phenicie said Reynolds is in line to be one of ISU’s top four wideouts.

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Bengals in the NFL: Lewis beats Koetter head to head in first week of preseason

By Journal Staff

Throughout the NFL season, we’ll check in with former Idaho State football players currently in the NFL. Here’s an update after the first week of the preseason.

Evan Smith (2004-08) and Dirk Koetter (1977, 79-81)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and second-year head coach Dirk Koetter lost their first preseason game, 23-12 at Cincinnati on Aug. 11.

The Buccaneers outgained the Bengals 330-316 but gave up scoring drives of 75 and 84 yards in the third quarter.

Former Idaho State offensive lineman Evan Smith played but did not start for the Bucs.

Tampa Bay (0-1 preseason) plays Thursday at Jacksonville.

Marvin Lewis (1978-80)

Cincinnati Bengals

Former Idaho State Bengal Marvin Lewis led Cincinnati to a 23-12 home win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to open the preseason Aug. 11. Lewis missed one practice because of a knee problem but was on the sidelines for Cincinnati’s game against Tampa Bay.

Second-year quarterback Jeff Driskel completed 8 of 9 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown, while adding 34 yards rushing and one touchdown to lead Cincinnati’s rushing attack.

The Bengals (1-0 preseason) host Kansas City on Saturday.

Former Idaho State tight end Josh Hill made one reception for 1 yard in New Orleans’ 20-14 preseason loss at Cleveland on Aug. 10.

Hill is entering his fifth NFL season. He is listed second on the Saints’ depth chart at tight behind Coby Fleener.

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ISU tennis: Women’s 2017-18 schedule announced

By ISU Sports Information

The Idaho State women’s tennis schedule is now available. The 2017-18 schedule features four fall tournaments and 10 home matches in the spring.

“Our schedule this upcoming season is tough,” Bengals head coach Gretchen Maloney said. “It will challenge us and make us better every single match.”

ISU opens the fall season at home with the ISU Invitational on Sept. 22-24 and then hits the road for its remaining three fall tournaments. The Bengals will be in Ogden, Utah, from Oct. 6-8 for the Weber State Invitational, and then they head to Salt Lake City on Oct. 11-15 for the ITA Regional tournament. Idaho State closes the fall season with the Northridge Invite from Nov. 10-12 in Northridge, California.

“The Cal State Northridge tournament this fall will be exciting for us because we will get to play some new schools and see some new faces,” Maloney said. “The girls are excited to get back and start the season again.”

Idaho State’s spring slate begins on the road Jan. 26, 2017 at Utah State. The Bengals return home for four matches in three days beginning with Arizona Christian on Feb. 2. ISU then hosts Weber State and Lewis-Clark State College on Feb. 3 and closes the home stand with Weber State once more on Feb. 4.

ISU closes the regular season on the road at North Dakota (April 20) and at Northern Colorado (April 21). The Big Sky Tournament will take place April 26-29 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are playing some new schools that are at a higher level,” Maloney said. “Washington State, UC Irvine and UCSD are all new opponents for us.”

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