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The new UA News Center features news channels specifically for students, faculty and staff, media and research. The UA News Center uses video, photography and narrative to tell the UA story to our various audiences. It also serves as a hub for finding information on campus resources and calendars. will remain in place temporarily as an archive, but will no longer be updated.

The University of Alabama

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MONDAY, AUG. 15 – SUNDAY, AUG. 21, 2016


WEEK OF WELCOME – UA welcomes students for the fall 2016 semester with a Week of Welcome. The Ripple Effect day of service runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15. During Ripple Effect 2016, student volunteers will work with the Boy Scout of America’s Camp Horne, where they will help with grounds beautification; Crestmont Elementary, where they will touch up paint around the school; the West Alabama Food Bank, where students will sort and pack donations; Habitat for Humanity, where they will help with pre-existing projects; and at other sites. The annual Convocation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, on the Quad. Convocation showcases the values of the Capstone by introducing freshmen to the Capstone Creed. Students may meet fellow newcomers as well as UA faculty and staff in an informal environment. Following a brief ceremony and barbecue, students have a chance to participate in a new tradition — Alabama’s first “Script A” photo with their entering class and the Million Dollar Band at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In addition, all students will be given a UA Convocation tassel to commemorate the event. On Aug. 17 and 18, Crimson Compass will feature returning students helping freshmen and transfer students find their classes from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Quad. In addition, Welcome Back Breakfasts from 7 to 9 a.m. Aug. 17 and 18 on the Ferguson Center Plaza will feature chicken biscuits and bottled water served under tents while supplies last. For more details, contact Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782.

OBESITY RESEARCH AND FRUIT FLIES – For a fruit fly, what its grandparents ate may affect how much it weighs. The significance of new UA research is that similar relationships between generational diet and obesity may hold true for humans as well. But the passing down of a body type based on diet is not a simple cause and effect, says the UA researcher. Dr. Laura Reed, assistant professor of biological sciences, studies obesity by experimenting on multiple generations of fruit flies, or Drosophila melanogaster. She and her colleagues fed some fruit fly larvae a high-fat diet and a control group a regular diet. The researchers then studied weights and phenotypes – physical characteristics, such as fat storage — of subsequent generations of fruit flies fed a regular diet. Flies with the high-fat grandparents may have the obese phenotype, depending on which grandparent – grandma or grandpa — got the special diet. The paper containing the results, “Genetic and sex-specific transgenerational effects of a high fat diet in Drosophila Melanogaster,” published Aug. 12, in the journal PLOS One. For more information, watch for an upcoming news release or contact Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782.

SUICIDE RATES INCREASE WHEN TORT LIABILITY INCLUDES PSYCHIATRISTS, RESEARCH INDICATES – Research authored by Shahar Dillbary and Fredrick Vars, both professors of law, UA School of Law (along with Griffin Edwards, an economist and business school professor at UAB), shows suicide rates increase when potential tort liability is expanded to include psychiatrists — the very defendants who would seem best able to prevent suicide. Using a 50-state panel regression for 1981 to 2013, they found that states that would hold liable psychiatrists (but not other doctors) for malpractice resulting in a suicide experienced a significant increase in suicides. “We do not believe this is because suicide prevention doesn’t work,” Dillbary, Edwards, and Vars write in their research paper, “The Costs of Suicide.” “Rather, we theorize that it is because some psychiatrists facing potential liability choose not to work with patients at high risk for suicide.” For more information, contact Monique Fields, UA Law, manager of communications, 205/348-5195 or or contact Vars or Dillbarry directly at or To arrange an interview with Griffin, contact Katherine Liles Shonesy, UAB public relations specialist, or 205/975-3997.


WOMEN ATHLETES DOMINATE PRIME TIME TELECAST OF 2016 OLYMPICS – A UA sports communication researcher and his colleagues are exploring potential gender, race and nationality disparities within television coverage of the Olympics.  Initial results from the study, by Dr. Andrew Billings, director of the Alabama Program in Sports Communication and the Ronald Reagan chair of broadcasting in UA’s department of telecommunication & film, and colleagues from the University of Delaware and Utica College, show women athletes account for 58.5 percent of NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio and men 41.5 percent. For several decades, men received the majority of the primetime clock time, but those results shifted in 2012, with women athletes receiving an average of 55 percent of the primetime coverage. For more information, contact Jamon Smith, media relations,, 205/348-4956.

RISING HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS – Business experts from UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce are available this week for comment on increases in health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare. “The Affordable Care Act was designed to provide adequate health care coverage to all citizens at affordable insurance rates,” says Larry Baldwin, director of the Alabama Human Resources Institute/clinical instructor. “Recent premium increases, some up to 40 percent by insurance carriers, seem to indicate the carriers are not enrolling enough healthy people to offset the actual claims expenditures for those insured with medical issues. Healthy enrollees are a critical component to keeping the premiums stabilized under ACA.” “The price of health insurance follows the cost of health care,” said Lars Powell, director of the Alabama Center for Insurance and Information Research, located on UA’s campus. “Alabama Blue Cross is one of the most efficient health insurers in the country, yet they lost more than $100 million on Affordable Care Act exchange policies last year. It is clear that premiums need to rise for the exchange to be viable.” To interview Baldwin, who will be available beginning Tuesday, or Powell, contact Edith Parten, UA media relations, 205/348-8318 or or UA media relations, 205/348-5320.   


BLACKBURN SYMPOSIUM — Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report and columnist for the National Journal, will be the keynote speaker in the annual Gloria and John L. Blackburn Academic Symposium at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Ferguson Center on UA’s campus. Cook’s lecture is free and open to the public as part of the Blackburn Institute’s Annual Symposium. He also will meet privately with UA’s Blackburn Institute students, Fellows and advisory board members. For more details, contact Richard LeComte, media relations,, 205/348-3782.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.