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Arizona public university presidents tout COVID-19 response during regents call

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All three Arizona public university presidents provided an update on the COVID-19 outbreak on their respective campuses Friday morning during an Arizona Board of Regents meeting. 

They hailed the efforts of their communities thus far while providing insight into what their schools would be doing next.

ASU: Fall will be “last semester for ASU as an archaic, stone-age institution”

Arizona State University President Michael Crow confidently told the board to mark their calendars for January, when he said ASU would prove its oft-repeated designation as the top school for innovation.

Michael Crow (Photo: Deanna Dent, Deanna Dent)

“Fall 2020 is the last semester for ASU as an archaic, stone-age institution,” he said. “We are, by the opening of spring semester 2021, going to be the most advanced teaching and learning program that humans have ever built.”

Crow said the university next year will be launching technology it’s been developing through the pandemic, essentially describing it as a paradigm shift that would forever change the way its students learn and grow during their time at the school.

“We’re throwing away the chiseled ax taped to a piece of wood with some cow hide,” he said. “We are moving forward in the most advanced modalities possible, because now we understand more than we ever understood before.”

Prior to his closing comments, Crow had spent his time with the board, like the other presidents, praising the work done by his university in the midst of a chaotic year.

Crow said the university as of Friday was in its second operations mode, a hybrid model that permits people to come into and out of the university at will.

“We’re operating under the assumption of personal responsibility and choice,” he said, adding that “things are going about as well as could be expected.”

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Report backs NASA exploration efforts as response to Chinese space program

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WASHINGTON — A new report used the growth of China’s space program to argue for continued support of NASA’s own exploration ambitions as well as legislation to assist the space industry and space traffic management.

The China Task Force Report, prepared by a group of Republican House members and released Sept. 30, covers a wide range of issues that group linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and saw as threats to the United States. Much of the report was devoted to issues of national security and the economy.

However, two pages of the 130-page report discussed space exploration. In it, the task force noted Chinese development of a space station and long-term, although as yet unscheduled, plans human lunar mission. “The U.S. should be concerned about the technological innovations and leadership role for the CCP that could come from missions crewed by [People’s Republic of China]-nationals to the Moon,” it stated,

The recommendations in that section of the report, though, addressed NASA’s space exploration programs. “As the CCP seeks to attract international partners to support its own space exploration goals and expand its influence, the U.S. must maintain its presence in low-Earth orbit, return U.S. astronauts to the Moon, chart a future path for human exploration of Mars, and maintain a steady commitment to space science missions,” it stated.

Those recommendations largely endorsed NASA’s current plans for returning humans to the moon by 2024. The report called for passage of a NASA authorization bill, such as the one introduced in the House in January, and funding that “fully supports” its exploration programs. It recommended maintaining the International Space Station and transitioning to commercial facilities, a balanced portfolio of science missions and use of public private partnerships in its programs. It also endorsed the Artemis Accords, the NASA initiative to