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Bloomington Herald-Times

March 4, 2010

McRobbie, Kruzan see economic opportunities
March 4, 2010, last update: 3/3 @ 7:01 pm

Leaders of Bloomington's town and gown, Mayor Mark Kruzan and IU President Michael McRobbie, have talked recently about the importance of shoring up the local economy. For the community to truly prosper, of course, it takes strong commitment from both of them, especially in these difficult economic conditions.

Kruzan's State of the City address began with this summarizing comment: "My message tonight is that we have to meet the ripple effect of the recession head on. We have to commit to growing our economy to protect and provide for those business people and those employees who are struggling. And even in the sectors of our economy where we are thriving, we can't take anything for granted."

McRobbie's State of the University speech hit on many important topics, including how Indiana University is responding to the recession and the completion of a new master plan for the Bloomington campus. He also talked about IU's role in economic development, and targeted those thoughts more to Bloomington on Wednesday during an address to the annual meeting of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp.

A lot of what he said focused on projects at 10th and the Bypass, which include a new data center and the Indiana University Innovation Center that are seen as crucial to the future of the university in a couple of ways: excellence and leadership in information technology and in transferring knowledge from research to the marketplace.

"We see that area as being our research park," said McRobbie, who noted the area he has in mind stretches along the Ind. 45/46 Bypass to Milo B. Sampson Lane, along which the cyclotron and the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute sit.

It's on the bypass that the interests of McRobbie and Kruzan have collided in recent months. The university has been pushing for a project to widen the bypass to provide access to its research park. The city has slowed down the project through exhaustive negotiations with the Indiana Department of Transportation.

McRobbie noted the importance of better access to the area in his talk on Wednesday, and praised the mayor for his recent comments that the bypass project will move forward this spring.

The mayor said in his speech that a formal agreement has been "nearly finalized" that will modify the bypass project aesthetically and in bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along the road and at crossings.

Kruzan sees the city's vigilance as improving the Indiana Department of Transportation plan; some suggest it was unnecessary and slowed down an important economic development project.

But the project appears on track now, which is good for the economic future of the university and Bloomington.

McRobbie's plans for 10th and the bypass will make the area a catalyst for 21st century jobs. Bloomington Economic Development Corp. President Ron Walker has called development of the research and technology park "our single greatest opportunity to become a cutting edge, innovative IT and life sciences start-up community."

It will help Bloomington address economic challenges -- not just current ones highlighted in Kruzan's speech, but those long into the future.

Did we have sex? Study by IU's Kinsey Institute finds differing definitions
By Mike Leonard
March 4, 2010

It sounds like a punch line from a stand-up comedian: "You call that sex?"

But for better or worse, it's a legitimate question.

A new study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University illustrates that the definition of what constitutes sex varies not only depending upon who you ask but how old the respondent is.

Is oral sex considered sex? About 30 percent of people surveyed said no.

Is anal sex considered sex? About 20 percent said no.

How about penile-vaginal intercourse? Even then, 96.7 percent of men aged 18-29 said yes, that is sex, while 93.5 percent of women agreed. But among people of age 65 or over, 77.3 percent of men said yes while 89.8 of women agreed.

"Clearly, we do not have a uniform definition of sex," said Brandon Hill, one of six researchers to have conducted a study published in the international journal, Sexual Health. "It's very important that parents, sex educators, health educators, doctors and researchers all get a clear definition of what the participant, child, subject or patient believes sex is.

"The danger is assuming your definition is shared with the individual," he went on. "This research is indicating that it's not likely."

Kinsey researchers tackled the definition question in 1999 as a direct result of the sex scandal involving President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Responses from college students then were just as inconsistent as they are now. "What someone is going to call sex in the locker room might be different from what that person says in the doctor's office," Hill said. "We're speculating on this, but it seems that what a person calls sex depends in part on who that person is talking to."

Researchers at that time also documented the phenomenon of "technical virginity" under which the younger people who were surveyed separated sexual activity such as oral or anal contact from what they considered to be sex, apparently to protect their valued social definition of virginity.

A decade later, researchers cast a wider net, polling a representative sampling of nearly 500 Indiana residents in a telephone survey conducted by the Center for Survey Research at IU. Again, they found a significant variance in responses across age groups but not so much between genders. "Older men were less likely to consider penile-vaginal intercourse as sex, which is interesting," Hill said. "Functionality may be a factor in that definition. We do see across the board that people tend to redefine sex in a way that fits the behaviors they may be engaging in."

The Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation worked with the Kinsey Institute on the study. William L. Yarber, senior director of the rural center, said in a prepared statement: "There's a vagueness of what sex is in our culture and media. If people don't consider certain behaviors sex, they might not think sexual health messages about risk pertain to them. The AIDS epidemic has forced us to be much more specific about behaviors, as far as identifying specific behaviors that put people at risk instead of just sex in general," he said.

At the Kinsey Institute, Hill echoed the emphasis on more detailed questions. "It's really simple in a way," he said. "We don't even need to find the definition of sex. In our paper, we weren't looking to pin down a definition. What we wanted to do was demonstrate there is enough variability out there that you shouldn't just ask about sex. If you ask about sexual behavior, you're getting closer to the answers you need to make risk and other assessments."