Top 5 stories of the week for April 19-23

1. Jefferson testifies in Barker trial

Glen Jefferson Jr., the star prosecution witness in the trial of murder suspect Adrian Barker, testified Monday that he saw Barker and Ronald Kelly assault Kent State student Christopher Kernich in November. Kernich later died.

Under cross-examination, Jefferson also admitted to lying to police, detectives and twice to the grand jury about what he witnessed.

Jefferson is currently charged with obstruction in relation to the Kernich incident. He also recently was arrested in Lake County for violating the probation from a felony theft arrest in 2007.

The defense and prosecution will deliver their closing arguments in the Barker trial today; the jury will then begin deliberation and could deliver a verdict today.

2. KSU plans to change process of finding interpreters

In response to problems in the current policy, the university is changing the way it handles requests by deaf faculty members to find interpreters for out-of-class events.

Under the current policy, deaf faculty members had to request an interpreter through the group hosting the event. That group then had to file paperwork with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to get the interpreter fee reimbursed.

Because that paperwork sometimes ended up sitting on a desk until it was too late, the university plans to streamline the process. Requests would now just go through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

3. Kent State celebrates Earth Day

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and the university observed the holiday in various ways.

The Zoology-Conservation Club set up 100 gravestones representing extinct animals along the Esplanade to raise awareness for Earth Day, and the group also held a series of lectures and a student presentation yesterday at the Student Center.

Additionally, the university planted a new tree outside Stopher Hall Wednesday in recognition of Kent State winning the Tree Campus USA award for the second year in a row. The tree was a present from the Arbor Day Foundation.

4. Volcanic ash cloud wreaks havoc on European travel

The volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted last week in Iceland, throwing large amounts of ash into the air and disrupting European air travel for nearly a week.

Beginning April 15, planes were grounded in more than 20 European countries. Flights began to resume this week.

Lindsay Ridinger, sophomore public relations major studying abroad in Leicester, England, was in Spain when the airlines were shut down, disrupting her plans to travel throughout Europe for spring break. Ridinger and her friends canceled their plans and hoped to find their way back to England.

5. LGBT community observes Day of Silence

Kent State’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community participated in a national Day of Silence last Friday.

The purpose of the event was to support people who have faced discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The silence represented the result of intimidation.

“The Day of Silence is the day that everyone takes a certain amount of time that they designate to be silenced in memory of or representing somebody who can’t be who they are,” PRIDE!Kent President Max Harrington said.