In June of 2018, a minivan struck and knocked over the statue of Bradley foundress Lydia Moss Bradley in what was later declared as a traffic accident. The statue underwent repairs over the summer and returned to the Founder’s Circle on Aug. 16 with an unveiling ceremony.
In early October, university president Gary Roberts sent an email to faculty and staff announcing a 243-student shortfall in enrollment. The shortfall led to an operating deficit of about $5 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year. It was also announced that there was an 82 percent first-year student retention rate, which marked the lowest rate since the earliest available data in 2002.
The director of forensics, Ken Young, resigned from Bradley on Oct. 26 amidst a months-long investigation into an allegation of sexual assault from over a decade ago. Young coached the Speech Team for six years, winning two National Forensics Association championships. Assistant director of forensics Justin Helmley was named the interim director of forensics in late September.
Two Bradley employees, Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio (Tony) Ramirez Barron, were announced dead the evening of Oct. 29 after their son, Jose Ramirez, confessed to being responsible. Their bodies were recovered from Spoon River. Susan was a Caterpillar professor of English and coordinator of graduate studies. Tony served as a technology support specialist at Bradley. That same week, hundreds of Bradley community members gathered for a vigil to mourn their loss and honor their lives.
The Bradley men’s cross-country team finished in second place at the NCAA Midwest Regional, qualifying the team for Nationals. The Braves became the first Missouri Valley Conference school to qualify since 2000. At the NCAA Championship in Madison, Wisconsin, the team finished 24th out of 31 teams.
For the first time since 1988, the Bradley men’s basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference with a win over Northern Iowa at the tournament in St. Louis. The Braves returned to Peoria that night and were greeted by fans in the atrium of Renaissance Coliseum. The team lost its first five games of the conference season before coming back to claim sixth place in the conference and eliminating Loyola-Chicago, the defending MVC champion, in the second round of the tournament.
The campus experienced a major systems outage on March 11. In the following weeks, there was sporadic internet access and outages of access to many administrative systems. Multiple emails were sent out from the office of the chief information officer to update students on network maintenance throughout the semester.
ACBU hosted its first Recess at RenCo, featuring three headliners: Jesse McCartney, Andy Grammer and T-Pain. Both the public and students attended. McCartney opened the night and held a meet-and-greet before the show. T-Pain’s set was delayed due to a flight complication, but he captured the audience with his dancing and natural singing voice.
Bradley announced its intentions of partnering its licensed Peoria Public Radio station, WCBU-FM, with WGLT-FM, owned by Illinois State University, in Bloomington. The partnership agreement was officially signed on April 17, and established that Bradley is maintaining the station’s FCC license, call letters and the 89.9 frequency. WCBU-FM will also be moved to Morgan Hall. However, the operational responsibility will be shifted to WGLT-FM by June 1.
The Bradley Speech Team won its 42nd and 43rd national championships during the month of April. It was the first time the team had won two national championships in the same year since 2013. At a celebration on April 26, it was announced that a bench will be dedicated to the Bradley Forensic Alumni Network and the Speech Team in the Circle of Pride.