Page 1

the rocket

Friday November 12, 2021 • Volume 105, Issue Number 4 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper

www.theonlinerocket.com


N

VIDEO: SRSGA addresses Rock Life outrage

NEWS

Rock Life Program in jeopardy ! By Joe Wells News Editor

Emma Velesig Assistant News Editor

Editor’s note: The father of a student in the Rock Life Program requested to remain anonymous. His child is also remaining anonymous, only being referred to as “his [the father’s] child” and “student.” The parents of students in a specialized program for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Slippery Rock University are upset after finding out it will end by spring 2023. The Rock Life Program, a non-degree seeking program that allows students to take courses for credit or audit them, has been placed into a teach-out phase, ending after the spring semester in 2023. According to SRU President William Behre, the decision is based on the finances of the program. Despite a teach-out date of spring 2023 and no new admissions to Rock Life, Behre insisted that the program is not ending. He said the university will be hiring consultants to look at the program to make it better and self-sustainable. That vision, which Behre describes as taking a “solidFord” and transforming it into a “Tesla” along the way, includes a stronger, onboarding process that allows the university to assess if potential students are the best fit for the program and a four-year curriculum, where students learn to advocate for themselves. Even though he wants to make the program better, it is not a criticism of the program staff, Behre said. He said he understands that for the students and families in the program, it is great for them, but he wants to improve it. According to parents who were asked to attend a meeting at the university on Oct. 29, they were told the decision came from those overseeing the program, and finances didn’t play a factor. Only current and former Rock Life staff spoke at the

"For a school that values diversity and acceptance and has a reputable special education program, ending Rock Life is not a way to demonstrate that acceptance and diversity." – Father of a current Rock Life student

meeting, and no one from the administration attended. “I am paying full tuition, room and board, for a meal plan and a fee for the [Rock Life] program,” a father of a Rock Life student said. “If that’s not enough, we were never told.” The parent said they were informed by Rock Life staff that the program was selfsustaining. The father said if that information is incorrect, then he wants to see the budget numbers and hear from those making these decisions. Both the program director and coordinator for Rock Life have claimed the program is self-sustained because of the amount of money it’s bringing in. But in an email, Behre said they “do not have a nuanced understanding of university finances.” According to budget documents from the university’s finance office, for the current academic year, Rock Life is expected to cost $175,406, an amount

according to PennWatch. More Than Money For Krisztina Armstrong, a senior recreational therapy major and coach for Rock Life, the biggest loss is the experience she gains working with these students. “It’s a slap in the face for anyone who focuses on this field,” she said. Corrado Bello, a graduate adaptive physical activity student at SRU, said working with the Rock Life students and getting them involved with recreational sports has been an invaluable handson experience. The benefits to both students and coaches have been something the father of a Rock Life student has appreciated. In his child’s experience, they have learned to be more independent and advocate for themselves and others, while the coaches have been able to better learn how to diff erentiate that each

Senator Rebekah Froehlich is also concerned that the decision has not been talked about since parents were notified. “I think a lot of times things happen on this campus and they kind of get swept under the rug a little bit,” Froehlich said. Not Enough Time Behre said the university is committed to the teachout date for 2023 and that students and families have his word that it will not end before then. He added that for students who may need to go past the teach-out date, they will be able to continue the program “as intended” with access to all the support they receive now, including support coaches. Currently, Rock Life has 19 students enrolled, with a majority of them not expected to complete the program by the teach-out date. Two students are expected to finish the program this spring, with another four to complete it the following spring, according

that I’m going to do what’s both fiscally and educationally sound for this and a bunch of random people putting their name on a list doesn’t shape that at all.” While not all the people who sign the petition identify themselves, Linda Zane, an SRU professor, signed in support of the program. She said the students have been a wonderful addition to her courses. “The thought that the program may be eliminated is heartbreaking,” Zane wrote. The president said he has a policy that allows faculty to visit his office and discuss a range of matters with him. Behre added that while he expects the consultants to provide him with unbiased feedback, faculty and staff can talk with him about his concerns Behre met with the Rock Life staff Thursday morning. Updating the Program Both the current director of Rock Life, Jessica Hall-Wirth, and former director, Wendy

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

Slippery Rock Student Government Association President Mia Graziani talks about her discussion with SRU President William Behre on the status of the Rock Life Program at the body's informal meeting Nov. 8 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. Graziani urged everyone to hear from all sides before "grabbing pitchforks and storming Old Main."

equal to 0.0009% of the university’s total expenses. When factoring in that the program will receive $97,500 in revenue from fees directly to Rock Life, it shrinks to less than 0.0004%. When including tuition and fees, Rock Life falls short of breaking even by $2,462. Behre said factoring in tuition with their revenue is not accurate, since that money is spent on the cost of classes that students attend. But, in the budget documents, net revenue including tuition is accounted for. The biggest expense for the program is staff costs, which includes 29 SRU students and three graduate students who will lose their jobs as coaches when Rock Life ends. Those students, a lot of whom are education majors or studying in fields of therapy, are paid through the program and account for $56,000 a year in staff costs – a little more than $1,700 a year per student coach and about half of the staff costs for the program. In contrast, the program’s director receives about $27,300 in salary and benefits a year, along with the program coordinator, who receives about $68,750. This fiscal year, Behre is expected to receive $308,600 in salary,

student is an individual t h r o u g h h i s c h i l d ’s perspective. Jean Richardson of Stroudsburg, PA, wrote to the university in June when asked to write letters of support, not knowing yet what the university had planned. She said the program has done wonders for her son Alek. “Over the last three years, his growth, language, communication skills and ability to advocate for himself has improved tenfold,” Richardson wrote. Richardson said the president’s decision to end the program that has done so much for her son is “atrocious.” Valerie Prosser of Dormont s a i d S RU ’s d e c i s i o n says a lot about how the university views students with disabilities, as well as diversity on campus. She believes that if this program ends, the university is saying it “doesn’t care about these kids.” Prosser said her daughter Kate came to the Rock Life program after Mercyhurst University shut down a similar program two years ago. She is worried that if she and other parents don’t speak up now, the university could shut down the program after the spring 2022 semester. College of Education

to Zachary Baynham, the program coordinator for Rock Life. The statement that students would be allowed to complete the program with full support after the end date was never communicated, multiple parents said. They said they were told to find another program or enroll as a regular student. With the information they received last week, parents and coaches began to organize on Facebook under the banner “Rock Life Family & Friends.” A petition was also created on Change.org and has obtained over 9,100 signatures, as of Thursday afternoon. Behre, who said he read the letters of support over the summer and is aware of the petition, said those types of campaigns may be useful if sent to someone who doesn’t believe in the program. For him, the question isn’t whether Rock Life is a good program or should SRU serve students with disabilities, but whether the program is financially responsible. “You could bring me a petition with 15,000 signatures on it,” Behre said, who has a doctorate in education with a focus on special education policy from the University of Michigan. “That doesn’t change the fact

Fagan said they were never consulted about the proposed teach-out or asked for input on how to improve the program, prior to Thursday. According to Behre, it is rare for the president of the university to sit and talk with staff. He said decisions like that for Rock Life are communicated through a “chain of command.” When it came to feedback about the program in the past, Hall-Wirth said comments from those above her had always been positive. Hall-Wirth said the decision by the university has been hard for her because of the strong passion she has to make SRU as inclusive as possible. When asked if there was or will be any pushback from her or the Rock Life program to continue to operate, HallWirth said it would be more effective to advocate for the students by telling their stories. “I’m more of a follower, doing things as told by the university,” Hall-Wirth said. According to Behre, a previous director of the program was able to bring in a lot of funding through grants but has since retired. Since the retirement, grant money for the program decreased significantly and the

"Over the last three years, his growth, language, communication skills and ability to advocate for himself has improved tenfold." – Jean Richardson, mother of Alek, a current Rock Life student program is not sustainable in the long term. Behre would like the program to move away from soft money – grants and donations – to one that relies on revenue from fees and federal and state funding. But, in order to help support the vision Behre has for Rock Life, he said he would need to hire two to three more personnel and an employee whose job is to secure that funding. Fagan, an instructor at SRU and the program’s former director, said reducing the reliance on soft money and becoming self-sustainable has been the program’s plan since the president took office. The Rock Life program has not received any grant money since August 2020, according to Dennis Washington, the vice president of university advancement at SRU. Despite not wanting grant money to fund the program, Behre said he is seeking out philanthropic means to fund the first year of the hypothetical updated program to get it on its feet. A meeting about funding is expected to take place on Nov. 8. The president believes it is doable because he helped establish a program similar to Rock Life while at The College of New Jersey. That four-year program has a tuition rate like that of graduate courses, due to the small class sizes, according to Behre. Whether a future Rock Life program would look like the one in New Jersey remains unknown, but Behre expects the consultants to come up with a plan tailored to SRU. The Rock Life Program at SRU is one of 29 similar programs offered in the state, including seven Pennsylvania State System of Higher Ed u c a t i o n ( PA S S H E ) universities. All of the universities are a part of the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium (PIHEC). Last year, Rock Life received about $28,700 from the group. There is no time frame for when those consultants will be contracted and if they will be able to develop a plan that meets the administration’s definition of self-sustainable. Still, even putting a hold on Rock Life doesn’t make sense for a school that talks about inclusivity, a parent said. “For a school that values diversity and acceptance and has a reputable special education program, ending Rock Life is not a way to demonstrate that acceptance and diversity,” the father said.


November 12, 2021

NEWS

A-3

Pennsylvania bets big

athletes caught violating the regulation would lose their eligibility to compete. With so many college students gambling, the Na t i o n a l C e n t e r f o r Responsible Gaming found at least 6% of college students have a serious gambling problem that can lead to problems with debt and grades. At SRU, students who have a gambling problem may seek assistance at the counseling center on campus free of charge according to Dean of Students Karla Fonner. In Pennsylvania, those who feel they have a serious gambling problem may add their name to an exemptions list with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that will bar them from casinos and gambling apps in Pennsylvania. Those suffering from compulsive and problem gambling may also call t h e s t a t e’s g a m b l i n g addiction 24-hour hotline at 1.800.426.2537.

By Joe Wells News Editor

Three years after Pe n n s y l va n i a l e g a l i ze d sports betting at casinos and online, millions in tax revenue have been flowing into the state’s general fund. In just the month of Se p t e m b e r a l o n e , t h e sports books across the state recorded $48 million in revenue, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming C o n t r o l B o a rd . T h a t revenue was generated by more than $578.7 million in wagers during the same month. Pennsylvania taxes the gross revenue at 34% and re c e i ve d $ 9 . 6 m i l l i o n in September this year. Pennsylvania also collects a 2% tax on the gross revenue that goes to local governments. Over the past few years, the wagers Pennsylvania casinos have seen made in-person and through online betting apps have increasingly come from younger adults and

– For those who may have a gambling addiction, resources are available at the Pennsylvania Department of Drugs and Alcohol website.

GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING

"It's enjoyable to look at players and build a team." – Conner Hamilton, freshman finance major on why he bets on daily fantasy sports games

college students. A study by the National Center for Responsible Gaming found that 75% of college students had gambled at least once over the period of a year, with sports betting being the most common form of gambling. W h i l e Pe n n s y l v a n i a adults must be at least 21 to place a sports bet, those who are 18 may participate daily fantasy sports (DFS) and in the Pennsylvania Lotter y Xpress Sports games. The two variations of the games simulate sports that are regularly bet on. Derby Cash allows gamblers to bet on virtual horse racing while Xpress Car Racing

allows those to pick the winning car in a two-lap race. Both games are played every two minutes. While the games are completely virtual and not based on any real games or events, they play just like their real-world counterpart in that each horse or car has varying odds of winning which effects their payout. Along with legalizing sports betting on games, Pennsylvania also allows wagering on DFS games. These games allow players to select a roster of players and compete with others to be the highest scoring team. Combined, sports betting and DFS brought in nearly

$337 million dollars in revenue last year. In Pennsylvania, DFS games are taxed at 15% compared to sports betting. For students not quite 21, DFS and betting amongst friends in fantasy have their appeal. Conner Hamilton, a freshman finance major said he got into fantasy football when he joined his dad’s league and won in that first year. “It’s enjoyable to look at players and build a team,” Hamilton said. Right now, he is in two fantasy football leagues where each player puts money into a pot in hopes of coming out on top at the end of the regular football

season and has started to dabble in DFS games. Hamilton said he will probably keep playing DFS games through and after college because of the potential payouts but will stay away from betting on sports games because the margins are so low. While the Slippery Rock University Code of Conduct does not place any restrictions on gambling, those who are student athletes are barred from par ticipating in sports betting on according to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulations. Andrea Miller-Grady, assistant athletic director at SRU, said student

Possible tuition increase inbound By Emma Velesig Assistant News Editor

President William Behre attended the Slipper y Rock University Student Government Association’s (SRSGA) formal meeting on Monday to announce he will be proposing a 2% tuition increase to the board of trustees in the coming weeks. SRU has not seen a tuition increase in three years. In that time frame, Behre said that contracts have been renegotiated for faculty and staff receiving an increase in pay, leaving a $4 million budget gap. The increase for an average student would come to be about an additional $180 per year and the revenue gained from this increase would go into funding for those deficits. The budget

"We'll try to trim it at the margins and we'll frankly try to make it so you don't even notice it." – William Behre, SRU President, on the tuition increase proposal

gap will still be present, though, so to fur ther diminish it, Behre said some cuts will have to be made. “We’ll try to trim it at the margins and we’ll frankly try to make it so you don’t even notice it,” Behre said when asked by Liberal Arts Senator A m a n d a Br o c k a b o u t specific cuts. Behre also announced that starting next year, if the COVID-19 mass testing center is still needed at the Student He a l t h C e n t e r, a f e e may be implemented for anyone needing a test. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act gave the university a budget for assisting all those affected by COVID-19, which included funding the testing center. That budget will run out as of next year and in order for tests to be done, the funding would have to come from the students. “There’s a million ifs and asterisks,” Behre said about the specifics of who would need testing and how it would be conducted. Continuing with the meeting, Graduate Senator Laken Draksler spoke during the open forum to raise attention to the necessity of a wage i n c re a s e f o r g r a d u a t e assistants on campus. With many other graduate assistants in the audience, Draksler informed the Senate that the average a s s i s t a n t h a s “a n e t monthly loss of several hundreds at a minimum, due to our low wages,” after the bills students must still pay, even with

the tuition waiver that is offered. “Saving is not the same as making,” Draksler said. At the previous formal meeting, a motion was presented by Education Senator Rebekah Froehlich to amend the SRSGA bylaws to read that students running for a position “must disclose to the student body before being elected or voted on any prospective or current executive position(s) in any other campus organization(s).” Froehlich said this ensures that if a person wins their elected position, they will be able to give their full attention to their role. The amendment was passed, being opposed only by Brock. Earlier in the semester, Brock ran for the position of vice president of finance against Sydney Rezzetano. A concern about Brock’s possible bias was brought up by Vice President of Outreach Aiden Donnelly d u r i n g t h e S e n a t e ’s discussion on the two candidates due to her position as treasurer for three other organizations. The Rules and Policies committee put forth a resolution to amend article VII in the bylaws dealing with dismissal, impeachment, and vacancies within the SRSGA senate. Its purpose is to create a clearer and more streamlined way to allow ever yone in the Senate to follow and understand the rules they are to uphold, said Froehlich when asked to comment on the resolution’s purpose. The resolution was voted to be tabled until the next

HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET

Slippery Rock University President William Behre explains why the university will ask the Council of Trustees to request a 2% increase in tuition. The increase would need approved by the council before going to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

formal meeting to give everyone in the Senate a chance to review all of its details. Te a m Rock was confirmed as a new student organization on campus, making it the seventh faithbased club SRU offers. They are a sports group run voluntarily for those that enjoy physical activity and also wish to learn about the Bible, according

to the group’s description on CORE. All senators approved for the club to be recognized, except for Transfer Senator Madeline Smith, Education Senator Gabriel Stiles, and Liberal Arts Senator Ezeck Warren who each opposed, as well as an abstention from Freshman Senator Rose Resnick. The next formal meeting will be held

at the Smith Student Center theater on M o n d a y, N o v. 1 5 a t 5 p.m. The Senate encourages all members o f t h e S RU c o m m u n i t y to attend if they have any issues they believe should be brought to the attention of the Senate. More information on their meetings can be found on their CORE page.


A-4

NEWS

November 12, 2021 Building having a seizure. EMS was dispatched and transported them to the Grove City Medical Center. November 8 – An individual filed a harassment report at the university police station that took place at the ARC. The case is under investigation. November 8 – Butler County 911 advised university police that an ambulance has been dispatched for an individual in need of medical attention in Building E. EMS and police on scene transported the person to Butler Memorial Hospital. November 8 – Police received a call for an individual on Founders Way in the pond area. They reported that it appeared the person had a flashlight and was looking in the bushes. The officers on scene talked to the individual who stated they were just talking on the phone with a friend. No further police action was taken. November 9 – Police received a fire alarm activation from Building E. Safety responded and found the alarm was set off by a humidifier. The system was reset.

November 4 – While an officer was checking the area around Storm Harbor Drive, a vehicle pulled in and requested an ambulance for a passenger that was experiencing chest and shoulder pains. EMS transported the individual to the Grove City Medical Center. November 4 – Police received a panic alarm activation from Building B. The alarm was accidentally set off by a CA, but Safety was unable to reset the system. A contractor was notified. November 4 – A CA in Building E reported an odor of marijuana coming from a dorm. The officers on scene detected no odor and no further police action was taken. November 4 – A CA in Building D reported an odor of marijuana coming from a dorm and officers reported a faint smell when they arrived. When officers knocked on the door of the dorm, there was no answer and the case was referred to Student Standards. November 5 – A nurse from the Health Center requested an ambulance for an individual needing transport. The ambulance arrived and no further police action was taken. November 5 – An individual at the university police station filed a harassment report that had occurred at the Aebersold Recreation Center (ARC). A report was taken and the case is under investigation. November 5 – Police received a call for an unknown person(s) who were kicking in the handicap button at the Smith Student Center

(SSC), causing damage to the drywall around it. Security footage was reviewed and the case is under investigation.

November 9 – Police responded to a fire alarm activation in Rhoads Hall and the building was evacuated when the officers arrived. The cause for activation was found to be burnt food and the system was reset.

November 5 – Police took a report of harassment that took place while the person was working at the Morrow Field House. The case is under investigation.

November 9 – Police responded to a vehicle accident involving two vehicles in the West Lake Commuter lot. No injuries were reported and both vehicles had to be towed.

November 6 – Police received a call from an individual experiencing a severe migraine and was unable to move. An ambulance was dispatched and transported the person to Butler Memorial Hospital.

November 9 – University Police responded to the Bailey Library for an individual performing a lewd act in a common area of the building. Officers located the person and charges are pending.

November 6 – Police received a theft complaint from an individual in Rhoads Hall. They stated the unknown individual(s) stole $10.50 as well as their clothing from a washing machine on the second-floor laundry room. The case is under investigation.

November 10 – The Butler 911 Center notified university police they had dispatched an ambulance to Building D for a person having shortness of breath. EMS and officers arrived on the scene and the person was transported to Grove City Medical Center.

November 7 – Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) requested university police check for an intoxicated male and female to be knocking on residence doors on Normal Avenue and were then involved in a fight. University police located the intoxicated individuals and discovered damage to the property. The female involved was transported to the university police station where PSP utilized the Datamaster for a DUI.

November 10 – University Police responded to Building D for an individual in need of medical care. An ambulance transported the person to Butler Memorial Hospital.

November 7 – Police received a smoke detector activation from Building F. The cause was burnt food and the system was reset.

November 10 – Police responded to a panic alarm activation at the SSC. The alarm was accidentally activated.

November 8 – Police received a request for an ambulance for a person in the Harrisville

November 10 – Police received a complaint that an unknown person entered their unlocked car along Prairie Street and took a phone charger and cup of quarters. The case is under investigation.

COMPILED BY EMMA VELESIG


O

OPINION

Our View We are The Rocket

OPINION

Volume 105, Issue Number 4

220 220Eisenberg EisenbergClassroom ClassroomBuilding Building Slippery SlipperyRock RockUniversity University Slippery SlipperyRock, Rock,Pennsylvania Pennsylvania16057 16057 Phone: Phone: (724) (724)738-4438 738-4438 Fax: Fax: (724) (724)738-4896 738-4896 E-mail: E-mail: therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com

EDITORIAL BOARD Nina Cipriani

Editor-in-Chief

Joe Wells

News Editor

Madison Williams Sarah Anderson

Sports Editor Campus Life Editor

Ryanne Dougherty

Copy/Web Editor

Hannah Slope

Photo Editor

Brandon Pierce

Multimedia Editor

Emma Velesig

Assistant News Editor

Tyler Howe

Assistant Sports Editor

Morgan Miller

Assistant Campus Life Editor

Kaitlyn Myers

Assistant Copy/Web Editor

Rayni Shiring

Assistant Photo Editor

Dr. Brittany Fleming

Faculty Adviser

ADVERTISING STAFF Brooke Miller

Advertising Manager

Sara McClintock

Assistant Advertising Manager

ABOUT US The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total weekly circulation is 1,000 (for fall 2021 semester only). No material appearing in The Rocket may be reprinted without the written consent of the Editor-in-Chief. The Rocket receives funding from the SGA Student Activity fee paid each semester by students. All other income is provided through the sale of advertising. Advertising inquiries may be made by calling (724) 7382643 or by emailing rocket.ads@sru.edu.

CORRECTIONS If we make a substantial error, we want to correct it. If you believe an error has been made, call The Rocket newsroom at (724) 738-4438. If a correction is warranted it will be printed in the opinion section.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

BRITTANY FLEMING / THE ROCKET

1,736. Since its founding in 1934, The Rocket has published 1,736 issues. This issue marks 1,737. While it is not a grand milestone, it shows that every issue, every year, Slippery Rock students have stepped up to report the campus and community news. These students work t i re l e s s l y t o p r ov i d e Slippery Rock with the information needed to navigate their daily lives and know how those in power wield it. Today, the students who make up the staff of The Rocket continue that legacy. Student press freedom is a right but also a privilege because the range of the medium in which we reach the campus community can be wide. We are thankful and proud to have this platform and be the voice of the campus and community, and we intend to carry out The Rocket's legacy. After all, The Rocket is Slippery Rock's oldest news source that's dedicated solely to covering the community, alongside other student media like WSRU-TV and WSRU 88.1 FM. The Rocket also stands independently from Slippery Rock University as a studentrun n e w s p a p e r. Delivering content to the community since its inception, everything is produced by students, for students, faculty, administration and the c o m m u n i t y. We a r e not funded through the university or the communication department, but rather the Slippery Rock St u d e n t G ov e r n m e n t Association (SRSGA). Just like any other student organization,

our faculty advisor can only advise us and give us suggestions regarding our content, but we execute the content. We make the decisions. The editor-in-chief has the final say for anything Rocket-related, with the input of the other 13 staff members. Our stories come from our editors who look at what is going on around campus with a skeptic's eye. We are the storytellers for the community. The organization p rov i d e s i n f o r m a t i o n to its audience, while doubling as an outlet for students to practice journalism at a level beyond what they would normally carry out in the classroom. The Rocket is committed to accurate, fair news gathering and fully researching topics through interviews and old-fashioned, shoe-leather reporting. Journalistic and ethical integrity is at the forefront of our minds as practicing journalists. Our stories strive to give a voice to the voiceless and cover events and topics that students on campus want to read. We focus on covering news that is relevant and engaging to our target audience. We want our readers to know that we are always listening to feedback and adapting accordingly. But as an organization that routinely asks institutions to be transparent, it's important to be transparent as well with our readers. Depending on the s t o r y, re p o r t i n g m a y take a little longer than the event itself, s u c h a s re c a p p i n g a football game or SRSGA meeting. More in-depth

pieces can take up to a week to gather the necessary facts to tell a stor y. Across campus, reporters knock on doors, talk with students and community members, gather documents and attend events. Our most recent indepth piece looked at the university's decision about the Rock Life Program. Over the course of five days, The Rocket staff talked to more than 15 individuals involved with the decision or affected by it, university administration officials in their offices and on the phone, as well a s re q u e s t e d f i n a n c e documents in-person a n d t h ro u g h re c o rd s requests. This isn't something new for The Rocket, just standard practices of repor ting that we have learned from our professors, adviser and those in the business of news. We do this to provide good, accurate and clear information to our audience. This dedication to the news gathering process has lead The Rocket to be one of the first to cover breaking stories, such as racially motivated Zoom bombings and students' reactions, clarifying with t h e u n i ve r s i t y a b o u t where COVID-19 tests were being processed and the cancellation of fall and winter sports during the fall 2020 semester. Even with all the great reporting we have done, we are still humans and student journalists learning the craft. When readers and members of the hockey club said they thought our coverage of the organization's suspension was lacking all the facts, we listened and reported a follow-up story to get their side of the story three weeks later.

In the Quad

In allowing the public to be heard in a public forum, even providing them anonymity when necessary, we have built a trust with the reader, which is something we value. The only area of The Rocket where personal thoughts and feelings of the staff may be shared is in the opinion section. The staff editorial, which is based off of the whole opinion of the staff, is the only section where the staff ’s voices are heard loud and clear and an opinion is specifically stated. While letters to the editor can provide a way for the campus community to bring issues to light, they are also a great way for us to hear from our readers as well. Any student is able to contribute to any section of The Rocket, putting their foot in the door of journalistic writing by covering news around campus. The Rocket is always accepting letters to the editor and we encourage students to take advantage of this. Whether our coverage has been exemplary or lacking, we're here to listen. Fo r s t u d e n t s , T h e Rocket is not only a news outlet and source of media, it offers an opportunity for voices to be heard. T h e Ro c k e t a s s u re s i t s re a d e r s t h a t i t w i l l keep producing honest reporting. Even through a pandemic with unprecedented circumstances, we continued to deliver on our promise to the campus and the community. No matter what happens, we'll be here doing what w e d o b e s t : re p o r t i n g the news.

Question: Where do you get SRU news from?

By: Brandon Pierce

Subscriptions to The Rocket are available. Subscriptions are $20 per academic semester and $35 for the full academic year. Inquiries should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief at the address listed here.

EDITORIAL POLICY The Rocket strives to present a diverse range of opinions that are both fair and accurate in its editorials and columns appearing on the Opinion pages. “Our View” is the opinion of the Editorial Board and is written by Rocket editorial board members. It reflects the majority opinion of The Rocket Editorial Board. “Our View” does not necessarily reflect the views of Slippery Rock University, its employees or its student body. Columns and cartoons are drafted by various individuals and only reflect the opinions of the columnists.

LETTERS POLICY The Rocket welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns, but does not guarantee their publication. The Rocket retains the right to edit or reject any material submitted. Submitted material becomes the property of The Rocket and cannot be returned. Anonymous submissions will not be published. Those who submit letters must identify themselves by name, year in school, major and/or group affiliation, if any. Please limit letters to a maximum of 400 words. Submit all material by noon Wednesday to: The Rocket, 220 ECB, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pa. 16057. Or send it via e-mail to: rocket.letters@sru.edu.

Carly Roberts Freshman Healthcare Administration Management Bethel Park, PA "I get the news from the SRU Communication email because it's convienient and easy to access."

Crystal Lord Senior Public Relations New Brighton, PA

Steven Green Freshman Civil Engineering Butler, PA

"I usually get my news from the Communication Department emails and the SRU Twitter and Instagram accounts because it is easy to access."

"I typically get my news from SRU social media because it's easy to find and I'm always on social media."


November 12, 2021

OPINION

B-2

On Rock Life, inclusion Let them drink and advocacy

Corrado Bello Corrado is a graduate student in adapted physical activity, who holds a degree in physical and health education. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist with an interest in programming for individuals with disabilites. He is actively involved with on-campus inclusive programming. In the past two weeks, I have seen a lot of anger. I am a Slippery Rock student. Since 2017, I’ve had the pleasure of living here, studying and exploring, earning two degrees in education and forging an unexpected career in advocacy for individuals with disabilities and other differences that present unique challenges. I genuinely owe my successes to these individuals welcoming me into their spaces, day-after-day, and for that I am grateful. Accordingly, when I first found out about the anticipated closure of the Rock Life program – information which was more recently proved inaccurate – I was heartbroken. I wanted to rally

the troops. Stage a protest. Write letters. Talk to anyone who would listen. I wanted to scream, and I wanted to cry. I was not alone in those feelings. The Slippery Rock community’s social media landscape and certain on-campus environments became a battleground overnight. Many students – including students I had never before seen displaying their passion for disability inclusion – made their voices heard. I could not open my phone without seeing a new angle, a new anecdote, a new fervent rant about the perceived disgraceful actions of SRU’s administration. I can say that I am proud of the dedication I witnessed with regard to protecting inclusion in our community. However, during this process, I was in contact with many Rock Life students and their families. They were not screaming. They were not name-calling, and they were not feeding the social media machine with expletive-laden demands. Instead, they wanted clarity. A better understanding of how they were to be impacted and the changes they needed to anticipate. This was not a new situation for many of them; disability services closing down is not necessarily an uncommon occurrence. We felt less equipped to handle the community’s emotions and the onslaught of information than we were to handle the event itself. Advocacy is not done in the pursuit of personal glory, and it is not an opportunity to advance a personal agenda. Advocacy is built on empathy for the underserved, or the minority or the misunderstood. And empathy is built on understanding. This is where I believe segments of our otherwise well-intentioned community failed, and this is why my pride faded to disappointment as public sentiment shifted from pro-inclusion to anti-administration.

"Advocacy is not done in the pursuit of personal glory, and it is not an opportunity to advance a personal agenda." The future of Rock Life, perhaps under a new name and with a new curriculum, seems secure as I write this. Our administrators have made clear that the program is valuable and necessary. There were communication failures. There was misinformation spread – undeniably. But an advocate cannot lose sight of their goal, which in this case should have been nothing more than ensuring a program will exist for college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the future, I would urge a gentler and more direct approach to creating change. Nothing is more valuable than our passion when it is directed appropriately. I challenge everyone who shared their emotions during this period to keep the fire burning. Slippery Rock really is an inclusive community, and there are always opportunities to contribute to pro-diversity causes. Volunteer in the Transition Achievement Program. Apply to coach in Rock Life. Attend an SGA meeting. Take Disability Sport next semester, or maybe just befriend a student who isn’t quite like yourself.

Joe Wells Joe is a senior communication major. He serves as the news editor for The Rocket. Drinking at college. We all know it takes place on and off campus. A look at the university police blotter and data from the Student Conduct Office shows that those who are under the age of 21 get caught around campus and in their dorm room with alcohol every year. What it also shows is that students of the legal age who drink in their dorm are constantly referred to Student Conduct, without breaking the law. According to university policy, no student is allowed to possess or consume any alcohol in the residence halls. Or, as students refer to it, their home. This policy has stayed in place even after the Borough of Slippery Rock changed from being a “dry town” in 2001. At the time, then SRU Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs told Pittsburgh Business Times that not having bars in Slippery Rock was “encouraging the students to go out and get loaded because they can't buy one beer, but they can buy a case." N o w, t h e p o l i c i e s o f t h e u n i ve r s i t y a re encouraging students to go out to local bars and off-campus parties to drink in an environment

that typically encourages increased consumption of alcohol. Since then, places like Ginger Hill Tavern have become the de facto college bar and gas stations like Sheetz have begun selling beer and wine. Along with places like North Country Brewing Company and B&J’s Coney Island, students can also purchase alcohol at the state liquor store, Giant Eagle and pick up cases of beer at Straub Beer Distributor. But, students better not take any of that back to their private residence or even show up intoxicated, with both being violations of the university’s Student Code of Conduct. Consequences for breaking those rules are no different for those under or over the legal age. Students will face warnings and probation for their first and second offenses, along with having to participate in an alcohol and other drug program. A third offense will result in a minimum one semester suspension. Those sanctions seem a little harsh for a 21-year-old enjoying a beer in their on-campus home who only broke a rule. SRU may be in the majority when it comes to Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities that bar students from drinking in their dorm but that doesn’t make the decision the right one. Only two universities, Clarion University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, allow of-age students to drink in some of the dorms. An interesting note here is that Millersville University considers themselves a “responsible use” campus but explicitly prohibits private drinking in the dorms. I guess having a drink on your own time at your own place is quite irresponsible. This isn’t to say that if students would be allowed to drink in their dorm here, that there would not be any issues or laws broken. Since 2013, there have

been 288 violations by students for furnishing minors with alcohol. There have also been 712 underage violations during that same period. But getting alcohol into a dorm room isn’t difficult. I have talked with students on how much drinking goes on in the dorms and they say you can tell it is going on every weekend. The police blotter confirms this with an average of one alcohol citation in the dorms a week and those are just the ones that are caught. Even I have drank in the dorms over the weekend as a non-student. Carrying a bottle in with my belongings was no challenge. The problem of underage drinking has not gone away with the punishing of legal age students enjoying a drink responsibly. This is college. Folks are supposed to be turning into adults. They are living on their own, voting and taking out thousands of dollars to pay for an education and place to live. But to the university, drinking on campus is not welcomed because the students cannot be trusted. Unless it is for a university sponsored event, especially one that involves donors and alumni. Oh, and don’t forget tailgating at Rock Football games. Three hours of getting loaded before heading into the stadium. Also, the President’s Tent in the stadium where donors can enjoy some nice beer provided by North Country Brewing Company. And the president, who is allowed to drink in his residence whenever he likes. I hate to give the university any ideas but maybe they could fundraise by charging students 21 and older with a permit for the semester to drink in their room. If drinking on campus is about wining and dining donors, then there you go. But, I am against this. Students who are of legal age should be allowed to drink what they want, however much they want, when they want in the privacy of their own dorm.


C

VIDEO: Take Back the Night

CAMPUS LIFE

Student athletes and academics

By Brooke Miller Advertising Manager

Sara McClintock Asst. Advertising Manager

Student athletes at Slippery Rock University stand out among the general body by balancing their athletics and academics. There are 445 student athletes on SRU’s roster and the athletics cumulative GPA for athletes after the spring 2021 semester was a 3.398. Student athletes are required to sustain a high GPA while maintaining the life of a fulltime student and a full-time athlete. Athletic teams at SRU strive to be successful both on the field and in the classroom. According to the Slippery Rock University Student Athlete Handbook, to be academically eligible to participate in athletics, student athletes must be full-time students earning 24-semester hours of academic credit during any school year. Additionally, a student athlete must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.000. Student athletes must adhere to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and institutional rules and regulations regarding their academic eligibility. SRU Men’s Soccer Coach Kevin Wilhelm spoke on this. “The NCAA does have a GPA and the GPA is 2.0," Wilhelm said. "You have to pass each semester and a certain number for the entire

academic year that you have to pass to be eligible. "As far as us as a team, we use that 2.0. But where we differ from that is any of our guys that don't have a 3.0 or higher have to do study hours all year long. So if they get above a 3.0 then they get out of study hours and that includes freshmen through seniors." Academic integrity is something the university takes pride in with their students. SRU coaches spoke out about the academic success of their players. Wilhelm spoke further about their schedule and emphasized the important ance of time management. “There's not as much free time is what it comes down to, even in the offseason,” Wilhelm said. “A lot of times we're doing lifting sessions early in the morning and training sessions late in the evening. "So, they have a window of opportunity throughout the day where they're taking their classes, doing their work, study, whatever it may be.” The SRU Women’s Field Hockey Coach, Rayell Heistand discussed the time management of the players and how they ensure their athletes are in good academic standing. “I'd say being a student athlete teaches students how to manage their time and within that, their priorities like a task list of what needs to get done first and everything,” Heistand said. “But even working with others in any capacity, because you have group work then too. "What I always say is you can learn so much just by playing a sport. You'll be able to apply it to things for the rest of your

life. Even though sometimes they don't see it now, and I didn't see it right away, when you get out in a couple of years then you will see it.” Student athletes have athletic and academic integrity that puts them in a position to develop strong time management skills and challenges them to do their best. Although each sports team at SRU has a different method of ensuring their student athletes are fulfilling their academic requirements, it has been found that student athletes succeed with study tables and study hours required by their team. Student athletes from the women’s field hockey and men’s soccer team discussed their approach and opinion on mandatory study hours. Graduate student on the field hockey team, Haley Plitt discusses her experiences with study tables and biweekly meetings. “I actually love the to-do lists,” Plitt said. “It’s pretty much just an Excel file and you write down all of your classes each week. "The file is already laid out with the due date, start date and the date when the assignments were given. It is kind of like a planner, but already laid out for you.” Anthony Gagliardi, freshman sport management major on the men’s soccer team at SRU, spoke about study tables. “Once you’re in there, it’s actually super beneficial because it is just you and the screen,” Gagliardi said. “It’s quiet, there are no distractions and I notice I get a lot of my work done during that time.” There are many options for

BROOKE MILLER / THE ROCKET

Men's soccer team freshmen Anthony Gagliardi and William Harrigan work on school work during their weekly study tables. The athletes discussed the efficiency of going to study tables each week.

student athletes to maintain their GPA aside from study tables. Coach Wilhelm tries to pair younger plays with older players that have similar majors. This is a useful way for players to have other students to look forward to for help with classes, professors and similar things that come with their majors. Wilhelm said he recruits soccer players out of high school with a high GPA because they generally have an easier transition to college academically. “Study hours are our main avenue and really a lot of it comes down to the type of student athletes that are recruited," Wilhelm said. "The other thing is, we really have no athletic aid here for men's soccer.

“So, for a student athlete to come and get the package, they need to be a high achieving student that can get academic aid, because we don't have a lot that we give out as far as athletics.” For the spring 2021 semester, the women’s field hockey team averaged the highest GPA of all athletic teams at SRU with a team average of 3.794. “In general, for field hockey players, and you can use this across all divisions and all schools, you really don’t have an issue with the NCAA requirements in that area for us,” Heistand said. “We believe you can be successful on the field and in the classroom at the same time so you are expected to do the best you can in both.” The correlation between

athletics and academics seem beneficial for student athletes at SRU as they are committed to being full time students and athletes. Being on an athletic team, students get the opportunity to learn teamwork and goal setting. What student athletes bring to the playing field applies to their everyday lives, especially influencing their a c a d e m i c s a n d f u t u re successes. With an emphasis on the “student” in student athlete, players and coaches part of an athletic team at SRU recognize the importance of time management.

Protocols for student athletes

By Morgan Miller Asst. Campus Life Editor

Slippery Rock University’s Athletic Department is focused on promoting and spreading awareness of responsible behaviors and healthy lifestyles to student athletes. Student athletes at SRU are given a student athlete handbook at the beginning of every year with rules,

"I mean, we're people and we're students. I do not want any of our students to do drugs and I certainly do not want our studentsathletes to do that either." – Roberta Page, director of athletics at SRU

regulations and resources for multiple topics. One of the topics discusses the use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Student athletes are required to sign a SRU consent form in which they agree to participate in the Department of Athletics’ Drug Testing Program. Substance abuse, dependence, crimes and other areas are the top health and safety concerns for the program. The student athlete handbook states, “The use of illegal substances and drugs is a crime. The use of performance enhancing drugs is detrimental to student health and it is a form of cheating and will not be condoned.” SRU Director of Athletics Roberta Page spoke on the purpose of drug and alcohol testing at SRU. “Anytime you're an athlete the one thing we don’t want you to be is under the influence of anything that’s going to affect your body,” Page said. “If you did something that all of a sudden increases your heart rate, and we did not know what you were on and then coach sends you out on a workout and your heart rate goes up even more. "That could be detrimental to your health.” Although each team is required to follow the rules of the student athlete handbook, individual teams are allowed to make their own restrictions. The individual team rules cannot be less severe than the university’s. SRU men's cross-country team has a baseline rule for

their team alone in addition to the university and The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules. “The baseline rule we kind of have is definitely like a week or two weeks before a race, don’t go crazy,” cross-country member said. “But it makes it challenging because in cross country we race every other weekend and track every weekend. "If you're going out, then you're hurting yourself and bringing yourself down. The consequences will follow your trainings and are not going to go well.” SRU women’s lacrosse captain Gillian O’Rourke spoke on the rules applied to the team in regard to practices, weight training lifts and games. “For practices and lifts we have a 24-hour rule,” O’Rourke said. “If you are of age, you should not be drinking 24 hours before a lift or practice. For game days or play days we have a 48-hour rule. "This means you cannot drink or go out for 48 hours before the game.” SRU also has a three strike violation rule for student athletes who fail any drug or alcohol tests. The first violation will result in mandatory alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) programs, counseling might be recommended, and the student athlete will receive a written warning which will also be copied to the head coach from the athletic director.

GRAPHIC BY: RAYNI SHIRING

The second violation will result in all actions listed in violation one with addition to a loss of 20% of the season’s competition, or a number of dates of competition. The student athlete will be permitted to practice but not participate in competition. The third violation will result in permanent loss of athletic privilege and scholarship if applicable. In addition to the university’s rules and team rules, NCAA drug tests athletes at random throughout the year. For these drug tests, the NCAA looks for drugs including stimulants, anabolic agents, diuretics, street drugs, peptide hormones and their related compounds. Students who fail a drug or alcohol test are offered resources by SRU and the NCAA. The university

provides education and ATOD programs for student athletes. The ATOD policy is the education program for student-athletes, cheerleaders, equipment managers and athletic trainers. During the education program each team will have one or more peer education leaders or a Slippery Rock University Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member. SAAC members are resources for student athletes who work with their peers on education and prevention. Student athletes hold a high reputation and have a lot on the line while being on a collegiate team at SRU. This could involve an athletic scholarship or a future beyond SRU. Students who are a part of an athletic team feel

more inclined to be aware of their behavior and surroundings. “If we're out making fools of ourselves, then that would fall on kind of the team as a whole and our coaching staff,” a crosscountry member said. “So yeah, that definitely plays a role like being on our best behavior and acting appropriately.” All rules and regulations set by the university and NCAA in regard to drugs and alcohol are meant to help student athletes develop responsible habits and keep them safe. “I mean, we’re people a n d we’re s t u d e n t s . I do not want any of our students to do drugs and I certainly do not want our student-athletes to do that either,” Page said.


C-2

CAMPUS LIFE

November 12, 2021

By Sarah Anderson Campus Life Editor

Kaitlyn Myers Asst. Copy/Web Editor

Returning to in-person learning this fall, the English department offered a brand new course. Writing Community Stories is currently taught by Mark O’Connor, associate professor in the English department. The class objectives are to move students outside of the classroom, engage with the community and tell the story of members in and around the Butler community. Specifically this course is working with people who are recovering from addictions. On Wednesday nights over a course of five weeks

"So, from my perspective, as a teacher and as a writer, I'm super glad we are doing this project. It's great. It's informative. It's amazing. It's real. It's America 2021." – Mark O'Connor, associate professor

five students in the class taught creative writing and interviewed individuals at the Butler SRU Center for Community Engagement, Empowerment and Development (SUCCEED) project in downtown Butler. To gain a wider range of voices, students in this class have also interviewed family members of individuals who have struggled with addiction or died and counselors who work with those in recovery. The Butler SUCCEED project is a place and concept where the Office for Community Engaged Learning, the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator and the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership come together to connect SRU students and members of the Butler community. Alice Del Vecchio, an associate professor, department chair for the department of nonprofit management, empowerment and diversity studies and director for the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership, has been involved with the Butler SUCCEED project since it started. In early September the Butler SUCCEED center opened. Del Vecchio connected with O’Connor before the semester began and suggested that the Writing Community Stories class could become a service-learning project. As the backbone of the project, Del Vecchio connected O’Connor with the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership Substance Use Disorder VISTA, Kayla Rennie and Butler County Director of Drug and Alcohol, Donna Jenereski. “It takes a village. So we all utilized our skills and did this awesome project,” Rennie said. As students in the class have come to learn, there is a lack of voices representing the reality of addiction. “I think there is a sense in American society that people who fall prey to overdose or an addiction, are just, you know,

not fully human or subhuman or something," O'Connor said. "And I think that part of what we’re doing is at least trying to get a full story to counterbalance that narrative." One of the biggest takeaways from these interviews is the honesty and willingness of individuals to share their very personal stories. O'Connor has found a way to structure the class to not only benefit students in their creative writing skills but also conducting oral history interviews. The students were ready for the challenges this class had from the start. "These [students] were on week twelve the first night because they're ready to write and share their stories," O'Connor said. Melina Bowser and Claire Kleffman, who are both creative writing majors, spoke about how the class has allowed them to understand that the stereotypes that exist around addiction are not necessarily correct.

“All together, it’s a great class, and I’m glad that we have to take it for the major because it gives us exposure to it,” Bowser said. Not only are students gaining more writing skills and different experiences to help their major but they are also gaining insight to issues happening in the community that they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to. "It's really heartwarming that they're willing to share their stories with us for no reason," Bowser said. "We're just asking them to tell us about themselves and they are. "A lot of stuff is really heartbreaking but I really enjoy getting to meet them and hear their stories. I think it helps them as they talk about it." With the stigma around addiction, many people aren't comfortable hearing about what's happening in the local community. Many people seem to put their

heads down and avoid it. The project has been an eye opener for students, faculty and community members involved. “You have no idea what’s going on in people’s lives," O'Connor said. "It’s extraordinary. "So from my perspective, as a teacher and as a writer, I’m super glad we’re doing this project. It’s great. It’s informative. It’s amazing. It’s real. It’s America 2021." The coursework done this semester by the thirteen students enrolled, has helped create, as O’Connor said, “Art that didn’t exist before that moment.” The class has given a platform for recovery stories to be shared with the public. The end product for this class is an anthology of creative writing and interviews that students have conducted over the course of the semester. The anthology will be printed and read aloud by authors and students on Dec. 1 at 5

p.m. at the Butler SUCCEED building, 150 N. Main St, Butler, PA 16001. "Celebration of Authors" is the event where the anthology will be read and is open to anyone interested in attending. It is meant to be a celebration of recovery for the participants involved in the creative writing workshop. This event and the end of the course are not meant to be the end of this important conversation. Ideally, the anthology can be used as a community education tool that policy makers and leaders in the Butler community can use to help influence the culture of Butler. It will take a village to share these recovery stories and help change the addiction statistics that are prevalent in Butler County. Writing Community Stories and participation at the Butler SUCCEED house are small steps towards widespread change in the community

PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK O'CONNOR

Workshop instructors Mark O'Connor, Alyssa Phifer, Melina Bowser, Claire Kleffman and Elm Friend meet with people in recovery. The Butler SUCCEED group taught a creative writing class and conducted interviews at the storefront.

! " #$% $!# &! $"'

By Brooke Miller

By Morgan Miller

Advertising Manager

Asst. Campus Life Editor

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) is a club for feminists ran by feminists. The club currently has 75 registered members and has been a student organization on campus for 17 years. FMLA affiliates with the Feminist Majority Foundation which is the largest nonprofit in the United States dedicated to gender equality issues. Megan McLafferty is a junior public health major with a nonprofit management minor and president of FMLA. This is McLafferty’s third year with FLMA as she has served as secretary the past two years. “Our goals on campus are basically three things: We create a community for feminists on campus to share opinions and discuss issues they care about,” McLafferty said. “We work to advance gender equality and feminism on campus at SRU. We try to support the efforts of other diversity, equality and inclusion organizations on campus and together furthers the goal of creating a more welcoming, accessible and equitable campus.” FMLA meets every two weeks to discuss topics related to feminism, domestic violence, gender equality and more. The club chooses topics by sending out a poll to all members of the club and then vote on the topics to discuss at their biweekly meetings. “Most recently, we talked about the ‘not like other girls’ phase’ and internalized misogyny,” McLafferty said. “Our next discussion is going to be on white fragility.The discussion after that is going to be about the expectation

Music has many health benefits including promoting wellness, managing stress, expressing feelings, improving memory and communication and more. The Music Therapy Club at Slippery Rock University seeks to educate the public about music therapy, raises awareness about the purpose of music therapy and provides opportunities and learning experiences for members of the organization. The organization consists of about 60 students and meets biweekly. Currently the organization is meeting virtually as it is difficult to get all members together in the same location. Some members of the organization even live internationally. President of the Music Therapy Club Lindsay Malloy spoke on the importance of music therapy. “Music therapy is like any other therapy such as physical or occupational therapy,” said Malloy. “It can sometimes be used for people with intellectual disabilities but it is not limited to certain people. Anyone can benefit from it.” The Music Therapy Club works with the department’s music therapy clinic where students volunteer time to work with people in the Slippery Rock community. The music therapy clinic has recording equipment, a oneway mirror and observational room and a wide variety of instruments. The clinic holds weekly sessions for about 3050 minutes depending on the client. The music therapy

GRAPHIC BY: MEGAN MCLAFFERTY

of women to have kids and why it is harmful for women who can’t have kids or don’t want kids.” FMLA partners with a variety of different organizations on campus to host events. FMLA partnered with the Honors College and the Women’s Center to hold a bake sale for women and children in Afghanistan and raised $122. The organization also partnered with the Student Non-Profit Alliance to bring Dress for Success to SRU. On Thursday, FMLA is holding their biggest event of the year, Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night is a campus rally against sexual assault and domestic violence. The event will be held from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the SGA Pavilion in The Quad. “Take Back the Night includes a candlelight vigil for all survivors and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We march across campus. We also do a t-shirt fundraiser, and all the money goes to VOICe [Victim Outreach

Intervention Center] because we like to donate to them at least once a year and support their efforts in the community,” McLafferty said. Students do not need to be a member of the club to join bi-weekly discussions or events. FMLA works to create an open, respectful and inclusive environment for any student who want to attend. “A lot of people can be turned off by our name at first,” McLafferty said. “Many people associate feminism with this idea that we all hate men and that we do not allow men in our club. We have several guys show up every meeting and we love them.” FMLA is currently looking to add three e-board positions to the club. Students who are interested in joining FMLA at SRU can find more information through CORE. Students can also reach out to FMLA at fmla@sru.edu.

PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDSAY MALLOY

Organization members spread awareness of the club at the Involvement Fair. Students were able to use music therapy instruments while learning about the club.

sessions cost $10 per session and clients sign up for 12 sessions per semester. “Maybe if I am working with a client on trying to talk more, I would maybe practice songwriting or sing some of their favorite songs and let them fill in the blanks,” said Malloy. “I would let them fill in the blanks or work on some things to get them expressing more words.” The club also hosts many events including the Music Therapy Club Benefit Concert. This event will occur on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Swope Recital Hall. The club will collect donations to help support music therapy students attend national and regional music therapy conferences. To donate to the benefit concert, click here. The benefit concert will be co-sponsored with the Music Department. Recently the club held a game night at the Ski Lodge which

allowed members an opportunity to play music, get to know each other and stay connected. The Music Therapy Club has previously held a MARAMTS Gives Back Yumberries Fundraiser, a Jazz Ensemble, events with guest speakers, other benefit concerts and more. The club also held the “Music Major for a Day” event for students interested in exploring the daily life of a music major. The Music Therapy Club often collaborates with other organizations in the music department. To connect with the Music Therapy Club, follow @ srumusictherapy on Instagram or @SlipperyRockMusicTherapy on Facebook. To stay up to date with all events, connect with the Music Therapy Club on CORE or email Malloy at LAM1039@ sru.edu or the official Music Therapy Club email, mtc@ gmail.com.


S

VIDEO: Lutz admires Litwin's work ethic

SPORTS

Rockin' and Rollin' to the PSAC title TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET

By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor

The more things change, the more they tend to stay the same. It’s been two years since the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Golden Bears hosted Slippery Rock for the PSAC title game, a game that The Rock won 37-35 in dramatic fashion. Now this weekend they meet again, and much like two years prior, they’ll be playing for the right to call themselves PSAC champs. “I still think we’re getting better, and I’m kind of excited to be on the road because there isn’t a lot of distractions and you don’t have to worry about a lot of things,” Coach Shawn Lutz said. The road is the place The Rock has seemed to feel the most comfortable this season. Now in week 11 of the season, they make another trip. This time nearly five hours east to play Kutztown. When they were last on the road, they made two straight trips to Erie. The second of which went better than they could have hoped

for with a 63-21 win against Gannon University. It set up a PSAC West championship game, which is very rare that it comes down to the final game for a division to be decided, against No. 3 California University of Pennsylvania. Three quick strikes had that game at 21-0 before The Vulcans could even blink. Heading into the matchup with the No. 1 team in the region is another test. When they last met, The Rock was favored, but things have changed a lot since then. This time around The Rock doesn’t have a man named Roland Rivers III behind center. But they have all three of their leading receivers back. In the 2019 championship game, the trio of Henry Litwin, Jermaine Wynn Jr. and Cinque Sweeting combined for 22 receptions, 233 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The only difference is now they’re catching passes from Noah Grover, who took over the starting spot only two weeks ago against Gannon. In that game, he set a school record

with eight touchdown passes and played nearly flawless. He followed it up with a four touchdown performance against Cal-U, who ranked among the best in the country defensively. He already faces another test this week, and the stakes are much higher. “I think every game [Noah] starts he feels a little more confident and comfortable, so I don’t think there will ever be a big stage for Noah because he understands and he’s calm, cool and collected,” Lutz said. “You’re going to see him continue to improve and get better as he gets more experience under his belt.” Grover has already shown what he can do in just two starts. He’s had 12 touchdown passes over those two games and has also thrown for 905-yards. He’s accomplished getting many people involved, including players like Max Maciejewski and John Eakin. Each of whom caught a touchdown pass against Gannon. With the weapons Grover has, the goal is to get him going early on. Even with an offense that’s on fire, an away game so far

from home makes it easy to give No. 16 Kutztown an advantage. But The Rock football team is confident in what they’ve been doing. The challenges that Lutz set last week, were met and met beyond expectations. The secondary shut down of one of the best passing attacks in the nation, lead to The Rock's advancement for the third straight year. This week the challenge is clear to Lutz: contain Kutztown and their run heavy offense. “It’s going to come down to the offensive and defensive line, because in a game like this you’re going to win it in the trenches,” Lutz said. The Golden Bears have three players with over 400-yards on the ground, with Darryl DavisMcNeil’s 512-yards leading the way. Against Cal-U, The Rock was able to force their offense off the field three straight possessions to begin the game. They scored on their first three drives as well. In this game, The Rock will try to get off to a dream start like that again. It’s unlikely that Evyn Holtz, who returned a few weeks ago, will be able to go against

Kutztown. Holtz was injured on his first touchdown of the season. His presence has given The Rock running game a major boost, but luckily for Slippery Rock, they have Tim Smith, Chris D’or and Cinque Sweeting. “The nice thing about Tim Smith has been our starter all year, Chris D’Or is our big play guy, and Cinque has a role as well and Evyn gives a combination of everything so [not having him] is going to hurt,” Lutz said. “But I think with those three we have a nice one, two, three punch and we’ll be okay at that position.” Both teams have had a somewhat similar path up to this point. They both suffered their lone loss to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and both had big wins over a ranked team that would be in the championship. Kutztown beat No. 10 Shepherd University on the road, and that serves as their best win this year. The Rock is coming off of their best win. Lutz thinks that while the two teams may be a little similar, their approaches couldn’t be any different. The Rock is a

pass happy, quick strike team, which will play a big part in the game Saturday. On the other hand, The Golden Bears are run first team, that likes to grind the clock. While they may be very different, both are playing towards the same goal on Saturday: bring home the PSAC title. “I have a lot of respect for them, their head coach has done a tremendous job, because they lost a lot of guys offensively and they have a lot of player back on defense,” Lutz said. “So their strength is definitely their defense… they’re the number one team in the region for a reason and it’s got to go through Kutztown.” The last time the two met, the stakes were just as high. Now it’s going to almost be like déjà vu as they square off in the same spot two years removed since the last PSAC championship was held. In the end, The Rock is hoping that they’ll be bringing back another trophy on the bus ride home. But as Lutz said, everything runs through Kutztown right now.

High hopes and new beginnings By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor

The last time The Rock women’s basketball took the court they fell short of making the PSAC tournament. Now, nearly two years removed from the loss to Mercyhurst University that closed their season out, they’ll finally be making their return to the court. Like every other team at Slippery Rock, they didn’t play for a whole year due to COVID-19. The court i n Mo r row Fi e l d h o u s e sat empty for months. In 2021 things have slowly made their way back into a sense of normalcy, but that stagnant period sent a reminder of how much the small things are taken for granted on a daily basis. “[Not playing last year] made me miss setting up meals and going to buy Gatorade, stuff that might PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SCHNELLE

have gotten mundane in the past, I couldn’t wait to do that again because it meant we were playing and we were getting on the floor,” Coach Bobby McGraw said. With time comes changes, and there were a lot of them for the women’s basketball team. The team essentially had a complete turnover. After boasting a veteran team in 2019, the majority of the team this year hasn’t played in a game for The Rock yet. “This team has the best chemistry since I’ve been in this office, this team has the most discipline and togetherness I’ve ever seen,” McGraw said. “I told them in the marines you learn how to accept the violence and embrace it, and so against Ohio State University the majority of our team accepted the adversity and they embraced it.”

SEE WOMEN'S PAGE D-3


SPORTS

D-2

PSAC WEST

The Relentless Rock family

final standings

Football 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Slippery Rock California (Pa.) Indiania (PA.) Gannon Mercyhurst Edinboro Seton Hill Clarion

9-1 (6-1) 8-1 (5-1) 5-2 (6-3) 4-6 (3-4) 4-6 (3-4) 3-6 (3-4) 4-6 (2-5) 0-9 (0-6)

Men's Soccer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Mercyhurst* Gannon* Seton Hill* California (PA.) Slippery Rock Pitt-Johnstown

12-3-2 (7-1-2) 15-2-2 (7-1-2) 9-8-2 (6-3-1) 4-10-2 (3-6-1) 6-10-2 (3-7) 1-12-3 (0-8-2)

Women's Soccer 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

mercyhurst* Gannon* Slippery Rock* Edinboro* iNDIANA (pa.) sETON HILL PITT-JOHNSTOWN CLARION cALIFORNIA (pa.)

14-4-1 (12-3-1) 12-2-3 (11-2-3) 12-4-3 (11-3-2) 9-9 (8-8) 8-8-1 (7-8-1) 7-9-1 (6-9-1) 5-11-2 (4-10-2) 4-12-1 (4-11-1) 3-13-1 (3-12-1)

Field Hockey 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Shippensburg* E. Stroudsburg* West Chester* millersville* INdiana (PA.)* Kutztown* mansfield slippery rock bloomsburg mercyhurst seton hill

18-0 (10-0) 15-4 (9-1) 15-4 (7-2) 15-4 (7-3) 12-6 (5-5) 11-7 (5-5) 9-9 (4-6) 7-9 (4-6) 8-10 (2-8) 1-16 (1-9) 1-16 (0-9)

Volleyball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

November 12, 2021

Gannon* Edinboro* Clarion* California (PA.) Indiana (PA.) Mercyhurst Seton Hill Pitt-Johnstown Slippery rock

24-5 (11-3) 19-5 (11-3) 18-8 (10-4) 13-10 (8-6) 17-14 (7-8) 10-15 (6-8) 12-12 (5-9) 12-12 (5-10) 5-23 (1-13)

g ood ne ws . Litwin By Madison Williams w a s o v e r w h e l m e d by the surprise and Sports Editor many smiles were A s a c o l l e g i a t e shared during the a t h l e t e , t h e r e a r e celebration. multiple awards you When asked why can be recognized he believes Litwin for that note your is a good contender community ser vice, of the award, Lutz athletic talent and noted how Litwin a c a d e m i c a b i l i t i e s . is a resilient young T h e W i l l i a m V. man. C a m p b e l l Aw a rd “ He n e ve r m a k e s is one of the most a n y t h i n g a b o u t p r e s t i g i o u s a n d himself, works hard, a w a r d i n g t i t l e s and is well liked by w h i c h n o m i n a t e s others on the team. t h e t o p a t h l e t e s Pe o p l e o f t e n l o o k around the United u p t o h i m , h e i s States w i t h i n always happy for m u l t i p l e d i v i s i o n s . his team even if it I t d i f f e r s f r o m i s n’t h i m s c o r i n g other awards beingg the touchdowns.” that it is inclusive Litwin isn’t one of o f a l l d i v i s i o n s those guys g y that soaks within the NCAA. up the spotlight; Divisions include he lives for the NAIA, Divisions satisfaction of I, II and III for teamwork nominations; and the h o w e v e r , Division I is the most common. The trophy is presented through the Na t i o n a l Fo o t b a l l Founda t i o n and College Hall of Fame as a yearly accolade. This is a r e c o r d breaking award for The Rock standout H e n r y Litwin and is adding to his long list of school records. Slippery Ro c k f o o t b a l l star and wide receiver Litwin is among a p re s t i g i o u s l i s t of nominees and was recentlyy notified that he is a national finalist for the award. 2021 As a part of this recognition will Litwin receive an $18,000 , post-graduate scholarship as one amongg of 13 players p y finalists. He's accumulated quite a stor y, comingg in as a walk-on athlete to a now top-ranked p football standout and well-rounded genuine teammate. former The Area Conneaut Senior High g football player p y is in his fifth and final year y with T h e Ro c k f o o t b a l l program, as he is workingg toward his Master of Business Administration (MBA). (MBA) Head Coach Shawn Lutz alongside Litwin's teammates and family surprised him to announce the

"He [Litwin] never makes anything about himself, works hard, and is well liked by others on the team." – Shawn Lutz, head football coach

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

game off ffootball. As b ll A a captain, Litwin i s n’t v e r y v o c a l , rather he leads the team by example. The Rock football family had 16 senior returners take advantage of their extra year of eligibility and return in the hopes of winning another title. Some graduated and returned to complete a master’s degree, Litwin being one of them. “A l l I c a n s a y i s I ’m p r o u d o f a l l these guys for not quitting and coming back to finish their final season," Lutz said. The mindset always comes back to the phrase “re l e n t l e s s ,” w h i c h i s o f t e n L u t z ’s favorite ways of describing his team. “ To b e r e l e n t l e s s someone has to have a very passionate

a l l - o u t a p p r o a c h ,” which he added that Slipper y Rock football provides. “Getting Henry started early and often on catches brings the whole team together. The Rock uses every practice as if it were a game and that speaks to their ov e r a l l re c o rd a n d continued success over the years," Lutz said. However, outside of the football field,, Litwin exemplified p a man who ggave back to his community through g the midget g football league. Being from a tightg knit and rural a r e a , s p o r t s we re t h e center of his hometown. L i t w i n’s w o r k ethic and willingness to help others both on and off the field earned him the opportunity to be on the list of recipients for the award as well as his 3.66 GPA. “ T h e r e’s a l o t of individual accolades that h e ’s r i g h t f u l l y e a r n e d ,,” L u t z said about Litwin. S i m i l a r l y, W i l l i a m V. Campbell was p an astoundingg f o o t b a l l player p y in his own right.

Throughout his football era he decided his legacy by ggivingg back to the game he loved. The W i l l i a m V. Campbell Tr o p h y i s n o w awarded in his honor to a college football player with a strong balance of academics, volunteer work, athletic statistics as well as performance. Former NFL players T i m Te b o w a n d Pe y t o n M a n n i n g are both winners of this distinguished award. A football captain, coach and businessman, Campbell continued his legacy by awarding each year’s winner with a $25,000 scholarship endowed by The He a l t h S o u t h Corporation. The late Campbell was a n A l l - Iv y L e a g u e student athlete at Columbia University who dedicated his life to coaching football and later becoming a businessman. The Homestead native and Steel

Valley High School graduate gave back to the school where h i s f o o t b a l l c a re e r began as well. Campbell donated a free iPad to each student at the school, invested in renovations to the sports facilities as well as a full scholarship for one high school student to Duquesne University. The trophy for the collegiate award is

"People often look up to him [Litwin], he is always happy for his team, even if it isnt him scoring the touchdowns." – Shawn Lutz, head football coach housed in the New York Athletic Club,, in partnership with Fidelity Investments. In its 3 2 y e a r,, f i n a l i s t s will travel to Las Vegas g for a dinner celebration on Dec. 7,, where the winner of the award will be announced. Another major for category t h e W i l l i a m V. award lies Campbell p within the athletic abilityy of the player p y and team. Slipper pp y Rock checked all the boxes,, consecutivelyy winning the Pe n n s y l v a n i a St a t e Athletic Conference ( P S A C ) We s t t i t l e with Litwin on board. This week, The Rock football team will continue their journey to the Championship between the East and We s t f o r a battle of the best in the PSAC. Regardless of the outcome this season, Litwin ends a decorated career at The Rock as an All-American among many other awards. If he were to be the winner of the William V. Campbell Award he would be recognized on numerous occasions across the nation. A majority o f p l a y e r s returned for the satisfaction of knowing Notre Dame College as their so called "revenge." Each week tehy et one step closer to reaching that matchup again. W i n n i n g this weekend punches a ticket to national qualification r o u n d a n d will only make L i t w i n’s l i s t o f accomplishments g r e a t e r.


SPORTS

November 12, 2021

D-3

Sports crisis: Mental Health awareness well as Slippery Rock

much harder," said one

those study hours allows for student athletes to have a set time of the day to do school work, which helps to alleviate a good bit of their stress. However, Slipper y Rock athletics are widely known for having high grade point averages and honors those athletes for managing their time so well. Slippery Rock football program had 12 players receive academic excellence accolades for earning a 4.0 GPA in the spring of 2021, not including other players who still made high honor roll. In a recent interview, Coach Shawn Lutz said he was proud of the academic integrity his football team has. "Some of them strictly came back to complete a Master's degree, which I commend them for doing after already earning their undergraduate degrees," he said. A 2015 survey taken by the NCAA found that at least 30% of student athletes reported overwhelming feelings of stress. Additionally, nearly 25% lacked the energy to do schoolwork due to the mental exhaustion and physiological demands of their sport. "Daily practices, lifting and traveling alone make allowing time for extracurriculars that

coursework and efficiently getting good grades hold the greatest importance to Slippery Rock athletes. They added, “It makes having relationships and practicing social wellness hard to add into that mix," an athlete said. However, being a collegiate athlete is something that changes your life for the best reasons." Slippery Rock athletics pride themselves on their pristine sports medicine staff, with a large staff of athletic trainers available to accommodate their athletes postgame with physical rehab and relaxation methods. What most people do not realize is that anxiety is largely associated with athletes who are under large amounts of stress, and continue to ignore it, receiving no treatment. Having a mental health disorder can largely affect athletic performance, and Slipper y Rock ensures that their athletic guidelines protect their student athletes. “I never struggled with mental health until I started getting busy with athletics in college," an athlete said. "It can affect how you play if you let it consume you, and that is why I decided to get help." In fact, sport psychologists say athletic anxiety is a common

By Madison Williams University. Implementing athlete. Maintaining Sports Editor

Editor’s note: The student athletes interviewed for this stor y requested to remain anonymous. When asked about mental health, many of Slippery Rock’s student athletes said they feel an adequate amount of stress from their workload. The generalized opinion from athletes was that it is very difficult to balance their homework, personal life and sport schedule. “Being a student athlete requires a well-balanced lifestyle of athletics and academics in order to successfully play a sport and earn a degree," an athlete said. A factor that coaches enforce strictly to help student athletes manage their time is mandatory study hall hours. Each student athlete is required to spend a certain number of hours per week doing homework or studying for exams. If students are unable to maintain the grades, attendance to study hall or their GPA drops below 2.0, they cannot compete in games or practices due to academic probation. Eligibility of student athletes is a requirement b y T h e Na t i o n a l Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as

HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET

frequent of depression in student athletes. To shed light on this crisis, the belief that athletes cannot show weakness is something the NCAA has dismantled. Within most athletic programs at The Rock there is an emphasis on personal development and growing character instilled into athletics. A large chunk of the coaches pride themselves on creating not just outstanding athletes, but men and women who are p re p a re d t o b e c o m e adults in a workplace

setting as well as parents. Some resources that the university has available to accommodate these stressors are the Student Health Center and the C o u n s e l i n g C e n t e r. These institutions allow students to have free access to therapists and medical pharmacists that are trained to treat mental illnesses or even to just allow students to talk with a trained professional about their struggles. “Mental toughness" is a reference used by var ying coaches of Rock athletics as a form

of encouragement, but causes damage for athletes who may be struggling with feelings of anxiety, stress or depression. Instead of encouraging student athletes to not disclose their mental health and to be "mentally tough", student athletes should know they have resources on campus to take advantage of for assistance with managing their mental health. "While being a student athlete is a mental challenge at times, I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Making a fast break to victory

By Madison Williams Sports Editor

Winter is quickly approaching which means the SRU women’s basketball season is right around the corner. They have been practicing hard during the offseason and preseason play concluded this week at Akron University. In their first preseason bout The Rock took a beating from Ohio State University, with a final score of 96-48. Although both games went down as losses, the drive to compete was there. Against Akron University, Slippery Rock kept it close in the first half, but evidently slacked off in the second portion of the game, losing 97-54. In the beginning two quarters of the game, The Rock was keeping up with the Big Ten team. However, after the halftime break, the momentum was brought to a halt. The games were still valuable to ultimate task of preseason play, which is to get ready for the games that count toward the overall record. Both schools they faced are within the NCAA Division I conference, whereas Slippery Rock is only Division II. While it was good for them to play talented teams, it was a greater level of basketball than the PSAC West. As for the preseason poll, the PSAC has placed Slippery Rock in last place out of the nine PSAC West schools. Seton Hill is ranked first, followed by California (Pa.) in second, and Clarion University in third. However, these are simply predictions based off a lack of statistics since the 20202021 season was cancelled. After all, anything can happen, and Slippery Rock players have voiced that they are confident in their abilities this year.

Sophomore, forward Jordan Kauffman, said she thinks her team will play well this season. Kauffman said, “If we don’t let other distractions get in the way, we can be very good this year.” She added that there has been struggles within the group to overcome adversity and work through problems together. Over the fall semester the squad was waking up early for 5:30 A.M. practices and working toward a more positive attitude with one another. Kauffman added that she believes the team can win the PSAC West this year. “ There’s a lot of talent within our roster and great protentional to do well if we play together” Coming off on ACL injury, this will be Kauffman’s first season back on the court after rehab. “I was really nervous until I realized now that I’m back to playing how much I truly missed the game.” The point guard works as a backcourt player who directs the team’s offense in running plays and scoring. Slipper y Rock’s Daeja Quick, is that girl for The Rock women’s basketball team. According to her teammates, she brings the ball up like no other player and nobody can stay in front of her. “When she passes the ball out anyone on our team can shoot and our post is one of the best rebounders I’ve ever seen.” Kauffman said, “Our coach, Bobby McGraw, pushes us to our greatest potential, and because of him we all have become hard workers.” The first conference game within their section will be hosted by Slippery Rock at the Morrow Field House, with the first tip off Nov. 24, 1:00 P.M. They will take on East Stroudsburg University in hopes of their first of many victories. PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY


SPORTS

D-4

November 12, 2021

The greatest class to do it

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

The senior class punched their ticket to their third straight PSAC title game with a 38-26 win over No. 3 Califorina (Pa.) at home last week. They'll be looking for a second PSAC championship this Saturday against Kutztown.

By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor

T h e s n ow c ove re d the ground on the Bob Di Sp i r i t o f i e l d , a n d besides the footsteps of the 22 players, it was tough to make out anything on the field. The scoreboard read 58 for Minnesota State University and 15 for Slippery Rock University. The long, grueling season was over one week before the Rock football team had hoped. It would be the last time the 2019 seniors, such as Harlon Hill winning quarterback Roland Rivers III, would play a collegiate game. No o n e c o u l d h a ve anticipated the long wait to get back on the gridiron for ever yone else, though. Weeks passed, and the loss in the national lled weighed g semifinals stilled y n e’s h e a v y o n e ve r yo eyy were all minds. They grateful for what theyy had accomplished. Pe n n s y l v a n i a S t a t e Athletic Conference mpions, p 13 (PSAC) champions, wins and on and on. Theyy ecords, sure, set a lot of records, but they fell short. Theyy wanted to be the ones playing in McKinneyy Stadium for that national title. idn’t work Things didn’t yy. Now, the out that way. reparing p g for focus was preparing on. 2020 was the next season. going to be their yyear, one to the they had gone quarterfinals in 2018 and als in 2019. the semifinals med logical g It only seemed ational title that the national he next step. p game was the 2018 was a bigg season. g The season set the stage for what would come in 2019. To players like y Jr., it Jermaine Wynn p what helped them prove out. they were about. “ We weree doubted g g into by everyone going on with two the postseason losses, from the outsiders looking in wee didn’t even ayoff spot,” deserve a playoff Wynn said. Spring balll was comingg up and it was so close aste it. It was they could taste going to be a bigg weekend at The Rock. The ock Student Slippery Rock Government Association omehow ggot (SRSGA) somehow h to come, Roddy Ricch xt day, y The and the next d host the Rock would n and White annual Green spring game. eekend never But that weekend happened. That next senior class w a s n’t t h a t w o r r i e d , ings g would though. Things etter byy the surely be better heyy would fall, and they re in earlyy be out there pick up p September to p right where theyy left off. rong. g They were wrong. ggle fall sport p Not a single was played, and students ingg back to weren’t coming campus, it wasn’t safe

with the COVID-19 surges that had taken countless lives. Slippery Rock became a ghost town. Come spring, most of them were going to graduate. They were given the choice: come back and finish what they started or move on and begin their lives. It wasn’t a simple choice. Some people struggle with what they want to eat for breakfast, and these seniors had to make a life-changing decision. Coach Shawn Lutz wasn’t going to hold them back, but he did want to be able to have one more ride with those players. Lutz, just like them, still had a national title on his mind. That alone was reason enough to come back for some. Lutz was going to push for them to come back, but no matter what theyy all knew that he supported p pp them and loved them no matter what choice they made. “It ggot to a p point when we had COVID-19 that I didn’t even know if half of them were going g g to come back, I had to re-recr uit those guys again,” Lutz said. It was like a game g of dominos in the end. Once one decided to come back, so did another one and another one. In total, theyy brought back 15 seniors: Henr y Litwin, S w e e t i n g , Wynn, y Trysten y McDonald, D a l t o n Holt,

Khadir Ro b e r t s , G a r re t t d e Bien, Jake Tecak, Austin Wa y t , Ev y n H o l t z , Andrew Koester, Tim Vernick, Chad Kuhn, Devijan Franklin and Hunter Merritt. Anyy other team in the countryy was luckyy to gget back a few seniors, but 15 was a large g number. Not to mention the fact that most of them were starters in 2019. Amongg them was Sweeting, g who is in the midst of his second season playing p y g for The Rock. Upon p his arrival, he noticed how tight g the ggroup p was. “First thingg I noticed was the bond between the players p y and coaches, and even the support pp staff,” Sweetingg said. “ T h e l ov e w a s j u s t genuine.” Sweetingg came on in 2019, and it was a good g thingg he did. He formed the most dangerous g trio of receivers after he made the p position switch from running back. That was important p in formingg one of the most dangerous offenses in

the country. Before Sweeting, Wynn and Litwin got comfortable with each other in 2018. With Wes Hills, who went on to play in the NFL, and Rivers the offense was deadly. The two of them recorded 51 receptions each and totaled for 1 , 5 8 6 - y a rd s a n d 1 7 touchdown receptions. They were part of a team that saw Rivers step in for Koester after he got injured. That year is the only year that The Rock hosted the PSAC championship game. They dropped the contest 33-10, and it was the last home game they lost until the semifinals in 2019. The loss against Notre Dame College in the 2018 playoffs is what stuck in Litwin’s mind though. “Nearly 365 days of p y g that constantlyy replaying ggame in [our] head and countless hours of liftingg and training, g and then finallyy liningg up p against g them…it was everything y I wanted,” Litwin said. Theyy avenged g the loss against g them at home in the quarterfinals q s in 2019, and t h e p i c t u re o f Litwin’s hurdle, which was c a p t u r e d by Keegan Beard, went

viral around the SRU campus. But this year means the world to all of them. They checked off nearly every box in 2019, but there was still unfinished business. With that many seniors back, this year had to be their best yet. The team had a lot of expectations coming into the season. But, like a lot of teams this year, the football play was sloppy to begin the season. It’s hard to go back to playing a full-speed game when two of the classes of players are essentially brand new. The game against Wayne State University to start the season showed that. But you take wins when you can get them, no matter how messy. Up t o t h e p o i n t where The Rock hosted Indiana Universityy of Pe n n s y l v a n i a ( I U P ) g theyy for homecoming, h a d n’t e x p e r i e n c e d a loss outside of the playoffs since early 2018. Theyy had won 17 straight PSAC

TYLER HOWE / THE ROCKET

West matchups, and the highlight of which was a win over IUP in 2019’s homecoming. This year's 48-21 loss hurt. After the game, The Crimson Hawks made sure to stomp the logo in the middle of the field and could be heard b l a s t i n g “ Ta k e O ve r Your Trap” by Bankroll Fresh. A big win on the road against your biggest rival warrants that. After that, IUP had a clear shot to the PSAC title game. “I wouldn’t necessarily say we needed that loss, but it fueled our fire a little more,” Sweeting said. “That loss humbled us and allowed us to regroup, and like I said, I wouldn’t say it was needed, but at the same time it was definitely a learning lesson.” The way each team p responded couldn’t have been more dif different. The Rock had tw two straight road ggames iin Erie and made the d drive home with wins both b times. IUP, who aat the time controlled th their destiny, dropped bot both of their games. I n r e a l i t y, t h e California University o f Pe n n s y l v a n i a (Cal-U) w win over IUP set up p the m most crucial ggame of th the season, which raised them to No. 3 in rankings. Then, Cal-U played at T The Rock on senior day. That day, Lutz just wanted to send his guys oout the right wa way. “T The young guys need to [see th the way they approac p pp approach things], ow it to them and we owe to send the them out the g way,” y Lutz L right said. The win oover Cal-U was major for the Wi seniors. With family attendanc for what in attendance bee their last mayy have been g home game, the seniors p Sweeting, all showed up up. Wyy n n a n d L i t w i n each had a receiving touchdown iin the first q quarter. The feeling was p the complete opposite of what was felt when they played y aat Mihaliklast p p S Thompson Stadium. As things have proceeded, Lutz has r e a l i z e d t h e r e i s n’t much time left with these seniors. The h done so class that has much and h helped him him solidifyy himself as one of the best coaches in j not just the PSAC, but Divi all of Division II is pp g their final approaching run, and Lutz just wants e to cherish every single moment he has with them. j y eevery single “I enjoy day going tto practice

"That loss humbled us and allowed us to regroup, and like I said, I wouldn't say it was needed, but at the same time it was definitely a learning lesson ." – Cinque Sweeting, Senior Wide Receiver and the little things, I’m excited to go on a five-hour road trip with them and just have them around in a hotel,” Lutz said. “I’m just going to really try and enjoy the time we have left and not think about it, because it’s something that I hope we have a lot more weeks with them, but I’m not going to take it for granted.” Looking back through SRU football histor y, it’ll be hard to find a class of players that have accomplished as much as the seniors have. Three straight PSAC title game appearances have capped them off. Win or lose, their place in SRU football lore is set in stone. The stories of the players are all unique in their own way. Like Litwin, who went from walk-on to All-American, or Vernick, who played high school ball only a few miles south, at Butler. But together, they’ve created a championship atmosphere with Lutz here at The Rock. “This senior class is going to go down as one of the greatest in school history, and it’s not three of them but 15 of them,” Lutz said. “I get emotional even thinking about it, because not only are they great football players, but they’re also great men.” It doesn’t matter how many accolades they accomplish here, they still crave one thing and one thing only. It’s the reason they came back. Come Dec. 18, they want to be the ones hoisting the national title trophy. Nothing else will quench their hunger.


SPORTS

November 12, 2021

D-5

MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor

This class of seniors is a truly special one due to the circumstances that surrounded their return. Covid-19 had an impact on everyone. The SRU football was ready to return to action, but the announcement was made that all fall sports were canceled in the late Summer. The hope for a spring season remained there. But that

didn't come to fruition either. This week the Rock will look to claim their second straight PSAC title. It's against a familiar foe in Kutztown. The Rock was able to come out on top 37-35 in the final minute of action. They'll make their return their for the first time since they held up the trophy in 2019. A lot has changed since then. There are two new classes of players on

both teams, that before this year had never experienced a college football game. This will be the final time that the Rock seniors have an oppurtunity has a chance to claim a PSAC title. When 12:05 p.m. hits this Saturday, they'll look to make another memory they won't soon forget. But until then, they already have good memories, and below is their favorite memories thus far.

"My favorite moment at Slippery Rock is our whole 2018 playoff run. We were doubted by everyone going into the postseason with two losses. From the outsiders looking in we didn't even deserve a playoff spot...we had to become road warriros and every hour on thar bus we got closer as a family." 9 - Jermaine Wynn Jr. RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"My favorite memor y would be winning the PSAC championship and also playing in the national semifinals. Although the semifinals did not give us the outcome we wanted, that was the biggest stage I've ever played on which made it a lot of fun."

"My favorite memory would probably be beating Notre Dame College in 2019. It's my favorite memory because after losing to them in 2018, I couldn't help but feel I let the team down beacuse I wasn't playing to my potential. So when we got a rematch against them it was like it was straight from a movie." 11 - Henry Litwin

0 - Tim Vernick RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"I have two memories that come to mind when you say favorite memory. My first would be winning the PSAC championship. The other would be getting my first strip sack against Shippensburg my junior year.

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Koester is the oldest player on the team, and made the decision to return to pursue a title with the Rock. Koester was part of the 2019 PSAC championship team, and in eight games he put up 2,318 yards and 23 touchdowns.

1 - Garrett de Bien

12 - Andrew Koester RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"My favorite memory would be my first start against Gannon, battling injury in the first half of the season, I was eager to prove myself."

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"My favorite memory was winning the PSAC championship in 2019 and celebrating with the team on their field after the game and on the bus."

2 - Evyn Holtz

13 - Chad Kuhn KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"I don't think I have a particular favorite memory of being here, it's been filled with so many good ones, surrounded by the people that I've been blessed enough to be around. If I had to choose one, I would say the 2019 PSAC championship. Even though I was unable to play on the field due to injury, I was able to contribute and play my part in other ways."

"[My favorite Rock football memory] would definitely have to be senior day, because I'm big on family, and I had over 20 people come from Miami. I was able to have a great game and help win the PSAC West title." 3 - Cinque Sweeting

22 - Dalton Holt RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"To pick only one Rock memory is tough because after being here for so long you come across countless people and games that could be a favorite memory. If I had to choose my favorite Rock memory, I think I would have to choose winning the PSAC championship in 2019." 57 - Trysten McDonald

"My favorite memory of Rock football is winning the 2019 PSAC title. That was a very special moment, especially the way the game went. From trailing at halftime to coming back and winning. I feel that game alone described the character and resilience of that 2019 team." 5 - Khadir Roberts RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"My favorite memory [so far] is winning the PSAC west, because I came here to win a championship. I've played in this conference my entire college career and to finally get a ring with [Henry Litwin and Kyle Sheets] is something not very many people get to do."

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"My favorite Rock football memory would have to be the PSAC championship in 2019. Just because we were down with a little over a minute left in the 4th quarter and all of us knew we were going to win that game no matter what."

6- Hunter Merritt

73 - Jake Tecak PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SCHNELLE

"I'd say my favorite memory is being in the locker room after winning the PSAC chamionship against Kutztown in 2019. The energy was crazy and we had our backs against the wall pretty much the entire game and found a way to win."

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

"I'd say my favorite Rock football memory would be winning the PSAC championship against Kutztown in 2019, especially because we won that game at the end. That was our big goal as a team that year and it felt good to be on top."

7 - Devijan Franklin

77 - Austin Wayt RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET

RAYNI SHIRING / THE ROCKET


SPORTS The end of an era

D-6

November 12, 2021

Assistant Coach Danny

By Madison Williams Lowton and help from Sports Editor

As Slippery Rock w o m e n’s soccer prepared for its firstround playoff game, E m m a Yo d e r, g o a l i e and defensive specialist was awarded the weekly Pe n n s y l v a n i a St a t e Athletic Conference (PSAC) honorary title of Defensive Athlete of the week. However, the quarterfinal match against the Gannon Golden Knights was on the forefront of her mind. For the first round o f P S AC t o u r n a m e n t play, Slippery Rock was paired against Gannon after playing them earlier this week and ending in a draw. Yoder outnumbered Gannon’s goalie Morgan Sinan, with six saves on the n i g h t . In h e r s e n i o r season, Yoder recorded 58 saves in total. This put The Rock as the third seed within the playoff bracket. The Golden Knights outplayed The Rock ending their playoff run quickly with a 5-3 victory. After a scoreless game four days prior, the intensity was higher for playoffs. Gannon led 11-5 in shots on goal, having the ball on their side of the field for most of the match. In Tuesday’s g a m e , G a n n o n He a d Coach, Colin Peterson, was unable to attend due to a red card he received at Saturday’s conference game against The Rock. They pulled off the win with

the men’s soccer team. S i m u l t a n e o u s l y, a contest between Ku t z t ow n Un i v e r s i t y and Millersville Un i ve r s i t y d e c i d e d who Gannon will face in the semifinals. The Millersville Marauders and the Gannon Golden Knights will compete for a spot in the 2021 PSAC Championship. Bloomsburg and West Chester will battle for the competing spot on the East side of the

bracket. In their matchup earlier in the season, Slippery Rock defeated Gannon at home. Slippery Rock tied Gannon just three days before their meeting in the PSAC tournament. That game resulted in double overtime which forced the draw. In Tu e s d a y’s m e e t i n g Ga n n o n s t r u c k f i r s t , continued to lead them throughout the game, and forced a deficit that The Rock couldn’t bounce back from.

Jo rd y n M i n d a , Ju l i a Mascaro, and Maddie DeLucio tallied the three goals for Slippery Rock. For DeLucio, the crucial playoff goal was the first of her collegiate career. Minda tallied eight goals in her final season and Mascaro allotted three goals this year with another season to go. Looking back on the s e a s o n , He a d C o a c h Jessica (Griggs) Giegucz d i re c t e d t h e t e a m t o an 11-3-2 (12-4-3) conference record. In

her seventh season with T h e Ro c k , Gi e g u c z’s team has made the P S A C To u r n a m e n t every year since she took over the role. She's produced multiple winning seasons in her time at Slippery Rock. Tuesday’s game could potentially be the last time on a soccer field for the 10 seniors who will graduate in the spring if they do not receive the at-large berth. There is still hope that Slippery Rock will earn

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE SCHNELLE

Slippery Rock tied Gannon 0-0 in double overtime on senior day at James Egli field. This earned The Rock a third place seed for playoffs.

a berth in the NCAA tournament as one of the five Atlantic Region t e a m s . It a l l c o m e s down to the rankings, which include both P S AC a n d Mo u n t a i n East Conference (MEC) teams. As of now, The Rock is within reach, but their placement needs to fall withinthe available 6 spots from PSAC teams. Currently, in seventh place, they could earn a spot with major upsets in the remainder of the p l a yo f f s . T h e At l a n t i c Regional berth would be Slippery Rock's tenth appearence. For now, it becomes a waiting game as Slippery Rock waits and w a t c h e s p l a yo f f g a m e s unfold. If the poll works in their favor The Rock has an opportunity to continue their season. If not, Emma Yoder, Emily Arnold, Megan Sikora, Georgia Nagucki, Jordyn Minda, Reagan Reeves, R a c h e l E d g e , To r i Norton, Katy Ericson, and Katlynn Bradford will retire their jersey's. In the offseason, they will continue to work on their skills. They're still kicking around the idea of a possible berth into regionals. No n e t h e l e s s , 2 0 2 1 will still go down in the school history book as another consecutive winning season, regardless of the outcome. The hope is still alive for Rock women's s o c c e r, a n d i f t h e opportunity arises, they will shoot for the stars.


SPORTS Women's basketball finally returns

November 12, 2021

D-7

PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY

Daeja Quick returned for her senior season, and now she's a captain of a young team that was picked to finish eigth in the conference. She was finally back on the court with the Rock against No. 17 Ohio State after a nearly two year layoff.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE D-1

The team had their first opportunity to play together in a game situation this season against Ohio State, the No. 17 ranked team in Div. I. In the first game they’ve played since Feb. 29, 2020, they dropped the contest 96-48. In t h a t e x h i b i t i o n game, The Rock had three players put up double digits in points. Those players were Deleah Gibson, Isabellah Middleton and Jamiyah Johnson. With 12 rebounds and 11 points, Johnson posted a doubledouble. To McGraw, if you can do that against the No. 17 team in Div. I, you can do that against anyone. “Even when we were down 30 or 35 points,

we would hit a big shot and the bench would erupt, stuff like that was exciting to see,” McGraw said. “Jamiyah Johnson is an absolute monster, but when she was at Davis & Elkins College, they never took on Ohio State, in the past here we’ve played against University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, University of Cincinnati, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania and she was never able to do that there.” Only four players returned from the 2019-2020 year. One of those players is captain Daeja Quick, who was one of the best options The Rock had in 2019 and according to Coach Bobby McGraw. In the Rock’s final preseason game, Quick dropped 20 points against

the University of Akron. In 33 minutes of action, Quick showed a Div. I school what she was about, but over the past two years she’s learned a lot according to McGraw. One of those things was how to become a better leader. “Daeja will tell you she’s not always been the most coachable player, and I don’t mean consistently but at certain points, but we’ve stuck with her and she’s stuck with us,” McGraw said. “She could have transferred anywhere she wanted, but she chose to come back here and that means a lot.” The team has a lot of young players including five freshmen. After a long layoff, there are essentially two classes of players who haven’t taken

the court for The Rock. This season they’ll be welcomed to one of the toughest conferences in the country. Since they have such a new team, The Rock was picked to finish eighth in the conference this season. McGraw thinks that having such a new team is an advantage that other teams don’t have. While a lot of teams are returning veterans, The Rock feels that they have some new players that can compete right off the bat. “Three of the top four teams have ever yone back, but our players kind of laughed off the thing where we were chosen to finish eighth,” McGraw said. “Daeja’s quote was, 'Well, they haven’t met our newcomers yet,' and they haven’t, but they’re

going to feel them, and we didn’t take it as disrespect because we have a new team.” The first team’s first official game takes place this Saturday against Notre Dame College. It’ll be the first in season competition that the team has faced since Leap Day in 2020. It’ll start the 28-game schedule for The Rock that runs all the way until the end of February. Only 11 days after they pen the season, they’ll be faced with their first PSAC test, but it’ll be a PSAC East team, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. McGraw has made it clear that the team is here to compete this season. “If you don’t come ready to compete, you’re going to get left off the

bus and I don’t mean that literally, but what I mean is you won’t see the floor,” McGraw said. “You can either adjust and be ready, and all of our new kids have responded to that.” The Rock has been waiting to be able to get out on the court again, and after nearly two years of waiting, the season is finally approaching. It’s coming quick, and with it comes expectations and goals. The biggest of which being clear: win the PSAC. “I’ve had people literally laugh in my face when I give this answer, but our goal is to win the PSAC this year,” McGraw said. “We have the personal, and you might say, ‘Oh, well, you got picked eighth,’ well that’s because like Daeja said, they haven’t met our newcomers.”

Rock basketball looks to go on tear By Tyler Howe Assistant Sports Editor

The clock struck triple zeroes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, after a game in front of nearly 11,000 fans The Rock's men basketball team was ready to head home and prepare for their season. It’s been quite some time since the Slippery Rock men’s basketball team took the court, but getting their feet wet was exactly what they’ve been waiting for. They came away with a 9947 loss, but they were facing a team that just a year ago made it to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. Behind Luke Garza, The Hawkeyes had themselves a solid season. The Rock didn’t even have the opportunity to pick up the ball against an opponent. Matter of fact, when the ball was tipped in Iowa it was the first time the Green and White had played since the start of March in 2020. “It was a good experience for the guys, and we were without three projected starters, who missed the trip, but it was good for the guys who were there, and I think we found some things out about ourselves,” Coach Ian Grady said. “A matchup against a team of that caliber heading into the season can only help.” When The Rock last played a competitive game, they were led by Micah Till. Two years later, there is no Till or Will Robinson Jr., and just like every other team on campus, there are a ton of players with little to no experience here at The Rock, and although they lost by 52 points to The University of Iowa, that experience will be huge down the line. “It was crucial, you know? We had two closed scrimmages, but those are different than exhibitions,” Grady said. “At the exhibition game you have a real atmosphere and fans, so it’s really crucial to have those.”

The game served as the introduction to new players like, Tyler Frederick and Earl Baker Jr. Both of which are transferring into The Rock. Fredrick came from La Roche University and this season Grady expects him to make a big splash for The Rock. While there was the obvious COVID-19 pause, Grady believes that the challenges remained sort of the same. For both men’s and women’s basketball, the teams had to wear masks while playing their sports during the last year. Now neither team has to wear masks while they play, but the challenge remains getting the team to know each other better and build chemistry. “We really didn’t focus on last year, I know that different players weren’t able to play in games and we have some transfers that did, but it’s just a matter of getting the new faces with the returners,” Grady said. Although the COVID-19 vaccine is available, not everyone has gotten it, which means that testing is still taking place weekly for some players. Grady has made it clear one of the main goals of the season is keeping players healthy, but also said he’s just happy to finally be back out there. “I’m just glad that we’re able to have everyone there and we’re able to have somewhat normalcy at practice and games, and it is a challenge hearing with masks on, so we’ve had to do a better job at that,” Grady said. “It is what it is though, and I don’t like to focus on the obstacles, I’m just happy we’re able to be back out there.” Now the focus shifts to the season, where The Rock is picked to finish sixth in the PSAC West. Only two years removed from a trip to the PSAC tournament, The Rock now finds themselves in a spot without very many veterans and a newer team. “It was kind of expected for us to be picked where we

were, we lost a lot from the last time we took the court and I think when you lose a lot from a previous year’s team, people will pick you lower,” Grady said. “You can use that as motivation, because preseason rankings are exactly that, preseason rankings.” The Rock kicks off their season against Notre Dame College this Friday, and it’ll be the first time they’ve taken the court against a Div. II team since they were eliminated from the PSAC tournament against University of Pittsburgh Johnstown. Much like the women’s basketball team, they’ll kick off PSAC play very quickly with a game against East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Something that makes tings very interesting is the fact that if a player is to get COVID-19 or be exposed to it without being vaccinated, they must quarantine. While it hasn’t been seen too much in the fall seasons, it’s worth noting because basketball is played indoors, which leads to whole different set of rules. “You always are looking over your shoulder about the event of a quarantine, if an individual on your team tests positive or is exposed, and that could be a potential challenge,” Grady said. While everyone sets goals for the season, The Rock has a different set of goals than what people would think. While the goal of winning the PSAC is still ultimately there, one of the goals is to take things one day at time. “We just try to take it one game at a time, and we’re focusing on the next opponent and taking care of business t h e r e ,” Gr a d y s a i d . “Obviously we have some other goals, but we want to try to focus just one game at a time and not look ahead.”

HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET

The Rock opens up their 28 game schedule this weekend, where they will look to make an early season statement. The team lost a lot of starters, but much like every other team has adapted with two new classes of players.


November 12, 2021

THE ROCKET

D-8


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.