12-2-2022 Digital Edition

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Friday December 2, 2022 • Volume 106, Issue Number 5 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper www.theonlinerocket.com the rocket SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! Sincerely yours, The Rocket. B2: Gearing up for the holiday season: Sustainability A2: Presidential search update C1: Amante Britt D1: SRU accessibility
COVER BY: JOCELYN KYTCHAK

Thoughts on on SRU presidential SRU presidential candidates candidates

Final four SRU presidential candidates visit campus

During the week of Nov. 28, SRU hosted the final four presidential candidates for the community to judge before one of them replaces President Behre after June 30, 2023.

The presidential search committee, comprised of Jeffery Smith, Elise Michaux and Matthew Lautman, has been active since February and finally released the names of the final four on Nov. 22.

Each candidate gets two days on campus. They spend the first day in meetings with the provosts, the deans and the council of trustees.

The second day is largely spent in forums but also includes meetings with the president’s cabinet, lunch with invited students and a campus tour.

“I think each of them has the experience to take us five steps forward,” Michaux said about the candidates. “That’s exciting because we can’t continue to do the statis quo. These candidates aren’t interested in that, and that’s what excites me.”

Chance Glenn Chance Glenn, the provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of HoustonVictoria, was on campus Nov. 28 and 29.

Glenn built his background in STEM and received his Ph.D. of philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, but he is perhaps best known as a singer/songwriter who

has published more than 100 songs and recorded two albums.

In 2000, he had a song nominated for a Grammy and an album nominated for album of the year as a Christian artist.

As an active member of the community, including memberships for many professional organizations and serving on several chambers of commerce, Glenn understands the value of the experience.

When he talked with students, their love for the SRU experience stuck with him.

“This is a community and experience that all the students love,” he said. “I got a chance to talk to a number of students. You all love the experience.

“What we’re offering is encased within that culture, that experience. As we draw (students) in, then it is our responsibility to provide them the strong education that is going to help them.”

Glenn went on to explain that he will communicate with the faculty, staff and leadership to reassess academic programs to give students the strongest education possible if elected president.

Karen Riley Karen Riley, the provost and chief academic officer at Regis University, was on campus Nov. 29 and 30.

Riley’s background in education helped her to earn her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Denver.

In her CV, partnerships are a specialty. She has previously created

partnerships with local businesses, school districts and NGOs and innovated a partnership with community colleges. She has also initiated international partnerships and re-organized vendor partnerships.

“Education is all of our responsibility,” Riley said, “and I think that we have a great opportunity to partner with the local schools as well as to provide professional development for ongoing learning.”

In admissions, Riley has worked to reverse trends

and define new approaches to awarding universityfunded financial aid.

She also advanced the university’s Jesus Catholic mission in curriculum, faculty development and other areas.

“My job as president is to support all of the programs,” Riley said. “My job is also to support the provost, to support the need, to support all of the programs.”

From 2019 to 2021, Riley also served as the strategic director for health initiatives.

Jones received his Ph.D. in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William and Mary.

In his role, he has worked closely with the president and provost and was responsible for creating enrollment and DEI plans among other

responsibilities. Fundraising was not a large part of his job, but he fundraised where needed and for his local YMCA.

In 2021, Jones received the Fostering Inclusion & Diversity Certificate from Yale University School of Management.

He also grew the enrollment of students of color and international students to more than 27% through campus partnerships.

The fight for student loan forgiveness

to comment.

In the Biden administration’s fight for student loan forgiveness, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced Nov. 22 they are extending the pause on student loan repayments.

Student loan repayments were paused early in the COVID-19 pandemic and have been in effect for almost three years.

This comes after two separate lawsuits have stalled the ED from forgiving student debt, which 26 million borrowers have already applied for, and 16 million borrowers have already been approved.

“We’re extending the payment pause because it would be deeply unfair to ask borrowers to pay a debt that they wouldn’t have to pay, were it not for the baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said previously.

Repayments will resume 60 days after the ED is permitted to continue with loan forgiveness or the dispute it settled otherwise.

If the lawsuits are not

resolved by June 30, 2023, then repayments will resume 60 days after that.

CNBC speculated that borrowers will have at most nine months before loan payments resume.

The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s rulings.

The first court hurdle for the Biden administration came Oct. 21 when the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Republican states Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina.

U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey in St. Louis sided with the states that argued Biden went around congressional authority with a plan that puts future tax revenues at risk and harms institutions that invest in student loans.

The ruling blocked the ED from following Biden’s executive order from forgiving debts and accepting new applications.

The Biden administration cannot implement debt cancellation until the appeals process is finished.

The second court hurdle came on Nov. 10 when U.S.

District Judge Mark Pittman ruled Biden’s loan forgiveness plan unlawful citing that Biden

did not follow procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act that allow for public comment before announcement.

Pittman also supports the idea that the executive order usurped Congress’ power to make laws.

“The Court is not blind to the current political division in our country,” Pittman wrote. “But it is fundamental to the

survival of our Republic that the separation of powers as outlined in our Constitution be preserved.”

The suit was filed by the Job Creators Network Foundation on behalf of two borrowers that don’t qualify or only qualify for some of the program’s benefits.

According to the lawsuit, they disagreed with the program’s eligibility criteria and were not given the opportunity

Plaintiff Alexander Taylor is eligible for only $10,000 of his student loans forgiven and argued that he should receive more.

Plaintiff Myra Brown has privately held loans that are not eligible for forgiveness but were eligible when the program was announced.

The Biden administration claimed that they were given authority by the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, or the HEROES Act.

The Act says that the Secretary of Education may “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs… as the Secretary deems necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency.”

Biden’s administration argued that the pandemic falls under the category of “national emergency,” and the U.S. Department of Justice argued the plan does not require notice or public comment.

Biden’s loan forgiveness plan would cancel $10,000 in student debt, or $20,000 if they received a Pell Grant, for borrowers making less than $125,000 or households

making less than $250,000.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the plan would eliminate about $430 billion of the $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt.

However, according to PBS, the Congressional Budget Office also said the program will cost about $400 billion over the next three decades.

Many Republican politicians, lawyers and businesses are calling the plan an overstep and an “unfair government giveaway” that will negatively affect taxpayers who didn’t pursue higher education.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee argues that the plan will make rising costs worse rather than address the costs of higher education.

“The knowledge that the government can forgive debt with the stroke of a pen will lead many borrowers to take on more debt in the future, not less,” Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) said previously, “and will create the expectation that debt will not have to be repaid in the future.”

Student loan debt exceeds both outstanding credit card and auto debt in the United States.

N NEWS VIDEO:
David Jones David Jones, the vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Minnesota State University, Mankato since 2012, was on campus Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. MATT GLOVER / THE ROCKET Presidential candidate David Jones speaking at the manager forum in the Russel Wright Alumni House on Dec. 1. He was the third candidate to visit SRU.
SEE CANDIDATES PAGE A-5

Does SRU trust The Rocket?

they read sports.

In early November, The Rocket created a survey to better understand viewers’ perceptions of the newspaper’s transparency and effectiveness in producing objective, impartial journalism.

As gatekeepers of information, The Rocket staff believes it is our responsibility to bring accurate and unbiased journalism to Slippery Rock University and the community. We also believe in responding in new ways to meet community needs as they may change.

Survey Responses

In a transparency survey, 51% of respondents thought The Rocket published information that was accurate but at times biased, 16.3% thought The Rocket is factual but biased, 14.3% answered The Rocket is factual and unbiased.

About 4% of respondents don’t trust The Rocket at all, and 14.3% have not thought about this.

At 34.7%, most survey respondents read The Rocket every week. One per month readers make up 28.6%, 16.3% read The Rocket a couple times per semester, and 14.3% only read the print edition.

The survey also included data about what section of the newspaper the audience reads.

About 70.8% said they read the news, 68.8% said they read campus life, 66.7% said they read the blotter, 52.1% said they read the opinion section, and 27.1% said

When asked if The Rocket covers important issues, 41.7% said they were leaning toward yes, 29.2% are neutral, 18.8% said The Rocket absolutely covers important issues, and 8.3% were leaning toward no, it does not cover important issues.

The survey also asked readers what The Rocket is doing well and what it could do better. Many praised the newspaper’s coverage of local stories, sports, organizations and the administration.

Many also feel The Rocket is not as strong as it used to be. Several responses to things The Rocket could be doing better included creating more of a variety in coverage, being more objective and impartial by interviewing all relevant parties, publishing more positive articles, stronger writing, stronger student marketing and leaning more toward the center.

Several responses also critiqued how The Rocket reports on administration. Some thought the newspaper needs to be harder on administration and ask fewer “softball” questions.

Others said The Rocket tries to “stir up problems on campus” and must outrun the “hatchet journalism” of previous news editor Joe Wells.

The Rocket staff will use this constructive criticism to evolve in ways that further meet the needs of their audience.

How stories are produced

With the amount of online misinformation

rising and public trust in the media falling, news consumers deserve to know how their news is gathered and how stories are produced.

The survey also revealed that most readers believe writing a story only takes between one hour and one day.

The Rocket staff has a budget meeting each week for the sections to explain what stories and multimedia they will be producing. All staff are required to attend.

Story ideas are pitched with a summary for getting credible, relevant information, what photos or videos they may need and a planned due date.

The staff then evaluates the idea’s newsworthiness and feasibility and brings forward any concerns

they may have such as conflicting interests, potential sources or what must be included in the story.

A writer’s next priority is contacting their sources to schedule interviews. Writers aim for a minimum of two sources in each story to accurately represent both sides of any issue.

The Rocket will sometimes publish a story with only one source referenced, but this is usually because the other party was unavailable or didn’t respond by the writer’s deadline.

Some stories covering national issues require sources to which college journalists may not have access, so writers will attempt to localize the story.

The time it takes to

write the article from here varies. The writer will continue researching for their story and use that information to create relevant questions for their interviewees.

After the interview, a writer will use all relevant information and quotes to write the story in the clearest way possible.

The Rocket aims to be precise by having multiple people edit stories for factual and writing errors before publication. The story is first edited by the section editor then by the copy/ web editor or assistant editor and sometimes the editor-in-chief.

If an error was made in an article, it is corrected in the next print edition in the opinion section.

Some stories can take anywhere from days to

Fighting for campus technology stability

Technological issues at SRU have begun to effect students to the point that they started a petition to attempt to make changes to the faulty technology system.

Conversations about technology issues on personal computers and software delays on campus computer labs are circulating.

Kayla Martz, a fifthyear senior strategic communication and media major, was inspired by technology conflicts in her social media analytics class. People were talking about their frustrations with the lack of help and resources for technology issues for both students and professors.

SRU has an Information and Administrative Technology Services (IATS) Department provides computing and communications infrastructure, services and support for oncampus technology.

For Martz and her classmates, IATS was not helpful in resolving these issues. The class required software to be downloaded on the computer lab Macs for class assignments, and the semester began without it.

The professor contacted IATS multiple times to obtain this software. There was no solution provided.

Martz said students were backed into a corner, now needing

to install this software onto their own personal computers. The conversation shifted to the frustration of using personal storage and RAM for a software that should be available on school computers.

They began a petition with hopes of starting an open conversation about the technology issues on campus. Walking through the Quad and the Smith Student Center during various common hour periods, the petition gathered more than 150 signatures.

Each student had a personal experience with on-campus technology issues.

Many students said they had to use their own personal cell phone data plans and hot spots to do assignments, take quizzes and/or join Zoom calls.

The issues stretch beyond students, though. Professors are sharing very similar frustrations.

Jason Stuart, an SRU assistant English professor, said the desktop in his office has caused him a lot of problems, which led him to buying his own MacBook.

"It’s ancient [and] barely functions," he said. "I usually come back from any long weekend to find that it has that flashing folder icon and it can’t start or restart on its own.

[I]’ll restart it and wait, and then it’ll update all the office programs, and it’ll take five minutes to verify each before

they launch, and then a bunch of stuff autolaunches, and it’s just so much waiting."

Stuart received a $10,000 grant to purchase technology for the English department. With this money, he was able to afford two iMac Pros for production that are estimated to have at least 10 years of use before possible performance issues.

"It took two years to even get [the iMacs]," he said. "[T]hat's two years of future-proofing down the drain. Then, they stick them on random student tables in [the classroom] and drape an ethernet wire knee-high to the wall outlet."

He submitted a work order to fix the imminent safety hazard, which took two months to resolve. Stuart said they ended up using cheap duct tape to stick the wire to the floor.

Computers in the Spotts World Culture Building do not come with Adobe software, despite various publications being housed in the building, as well as classes being taught that require the applications.

IATS suggested that Stuart uses the computer labs in the Eisenberg Classroom Building where the College of Business is housed.

After discovering an issue with one of the Mac computers, Martz found out that there is not a Mac specialist in the IATS department. In her petition, she received responses that show the

lack of education the employees of IATS on Mac computers. An in-state undergraduate student taking 12 to 21 credits pays $239 in technology fees within the tuition payment. An out-ofstate undergraduate student taking the same amount of credit pays $364 in technology fees.

The university said the SRU technology fee enables the university to invest in instructional technology by upgrading computer labs and classrooms and providing other technological enhancements, but Martz said she does not see those enhancements

happening.

"We were looking at sharing the technology fee [with students] because I know a lot of students don't look at the fees that they pay in tuition, or the amount those fees are," Martz said.

Martz started this petition with the goal of approaching the Slippery Rock University Student Government Association (SRSGA) with it to hopefully fix these issues. Her ideal solution is to refund this semester's technology fee or waive it for next semester.

Through conversations she had while gathering signatures, she said

a week depending on topic complexity and the source’s schedule.

The Rocket has a news, sports, campus life and opinion section that are responsible for writing content. Exceptions are made for short weeks (e.g., holiday breaks) or can be made on an individual basis.

The news, sports and campus life sections are also required to create one multimedia piece per week in collaboration with the multimedia editor.

Additional sections include photos, copy/ web and advertising. Each section has an editor, assistant editor and contributing writers if applicable.

The last print edition of Fall 2022 is the Dec. 2 edition.

students want a solution to the Wi-Fi issues, as well as a strong, fast and reliant connection.

Stuart, who previously served as a member of the Tech Advisory Committee, said there is an extreme lack of communication within the IATS department.

"Nobody called [the meeting] to order," he said. "There’s no advisory oversight, [and] there’s no communication. Everybody's just mad."

Martz is hoping her petition will increase the volume of the conversation and begin the works of a solution.

"Nothing's going to be done unless we speak

December 2, 2022 A-3 NEWS
BRANDON PIERCE / THE ROCKET The Rocket is Slippery Rock University's independent, student-run newspaper. The transparency survey had 52 participants. EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Kayla Martz and Jeremiah Brown with their petition for the Student Govenment Association to refund student's technology fee. The petition reached more than 150 signatures.

POLICE BLOTTER

December 2, 2022 A-4 NEWS
COMPILED BY NINA CIPRIANI

Midterm elections make history

UPDATED NOV. 30 AT 12 P.M.

The Republican Party has majority control of the United States House of Representatives, while the Democratic Party has control over the U.S. Senate.

As of Wednesday, Republicans totaled 220 seats in the House versus Democrats' 213 seats. Democrats received 50 seats in the Senate, with Republicans not so far behind with 49 votes. Democrats will control the chamber because of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote.

ORIGINAL STORY WAS PUBLISHED ON NOV. 14

As the midterm election results are finalized, it is not yet clear whether the Democrats or Republicans will have majority control of the United States Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives. However, one thing we do know is how diverse these governing bodies are becoming as more results come in.

In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman (D) won his Senate race against Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) for Sen. Pat Toomey's (R) seat. Fetterman's win flipped the PA Senate seat.

With more than 2.5 million votes (51%), Oz was a mere 4% (about 200,000 votes) behind Fetterman, as of Saturday.

The other 2.4% were divided between the other candidates: Erik Gerhardt (Libertarian Party candidate), Richard Weiss (Green Party candidate) and Daniel Wassmer (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania).

The Associated Press has called the race in favor of Fetterman.

Josh Shapiro (D) beat out Doug Mastriano (R) for PA governor by a larger margin than Fetterman and Oz. Shapiro received 56.1% of the votes (2.9 million), while Mastriano had 42.1% (2.2 million).

The rest of the votes (1.8%) were divided among the other candidates: Matt Hackenberg (Libertarian Party candidate), Christina Digiulio (Green Party candidate) and Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania).

Shapiro gains his win after campaigning in Philidelphia on Nov. 5

alongside Former U.S. President Barack Obama and current President Joe Biden, just a few days before the midterm elections.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned with Republican candidates Mastriano and Oz during a rally in Pittsburgh on the same day.

Progressive steps forward Democrats flipped seats in Massachusetts (Maura Healey as governor), Maryland (Wes Moore as governor), Michigan (Hillary Scholten in U.S. House), Ohio (Greg Landsman in U.S. House), Illinois (Nikki Budzinski in U.S. House) and Ohio (Emilia Sykes in U.S. House).

Democrats also flipped the entire Michigan State Senate for the first time since 1983.

Greg Casar (D) won his race (73%) for the U.S. House in Texas's 35th District. Casar is a selfproclaimed progressive Democrat. Being a son of Mexican immigrants, he has passed policies that protect families from being separated.

"When the state legislature threatened to close the Planned Parenthood in East Austin, Greg worked with the citysupported clinic to keep it open," his campaign website reads. "He also cleared the decades-long backlog of sexual assault evidence kits and expanded shelter for survivors of family violence."

Austin Davis (D) is Pennsylvania's first Black lieutenant governor. Previously, Davis served as chair of the Allegheny County Delegation and vice chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee, among other positions.

Making history

In Massachusetts, Maura Healey (D) is the first openly gay person and the first woman to be elected as the governor. According to her website, she wishes to build an economy where everyone can thrive.

Maxwell Frost (D) is the first Gen Z U.S. House member from Florida's 10th Congressional District. Born in 1997, he is 25 years old.

On his website, Frost said he has been fighting his whole life for the future that the younger generation deserves.

"As the first generation-z member of Congress, from day one, I will fight to end

gun violence, win Medicare For All, transform our racist criminal justice system, and end the climate crisis," he said.

Wes Moore (D) is the first Black governor of Maryland. Moore believes that no matter where people start in life, they deserve an equal opportunity to succeed, according to the Moore campaign website.

Summer Lee (D) became the first Black woman elected to Congress in Pennsylvania. As a congresswoman, she promises to fight for her community’s chance to build a brighter future.

"Throughout our nation’s history, we have never delivered on the promises of democracy," she said on her campaign website. "The legacies of slavery and Jim Crow have carried on through voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and voter suppression making the ballot box inaccessible, especially for poor, Black and brown people across the country."

Anthony Brown (D) is the first Black attorney general in the 4th District of Maryland. He has been a member of Congress since 2017.

Becca Balint (D) is the first woman elected to Congress from Vermont. She previously served as Senate President and Majority Leader. Balint strives to be a voice for all people of

Vermont, she said on her campaign website.

"Growing up gay, and the granddaughter of a man killed in the Holocaust, Becca developed early on a deep sense of empathy for people on the margins," she said. "She started looking out for every single kid on the playground, especially the ones other kids made fun of."

Zaynab Mohamed (D) became the youngest woman to be elected to the Minnesota Senate. Mohamed said like many other first-generation immigrants, she has first-hand experience in navigating the government services that impact everyone's lives.

"I believe that we can come together to create systems that make our lives easier, not harder," she said on her campaign website.

Abortion rights Voters in Vermont codified abortion rights in their state constitution. They are the first state to do so, with more than 285,000 "yes" votes. California voters also solidified abortion rights in their constitution.

Michigan r esidents voted to protect the right to abortion in their state constitution. The decision essentially eliminates a 1931 ban on abortion that could have gone into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to NPR.

Kentucky voters rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have banned abortion. Montana followed suit with their rejection of a ballot measure that would have "forced medical workers to intercede in the rare case of a baby born after an attempted abortion," according to the Associated Press.

Workers' rights and involuntary servitude In Nebraska, about 56% of voters are in favor of increasing the state's minimum wage. The state's minimum wage would increase in annual increments to $15 an hour in 2026, from the now $9 an hour. It will be adjusted each year by the cost of living after 2026, according to the New York Times.

Many ballot measures in this year's elections dealt with minimum wage issues. About 22 states will have a raised minimum wage in 2022.

Voters in Alabama voted to implement a new amendment to their state constitution that will remove the involuntary solitude loophole.

Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont voters also approved similar policies. These ballot measures prohibit slavery and involuntary solitude as punishment for crime, according to the Associated Press.

Cannabis legalization

Recreational cannabis is now legal in Maryland after almost 66% of voters voted in favor of its legalization. The possession and use of marijuana will be legal for those 21 and older starting in July 2023, according to the New York Times.

Missouri voters also approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Twenty-one states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana's recreational use. But it was also rejected in three different states, according to the Associated Press.

Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rejected the effort in Tuesday's elections. Where we stand now The 2022 midterm elections are not over yet. Three states will now decide which political party has majority control of the Senate: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.

Georgia's Raphael Warnock (D) and Herschel Walker (R) will face each other in a runoff election on Dec. 6. The candidates have yet to reach the 50% threshold needed to avoid a head-to-head race under Georgia state law, according to CBS News.

For up-to-date midterm election results, visit The Associated Press's website.

Candidates visit SRU campus

For innovations, Jones collaborated with the community and alumni to design a master plan for an innovative Greek housing model to increase student success, alumni engagement and brand identity for his university. Much of his early career was based in Greek leadership.

Jones also knows what consistent, stable leadership can do for a university and wants to be here to stay.

“We’re at the age in our career and point in our career where it would make sense to have a good 10-to-15year run in a place to really embrace and be a part of it,” he said, referring to himself and his wife.

“It’s no secret to probably all of you that the turnover at the leadership level stunts the growth of the place,” he said.

In 135 years of

operation, his current university has had 12 presidents.

He also implemented an early alert system. The new retention staff and advising model that came with it led to a 78% increase in first-tosecond-year retention, the greatest rate in 18 years.

Mirta Martin Mirta Martin, the former president at Fairmont State University, was on campus Dec. 1 and today. She’s quad-lingual and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Martin has accomplished much in her professional career including five gubernatorial appointments, advising education for two former Mexican presidents, being highlighted by The PhD Project for Women’s History Month

and being named one of the most influential women in Chesterfield County.

She’s also won awards like the President of the United States’ Volunteer Service Award, the Metropolitan Business League Humanitarian Award for Educational Excellence and the RichTech Technology Innovation Deployment Award.

During her time at FHSU, Martin expanded the university curriculum by more than 36 accredited degrees, specializations and programs, designed and implemented program initiatives that resulted in a net profit increase of $20.5 million and designed financial protocols to protect the university from risk.

For the university’s public image, she launched a rebrand to change the general perception of FHSU

being inaccessible to students from underrepresented populations.

Martin has also been a director or board member for several professional organizations and chambers of commerce.

Despite being very decorated, and perhaps the most experienced candidate, Martin faced controversy at FHSU before resigning in 2016.

Martin faced complaints that, according to FHSU Faculty Senate President at the time Carl Miller, were supported by more than 100 faculty and staff from 17 departments in four of the five colleges.

“Dr. Martin has repeatedly and publicly spoken with heightened emotion, supported only by anecdote, about the threats to the job security of staff and faculty if we fail to support her plans for the university,” he said in 2016.

Curt Brungardt, a professor of leadership studies, wrote in a letter to the Kansas Board of Regents that Martin was not committed to shared governance, refused to share information, bullied faculty, made “impulsive and emotionally driven” decisions, showed “cronyism” in hiring practices and made a “habit of later denying what she said to our faces.”

However, provost at the time Graham Glynn supported Martin by saying those statements “are innuendo and are not backed up by evid ence.”

Martin was also involved in an incident where she allegedly threw a shoe at Glynn, but he cleared up that it was in a joking manor that both parties laughed about.

Some faculty like Robert Scott, an assistant

professor of education, were still “very sad” to see her resign.

Regardless of who is elected for the next SRU president, Michaux wants students to know that their input via the online evaluation for each candidate heavily factors into the final decision.

“I don’t think students recognize how important their voice is,” she said.

“They think that their voices don’t matter as much as everyone else’s, but y’all have a big piece of this pie.

“I speak for the committee when we say we want to hear from everybody, which is why a student is on the search committee.”

The way Michaux sees these candidates, each of them would be a successful leader for SRU. The way people listen to them makes her feel the committee did their job well.

December 2, 2022 A-5 NEWS
CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-2

Our View The avalanche of bad news

Keeping up to date on the current happenings of the United States and elsewhere, is not inherently negative. However, when the bad news feels like an inescapable avalanche, it may be time to reflect on one's consumption of media.

it can ease nerves and help you make sense of the bad news.

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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.

Reporter Eric Pooley said in New York magazine (1989) that news outlets aim to grab our attention by promoting the most shocking stories right on the front page, saying, "If it bleeds, it leads." This stands true to this day.

At its core, news highlights the worst of the worst. Consuming media on a regular basis will aff ect you, consciously or subconsciously.

The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders said negative news articles can induce anxiety as well as feelings of worry and stress. Other studies have found indirect effects on psychological distress, including an increase in stress levels and irrational beliefs.

Although not a medical term, psychologist Dr. Steven Stosny coined "headline stress disorder" to define the high emotional responses one feels after viewing endless media reports.

How to constructively consume news Limit news intake and social media screen time. This is the main way to regain control over media consumption.

Be mindful of the fact that news is written in a way that is supposed to grab the reader's attention. A fearful, tense or concerning headline is what keeps the news business running, according to The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.

Along with stepping away from the news, when digesting negative events becomes too difficult, turn to a friend or even a professional. Talking about

We’ve seen a trend of narratives that were accepted as fact several years ago—Britney Spears being “crazy” in the 2000s, for instance—being revisited and labeled as problematic and insensitive. But this reflection only happened over 20 years after the fact.

News outlets are powerful methods of spreading factual, important information. But it can also be a way of unnecessarily catastrophizing events.

All news consumers must make a habit of rationalizing the news articles they read. The information is often overwhelming and worrisome. Keeping in mind something like, "The likelihood of x, y, or z happening is slim to none," will take you a long way in regulating negative emotions toward bad news.

Desensitization

Desensitization to traumatic news can occur when consuming an overload of bad news. When the 611th shooting of 2022 hits the headlines, most do not even bat an eye at the injuries and/or deaths involved because it is such a regular occurrence.

It is all interconnected. With the overload of negative information comes desensitization to violence and/or tragedy. And with desensitization comes a lack of empathy and the unhealthy consumption of news.

It can be difficult to fully understand that the tragedies in the news are real and they affect real people.

To avoid desensitization, it is important to take occasional breaks from consuming media. Echo chambers on social media

The term echo chamber refers to an experience where similar beliefs or opinions are reiterated,

therefore eliminating opposing points of view or challenging, critical thoughts.

TikTok, Facebook and Twitter have become prominent examples of echo chambers.

Because of algorithmic advances in social media apps, someone's TikTok feed may contain only one viewpoint about a topic, which reinforces that opinion rather than challenging it with diverse, differing points of view.

Social media users have a tendency to follow people that post content they are interested in or agree with. But this unintentionally can create an echo chamber. It is rare for someone to follow an account that challenges their beliefs.

Anyone with an account can post, and therefore share whatever message they choose. Many choose to follow the “if it bleeds, it leads” formula to get engagement.

This constant negative content keeps us in the chokehold of a harsh echo chamber.

In the Quad

"I like to think of things as constantly evolving. Sometimes, if things are to get better, they must get worse first. Lots of people are always saying things are going downhill, but no more than 200 years ago were there still public executions. So, I would say we are making improvements. I trust people will learn from these mistakes instead of just focusing from the negatives."

This is not to discredit the positive echo chambers we may find ourselves in on social media. Many people also follow accounts that invoke positive feelings, such as meme accounts and animal pages, among others.

Media breaks are essential

Experts say the physical and psychological side effects of bad news can be lessened with a relaxing and/or positive activity.

Take a break from scrolling through TikTok and take a look at some pictures of puppies. Listen to some of your favorite tunes.

People get stuck in a media loop because of the tiny computers we carry around. Turning them off will have a positive domino effect.

This is a media-centric generation, and it's all we have ever known.

With that in mind, we must work on being able to balance educating ourselves on current news and knowing our own mental limits with negativity.

Cassie Chiappetta Freshman Creative Writing Buffalo, NY

"I listen to a lot of music that positively portrays ways to keep myself motivated, and I also read a lot of older literature that helps ground me in history and that sort of thing, which helps me not worry so much about present day issues."

OPINION
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EDDIE AND CAMERON CLANCY / THE ROCKET
OPINION
Volume 106, Issue Number 5
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STAFF
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Editor-in-Chief
Denney Sophia Bills
Assistant Copy/Web Editor Annabelle Chipps Assistant Campus Life Editor
Brandon Pierce Eddie Clancy Jocelyn Kytchak Assistant Photo Editor Matt Glover Dr. Brittany Fleming
Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor Copy/Web Editor Campus Life Editor Sports Editor Multimedia Editor Photo Editor News Editor Faculty Adviser With the abundance of bad news recently, how do you escape the negativity and maintain a positive mindset?
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EDITORIAL BOARD
Caroline Sears Senior Exercise Science Annapolis, MD
"Going to the gym. Working out definitely helps me to get out the bad energy and feelings."
Walker Branch Senior Secondary Education English Mars, PA

Gearing up for the holiday season: Sustainability

show or a Christmas light show (like Phipps Conservatory).

with sustainability in mind:

The toxic culture of Greek life

Jessica is a double major at SRU in geography and nonprofit management. This semester, she is the social media assistant for the Office of Sustainability.

Almost everybody loves this time of the year.

People are cheerful, snow is falling, and communities come together. But the hardest part is deciding what to give people as a present.

A gift should not be too much or too little, it has to be just right. And as college students, we know the struggle of weighing prices to find the right gift.

Thinking sustainably when purchasing holiday presents can help the environment and your wallet.

Finding the right gift can be a chore, so below are a list of sustainable ideas:

Experiences – The best gift you can give is a memory. Buy your loved one’s tickets to a concert or to see their favorite sports team. You can also choose a cheaper ticket option for a nearby museum, comedy

Experiences also include overnight stays at a bed and breakfast place or day trips to a close-by town that they have always wanted to visit. For the gift-givers over 21, take them on a brewery, distillery, or winery tour. Pair this with a small picnic, and you have the perfect day. The options are endless.

Stay local –Supporting the businesses in your area can help with the local economy and bring your community together. Take a trip to your local thrift stores to find quality clothing, technology, or homegood items that you can repair or personalize. Sometimes, the most unique presents can be found within miles of your own home.

Baked goods – Want to share the love with all your friends without breaking the bank? Bake them cookies, muffins, or loaves of sweet bread. Just be sure to check for allergies. To wrap them up, you can reuse paper bags or reuse plastic Tupperware to-go containers.

Regift – There is nothing wrong with gifting an item in your home that does not bring you joy; it may make someone else’s day. You can re-wrap an item that was given to you from holidays past. Save money and avoid overconsuming.

Once the gift is picked out, then it is time to decide the best option for wrapping it. Below is a list of ways that an item can be wrapped

Cloth – Take cotton fabric or sew together old fabric to wrap a gift. The two most common methods are to tie up the cloth over the gift or to sew a bag. Simply wrapping it would require a square piece of fabric, that you place your item in the center of. Then knot opposite corners together over the item. You can then take a reusable ribbon to secure everything together. For a closable cloth bag, you can find different sewing patterns with a google search to make it yourself.

Gift bags – Almost everyone has these sitting around in their closet or storage space. You can put these bags to use every holiday season and on other gift-giving occasions. You can even reuse the tissue paper by neatly folding it up after each use.

Newspaper wrapping –If you have old rocket newspapers lying around, might as well put them to use again as wrapping paper. Not only does the green and gray theme pair nicely with a red ribbon, but it doubles as reading entertainment as people patiently wait by the tree to open their gifts. It’s just as easy to fold as the normal wrapping paper from the stores. Use biodegradable tape and wrap as normal.

Reusable gift boxes – You may remember seeing these in older movies, where all you do is lift the top off to open. These boxes can be bought or made yourself with cardboard and

recycled wrapping paper. Use them time and time again for holidays.

Recycled wrapping paper – Similar to newspaper, buying recycled paper to wrap your presents can give you a similar look to what normally lies under the tree. This material is either recyclable or made from compostable materials. You can again use biodegradable tape to seal the wrapping.

No wrapping – The cheapest and easiest option is to just add a bow. No need for fancy paper; tie up your ribbon for a nice fi nishing touch to the top of the bare gift.

I hope these tips help with your holiday shopping and ease your mind and wallet. Always remember, less is more, and the best gifts are those that come from the heart.

Annabelle Chipps

Annabelle is a sophomore double majoring in English education and creative writing. She is the assistant campus life editor on The Rocket staff.

CONTENT WARNING:

This article contains mentions of sexual assault. Please use caution before reading.

Greek life has fostered an inherently problematic culture built on a foundation of historical elitism.

I would first like to say that participating in the corrupt system of Greek life does not make someone a bad person.

While members are complicit in allowing these power structures to continue, they do not inherently perpetuate violence in the way participants in other institutions of oppression do.

Still, fraternities and sororities were always meant to represent exclusivity. The very fact that you must pay to join immediately puts several groups at a disadvantage due to the complicated nature of class oppression.

If you consider the concept of a selection process and rushing, the message is clear: keep certain people out.

Because the majority of Greek life organizations were created before people of color were even allowed to attend college, the institution is specifically designed for (rich) white people.

Even though higher education eventually began to desegregate, many groups were still legally allowed to have blatantly racist bylaws and “whites only” policies.

Now you have clubs where generations of rich white people are the only ones allowed to join.

Does a change in policy and gradual integration truly undermine the structures at play? What about when those same privileged people are the ones deciding what traits they find desirable in new members?

The result, according to Princeton University, is that 73% to 77% of greek life participants are white.

Systemic discrimination at the hands of greek life does not end with some groups being excluded from parties and gatherings.

Alan Desantis, a professor at the University of Kentucky, notes in his 2007 book about Greek life that 85% of the United States Supreme Court once belonged to a fraternity or sorority. Eighty-five percent of fortune 500 business executives and 76% of senators did the same. Only 2% of the US population participated in Greek life.

This means that because of the social exclusivity associated with Greek life, minority groups have less of a voice in government. It is but one tributary flowing into the large river of systemic oppression in the United States.

Aside from the toxic infrastructure, Greek life has harbored a horrific culture of sexual assault and hazing.

We all know there are frats designated as “rapey” or unsafe.

It is extremely normalized. There are viral jokes and memes about never taking your eyes off your drink at a frat party. It is ingrained into college life.

Hazing also goes extremely far. There are numerous stories and anecdotes I’ve heard about these organizations (mainly fraternities) forcing their new members to ingest poisonous amounts of alcohol, withstand physical violence and even consume feces.

Some organizations even combine the two, making sexual assault a conquest one must fulfill before they are accepted into the group. To my knowledge, this has never occurred at this university.

There are statistics on these things as well. One in five women are sexually assaulted in college. Fraternity members are 300% more likely to rape someone. The list goes on.

However, there is simply not enough room in The Rocket to list them all.

I conclude by stating that the system of Greek life is not broken. It works exactly as intended.

December 2, 2022 B-2 OPINION
"Thinking sustainably when purchasing holiday gifts can help the environment and your wallet! . . . Always remember, less is more, and the best gifts are those that come from the heart."

Elon Musk needs attention

They are not even good memes. Let us have a laugh about it.

Disclaimer: I will be referencing The Rocket’s article, but the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

From the beginning, Musk’s chaotic management style made the news. The original price he suggested for a “verified” check mark, $20, earned him backlash from all sorts of Twitter users. One of these was authors was Stephen King. Of course, he chose to respond to the famous guy and gained that sweet, sweet attention he probably never got from his parents.

a 4-D chess game, but is that really the case?

Musk’s former employees have been talking about their experience for years. He has been described as “laser-focused,” “highly intelligent” and highly influenced by social media, according to sources from the New York Post and Business Insider.

Then there is the Tumblr post from a former SpaceX intern, who worked for the company when it was much smaller. This person, who goes by "numberonecatwinner," had a wildly different take.

they’re doing this little experiment after this man has had decades of success at companies that dedicate significant resources to protecting themselves from him, and he’s too narcissistic to realize it.”

For context, their experience probably took place around the mid-2000s. Employees who spoke to news outlets all worked for Musk during the 2010s. Musk has had time to grow since his supposed “child king” days, but if they are telling the truth, they may not be entirely past.

On Nov. 22, The Rocket published an article about the past, present and potential future of Elon Musk’s Twitter. Since Musk took control on Oct. 28, we have seen a series of headlines that look more like April Fool's pranks than reality. Is it an elaborate PR stunt, or a grand reveal of the type of person Musk really is?

It’s probably a PR stunt, but that is only part of my point. Some rich fool with a chokehold on thousands of people’s income streams is using his influence to pick fights with Apple and post PSYOP memes.

Then there was the poll about reinstating Trump, the totally-notstaged photo of Musk’s bedside table, and most recently, his claims against Apple. The most profitable company in the world recently pulled most advertising from Twitter. Musk, who talks a lot about free speech, but may or may not understand what it actually means, responded by asking, “Do they hate free speech in America?” Two days later, he was touring their headquarters with Apple’s CEO.

Elon Musk can say whatever he wants and end up in the headlines. Fans believe that every move he makes is part of

“Back when I was at SpaceX, Elon was basically a child king,” they said. “He … provided the company with the money, power and PR, but he didn’t have the knowledge or (frankly) maturity to handle day-to-day decision making and everyone knew that. He was surrounded by people whose job was, essentially, to manipulate him into making good decisions.

“There is no company culture or internal structure around managing Elon Musk [at Twitter], and I think for the first time we’re seeing what happens when people actually take that man seriously and at face value. Worse,

What stuck out to me is social media’s influence over Musk. He often uses the phrase “vox populi, vox dei,” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” The eyes of most journalists are trained on him. He holds a super-popular social media site in the palm of his hand. In the media, he might as well be God. I am sure he feels like one.

Musk wields his power like a little kid with a big, sharp stick: wildly waving it around with no regard for danger, making sure everyone knows his stick is the biggest and sharpest. Someone is bound to get poked in the eye. I just hope it is him, rather than one of the many people he views as disposable.

December 2, 2022 B-3
OPINION
Megan is a sophomore communications major and campus life editor at The Rocket. She recently rejoined Twitter to follow its ups and downs. Megan John

VIDEO: Britt talks about about his journey his journey

SPORTS

Britt wants to win

No one steps on the court and wants to lose. That being said, not everyone has the same amount of fire and passion in them when it comes to the desire to win.

Amante Britt can tell you that better than anyone.

Britt has been at The Rock for what seems like a lifetime. After graduating from Woodland Hills High School in 2018, he made his way to Slippery Rock.

“The coaching that they had here [is the reason I came to The Rock]. I talked to Coach [Ian] Grady, and he presented something to me that I really liked, and I felt like I could thrive here,” Britt said.

Britt was also lucky that the university was close to home. It was a perfect match for both Slippery Rock and Britt.

In his freshman season, he

proved himself early on. He was the only player to start every game that season. But that did not matter—what did was that he helped the team get to the PSAC tournament, and they did it with pride.

“One of the first things I noticed about Slippery Rock is that it has a lot of pride, and I like to think of myself as a person who has a lot of pride,” Britt said.

Unfortunately, things did not end the way anyone hoped. A 73-68 loss at home against Mercyhurst sent The Rock home, and his want for winning grew.

Throughout this time, his relationship with Grady continued to develop.

“He started as my assistant coach, but as you know, you mostly deal with your assistant coach, and my relationship with him has helped me grow not only on the court but in life,” Britt said. “He really cares about all his players, and I like that about him,

so that really helped me thrive.”

He was able to run things back with Micah Till the next year. They shared the court against the University of Pittsburgh down at the Petersen Events Center. The crucial part was learning under Till.

The year was defined by close losses in hard spots. It did not matter, because they were still in the PSAC tournament again. They had a shot and not every team got that opportunity. But once again, they fell. This time at the hands of Pitt-Johnstown.

That was not the only bad news to hit that March. The COVID-19 pandemic hit and as the story goes, no one played any sport for the next year.

That meant that Britt had to work to keep himself in shape.

“I really just wanted to focus on my game because there was nothing else to do,” Britt said. “So I just focused on being in the gym for a countless amount of hours

and getting my body right.”

During that time, the itch to get back on the court just got worse and worse. It was nearly two years before Britt and The Rock stepped on the court together again.

The next time they played a game together wasn’t until November of 2021, and it was halfway across the country. They squared off with the University of Iowa. The result was to be expected, but the result was not the focus on this go around. It was more so that the team was back on the court.

The playoffs were still getting at Britt though.

He so desperately wanted to get back to them and get a win. Two tries and two fails just did not sit right with him. Newcomer Tyler Fredrick and the way he was playing gave the team a real shot.

“Guys like Tyler, he’s high motor and high intensity, so that showed me that I have to match

that,” Britt said. “Playing with guys like that just means you can’t take a day off, and you just have to be up to par every day."

The Rock showed their potential with Britt and Fredrick leading the way. They helped string together a six-game win streak that included four PSAC wins. Those wins were important down the stretch.

When everything was said and done, they were in the tournament again though. It was exactly where Britt wanted to be.

He also started to turn into more of a leader, which is something that has continued on and on.

“Last year helped me grow tremendously as a leader. I took a role of being more vocal, and it was something new for me,” Britt said. “It helped me on the court because I gained the trust of my guys.”

But for the third time in as many tries, The Rock dropped their firstround matchup.

“Just letting our guys know what we’re capable of and staying focused has been our issue,” Britt said. “In the past couple of years, we lost focus in the past, so we just [want to be dialed in for a whole season].”

Playing in the PSAC is no easy task, and that’s something Britt knows.

“No disrespect to any other conference, but I feel like we play in one of the upper conferences in division II basketball,” Britt said.

“Every night is a challenge no matter who you’re playing, and teams like IUP are fun to play against because I love to compete.”

That love for competition made the decision to come back an easy one. Britt, who is a graduate player now, knew he wasn’t ready to leave. The desire to win pulled him right back in.

“I want to win, and I feel like last year we had a taste of that,” Britt said. “I feel good this year too, so I just want to bring a title home to Slippery Rock.”

Walking the same kind of path

Friendly competition is a concept the Middleton sisters, Kennedy and Isabellah, have known for their entire lives. Being close as siblings allowed them to creating an "iron sharpens iron" bond, where they consistently make each other stronger. Isabellah Middleton shared how comfortably they are expressing in-game adjustments and corrections with themselves during play.

“We are broad-headed in the game,” Isabellah Middleton said.

Both sisters went to Tuscarora high school, where they played basketball

together for two seasons. Kennedy averaged 20.7 points throughout her high school career while also capturing first-team all-state and first-team allconference honors, being a member of three conference championship teams, and playing for four district title winners.

During Isabellah’s high school career, she lettered four times in basketball while also lettering once in lacrosse, earning all-district and all-region honors during every season she played in, and being named All-LoCo Sports Girls Basketball Player of the Year as a high school senior when she averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds per game.

S
SEE SHARPENING PAGE C-4
Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET

PSAC WEST STANDINGS

Final

Rock basketball starts fast

Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor

Slippery Rock men’s basketball started out hot at the Butler County Chamber of Commerce Conference Challenge and everything has only gone up from there.

After opening the season with a six-point victory against Alderson Broaddus University and a 10-point victory over Notre Dame College of Ohio, The Rock was feeling confident, and their play has backed up said confidence.

Head Coach Ian Grady shared that he believes much of the success has come from the players’ physical and mental preparation before each game, learning how the opposition might try to attack and defend.

“We have a process that we do for every opponent,” Coach Grady said. He then elaborated on the process referenced, explaining that it is a combination of film review and studying scouting reports to fully understand opposing teams.

a thrashing to Penn State Greater Allegheny. The hope and the plan was the same result, and the players delivered in the form of a 110-64 victory that saw five players bearing the White and Green score 10 or more points. Neither of the ladder two games would be quite as awe-inspiring, however, both were also won by double-digit margins.

Over the three-game stretch, graduate student guard Amante Britt accumulated 40 points. Britt has been with the squad since 2018 and truly embodies what it means to be an athlete who is a student of the game. Coach Grady elaborated on the early success and the benefits of having a group of players, like Britt, who are striving to be better and willing to learn.

“They’ve responded to coaching, and playing in the games, and committing to doing the things that they need to do to be successful,” Coach Grady said.

This strong play has gotten them ranked regionally and Coach Grady has made sure to accredit the work ethic that he sees the team put in day in and day out.

“It’s a testament to the players,” Coach Grady said.

All that being said, the team is roughly one-sixth of the way through their schedule, so there is much work to be done in order to keep things rolling and stay on the right track. The wins have been deserved and The Rock continues to show that they have the talent to go a long way, but Coach Grady emphasized the importance of not letting anyone get ahead of themselves.

“We gotta make sure that we stay focused on the job at hand,” Coach Grady said.

Bloomsburg University was the closest of the three as SRU snuck out of Bloomsburg’s court with a four-point victory, 83-79. It will be all the more important to not become complacent, to use Coach Grady’s own words, facing these opponents who have been bested in the recent past.

This month could be a deciding factor as to how far the team can go because of the conference matchups and because many of the games should have the whole roster at full strength after the long breaks. There is the possibility of losing focus during those breaks if there are off days or days of practice when there is still a while until the next game, but Coach Grady alluded to the significance of urgency at practice and how the winning mentality needs to follow into practice as well.

“You gotta be hungry. You gotta bring it every day,” Coach Grady said.

Hockey 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Gannon*

mercyhurst* Slippery Rock* Seton hill* california (pa.) indiana (pa.) pitt-johnstown clarion edinboro

15-4-4 (11-1-4) 10-6-4 (8-4-4) 7-4-8 (6-3-7) 8-4-7 (6-3-7) 6-8-3 (6-7-3) 5-4-8 (4-4-8) 4-10-4 (4-9-3) 4-11-3 (3-10-3)

SRU has played in three games since then. Each was a home game, they matched up against Penn State Greater Allegheny, Daemen University, and the University of Charleston.

Last year, The Rock delivered

During The Rock’s five-game win streak, they have amassed 410 points and outscored their opponents by 87. Coach Grady understands that the winning needs to be supplemented with continued work if the White and Green want to maintain their success.

“You don’t want to get complacent; you can’t be satisfied… it’s easy to get sidelined when you see good results,” Coach Grady said.

Slippery Rock Men’s basketball has six games over the course of December with a nineday break and a ten-day break built in. There are five PSAC conference games slated for the month which will be SRU’s first conference matchups of the season.

Three of the games, December 18th vs. Mansfield University, Dec 19th vs. Bloomsburg University, and December 30th vs. East Stroudsburg University, will be rematches of games played last year. The Rock will hope for history to repeat itself as a year ago they defeated all three of these teams. The matchup against

At the end of the day, Coach Grady and everyone else knows that these are long seasons, and they are a grind that doesn’t allow for lapses in determination and willingness.

“You gotta fall in love with the process,” Coach Grady said.

There is a plan in place that has obviously led to success so far. As long as the team is willing to commit and execute, there should be rewards to reap.

Tearing up the court

Every successful sports team and franchise shares one goal they always strive to achieve. They never stop working in an eff ort to never stop improving.

kutztown Shippensburg Millersville E. Stroudsburg west chester bloomsburg indiana (pa.) mansfield slippery rock mercyhurst

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

The Slippery Rock Women’s basketball team has embodied that principle to its fullest extent up to this point in the year.

Last season’s 202122 squad opened up to a bright-looking start, having gone 6-3 to start their season. Unfortunately, The Rock hit a rough patch that included a handful of wellfought in-conference losses from which the team was not fully able to recover.

Th is year the team has started off even hotter and looks to ride the wave of their current fivegame win streak into an overall winning record and hopefully a PSAC tournament berth after falling one spot short of the tournament last year.

when losing a player such as Johnson, the team’s leading point scorer from the 202122 season. Thankfully, Coach Wilson and her players have responded in a big way. During their winning streak, The Rock has topped 76 points on three occasions, a feat that was accomplished four times last year. This includes an 86-point outburst on Sunday, Nov 27th against Fairmont State University.

“We changed the offense to where we could use people to their strengths,” Coach Wilson said.

Th e revised off ense has undoubtedly required strong play from everyone involved but has seen big contributions from Redshirt Sophomore guard Isabellah Middleton, Redshirt Senior Guard Deleah Gibson, and Redshirt Senior forward Kennedy Middleton. All three players have already eclipsed the 80-point mark with Gibson and Isabella Middleton having achieved over 100 points.

Gannon* indiana (pa.)

edinboro*

Seton hill california (pa.) mercyhurst pitt-johnstown

Head Coach Chenara Wilson shared why she believes the team has had early success and commended her players for their adaptability and durability when asked about the biggest bright spots so far.

“Being in shape, being able to adjust to the changes that have been incorporated,” Coach Wilson said.

Those changes have been very important as well. The team lost multiple playmakers from last season. One of whom was Jamiyah Johnson. Johnson was a graduate student who has since joined the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant.

Nonetheless, it is hard to rework a successful offense

Isabellah Middleton is the squad’s leading 3-point scorer, with 12. Gibson is second in points for Th e Rock while also leading in free throw percentage with .833 assuming at least four free throws attempted. Kennedy Middleton leads SRU in assists.

Deleah Gibson has also shown her presence defensively. She holds the lead in both steals (11) and blocks (4).

The Rock is roughly a quarter of the way through their schedule and has two games this upcoming weekend. The first of which is against Shephard University. Shephard has been somewhat down on their luck, starting the season with five straight losses. SRU looks to ride its hot streak and capitalize

A 5-1 start has pushed the women's basketball team into the regional rankings. The team, which was picked to finish last, has had a successful start to the year.

on a team suffering the opposite.

The second game of the two is against Shippensburg University. Shippensburg is off to a 4-1 start including back-to-back wins leading up to playing the California University of PA just before Slippery Rock. Coming out of this two-game stretch with two more wins would only add to the already increasing confidence of The Rock women’s basketball heading into a two week break in between any games.

It is no secret that Slippery Rock women’s basketball has had to deal with adversity that spans far beyond the game since last year. The passing of beloved former Head Coach Bobby McGraw has impacted everyone and will continue to do so. He was a radiant personality who was gifted as a head coach and mentor.

Coach Wilson shared how she and her players have banded together to use each other to get through these troubling times.

“We had to start off tight,” Coach Wilson said. There was no time to work out team chemistry issues and other such problems, the team had to be there for each other on and off the court. And they have been. Growing close has its benefits at every level of any type of athletics, but it because all the more important when dealing with hardships.

“We had to just pull together and be there for each other,” Coach Wilson said.

It is not possible to replace someone like Coach McGraw who just seemed to connect and resonate positively with everyone he met. One thing that Th e Rock can continue to do is play the game that they love, the game that he loved.

December 2, 2022 C-2 SPORTS Football 1. 1. 1. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Indiana (PA.) Slippery Rock Gannon California (pa.) edinboro Clarion Seton Hill Mercyhurst
Field
Volleyball Women's
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Clarion*
Th is season will always have a deeper meaning and in many ways be dedicated to Coach McGraw. The winning and successes that have already been had can only make the dedication more sweet. *
10-1 (6-1) 10-3 (6-1) 8-3 (6-1) 6-5 (4-3) 5-6 (2-5) 3-8 (2-5) 2-9 (2-5) 2-9 (0-7) Men's Soccer
Soccer
Mercyhurst* Gannon* Seton Hill* Slippery Rock California (pa.) Pitt-johnstown
20-1-1 (10-0) 13-5-2 (6-2-2) 8-9-2 (6-2-2) 5-10-2 (3-6-1) 4-11-1 (2-8) 1-12-2 (0-9-1)
SLIPPERY
ROCK
29-5 (15-1) 28-5 (14-2) 20-9 (10-6) 19-10 (9-7) 14-16 (8-8) 17-12 (6-10) 12-13 (6-10) 10-20 (3-13) 3-22 (1-15)
2-9-7 (1-8-7)
Aidan Treu Assistant Sports Editor EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET

Rock football sees season end

There is no team in all of college football that wants to go home before December even hits. Unfortunately, there are only two teams that get the opportunity to play for the national title. One of them gets the hoist the ultimate prize.

This year, Slippery Rock fell short of being one of those teams.

“Our goal is always to compete for a national championship, and at least get to the final four, and we didn’t do that,” head coach Shawn Lutz said. “But a lot of teams would love to be four-time defending PSAC West champs and a playoff team that made it to the sweet 16, but that’s not where we want to be.”

The season, which started all the way back in September, and really began the moment The Rock walked off the field from their first round playoff loss to Notre Dame College last year, looked to be very promising.

There were questions after The Rock lost what could be considered as their best class in a long time. Lutz and The Rock were able to fill those holes that were left with the likes of Brandon Bischof, DJ Adediwura and many others.

“They brought great leadership, and anymore when you’re dealing with the transfer portal [it’s hard],” Lutz said. “You want to get the right guys, who have great character and we were able to do that.”

All the questions were answered when Wayne State made the trip down from Michigan to battle The Rock for the third time in the past four years. In 2021, Wayne State very nearly pulled off the upset, but this year The Rock didn’t even give them a shot. They rolled to a 42-10 victory, and Noah Grover showed off the connections he had built during the summer.

The Rock traveled east for their next two games. The first was a rematch of the 2018 PSAC title game against West Chester. Four years ago, they

dismantled The Rock in the title game. That was The Rock’s last PSAC loss until the middle of the 2021 season.

Kyle Sheets showed what he can do. After learning under the likes of Cinque Sweeting, Jermaine Wynn Jr. and his hometown friend, Henry Litwin, it was his turn to be the number one threat. He recorded four receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 win.

The next week it was Sheets and newcomer, Jacob Odom, who were able to tear apart the Millersville defense. Sheets and Odom combined for 11 receptions, 209 yards and three touchdowns. It was enough to pull out a 45-14 and give The Rock a 3-0 start to the season.

That kind of start is what every team wants. Dominating is great, but doing it in every aspect of the game is another thing. But the next week started the real gauntlet. The PSAC West schedule is known to be a grueling one. But out of all the teams in the West, there is one team that The Rock

has circled, and that’s Indiana (Pa.).

Slippery Rock had just one conference game before they faced off against their bitter rival. It did not go the way that they planned it to, and the score was ugly, but a 4-0 start to season is something every team craves. The next week came the real test. The Rock faced the task of going on the road to face IUP, who came to their house last year and flat out embarrassed them.

For Lutz, it did not leave his mind. Even though they were able to walk away with the PSAC West title in 2021, that loss made it harder than it should have been. He did not want to leave any doubt this time. But it seemed as if the weather and feel of the day from 2021 carried right over into 2022.

The rain did not stop all game and neither did self-inflicted wounds on Slippery Rock’s part. It was all too late for The Rock to make up for those mistakes, and for the second straight year,

the Crimson Hawks walked out on top. The margin for error tightened after the loss. Another loss likely would have meant the end of The Rock’s playoff hopes.

Just like the year before, they had to face both the teams from Erie after their loss. But it was a much easier task this year since they played from the comfort of home for both games.

Mercyhurst put a challenge again, but The Rock pulled out a win to get back in right column. That momentum carried for the rest of the season. A blowout win over Gannon on homecoming help them climb the region rankings.

The final three games of the PSAC West schedule were fairly easy wins for Slippery Rock, but Edinboro was able to give Slippery Rock a scare. They had a chance to steal the game late, but The Rock defense held up and Chris D’Or helped put away the contest.

The last week of the regular season saw Kutztown come to town and take a game from Slippery Rock. It made the

playoffs less of a certainty, but one thing was for certain, they were not going to be able to play at home.

Slippery Rock went on the road for their first playoff game. The path was a difficult one. They had to go to Assumption in Massachusetts. Cohen Russell helped The Rock squeak out a 17-14 in their second game ever in the state.

But their season ultimately came to a close this past weekend when future NFL draft pick, Tyson Bagent, out dueled Grover and The Rock.

“Noah is a great football player, but he’s an even better person,” Lutz said. “He does it all academically and on the field, and we’re going to miss him.”

For Lutz though, the 2022 season may have just ended, but now the process starts all over again.

“We got a lot of guys returning, but we’re always going to bring in better competition,” Lutz said. “I’m never going to be satisfied until we win a national title, but we start fresh now and I just love the process.”

The Rams outduel The Rock

It was a duel to the very end.

Tyson Bagent, who is widely considered the best quarterback in all of Div. II football, and Noah Grover went at it. In the end, it was Bagent and the Shepherd Rams who advanced to the quarterfinals against Indiana (Pa.).

“We had our chances, but their quarterback and running back were the difference in the game,” head coach Shawn Lutz said. “They were the reason they won that game and we didn’t.”

The Rock started with the ball, but they did not hold it for very long. That led to the Rams getting it back, and when they did, they showed they can also run the ball at a high level.

Ronnie Brown capped off a six-play drive after a 21-yard scamper gave them a 7-0 lead.

The Rock responded right back four minutes later though.

Kyle Sheets took the ball 46 yards and evened the game at seven. Sheets, who had missed the past few weeks of play, made his presence felt almost immediately.

The offense missed him.

Kutztown head coach, Jim Clements, went on record

saying that they only had a gameplan for him when they came to town. That kind of attention usually opens up other people. That’s exactly what they were hoping for with Shepherd.

Ronnie Brown gave the lead right back, this time from 43 yards out. On his two touchdown runs, Brown had 64 yards. But once again, The Rock continued to battle. They took the next five minutes of gameplay to take the ball 85 yards. But the last yard was fought for by Isaiah Edwards for what was thought to be the tying score. But D.J. Opsatnik had his extra point blocked. So, the score sat at 14-13.

The Rock defense made a stop the next drive, but the Rams were able to still put three on the board. It took eight minutes after for either team to get on the board again.

The Rock finally took the lead with one minute to play in the quarter after Grover hit Cohen Russell for a 29-yard strike. They were poised to walk into the half with a three point lead, but unfortunately for them, Bagent and the Rams work fast.

Eight plays in just one minute got them in range for the tying field goal. To Lutz, that hurt.

“It was a game of momentum, and we can’t let them score right

before half,” Lutz said. “But even then, 20-20 at half, I liked where we were at.”

In the second half, it felt like whoever got on the board first was going to have the advantage. It took ten minutes for those points to be scored. Bagent took it in himself and just like that, it was a 27-20 lead.

Just a few minutes later, they took a ten-point lead after settling for a field goal.

Grover was not going to let the game end there, however. He punched the ball in from one yard, and that gave The Rock a chance late in the game to have a shot.

Bagent and the Rams held onto the ball for over five minutes and drove methodically down the field on 12 plays. A fourth down conversion was the back breaker, but a third down touchdown pass a few plays later ended almost any shot.

“That was killer, because we get that stop and they go for it and get it,” Lutz said. “We let Bagent get out of the pocket and make the throw.”

Now, The Rock packs their bags and goes home. The Rams get the rematch at Indiana (Pa.) for a chance to go to the final four.

“It what it is, but I think we stopped ourselves,” Lutz said.

December 2, 2022 C-3 SPORTS
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Slippery Rock ducked out after they suffered a second round playoff loss, and now they have a jump start to their offseason which starts immediately. The Rock ended their season at 10-3, and to head coach Shawn Lutz, that just means they have a lot to improve on before they step onto the field next fall. EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Shepherd welcomed The Rock for a second round NCAA playoff matchup in which quarterbacks, Tyson Bagent and Noah Grover, dueled the entire way through. Bagent and the Rams will move on to face Indiana (Pa.), while The Rock was sent packing.

Sharpening each other

Middleton said.

All these years of playing together gave the Middletons the opportunity to always stay correcting the other’s shortcomings while maintaining strengths. They also saw this as an opportunity to challenge themselves to be better than the other. When other people were taking breaks over each offseason, the Middletons both had their sister to look at, holding them accountable and keeping them working.

“We’re competing with each other even when we’re on the same team,” Isabellah Middleton said.

This competition did not come without humor. Isabellah shared that her sister has one thing she will always be able to hold over her, and that is being just over one year older. When Kennedy referenced this, Isabellah responded sarcastically, sharing, “It’s her favorite thing to tell people.”

Jokes aside, the increasingly competitive field at the collegiate level has fueled the fire of their motivation to get better while also teaching different ways to view and play basketball.

“It [Slippery Rock University] made me explore different ways to impact the game,” Kennedy Middleton said.

The Rock squad has bonded together over the past year, both out of created friendships and necessity. Beloved former head coach Bobby McGraw passed away over the offseason after manning the helm of the women’s team for eight years. The coaching staff and team won’t soon forget the principles he instilled in them during his tenure.

Isabellah commented on the ferocity Coach McGraw always drew out of his players. He wanted them to play hard in practice so they could compete to

their fu llest extent in games. Referring to the practices, th ey were, “High intensity all the time ,” in the wor d s of Isabellah M iddleton. This menta l ity ma d e the team become e v en more of a f ami l y. A ll th ey want ed was to see

each other succeed “I really want my teammates to g et better… you can’t win by y ourself,” Isabellah Mi dd leton sa id

Of course K enned y had the same ex p erience w ith the effort Coach M cGraw g ot o u t of each and every p layer, bu t she in ot h e r wa ys under C oach M c G ra w as w ell.

“Playin g under M c G ra w gives you a di fferent look at w hat a coach is,” Kennedy M i dd leton sa id “ C oach Mc G ra w was not just a coac h I nee d e d so m eo n e who could help me grow as a

p erson. A n d gr ow she di d. She grew as both a p layer and a men t or t o h e r p eers. T h e sisters ha v e bot h bee n co mf o r tab l e callin g themselves out and co mp limentin g successes for y ears. Both sisters commented on how that has o p ened u p t he team to d iffic u lt con v ersations that mi g ht not have been ha d otherwise.

The Mi dd letons have excelle d at keepin g everyone accountable an d playin g their best.

“We talk to everybody… We keep it real with everybody,”

conversations

By all accounts, these con v ersations ha v e worked. Sl ip pe ry Rock

5-1

i nto

sisters commente d on t eammates t his seaso n. De l ea h h as rea lly stepped up, and what we’ve seen from B ella Lo ng ,” I sabellah M iddleton said.

b ein g able to ha v e t heir ha nd s more and j ust t heir own ga me t o b e t hen

the bench,” Kennedy Middleton said.

All the players have been made aware that there are roles to be filled, whether that is as a starter or a role player off the bench. Falling into the necessary and needed roles has been crucial to team success. Kennedy explained how current Head Coach Chenara Wilson has adopted this gameplan.

“Emphasis on doing their job,” Kennedy Middleton said. “It could be the third quarter and they haven’t played all game and coach Wilson will say, ‘I need you to get in the game and I need you to rebound, I need you to get in the game and I need you to play defense.’”

This execution has not been done by accident. It was the goal from the start to form The Rock into a welloiled machine that can transition players in and out of games as needed. These values have been reflected in practices to be incorporated into every game.

“When the people come [off the bench] and do their job, I see what we’re working on in practice and I can see it’s coming over,” Kennedy Middleton said.

That teamwork in tandem with being adaptable and accepting of Coach Wilson’s coaching strategies has helped the team transition with things like losing last year’s leading point scorer Jamiyah Johnson, who has stuck with the team as a graduate assistant. Isabellah has done her best to learn from the things that made Johnson such a great player.

“There’s no playing like her[Jamiyah]. She was going to do what she had to do to accomplish what she needed to accomplish,” Isabellah

t he M i dd A l b ee n t her e fille d start t he b t he n ro l es t ea m expl a H e ad W ils ga m e “E t hei M id d b e t h t hey gam e will get i nee d nee d gam e T h not acci d fro m T he oile d t ran s out o T he s refl e t o b ever y “W com and wha t prac t com i M i dd T h t an d adap co a h f m gr e “T like was g had wha t acco

Kennedy commented on two strengths she always observed from Johnson and another student that graduated this past year, Daeja Quick.

“If Deija was anything she was confident 100%,” Kenney Middleton said. “Jamiyah’s presence was always known on the court.”

This season, Kennedy has been an offensive force. She has averaged 14 points per game while leading her squad with 20 assists. Despite already being in the process a greatly successful season, she wants to incorporate the values she admired from former players into her game.

“Those two things, once I really get them locked into my game, they can take me to the next level,” Kennedy Middleton said.

Isabellah has not been anything short of a playmaker either. She leads the team with 120 points scored. She attributes much of this success to her sister always pushing her, even if that sometimes meant speaking the harsh truth about how to play better.

“The expectations are so much higher,” Isabellah Middleton said. “We’re not about to be friends right now.”

Everything is looking up right now, but the season is only partially complete. Both sisters shared how they believe they stack up to any of the competition they might come up against as well as their aversion to losing.

“I’m a sore loser. We have the ability to not lose,” Kennedy Middleton said.”

Isabellah doubled down on this. She fully intend to back up The Rock’s confidence with their play and carry it to a deeply successful season moving forward.

“I’m trying to win everything,” Isabellah Middleton said.

C-4 December 2, 2022 SPORTS
developed Isabellah Middleton said. have worked. Slippery Rock women’s basketball has exploded out to a start, putting them well into PSAC tournament contention early. Both sisters commented on teammates stepping up
“Everyone being able to have the ball in their hands more and just play their own game has contributed to that[success].”
“The goal is to be number one… If you’re not gonna work then you’re gotta sit
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I sabellah Mi dd leton sa id EDDIE CLANCY/THE ROCKET

Malick i on Malicki on accessibilit y accessibility

CAMPUS LIFE

Faith and community at SRU

According to CORE, there are ten religion-based organizations at SRU. Nine are Christian-based, and the tenth, Collaborative Faiths, is an interfaith club. The religious communities on campus are close-knit, providing a safe, welcoming space for anyone to grow in their faith.

One newer Christian organization is Delight, a nationwide ministry for college women, which Trinity Romesburg brought to campus in fall 2021. There are over 200 Delight ministries across the country.

Romesburg is a senior majoring in public relations and integrated marketing communication. She has been president of Delight since last fall, and a Christian all her life.

“Coming to college, it could be a little bit challenging … to stay strong and keep involved,” she said. “But during the pandemic, I’d say I got really strong in my faith again. I wouldn’t say

I ever lost it, but I would say I was distracted and now I’m fully into my faith.”

Romesburg called Delight “a place for women to find themselves, to feel accepted, to feel encouraged, and to know it’s okay to have struggles. We want to walk beside you through those struggles.”

As a women’s organization, Delight places emphasis on relationships between women. They often hold “Delight dates,” where two women are paired up at random to spend time together. The ministry also holds worship nights, prayer walks, Bible studies and service events, such as Operation Christmas Child.

According to Romesburg, since last fall, the club has become more widely known on campus. Ninety-five women attended the first Delight meeting at SRU; now, there are roughly 200 members.

“We’ve heard many testimonies,” said Romesburg. “A few girls have said they felt like they finally had a place to be themselves, or there was something missing in their lives and they

found it here. I think that has been good for this campus.

“In college, it’s easy to feel alone, and feel like you’re alone in your struggles. … The last thing we want is for anyone to feel alone on campus. I’m so thankful that [members are] in a space where they can be themselves and not feel judged.”

The experience of leading a student ministry has inspired Romesburg to pursue ministry after graduation.

“If it wasn’t for Delight, I don’t know if I ever would have had that passion for ministry,” she said. “I feel like that’s my purpose here on Earth.”

For junior Alexa Webb, who became a Christian shortly before college, meeting other Christians on campus helped her grow in her faith. A roommate introduced her to Cru, and she joined a community group for weekly Bible studies.

“Going from not knowing anyone that was super strong in their faith, and then coming to campus, I’ve been

Accommodating but not accessible

Slippery Rock’s campus is not physically accessible to every student, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Though the Office of Disabilities is accommodating inside the classroom, students with impairments still struggle to navigate outside of the classroom.

Physical obstacles on this campus affect students who struggle with sight, mobility and other inhibitors.

“Braille signs aren’t correct in the residence halls and in some of the buildings,” visually impaired sophomore Emma Papariella said. “A lot of them are either picked off or don’t even say the proper name or room number… It’s a big concern of mine.”

“Everyone has the right to travel independently, and if they can't get to the correct room because the Braille signage isn't right, that's not okay,” she said.

Papariella, who has little to no depth perception, says that one of the biggest struggles for her around campus is stairs that vary in size.

“All of the steps are uneven and are different heights,” she said. “I know we can’t completely fix that, but something they could do is paint a strip on the edge of each step. It’s better contrast, so it’s easier for me to see.”

“There are stairs with missing chunks or missing steps altogether,” said another sophomore with

impaired sight, Stephanie McLafferty. “It can be very dangerous going down the steps on campus, especially for people who may use a cane and cannot tell that the stairways are damaged.”

Another visual tool that is not up to date at SRU is the truncated dome, which has bumps to alert a visually impaired person that they are either entering or exiting the road. McLafferty describes them as “vital” for people who have trouble with vision.

“The domes are supposed to be at every slant down from the curb to the road,” McLafferty said. “A lot of the sidewalks on campus either don’t have them, or they are so worn down that they are basically flat.”

Another concern of McLafferty’s is the sidewalks and their lack of upkeep in the winter.

“A person with full sight can’t even see black ice, right?” she said. “But we can’t even see the shininess or see how deep the snow

is… I can’t tell you how many times last semester that the hills were still covered in ice because they weren’t touched with salt the night before… This is especially dangerous for someone with a visual impairment.”

Papariella agreed, stating that the ramps are also extra dangerous during winter.

“The ramps in general are not ADA compliant,” she said.

Papariella then described an assignment she did in

class where everyone had to travel around campus in a wheelchair.

“For even just 15 minutes, we were struggling so much,” she said.

“Last year I broke my foot and was in a boot,” McLafferty said. “It was very difficult to get around because of those hills and ramps.”

Another student who broke their foot, Harley Fravel, experienced similar barriers when trying to get from place to place on campus.

“The Weisenfluh hill is not easy,” Fravel said. “There were several times I had to ask complete strangers to help me carry my art supplies to class and I felt terrible for bothering people.”

Freshman Miranda Malicki, who suffers from several conditions that hinder her mobility, shared her perspective as someone who used to primarily use a wheelchair.

“I can’t imagine getting around our campus in a wheelchair,” Malicki said.

“The ramps are very narrow and very steep. Those two things alone are very challenging when you’re in a wheelchair.”

She believes there are several solutions to some of the ADA non-compliant issues on campus.

“There is room on the sidewalks that we could use to elongate the ramps so that the incline is less severe,” she said.

She also discussed how things like adding signs that point to accessible entrances, creating safe routes to ramps and instating van-accessible parking would help the school more closely abide by ADA guidelines.

Papariella and McLafferty believe another way the school could improve the lives of its students with disabilities is by having large print menus available in campus dining spaces.

“Even just keeping the menus consistently and accurately updated online would be better,” McLafferty said.

VIDEO:
C
PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINITY ROMESBURG Delight Ministries begins a prayer walk across campus. This is one of many methods the club uses to support and encourage people at SRU. PHOTO COURTESY OF EDDIE CLANCY
SEE FAITH PAGE D-4 SEE ACCOMMODATING PAGE D-4
The health center is a well-known example of a lack of accessibi lity. Students with mobility issues must find an alternate route to receive care from the center.

Sisterhood and solidarity

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mentions of violence and death. Please use caution before reading.

In mid-September, Slippery Rock students settled into their first weeks of the new academic year. Meanwhile, an ocean away, 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa (Jina) Amini died at the hands of Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

As the fall semester developed at SRU, Iranian women and their allies across the globe channeled their fury at the recent injustices into protests for change. Here at Slippery Rock University, The Middle East Studies Center has held events to educate students and faculty on the Iranian women’s revolution.

The Center’s goals are to bring awareness to the SRU community about current issues in North Africa and the Middle East and develop friendship and solidarity between people of the United States and the aforementioned regions. Through education, the Center also aims to combat stereotypes of people from North Africa and the Middle East.

Fadoua Loudiy, assistant professor of Strategic Communication and Media with a specialty in transitional justice, co-directs the Center along with anthropologist and professor Axel Casson. In its programming this semester, the Center strives to encourage discourse about the “universality of our struggles, the universality of our rights,” Loudiy said.

She hoped to highlight

the interconnectedness of the rights of women and other marginalized groups worldwide through two events that took place this fall: a documentary showing and a virtual panel of international scholars—both focusing on Iran.

“In American and European societies, [there is an idea that] Iranian women are ‘other’ and it’s their struggle, whereas for me, their struggle is connected to our struggle,” Loudiy said.

“It’s the struggle of all women across the globe who have been impacted by patriarchal rules—and it’s [to] different degrees, but it’s the same issue across the globe.”

Faith Bajema, a senior public relations major with a certificate in Global and Intercultural Communication, has been keeping up with the news from Iran.

“I learned that those women are inspiring,” Bajema said, reflecting on the events she had attended through the Center throughout the years. “Against all odds, they are willing to fight for their rights. They face torture and even death for speaking out, but still, they refuse to stop fighting.”

Bajema has found that discourse surrounding the struggle of Iranian women has made its way into the classroom. Iran committed “a major breach of free speech” by cutting internet access across the country, which is especially relevant to her field as a communication major, Bajema said.

For the spring semester, the Center has a followup event to provide an update on the Iranian women’s revolution in the works. The SRU community can also look out for two cultural events: a Yemeni artist discussing the role of art in conflict and war

Ending (and beginning) on a high note

The Slippery Rock University choirs held their first fall semester concert on Wednesday, titled “An Evening of Choral Music.”

The three choirs performed four songs each, followed by a rendition of “This Is Me” by all three choirs. Selections ranged from pop music to traditional folk songs, originating from South Korea to Colombia to the U.K.

This year, the choral program has two new directors in Timothy Little Trân and Yoona Jeong. “An

Evening of Choral Music” was their first concert with the department.

For freshmen, the concert with their first with the SRU choral program. Trisha Holmes, a double major in music education and vocal performance, sang a solo during the chamber singers’ act.

“Whenever I did choir [before college], it was still a great experience, but I ended up leaving after middle school,” said Holmes. “I didn’t feel there was a deeper connection to the music. But being here, everybody is so dedicated. Dr. Trân really emphasizes emotional connection to all

of the material we’re given, which is changing my singing, and I think changed my experience with choir in general.”

Ricky Osman, a freshman musical theatre major, spoke on the sense of community within choir.

“Everybody has a sense of love for not only the music, but for everybody else,” Osman said. “It’s not just about singing. It’s about making art and sending a greater message.”

Leah Buczek, president of SRU choirs, is a senior facing her final fall concert. Buczek is a vocal performance major who, after college, plans to teach

at a college level and direct a church or community choir.

“Choir has always been one of my favorite things,” she said. “It’s like my safe space. It has helped me to grow as a musician, a performer and an individual. … I feel very prepared to go into the real world and apply those skills when I’m in my graduate degree and beyond.”

Each choir – treble, concert and chamber singers – showcases different music styles that students in choir may choose to focus on.

“It really showcases different voices and the different things that choirs

can do,” Buczek said. “Chamber singers sing jazz, while concert choir [might] focus more on classical. Having a treble choir was really interesting, to hear about how soprano and alto voices work together without other voice parts.

“Every time you sing with a different group of people, it’s going to be a unique experience,” she continued. “I think it’s a cool way to show individuality through a group, if that makes sense.”

The new directors purposely chose a diverse selection of music, rather than covering the classics.

“One of the big things Dr. Trân emphasizes is diversity, equity and inclusion,” Holmes said. “Our pieces come from diverse backgrounds, and I think it’s important that we’re telling everybody’s stories and vouching for that kind of equity.”

In summer 2023, the choirs are planning a tour of Italy and France. The trip, which was originally scheduled for summer 2020, will provide opportunities for students to learn, experience cultures that they learn about in their classes and share their own culture.

Osman described their performance as having “strong messages and strong sound.”

“I’m excited to share what we’ve worked on for the past three months with our families and our friends,” Holmes added. “I’m excited for this music

touch other people in the way that it’s touched me.”

December 2, 2o22 D-2 CAMPUS LIFE
and a guest speaker on writing and poetry in North Africa. Bajema stated she was grateful that the Center has held such educational events. She looks forward to attending more and continuing to learn and stand in solidarity with Iranian women. Loudiy spoke on what she hopes the global community gleans from the Iranian women’s revolution. “I think there’s a lot for us to learn from it,” Loudiy said. “These women are willing to die to be free to express who they are. That’s incredible.” PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANK ARBELO Frank Arbelo created this digital art piece to symbolize the struggle between Iranian women and their government.
to
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDON PIERCE The treble choir kicks off "An Evening of Choral Music." They were the first of three choirs to perform: songs included "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day," "Sure on This Shining Light," "Wild Flowers on the Mountain" and "Maquerule."
"It really showcases different voices and the different things that choirs can do.
... Every time you sing with a different group of people, it's going to be a unique experience. I think it's a cool way to show individuality through a group, if that makes sense.
– Leah Buczek, president of SRU choirs

WEEKLY ORG SPOTLIGHT

American Cancer Society at SRU TRANSaction

The American Cancer Society at SRU uses its platform to spread awareness, information and hope for various types of cancers that may affect students’ lives.

Hannah Minor, copresident of the club, is an SRU sophomore majoring in public health. She explained the ways in which American Cancer Society spreads awareness on campus.

“Sometimes, in the student center or at various events, we will set up a booth with information about cancer screenings and signs and symptoms to watch out for,” said Minor. “We also make a lot of informational posters.”

The club meets one Tuesday a month at 6 p.m. in the student center.

In addition to cancer trivia events, the club also hosts fundraisers throughout the year to raise enough money to put on Relay For Life in the spring.

“Relay For Life is really the hugest experience we focus on,” Minor said.

Relay For Life is an annual fundraising

walk organized by different chapters of the American Cancer Society nationwide.

Each chapter holds its own version of the event, where participants can play games, compete in raffles and socialize with other community members.

All money that comes from raffle tickets or local business sponsors goes directly toward the national organization to aid in cancer research and treatment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spring 2023 will mark the club’s first time putting on Relay For Life in three years.

“This year, our theme is ‘Give Cancer the Boot,’”

Minor said. “It’s going to be centered around cowboys and the west. Everyone that comes can dress up, though they don’t have to if they don’t want to.”

According to Minor, if the health and wellness of even one student improves due to the American Cancer Society, it has succeeded at SRU.

“It has always been my calling to help people get the information and get access to what they need,” she said. “It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms and how we can screen ourselves before the problem becomes too big to fix.”

SRU’s TRANSaction provides a safe place where transgender students and allies come together to socialize, support each other and work to combat transphobic injustice.   “TRANSaction was created to help bridge the gap between our community and the school’s cisgender faculty,” club president and senior Abbott Mattocks said.

In addition to hosting meetings, the group also sponsors events and works on local volunteer projects.

One event was an annual candlelit vigil to commemorate

people who have either committed suicide or been killed in acts of anti-transgender violence this past year.

The event took place on Nov. 17, and began with information about attacks against the transgender community. According to Mattocks, they also discussed “some of the intersections that make it so hard to exist as a trans person.”

Appointed members then listed the names of all 66 known people who had died at the hands of transphobia in 2022 so far, along with photos of each victim. They also listed the victims’ ages, locations and causes of death.

“It was really emotional for a lot of people,” Mattocks said.

“It was really moving. Some of the people in the photos were in their 60s, and some were as young as 14.”

Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, RockOUT and Black Action Society co-sponsored the event along with TRANSaction.

The vigil also honored Transgender Day of Remembrance, which took place on Nov. 20.  Other than the memorial event, the club has been working on collecting money to sponsor a gift for a lower-income child through The ELF Project.

“The other half of our club is more social,” Mattocks said. “A lot of people say that this is one of the few places where they really feel like they can relax and be themselves. … We’ve also had people join because they hoping to find a roommate.”

Several university committees, such as the Office for Inclusive Excellence, have reached out to TRANSaction for advice on making the school more transgender friendly.

“They finally updated the chosen name policy,” Mattocks said, “so I think we’re making progress toward positive change.”

Film Review: The Banshees of Inisherin

People change, and there are often moments where you can pinpoint exactly where things took a turn. It might be a pivotal life moment that makes someone reevaluate everything and everyone in their life. But in the case of Martin McDonagh’s latest

comedy, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” there is no moment to pinpoint.

After a lifetime of friendship, Colm (Brendan Gleeson) decides to stop speaking to Pádraic (Colin Farrell.) Living on a small island off mainland Ireland, this news travels fast. Pádraic isn’t the only one confused by the sudden cold shoulder; so is everyone else in the community.

as ex-friends, [which] allows a sense of sympathy for Farrell's character, who is left in the dark over the end of his longstanding friendship."

Colm claims his decision is in part to focus on his career as a folk musician, with the goal of leaving behind a legacy. Pádraic doesn’t buy into it and presses his old friend for answers, which causes a bigger conundrum: Colm threatens to chop off one of his own fingers with a pair of sheep shears any time Pádraic bothers him.

The beauty of McDonagh’s script is that he jumps right into the story. We never see a moment before this unusual feud begins to brew, and instead are introduced to Colm and Pádraic as ex-friends from the film’s opening minutes. Not only does this help establish the narrative, but it allows a sense of sympathy for Farrell’s character, who is left in the dark over the end of his longstanding friendship.

Like McDonagh’s other films and plays, “Banshees” creates a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy, while providing pathos to showcase the humanity in his characters. In his

previous film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won two Academy Awards in 2018, he highlighted the uselessness of vengeance and the power of forgiveness. In “Banshees,” McDonagh provides a similar moral compass for growing apart from another person who seemed to be cut from the same branch as you.

The film’s plot is not as simplistic as a failing friendship. It is also a metaphor for the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s. In fact, this battle can be heard across the water throughout

“Banshees,” with many characters commenting on the bloodshed from afar. For those unfamiliar with Irish history, “Banshees” still offers a compelling human story that disregards borders, connecting audiences through shared experiences.

McDonagh’s script could not be told so elegantly without a strong cast. Just like the writerdirector’s previous films, “Banshees” allows actors to bring these often despicable characters to life. While Brendan Gleeson provides a role full of melancholy,

Colin Farrell knocks his performance out of the park with a wide range of emotions.

From guilt, confusion, sorrow, retribution to compassion, Farrell carries every scene with facial expressions that tell a story of their own. His pitch-perfect line delivery helps to carry the film’s comedic and dramatic scenes.

After two careerdefining performances in “After Yang” and as the Penguin in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” Farrell has somehow saved the best for last and provided a perfect example of why he

is one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors.

While McDonagh’s film feels small and intimate in its setting, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a film full of emotions that make its small island feel seem as though it could take place anywhere. Regardless of whether a viewer has been in a friendship that failed, everyone can relate to the theme of trying to create a perception of ourselves within the minds of others.

With “Banshees," McDonagh has provided us with another film that is not only entertaining, but also thought-provoking.

December 2, 2022 D-3 CAMPUS LIFE
PHOTO COURTESY OF DERECK MAJORS Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson, sits opposite Pádraic, played by Colin Farrell, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. This is Farrell's third role of 2022, following "The Batman" and "Thirteen Lives."
"We ... are introduced to Colm and Pádraic
Majors, review columnist for The Rocket
PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH MINOR Students from the society pose during an event. The American Cancer Society hosts several fundraisers and events a semester to spread awareness. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBOTT MATTOCKS TRANSaction's newly designed logo is represented here. The club is the first on campus to offer support specifically to transgender students.

Growing in faith through likeminded groups

able to watch new people come [to Cru],” Webb said.

She described the club as “every day, all the time.”

Aside from weekly meetings and events, members get together and bond every weekend.

“Our organization has been really blessed with people that love what they’re doing,” said Webb. “It’s crazy, the amount of time people take out of their days, but it goes a long “There’sway.  a false perception sometimes that when people come to their faith, life just gets perfect. That’s not the case at all. Everyone has their own things that they’re going through, sometimes in the spiritual sense, but also in everyday life. The community gives you a place to be honest with people, sharing things that you might not feel comfortable sharing with others.”

Since she came to campus, Webb has become more open about her faith, reaching out to people who may need a community.

“In faith-based organizations, people are afraid that the people there will judge them, and that does occur,” she said.

“The whole point

of going there is to not feel judged. … Community should be a place where you feel like you can be yourself.”  Hunter Bell is working on cultivating an interfaith community through Collaborative Faiths. He is a junior political science major and one of a few Jewish students at SRU.

“We have had mostly small events,” Bell said. “They’ve been social events within the club itself. Because we are a new club, we still have relatively small numbers.”

On Dec. 7, Collaborative Faiths will hold a Chanukah event in the ski lodge with

a higher attendance. expected

There are no Jewish student organizations on campus. He called his experience as a religious minority “a little daunting sometimes.”

“However, I grew up in an area where it was a small Jewish community to begin with,” Bell said. “Slippery Rock University in and of itself is a very welcoming environment. Personally, aside from a lack of kosher dining options, I never really had problems.

“[My religion] affects my life quite a bit. There are times where I step out of classes because I need to pray. There

are times when it can be tricky finding dining options, however, I tend to eat vegetarian just to play it safe. I am an off-campus student, which makes it easier.”

There is a synagogue in Butler, Temple B’nai Abraham, which Bell attends along with other club members.

“Quite a few of the members of Slippery Rock’s Jewish community are part of Collaborative Faiths,” Bell said. “Part of what I love about it is that sometimes, we’ll all carpool and go to the synagogue together, we will go out to eat together … In Judaism, one of the biggest aspects is community.”

Accessibility issues

Scott Albert, associate vice president of facilities, environmental safety and sustainability, welcomes such input from students.

“We can always do better,” Albert said.  He added that despite the issues that prevail, the school has done a lot of work in striving for accessibility.

“15 years ago, there were at least four projects that the university did with state funding to put in more ramps and make buildings more accessible,” he said.

“In a perfect world, our campus would be completely flat and we wouldn't have any stairs outside the buildings anywhere. Students could easily get between point A and point B… Unfortunately, the geography that we have here makes that a much bigger challenge, so we must come up with creative ways to get around this.

“We continue to strive to make this place the best that we can for everybody who comes to campus,” Albert concluded.

Papariella, while thankful for the effort of Albert and others, recognized that there may still be a long way to go before this is possible.

“The campus is very inaccessible, overall. It makes me sad because we have such a great Office of

Disability Services and Slippery Rock wants to pride themself on inclusivity… Academically, they’re great, but there is a lot of room for improvement with the campus itself,” she said.

December 2, 2022 D-4 THE ROCKET
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PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXA WEBB A community group at Cru poses after Bible study. Groups of six or eight were put together during the pandemic, and only got to meet in person when they returned to school.
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CONTINUED FROM
"15 years ago, there were at least four projects that the university did with state funding to ... make buildings more accessible. Unfortunately, the geography that we have here makes that a much bigger challenge."
– Scott Albert, associate VP of facilities, environmental safety and sustainability