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the rocket

Friday, February 28, 2020 • Volume 103, Issue Number 7 • An Independent, Student-Run Newspaper

www.theonlinerocket.com

House bills to change PASSHE Council of Trustees discusses new legislative initiatives

By Allison Downs News Editor

The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees met Wednesday morning in Old Main to discuss proposed legislative initiatives that will impact the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Three bills that would ultimately impact PASSHE were discussed and trustees voiced their concerns about specific items in each bill. Jeffrey Smith, the Council of Trustees chair, said several questions and concerns were raised when all of the Council of Trustees’ chairs were called to discuss the legislative initiatives. “One of the things we’ve really tried to focus on this past year is trustee advocacy and working toward being better advocates for our schools and for the system,” Smith said. “What I don’t want to see is 14 universities going in 14 different directions.”

SEE TRUSTEES PAGE A-4

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

SRU President William Behre, Trustees Chair Jeff Smith and trustee William McCarrier welcome a new member to the Council of Trustees. During this special meeting, the trustees in attendance discuss new legislative initiatives being introduced in Harrisburg that would influence the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Many motions approved Parked illegally SGA approves proclamation and appoints new and afraid Building B senator By Nina Cipriani Assistant News Editor

The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) met Monday evening to discuss multiple finance motions, including the appointment of a new Building B senator and approval of the racial inclusion proclamation. Kordell Hawkins, senior political science major, was appointed as a Building B senator. SGA approved the racial inclusion proclamation made by President Nicole Dunlop.

– Listen to the racial inclusion proclamation on The Rocket's website

News

SRU's Black History

SGA's motion to support the Nellie Bly Scholarship Fund initiative from Governor Tom Wolf was passed with 4 abstentions. Men's Club Volleyball's request of $6,000 was approved. The funds will help to fund the expenses of the team going to Nationals in Kansas. These funds will go directly toward hotel lodging, flights and National registration. SGA approved the request of NAMI on campus for $500. The funds will fund various events this semester and NAMI Prom in April. These funds will go directly toward advertising, supplies, equipment rental, decorations and food. Men's Rugby's request of $1,295 was approved. The funds will fund four tournaments for the team during the spring semester. These funds will go directily toward the Cherry Blossom Rugby tournament, NSCRO 7's, Tropical Rugby 7's and Cal U 7's. SGA approved Triathlon Club's request of $4,087.92. The funds will help fund the expenses of Nationals for the team. These funds will go directly toward National registration fees, housing, four USAT membership fees and entry fees. Ul t i m a t e Fr i s b e e ' s request of $3,481.80 was A-4

Students discuss their fears and problems with parking on campus By Nina Cipriani Assistant News Editor

PARIS MALONE / THE ROCKET

During SGA's formal meeting, senior political science major Kordell Hawkins is appointed as a Building B senator.

approved. The funds will fund travel expenditures, USA memberships and tournament fees for the organization throughout the spring semester. SGA approved Brass Ensemble's request of $8,325. The funds will go toward purchasing a new Besson BE2056 Prestige Series Baritone. Alpha Psi Omega's funding request of $50 was approved. The funds will go toward during advertising

Opinion

DUI: You have no excuse

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for any events and general body meetings that they plan to hold during the spring semester. SGA approved supporting the homelessness and housing insecurity committee's case statement to President Behre. SGA also approved the motion to dissolve the restructuring committee. SGA's next formal meeting will be on March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Theater.

Sports

Residents of North and Rhoads Hall attended the latest Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) formal meeting on Feb. 24 to speak during open forum about their concerns with parking issues on campus. Students spoke during the open forum about getting parking tickets, feeling unsafe walking from parking lots to their dorms and potential solutions to the lack of parking across campus. The parking lots in the surrounding area of North and Rhoads Hall are the Wally Rose Field Parking Lot and the resident parking lot located across from Subway. Mia Schembri, a student who spoke during open forum, said she was voicing her concern on behalf of the residents of North and Rhoads Hall, as she said the closest parking otherwise would be on the other side of the campus near the MihalikThompson Stadium. "Personally, I think it's a little ridiculous to ask the people who live in Rhoads and North Hall to not only cram into 20 spots and ask C-3

Associate AD reflects on life

them to walk half a mile or a mile [back to their dorms]," Schembri said. Schembri said her friend received five parking tickets in less than a week. The next closest parking for students when these lots are full is the East Lake Lot located near the tennis courts and the Robert N. Abersold Student Recreation Center.

"Parking is a problem, and it needs to be fixed." – Noah Davidson, a Rhoads Hall resident

SEE VOICE PAGE A-2

Campus Life

Positive self-reflection

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Watch the WSRU-TV SGA Update

NEWS

Changes occur prior to election SGA alters senate structure for upcoming semester By Nina Cipriani Assistant News Editor

The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) elections are quickly approaching and SGA wants students to be aware of the changes that have been made.

"We hope that the student body as a whole finds similar interest in this election process." – Pat Noonan, SRSGA commuter senator

Commuter Senator Pat Noonan said SGA is very excited for the election process to begin. They believe that this year's elections will be very successful due to some changes that last year's senate made regarding the senate structure. Noonan said the process of the election will be relatively the same, despite the small adjustments to the timeline. Currently, SGA is made up of 8 executive board positions, 15 commuter senator positions, 9 building senator positions, 4 freshman senator positions and 2 graduate senator positions. However, SGA wants to put more of a focus on the colleges of the university. SGA's new senate structure will put more of an emphasis on the colleges of the university by going from having building and commuter senators to having 4 senators from each college as well as 12 at-large senate positions. "This change was made to diversify the senate in a way that students from each college, as well as the

GRAPHIC BY HANNAH SHUMSKY

entire university as whole, is represented," Noonan said. Noonan said the dates are still to be determined, but the overall schedule gives enough time for students to get the signatures required of them to get onto a prospective ballot.

Students voice their concerns CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-1

Noah Davidson, a Rhoads Hall resident, suggested that the university turns the Wally Rose Field into a parking lot to provide more parking for students than the 20 current parking spots available. "I have talked to some people in ROTC who have used the field for training and stuff like that," Davidson said, "They said they rarely use [the field] at all." Davidson said his friend received three $30 parking tickets on a weekend and was not notified about them until the third one. Davidson also suggested that the university should start telling first-year students to not drive to campus in order to limit the amount of cars and free some parking spots on campus.

Students also have voiced their concerns about how there is no overnight parking from 2 to 5:30 a.m. from Nov. 1 to April 1 in the Alumni Commuter Parking Lot, Swope Commuter Lot and many more. Shawna O'Linchy, a North Hall resident, said she has talked to many women that say they feel uncomfortable and unsafe walking back to their dorms from the Wally Rose Field Parking Lot and the resident parking lot by Subway. "I have talked to other people who have already brought up [parking issues] one or two years ago," O'Linchy said, "and nothing got done, so it's still an issue." O'Linchy didn't respond to request for further comment. Melina Bowser, a resident of Building B, said that if there are more parking spots made for residents of North and Rhoads Hall, then there would be more

parking for students that live near Building B and other buildings as well. "It would fix everyone's problems to make that abandoned baseball field a lot or to make the commuter lots have less spaces for commuters and more spots for everyone," Bowser said. Students also said the parking office and university police are not informed enough on where residents can and can't park. Autumn Carroll, a resident that spoke during open forum, said she wasn't sure if she could park in a certain gravel spot, so she called the parking office and the university police, and neither of them knew. Police told Carroll to follow the procedures of parking on gravel. However, they later gave her a ticket. "Parking is a problem," Davidson said. "And it needs to be fixed."

NINA CIPRIANI / THE ROCKET

Many students have to resort to parking off campus nearly two blocks away because of parking shortages.

SGA is very confident that this election process will have competitive races across the ballot and will have the highest student voting percentage that they have seen in recent years.

"Based on communication with faculty and deans of colleges, it seems that they have an increased interest in this election process," Noonan said. SGA hopes for a successful turnout and high student

interaction when it comes to this year's SGA elections. "SRSGA has very high hopes with this election," Noonan said. "We hope that the student body as a whole finds similar interest in this election process."


NEWS

February 28, 2020

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POLICE BLOTTER February 14 – Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) requested university police to assist a female that was screaming. Officers advised the security personnel. Guard stated that they were there earlier for a loud noise complaint. University police made contact and spoke to all individuals in room. All was OK. Residents were advised by security to keep the noise down. No further action was taken by university police. February 14 – While on patrol, an officer observed a vehicle sitting in the roadway and an individual laying on Kiester Road. Person got up and staggered into the entrance of the middle school. Person was highly intoxicated. Person was brought back to the police station and individual’s friend was contacted to pick up the person. Jonathan Kozarian, 21, was cited with public drunkenness. February 14 – Individual reported that they had their vehicle parked in Founders Lower Commuter Parking Lot on Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. When they returned, there was damage to the rear driver’s side bumper. Case is still under investigation. February 14 – Police responded to a fire alarm activation in the Advanced Technology and Science Hall. Building was evacuated and locked down upon arrival. It was reported that there was an odor of natural gas. Odor was coming from a door power motor that was burnt. Oil was cleaned up, and alarm system was reset. The building was reopened. February 15 – Police received a call from an individual in the Equestrian Center that stated there was a broken water line inside of the building. Leak was by stall 12. Officer shut off the main water supply line. Maintenance was notified and responded to location. February 15 – Police were requested by Health and Safety to respond to Old Thompson Field for smoldering fly ash by the boiler plant. Slippery Rock Fire Department was dispatched and responded to campus. Bags were removed from side of the building and placed by the track. Fire department hosed off the fly ash bags. Once the bags were watered down, the fire department left the scene. Safety and maintenance remained at the location. February 15 – Officer conducted a traffic stop for a moving violation resulting in persons being in possession and consumption of an alcoholic beverage. Bradley Smith, 20 and Ian Smith, 20, were cited with alcohol violations. February 18 – Police received a complaint of an individual that was making disturbing comments about staff personnel and academic building in Harrisville Building. Police contacted person, and individual was issued a no trespass order.

February 21 - Police received a call from CA in Building E that an individual appeared to be intoxicated and may have hit their head on door when entering dorm room. Person was of age and had bruise on right side of their face. Police transported individual to the Health Center. No further police action was taken. February 21 - Police received a call stating that they heard someone yelling and screaming vulgar language in Building F. Responding officer spoke to the CA who advised that it was a person on their cell phone. Person was gone upon arrival. No further police action was taken. February 21 - Police responded for an individual that was having a medical issue and possible seizure in the Spotts World Culture Building. Person refused medical treatment. Officer transported person to their dorm. The Health Center was notified. February 21 - Police received a call from manager of Quaker Steak and Lube stating a person called and stated that they were from corporate office and that the store owed money. Responding officer called phone number, and the caller was a scammer. February 22 - Police received a call from Happy Bus driver stating that there was a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Kiester Road. One vehicle was on its roof and the other was on the hill embankment. One person refused medical treatment and one was transported to Grove City Medical Center. University police assisted with the scene and with traffic control. February 23 - University police assisted Slippery Rock Police Department (SRPD) with a vehicle fire on Grove City Road. University police assisted with traffic control. February 23 - SRPD requested backup for a loud party complaint on Center Street. University assisted with dispersing individuals from residence without incident. February 23 - Police received a fire alarm activation from Building F. The cause of the alarm is unknown. Alarm was reset. February 23 - Police received an Ephone activation near Morrow Field House. It appeared to be an accidental activation. February 23 - Individual reported that while their vehicle was parked in the Strain Safety Building Commuter Parking Lot on Feb. 22., they discovered on Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m. that damage was done to the passenger side rear bumper. Case is still under investigation. February 23 - Police responded to an Ephone activation. Officer spoke to individuals that were

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standing by Ephone. They stated that a couple of kids were near phone and accidentally bumped it. System was reset. February 24 - Police received a call from the CA in Building B that they found a pill bottle with marijuana in it. It was a flake inside a piece of cellophane. The contents was disposed of. February 24 - Police received a fire alarm activation in ROCK apartments. Alarm was set off by burnt food. February 24 - SRPD requested backup for a possible disturbance call of a woman yelling or crying for help. Officers were unable to contact occupants. Borough PD contacted the manager of the complex. Manager stated the room was not rented out to anyone. No further police action was taken. February 25 - Police received a call from maintenance stating there was a water main break at the entrance of the Wally Rose Field Parking Lot. University was without water for two to three hours. University sent out an email about the issue. February 25 - Police received a call from an individual stating they saw a person wearing glasses, a black shirt and a baseball cap. Caller said they looked creepy and gave off a creepy vibe. Person circled a car and walked past caller's car. Officer checked all parking lots, and the person was gone upon arrival. February 25 - Police received a call about a strong odor of marijuana coming from the paint rooms on the main floor of Art Building I. Responding officer walked through the entire building, and no odor was detected. No further police action was taken. February 26 - Police received a call from the Health enter advising that a person was vomiting and needed medical treatment. EMS was dispatched. Person was transported to Grove City Medical Center. February 26 - Policed received a supervisory alarm activation in North Hall. Safety was notified and responded. Cause for alarm activation was a compressor leak. Unit was shut down, and service contractor was notified and responded to location. COMPILED BY NINA CIPRIANI


NEWS

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February 28, 2020

SRU'S BLACK EXCELLENCE A dive into SRU's archives reveals the history of SRU's early Black History Month Celebrations

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SRU ARCHIVES

GRAPHIC BY HANNAH SHUMSKY

Trustees make their voices heard Behre, Smith address opinions and concerns at special meeting CONTINUED FROM PAGE A-1 close a university,” Behre

The purpose of the Council of Trustees' meeting to discuss the proposed legislative initiatives, Smith said, is to formulate an opinion on key points. Following these meetings, all of the trustee chairs will meet in Pittsburgh on March 3 to speak on behalf of their councils. “We want all councils to have a chance to speak,” Smith said. “We don’t want to take away anybody’s individual right to advocate however they want, but at least this way, we will have a consensus.” House Bill 2171 — otherwise known as the “Sonney” Bill — would reform the governance and accountability of PASSHE’s Board of Governors. It would authorize the board to create, consolidate or close universities or institutions without legislative approval. One tr ustee who participated in the meeting via telecom call questioned whether legislators would be willing to give up their power to open or close universities. Smith said it’s not a question of what they are willing to do, but what they should do. “I don’t think they want to give up much of any power,” Smith said. “What they need to do, though, is think about what would make the system better and more efficient.” SRU President William Behre said the matter is dependent on whether the system will ever need to close or consolidate universities in order for it to survive. “I don’t believe the legislature will ever vote to

said. “They don’t have the political will. If you believe that it’s necessary to close or consolidate, then you should be in favor of this because it’s more likely that the Board of Governors will consolidate than the legislature.” The Sonney Bill also provides minimum qualifications for Board members and the Council of Trustees. According to section 2004-A, subsection 7 of the Sonney Bill, members appointed to the Board of Governors are required to have “expertise or substantial experience in

"We want all councils to have a chance to speak." – Jeffrey Smith, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees one or more areas, including post-secondary education, finance, business, nonprofit management, law or public administration.” SRU trustee Matthew Lautman said he strongly d i s a g re e s w i t h t h e qualifications. He stated that these qualifications could potentially exclude professionals in the arts, healthcare, architecture or engineering who otherwise

have the necessary skills, training or experience. Behre said there may be a relatively simple solution to this problem — offering a “catch-all” or an elastic clause that specifically says “or otherwise qualified,” so that no one is excluded. House Bill 2171 would also grant unrestricted plenary power to the Board of Governors. Smith elaborated on this section of the bill, stating that the Board would be enabled to set system-wide policies, approve or create new programs, expand or close institutions, require universities to participate in shared services and appoint student trustees. Behre said he is conflicted by this section of the bill because of the “two hats” he wears as president of SRU and as a member of the system’s executive leadership group. “As president of Slippery Rock, we would be losing autonomy, and we’ve handled that autonomy incredibly responsibly, so the president of SRU doesn’t like this,” Behre said. “The guy that sits on the ELG at the system level, who frankly believes that some of the other schools have not exercised good judgment, understands the reasons for this.” Smith added that despite the more negative aspects of this section of the bill, this could be a positive change for the system as a whole. “After 37 years, this truly is changing the state system from a federation to a system,” Smith said. “I get why individually we don't like it, but I also understand the system's standpoint. I don't know how you can

keep the others afloat unless you take control of them.” In response, Behre clarified and voiced his worries about the proposed and current model. “Because of the nature of the system, it would be a regression to the median,” Behre said. “The median is the number seven school, and the number seven school is not solvent. That's my concern. “I don't want to get pulled down,” Behre continued, “but in our current model, I don't know how we're not pulled down anyway.” Behre suggested a third alternative, but stated that it was “unpalatable” for several reasons — closing some universities in order to allow the system to fully thrive. “There is an analysis that states, with our student population and our general size, we could go down to nine institutions and be a thriving system,” Behre said. The rest of the bill includes topics such as shortening trustee terms to four years, which is the same length of time that a member of the Board of Governors currently serves; defining the duties of trustees; and allowing university presidents to make policy changes regarding academic programs without first consulting the Council of Trustees. When discussing shortening trustee terms, Smith said he was “really proud of this council of trustees” for not having an issue with the possibility. “During the call [with the trustee chairs], this was the hot-button issue,” Smith said. “I tried to convince them that we should be

more concerned with having good trustees reappointed than how long their terms are, but this is like a birth right to some of the people on that call.”

"After 37 years, this truly is changing the state system from a federation to a system." – Jeffrey Smith, chair of the SRU Council of Trustees The “Topper” Bill, formally known as House Bill 2172, would make financial and legal reforms to PASSHE, such as “reforming the bidding process for construction contracts as it applies to the System and its institutions” and “allowing police or university investigative record sharing.” Smith elaborated different sections of the Topper Bill. He explained that municipalities are working toward charging storm water management fees. The Topper Bill is essentially an attempt to protect universities and colleges from paying this

fee. Lautman added that West Chester University is fighting against the new municipality fee in the court of common pleas. The Topper Bill also gives campus police authorization to disseminate and share investigative information to university officials for matters relating to student conduct. According to Cody Jones, PASSHE’s chief strategic relations officer, this section of the bill will ease the process of police investigations and student conduct processes without information being muddled. “There's a Criminal Record Investigation Act, or CRIA, in Pennsylvania,” Jones said. “A serious offense — sexual assault, for example — may happen on campus, but police can't share their investigative file with student conduct or provide them with any information. At the same time, student conduct is required to follow through with its Title IX obligations. You have two sort of separate investigations going on. “If I were a district attorney,” Jones continued, “I wouldn't want my client, the victim, to give a statement to the university that may unintentionally be contradictory to their police statement because both of them would potentially be used.” House Bill 2173, or the “Schroeder” Bill, would make reforms to simplify reporting and clarify and update statutory language. Along with removing outdated terminology and streamlining the reporting process, the Schroeder Bill would also exempt student records and emails from the Right to Know Law.


NEWS

February 28, 2020 By Allison Downs News Editor

By Haley Potter Senior Rocket Contributor

Slippery Rock University’s observance of Black History Month has changed tremendously since they first started celebrating African Americans in 1973. The original dedication to black students at SRU was called “Black Is” week and was celebrated for one week in September, until 1976 when SRU began recognizing Black History Month in February. The following are the major events that have taken place in SRU history from the 1970s through the 1990s. 1973 The first ever “Black Is” week took place to celebrate Black Americans at SRU in February. This week began before the official Black History month was first observed at SRU in 1976. 1974 The first “Soul Food” dinner took place in the Black Cultural Media Information Center on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Black Action Society, according to their printed program in 1974, “tries to accomplish what all Black organizations are striving for—it tries to help each individual to find his own identity and make him a better person...The Black Action Society is still in its infant stages, as are most SRSC activities involving blacks. However, progress has been realized and we look to the future with great expectations.” Black athletes participated in track and field, gymnastics, basketball, swimming, football and just about all of the major sports. Black women finally gained recognition for participating in field hockey, basketball, volleyball,and track and field. “In the past, Black athletes at Slippery Rock were praised on the playing field but somewhat ignored on campus,” a booklet given out by the 1974 Black Action Society

said. “Currently, the individuality and total capabilities of Black athletes are being recognized and appreciated as the number of Black athletes and Black students continues to grow.” An article was published that interviewed several Black and White students about interracial dating. Black students replied with answers such as, “I’m not for it. It is up to the individual but I wouldn’t do it,” “Not at this point in history,” and “Even though people are of two different races, it should be accepted if they are into each other.” White students, on the other hand, replied with “I have nothing against it. It may eventually through time, bring about a better, healthier, and closer society,” “There are men, not colors,” “It depends on the two people,” “I think it sucks,” and “If they really like each other, it is not going to matter anyway.” “Black Is” week took place during the week of Sept. 2326 and featured events such as poetry, a dance workshop and an art display. 1975 The week of Feb. 10-15, Black History week observed “'Black is' Week at The Rock.” This week included a variety of activities including a speaker, nationally recognized play, a Charity Ball for Sickle Cell Anemia and comedian Ron Douglas. The first Black Action Society charity ball took place on Feb. 15. 1981 On March 3, A debate was held between The Black Action Society and the students in Free Enterprise. The debate topic was “The Bakke Decision Will Inhibit The Cultural Growth of Minorities and Retard Affirmative Action Programs in America.”

Gospel Choir sung following the march in honor of MLK. On Feb. 23, Yolanda King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., was a keynote speaker at SRU. Her speech was called “A Dream Deferred.” The event was put on by Black Action Society and there was a reception following the keynote for anyone to attend. King was born in Montgomery, Alabama just two weeks before Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on the bus that triggered the movement that ultimately desegregated the south and led to the assassination of her father. King spoke about these events and her life experiences participating in numerous civil and human rights demonstrations. 1989 On Feb. 1, Artist Willis “Bing” Davis was among five artists who presented a show of African American art at the Martha Gault Art Gallery beginning Feb. 14. Davis’ work (at the time) was included in more than 35 solo and 50 group exhibitions. Davis was also president of the National Consortium of Arts and Letters of Historical Black Colleges and Universities; chairperson of the art department at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; and a member of the Ohio Arts Council. In addition to the exhibition, Davis presented a lecture to SRU students on Feb. 28 in Eisenberg Auditorium and did a pottery demonstration in the SRU ceramics studio on March 1. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by playwright August Wilson of Pittsburgh was staged at SRU on March 14 in Miller Auditorium. The production was part of the University’s Artist Series. It was a period “blues-drama” that focused on the “brutal impact of racism, oppression and self-hate of the spirit.” 1990

1988 The Black Action Society hosted their first march to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 16. The march was to mark King’s 60th Birthday and began at Weisenfluh and went to Swope Music Hall. The Slippery Rock

The Black Action Society conducted its first annual “Cultural Enhancement Video Series.” The videos were shown on specific weeks and were intended to better educate the members of the campus community on

A-5 African Americans. “Many individuals on our campus are not aware enough of the history, accomplishments, and experiences of Black Americans,” Jacquilene Jackson, the coordinator of the video series said. The Black Action Society sponsored a five-part video series, “Looking Back to Move Forward,” featuring the history and accomplishments of African Americans. Each video installment was an hour long and covered a range of topics from black artists to “life for Namibians under South African rule.” Each showing was followed by discussion with the audience. • Jan. 30 — “Black Artists in the Theatre and Film” featured an interview with Melissa Tillman. • Feb. 13 — “Devil’s Circle” was a documentary filmed secretly by British journalists detailing the grim reality of life for Namibians under South African rule, and “Namibia” was shot on location in Angolan refugee camps. • Feb. 27 — “Music Beautifully Black” was a retrospective of great jazz and blues musicians from the 1920s, and “All Things Considered Black” featured accounts of black experiences in dance, drama and music. • March 20 — “Hairpiece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People” was a humorous animated short that explored black concepts of beauty, and “A Reunion with the Land” told the story of the grandson of a slave and memories of life post-slavery. • April 30 — “Never Turn Back” told of the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Winifred R. Owens-Hart, an African American ceramics expert and professor of art at Howard University, visited SRU on Feb. 7-8 to offer lectures and demonstrations, including a discussion of the affect the people of Nigeria had on her talent and her affect on them. The two-day event was sponsored by the SRU Minority Affairs Office, the Black Action Society and the SRU art

department. In talking about her visit with artisans of Nigeria, she noted, “The first experience with women in Ipetumodu was exhilarating. When I returned to the U.S., I directed all my energy toward practicing the traditional techniques of African pottery making and raising enough money to return to Ipetumodu.” 1990 SRU’s dance program paid tribute to black choreographer Alvin Ailey Feb. 28 in Miller Auditorium as part of the university’s Black History Month celebration. Ailey, a famed New York choreographer, passed at the age of 58 in December of 1989. “Textures: A Dance Celebration” was performed by 15 dancers, and the performance was sponsored by the Office of Minority Student Affairs and Special Events. Former SRU President Robert N. Aebersold met with 30 African American students Feb. 12 to discuss a racial incident that had occurred the day before. A series of racial slurs in and about the Keister Apartment complex early Feb. 11 led to a physical altercation. That same evening, residents in the apartment complex saw a cross being burned in front of an African American’s apartment. During the meeting, Aebersold said, “The university is committed to ending racial divisiveness. We have a diverse student body by design and want to expose our students to a variety of cultures so that they can learn to work, develop and grow together.” Three days after the incident occurred, two SRU students were arrested in connection with the incident. 1991 A gender and race integration project, intended to support faculty’s effort to revise their courses to include the achievements of women and African Americans, was taken over by Professor Jace Condravy. 1991 The Black Action Society hosted its first ever Duke and Duchess Pageant in Miller Auditorium.

SRU student debt may rise Council of Trustees proposes tuition increase for upcoming academic year By Haley Potter Senior Rocket Contributor

Slippery Rock University’s Council of Trustees voted to advance the proposed tuition pricing and financial aid plan to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's Board of Governors. If the proposal is approved, it will go into effect for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years.

"Even though I think SRU is an incredible value and well worth the cost, I understand that affording it can be very challenging for many of our students. " – Dr. William Behre, president of SRU

SRU President William Behre said that tuition is proposed to increase by 3.5%. He said, however, that most other fees are being held constant, meaning that the average student increase will be much less than 3.5%. “It is very important to remember that tuition is only part of a student’s costs,” Behre said. “There are also fees as well as room and board for students who live on campus.” He said that if you include this year, over three years, the tuition proposal will raise the average bill of a resident by only 1.3%. Behre said that most of the increase will go to pay salaries. About 80% of the university’s costs are salaries. He said the remainder will go to fund the increases in student aid. “This year SRU is investing more than $7.6 million in financial aid,” Behre said. He said that by the 20212022 academic year, they intent to invest more than $8.5 million in aid. “Even though I think SRU is an incredible value and well worth the cost, I understand that affording it can be very challenging for many of our students,” Behre said. He said that the issues with student debt are a lot more complex than the sound bites we hear on the news and in the political campaign. About 40% of the student loan totals are often quoted in the media for graduate school, even though only 15% of all students are graduate students, Behre mentioned. “Figures that are quoted by politicians and in the media include people paying for medical school and law school,” Behre said. “Students in those programs

INFORMATION COURTESY OF THE COLLEGE BOARD

routinely rack up six figures in debt, which confounds the undergraduate picture a bunch.” Behre said that the typical student debt for an SRU graduate is about $35,322. The Pennsylvania average student debt is $37,061, which is more than the national average. “Pennsylvania supports higher education at a lower level than more other states, and this means that the Pennsylvania legislature has made a policy decision to

pass much of the cost of higher education onto the students,” Behre said. “By extension, the citizens of PA have made his decision since they elect the legislature. If students want that to change, they should use their power at the ballot box.” He said that the collegeaged demographic is terrible about voting, making it easier for legislators to overlook them. Compared to the other PASSHE schools, Behre said that SRU is currently the

GRAPHIC BY ALLISON DOWNS

second least expensive school in the system. “Some schools charge by the credit, while others like SRU charge a flat rate for full-time undergraduates,” Behre said. He said that currently the cost of attendance for a resident student at SRU is just under $21,000 and the most expensive school in the system charges just under $26,000. Behre said that aside from the proposed increase of 3.5% over each of the next

two years, they hope to be able to bring the increases closer to the consumer price index after that. Behre emphasized the importance of this tuition increase but noted that the big decisions are made at a state level. “Having students bear the brunt of their educational burden is a policy decision made at the state level,” Behre said. “If students really want to address this issue, they should meet with their state legislatures and vote in larger numbers.”


O

OPINION

Our View

What you truly risk You have no excuses to drive under any influence

OPINION

Volume 103, Issue Number 7

220 Eisenberg Classroom Building Slippery Rock University Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania 16057 Phone: Fax: E-mail:

(724) 738-4438 (724) 738-4896 therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com

EDITORIAL BOARD Hannah Shumsky

Editor-in-Chief

Allison Downs

News Editor

Karl Ludwig

Sports Editor

Hope Hoehler

Campus Life Editor

Lesa Bressanelli

Copy/ Web Editor

Keegan Beard

Photo Editor

Aaron Marrie

Multimedia Editor

Nina Cipriani

Assistant News Editor

Zachary Bonnette Brendan Howe

Assistant Sports Editor Assistant Campus Life Editor

Sam Shiel

Assistant Copy/Web Editor

Hannah Slope

Assistant Photo Editor

Dr. Brittany Fleming

Faculty Adviser

ADVERTISING STAFF Nicole Tolliver Emily Heyn

Advertising Manager Assistant Advertising Manager

ABOUT US The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total weekly circulation is 2,000. No material appearing in The Rocket may be reprinted without the written consent of the Editor-in-Chief. The Rocket receives funding from the SGA Student Activity fee paid each semester by students. All other income is provided through the sale of advertising. Advertising inquiries may be made by calling (724) 738-2643 or by emailing rocket.ads@sru.edu.

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

GRAPHIC BY: KEEGAN BEARD

Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by the entire Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. To review our editorial policy, which includes our blotter policy, go to theonlinerocket.com. In the quiet town of Slippery Rock, many college students choose to go out on evenings and weekends to off-campus apartments or one of the restaurants or bars in town. After a night of fun in town, the majority of students walk back to their dorms or apartments or plan ahead to ride home with a designated driver. However, even in 2020, some people still get behind the wheel after drinking, putting themselves and everyone around them in danger. In 2018, 331 people died among 307 alcoholrelated crashes in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (204 victims were people who drove after drinking). The majority of these alcohol-related crashes were between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. on the weekends. Since August 2019, 21  incidents have been listed in the police blotter in which SRU police

responded to possible driving under the influence incidents. One of the most recent incidents gained attention on Twitter, including on the SRU Crushes Twitter page. Despite the abundance of middle and high school programming, like Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), aimed to prevent drunk driving and stories in news media about horrific and tragic accidents relating to driving while intoxicated, this still happens at our own university. Why? While we will never know the exact reason someone decides to drive under any influence, the decision to do so is irresponsible and highly preventable. At our time in life, it's hard to think that tragedy can strike at any moment as a result of our decisions, but those split-second and poorly made choices may lead to a preventable tragedy in our own backyard. Some Rocket staff members know people who have been victims of DUI crashes or have even driven while under the influence. For most, it can be an uncomfortable argument to demand a friend or loved one's keys. We understand how it feels to be young and enjoy the college experience for the brief

time we are here. Still, we are not invincible, and dangerous and reckless decisions can have fatal consequences on drivers, passengers and pedestrians wherever we are in the world.

"We wouldn't be here sharing this message unless the number of recent driving under the influence cases in Slippery Rock was at zero." For a society that finds college student partying and binge drinking acceptable (and perhaps even stereotypical), we simply cannot allow DUIs to be a normalized part of the college experience.

In the Quad

At colleges, DUIs are largely preventable. If students plan ahead, they can safely arrange a way back to their dorm or apartment without having to think about it later. At SRU, students often post to the Twitter account SRU Crushes to promote designated driving offers. For as little as $1, students can text other students to get a ride home that night. The Student Government Association also pays for late night buses on Fridays and Saturdays around campus, including a stop outside of Ginger Hill Tavern. The bus is free for students and can be tracked on the NextBus website or app. Regardless of the number of designated drivers on the road on a given Friday or Saturday night, even one person driving while intoxicated puts everyone else on the roads and sidewalks at risk. It's on us as friends and loved ones to dissuade potential drunk drivers and start a movement toward safe alcohol consumption at the bar, at parties and in every day life. It goes without saying that any decision that can destroy the lives of others is reckless and irresponsible. However, we wouldn't be here sharing this message unless the number of recent driving under the influence cases in Slippery Rock was at zero.

Question: Which presidential candidate have you been keeping an eye on?

By: Aaron Marrie

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

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

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

Cynthia Rush Junior Criminal Justice Bentleyville, Pennsylvania

Natalie Glenn Sophomore Hospitality Management Clarion, Pennsylvania

Khalil Harper Senior Computer Science Penn Hills, Pennsylvania

“I am not really looking at the politics right now. But I will do more research and figure who I will pick before the next election.”

“I’m currently looking at Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. I was looking Andew Yang but he dropped out so I’m going to have to do a bit more research on Sanders and Bloomberg as they are the two that are kind of catching my eye right now.”

“I’ve been doing a lot of looking into Bernie. He seems like the most fit candidate at the moment. [Elizabeth] Warren also seems really qualified herself. I'm just trying to see what comes out later to see how they do their campaign.”


February 28, 2020

OPINION

King: Voting for Nelly Bly Scholarship 'opportunity of a lifetime'

Madison V. King Madison V. King is a commuter senator on the Student Government Association and sits on the Social Justice Committee. She can be found on Twitter @madisonvking. This past Monday, the SRSGA voted to support the Nellie Bly Scholarship Fu n d p r o p o s e d b y Governor Wolf. Having the opportunity to potentially make this historic proposal reality and invest $204 million back into the students of Pennsylvania state schools was an opportunity that I, as a senator, did not take lightly. Pennsylvania ranks at the bottom of state higher education funding and has some of the highest amounts of student debt in the country, so a true needs-based investment in the students of the state of Pennsylvania is a rare sight to see. In voting for this proposal, members of the SRSGA Senate were given large amounts of data to support the proposal, alongside testimony from faculty members who were strongly in support of the measure. The data we were given showed

that this scholarship was a mostly risk-free venture for us to take – the money was coming out of state gambling funds, specifically money used to pay owners of racehorses, which is then immediately taken out of the state and often out of the country entirely. This proposal takes that money and reinvests it into students in Pennsylvania, even working to ensure they stay in state for a period after graduating.

"I was elected to represent students. I was not elected to represent a political party or the gambling lobby. And personally, I know I’m proud to have supported this measure, and I know plenty of senators who feel the same." Th e oppostion to this motion that manifested itself on the Senate floor was, to me, immensely confusing – I think it’s safe to say it’s unclear why a student of a PASSHE school would oppose investing more money into PASSHE students.

Complaints of a lack of information was equally perplexing, as we were given numerous articles, statistics and testimonials as to the benefits of this proposal quite a while before it came to a vote. At the end of the day, those of us who were lucky enough to be elected to SGA were elected to serve the students, and voting in favor of this is one of the best ways to potentially help Slippery Rock students, present and future, and potentially reduce the financial burden that they face by large amounts – something I’m sure we all wish we could do. Upon reflection, it seems that major opposition to this came entirely from a partisan stance, which is a true shame, regardless of how few people truly opposed it for that reason (and it was a very small minority). Those opposing it for partisan reasons then refusing to go on the record as actually opposing it and simply abstaining was an extra cherry of cowardice on top of the disappointment sundae. I was elected to represent students. I was not elected to represent a political party or the gambling lobby. And personally, I know I’m proud to have supported this measure and I know plenty of senators who feel the same. This will be the largest investment of Pennsylvania tax dollars into students in decades, quite possibly ever. Having been a part of the group that put SGA’s backing behind it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m absolutely elated we can be a part of real, concrete progress for the students like this.

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February 28, 2020

THE ROCKET

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Adapted sports day at the ARC At theonlinerocket.com

SPORTS

Athletics paving the way for the future Rock athletics provide new ways for diversity in the community and university

GRAPHIC BY HANNAH SHUMSKY

By Karl Ludwig Sports Editor

Even in a small town nearly 50 miles from any major city, an extremely rural area where less than 1% of the population identifies as black or African-American alone, growth in racial diversity is possible. But it likely wouldn't be possible without Slippery Rock University — its athletics, specifically. But, according to Paul Lueken, Slippery Rock director of athletics, the university is not where it needs to be just yet. "We're not there yet," Lueken said. "Just based on sheer numbers, we're not. If you just look at the percentage numbers of student body enrollment, and you look at the minority enrollment compared to predominantly white enrollment, we're not where we need to be yet." While the Slippery Rock borough boasts a population of 3,590, according to datausa.io, 93.1% of the population, approximately 3,340 people, identifies as white. In comparison, 0.95% of the population, approximately 34 people, identify solely as black. Diversity across the student population at Slippery Rock University is slightly better, with 7,526 students identifying as white (85.46%) and 378 identifying as black (4.29%) in the 2019 fall semester. No matter how it's spun, Slippery Rock, the borough and the university, is a mainly white area, and that's where athletics comes into play. In the 2019 spring semester, Slippery Rock recorded an enrollment of 8,806 students. Down from 8,824 in the 2018 fall semester; and the enrollment of black, non-Hispanic students dropped from 385 in 2018 to 378 in 2019. Over the past six years, dating back to the 2014 fall semester, the total student population has fluctuated within a few thousand students, but the black, non-Hispanic student population has seen a decrease since 2016. With just a bit more than 4% of the student population identifying as black at Slippery Rock University, even in a down season in athletic diversity, 12.13% of student-athletes identify as black, and that number jumps to 19.32% of athletes that identify as two or more races are included. "Our percentage of student-athletes that classify as a minority, African-American or multirace, is 21 to 22%, roughly, every year," Lueken said. "Which is three or four times more than the regular student body, so that helps with diversity on campus." In Division II athletics, the level of representation of black athletes across the major sports of football and men's and women's basketball has slowly begun to increase. With 1,751 white student-athletes (40%) and 2,688 black student-athletes (52%) playing men's basketball in 2008, both total numbers have increased over the last 10 years. However, the percentage of white student-athletes has decreased to just 33% while black student-athletes represent 51% of the total number. Football has experienced a more drastic shift in representation, with 7,786 white student-athletes (52%) and 6,183 black student-athletes (42%)

in 2008. Over the next 10 years, the number of black student-athletes increased over 2,000 and now represents 46% while white student-athletes remained relatively stable in total numbers but decreased to 41% representation. Women's basketball has experienced a slight in the total number of black student-athletes, rising from 1,314 student-athletes to 1,599. However, the percent of representation has held steady at 34%. The number of white student-athletes has risen by 80, jumping from 2,312 to 2,323 in the past 10 years. At the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference level, only football has experienced substantial diversification over the past 10 years. The number of white student-athletes and black student-athletes has increased in the past 10 years, jumping from 67 and 142 to 71 and 166, respectively. Both percentages have dipped as white student-athletes represented 31% and black student-athletes represented 66% while those numbers sit at 27% and 62% 10 years later.

and it's not just our state system. It's all across the country." While the major sports have experienced increased levels of diversity at Slippery Rock University, especially in regard to black studentathletes, the traditionally "white" sports have made little headway in terms of racial diversity. "We've increased our numbers, especially African-American student-athletes," Lueken said. "Especially in certain sports, we've grown. In some of our sports, there's not a lot of underrepresented student-athletes playing those sports." In the 2018-2019 academic year, 445 studentathletes were enrolled at the university and on athletic rosters. Men's basketball and football were the most diverse athletic teams at Slippery Rock, accounting for 43 of the 54 black student-athletes at the university. In terms of percentages, football was composed of just over 40% of white student-athletes and just over 35% of black student-athletes.

"We play a pretty important role [in promoting diversity], and we want to keep doing that. We focus on inclusion. We have minority staff and minority coaches, too. I've always said in regard to the studentathlete body we're probably, as a group, the most diverse group on campus in terms of inclusion and diversity." – Paul Lueken, SRU director of athletics

Football has experienced a rapid change as the number of black student-athletes surpassed the number of white student-athletes over the past 10 years. There are 694 black student-athletes (48%) and 643 white student-athletes (44%) compared to 342 black student-athletes (31%) and 717 white student-athletes (65%) in 2018. Women's basketball went basically unchanged in the PSAC over the past 10 years as white student-athletes jumped from 136 to 162, dropping from 64% to 62% representation, while black student-athletes rose from 68 to 82, holding steady at 32% representation. Not just the PSAC institutions, but across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions, Lueken pointed to the desire for diversification at all levels of the state system, not just athletics. "There's not a school right now in the state system that doesn't want to diversify," Lueken said. "That's a goal, it's one of the strategic goals of the state system. So, that means there's scholarship money available,

Lueken highlighted the progress that football has undergone in the past 10 years in diversifying its roster. Especially for the area in which Slippery Rock is located, Lueken said. Men's basketball, the most diverse team on Slippery Rock's campus, was made up of white student-athletes (12.5%) and eight black studentathletes (50%). Almost identical to the PSAC average, the women's basketball team was comprised of 10 white student-athletes and six black studentathletes. The percentages of 62.5 and 37.5 nearly mirror the conference average of 62% and 32%, respectively. While football was not quite as the Division II or PSAC levels, the team has made strides over the past 10 years and boasts over half of the black student-athletes at the university. In regard to the "white" sports in the PSAC, varsity sports at Slippery Rock, slight increases in diversity have been achieved. But in women's field hockey and women's lacrosse, while the percentage of white student-athletes has dropped

from 95% in 2008, the percentage still hovered around 90% in 2018. In the 2018-2019 season, women's lacrosse and women's field hockey at SRU had no black student-athletes. Tennis, volleyball, and baseball also recorded no black student-athletes while softball was 100% comprised of white student-athletes. However, while women's lacrosse, field hockey, tennis and volleyball and men's baseball appear to be rather homogenous, each closely mirrors the conference standard. Other than football and men's and women's basketball, only men's soccer and men's and women's track included black student-athletes. Men's soccer closely mirrored the conference average, comprised of 64.29% of white studentathletes and 14.29% of black student-athletes. Men's and women's track, while more diverse than a majority of teams at the university, fell short of the conference average. Men's track was 86.54% white and women's track was 85% white. Both had a black student-athlete representation of around 6%. Even with the struggles in fielding a diverse roster in sports that already suffer from a lack of underrepresented student-athletes, Lueken said Slippery Rock athletics serve as a pivotal cog in promoting diversity in the university and community alike. "We play a pretty important role [in promoting diversity], and we want to keep doing that. We focus on inclusion. We have minority staff and minority coaches, too. I've always said in regard to the student-athlete body, 450 to 475 studentathletes, we're probably, as a group, the most diverse group on campus in terms of inclusion and diversity." With Slippery Rock smackdab in the middle of an area with very, very little black representation, the opportunity for black student-athletes to call SRU home increases the awareness of members of the community. "It brings more exposure to people that live in our community, which as you know, is a predominantly white community," Lueken said. "It's a positive thing, and the nice thing about it is that our student-athletes are good role models. Good citizens of the community that they're in." Lueken pointed to individuals like former Rock quarterback Roland Rivers III and star basketball player MicahTill providing local children with stellar role models who make the most of their increased role within the community, based on their standings in athletics. Lueken said that the entire athletic department takes it upon themselves to work in the community, that it wasn't just limited to a few student-athletes here and there. "Our student-athletes all go out into the community, almost all the teams do, and work in community service and interacting with folks in the community," Lueken said. While Lueken admitted that Slippery Rock is far from perfect, he was proud of the progess SRU has made. "If anything, we can be a shining example of how you can [start to increase diversity], but it takes work," Lueken said. "And it takes time and some money."


SPORTS

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February 28, 2020

PSAC WEST Scoring title looms STANDINGS

Hinderliter within striking distance in potentially her final game

Men's Basketball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Indiana (Pa.) Mercyhurst Pitt-johnstown California (Pa.) Gannon Slippery Rock Clarion Seton hill Edinboro

24-2 (19-2) 18-7 (16-5) 21-7 (15-6) 18-9 (14-7) 13-12 (12-9) 15-12 (11-10) 5-23 (4-18) 4-21 (3-18) 5-20 (2-19)

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

Indiana (Pa.) Gannon California (Pa.) Edinboro Pitt-Johnstown Seton Hill Mercyhurst Slippery Rock Clarion

25-2 (20-1) 21-6 (17-4) 20-7 (14-7) 16-9 (14-7) 16-11 (11-10) 13-14 (7-14) 7-20 (7-14) 8-19 (6-15) 4-24 (2-20)

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

pitt-johnstown california (Pa.) seton hill mercyhurst Slippery Rock gannon indiana (Pa.) Clarion

8-0 (0-0) 2-1 (0-0) 4-2 (0-0) 1-2 (0-0) 0-0 (0-0) 0-4 (0-0) 0-4 (0-0) 0-7 (0-0) KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Senior guard Brooke Hinderliter goes up for a contested layup against Gannon University on Feb. 22. Hinderliter currently has scored 1,727 career points, just 34 away from the school's all-time points record set by Heather Kearney.

Softball 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

seton hill california (Pa.) gannon edinboro Slippery Rock mercyhurst

By Tyler Howe Senior Rocket Contributor

3-4 (0-0) 1-4 (0-0) 1-4 (0-0) 0-0 (0-0) 0-2 (0-0) 0-6 (0-0)

Tennis 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Indiana (Pa.) Slippery Rock Mercyhurst clarion california (Pa.) edinboro seton hill

3-1 (1-0) 3-1 (0-0) 4-2 (0-0) 2-2 (0-0) 0-4 (0-0) 0-6 (0-0) 2-3 (0-1)

Lacrosse 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Gannon Indiana (Pa.) Mercyhurst Slippery Rock Seton Hill Edinboro Lock Haven

2-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 2-1 1-1 0-1

The ball is inbounded, after a quick score by the opponent, and brought down the court before being passed to a 5’9” player in the post, who then sinks a stepback shot over two defenders. That player is Brooke Hinderliter and chances are if Slippery Rock has won a game, Hinderliter has hit this shot a few times. Every single shot made from there has helped chip away at the all-time scoring record, to the point where she is now 34 points away from breaking it. “It’s exciting [being so close to the scoring record], it’s something that I’ve worked really hard for, to reach a milestone like this,” Hinderliter said. This won’t be the first milestone that Hinderliter has hit, though, as she broke the all-time free throws made record earlier in the season against Clarion at home when she got to the line eight times and made 13 of her 15 free throws. The record was previously held by Heather Kearney, who also owns the all-time scoring record. This season, Hinderliter has already attempted 196 free throws and made 163 and in all likelihood, by the time the season is over, she’ll have over 200 attempts. Last season was Hinderliter's first in the role of primary scorer, and in her second season in the role she has flourished. Through 27 games she has 526 points and has attempted 428 shots, at this point last season she had 488 points and had attempted 423 shots. “I don’t want this season to be over, because I don’t want basketball to end, obviously, and my team deserves [to be in the playoffs], we’ve fought hard. I know that we started out rough in the beginning but we’re a good team and we deserve to be there,” Hinderliter said. At this moment there can’t be a discussion about the scoring record without also talking about The Rock’s chances to make the playoffs. Currently The Rock is one game behind Seton Hill and Mercyhurst for the final spot, sitting at 6-15 in conference play. In order for The Rock to sneak in, Seton Hill must lose their final game and The Rock has to win in a winner-takeall game against Mercyhurst. Currently both teams are on a four-game losing skid, and The Rock plays Mercyhurst in their season finale. “At this point in the season right now and if you look at our box scores, we need Brooke to put up these types of numbers to win these two games and to make a conference playoff run,” Coach Bobby McGraw said. “We need her to score 29 or 30, it hasn’t been like that every night but with some people missing we need her to get those types of numbers to win.” Hinderliter has played under Coach McGraw for the past four years and started all but one game in her time here under him. She’s the leader in games started in program history with 110. Against Edinboro, Hinderliter tied Beth Dansberger for the most consecutive starts with her 101st straight start

and on Saturday she will break the record with her 102nd start in a row. “She is one of the top players to ever walk through this field house, put on that jersey, and play in this program. She is a first-ballot hall of famer and there is no question about that,” Coach McGraw said. “She is one of the three best players that I’ve ever coached and I don’t see that changing in the next ten years or even by the time I hang it up.” Hinderliter has the resume to make her case to be a first ballot hall of famer, but another staggering figure is the amount of minutes she’s played in her career. Currently she is fourth in program history with over 3,200 minutes played over her four year career and should Edinboro defeat Seton Hill and Slippery Rock defeat Mercyhurst on Saturday, Hinderliter will make her return to the postseason. “[We prioritize] the postseason over Brooke getting the record and she knows that and it’s what she wants. She has a chance to leave here with two postseason bids in her four years here, which hasn’t been done in like 25 years,” Coach McGraw said. In the only postseason game of her career, Hinderliter scored 20 points in an 11-point loss to Cal U. Should The Rock get back they may once again play Cal U, a team that Hinderliter has scored at least 20 points against three times in her career. That includes a 27-point effort against the #10 Vulcan's last season in a 72-61 win. That was the first time The Rock had beaten Cal U since the 2001-2002 season. For the past few years, Coach McGraw has repeated the phrase “we go as Brooke Hinderliter goes” over and over again. And Brooke has backed this, scoring 20 points or more 29 times throughout her career. And games where she’s scored at 20 points that has been a big difference as The Rock is 14-15 in those 29 games. As for the pressure of trying to get the scoring record and still get the team to the playoffs, Hinderliter feels she’s used to it. “I’ve been dealing with pressure for my life and I’ve always had that on my shoulders, so I just take it game by game and I’m calm about it because I’ve had it for so long,” Hinderliter explained. The ideal situation is for things to go The Rock’s way and for Hinderliter to get at least one more game to get the record, but as it is, Mercyhurst is Hinderliter’s last game in Morrow Field House and she needs 34 points. Brooke’s current career high is 33 points, so after scoring 25 against Edinboro she gave herself a realistic shot to both get the record and get her team into the PSAC tournament. To Coach McGraw, Hinderliter is one of those special players that there is no substitute for and the program will feel her absence in the future. “Brooke’s not one of those players you can replace. [Coaching her] has meant everything to me,” Coach McGraw said very emotionally. “She’s meant the world to program these past four years and she’ll be dearly missed.”


SPORTS Sports: A microcosm of life

February 28, 2020

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Rollins reflects on a life positively impacted by sports By Zachary Bonnette Asst. Sports Editor

Sports are a beautiful thing. It has the power to unite people from all aspects of life, no matter what differences there may be. Sports teach us how to work together as a team, how to work towards success, how to handle defeat and overcome low moments. Sports have positively impacted millions of lives across the world, one of which being Associate Athletic Director at Slippery Rock University, Torry Rollins. Comparing the rigors of playing a sport to everyday life, Rollins keeps a classic saying from one of his high school coaches in the back of his mind. “Sports are a microcosm of life,” Rollins said. “What you do in sports, you are going to eventually do in life. There can be frustrations, happy times, bad times and highs and lows. Sports help you prepare for those life experiences.” Hired in April 2012, Rollins’ experiences and lessons from sports helped lead him, his wife Antoinette and his two children, Devon and Dominique, to the small, rural town of Slippery Rock. But way before he arrived at the land of The Green and White, Rollins’ passion for athletics helped to obtain a wide variety of skills and experiences. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, one of Rollins’ first and strongest passions in life were playing sports, namely basketball. “Growing up like a typical kid, I always thought I was going to be a professional [athlete],” Rollins said as he cracked a smile. “I had a basketball hoop in my backyard where we all used to play a lot and I just ended up falling in love with the game of basketball.” Rollins went on to explain how playing sports on a regular basis as a kid helped to shape his life in multiple aspects throughout his childhood and into college. “Growing up, I played all the sports I could,” Rollins said. “It wasn’t even just for the competitive aspect, but socially as well. Being able to be with your friends, challenge each other and have a good time, [basketball] really helped me navigate through college; I used it as one of the tools to get me where I’m at today.” After graduating from high school, Rollins admitted that there was no clear path as to what was next for him. After working a summer job at a shoe store nearby his home, the upcoming graduate went to his manager for some guidance and soon thereafter, a plan was in place. “The manager of the shoe store I used to work at during the summers was a graduate from Edinboro and he played basketball

there, that was my connection,” Rollins said. “He played with the current assistant coach at the time. He gave the coach a call who came out and talked to me, evaluated me and that’s how I got to Edinboro.” A few months later in fall of 1988, Rollins began his pursuit of a degree in accounting at Edinboro University. After finishing his undergrad and collegiate career as a Fighting Scot, it was apparent to Rollins that athletics were going to be something that would always be a part of his identity, something that he truly loved and was passionate about. During Rollins’ athletic career at Edinboro, he spoke about how the Fighting Scots and The Rock had a bit of a rivalry, with Slippery Rock boasting one of the top Division II basketball teams in the nation. “When I first started playing in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Slippery Rock was very prominent in men’s basketball,” Rollins said. “They had a guy named Myron Brown who ended up going to the NBA, so Slippery Rock was on the map. At one point they were fourth in the country in Division II and were knocking off Division I teams.” After a successful collegiate career and an intense rivalry with SRU, Rollins chose to stay at his alma mater and pursue a Master of Arts degree in communication studies, while staying involved with Edinboro’s basketball programs, working as a graduate assistant for the men’s team and color commentator for both teams. Pursuing a graduate degree, working as a color commentator and a graduate assistant coach for two years helped Rollins to conceptualize his career path in life, something that all leads back to his lifelong love of basketball. “It was awesome,” Rollins said. “Sports in general and in my case, basketball allowed me to have those great experiences in life. If I hadn’t played basketball, I wouldn’t have had the ability or the resources to become a graduate assistant coach which led to more opportunities down the line.” After completing his Master of Arts at Edinboro and earning an MBA at Cleveland State University in 2002, Rollins accepted a position as assistant head coach for Lakeland Community College in 2003 in Kitland, Ohio and worked in Cuyahoga County in as a fiscal officer, budgeting $65 million across 17 departments. During his tenure with Lakeland, Rollins also worked as the recruiting coordinator and helped lead the team to an impressive .766-win percentage in his final two seasons in 2006 and 2007. It was during this time period that Rollins would meet his future wife, Antoinette,

COURTESY OF SRU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATION

SRU Associate Athletic Director Torry Rollins poses for his staff photo. Rollins has worked for SRU since 2012.

who has been extremely supportive of his professional pursuits. “She started a manager training program at National City Bank in Cleveland and a few years later, PNC bought National City, so the new job that she worked allowed her to travel and be flexible,” Rollins said. “She was very supportive of us moving around and I am thankful for the way that it all worked out, you couldn’t script it in a better way.” With several new responsibilities popping up in Rollins’ life, Rollins made the tough decision to temporarily step away from the game of basketball and combine his undergraduate degree and Master of Arts in communication studies for one, singular job. While keeping his job in Cuyahoga, Rollins began the process of getting into the business of athletic administration. “I started thinking about transitioning to athletic administration because I still wanted to stay close to [basketball], close

to athletics,” Rollins said. “When I started researching how I could use my experiences and education, I started noticing the same result popping up. Assistant Athletic Director for athletics, assistant athletic director for finance, assistant athletic director for business affairs, it was a way for me to use my undergrad degree, graduate degree and MBA.” Although Rollins found the next career area he wanted to get into, the process of breaking into the profession was one of the most challenging parts of his life. “It was five years of sending out resumes over and over again,” Rollins said. “When I first got my breakthrough at Southeast Missouri State University. I applied for Assistant Athletic Director for Business Affairs three different times,” Rollins said.

CONTINUE ON

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The long road to the starting lineup Beach overcomes mes injury to claim a spot in the starting lineup By Brendan Howe Asst. Campus Life Editor

From focusing on soccer throughout high school to walking onto and suffering a number of knee injuries in her time on the lacrosse team at Slippery Rock University, senior defender Olivia Beach’s story is a unique one. Beach began college as just a student, deciding to attend Slippery Rock as an excuse not to have to play D-III soccer for Shenandoah University in Virginia. Once on campus, she joined club lacrosse, but realized that the team didn’t match her speed or seriousness. It was then that she sent an email to the previous coach of the program, gauging her chances of being a walk-on. After a two-week tryout period, she was welcomed aboard. It wasn’t all of what she expected. “The culture was really toxic,” Beach said. “I was excited to make it, but I was kind of nervous and upset based on how people were treating each other.” Even after going 12-6 with an appearance in the PSAC tournament in 2017, Beach said the previous coach’s contract was not renewed. Kelsey Van Alstyne, a former captain at Bloomsburg University, was brought on as her replacement. At first, Van Alstyne said, Beach was soft-spoken. “My initial impression was that [Olivia] was incredibly hard-working and driven, but I can’t say much beyond that because she really, I think, was kind of scared of me for quite some time,” the third-year head coach said. Under Van Alstyne’s direction, the atmosphere changed for the better. “It’s the heart of the program,” Beach said. “It’s who we are as a team because, now, we don’t have any hierarchy; everyone is very welcoming of each other. I think, with that, we’re all very open with each other and honest.” Beach was still trying to work her way off of the bench when she felt a familiar pain. As a high school junior in 2015, Beach tore her left ACL and meniscus. Now, three years later and only a handful of games into her senior season, she tore both the

g in her other ligament and cartilage knee. Eight months later, she reinjured herr right meniscus once again. ost painful p “The most j thing for me was just realizing that I’d have to uch a longg go through such n to rehab journey again and get back to where I aid. was,” Beach said. However, Beach said ful for the she’s thankful nd how it experience and he p physical y got her into the e’s in now. shape that she’s urn, Beach In her return, th realizingg struggled with d beingg selfher limits and aware so as not to hurt n. The most herself again. g g difficult partt of getting m, Beach said, back to form, ngg out when was “figuring h myself y and I could push [realizing] it was too much p and speaking up.” ement from Encouragement her coaches, teammates rainer Mollyy and athletic trainer gy Parsons, and the hungry ttingg the stick thought of getting p back in her hand pushed her through workouts on s. In a way, y a daily basis. the setbacks served as a blessing. ught g “They taught me an j appreciation for just the simple things in life, such as walking orr contractingg ch said. “You a quad,” Beach don’t really realize how eingg able to much just being ou. Because, walk does for you. ttingg on the when you’re sitting y not couch for the entire day, being able to do anything, ot.” you miss it a lot.” p y While out, Beach played ole. She would a supportive role. ent or water fetch equipment and cheer herr teammates ls. on during drills.

y g a “Beingg on the sidelines, you get different point p of view and you y can see some things g that people p p may not see on the field,” Beach said. A half-dozen other ggirls, includingg scorers Tia Torchia and Jaseyy Sanders, also dealt with knee ligament g ailments throughout the campaign. p g “Just in general, g myy first yyear here with so manyy ACLs was y just awful," said Van Alstyne. g of "There was such a range g hurt and the kids who got t h e i r effort in

comingg back. [Olivia] worked so hard, so when she started to sayy at the end of that fall semester, ‘Myy knee d o e s n’t g feel good’ g […] it was reallyy tough because she had been p y g reallyy well and playing was in the conversation g of starting.” That offseason, the g in the bigg change team’s trainingg g regimen was the p focus on speed g y Van and agility. y Alstyne’s husband, Chris, was added as the team’s g strength and conditioning

coach. He would come twice a week to p y on their th deceleration, work with players g of direction and p change plyometrics. injury j y Back on the field, injury-free, Beach feels she’s in the best shape oof her career. Van y agrees. g Alstyne g ggirl gi on the team,” “She’s the strongest y said. “She probably p Van Alstyne has the q and the qquickest first step. best technique soph p That was not her her sophomore year when pre-injury.” j y I knew her p th coach, Beach Also, accordingg to the m i s the team mom and team bruiser, both in practice and against g foes, such as in her collegiat g first collegiate start in a 12-8 victoryy at tthe University of Findlayy las last Saturday. p until un Up that point, ha only played Beach had gam g in 18 games, notching a g shot single shot, picking up nine g b ground balls and forcing three turno turnovers. wal “For a walk-on who didn’t g anyy time because b get of injury, p of it, not being in and, on top this super p tigh g tight-knit group, it’s been veryy rew rewarding from my aspect p to see ho how integral she is y said. “I want her as a senior,” Van Alstyne think to walk awayy jjust thinking this was the p in her life and that best season in anyy sport she sacrificed and [left] a lasting legacy on this program.”

"[Olivia] is the strongest girl on this team. She probably has the best technique and quickest first setp" – Kelsey Van Alstyne, SRU lacrosse coach PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY


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SPORTS Taylor is still better than you

February 28, 2020

Rock reserve men's basketball player contributes more than just stats By Karl Ludwig Sports Editor

If Eric Taylor walked onto the courts at the Aebersold Recreation Center on a Wednesday night, students would not stop their games to stare. Some students might not even recruit Taylor to join their squad, as 95% wouldn't know who he is. Taylor, a junior on the Slippery Rock men's basketball team, stands at 5'11" with a slim 175-pound build. Not exactly an imposing figure like his teammates Micah Till or Will Robinson, Jr. But like his teammates, Taylor would dominate any of the competition on any given night. Maybe "dominate" isn't the most politically correct word to describe how he'd fare against students at the ARC, but he wouldn't deny it. "Yeah, most likely," Taylor chuckled. Taylor lives and breathes basketball, spending his free time outside of class and practice at the gym. He works out by himself, just him and the court. "[Basketball] means a lot to me, and I'm really committed," Taylor said. But when game day rolls around, Taylor doesn't find himself in the starting lineup. In fact, he doesn't find himself in the lineup at all on most days. Having played in five games this season, a total of nine minutes, Taylor last found himself on the court against California (Pa.) on Feb. 1. He hit a pair of free throws, his first and second points of the season. His playing time, or lack thereof, doesn't bother him though. "I'm pretty happy with [my role on the team]," Taylor said. A transfer from the Community College of Beaver County, Taylor originally plied his trade in Philadelphia at the Preparatory Charter School. Playing in 56 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons at CCBC, Taylor averaged 3.3 points per game on 34.9% shooting from the field and 35.1% shooting from 3-point range during his sophomore season. He also averaged 2 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game. Playing with current Rock teammate Deontae Robertson at CCBC, the Titans went 23-4 over the 2018-19 season with a trip to the NJCAA Region XX DII semifinals. While team manager Zack Fincher said Taylor ended up at Slippery Rock because of him, Taylor pointed to a variety of things going right for him to end up at SRU. "I won an academic scholarship to certain state schools, and this was one of the only ones to offer my major," Taylor said. "Plus I already knew some of the people here, so it was an easy decision. Majoring in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, a relatively recent addition to potential majors at Slippery Rock, Taylor said

his options for pursuing his major led him to consider Slippery Rock and Shippensburg. Aside from offering his major, Taylor pointed to a couple of familiar faces already in place at Slippery Rock. "I already had a relationship with coach [Valeriano], plus I knew Deontae Robertson; we were at Beaver together, and I knew he was coming here," Taylor said. While players like Till and Robinson transferred to Slippery Rock with dreams of playing beyond the realm of collegiate basketball, having red carpets rolled out for their arrivals, Taylor took a more unheralded approach. Despite the difference in on-court impact, Grady said Taylor and his fellow reserves have vital roles on the squad. "I think [the reserves] do a good job of coming to the team with a positive attitude every day and working hard and encouraging the guys that are on the floor," Grady said. "So, they help practices and games immensely." Taylor stressed how hard he goes, showing up and memorizing the scouting report, for every practice. "I try to help the guys out that are playing," Taylor said. "When they're guarding someone, I try to scream out the tendencies of that player. Try to know the plays and tell them what's going to happen. I just try to help in any way that I can." While he acts as a scout player in practice, helping his teammates in preparing for whichever team is coming up next on the schedule, he said he acts as a hype man and a motivator during games. On game days, Taylor prepares for games with the rest of the team, warming up and shooting around at the Morrow Field House for home games and bonding on bus rides for away games. "I wouldn't say it's easy because we just shoot around for about 45 minutes, we go over scouts, and, if it's an away game, we leave about two hours earlier to get to the game and watch the girls play," Taylor said. "Then we just go through warmups, and it's game time." While Slippery Rock's rotation runs 10 men deep usually, with Till averaging nearly 30 minutes per game, Taylor averages 1.8 minutes per game in his five games. Grady stressed that just because a player doesn't receive huge minutes, doesn't mean that player contributes nothing. "We never really measure the value to the team by minutes played in a game," Grady said. "I think everyone has their role and their place on the team and none more important than the other." Taylor and fellow junior Andre Seadey have played in five and six games,

vely, y but that respectively, pped them from pp hasn't stopped becomingg valued and respected members of the team. "I thinkk it's friendlyy and ng," g Gradyy said. welcoming," ric as an example, p "I'll use Eric g everyone on the team gets h him, loves him, along with p so I think we've ggot a ggroup hat gget alongg well of guys that n the court but not just on urt." off the court." In just a few months ippery pp y Rock, spent at Slippery it's been a whirlwind for Taylor. However, he still has a memory that he'll take with him for me. a long time. ingg a Following couple of blowout losses in Division ition I exhibition pperyy pp games, Slippery ayed Rock played ame Notre Dame Oh.) College (Oh.) in the Joe assic Retton Classic to open the season. ck A back h and forth ll affair all n i g h t , Slippery d itself Rock found point trailing byy a p w seconds with a few undingg the left. Inbounding nior Jared ball to senior gg, he took Armstrong, the ball the full he court, length of the p splashing a deep 3-pointer for a walk-off win to eason. open the season. ngg off Erupting y the bench,, Taylor red the remembered euphoria. "Our first game, wee won uzzeroff a buzzery beater," Taylor said, smiling widely, as he reminisced on the memory.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY

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Chosen Generation Gospel Choir At SRU Rocket YouTube

CAMPUS LIFE

Dress for the job you want Students receive professional pointers in looking the part

HANNAH SLOPE / THE ROCKET Celine Halt, Kemoni Farmer and Joshua Young model professional attire during the Dress for Success Fashion Show. The annual show was held to educate students on do's and don'ts for professional attire, ranging from interviews to holiday parties, also giving those in attednance the opportunity to win giftcards to the Outlets.

By Brendan Howe Asst. Campus Life Editor

It only takes three seconds to make an impression. Unconsciously, we all judge people based on things such as their clothing choices, the way their makeup is done, how their hair is styled and how they walk and talk. “Everything has an effect on somebody making an opinion about you before you’ve ever opened up your mouth,” said Michelle Czerwinski, the emcee for the Dress for Success fashion show, held in the Smith Student Center ballroom on Wednesday evening. Students were given pointers on what to wear and how to conduct themselves in professional settings at the event. Seven student models demonstrated how to dress after landing a job in the corporate world, at the company gym, while traveling for conferences and at holiday gatherings.

“Students come to learn the various professional settings and ways to dress in those settings,” said Jensen Troy, a freshman public relations major who played a big part in the planning of the show. “We feel that it’s very imperative to give a good first impression.” Czerwinski, the director of Marketing and Business Development for the Grove City Premium Outlets, said that having a resumé with credentials that stick out is key in earning an interview. She listed the dos and don’ts in such meetings. She stated the obvious, such as checking for anything stuck in your teeth before you walk out the door and arriving clean-shaven. Czerwinski recommended not to eat before an interview once dressed and not to wear heavy perfumes or colognes as they can serve as a distraction. “Making that interview is going to be very important because there’s a lot of competition out there,” said Czerwinski, “There are a lot

of college graduates that are going to be competing with everybody across the United States for different positions.” Models strolled down the runway in clothing from Adidas, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Haggar and Lane Bryant. For interviews, Czerwinski advised students wear a black, navy or charcoal gray suit with a white shirt and neutral-colored shoes. Shirts should be ironed and pressed to get rid of wrinkles. For men, the tie should blend into the color of the suit and barely brush the belt. The buttons should be unfastened while seated. Slimmer suit pants are modern and in style, but the dress socks shouldn’t show. “You always have to look at the type of business that you’re going into,” Czerwinski said. “If it’s a more creative field, maybe we don’t have to be as conservative. But you’re never going to go wrong in a suit. It shows respect for a person’s time.” In order to fix a common mistake, men should use seamrippers to carefully remove the

brand label on a suit jacket’s wrist. The double vents, in the back of the jacket or ladies’ skirts, need clipped to be opened up. “You’re trying to sell yourself, right?” Czerwinski asked rhetorically. “You’re trying to sell your brand and how you can be profitable and make a difference at this company.” Though Czerwinski doesn’t recommend much jewelry, the incorporation of accessories in a woman’s outfit, such as a tasteful pair of earrings, a necklace or a watch, complements personal style. Necktie scarves can provide an extra hue of color. “You don’t have to have a ton of money to dress appropriately for these settings and you don’t have to be a genius to understand,” Troy said. Czerwinski also encouraged students to practice in their professional attire, such as sitting and walking upstairs in the clothing, and even rehearsing pulling a resume out of a case so not to look frantic

when handing it over during an interview. The business casual concept differs in every office and environment. A failsafe for women are dresses, Czerwinksi said. Guys should wear sport coats and dress khakis. “Once you’re on the job, you just have to look at the culture and see what everybody else is wearing,” Czerwinski said. “We recommend stepping it up a little bit from everybody else. You want to stand out.” Comfortability is most important when dressing for trips. The model showed that a blouse, capri pants and flat shoes do the job. Czerwinski urges those with fun personalities to add color in this instance. “Keep that professional image,” Czerwinski said, reminding students not to give off a vacation vibe while traveling on a work assignment. “You never know who you’re going to meet, especially at a conference, and usually you’re there for business or self-education. You’re always promoting yourself.”

In the company gym, along with an outfit that leaves much to the imagination, Czerwinski instructed students to keep proper etiquette, bring a respectable bag to hold your clothes in, and, for ladies, to keep their hair in a ponytail or bun. Finally, Czerwinski touched upon holiday gatherings, which are still work functions, whether to celebrate the year’s successes or for team-building purposes. She told students to remain modest and confident. “They say that the most jobs are lost following a holiday party, [most of the time for] saying the wrong thing if you have a couple drinks and get comfortable,” Czerwinksi said. “You don’t want to be talked about for the wrong reason.” A number of gift cards, up to $300, were raffled off before the show ended, allowing, Troy said, the opportunity to go to the Outlets and get the clothes that they need to nail an interview.

Education, discussion and history QUEENS Org. educates on black women in history with notable achievements

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Two students participate in the Queens Empowering Every Notable Sister (QUEENS) cafe style discussion. The discussion aimed to educate those in attendance about black women in history with notable achievements that often go unoticed.

By Jack Konesky Senior Rocket Contributor

The Queens Empowering Every Other Notable Sister (QUEENS) Organization hosted “Black Queens” in room 102 of the Vincent Science Center Wednesday, a discussion aiming to educate attendees on the history and achievements of women of color in today’s society. The event was guided in part by Jariah Campbell, senior public health major and president of QUEENS Org., who

collected the research for the discussion in the second half of the proceedings. The discussion’s focus, Campbell said, was to teach people about historic figures that they may have little-to-no knowledge on despite their accomplishments. “We wanted to showcase women who had been the first to do certain things - the first to be part of a particular organization, the first on congress or the first to hold a specific career,” Campbell said. “We also wanted to show really powerful women, such as

our previous First Lady, and how owning a position of power can be challenging as a woman of color.” The event was split into two halves; one part activity, one part discussion. For the activity portion, attendees were challenged to identify the names and achievements of various women of color who were pictured at different stations. Afterwards, a powerpoint revealed the identity and accomplishments of the women at each of the stations. Some - such as

Michelle Obama or Beyonce - were known by almost everyone, while others like Claudette Colvin, the 15-year-old who refused to give up her seat on a bus nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing - had even the event’s organizers surprised. “That was the raw point we wanted to show: that there are women out here who you may not have even heard of, and they’ve accomplished so much,” Campbell said. For Campbell, Black QUEENS Org. was a

chance to show people a part of history which tends to fall to the wayside. One of the primary goals for QUEENS Org., Campbell said, is simply to educate others on the role women of color have had in shaping today’s society. “We try to educate everyone on women of color and emphasize that us women of color are out here accomplishing a lot, that we’re really doing our thing,” Campbell said. “However, some of us aren’t even getting credit for what we do.”

At the very least, Campbell expressed hope that the event’s attendees learned something they didn’t know about women of color in history. Beyond that, however, Campbell seeks to empower women of color both on and off campus with the help of QUEENS Org. including herself. “I look up to these women as role models,” Campbell said. “Seeing them and their accomplishments gives me the feeling within myself that I can become something just as great as they are.


CAMPUS LIFE Eating disorders and mental health February 28, 2020

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Psychology Club discusses eating disorders to educate students on a taboo mental health topic

KEEGAN BEARD/ THE ROCKET

A student designs a self-affirmation mirror before the Psychology club meeting. These mirrors were available at the Nourish to Floruish event and prior events for students to practice self-affirmation in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

By Hope Hoehler Campus Life Editor

Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of eating disorders and mental health and may be triggering for some readers. The Psychology Club held their weekly meeting, inviting Body Reflections to engage in discussion and educate those in attendance about eating disorders. The discussion topic ranged between various types of eating disorders and how they can impact students and society in honor of National Eating Disorder AwarenessWeek, which lasts from Feb. 23 to Feb. 29. Ahead of the meeting started, Amanda Reichert,

sophomore psychology major and president of the Psychology Club mentioned that there were self-affirmation mirrors to decorate and take home. Considering that eating disorders are such a sensitive topic, Jessica Farman senior psychology major and president of Body Reflections, passed out sticky notes for students to write questions on if they were uncomfortable to ask out loud, that Body Reflections would then respond to via email.  Before Farman began to display the educational slides about eating d i s o rd e r s , a t r i g g e r warning was issued about the topic.  "Eating disorders are such a prevalent experience that

a lot of people have in our society, but it's not talked about, even when we discuss mental health," Farman said. The lack of mentioning eating disorders when discussing mental health was one of the reasons the Psychology Club and Body Reflections joined to have the meeting.  The meeting began with discussing various types of eating disorders, from the most common, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, to others that aren't as discussed; avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, orthorexia and other specified eating disorders.  Mikaila Leonard, sophomore psychology major, and vice

president of Body Reflections said that the misconceptio,n of eating disorders is that someone wants to be smaller. "People connect eating disorders to the image," Leanord said.    Farman asked those in attendance to close their eyes and imagine what a person with an eating disorder would look like.  She received the responses she expected to hear: young, pale, a women, but she appears to be normal.  Farman emphasized that eating disorders don't discriminate, they impact all identities. Naming a few for example: athletes, LGBTQ+, men and boys, people of color and more.  "Be cognizant when you're around others," Farman said. 

Realizing that there are numerous variables in society that have a social impact on eating disorders, Farman asked those in attendance what they thought about the topic. Students mentioned the unrealistic body image made by society, comparing body image to a close friend and even the fast food industry.  Farman also mentioned the impact of social media on eating disorders, and although said that platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are being more aware of eating disorders, there was a time where Pro-Ana sites were popular. These sites emphasized anorexia and painted it in a positive light. 

Farman said that Body Reflections is a club that focusses the discussion on changing the way people think about their bodies. "We want to make sure that there is a safe atmosphere for somebody to reach out," Farman said.  Farman and Leonard ensured that they want to make sure there is a safe atmosphere for everybody to discuss eating disorders. At the end of the discussion, they shared the resources available on campus as well as the National Eating Disorders Website and helpline.  "People push it off," Leonard said. "[Others say] it's their choice. It's not a choice, it's serious."

A discussion: Colorism and media Black Action Society talks about the stereotypes those in the black community encounter By Hope Hoehler Campus Life Editor

The Black Action Society (BAS) held a panel discussion on colorism including topics about being “black enough,” experiences in the world and colorism in the media.   The panel consisted of Kennedy Koe, secretary of BAS and a sophomore secondary education and spanish major;  Amir Hill-Davis, a senior homeland security major with minors in writing and Arabic;  Nature Askew, parliamentarian of BAS  and sophomore physical activity and business management major; Donovan Ford, public relations chair of BAS and junior marketing major; and Cinnamon Price, a freshman biology major.   Taron Polk, BAS vice president and senior marketing major and management minor, led the discussion with prewritten questions on slides for the audience to see. One of the first topics discussed was the phrase “black enough”.  Most of the panel agreed that the phrase is ignorant.  

“The phrase is meant to separate us from the inside,” said Askew. “Once you say you aren’t black enough, you start to separate yourself.” Transitioning into how the role of media impacts how blacks view themselves, themes of drugs and poverty arose.   Hill-Davis said that the media puts blacks in positions where they feel they must show off their wealth to ride the stereotype. Ford would further agree that media enforces stereotypes.   “Media enforces the stereotypes,” said Ford. “When a black guy commits a crime, there’s more emphasis on making sure his mug shot is out, but when there is a white guy arrested, they show pictures from graduation and with their family.”  Price believes that there are two sides to the media: the black media and the outside media. She said that the media takes the worst parts and shows it to the public.   “The outside media isn’t showing the good parts, but we know where to look and have inspiration to look and who to look up to,” said Price.

However, some panelists believed that members of the black media need to start doing more and supporting each other and their creations.   Hill-Davis  said that one of the main problems in black media is that the movie industry only shows one type of lifestyle and believes that the media needs to start showing that blacks are more than what they show.   “A lot of movies are showing the black struggle and slavery, but what about everything in between,” said Hill-Davis.   The experiences in between what Hill-Davis talked about were discussed by other panelists during the life experience questions and connection to the African American community.  HillDavis said that his “blackness” was questioned by others, other cultures and himself.   “My blackness gets questioned in sports,” HillDavis said. “I grew up playing basketball and football, but those were never my sports. I’ve been playing volleyball since I was in 7th grade and people ask 'isn’t that a white person sport?'” 

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Nature Askew answers a question prompted on the slides during the Am I Still Black If event, addressing those in attendence and encouring interaction.

Questioning someone’s blackness was another theme brought up at the panelist discussion.   Askew said that just because other blacks grew up differently, it doesn't mean that they are any less black than someone else.   The discussion ties into colorism and Hill-Davis brought up the brown paper bag test. The closer slaves were to being black (darker than

the color of the paper bag), the further they were from the house.   “That is the origin of colorism and it divides us to this day,” Hill-Davis said.   The panelists agreed that colorism is everywhere and occurs in other cultures as well. Koe would add her belief that colorism is hard to understand.   “We associated the lighter end [of black] with difference

races than black, but they can be anywhere on the spectrum and still be black,” Koe said.   To end the discussion, Polk asked the panelists and audience members about solutions. The general idea was to continue hosting events and discussions similar to the "Am I Still Black If" event to educate not only themselves, but others as well.   “People want change but aren’t willing to do something about it,” Askew said.

With scheduling and graduation approaching in the next few months and midterms looming upon us, it is important to make sure that you are staying ahead. This week’s Letter from Lambda will be discussing some tips on how to get ahead for these upcoming busy times. The first thing I find convenient when I’m on the go is utilizing the "Reminders" application on my phone. This has helped me because with each reminder, I can set what the reminder is for, a date and time to remind me, the location of the reminder (if applicable) and a priority level so it will always show up first in my notifications. The "Reminders" application has come in handy for those last-minute assignments or group meetings that unexpectedly come up when I did not have

my planner on me. I used to think I would remember lastminute things, and I always ended up forgetting what I needed to do. This application has been really helpful. For those seniors that have a lot going on with work, classes and clubs/organizations, this will benefit you greatly. If you do not have a Reminders application, you can always use your alarm application to set alarms to tell you when to start working on something. The next thing that is helpful with getting ahead is utilizing your planner efficiently. Start by filling in the dates when all your assignments are due for classes, meetings times and club/organization events. Even if you are not a planner user, it is extremely useful to have all of this information in one area instead of flipping through all of your syllabi or trying to remember other things.

The last thing is completing small assignments early. Readings sometimes can be time consuming, especially during the weekdays when multiple assignments are due. When I have a reading assignment for any class and quizzes that go along with the readings, I will do the readings and quizzes on Sundays. This has freed up a lot of time during the week for me. With the extra time, I am able to dedicate more time for larger projects for my classes. Take some time out of your weekend, when you know you will have it, rather than procrastinate and risk running into last-minute things that could come up and create stress during the week. With these simple tips and aides, you can improve your time management skills and feel on top of your work this semester instead of buried under it.


February 28, 2020

CAMPUS LIFE

D-3

Self-care and mental health

Students learn self-care tips and educate themselves about eating disorders

MORGAN MILLER/ THE ROCKET

Allison Yucha, sophomore public relations chair, of Active Minds, and Josh Cendrowski, junior vice president of Active Minds, display their table at the Nourish to Flourish event that was part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Active Minds focuses on mental health and helped relay self-care tips to students in attendance.

By Tyler Howe Senior Rocket Contributor

On college campuses throughout the nation, and especially on Slippery Rock’s campus, mental health issues have become a major focus. One issue that affects many students is eating disorders. National Eating Disorders Week runs from Feb. 25 to March 1. To raise awareness of eating disorders, the Psychology Club and Body Reflections held the event Nourish to Flourish. “Nourish to Flourish is to bring awareness to the psychological aspect of eating disorders and kind of bring help to the mental

aspect of it, and kind of straying away from the physical aspect of it because that can be a little taboo and harder to talk about,” president of the psychology club Amanda Reichert said. Although other clubs also participated in the event, every year, Body Reflections hosts different activities to spread awareness of eating disorders. “Essentially we create events throughout National Eating Disorder Awareness week and this event in particular was chosen because when we talk about eating disorders, a lot of times we talk about not talking about the intake of food and exercise, so on the flip side we created an event around nourishing

our minds and bodies in ways that we don’t usually talk about,” the President of Reflections, Jessica Farman said.

"We're all hot messes sometimes, we're college kids." – .Mikaila Leonard, V.P. of Reflections

The event consisted of self-care tips and tricks and also had a focus on creating a positive selfreflection. However, all of those involved shared information about eating disorders to help people understand them a little bit better. “It’s a lot of just becoming aware that there are a lot of ways of dealing with this too and putting an emphasis on loving yourself as you are,” Vice President of Body Reflections, Mikaila Leonard said. “Th at also plays into what we’re doing for the rest of the week.” Last semester, Slippery Rock as a whole placed an emphasis on mental illness and sometimes eating

disorders were not included in those conversations, so the goal was to try and give eating disorders their own platform and to spark a new conversation among students. Organizations that had their own tables at the event included the Women’s and Pride Center, the Meditation Club and Active Minds. Each organization added a different aspect to the event and gave different ways to better take care of yourself. “I think it’s ver y important to take care of yourself, semesters can be very grueling mentally and if you take care of yourself mentally, then it’s easier to take care of yourself physically and to excel in

your schoolwork,” Reichert said. The name of the event came from pins that said “Nourish to Flourish”; the name fit perfectly for the event. The hope is that the event will increase in the future to help make people more aware of eating disorders and give people tips on how to take care of both their minds and bodies. “I think it’s so important [to take of yourself mentally and physically],” Leonard said. “Not only during the semester because it’s important to be able to find things that you can do to relieve your stress and make sure you are taking care of yourself, because we’re all hot messes sometimes, we’re college kids.”

Her upbeat cadences and fast-paced rhythms help listeners to trust themselves and remember that “everybody gotta shine” no matter what happens. Breakout artist Roddy Ricch has risen in popularity with his song “The Box.” This track is catchy and memorable with its unusual intro and beats. This song will without a doubt be familiar to all Slippery Rock students this April when he performs on campus. To accompany this song is “Down Below,” which highlights the artist’s past and accentuates his growth into a respectable position in the world. With his new status, he uses music to spread messages to a rapidly growing audience.

A musician that has inspired a number of recent, popular black artists today is Stevie Wonder. He has won countless Grammy awards to prove his skill and talent, and continues to influence the music industry with his music. Classic songs like “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition” maintain their presence in society today as their messages are ones that stand the test of time. While there are countless aspects of black culture to appreciate and celebrate, music has been one of the most influential and long lasting parts. The effects of the culture are felt daily by all and will continue to be largely powerful in the arts.

THE ASSISTANT provides look at Weinstein-esque workplace A slow burn with an important, timely message

By Dereck Majors Movie Review Columnist

The truth is necessary but can often come at a cost. Do you risk speaking up only to have your own world crumble before your very eyes? Is the truth worth the pain and humiliation it can cause you to endure? Director/Writer/ Producer/Editor extraordinaire Kitty Green explores these questions in The Assistant, a film that simmers on low for the entire runtime, only to come to a boil once you reflect as the credits hit the screen. Jane (Emmy award winner Julia Garner) lands a job straight out of college as an assistant to a powerful entertainment executive. The film consists solely of one, long workday, beginning with Jane getting in a taxi half asleep before the sun has begun to rise to closing the office late at night with her other colleagues. We follow her day-to-day routine: Turning on computers, making copies, cleaning up after her boss, and teaching a new assistant the basics. This presence of this new assistant takes the story in an interesting direction. Jane asks the young woman questions about her past, only to discover she’s severely underqualified for the position, yet is personally placed in a luxurious hotel while she is working in the city by her boss. Coming from Idaho, she worked as a waitress in a restaurant that their boss visited on a business trip. This is when the pieces start to come together for Jane and the audience, and it’s soon realized that her boss is not who he seemed to be. Rather than be a figure to look up to, he is a predator who preys on those looking to seek a boost in their careers. It’s heartbreaking to see those you look up to in a different light, but it is necessary to understand their true character. Jane realizes this and decides to enlist the help of her HR department. Rather

By Mallory Angelucci Music Review Columnist

than be a helping hand, she is told, in a beautifully acted scene, that there is a line of others waiting for the opportunity she currently has and that by speaking the truth she is ruining her own career aspirations of one day becoming a producer. The brilliance of the film is that what isn’t shown on screen is what stays with you. Jane’s boss, an obvious Weinstein fill in given the line of work, is never shown in the film, allowing the audience to put themselves in Jane’s shoes and question her actions against what they believe they would do in her situation. Last year, the film “Bombshell” explored the real-life abusive behavior that occurred at Fox News but in a different way. There, the abuse was physically shown on screen, with Margot Robbie’s character often the target of sexual advances from

her boss Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). While this made the audience uncomfortable to witness these actions, the film never understood or portrayed how difficult it was for these women to come forward with their stories given the power of the accused. Unlike “Bombshell”, “The Assistant,” never see achieves justice. Instead we see the struggle of spreading the truth to the world and the consequences that many unfortunately still face who are not in the position of power as Angelina Jolie was in coming forward against Harvey Weinstein or Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) against Ailes in “Bombshell”. Jane is simply an assistant without the resources. And for her, the truth and justice could not come at a higher price.

One of the most impactful and lasting parts of black culture is music. It has affected the entire world and changed music as an art, creating genres and expanding upon existing ones since its rise in the culture. Music in black culture is heavily turned to as a source of self-expression and exploration. An artist who has recently begun to influence their audience with these themes is pop singer and rapper Lizzo. She preaches the values of self love with songs like “Coconut Oil” and “Juice.”

Rock Around the Rock Spotify Artists Lizzo

Roddy Rich

Stevie Wonder


THE ROCKET Soledad O'Brien: 'Control your narrative'

February 28, 2020

D-4

O'Brien speaks on her journalistic experience and not letting society write your narrative

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

KEEGAN BEARD/ THE ROCKET

KEEGAN BEARD / THE ROCKET

Soledad O'Brien speaks to student media and campus leaders during the private student leader session before her talk to the public.

O'Brien laughs while retelling stories of her time as a journalist and encourages the audience to create their own narrative.

O'Brien addresses the media, answering questions about her time as a journalist and her opinion on current politics.

mentioned that she had to how to navigate life. By Hope Hoehler learn Early on, as a production assistant for WBZ TV in and Brendan Boston, O’Brien was assigned Howe to a story in which a woman, Rocket Editorial Staff who was eight months pregnant, was killed in a car “If you can cook you can accident. She was asked to go get a man, and the Church is to her husband’s door and ask where you’ll meet the man,” for an interview. Rather than Soledad O’Brien’s mom said slam the door in her face, he to her when she was young.    politely declined.   “I remember feeling so Years later, O’Brien was taking organic chemistry gross and disgusting doing when her sister, now a that,” O’Brien said. “After surgeon, questioned O’Brien that, I thought, 'I will never, on why she was memorizing ever agree to go do a thing concepts rather than that I don’t feel good about understanding them. It was asking.'”  During O.J. Simpson’s then that O’Brien realized medical school wasn’t for her. murder trial, O’Brien would “It never really occurred to persist daily in interviewing me that really understanding the football star’s mother who a topic meant being very lived in San Francisco at the passionate about it and time.  Once more as a young understanding it 360,” O’Brien told students in a reporter working on meeting room in the Smith Christmas day, O’Brien Student Center Tuesday traveled to the house where evening before her speaking a little boy had received a BB gun for Christmas and event.  From the wise words of her shot his sister. She joined mother to the observations other reporters on the front from her sister, O’Brien lawn of the house, until said she had to see what she the mother wearily came outside and asked them to wanted to do with her life. Attending the Radcliffe go away.   “I look back now and College of Harvard University, O’Brien said she I’m so ashamed,” O’Brien felt no pressure to continue said. “What were we doing? schooling or go to Harvard We weren’t serving the to follow in her sibling's community.”  O’Brien looks at journalism footsteps.  O’Brien left college, and her as service to the community. parents, both educators, made An example being her it clear that their daughter coverage of Hurricane Katrina couldn’t live on their couch in New Orleans, saying that it and do nothing. Searching shaped her career.   “How do you cover these for a career, she opted to work at a television station in the stories when everyone in the story is affected?” O’Brien interim.   O’Brien ended up said.  This is when O’Brien being good at it, she said, but insofar as fetching learned more about reporting coffee, getting sandwiches as a service that needed to be and running scripts. She provided to the people. These removed staples from the thoughts were amplified walls but was intrigued by when O’Brien and her team the idea of being creative walked through the airport in a specific context and after leaving New Orleans coverage and received a constantly learning.  “I always felt like I was standing ovation.   “Anyone who thinks this making forward progress […] If you’re willing to be humble is a story about a storm is and try to figure out how to so, so wrong,” O’Brien said. get better, people will help “Katrina was about race and you,” O’Brien said. “Learning power.”  O’Brien said her flexibility, how to take feedback is a really important skill and it’s a really such as that in New Orleans terrible, not fun thing to do.”  and  moving to the next plan O’Brien always liked when the first fell apart, has moving on to other jobs been an aptitude that has helped that would build her skillset. her maneuver into jobs. She Although it was hard at also mentioned that she finds the beginning, O’Brien mentors wherever possible. 

“I could go into a space and say, ‘Wow, I love how this woman dresses,’” O’Brien explained. “Like, that is my role model for how I need to be in a meeting. And she doesn’t even know I exist and that’s okay, because I’m going to steal that from her and she’s my mentor and she’s not even aware.” O’Brien has her own journalists that she is inspired by, whether it be their writing or other qualities. She looks

profession, but also in her marriage. At home, with four children, her husband has been supportive of her profession. “The most challenging part of being a journalist is the travel, because I don’t think you can do a good job telling stories about other people if you’re not going, seeing, doing or being  with them,” O’Brien said. “I like to go to communities and have sit-down conversations with communities.”  After giving birth to twin boys, O’Brien was almost passed over to go to Thailand to cover the tsunami. Joking that she had four children under the age of four and that Thailand sounded “amazing at the moment”, O’Brien went. In Thailand, O’Brien dealt with an unpleasant producer who threatened her job. She would call and vent to her husband, who reminded her of her abilities “There’s really nothing you can do except show people what you can do,” he told her. “Feel free to cry to me on the phone. But then you’re going – Soledad to have to get off the phone, it up, and just come up O'Brien, suck with a strategy for showing Journalist and everybody that you actually just do a pretty good host of "Matter didn’t job, but that you killed it.”  Of Fact " O’Brien did just that, following her husband’s advice and advice from a former boss of hers that told her, “whatever you do, do not up to Adam Serwer from the quit.”   Telling the narrative was Atlantic and Nicole Jones.    Professionally, O’Brien something O’Brien excelled prefers, especially at her age, in. “Beyond Bravery the to be at unease, taking jobs Women of Ground Zero” that will help expand her focused on the women’s narrative, after receiving repertoire.  “I want to learn something,” surprising pushback at the she said. “I want to be around beginning.   O’Brien said that the only people who are experts in it so I can learn from them. I’ve way to get people to move never sort of been like, ‘Ooh forward was to question why I’m comfortable in this seat there are so uncomfortable and this is where I’m going to talking about the story of women. O’Brien shared a clip stay forever.’”  However, O’Brien said from the documentary.  “If someone else tells your that learning something new every day can sometimes be story, don’t be shocked when wearying. She offered an you don’t recognize your example in her discovery of own story in the narrative,” quarterly taxes as the owner O’Brien said.   Whether the story be local of a company she started seven years ago. One year, an or national news, O’Brien assistant of hers paid $4.84 believes local journalism is in taxes when $484,000 was important and is terrified at owed, a payment the IRS the budget cuts in the local didn’t particularly appreciate.  news industry.  O’Brien Ambition is important stressed the importance of to O’Brien not only in the local news, reminding that it

not only supplements what national coverage misses, but also begins to break a story before national news swoops in. “Who’s going to hold people accountable to what they do and what they say and what their jobs are?” O’Brien asked. “Who’s really going to really represent the people in a community if we don’t have the media with the access to talk to elected officials who are supposed to be serving?” O’Brien believes that the strategy of duel talking or having 11 people on a panel is a mistake in discussing politics. Not wanting to talk to a congressman about topics they aren’t experts in, O’Brien said that people need explaining, not yelling at one another.   “‘I love when my elected officials yell at each other, it’s so illuminating for me.’ No one ever says that,” O’Brien laughed. Advising students, O’ Brien said, “In the macro, look at your career and ask what you want to get to.”  Stating that it’s not brain surgery and it’s a good time to be a journalist, O’Brien offered advice to those who wish to pursue the profession.   Encouraging reporters to find their voice, be multiplatform, start a podcast and work on skills, O’Brien said that reporters and students interested in the line of work must be competitive and willing to chase down people to ask for help. O’Brien also touched on an issue in the media, which has come under scrutiny in today’s political environment, saying sometimes outlets quote untruths. In newsrooms, producers know that fantastic content, at times from even non-experts, boost ratings and finances, which contributes to a contrasting dynamic in terms of reporting the facts.  “Ultimately, I think the job is to help educate people so that they understand issues and the truth,” O’Brien said. “It’s not, over here we have this Republican and over here we have this Democrat who, for the next six minutes, are going to scream at each other because it makes good TV.”  Her show, Matter of Fact, has better ratings than any other Sunday program. Instead of politics, O’Brien

"I know this is right. I know this fight is accurate and I'm not going to back down."

focuses on policy, such as minimum wage and how it relates to a housing crisis, and its effects on the population. Answering an audience question about the public finding their voice or place in politics, O’Brien encouraged everyone to vote and reach out to local reporters.  After 20 years in the news business, O’Brien found her voice working on a documentary titled Black in America. She was told not to make the work “too black,” but refused to bow to that demand.  On the second year of the series, O’Brien said they were to create six stories over an hour documentary. Five of the stories were about black people and one was about a white person. Although a great story, O’Brien adamantly believed that all six stories should establish the narrative of black people. “There came a point where I became very comfortable arguing for things,” O’Brien said. “I know this is right, I know this fight is accurate and I’m not going to back down.”  It was at this moment O’Brien knew she was in the right spot.  However, argument or disagreement is still evident in society and journalism.   In a time on Twitter where it’s about who has the louder opinion, O’Brien has learned to gain insight from people she strongly disagrees with by responding to them with ’that’s so interesting, tell me when you feel that way.’ “It opens up the conversation in person,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think that’s something you can do on social media because that’s not the goal of social media. Otherwise, they’d give you more than 280 characters if they really wanted a thoughtful, nuanced, deep conversation.”  Although Twitter is limited to the characters in a tweet, O’Brien still believes it is a good way to reach a mass number of people, and a way for others to tell their story.   Emphasizing that everyone is part of the American story, O’Brien said that media tends to frame stories, such as viewing poor people as deficits, and opened the idea that people should shape their own story.

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2-28-20 Digital Edition  

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