3-3-2023 Digital Edition

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Slippery Rock is listed as part of a class-action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company after the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine, Ohio resulted in a fire and release of vinyl chloride and other toxic chemicals.

Vinyl chloride—an extremely flammable, potentially explosive chemical—can irritate the eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC said chronic exposure to the chemical could cause permanent liver injury and cancer, neurologic or behavioral symptoms and changes in the skin and bones of the hands.

Residents of the area are experiencing symptoms like coughing and chest pain, among others. Some areas of Butler County, including Slippery Rock, are about 30 miles from the site.

The lawsuit is one of at least six class-action lawsuits filed against Norfolk Southern. Those


Slippery Rock is involved in lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company. People and wildlife residing in areas within a 30-mile radius of Feb. 3 train derailment have been exposed to vinyl chloride after a controlled burn in East Palestine, Ohio.


involved in the cases allege a loss of income due to evacuations, as well as exposure to cancercausing chemicals, NBC News said in an article Saturday.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Andrew Erdos and David Anderson said they are seeking funding for medical monitoring of residents within a 30-mile radius of the derailment.

It has been about 20 days since the controlled burn that released toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw stands behind the decision, according to a statement to WFMJ of Youngstown, Ohio.

The company hired consultants to test the air and water quality in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Shaw, all air and municipal water tests came back clean.

Pennsylvania's response and timeline

On Feb. 28, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is opening a health resource center in Darlington Township, Beaver County, after the Norfolk Southern derailment.

The center is for residents of Beaver and Lawrence Counties who have health concerns following the East Palestine train derailment.

The Pennsylvania DOH will provide webinar sessions to

physicians in Beaver, Lawrence and surrounding areas to brief them on the derailment, the chemicals involved and what signs and symptoms to watch.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also opened a community welcome center at 25 N Market St. in the evacuation zone for people to direct questions and access information.

Norfolk Southern also announced the establishment of a family assistance center to support the community.

These welcome centers were introduced after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 3, releasing hazardous chemicals into the air, land and water.  General merchandise train 32N derailed first, causing 38 additional cars to derail and a fire that damaged 12 more cars. Of the 20 total cars with hazardous material, 11 derailed. NTBS previously said it was 10 cars that derailed containing hazardous material.

The most alarming toxic chemicals include vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate and ethylhexyl acrylate.

“When they burned the vinyl chloride, that scared the ‘bejesus’ out of people,” Michael Stapleton, an SRU environmental chemistry professor, said. Stapleton used to be an environmental consultant and has visited many sites like

East Palestine. He previously conducted human health risk assessments for hazardous waste in trash and steam incinerators.

Vinyl chloride, a chemical released from the derailment train, is a colorless gas, primarily, and a monomer. When it binds into a polymer, it creates polyvinyl chloride, which is used in hard plastics like PVC pipes, wire, cable and packaging materials.

Vinyl chloride exposure is associated with an increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer called hepatic angiosarcoma, primary liver cancer, brain and lung cancers, lymphoma and leukemia.

Butyl acrylate is a colorless liquid with a strong, fruity odor. Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin and upper respiratory system.

Ethylhexyl acrylate is a colorless liquid with a pleasant odor that’s used in making paints and plastics. Inhalation and ingestion can cause drowsiness and convulsions, and liquid exposure can cause eye irritation or skin irritation if prolonged. Other potentially harmful chemicals found include ethylene glycol mono butyl ether, isobutylene, hydrogen chloride, combustible liquids and benzene residue.

An engineer, a conductor and a conductor trainee were onboard the train. None of them were injured, and no other injuries or fatalities have been reported.

The t r a in consiste d of two head-end locomotives, 149 railcars and one distributed power locomoti v e between railcars 109 and 110. Each rail car is about 50 feet so the train is about 1 5 miles in total.

Nine of the train cars were empty. The National Trans p ortation Safety Board ( NTSB ) is leadin g the investigation into the cause of the derailment and has identified and examined the rail car.

Mo m e n derailme video resi d wh be o a o der An camera equip Sale mile Palesti appears t flames c

Moments before the derailment, surveillance video from a nearby residence showed what appeared to be a wheel bearing overheating.

Interestingly, the train car was going below the maximum authorized speed of 50 mph when it derailed. Another security camera video at an equipment plant in Salem, Ohio, 20 miles away from East Palestine, shows what appears to be sparks and ames coming from the bottom of the train cars. e crew did receive an alarm from a wayside detector shortly before the derailment indicating a mechanical issue,” Michael raham, an NTSB member, said to CBS News.

“Then, an emergency brake application initiated.” e train departed Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 1 and likely passed through Toledo and Cleveland before reaching Salem where the first video was taken. Norfolk Southern uses hot-bearing detector systems (HBD) to monitor wheelbearing temperatures and audibly alert the crew. The train passed three HBD systems before derailing.

“The an alarm detector s derailme mechanic Graha m sa Then, an em ini The train de Wisconsin on throu Cleveland befo d to m tem alert th three before derailin

"Boy, that fire was so high. It was frightening." - Ruth Householder, 90
[Above] This stop sign located in east palestine and is used for air sampling.

The first system recorded a temperature of 38 degrees above normal from a bearing on the 23rd car. The second was recorded at 103 degrees above normal, and the third was 253 degrees above normal.

A warm bearing is classified as being between 170 and 200 degrees and requires a stop for inspection. If the temperature rises above 200 degrees, it is considered critical.

The system notified the crew of a hot axle, so they stopped and notified the Cleveland East dispatcher of a possible derailment after seeing smoke and fire.

With dispatcher authorization, the crew uncoupled the head locomotives and moved them about one mile away.

The EPA had personnel on site by 2 a.m. and have been spearheading the air quality testing. Ohio, local health agencies and local public water systems have been leading the water sampling process.

The EPA uses two types of air quality testing: air sampling and air monitoring. Sampling involves collecting samples over time that are sent to a lab for analysis. Monitoring uses electronic devices to provide real-time readings of airborne contaminants.

They set up testing stations near schools, government buildings, residential areas and upwind and downwind of the derailment site.

A day after the derailment, locals noticed water spillage into Sulfur Run and Leslie Run. Booms and underflow dams were installed to separate floating pollutants. Sulfur Run flows into the Ohio River, but Stapleton said the contaminants should be mostly diluted when they get there.

The EPA collected surface water samples and soil and sediment samples testing for volatile organic compounds and others. The sample locations were based on

how water flows from the derailment site to nearby streams. On Feb. 5, five derailed cars containing 115,580 gallons of vinyl chloride concerned authorities when the pressure in one tank was still rising. The pressure increase suggested the chemical was undergoing a reaction and could explode.

Ruth Householder, 90, lives directly across from the wreck and about two blocks over.

"Boy, that fire was so high. It was frightening," she said.

Householder received a phone call that night telling her to leave immediately due to an expected explosion. She called her son who lives next door, and they fled to her daughter's house.

On Feb. 6, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and PA Governor Shapiro expanded the evacuation order from a one-mile area to a one-bytwo-mile area. They also dug ditches to contain liquid vinyl chloride while it was vaporized and burned.

Authorities used smallshaped charges to breach the tank cars before venting them at around 4:40 p.m.

Smoke inhalation presented dangers to both authorities and locals during this time. The symptoms residents reported could have been due to thermal injury to the upper airway, chemical injury to the upper and lower respiratory tract or other systemic effects from toxic gasses.

On Feb. 9, the EPA lifted the evacuation and reported that the air had returned to normal.

Since then, the EPA has conducted 578 home re-entry screenings and continues air monitoring at 15 stations around the East Palestine community.

Norfolk Southern’s waste disposal and cleanup have been closely monitored by the EPA.

Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw visited East Palestine on Feb. 18 to support the community but was not exactly received with open arms. The

company had previously failed to send representatives to a town hall on Feb. 15 citing a “growing physical threat.”

“There’s nothing worse than going into a meeting with 800 people that are pissed off,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton visited the site on Feb. 24 to take pictures and observe cleanup efforts. He noticed three or four street sweepers active, which he thought was bizarre.

He saw several vacuum trucks at the scene and thought they could have been used to clean up runoff from the initial fires. He also saw signs that trains had been through since.

“They rebuilt probably a halfmile of track in a couple [of]


days,” he said.

Lighter limestone indicated that the track had been reset recently

About 500,000 gallons of contaminated dirt and water were sent to a treatment facility in Deer Park, Texas, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Vic k ery Deepwe ll Hazardous Waste received 581,500 g a ll ons o f contaminated water, and Republic Waste Services near Detroit also received waste.

Deepwell injection is a waste disposal method where liquid waste is poured into deep wells far below the water table where there is no potential for contaminants to spread

“The amount of money that’s been spent is pretty unbelievable,” Stapleton said.

On Feb. 27, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg wrote to CEOs of class one freight railroads encouraging them to join the close calls reporting system. The system prevents safety issues and protects workers who report safety violations. No freight rail companies have signed up at the time of publishing.  Effects on Slippery Rock

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania is just 30 miles from East Palestine. The drive is less than an hour. Being so close to the area sparks some concerns. One of those has to do with

the water quality in Slippery Rock, with residents questioning if it was contaminated

The Slippery Rock Borough attempted to ease these growing fea r s. The Slippery R oc k

Municipal Authority (SRMA)

put out a statement on Feb. 21

to let residents know they are continuing to monitor water.

“We continue to diligently monitor our water supply for abnormalities as well as to ensure compliance with all PA DEP requirements and regulations,” the SRMA statement said. “The SRMWA water samples show no quality concerns.”

Slippery Rock Mayor Jondavid Longo has worked closely with the SRMA, but he made it clear that they are separate from the borough, and he doesn’t have any control over it. He consistently works to make sure communication runs smoothly.

“I did spend hours with the managers and the board members of the plant talking over the concerns that some people might have about our water, and they’ve assured me that none of their tests have shown any irregularities, nor have they gotten any direction from Pennsylvania or the federal government to do anything they aren’t already doing,” Longo said. “They are very confident that our water system is safe and secure.”

Longo said he understands why people are starting to pay attention to what happened and asking questions. He has also been following the developments of the situation.

“I think that everyone in the region has a right to feel concerned about this awful event that has occurred, naturally a giant, black gloom of smoke traveling miles into the stratosphere being pushed over municipalities like Slippery Rock is surely a concern to those of us worried respiratory health,” Longo said.

environmental science professor, explained Slippery Rock residents are fortunate to be located where they are in proximity to East Palestine.

“We’re very fortunate that it’s all running down and away from Pennsylvania, lucky water runs downhill, and these drainages are taking that away,” Smith said.

“There could be in areas right around East Palestine, from air emissions and it could’ve settled down and got into groundwater, but Pennsylvania has set up some water testing.”

Slippery Rock is far enough away that it’s highly unlikely that air emissions will affect the community, but Smith explained when it comes to water it changes very slowly.

“Groundwater movement is really slow, so it’ll take a long time for people to figure out what the damage is,” Smith said. “They’ve started to drill monitor wells around the site, and I would guess that will continue for years.”

People are also wondering if the rain in the area is contaminated, but Smith explained that if weather conditions were different, then Slippery Rock may have been affected more.

“It could’ve been bad in Slippery Rock if we had wind and storms carrying it over us, but that wasn’t the case,” Smith said. “If we had typical weather, then it could have carried the contaminants over us.”

SRU also sent out an email that reaffirmed what the SRMWA released in their statement.

SRU sent out an that what the

The situation has drawn attention from all over the country, but especially from people in Western PA and Eastern Ohio. But to Smith, it’s not only a wake-up call for people to start paying attention to the environment but also the things that the government is doing that have effects on the

As far as water quality is concerned, Langdon Smith, SRU

As concerned, Smith, SRU

to that the is that have effects on the environment [Students] paying attention to what their communities involved, be diluted to not have an news the risks.”

“[Students] need to start paying attention to what their communities are doing, for example, there are a few West Virginia communities involved, and by the time it gets there it may be diluted enough to not have an effect,” Smith said. “I think the important thing for people to do is to pay attention, watch the news and listen to what the reports are so that they’re educated about


Slippery Rock Borough to amend false alarm ordinance

The Slippery Rock Borough Council has proposed an amendment to the Borough of Slippery Rock False Alarm Ordinance that will benefit fire stations who respond to the area.

At the last borough council meeting on Feb. 22, the council unanimously approved a motion to advertise their intention to amend the ordinance.

The ordinance defines false alarms as “an alarm to which police, fire or other emergency services respond resulting from the activation of an alarm

or alarm system when a crime, fire or other emergency warranting immediate action has not in fact occurred.”

It said false alarms that are triggered, accidentally or intentionally, cause unnecessary disruption to borough emergency services, waste borough resources and endanger borough residents.

The borough constructed the ordinance for two reasons. One is to provide fees and penalties to tenants, owners and operators responsible to deter false alarms. The borough also hopes the ordinance will encourage the use of appropriate alarm installation services

to prevent false alarms.

Slippery Rock Borough Manager Christian Laskey said it is at the fire chief's discretion whether to issue a fine since they are looking for "strictly malicious alarms."

"Our goal, number one, is to ensure everyone is safe," Laskey said. "Two is to not put extra strain and stress on the fire department and their equipment, and three, if there are malicious acts the property owner isn’t aware of, we provide some ramifications."

Laskey said the fire chief has the authority to dismiss false alarms for reasons like burnt food but will issue fines for reasons

like smoking cigarettes inside.

Previously, the borough would collect fines from false alarms and keep the money. With the proposed amendment to the ordinance, the borough will collect the fines and distribute them equitably to benefit all fire departments that respond to false alarms.

"Our intention is to fi nd out about these false alarms, fine them, and then give the fire department lump-sum amounts for these fines," Laskey said.

The proposed ordinance said there will not be a charge for a tenant, entity or property owner's first

offense within a calendar year. However, for repeat offenders, the fine will increase each time.

A second false alarm will result in a fine of $50, a third false alarm will result in a fine of $100. Anytime after that, the repeat offender will pay $250 per false alarm.

Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Team (SRVFC) was founded in 1907 and has served the surrounding communities since then. According to their website, SRVFC responds to around 500 fire calls annually.

According to Laskey, some off-campus apartment complexes have

advanced alarm systems that share the unit's specific room and the time when the alarm goes off directly to Butler County dispatch. They then call the fire department.

"It's the fire department's job to go every time because they don't know it's a false alarm," Laskey said.

The volunteer crew responded to 57 fire calls and 153 EMT responses in January alone, according to the SRVFC report from the last borough council meeting. Eighteen of the fire responses were fire alarms, while only eight structure fires were reported in the same month.

Looking back at SRU's first Black professor

Following the first Black student and first Black athlete in 1951, SRU’s first Black professor arrived much later in 1967 when the Rockets needed a new head coach.

Edward Norris taught at SRU from 1967 to 1969 as a professor in the health and physical

department and coached the men’s cross country as well as the track and field teams.

As head coach, he led the Rockets to the 1968 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) track and field championship with several wins over West Virginia University and the University of Buffalo. SRU placed third in the meet.

Before coming to SRU, Norris spent most of his career at Texas Southern University (TSU) teaching in the physical education department. rst taught there from 1957 to 1968 before going back after his time at SRU for 1972 and 1973. He also taught for one year at Jackson State University in Mississippi before retiring as a full professor from TSU after 30 years.

Norris, a

WWII veteran, was born June 9, 1919, in London, Ontario, Canada and married Annie Lee Richardson. He passed on Jan. 10, 2008, after a “lengthy illness.”

He earned his undergraduate from Central State University in Ohio and his doctorate in physical education from Indiana University.

In 2005, SRU athletics honored Norris as the first Black faculty member with a Pacesetter Award.

Little other historic records were found on Norris' life and career at SRU. Information on his life was gathered from a news article, an obituary, and various university archives. Attempts to find

March 3, 2023 A-4 NEWS
LAYLA JOSEPH / THE ROCKET The unit received the "all-clear" and shut down. They were on the scene for about 15 minutes. LAYLA JOSEPH / THE ROCKET This was the second fire truck on scene at Campus Side Apartments after a false alarm on Tuesday. Under the proposed ordinance, the individual responsible would receive a warning after the first offense.
py education Before com Norris m at Texas South teachin education dep He first ta 1957 to 196 h a also taug at

VIDEO: Alumni

Spotlight: Joe Zsalinski

March 3, 2023 A-5 NEWS



Volume 106, Issue Number 7

220 Eisenberg Classroom Building

Slippery Rock University Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania 16057

Phone: (724) 738-4438

Fax: (724) 738-4896

E-mail: therocketnewspapersru@gmail.com

Nina Cipriani

Sarah Anderson

Carson Denney

Being the fat friend, part two

The frustrating thing is seeing people be so open about the importance of mental health and caring for others, but they don't think much about the things they are posting and what fire they may be fueling without realizing it.


Sarah is a junior communication major with concentrations in healthcare communication and integrated marketing communication, as well as a English major with a concentration in professional writing. She is the campus life editor for The Rocket and involved in many other student organizations.

In an opinion story by The Amherst Student, the writers reference the term "slacktivism," which is defined as "lax engagement that starts and ends with clicking Facebook’s share button or a retweet — creates an illusion of progress but rarely results in real change."

With topics as sensitive as eating disorder awareness and the real changes we need to make as a society, there is a lot of slacktivism that we all partake in. I will continue to reiterate, I partake in this messaging, too, and am just as guilty.

According to Refinery29, body checking is defined as "the act of taking mental notes of one's body shape or weight." And it takes place offline, too, but it is now silently making its way into people's algorithms. The previouslymentioned article notes some TikTok body checking trends are of someone attempting to drink from a cup with their arm around another person's waist, or trends encouraging people to share about their weight and body image. This is among the dozens of other more discrete ways.

Back to messaging, more specifically, what you share and how it's reading to the audience (This opinion piece is being fueled by an audience member with strong opinions... that's me).

Annabelle Chipps

Sophia Bills

Assistant Copy/Web Editor


Kaitlyn Shope

Advertising Manager


The Rocket is published by the students of Slippery Rock University five times per academic semester. Total circulation per print edition is 1,000. 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) 7382643 or by emailing rocket.ads@sru.edu.


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


Subscriptions 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 above.


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.


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.

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mentions of eating disorders. Please use caution before reading.

Hey, it's me. The girl who was assaulted by a honey bun walking to the football field last year (actually a year ago as of last week, Feb. 24 will forever be in my memory).

I previously wrote an opinion piece, "Being the fat friend" where I talked about the bad experiences that come along with that title.

There is so much more I want to add to the discussion about being the fat friend, and the things people don't think or talk about. But right now, I have some other stuff I want to address, that as a fat person, really bugs me. Social media is such a wonderful thing, but also so damaging. As college students, we spend the

majority of our free time residing in this digital landscape. We have the opportunity to share whatever we want, educate on current issues and spread information. One thing we don't talk about enough is how much we are indirectly harming each other.

This campaign to take over social media feeds this week is #EDAW (Eating Disorder Awareness Week). This, as well as many other social media trends surrounding these sensitive topics, are crucial for us as a society to talk about.

But these types of campaigns are also incredibly harmful and can be more negative than people realize. I want to make it clear, I am not talking negatively in any way about EDAW, or any other important social media-fueled conversation. Hell, I participate in #worldsuicidepreventionday, but the difference I see is that I don't use this as a way to trauma dump. I see it on all my social media from people with various following counts and "statuses," and it's enraging every time.

I can admit that at times I feel like it's almost performative in the stuff that I post because I am not doing anything to enact real change. I'm just clicking "post to the story" and moving about my day.

Sure, the fun quote I posted might catch somebody's eye. It might make them think. If I am really lucky, they will click on the post and read the caption. That's a huge "maybe," if they even read the full caption.

Whether it's an in-feed or story post, we are still taking part in spreading messages. It doesn't matter if it's our own post or one that we share from a different user. Maybe I am a little bit biased as a communication major who likes to think extensively about messaging, tone and audience reception. We should think about the implications of what we are posting and how it effects our audience.

My social media is flooded with people posting images of their bodies at various stages of recovery with the hashtag. Recently, the term "body checking" has been circulating across social media.

In the Quad

Pretty quotes you post with images of your body or softly filtered videos do not change the way that your post may enable destructive behaviors that you are trying to prevent. I have more feelings about the ways that eating disorder awareness, and the unfortunate culture that surrounds eating disorders, totally omit fat people and their experiences. But that's a story for another day. Maybe in "Being the fat friend, part 3."

"I think they were as professional as they could have been without giving too much opinion one way or the other. They gave all the information and included external links so that you could figure out what to think for yourself."

"I think that any time any administration is dismissive toward the needs or concerns of the people, they are not doing their job."

How do you feel about SRU's response about the water quality in Slippery Rock?

"To be honest, even before people thought there was anything wrong with it, I didn't drink the water here. I would drink straight from the tap at home, but the water here always kind of tasted bad to me, so there's really no funtional difference."

Assistant Campus Life Editor
Assistant Sports Editor Assistant News Editor Copy/Web Editor Campus Life Editor Sports Editor Multimedia Editor Photo Editor News Editor Faculty Adviser
Tyler Howe Eddie Clancy Jocelyn Kytchak Matt Glover Dr. Brittany Fleming EDITORIAL
Aidan Treu Layla Joseph
Sarah Anderson
"Pretty quotes you post with images of your body or softly filtered videos do not change the way that your post may enable destructive behaviors that you are trying to prevent."
the QR code to read Sarah's first edition of this article, "Being the fat friend."
Social media hashtags sometimes causes more harm than good

Our View: Something in the water

After witnessing the effects of the Ohio train derailment, The Rocket reflects on the status of the planet

On top of all of this, former U.S. President Donald Trump visited East Palestine on Feb. 22. Seeing a political opportunity, the former president handed out Trumpbranded water, campaign hats and criticized the Biden Administration.

Not only is it morally corrupt to take an environmental disaster as his political foot in the door, but Trump's response takes away the seriousness of the situation. Yes, he said things like "You are not forgotten" and "We stand with you," but how much of this is just for show? Could it have been prevented?

of the supply of special brakes for trains containing toxic chemicals, investigative journalist Matthew Cunningham-Cook said in an interview with The Takeaway.

The most toxic plastic for human health and for the planet. Exposure could increase a person's chance of getting lung and liver cancer.

Vinyl chloride. Both toxic and flammable, vinyl chloride was released into the atmosphere in East Palestine, Ohio after a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying toxic chemicals derailed on Feb. 3.

On social media, commentators are calling it "the largest environmental disaster in history" and "Chernobyl 2.0," referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster. They also suggest that there is more happening than what is publically being shared.

Over 15,000 pounds of soil and 1.1 million gallons of water were removed from the East Palestine area because of contamination, according to a Norfolk Southern press release. It is not yet clear how much monetary damage the derailment caused. This number will likely be millions of dollars, and that's just a starting estimate.

Now, Norfolk Southern Railway Company is being sued in at least six class-action lawsuits, one of which involves Slippery Rock.

The class-action lawsuits Slippery Rock is now involved in a class-action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company because of its proximity to East Palestine. Andrew Erdos and David Anderson filed the suit on Feb. 9 in the northern district of Ohio, hoping to receive funding for medical monitoring of residents within a 30-mile radius.

Those involved in the six cases allege a loss of income due to evacuations, as well as exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, NBC News said in an article Saturday.

Norfolk Southern Railway is an Atlanta-based freight train company. The railway is the largest intermodal rail network in eastern North America.

An intermodal rail network is essentially a method of transporting goods in shipping containers using multiple modes of transportation without directly handling the goods themselves.

Th e main responsibility of the freight trains is to carry goods—including hazardous chemicals—to another location, and they failed. Not only did the train not fulfill its purpose, but it also caused a horrific release

of toxic chemicals in the process.

It's no surprise that Erdos and Anderson, and residents of the area, want compensation for a disaster that allegedly was completely preventable.

You're not taking this seriously enough

With a heavy circulation of bad news, major events can be easily forgotten or clouded with misinformation.

Ever since Feb. 3, the day of the derailment, there has been little information shared about the gravity of disaster and its effects on humans, as well as the environment. This, and the mixed results of air and water quality testing, have attributed to the distrust between the news industry, government agencies and people in the United States.

The White House did not release a statement about the Ohio train derailment until Feb. 14, 11 days afterward.

As of his statement from Feb. 24, U.S. President Joe Biden has no plans to travel to the area. Instead, he boasted about his administration being on the site of the disaster within two hours.

“You know, we were there two hours after the train went down – two hours,” Biden

told reporters at the White House. "I’ve spoken with every single major figure in both Pennsylvania and in Ohio, and so the idea that we’re not engaged is just simply not there. And initially, there was not a request for me to go out even before I was heading over to Kyiv [Ukraine], so I’m keeping very close tabs on it. We’re doing all we can."

The Rocket staff believes government agencies are seemingly not telling the entire truth about the repercussions this will have on the planet. This is not just an incident that will go away in a few weeks when people forget about it.

Toxic materials were released; so toxic that people had to evacuate. Those toxins are now in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Not only that, but food is effected because plants and animals consume the water and air.

The hazardous chemicals also took a massive blow to local wildlife. Contaminated water wiped out more than 3,500 fish, amphibians, mollusks and aquatic insects. Weeks after the derailment, dead fish and other animals still linger as a reminder of what's happening to the planet and those who inhabit it.

The Ohio train derailment is not the only one that has occurred recently. A second Norfolk Southern train derailed in Michigan on Feb. 16 in Van Buren Township, which also contained hazardous materials, according to the Associated Press (AP). Though the investigation is still ongoing, officials say there were no reported injuries. No toxic chemicals were aboard the overturned section of the train, AP News said.

Reoccurring train derailments beg the question: Was this preventable?

Most signs are pointing to yes.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the results of its initial report on the derailment, which concluded that the wreck was completely preventable. A hot axle heated plastic pellets within one of the train's cars. This sparked the initial fire, according to Jennifer Homendy, chair of the safety board.

As the temperature got hotter, the train passed two defect detectors that did not trigger an audible alarm message because the heat threshold was not met, Homendy said. By the time the third detector recognized the temperature, it was already too late.

However, this wasn't the only preventable aspect of the disaster.

Trump-era railway regulations caused a rollback

Closet made of ice

While this queen could likely just be an independent woman who has badass magical ice powers, there is evidence that leads to Elsa being gay, or at least not straight, which is about as much as we can ask for from Disney.

Let’s start with the original Frozen. Elsa is locked in a castle (or closet?) in Arendale, where she is forced by her parents to suppress and hide the powers that she was born with.

This is a tale that individuals with homophobic parents know too well.

Of course, being gay isn’t a superpower (or is it?), and I am not accusing Iduna and Agnarr of being problematic parents, but why couldn’t they just let their daughter express who she is?

well, lets go. She says, “No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free.” Is this her coming out moment?

It is safe to say that I am not the only one who’s gaydar was going off. The internet stormed with #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, hoping to see her with a nice lady in the sequel, which kind of happened?

Seeing members of the LGBTQ+ community represented on screen is a validating experience for queer individuals. It is more common to see queer men in mainstream shows and movies, so women will take what we can. Having an ice queen be the first lesbian Disney princess?

Yes, please.

On her journey, she meets Honeymaren, a female member of the Northuldra. There is a scene of Elsa and Honeymaren sitting by a fire talking about the Northuldra culture in an intimate way and singing a lullaby together. As a queer woman, I can safely say that is indeed very gay.

If Disney did not make the film, this would definitely be their meet-cute moment where their love story begins. Further into the movie, Honeymaren tells Elsa that she belongs in the enchanted forest, where the Northuldra people, including her, live.

"[Pneumonic brakes are] required for trains that use nuclear waste hazards," he said. "...The Obama administration tried to expand their use. Trump rolled that back. Biden and [U.S. Secretary of Transporation Pete] Buttigieg have not, at this point, attempted to bring back this expansion of these brakes. Every expert we talked to said that the scope of the disaster could have been significantly reduced or eliminated had these brakes been in place."

The Ohio train was not carrying nuclear material, but it did contain vinyl chloride, which can turn into more toxic materials like hydrogen chloride.

"That's part of the problem, is that this wasn't even classified as a high-hazard train, because they weren't carrying a sufficient amount of hazardous materials to meet that designation," he said. "The main dangerous material that they were carrying was vinyl chloride, [a] critical component of creating vinyl, and it's highly flammable, it's highly combustible, and it's highly toxic. When it burns, it can turn into even more toxic things like hydrogen chloride."

Regardless of who exactly is responsible, the government's negligent oversight led to an avoidable environmental disaster that will only worsen the state of the already dying Earth.

The government is seemingly as uninformed as the general public, which led to false promises of safety. This, and other disasters, cannot be swept under the rug. Visit Earth.org for plans of action like donating, voting for politics who want to make change, increasing recycling and using less single-use plastic, just to name a few. The time for action is now.


Elsa, the queen of Arendelle, or Elsa, the queer icon? Easy answer - she’s both. When the first Frozen movie came out in 2013, one of the biggest things viewers noticed is that Elsa did not have a love interest.

Could it be? A Disney princess that doesn’t need to be saved by a man?

My finalizing point from the first movie is the coming out anthem, “Let It Go.” This iconic musical number starts with Elsa feeling isolated and keeping who she really is pent up inside. She had always been told to “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”

Throughout the song, she starts to trust herself and her magical abilities and finally,

Moving along to Frozen 2, the main plot of the movie is that Elsa constantly gets wrapped up in the beautiful voice of a woman that only she can hear.

She has never been too fond of the perfect fairy tale life that her sister Anna dreams of with Kristoff, so when she hears the voice from the enchanted forest calling her, she has to go find out why that feels more like home. This sounds a little fruity to me.

This is also one of the only fully positive interactions Elsa has with another character throughout both movies, which again, feels fruity.

“Show Yourself” is another song of self acceptance featured in the second movie. In this number, Elsa fi nally fi nds the voice she has been chasing after. She has always held “cold secrets deep inside,” but is telling this voice that they do not have to hide.

When she steps into her full power on this island, the voice says, “You are the one you’ve been waiting

for.” At this moment, Elsa is flooded with happiness from gaining the freedom of truly accepting who she is.

At the end of the movie, Elsa ends up moving to the enchanted forest and Anna gets to live her happy little heteronormative life. When Elsa leaves the enchanted forest to go visit her sister, she waves goodbye to Honeymaren.

Does this mean they end up together in the third Frozen film?

Will it ever be confirmed?

Unfortunately, that is not likely. Any time Disney has even hinted at an LGBTQ+ character, they receive an excessive amount of backlash. Is this an excuse not to have queer representation in a positive way for children?

Personally, I think if Disney wants to include these types of characters, they need to just go for it. There will always be Karen's upset about every little thing, so if Disney wants to be an ally, they should do it because there will be a whole community of people that will feel a little bit more seen and valid for who they are.

Can we bring back

#GiveElsaAGirlfriend for Frozen 3?

In the Volume 106, Issue Number 7 edition, The Rocket printed the incorrect name for the person who runs the student athlete group in the story "Counseling Center helps students support each other." Read the correct version here.

March 3, 2023 B-2 OPINION
GENE J. PUSKAR / ASSOCIATED PRESS Katie is a junior communication major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in art. Apart from The Rocket, she is also involved in RockOUT and AdFed. Katie Shope

I <3 the library Starbucks

Twilight series (the library Starbucks). I could consume Twilight movies every single day.

And I actually do consume food from the library Starbucks every (week)day.

The Starbucks We Proudly Serve in Bailey Library is, without a doubt, the best place to dine on Slippery Rock University grounds.

First of all, it has all the best features of the other Starbucks. But this time it’s better because you can use a meal equivalency. It is much gentler on your fl ex fund account.

Personally, I like to order egg and cheese on an everything bagel with caramel oat milk coffee to wash it down.

There are also desserts such as donuts, brownies, cinnamon rolls and more. It helps keep my sweet treat meter filled each day.

As much as I could go on about the products themselves, my favorite part of the library Starbucks is something that can’t be bought: its workers.

As a person who dislikes sci-fi , choosing a place to eat on campus feels like someone has asked me to choose between a Marvel movie (Boozel) and a Star Wars movie (Rocky’s). Both are, of course, better than watching no movie or eating no food at all. However, I would never go out of my way to watch those fi lms.

Yet through the abyss of these mediocre, repetitive franchises shines the

Maybe they don’t always have whatever new complicated drink that corporate Starbucks decided to release that week. Instead, you get to have your fan favorites, like the pink drink or the caramel macchiato—plus their own delicious smoothies.

And the food: Marvelous. Th e meal swipe option is almost enough to make me full. It comes with your choice of hot or iced coff ee or tea and a breakfast sandwich.

There are many customization options as well. Both vegan and gluten-free options are available, including rarities like vegan eggs and vegan cheese.

Nearly every time I enter the library, I see a line that extends all the way past the help desk. People want their food and they expect it quickly.

Somehow, under all that pressure, the wait is nothing more than a reasonable amount of time.

Having so many customers and working swiftly is enough to make anyone grumpy. Still, the workers are never anything besides kind and personable.

The staff is made up of some very lovely people. They seem to remember everyone and ask how they are with a genuine interest.

I complain a lot about the lunch and dinner food at this university. However, I know my mornings are covered thanks to one conveniently placed island, fl oating in a sea of mediocrity.

March 3, 2023 B-3 OPINION
Annabelle is a sophomore double majoring in English education and creative writing. She is the assistant campus life editor on The Rocket staff. Annabelle Chipps


VIDEO: The Rocket sports roundup

Finding her home

Figuring out where you belong is a universal struggle, and SRU redshirt senior guard Deleah Gibson knows the entirety of that journey firsthand.

Gibson played basketball for Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio. She was a two-year letter winner, named a team captain during both her junior and senior seasons, an honorable mention selection for the Northeast Lakes All-District Division I team her senior year and graduated with honors.

Out of high school, Gibson chose to take her shot at Division I basketball with Youngstown State University where she would appear in 55 games over two seasons for the Penguins.

She had reached a higher level of athletic success than most, but she was not satisfied and knew she could contribute more. That was when she thought back to the backend of her high school years and reviewed her options once again, remembering one specific visit to Slippery Rock University with beloved former coach Bobby McGraw.

“We had a tournament down here either my junior or senior year of high school, coach McGraw fed us, he made sure we played and then he walked us to the bus and said, ‘you better come [to school] here,’” Gibson said.

As she was figuring out where the next step of her journey would be, she reached out to Slippery Rock to see if there was still mutual interest. There was.

“Once I knew they still wanted me I’m like, here’s my opportunity,” Gibson said.

McGraw had made a good impression on Gibson both during her high school years and as she began the move to SRU after her sophomore year of college. Gibson needed a coach to aid her development but also one who could understand that players are still people off the court, and she found that in McGraw.

“Coach McGraw, he’s himself no matter what. On the visit, practice, or out of practice. He doesn’t change who he is, and I needed somebody real,” Gibson said.

Gibson and McGraw immediately clicked, and Gibson understood why he was such a loved and respected figure on campus for his entire tenure.

“He taught me a lot… He taught me basketball and life situations as well,” Gibson said. "He made sure we were able to still be basketball players and also have a life at the end of the day.”

It appeared that Gibson had settled into the place she was meant to be upon arriving at Slippery Rock and it was time to focus on enjoying basketball. Then COVID-19 hit and added an unforeseen roadblock for everyone.

However, she had been able to transfer before the virus struck and as opposed to being stuck in uncertainty. It was simply a waiting game until she could begin her career where she was meant to be.

As for last season, it was clear that she was ready to play.

She started in 24 games as a redshirt junior, averaging 8.5 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per game. She also accumulated 23 steals, four blocks, led The Rock with 39 three-pointers and scored her season high of 18 points against Mercyhurst University on February 16, 2022.

The veteran players on that 2021-22 team played

an instrumental role in her development. Center Jamiyah Johnson and guard Daeja Quick taught her a lot about the college game.

Gibson said they taught her, “When it's time to show out, it's time to show out,” and “When you have a big role to play, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing what you need to do.”

These ideas helped mold her into a more well-rounded player. She realized that even if she is having an off-night for scoring, she can help her team in other ways.

“Instead of me worrying about why I’m missing or getting mad, I play defense, I get assists, I get rebounds, I get assists. Everybody has off nights with scoring but there’s other things to do as well that help your team win,” Gibson said.

Gibson had played well and finally found her home, but just like each of the past few years, there were major issues in the offseason. This time it was more serious. McGraw, the universally loved coach that helped bring Gibson to Slippery Rock, passed away.

Gibson said that the team needed to stick together more than ever, providing both emotional support and an outlet to talk.

“We try to do little things together even if it’s just us going over to watch movies or play cards or have a potluck. We do little things to make sure we’re still seeing each other,” Gibson said.

Despite the continuous barriers shoved in front of her during her collegiate career, Gibson stayed focused, and she proved that her successful first year was not a fluke, quickly scoring at least 10 points in each of her first six games, including two where she surpassed 25 points.

It was impressive from a pure basketball standpoint

but even more so when taking into consideration the passing of McGraw over the offseason.

Gibson went on to total her career high of 31 points against Clarion University on February 11, 2023, and a doubledouble against Edinboro University on February 22.

Additionally, she is second on the team in points with 409 despite appearing in 24 games out of 28 possible, being second on the team in points per game, first on the team in threepointers with 56 and second on the team in three-point percentage with at least 20 attempts with .331. She does all of this while maintaining the highest average minutes per game with 35.6. If she was able to play, she was playing as much as she could and more than anyone else.

Gibson was also second on the team in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio with 66 and .89 respectively, meaning she was combining quality with quantity.

She even became part of a week where SRU Women’s Basketball accumulated both the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) offensive and defensive player of the week awards.

“We just do what we needed to do to try to get wins,” Gibson said.

Gibson attributes much of this to her relationship with her coaches at SRU.

“My relationship grew with Coach Wilson since I first came here,” Gibson said. “We are close.”

Now that she is in the right spot with coaches that are right for her, she feels she is in the best possible situation to excel.

“When you have people that believe in you, you want to do more, you want to play better. You can actually be yourself

and have confidence on the floor,” Gibson said.

In another exciting turn of events, Gibson’s former high school coach, Dana Jeter, was brought on as the SRU women’s assistant coach.

“It's full circle,” Jeter said, “It’s a joy.”

Having good communication with coaches adds an element to teams that others will not be able to replicate, and these three

women have achieved that.

“I have a coach that believes in me,” Gibson said. “I’m close with both of them, real close.”

Gibson then doubled down on how she feels she has reached the place in her basketball career where she is most comfortable and able to be her best self. She urges others to take the time to do the same for themselves.

“Make sure you got to the school that believes in you,” Gibson said.

One of the biggest moments of the year, if not the biggest, was The Rock’s January 25 matchup against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), their sworn rival.

The game was back and forth until the very end.

“We missed a shot, so I was like, I got to do something,” Gibson said.

She would go on to score the go-ahead layup and the final two free throws that would put Slippery Rock up by four and prove to be the dagger.

It was the first time in 16 years that SRU women’s basketball was able to beat IUP.

Just as everything else this season, the squad did it for McGraw.

“It was emotional because Coach McGraw always wanted to beat them as well,” Gibson said.

The locker room shook with music and cheers after the game.

“I can’t explain that emotion,” Gibson said.

SRU women’s basketball went on to fall just one game short of making the PSAC playoff s, but Gibson commented on the evident strides the team has made. Sweeping IUP and finishing above .500 was the start of a squad hoping to return back to the playoff s next year.

“We made progress from last year, a lot of progress. We beat teams that we didn’t beat last year, we broke records, we had many PSAC athletes of the week. It feels great and I was able to build a relationship with everybody,” Gibson said.

EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Gibson played under the late coach Robert McGraw, and she took a lot from him in the time that she had with him. She applied everything to this year with coach Chenara Wilson and helped lead The Rock to their first winning season in 21 years, that included a sweep of Indiana (Pa.).
"We made progress from last year, a lot of progress. We beat teams we didn't beat last year, we broke records, we had many PSAC athletes of the week. It feels great and I was able to build a relationship with everybody."
– Deleah Gibson, SRU Women's Basketball player

The man in the dugout

Things change every day. Sometimes they change slowly, but they are always evolving. It is the only thing that happens. Either you adapt and survive, or you fall behind. SRU Baseball head coach Jeff Messer has seen change for nearly 40 years in the same town. The same town that he had heard of when he was in high school — Slippery Rock, what kind of name is that for a town?

That kind of thought crosses the mind of a lot of people who hear about the town. In Messer’s case, the decision to not come here as a student may have changed history for many.

It all started in a little town called Lee, Massachusetts. Today, the population in the town is just around 6,000 people. It has not changed much. To be fair, neither has Messer’s love for the game of baseball.

“Every kid that grows up wants to be a pro baseball player,” Messer said with a smile on his face. He played three sports in high school, but baseball was always his top sport. It was his first love, and he knew immediately that it was what he wanted to do. He played basketball, football and baseball at high level though. So, he did not know which sport he would pursue while in college.

“I wasn’t sure which sport I was going to play in college, because I had a few places I could’ve gone for any of those,” Messer said.

Messer had to make the decision on where he wanted to go to play baseball in college. There were really only a few places that were even in the discussion.

“It came down to Murray State, Florida Southern and Springfield College, which was a huge physical education college,” Messer said. “I didn’t want to go too far from home and it was only 45 minutes away, so I chose Springfield.”

It was around then that Messer had first heard of Slippery Rock.

“Slippery Rock came up with my guidance counselor, who basically told me I was going to be a plumber,” Messer said. “I remember thinking, ‘what is a Slippery Rock?”’

Ultimately, it just made sense for him to stay close to home, though. He did not live up to the expectations he had set for himself. Back then, if you did not get drafted, college was the end.

“When you finish your career, whether it be whatever level it is, you want to have a great experience, so you still have a love for the sport,” Messer said. “I don’t think that was the case for me when I graduated from Springfield.”

At that point, Messer felt that was going to be it. He thought his playing days had to come to an end on a little bit of a sour note.

But conversations with his college coach convinced him to go play professional baseball in Amsterdam. The league was

essentially the equivalent of what independent ball is here in the U.S. now.

“It kept my foot in the door with baseball, and I had an unbelievable experience traveling [to] Europe playing professional baseball and getting paid to do it,” Messer said.

He only played that one year there, however.

“I was going to go back the following year, but I tell you, when you’re away from the mainland United States, you appreciate it a little bit more,” Messer said. “One of my best friends married a Dutch girl, and I didn’t have that connection.”

His playing days were over.

That was for the best though. He did not want to stay in Europe, and luckily for him, when one door closed another opened.

“Out of fate, I applied for a college coaching job at West Field State College in Massachusetts,” Messer said. “It was close to home, and I could substitute teach because there still weren’t teaching jobs even after being in Europe for a year.”

Getting the job changed his mindset on what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a college baseball coach; he did not want to do high school or anything else. College was the place for him.

“I got the job at West Field State, and it changed my thought process…I wanted to be a college coach, that’s what I wanted to do,” Messer said. “But getting into college sports was really difficult.”

Not only was it difficult to get into college sports, but at the same time, Messer had gotten married to his wife, Mary.

“One other new arrival was that I was married, so I was married, coaching and we had a six-month-old son,” Messer said.

Still, he was determined to find a job in coaching. He sent out copies of his resume to anyone and everyone who take it. Someone was bound to take a bite, and eventually, someone did. But that someone was in Oklahoma.

“I flew out for the interview, and at the time I was working as a service writer for a local car dealership at home,” Messer said. “I loved it. My parents and my wife’s parents thought we were crazy, but we loaded up the car and we drove out to Oklahoma City.”

At Oklahoma City University, the team played what was very likely the most difficult Div. I schedule in all of college baseball. To add to that, they did not have a set home stadium. They found themselves playing their home games in downtown Oklahoma City.

They played almost every big school you can name that season. It felt like they were never from the same state. From Texas to Minnesota to San Diego State, they played all the schools that are still a staple of college baseball today.

it was

“I was never home, it was good for me, but it was [not] good for my wife or my one-year-

movement in staff positions is not uncommon in collegiate and professional sports.

Early on in his SRU career, Messer was not aware of how long he would be staying here. Even though he had found a place where he could succeed, there remained a thought in the back of his mind that he could find a place better suited for him and his family.

“Whatever job, whatever coaching job, there’s going to be challenges,” Messer said. He did not let the unknowns affect his effort toward the game and his team’s production.

1986 was Messer’s first year at the helm of Slippery Rock Men’s Baseball. At this same time, he was an assistant professor in SRU’s health and physical education department, a title he would hold for a long time.

His first win with The Rock came in the form of a 5-2 victory over Atlantic Christian College on March 23 of 1986.

That squad finished 24-16. Many coaches struggle right out of the gate with their first team, but Messer did not stumble nor flinch in taking one year to rack up his first .600 winning percentage season.

Messer’s 1989 squad recorded a then-record 42 wins on their way to Slippery Rock’s firstever NCAA Division II World Series appearance. The team was Atlantic Region champions and ended the season ranked No. 10 in the country.

Slippery Rock’s 1989 squad saw Craig White, Matt Deinert and Kirk Scurpa named AllAmericans and five players placed on the All-PSAC West Team. White went on to join the 1987 team’s Willy Fillard as the second player coached by Messer to be drafted into Major League Baseball. Fillard was drafted to the Toronto Blue Jays and Scurpa was drafted to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 90s did not start quite as hot as the 80s ended, but many teams across the country would take a 27-20-1 season where five players were named to the AllPSAC West Team.

1993 saw The Rock Baseball’s fourth 30-win season with Messer as head coach as they went 37-12 and advanced to the NCAA tournament. The team finished the season inside the top 15 in national rankings again at No. 12. Bill Gross was named an All-American and The Rock yet again was home to five All-PSAC West team members.

As previously mentioned, 1994 was Messer’s first losing season. In what supposedly could be considered one of Messer’s worse seasons (although it feels wrong to use negative words toward a season that was hardly under .500), The Rock still saw John Davide named an All-American, TJ Kamerer named the PSAC West Freshman of the Year, two players making the All-PSAC West team and Tony Dougherty getting drafted to the then Cleveland Indians in the MLB Draft.

for me, but it was [not] old,” Messer said to out. They wanted to go back east of the Mississippi. Things continued because while he was up in Minnesota for a series, he a call from his wife.

Just as soon as they got there, they were looking to get out. Th wanted to go back east of the ings continued to work to plan though, because while he was up in Minnesota for a series, he got a call from his wife.

The record would be good enough for a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Tournament berth, but unfortunately not a championship. The team also included six players who

for a Pennsylvania berth, a championship The team also included six who would be named to the AllP S A C West

“My wife calls me and told me that she saw in the Oklahoma Tribune that OCU was dropping from Div. I to NAIA,” Messer said. “It said in the article that they’d keep all their funding and stuff, but they’d drop their number of coaches, and I knew

This is where Slippery Rock

“My wife calls me and told me from Div. I to Messer all number of and I knew I was the yankee.” comes back into the story. an The Rock, but as he puts it, back then, were a lot different operated.

“I get off the exit, and I thought to myself that this was not going to be the Messer said. “They had 3,800 students, t here w as on e telephone, I mean there was nothing ”

He landed an interview with e Rock, but as he puts it, back then, things were a lot erent from the way things look to the way everything be the place,” Messer opportunity at the time though. So, he and his family took it. Initially, they thought Slippery Rock was just another one-year

It was the best he and his it. thought Rock was stop on their journey. Boy were they wrong.

When he started settling into his new position, there were more than a few uncertainties

He had to take everything going on into consideration.

going on into consideration. Sure, SRU was a good option for right now, but what would be best for his future? And even more importantly, what would be best for his family?

While Messer had made the decision a while ago that he wanted to be a college coach,

team It also didn’t take for Messer to that his first season was not a fluke In fact it to first losing season. to first losing season, which was still solid at is not a common stat. 1980s career Messer

It also didn’t take long for Messer to prove that his fi season was not a fluke. In fact, it took until 1994 for him to have his fi season. Taking nine years to accumulate one’s fi season, which was still solid at 21-24, is not a common stat.

In his 1980s career, Messer coached his team to 124 wins and a .636 winning percentage. 1980s Messer alone would be a resume many schools would be proud of. His most successful season of the decade came in 1989.

1991 was the second season with Messer leading the way where Slippery Rock achieved an NCAA tournament berth after accumulating a 34-20 record. The squad won the PSAC Tournament Championship, ended the season ranked No. 17 in the country and saw Kevin Keryan named an All-American with, once again, five players on the All-PSAC West team.

with, once five on team

As for individual accolades, 1992 was a big

If Messer has had any flukes during his tenure, 1994 was one as he immediately righted the ship for 1995, compiling a 29-21 record and starting a 21-season stretch of consecutive winning seasons. The Rock won the PSAC West regular season championship, had six players on the All-PSAC west team for the second time in Messer’s tenure at SRU and saw Mark Drager get drafted by the Texas Rangers in the MLB Draft.

a year that The Rock qualifi for the PSAC Tournament with a 28-15 record and ended the season ranked 27th in the country with four players on the All-PSAC West team, Messer rst PSAC West Coach of the Year award. It

As for individual year f or Messer. In a year Rock qualified for the PSAC a 28-15 ranked country with four on the team acquired his first would not be his last.

Between 1992 and 1996, Messer was awarded a stunning four PSAC West Coach of the Year awards. During a five-year stretch, he was only the 1994 “down year” away from sweeping half a decade of coach of the year awards.

Slippery Rock was nationally ranked 26 or higher in each season from 1996 through 1999, placing six, seven, or eight players on the All PSAC West team every year during the stretch also won the to cap off the tournament yet again. It was the fourth season out of six straight qualifying for

All PSAC west team SRU and saw Mark Drager get drafted Rock was ranked 26 or in each season from 1996 1999, six, seven, or PSAC West team the stretch as well. The 1997 team made the College World Series at 30-21 and won the PSAC West regular season championship. The ’98 squad PSAC West regular season championship Messer h a d anot h er im pr essive coachin g pe r f ormance to cap off the 90s. His 1999 team fell just short of the 40win landmark at 39-14, but they did qualify for the NC AA tournament yet was season out of six for the NCAA tournament and another PSAC West regular season championship.

Bob Spangler was named an All-American, Nate Thimons was named PSAC West Athlete of the Year

of the Year, George Johnson won PSAC West Freshman of the Year and The Rock placed eight on All-PSAC West Team. The 90s were a great representation of Messer’s coaching ability. During the decade, there was a 50% chance each year that he would win

thought would be just a one year stop in his career, but instead he is now on the quest for his 1,100th win as head coach.
sits in
of the window that houses balls from every milestone win in his career. He came to Slippery Rock in 1986, and he made his home in a place that he
at he or n ng al do ar he u he u ” st d h n m er a d ,” o te n’t n is to ge nt ng or d ht ge to
"I get off the exit, and I thought to myself this was not going to be the place. They had 3,800 students, there was one telephone booth, I mean there was nothing."
Jeff Messer, SRU head baseball coach
Sports Aidan Treu
Assistant Sports Editor

PSAC West Coach of the Year as he accrued five such awards over the ten year span.

The turn of the millennia proved to do nothing to slow down Messer’s legacy of success. The 2000s brought another College World Series appearance with a 37-14 record and, to no one’s surprise, another Atlantic Region Championship and PSAC West regular season championship.

Slippery Rock ranked No. 8 nationally and put nine players on the All-PSAC West Team including Dan DeCola, the PSAC West Athlete of the Year.

In potentially one of the most impressive showings of Messer’s career, he oversaw four players who were drafted into Major League Baseball. Greg Stokes, Tom Sullivan and Dan DeCola were drafted to the Twins while Craig Petulla was drafted to the Astros.

Getting a single player to the MLB draft is quite an accomplishment. Doing it four times in one year as a division II program is the stuff of legend.

The 2001-02 seasons brought another 30-win season, a PSAC Tournament championship, five players on the All-PSAC West Team both years and Messer’s 500th career victory.

2003 was a return to PSAC dominance. The Rock complied a stunning 48-13 record, good for a .787 winning percentage.

The last time any major baseball organization amassed a winning percentage that high was the 1884 St. Louis Maroons. 1884 was the first year that overhand pitching was allowed in Major League Baseball.

Over a 162-game season, a .787 winning percentage extrapolates out to a 127-34 season. The highest win total an MLB team has ever achieved was the 2001 Mariners, tied with the 1906 Cubs, with 116.

The season entailed an Atlantic Region championship, a final ranking of 12 in the nation, two separate 14-game winning streaks, three AllAmericans between Alan Reichl, Joe Neidrack and Steve Norris, the Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year in Norris and eleven players on the All-PSAC West Team.

The 2003 season was likely Messer’s crown jewel unless he is able to surpass those accolades. He was once again rewarded with a PSAC Coach of the Year award.

2004 through 2007 was a fouryear stretch of 30+ win seasons. The stretch included three trips to the NCAA Tournament, two top 30 rankings nationwide and at least six All-PSAC West players each season.

2007 specifically included Messer’s 700th career win, the introduction of likely the most renowned Slippery Rock baseball player ever, Matt Adams, in 2007 with a PSAC West Freshman of the year award and two AllAmericans in Adams and MJ Parsons.

During 2008, any lingering doubt about whether Slippery Rock had always been the right decision for Messer was eliminated. Some of the stadium was upgraded, and this was the year he was able to retire as an assistant professor and be a fulltime head baseball coach. He had officially achieved the height of his baseball coaching dreams.

“Years went by, we went for weekends at other places and had to figure out whether it was good for the family or not and it led to when we stopped looking when we built this. When we built this I was able to negotiate with the president that I wouldn’t teach anymore… so just 100% Baseball,” Messer said.

The next two seasons were Matt Adams' career at The Rock.

Both 2008 and ’09 were winning seasons, the latter being a 36win season and both resulting in PSAC Tournament appearances.

Adams was an All-American both years and was the Daktronics Division II Player of the Year and PSAC West Athlete of the Year in 2009. He would go on to be drafted in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft. His career would be a gem in the centerpiece of Messer’s decadeslong coaching masterclass.

Adams is still hanging around between the minor and major leagues in 2023. He has played

for ten years in the majors and was part of the 2019 Nationals World Series Championship team.

The next three years would have win totals in the mid20s and PSAC Tournament appearances, with 2010 and 2011 being back-to-back 27-win seasons both with five players on the All-PSAC West Team.

2011 saw Matt Howard win PSAC West Athlete of the Year and Ryan Oglesby win PSAC West Freshman of the Year while 2012 had Lou Trivino as an AllAmerican. Each team had at least three players on the All-PSAC West team.

A 31-21 record in 2013 was SRU’s best in a four-year stretch. Both 2013 and 2014 included PSAC Tournament berths and players being drafted to Major League Baseball, Lou Trivino to the Oakland Athletics and Will Kengor to the Detroit Tigers respectively. Kengor was an AllAmerican in both seasons and PSAC West Athlete of the Year in 2014.

Kengor was Messer’s fifth PSAC West Athlete of the Year and third in six years. He would eventually coach seven such players.

2015 marked a large change to the MLB game. Statcast was introduced to all 30 stadiums, and an era of great emphasis on analytics began.

Not only were analytics making teams better, but a school’s access to analytical tools started to become more and more of an influence over where high school students would choose to begin their collegiate athletic careers.

of the Year Tyler Walters respectively. Jack Graham from the 2015 squad was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles.

2017 was a rebound year from 2016’s losing season where The Rock returned to the PSAC Tournament, had six players on the All-PSAC West Team, and the highest academic award that the PSAC bestows, Chris Anastas was the PSAC Baseball Champion Scholar.

Messer orchestrated another 30-win season in 2018 and sported Tyler Walters as an All-American and PSAC West Athlete of the Year, Abraham Mow as the PSAC West Freshman of the Year, and eight All-PSAC West representatives.

Chris Anastas was once again the PSAC Baseball Champion Scholar.

2019 was only Messer’s third losing season, and the most recent, in 38 years at the helm.

It did however include a March 14 win over Franklin Pierce University for Messer’s 1,000th career victory. Joe Campagna was an All-American, and SRU had four All-PSAC West representatives.

The 2020 season was a disappointment by no fault of Messer’s as it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe Sibeto was, however, named PSAC Baseball Champion Scholar.

The year also brought a lot of perspective to players and coaches alike.

“[COVID-19] kinda was awakening that you need to enjoy it more,” Messer said.

Cancellations introduced the idea to everyone that baseball is not a given. It is important to live in the moments you are enjoying while they are still here.

“I think the guys that were in the program and went through it, we only played the ten games that one year, I think they saw how quickly it can go away,” Messer said. “Especially the fifthyear guys, this could be your last game, so experience not only on the field but experience off the field with your teammates and same with the coaches. You never know what’s gonna happen.”

The year brought a lot to SRU despite game cancellations.

Several renovations were made to Jack Critchfield Park. By the time renovations were done, it had a turf playing surface and lights. This made it so that games could be played and night and shortly following bad weather. The renovations have made the stadium a premier location for PSAC Championships.

“We were the first [PSAC] facility to get to what is like a Division I facility,” Messer said.

on the All-PSAC West Team. The Rock also sent another player to the MLB system when Ricky Mineo signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Messer was rewarded for yet another greatly impressive year by being named PSAC West Coach of the Year and Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.

His history as an assistant professor clearly played a role in how he manages his team. His players will not only be great athletes, but they will also be great students.

SRU baseball has had six players named to the CoSIDA Academica All-America Team since 1997. The list includes 2022 Academic All-American of the year Connor Hamilton, who matched his academic prowess with incredible athletic ability. Hamilton is the SRU singleseason home run leader with 17 in 2021 in addition to being third in SRU history in SLG%, fourth in OBP, eighth in BA and ninth in home runs overall.

He has also coached 151 PSAC Scholar-Athletes and six players who have been named PSAC Champion Scholars, the highest academic honor the PSAC has to offer. It comes as no surprise that Slippery Rock Baseball as a whole has accumulated a team GPA of at least 3.0 every season for the last 10 years.

At the end of all of it, he manages to make his program enjoyable to be a part of; otherwise, good players would not come and stay here. They achieve both athletic and academic prowess, and they enjoy it.

“It’s got to be fun or why do it, bottom line. If I didn’t enjoy doing this, I wouldn’t still be doing it. 100% I wouldn’t be doing it,” Messer said.

The sports community sees firings all the time when a team struggles, whether it is actually the fault of management and coaching or they are simply being used as scapegoats for the faltering of a program. Messer had been able to maintain a high level of play from his players through multiple decades and changes to the game.

His thirty-eight year tenure with The Rock speaks to consistency and success. No one makes it that long at any level of athletics if they are not truly elite at what they do.

In 2023, if you look into his office, it is not hard to see how much Messer has done here. His office is decked out with all of his accomplishments and decorations, none of which he wanted in his office in the first place.

Plenty of times throughout sports history, staff members were fired or let go for their inability to adapt to changes in the game. Run-heavy offensive coordinators have died off somewhat in the NFL due to its becoming a pass-heavy game.

MLB managers who will not make analytical adjustments are less popular now because there is data to support that analyticsdriven teams often have success.

The Tampa Bay Rays are known as a deeply analytical franchise, and it has brought them success. The 2020 Rays at one point had a $28.3 million payroll, good for third lowest out of 30 teams, and they made it the whole way to the World Series.

If Messer was unable to adapt to the way the game was becoming more analytical, he likely would not have been able to replicate his past success. This was not the case.

SRU has adapted some analytical programs for current and prospective players. Hitters and pitchers have programs they follow which have been proven to increase bat speed, spin rate on pitches thrown and other underlying stats that have a significantly higher emphasis than ever before. Messer has, no pun intended, stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park by fusing his older style coaching with newly available analytics.

The next two seasons, 2015 and ’16, had an SRU AllAmerican, Adam Urbania and 2015 PSAC West Freshman

Messer's milestones:

March 23, 1986: Jeff Messer wins his first game as SRU head coach, 5-2, against Atlantic Christian College.

1989: SRU makes it to the NCAA Div. II World Series for the first time in program history. Messer also records his 100th win.

1992: Messer earns his 200th victory as the head coach of The Rock.

1995: Messer is named PSAC West Coach of the Year as he earns win No. 300.

1999: Messer and the SRU baseball team notch 39 wins as he goes over 400 wins in his career.

2002: Messer wins his 500th game as head coach. The feat took just 16 years.

These upgrades have joined the analytical development of the program to add appeal for prospective players coming in.

Messer said that having a great baseball facility in combination with a historically successful program helps him with his scouting process and bringing players in.

“Unless you’re at one of those top 50 schools and you’re playing it’s all about experience and being able to go somewhere you can play and just having a good time and enjoying what you’re doing,” Messer said.

The facility as it is currently upgraded is just another thing that Messer has come to love about Slippery Rock. The longer he has been here, the more he and his family have enjoyed it.

“This was just an ideal place for us to raise a family,” Messer said. “It was my choice and my family’s choice that we stay here because we just love Slippery Rock and it got better each year.”

Much of 2021 was canceled as well, but The Rock was still able to win 23 games. The team had All-American Jon Kozarian and five All-PSAC West participants.

Last year was another great representation of Messer’s coaching job as SRU went 3316 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Connor Hamilton was a massive part of the squad, being named an All-American, part of the PSAC Spring Top 10 and the PSAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Ethan Edkins was named PSAC West Freshman of the Year and SRU had six representatives

“I’m not that guy, anything you see in here is because of my assistant coaches, one of which is retiring this year and a lot of this shit is going with him because I’m not that guy,” Messer said as he looked around laughing.

On the window behind his desk, the baseball from each milestone from 100 wins to 1,000 wins is stretched out and marked. It is to the point that there is not room for the ball that he will get when he likely hits his 1,100th win. The feat could even be done this year as he is just 28 wins from the mark.

“I hopefully will be here for 1,100, but I don’t want anyone to do anything crazy,” Messer said. “I can still remember my first game.”

Thirty-eight years is a long time, and eventually, the road will come to an end, but that road will not come until Messer feels he cannot do his job at a high level.

“Father time is going to get to me eventually, but I look at it like as long as I can do what I did in my fifth year of coaching equally to or better than I did and I still enjoy then I think I have another three to five years,” Messer said. “But when I’m done, I want to be done, I don’t want to ever have another job.” No matter what, he has made the most unlikely of places his forever home.

“Even when I retire, I might vacation down south, but I’m staying in Slippery Rock because I love it here,” Messer said.

2005: Win 600 is marked as The Rock returned to the NCAA tournament.

2008: The Rock makes it to the PSAC tournament as Messer gets to 700 career wins.

2011: SRU takes down West Liberty University 12-1 to give Messer 800 wins.

2015: Slippery Rock earns yet another 30-win season, but the highlight is Messer's 900th win.

March 14, 2019: Thirty-three years in, Messer wins his 1,000th game as The Rock takes down Franklin Pierce University 17-9.

"Even when I retire, I might vacation down south, but I'm staying in Slippery Rock because I love it here."
– Jeff Messer, SRU head baseball coach

Following her own path

The alarm went off and it was time to get up again. It was like a never-

again It was like a neveren d i ng c yc l e. A d rian a Gonza l ez Sanc h ez h a d to be on the court for h er practices soon. It w as ju st so drea ry out. The weather was almost a re p resentation of ho w she had come to feel about St. Louis.

freshman year, she dreaded playing the sport that she loved so much. Her coach started to push her further and further from the desire to be out on the court.

because no matter what I did it was not enough.”

season th a t was cu t s h or t

As if being so far away

A s if bein g from Madrid and home w as not enou gh , her love for the g ame of tennis had slowly been fadi ng aw ay. She was gr ateful for the o pp ortunity that she had received, of course. Not everyone ge ts the o pp ortuni ty to come to the Unite d States

There was a virus go in g around, though. Right now, that did not matter. A ll that mattered was t h at s h e g ot to pr actice on time

A couple of weeks later, she was sitti ng at home. The entire world w as COVID-19 pandemic, but in a w ay, it was a r elief to be able to g o home and make some decisions.

The process no w became whether or not she even wanted to r et u rn to the Unit ed S tates. of reflectin g on what had happened in St. Louis.

“For my first school, I was lookin g for a stro ng academic school, because tennis was not m y first priority a nd it is not my first priority now,”

G onzalez S anchez said. “St. Louis t u rne d o u t t o be the bes t option because it was good academically, so I w en t tenn is I n h er

was in shock due to the States. It took a lot it is not my first there, but tennis sucked.” In her

The epitome of fulfilling dreams. Slippery Rock University men’s basketball guard and forward Khalid Gates has been grinding since the start.

Gates began playing basketball at a later stage than most, beginning his junior year of high school at Washington High School in Maryland where he grew up. While he started playing basketball later in his life, there was never a lack of athleticism prior. Gates was a standout football player exemplifying exquisite abilities even with his size. He later found a way to translate that size into basketball.

Players whom he watched and modeled his game after include Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant due to their playmaking and finishing abilities. These are the players who Gates resembled during his days of pick-up.

Growing up, Gates played pick-up around plenty of players in his town who ended up going to division I schools. This influenced a strong competitive nature at a young age.

The competitive nature and interest in basketball did not spark from nothing: it was something that has been instilled in his family and in his blood.

“My dad was an exprofessional player, and my brothers and sisters all also played basketball,” Gates said. “One day we were just playing [Gates father and himself] and he was pushing me to see what I could do, and it just went from there.”

An athletic family helped Gates become a great player

M y coac h was no t nice, an d I was t h e on l y I

h aze d b ut was c l ose to wa s Gonzal ez

“My coach was not nice, and I was the only freshman there, and I wasn’t hazed but I was close to being hazed while I was there,” Gonzalez Sanchez said.

“I just hated it there,

I j us t hate d it t

Even through that, she was able to find success on and off the court. She earned multiple honors for her play in a very short season that was cut short due to COVID-19. “I was named rookie of the week twice, and that’s big for a freshman so I was really happy, but I didn’t even get a congrats,” Gonzalez Sanchez said.

weighed her options. Did she want to risk going to a new school and the treatment being the same as in St. Louis, or did she want to stay home? Because of that, her decision to transfer came late.

tr an sf er c am e la te I actua ll y d eci d e d t ransfer pretty I was t h in k i ng a b st ay in g h ome ins t o f S

at home,

d ue to COVID-19 of t h e wee k twice , a n d t h at’s b ig f or a fr es hm a n so I was reall y a con g rats,” G onzalez S anchez sai d While at a s h e

“I actually decided to transfer pretty late, and I was thinking about staying home instead of transferring to Slip,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. en I talked to a friend.” That friend was Alejandro Fernandez. Th ey went to school together in Spain, and Fernandez was part of the men’s soccer team at the time. He has ansferred from The Rock to Carnegie

G onzalez s “Then fri e

One thing that is different about Slippery Rock is the fact that it is safe. Gonzalez Sanchez couldn’t walk outside in St. Louis without being scared for her safety. Because of that, she spent a lot of time in her dorm room. Here, she has been able get out and explore not only Slippery Rock but everywhere around it.

“The town has everything I need, we have the supermarket and main street, which I really appreciate after being in St. Louis for a year,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “The change of pace is big, but I like it.”

Without Fernandez, there is a chance that Gonzalez Sanchez never comes to Slippery Rock, but it is a decision she

T hat A le j andro Fernandez. Th went to school t og eth Sp ain, and Fernande z p art of the men’s s o tea m at t h e t im e. He since transferred f T he Rock to Car n M ellon University. Without Fernan t h e r e i s a c h a n ce G onzalez n R decisio n d oes not regret.

The goal after she is done is to stay in America. She loves it here, but the food she could leave. Whenever she goes anywhere, there is one thing she loves, though: cheeseburgers with a side of French fries.

c on v ersations w ith Hea d C M att tha abo v e lse. “Th e se n te n ce s ‘y

a st ud ent befo r a thlete,’” Gon z

t o a te n but I’m here to d e gr ee.

She also had conversations with Rock Tennis Head Coach Matt Meredith, who made it clear that she is a student above all “The sentence that he said that stuck with me was, ‘you’re a student before an athlete,’” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “I want to play tennis and I love to play tennis, but I’m here to get a Meredith has maintained his promise. He has also made sure to look out for every girl on the team. While many student-athletes are within at least a few hours of their parents, the foreign players are worlds away from their families.

p romise. He a lso t o ou t e ver y gi rl o n t eam. While m student-ath are w ithin a hou r t heir parents forei g n playe r worlds awa y t h e ir f a mili es “Comin g a fore ig n co u and not h a our parents som e who act u Gon s “ He’s mad

“Coming from a foreign country and not having our parents here or someone who actually cares about us is hard,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “He’s made it clear that he cares

about us and because our parents aren’t here, he’s our emergency contact.”

Having that support has meant everything to Gonzalez Sanchez, and it has helped her to excel on the court.

In her first year in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), she was named the PSAC West Athlete of the Year. She posted an 11-3 record in both singles and doubles. In 2022, she was part of a team that made their way to the PSAC title match and the NCAA tournament.

But most importantly, she likes that everyone on the team takes responsibility and figures out ways to get better every day.

“After every match, we say something that we did good and something that can improve, and that definitely helps because everyone [has] positive feedback,” Gonzalez Sanchez said.

Gates' road to glory

in a short period of time. However, he had to work hard for everything and was given nothing for free.

Gates played Amatuer Athletic Union (AAU) ball the summer of his junior year going into his senior year of high school. There, he learned the level that he would begin to compete with for the next portion of his career.

“I played AAU and that’s when I realized how to really play basketball better,” Gates said. “Then I just started training from there.”

Due to his basketball journey beginning later than most, Gates left high school with no offers and took the route of junior college to continue chasing a dream. The jump from high school to junior college level was the biggest Gates had experienced yet.

“The biggest challenge was adversity,” Gates said. “In basketball, everything is up and down and sometimes things might not go your way. Like in my first year I averaged not even seven points a game and I just kept working to where in my sophomore year everything went up.”

With the competition rising at a fierce pace, Gates found himself leveling up once again, gaining more skill than ever, along with even more opportunities.

“My first year I had about three [scholarship offers],” Gates said. “My second year I had over twenty.”

The work began to pay off for Khalid. Even throughout times such as the pandemic, Gates found ways to work hard and earn everything that was coming to him. Gates mentioned that during the pandemic and gyms being closed, he was forced to

work on more technical sides of his game. This featured skills such as ball-handling and staying in the correct shape by going on runs outside.

Gates was receiving offers from plenty of PSAC schools such as Kutztown University, West Chester University, and Millersville University. The rising star mentioned offers from other division II schools and even a few division I schools reached out. Even with all the other schools showing great interest, Gates landed at Slippery Rock.

“I saw how players games here were similar to mine, and I was thinking this could be the perfect place for me.” Gates said.

Gates ended up making the correct decision. Since joining the team, he has found great chemistry with teammates Lashon Lindsey and Amante Britt. These team leaders have been mentors to Gates and helped him compete in a tough Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference division.

“The competition went up. There are more people whose game is similar to mine now,” Gates said. “I have to outwork them and come out on top.”

Junior college was faster paced for players, but Gates said that in the PSAC, the mental state of the game and IQ needed are the highest he has ever experienced; therefore, making it the most difficult level he has ever played at.

Gates presents beautiful motifs in terms of describing his journey. From the beginning he has battled adversity. Whether it is following his fathers footsteps, overcoming the challenge of playing late, or battling through obstacles such as COVID-19, Gates finds a way to prevail.

“I love burgers here, every time we go somewhere, my coach knows what I want to order,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “A bacon cheeseburger with fries is definitely my go-to.”

After a match, there is nothing she loves more than just that. However, the food at home is still much better than anything she has had here. It makes her crave home a little sometimes, but the people here have made this feel like her second home. Some unfinished business remains, though. The next time she sees home, her playing days will likely be done, and she wants to make the most of them while she can.

She still has a few goals before she graduates. First off, she wants to take down Indiana (Pa.). But most importantly, she wants a title.

“We really want to beat IUP; my sophomore year we lost 4-3 and it was really close, but I definitely want to win a championship before I’m done,” Gonzalez Sanchez said. “And we’re not too far off.”

C-4 March 3, 2023 SPORTS
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Khalid Gates has stepped into a large role at Slippery Rock. At Indiana (Pa.), he made big plays, but the team still fell to the Crimson Hawks,
ranked No. 4 in the nation at the time.
"The sentence that stuck with me was, 'you're a student before an athlete. I want to play tennis and I love to play tennis, but I'm here to get a degree."
– Adriana Gonzalez Sanchez


Reimagining Black History Month

February is 28 days long, 29 on a leap year. This is the only time of year that is nationally recognized to celebrate Black history.

The 38th U.S. President Gerald Ford nationally recognized Black History Month (BHM) in 1976, saying this was an opportunity to "honor

the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."

The beginnings of Black History Month

In 1924, Carter G. Woodson created Negro Achievement Week in the month of February, which began as a way to celebrate Black history and literature. The choosing of the month was intentional. Woodson said February housed Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass's birthdays. Both were monumental figures in furthering Black history.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) calls the 1920s the "decade of the New Negro" because of the post World War I generation. There was a rise in racial pride and consciousness, and urbanization and industrialization bringing African Americans from the rural south into big cities. This led to Black history clubs being started, and curriculum was slowly starting to make its way into progressive schools.

The Civil Rights Movement led to Black history being taught as a supplement to American history. The curriculum was starting to enact social change.

ASALH sees these early movements as "[an] intellectual insurgency that was part of every larger effort to transform race relations."

It was not until the 1960s that the weeklong celebration turned into a month. It was not nationally recognized until 1976.

Looking at BHM today  Ursula Payne, interim associate provost and previous Fredrick Douglass Institute director, sees Black History Month as a time

to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans.

"The strategies and aspirations are continuous, they continue 12 months through the year," Payne said. "But February is a time where we can really anchor ourselves, [be] reflective and we can reinvigorate those commitments."

BHM allows individuals to reflect on what has happened socially to Black Americans. Payne directly references the increase in homicides of Black women and girls, specifically in Western Pennsylvania.

February is a month where blogs, companies and brands publish content related to Black History Month. This sudden increase in awareness acts as a catalyst to have these conversations throughout the year, according to Payne.

"I feel like one of the values [of] Black History Month is that you get people writing these types of pieces, but then you also have nice conversations that you may not have in another month," Payne said. "Then they move on to something else, but these things stay with you and it generates this kind of thinking [about bringing awareness]."

Technology and cameras are widely available, and Payne sees this is as a way that conversations are able to keep happening.

The recent killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, TN is a recent catastrophe that we can use t observe how video footage has made these issues an ongoing conversation.

ABCNews reports that Nichols died several days after his traffic stop turned violent, which was documented with officer's body cam footage.

"All of these things that we're seeing now, and how [it's] being captured [is] really being projected to the masses," Payne says. "It's making us accountable to confront the truth."

Payne also referenced the War on Drugs and the government's complacency with drugs coming into the country. This drug war was a detriment to Black communities and is now starting to "trickle into other communities."

A 2019 statistic from addictioncenter. com showed that 81% of convicted crack offenders were Black.

According to ACULA, the rapid increase in cocaine usage between 1984 and 1986 had perpetuated myths that were used as justification between crack cocaine and powder cocaine in terms of the law.

Crack cocaine is associated with low income and Black communities and these legal justifications of the drug began to show effects within these communities.

Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which established that five grams of crack carries a fi ve-year federal prison sentence, and 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.

Th e eff ects of this bill and the War on Drugs is still being seen in the prison system and in various communities. This history, largely affecting Black Americans is one of the many parts of American history that isn't talked about in this regard.

"I think we would rather suppress [the truth] because sometimes it is ugly, but when we come together and when white Americans can empathize with other people and supporting [as] allies . . . There is no stopping the levels of transformation that can occur in this country."

The damage from this bill continues today with U.S. President Joe Biden. His political career began in the early 1970s, and he was a prominent figure in deciding the 1986 bill, serving as the previous chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During his time in this position, he is quoted in a New York Times article saying the U.S. is not doing enough to put "violent thugs" in prison, as well as warning of "predators on our streets."

In his 1994 Senate floor speech, he said "'Law and order with justice' -- whatever that meant. And I would say, 'Lock the S.O.B.s up.'"

Biden was under intense criticism for his racist policy-making decisions early in his career when running for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.

Franklyn Charles, director of Th e Frederick Douglass Institute at SRU encourages students to be informed about Black history.

"I think the current generation may not be aware of the depth of history and pain caused by these disproportionate bills that were racially motivated," Charles said.

"[Joe Biden] championed [himself] as an advocate of Black people and

families, when [he] played a signifi cant role in the destruction of Black communities."

Educating yourself outside of February  Although February is Black History Month, it doesn't mean that learning about Black history is only limited to this time. To Charles, being taught about it once is not enough.

"Most people are taught a level of Black history in a segmented and shallow way," he said. "We learn of emancipation, civil rights, and the first Black president. In all actuality, there is a lot of significant history pre and post emancipation, leading up to Obama's election." He believes there should be more diligent work as a society to ensure that Black history is more than the few topics that are covered in curriculum.

Payne recognizes this truth may be frightening, but it is crucial to recognize what has happened outside most people's window of knowledge.

PCRED works toward change

The SRU President’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity (PCRED) exists to support and advocate for racially or ethnically marginalized members of the campus community. They aim to provide a safe and equal environment for all of SRU.

“We monitor the climate of campus as it relates to racial and ethnic diversity issues,” co-chair of PCRED and Enrollment Management & Admission Coordinator of Information Technology, Michael White, said.

He explained the commission helps guide conversation and implement policies.

“We don’t necessarily implement things ourselves,” he said. "But we support those who are doing it and give them as much information as we can.”

Recently, they worked on providing anti-racism resources on the SRU website. They helped local and state police go through diversity training to become accredited as well.

The group is comprised of about 20 members who are either staff, faculty or students. Members of various ethnic and racial groups are represented in the commission so that it does not just zoom in on a certain populace, according to White.

“We meet once a month to have discussion around the climate of the university as it

relates to racially and ethnically marginalized people,” he said.

That includes sending out climate surveys for students of color to gain a better understanding of race relations on campus. It also means deciding what steps to take if a student feels harassed on the basis of race.

"A while back, a student posted something very racially antagonizing..." White said, "One of the co-chairs at the time was able to have a conversation with the president and others about how to respond to it."

PCRED works with student organizations like Black Action Society and SRSGA.

They partner with the Office for Inclusive Excellence, the Offi ce for Global Engagement, the Fredrick Douglass Institute

and the Offi ce of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

“Not only do these entities have Ex-officio members who sit [in] on PCRED meetings, we also work together to bring programs and speakers to campus as well as work to affect policy and positive change around race and diversity issues at SRU,” White said.

The group helps sponsor events for faculty, not just students. Recently, the music department had a black female speaker come and do multiple sessions to educate faculty and staff.

"We have a small budget," White said, “and we provide financial support to student organizations that are sponsoring or holding events centered around anything ethnically or racially supportive.”

White said he enjoys being part of the commission because it allows him to connect with students more than someone with his job title usually would.

"Not long ago, the Chief Diversity Officer for PASSHE was having conversation about the five year strategic plan for dealing with inclusivity

and diversity," White said. "A lot of what they are saying feels to me like it encourages a commission like this."

"The state of affairs in our country right now, let alone just in Slippery Rock and on campus, requires us to keep the conversation going...it has to be with everyone who belongs to the university," he said.

VIDEO: Meal exchanges on campus
Campus Life Editor
Asst. Campus Life Editor
"I feel like one of the values [of] Black History Month is that you get people writing these types of pieces. . . these things stay with you and it generates this kind of thinking [about bringing awareness]
– Ursula Payne, interim associate provost

UPB hosts 'Shrektacular'

The University Program Board (UPB) hosted their first ever Shrektacular on Friday in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. The event was centered around the DreamWorks movie “Shrek” and featured several activities based on the film.

One of those activities was inflatable jousting, which was complete with a referee. Another was a table where students could fill their “swamp sacks” with various Shrek stickers and prizes. Students were given additional materials to make Shrek ornaments and coloring pages.

Shrek-themed snacks were also present. Green cotton candy, snow

cones and a “make your own dirt” table where students could make an earthy-looking dessert out of pudding, Oreos and gummy worms. Beverages included green punch and water.

“Eating dirt made my whole night,” a junior who attended the event, Paige Mitsko, said.

UPB invited SRU’s Musical Theatre Society (MTS) to periodically perform songs from Shrek The Musical while activities continued.

“My favorite performance was ‘I’m a believer’,” Mitsko said. “The cast had so much energy and…seemed so happy to be there.”

After performances wrapped up, it was time for the costume contest. Contenders walked a green carpet while dressed in different Shrek-related costumes.

Sophomore Laura Gustaukas won the contest

with her homemade Fairy Godmother costume. Other contestants were dressed as The Muffin Man, the Dragon, Donkey, Lord Farquaad, Fiona and an array of other Shrek characters.

“I am glad I went to this event because it was very fun and cool to see everyone dressed up.” Mitsko said.

Next on the agenda was Shrek Movie Bingo. Players were to mark certain scenes on their bingo cards as the movie progressed.

Once getting a bingo, students received three raffle tickets each. They could then enter to win cardboard cutouts of the main Shrek characters.

UPB Director of University Events, sophomore Bailey Carden, said the date was planned before the actual event itself.

“Usually, we have a Valentine’s Day sort

of thing around this time,” Carden said, “But I wanted to stray from that and create something completely unique and new.”

Carden said the idea for a Shrek-centered event came about after discovering that one of UPB’s contracted vendors had the rights to show the movie.

“We were talking about how we all love Shrek and then it slowly spiraled into ‘let’s do an event for Shrek’,” Carden said, “and it kind of went from there…We decided to just run with the puns and references.”

Carden hopes she gets the opportunity to plan more unique events in the future.

“As someone who creates university events, I really want to drive morale up on campus,” Carden said. “I get very burnt out

and tired of seeing the same thing over and over again; the same events, the same tests, the same homework assignments…but I

think a Shrek event is perfect because it’s just something completely different. I don’t know if anyone has ever done this before.”

An individual's purpose

As of February 27, there are over 7.8 billion people on Earth. That’s 7.8 billion different perspectives. Countless different opinions and outlooks on life.

American radio host and member of the Radio Hall of Fame Charlamagne tha God seems to flawlessly weave between the stigmas and struggles of being a Black man while understanding the importance of maintaining a balanced outlook on life.

There are undoubtedly billions of individuals who have trouble expressing their life experiences. Charlamagne, however, can articulate his life as fluently as anyone, including the way others may learn from it.

Aubrey Griess, director of speakers for the Slippery Rock University Program Board, shared what it means to bring this sort of diverse perspective to campus.

“We want students to look at things from a different perspective if they haven’t,” Griess said. “He’s gone through a lot of things in his life that he will talk about. It’s going to bring a new perspective to students.”

Much of what has made Charlamagne such an engrossing figure is the wide range of experiences and adversities he has endured ranging from internal to public issues.

“He has a lot of input on mental health, specifically, and on being in the criminal justice system and what it’s like being an African American,” Griess said.

Among the difficulties he endured are the encounters with drugs he had as a teenager.

Charlamagne was arrested for possession when he was still navigating his younger years. That trouble gave him a look into the United States correctional system.

“I would like to see these correctional facilities actually be facilities of correction,” Charlamagne said.

Having a first-hand experience of the correctional system has enlightened Charlamagne of how out of place the term “correctional” is in the title.

“I think there’s a lot of people in prison who shouldn’t be in prison,” Charlamagne said. “They should be in mental health facilities. A lot of these kids need emotional guidance. They need to be taught how to deal with their emotions. A lot of these people come from poor and disenfranchised areas, they never had a chance, they

make one mistake. Now you’re sending them away for 20 years. All you’re doing is making them more of an animal.”

Charlamagne has a few ideas for how the system could be made more beneficial for both those stuck in the system and Americans in general.  Among those ideas were creating more ways for prisoners to gain an education, develop the skills of a trade and strengthen their mental health. According to Charlamagne, this would transform many damaged individuals into well-informed, productive members of society after finishing their sentences as opposed to returning to society bitter for the punishment they were handed.

Charlamagne also strongly believes in educating oneself. He shared the importance of reading books, particularly literature, outside of one’s usual scope of interest and focus.

“My mother would always say, ‘read things that don’t pertain to you,’” Charlamagne said. “Once I understood what the word meant, I would always go out of my way to read things that don’t have to do with me.”

Charlamagne shared how there are unimaginable amounts of information readily available to anyone willing to access it. This is a privilege, he said.

Historically, and in modern times, the banning of books and media has created terrible situations for everyone.

Charlamagne shared that all books, especially those banned, contain information that can make any individual powerful if they are willing to accept it and interpret it correctly.

“Reading is revolutionary,” Charlamagne said. “Books are revolutionary.”

In being consistently active with the media, Charlamagne is both wellinformed and understanding of the tendencies of younger generations.

He believes that the energy and desire are within young people to create meaningful change for the better in modern society. However, they could benefit from reading and educating themselves more to get themselves to a place where solutions can be discussed and reached.

“This generation does a really great job of bringing attention to things, but are we really discussing solutions?” Charlamagne said. “We never get to the

solutions and that’s why you see people making the same mistakes over and over.”

He fears that with a lack of young people educating themselves about how to create good change, the outrage that they spark surrounding modern issues may simply be transferred into more societal anger as opposed to good, meaningful change.

“At some point, you got to sit down with a level head and have a conversation about how to try to get to a solution.” Charlamagne said.

He also explained how he fears that one downside of social media, between the anonymity, misinformation and lack of consequences, is the advancement of the mindset that creates anger and nation-wide outrage as opposed to creating solutions.

“[Social media] makes it too easy to get mad,” Charlamagne said. “We get upset nowadays without the full context of a situation.”

It is no secret that America is rapidly moving toward an increasingly technological and online world. This compounds the issue of aggravated online discourse replacing reallife movements for positive change.

“I wonder if this generation is only on social media making noise. What are you actually trying to do to impact change?” Charlamagne said.

He said it is important to have positive conversations about modern topics because the unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of issues that need to be solved.

Charlamagne compared America to the Marvel cinematic universe. Not only are there massive issues that impact many people daily, like the multiversethreatening villains that Marvel superheroes fight, but there are plenty of smaller issues that still need to be dealt with. This is similar to the muggings and small thieveries that the friendly neighborhood Spider-man would handle in the fictional version of New York City.

“I don’t think that we do a good enough job of knowing how to discuss what the problems are to even know how to come up with any solutions,” Charlamagne said. “We haven’t even dealt with the old stuff like racism, sexism… we haven’t even dealt with the basics.”

Charlamagne said he likes to surround these issues, particularly racism, with positive discourse. He wants everyone to be able to see the beauty of being Black, for example.

“It’s an honor to have this melanin, and I wanted to tell people that,” Charlamagne said.

His ability to hold a positive outlook on many topics does not mean he intends to appear infallible to issues that plague us all.

“I was seeking out healing on my own. When I started having conversations about mental health, it was more so a cry for help because of issues that I was dealing with,” Charlamagne said. “I’ve been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks since I was a child.”

Charlamagne concluded that many of his problems stemmed from issues he had with his father.  “Men don’t talk about it enough,” he said. “We don’t talk about how important our relationships with our fathers are, or the lack of a relationship.”

Charlamagne identified the increase in mental health awareness and resources as a positive of the current young generation, as opposed to what he was offered during his youth.

“The crazy part about the stigma is growing up, I didn’t even know that these resources were available,” Charlamagne said.

Thankfully, Charlamagne was able to learn from the mistakes of others, including his father. He is working on his mental health and strives to maintain the better mental health he has today.

His journey can be a lesson for everyone. He said personal accountability and bettering yourself can not only increase quality of life as an individual, but as individuals become better people, society would be improved as well.

“Th at’s what’s so scary about this generation that we live in now. I’m watching people do things every single day as if there are no consequences,” Charlamagne said.

He went on to share a story of a man committing crime and admitting to it on Instagram live. His solution to this wave of irresponsibility is once again individual betterment.

Charlamagne said one way to tap into your full potential as a human and as a member of society is to find what you are good at and find a way to stay motivated to do it.

“What is the gift God gave you?” Charlamagne said. “Anybody out there listening to me, find that thing that you love to do and makes you feel like you’re in alignment.”

This “thing” for Charlamagne was getting involved with radio.  Charlamagne tha God found his passion and his purpose all in one, and it exponentially increased to quality of his life. He bettered his mental health and became a wellfunctioning and admired member of society.

He found motivation to stick with his passion, saying he does it to put dinner on the table for his four daughters back home.

Because, he said, at the end of the day, doing good for the people close to you is what matters.

March 3, 2023 D-2 CAMPUS LIFE
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET Students gathered in Miller Audiotorium for guest speaker, Charlama gne Tha God. Franklyn Charles, strategic communication and m edia professor, faciltated the discussion. ANNABELLE CHIPPS / THE ROCKET From left to right: Laura Gutauskas as Fairy Godmother, Shane Krizmanic as Ginggy, Gabriel Stiles as The Muffin Man, Haley Bradeis as Puss in Boots, Janey Cessna as Donkey and Tyler Duffy as Lord Farquaad

Transgender students speak out

SRU has implemented policies and initiatives to support transgender students. However, not every transgender student feels supported. SRU implemented a gender-inclusive housing policy in 2018, but it is not housed on the initial housing page. The information can be found on the frequently asked questions link at the bottom of the page.  The official Residence Life brochure does not include the policy.

The only information regarding gender inclusivity in the 9-page document reads, “Gender-inclusive housing is available. Contact [h]ousing for information.”

The policy itself is a 2-page document that describes the housing process for gender-diverse students. Transgender students are able to request placement in a traditional room or suite in any residence hall. They also have the option to request allgender housing.  There is no form attached to the policy. Students are instructed to either call SRU Housing and Residence Life, visit their office or email.  Housing requests also have a deadline.

“Students requesting permission to live in an all-gender room or suite must do so prior to the forth coming academic year and as soon as possible, but no later than March 1," the policy said.

A former SRU student, a transgender woman who wishes to remain anonymous, shared her experience with housing in SRU.

“Whenever I applied, they asked for my gender," she said. "I made it [clear] I identify as female and use she/ her pronouns. They had

my legal information, [and they] knew I was assigned male at birth, so they obviously knew I was transgender. [But] they did not [make] any attempts to see where I wanted to be housed."

She added that SRU Housing did not offer any gender inclusive housing options and she ended up being housed with a man. But, she said, even if she knew about it, it was too late because of the deadline.

The former student initially applied for traditional housing, where there are no gender neutral showers.

“When I emailed them and said I wasn’t comfortable with this, they told me I basically had two options: deal with it, or pay [more] money for one of the suites," she said. "[I] had to pay a couple extra hundred dollars just so I could shower safely."

The student said this incident was “isolating” and “invalidating."

“The reason they housed me with a man was because they see me as a man...[and] treat me like a man in their system,” she said.

The anonymous student proposed a section on housing applications where a resident could select "yes" or "no" to room with someone who is transgender.

“Obviously, we live in a time where some cis[gender] women wouldn’t be comfortable rooming with a transwoman,” she said, “But they could just say on those forms if they are comfortable or not.”


President Abbott Mattocks said SRU could also make information and resources more accessible.

“A lot of what we do in the club is provide resources,” Mattocks said. “People come to us and don’t know where to start with housing.”

Mattocks said he does appreciate how the university provides a list of gender neutral bathrooms and their locations on campus.

“I will give credit to the school,” Mattocks

said. “There are a good amount [of gender neutral restrooms]. But, they’re still not in every building and they’re not always [convenient]. If the only all-gender restroom isn’t wheelchair accessible and that's what you need, you don’t [have] that option anymore.”

Nonbinary and gender-nonconforming students are especially vulnerable to discrimination from faculty and staff, Mattocks said.

Another student discussed a professor who will not use singular they/them pronouns because the professor claims it is grammatically incorrect.

“I've only had a few instances of a professor being [overtly]

transphobic towards me, but I know other people it happened to [or] a professor told them that they're not going to respect their pronouns,” Mattocks said.

The transgender woman said after she completed the name change process, her dead name still appeared on the MySRU Student Portal.

"[Whenever] I applied, they asked for my preferred name but I guess it didn’t really matter," she said. "[T] hey add those options when you apply [to not] turn away queer students...It’s just there to make it seem like they are fully accepting when...you have to go through all the processes yourself."

Rocky Horror Picture Show Dumbledore's Army

R ocky P icture Sho w D u m b le do re's A rm y

RockOUT, Rock The Weekend and the Pride Center teamed up to host their own version of a Rocky Horror Picture Show event on Saturday, Feb. 25 in the SSC theater.

Guests sat at tables and chairs facing a screen that displayed the 1975 cult classic film. Many students came dressed as characters from the show.

The event also featured a table of candy, chips and drinks, along with a photo booth and props.

Students were given a bag of props that correlated with the script and certain parts of the movie. The bag contained bubble soap, a

glow stick, a party hat, a sponge, a paper plate, a noise maker, a rubber glove and an old copy of The Rocket.

They were also given a script with bolded lines for audience participation. One of the lines read, “That’s no way to behave on your first day out,” to which the audience responded, “of the closet!” Puns and jokes like these were sprinkled throughout the show.

RockOut president, senior Natalie Smith, said club officers went through the movie together to modernize the participatory script.

“We took old scripts that use some pretty derogatory language and updated it a little bit,” Smith said, “and we went through the movie together to figure out what props we wanted to

use…it does kind of have RockOUT’s own little twist.”

Smith also said the event had been in the works since fall 2022.

“We know Slippery Rock has done events like this in the past, but they have not done anything like it since my generation of students has been here,” Smith said.  It was funded by the university through Rock The Weekend.

“We work with them for all our drag shows as well,” Smith said.

Gwen King, a student who attended the event, said her favorite part was seeing herself and others in costume.

“I dressed up as the main character, Doctor Frank N Furter,” King said. “I got so many compliments…it was a great time.”

Expecto Patronum! Dumbledore’s Army at SRU strives to enact positive change through community service, much like their fictional counterpart in the Harry Potter franchise.

“In the books and in the films, Dumbledore’s Army was a group of people coming together to do good for their society,” President Maggie Schaeffer said.

“Obviously, Harry Potter was fighting against death eaters and evil people, but here it’s more. We want

to work together and do good on campus. Try and give back.”

In the past, community service projects have been Harry Potter themed. One of those projects was a clothing drive entitled “Dobby’s Sock Drive.” Th e name is inspired by a popular elf from the franchise.

Th is semester, the club intends to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“We are also working on doing more to help the environment,” Schaeffer said. “We discussed doing trash pickups because there’s a lot of garbage on the roads between campus and off -campus housing.”

The club has been operating since 2018 but was on hiatus

during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re still in the works of bringing it back since COVID,” Schaeffer said. “It was originally a club that celebrated the works of Harry Potter and had events centered around that…Since I’ve taken over, we’ve transitioned into more of a community service organization.”HP

Dumbledore’s Army meets twice a month, typically on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 5 p.m. Currently, the club only meets virtually. They intend to gather in Vincent Science Center once they are approved for a room.

March 3, 2023 D-3 CAMPUS LIFE
PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGGIE SCHAEFFER The meditation room is one of the initiatives of the President's Commission on Wellness. The room is located on the third floor of the Smith Student Center. EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET RockOUT hosted a interactive viewing of Rocky Horror Picture Show in the SSC Theater. Students used various props to engage with the film.
"[I] had to pay a couple extra hundred dollars just so I could shower safely."
– Anonymous transgender woman who preiously attended SRU
EDDIE CLANCY / THE ROCKET The meditation room is one of the initiatives of the President's Commission on Wellness. The room is located on the third floor of the Smith Student Center.
March 3, 2023 D-4