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The Pitt News

Video: SGB approves Blue Slide Park $28.5k in vigil for late contested Mac Miller allocation vote

T h e i n d e p e n d e n t s t ude nt ne w spap e r of t he U niversity of Pittsburgh | | september 12, 2018 ­| Volume 109 | Issue 21

A small memorial to Mac Miller sits on a slide at Blue Slide Park. Knox Coulter | staff photographer


Sarah Connor Culture Editor

Blue Slide Park in Squirrel Hill’s Frick Park became synonymous with late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller after he released both a song and album eponymous with the iconic slide. On Tuesday night it was a place of mourning for Miller. Hundreds of Pittsburghers — fans, old friends and family alike — flocked to the park Miller made famous for a celebration of his life and career. Miller, 26, died last week of a suspected overdose in his California home, just weeks away from the tour for his newest album, “SWIMMING.” Nightfall Records hosted a candle-light vigil in his memory. The event featured speeches from some

who knew Miller, DJs playing his music, food trucks for fans and dozens of lit candles. Fans began crowding the park around 5 p.m., and by 5:30, the space at the top of the famous blue slide was covered. Fans left letters, flowers, candles, Pittsburgh Pirates hats and Tees by the slide, all in memory of the late recording artist. The first speaker of the evening was an old friend of Miller’s, Donald Davis. The two attended Taylor Allderdice High School together, and Miller graduated from the Pittsburgh public school in 2010. Davis shared emotional stories about the beginning of Miller’s career. “When he made his first CD and brought it to school, kids threw them on the floor,” Davis said. “A lot of people used

to judge him, they would look at him and say he ain’t nothing.” Davis continued with his speech by telling a story that he holds close to his heart. He, Miller and some of their friends from Taylor Allderdice High School went to the very park the vigil was held at to film Miller’s very first video. In the video for the song “Money Money,” Miller and Davis perform their secret handshake. Davis reminisced on this memory with a warm smile. “We made sure to put that in the video because that was always our thing,” Davis said. “I remember coming to film here that day, it was so damn cold.” After Davis, Miller’s grandmother took the mic.

“Mac would have loved this,” she said. “He loved Pittsburgh and he loved everything that you all did for him.” The fans in the audience applauded both speakers and lit their candles as Mac Miller blared loudly through the park. Next to the blue slide, an artistic memorial stood honoring Miller. There were photo portraits of him, and a large painting of Miller done by local artist Zachary J. Rutter. Rutter stood next to his painting proudly, talking to fans who came by to admire the artwork. “I did this whole painting today,” he said. “I did a painting of Mac years ago, when I was 18. He signed that one and See Mac Miller on page 3



Mario Cattabiani III Staff Writer

As the church bells started ringing on a steady rainy Sunday, Jake Cherry, a sophomore biology major, climbed the stone steps of Saint Paul Cathedral, made the sign of the cross across his chest with fingers wet from holy water and took a seat in a pew — just as he has almost every Sunday since enrolling at Pitt. Cherry’s faith in the Roman Catholic Church remains unshaken, he said, despite last month’s blistering grand jury report that painstakingly details how, for generations, hundreds of priests throughout Pennsylvania abused children — and how church leaders covered it all up. “This is a terrible situation with so many troubling aspects, from the nature of allegations to the apparent manner in which the allegations were handled,” Cherry said. Even so, Cherry said, the church can put this ugly chapter behind it. He wants to see action. “[Leaders] must be thoughtful, decisive and quick to implement solutions,” Cherry said. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Aug. 14 the findings of a long-awaited grand jury report, which he described as “the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse within the church ever produced in our country.” At nearly 900 pages, the sweeping report identified some 300 priests who were accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children over the past seven decades. The alleged abuse occurred in six dioceses across the Commonwealth — Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg and Scranton. Reactions to the grand jury’s findings among Catholics on Pitt’s campus were mixed. “The most troubling aspect is how

Saint Paul’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue is a part of the Pittsburgh Diocese, which was implicated in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victims Report alongside five other Pennsylvania dioceses. Thomas Yang | assistant visual editor “While the past is certainly bleak, it someone in a position of trust and power could so terribly hurt a vulnerable or is important to recognize the positive changes that have been made to protect trusting person,” Cherry said. Connor Wrabel, a first-year, was even youth and to investigate any further almore pointed. Wrabel, the grandson of a legations,” the statement continued. “By church deacon, said he finds it difficult to providing greater transparency as to trust the church in the wake of the allega- how allegations will be handled and by cooperating fully with law enforcement, tions. “The fact that allegations were ig- the church is committed to ensuring that nored or brushed under the rug still an evil of this magnitude is never perpeshocks me,” Wrabel said. “[The church] trated again.” Within the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the betrayed our trust considering how long these allegations have stayed under grand jury report accused 99 priests of sexually abusing minors. Shapiro specifiwraps.” In a prepared statement, leaders of cally identified four priests who not only Pitt’s Catholic Newman Club, which has groomed but aggressively assaulted unaround 300 student members, expressed derage boys. The grand jury also alleged that nusympathy for the victims of the reported merous church leaders across the state incidents of abuse. “We wish to express our sorrow for engaged in a sophisticated cover-up to the victims and horror for the trauma protect the church, which allowed the they have experienced,” the statement so-called “predatory priests” to continue abusing children while escaping punishsaid. The statement went on to highlight ment. For Catholic institutions, such as the efforts the church is making to prenearby Duquesne University, the scandal vent similar incidents in the future.

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is devastating — but what impact, if any, the report will have on Duquesne and future enrollment remains unclear. Paul-James Cukanna, Duquesne’s vice president for enrollment management, said he believes it is too early in the process of recruiting new students to speculate the impact this will have on future enrollments. “The topic has not arisen in our prospective student discussions,” he said. “Our applicant counts, visits and prospective student interest in Duquesne are consistent with those of prior years.” In a letter to the Duquesne University community in the wake of the grand jury report, University President Ken Gormley wrote that the allegations were “deeply disturbing.” “The revelations within the report are heartbreaking, and as a community we feel great sorrow and anguish in reflecting upon the pain and suffering endured by those who were victims of abuse,” Gormley continued. In the letter, Gormley said the university was aware of only one allegation in the report that relates to Duquesne. A priest who taught at Duquesne in the 1940s went on to serve the Diocese at Sacred Heart Church in Emsworth. It was there, in 1954, that allegations relating to actions at that parish surfaced against him two years before his death. Like many others unwavering in their faith, Cherry said he believes the church will be able to come back from this. “The church has faced questionable, if not misguided, leadership and troubling situations throughout the centuries,” Cherry said. “Each time, dedicated and honorable individuals have put the church back on track or reestablished confidence in the church. The foundation of the church is the belief system, which still exists.”


Mac Miller, pg. 1 everything. I was really proud of that painting so I decided to do another piece in his memory.” Fans stopped to take photos with the portrait in between speeches. Some teared up at the display of Miller’s portraits. One such fan was 19-year-old Jordan Patterson, who has been a die-hard fan of Miller since her middle school years. Soon after she stopped to admire the artwork, the speakers played Miller’s song, “Party on Fifth Ave,” which was one of his biggest hits from his debut album “Blue Slide Park.” Patterson — clad in a T-shirt promoting Miller’s final album “SWIMMING” that was released in August — wiped a tear from her cheek as the audience sang along. “I’ve been crying on and off today,” she said. “This just doesn’t feel real. None of it does. I can’t believe he’s gone. But I’m still trying to have fun tonight. Mac would want us to party.” Another fan had similar feelings. Justin Witter — a 20-year-old college student and recording artist from Syracuse, New York — made the trip down to Pittsburgh just for this vigil.

Attendees light candles at Tuesday evening’s vigil for Pittsburgh native Mac Miller. Anna Bongardino | visual editor

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“Mac is one of the biggest reasons why I started making music,” he said. “To be here tonight is crazy, it makes me wish I was from Pittsburgh.” Though Miller’s earlier music is known in Pittsburgh, Witter was jamming to Miller as early as 2010, long before Miller released “Blue Slide Park.” “I will never forget the first time I heard Mac,” he said. “A kid in my middle school was playing [the mixtape] K.I.D.S., and I have been with Mac ever since.” As the sun set at Frick Park, fans swayed to Miller’s music while holding candles. Miller’s song “Best Day Ever” brought out a strong, emotional response from fans. “Oh man, this one might make me cry,” Witter said. He and his friends belted along to the lyrics, with the DJs stopping the music for the crowd to sing the hook. The park was completely silent except for the sounds of singing, mourning fans. The words rang into the autumn air, with a somber tone to them. “It got me cheesin’ from cheek to cheek / And I ain’t going to wait for nothing / Cause that just ain’t my style / Life couldn’t get better / This ’gon be the best day ever.”

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September 12, 2018


Opinions from the editorial board

Trump disappoints as consoler-in-chief A presidential tweet denying collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump — and suggesting it took place between Russia and the Clinton campaign — came out yesterday just after 4 a.m. before the president landed in Johnstown with energetic fist pumps for the crowds gathered there. This isn’t unusual behavior for the man who’s tweeted on the subject incessantly and often interacts with crowds to get them excited at rallies. Except yesterday wasn’t a normal day. It was the 17th anniversary of 9/11, which required a certain decorum and level of sobriety that were conspicuously absent in the president’s behavior outside of a prepared speech. Even when he hit the mark, his actions were overshadowed by his behavior throughout the day. The president spent the anniversary not far from Pittsburgh, at the crash site of one of the hijacked September 2001 planes in Shanksville. En route to Shanksville, he passed through Johnstown, where he pumped his fists at the crowd in a manner more suited to one of his rallies than to a memorial service. This followed a morning of inappropriate tweets, starting with the denial of collusion and followed by a retweet of his signing of a proclamation to designate “Patriot Day 2018” a day to honor victims of 9/11 — to which he added the hashtags #NeverForget and #September11th. He marred what should have been a positive moment by reducing the memory of those lost 17 years ago to two hashtags. Following several more tweets about the Justice Department, he tweeted that “Rudy Giuliani did a GREAT job as Mayor of NYC during the period of September 11th. His leadership, bravery and skill must never be forgotten.

Rudy is a TRUE WARRIOR!” The true warriors following 9/11, were the emergency responders who braved the smoke and rubble to try to save lives. The tweet is just a self-serving promotion of the president’s lawyer. Trump should have thanked all the first responders and people who defended and continue to defend the nation. Instead, he inappropriately used the anniversary of a tragedy to promote his own interests. Then came the worst tweet of all — “17 years since September 11th!” The nation has had 17 years to process and grieve the events of 9/11, and both the world and American politics have moved forward. But the president’s seeming disdain of or ambivalence for one of our country’s biggest moments of shared tragedy and trauma is disheartening. The tone conveyed by his curt tweet holds none of the respect people expect him to have for the heroes of that day. Ironically, his son, Donald Trump Jr., thinks the anniversary of 9/11 is a day to leave politics aside. He tweeted as much at Joe Scarborough, who wrote a Washington Post column titled “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could.” Trump Jr. tweeted that “[i]njecting politics today is disgraceful and only shows how irrelevant and deranged you’ve become.” The president should have heeded his son’s remarks. Yesterday wasn’t a day for him to make more baseless arguments that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia — it was a day to lead the country in mourning. And he failed.

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Grace McGinness Staff Columnist

There’s a strange kind of FOMO, the dreaded fear of missing out, that happens when all your friends move back to school without you. House parties are thrown, box wine is popped, and Instagram is blasted with “OMG MY BESTIES ARE BACK! HAIL TO PITT!!!” Meanwhile, I still sat at home playing Uno with my family while the cat drooled in my lap. This wistfulness was uncalled for — after all, I was about to embark on an ambitious journey across the Atlantic, doing what every college student dreams. Fast forward a few weeks and now I’m studying abroad in Florence, Italy, for three months, living and learning in the heart of the historic center. I’m traveling with a program called Pitt in Florence, Pitt’s only semester-long program offered in that region. For the program, Pitt teams up with CAPA, a travel business that sends students from around the U.S. to Italy in the fall and spring. There are usually about seven Pitt students on the trip in the fall, which bumps up to around 20 in the spring. I decided to study abroad when the Italian culture charmed me during mandatory language classes in high school. A land with more than 1,000 years of history and each corner with its own distinct culture, I wanted more than anything to live and learn in Italy. After my first two years at Pitt, I decided to finally lighten my wallet and apply. My excitement for studying abroad was like a parabola. First, I was infinitely excited at being accepted, and then, as the weeks went by, it just became a part of my life that I had to explain over and over again for my family members. When the last few weeks before launch came around, the anticipation ramped up again, building until I felt like I couldn’t take it any longer..

The Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy. IMAGE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS I managed to keep it together, but my bag into our hotel until 2 p.m. we stuffed our bags in was fully packed a week before my plane was the hotel lobby closet and hit the streets. Reading the street signs was easy enough, ready for takeoff. I was ready to go — no more checklists, no more “Top 10 Wineries around but ordering lunch was a bit more difficult. The Florence” articles, no more teary goodbyes. Put waitress was clearly not pleased with our request me on the plane and take to the skies. I even took for tap water over sparkling, or our blank stares a picture of those skies once I finally got up there. when she spoke too quickly for me to translate. That picture was the best part of my flight — But she warmed up to us eventually. The risotto or flights, rather. I coordinated with some other alla pescatora — a rich, creamy rice dish with students from my program to travel out of the parmesan cheese and seafood — tasted deliPhiladelphia airport to Washington, D.C., then cious with each bite, and, exhausted, I ate every to Brussels and on to Florence. Three flights and grain of rice. The plan after lunch was to check into the I couldn’t fall asleep on any of them. I tried three different positions, listened to a podcast, listened hotel, shower and get dressed before going to to a relaxing soundtrack of a cat purring for 30 a store for temporary phone SIM cards. We minutes and relaxed each of my muscle groups. all managed to shower and dress, but we were Once I gave up, I thoroughly enjoyed watching dragged into the dark pit of travel-induced ex“The Shape of Water” and “Baby Driver” for the haustion before we made it out the door. Two hours later, we finally got the SIM cards. Despite rest of the trip. We landed at 11 a.m. and took a taxi to our the long midday nap, we still passed out around hotel. Before the driver left, I managed to ask 10 p.m., skipping dinner and nightlife. We had three months to explore — there him for a lunch recommendation in stumbling Italian. He gave us directions to a market a cou- was no reason to rush. The next day was check-in at the CAPA ple of blocks away, and since we couldn’t check

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center. They provide the housing, teachers and classrooms for the experience abroad, as well as organize trips around Florence to help students integrate. After some paperwork, they sent us by cab to our assigned apartments. I wasn’t rooming with either of the girls I traveled with, but none of my roommates had arrived yet. Alone, I exited the taxi and met our landlady. She led me up four flights of stairs — no elevator — to the apartment. The place was all a student could need for a semester. It was a nicely decorated, clean two-bedroom apartment that was updated with modern appliances. Maybe Americans complain of the rooms in Italy feeling like shoe boxes in comparison to the luxurious spaces in the United States, but this was all the room I needed. After inspecting both rooms, I took the liberty of claiming the room that opened onto the building’s courtyard because I arrived first. I found it charming to be able to look out upon the tiled roofs and keep away from the commotion of the street. When I look down, I can see a neighbor’s small patio where their cute, fat cat likes to sunbathe. This is a perk I didn’t expect, but appreciate because it reminds me of my cat back home. All that said, the real reason I chose the room is because from the window I can see the very top of the Duomo, the most majestic, iconic cathedral from the Renaissance. The view is my slice of historic Florence no matter how small. In a couple of days, classes will start and for the next three months, this will be my little corner of Italy as I study and volunteer and walk with the Florentines. I’m finally here! This page was made possible in part by a grant from Pitt Year of Global. Like what you read? Check out our digital edition this Friday at to read the second installment of Grace’s blog. You can reach Grace at



Take 5: Cy Young, NFL youth The NFL’s last flagless game occured in 1940 at the since-demolished Forbes Field. image via wikimedia commons


Trent Leonard Sports Editor

The Pittsburgh Panthers and Steelers both caught a bad case of the penalty bug over the weekend, with the former racking up 14 penalties for 116 yards in a blowout 51-6 loss to Penn State on Saturday and the latter getting flagged 12 times for 116 yards in an ugly 21-21 tie with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Constant flags make for an unenjoyable viewership experience — especially when most of the calls are against your team. After this weekend, Pittsburgh sports fans were probably left dreaming of a football game decided by the players alone, free of interference by any higher subjective authority, where the refs take a step back and “let the boys play.” Coincidentally enough, such a game has happened before in NFL history — and the last time was just down the street at former Forbes Field on Sunday, Nov. 10, 1940. Like Saturday’s “Keystone Clash,” this affair featured two instate rivals duking it out in rainy conditions. More than 70 years have gone by since the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 7-3 in the league’s last flagless phenomenon. “A gridiron insurance policy which the Pittsburgh Steelers have carried in their programs all season paid a big dividend yesterday,” the Monday sports lead of the 1940 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read, “when Colin McDonough,

reserve halfback, who has been going along just for the train ride all autumn, came off the bench and sparked the Rooney eleven to its second victory of the season…” These two Pennsylvania teams entered the game as two of the worst in the young NFL. Philadelphia sat winless at the bottom of the five-team Eastern Division standings, with Pittsburgh perched just above at a record of 1-6-2. The Eagles set a still-standing NFL record that year for the fewest rushing yards in a season, finishing with just 298. Only 9,556 fans — including 3,000 children who were admitted for free — watched from the stands as these two bottom-of-the-barrel foes waged a battle of attrition in the Forbes Field sludge. The Eagles scored first, on a play that represents just how far the NFL has come from the game back then, when left tackle and placekicker George Somers converted a 36yard field goal attempt. Maybe the 2018 Steelers would have garnered the same success sending left tackle Alejandro Villanueva to kick the game-winning field goal attempt versus the Browns on Sunday, instead of kicker Chris Boswell. But back to 1940 — the two teams sloshed around and accomplished essentially nothing for the next two quarters, until the journeyman McDonough and the Steelers’ offense finally put together a third-quarter scoring

drive best phrased by former Post-Gazette sportswriter Jack Sell. “Like gridiron heroes in the movies, McDonough suddenly shed his obscurity as a lowly third-stringer and crashed the headlines as he featured a brilliant 55-yard parade to the winning touchdown,” Sell wrote. The Steelers would hold on in the fourth quarter for the 7-3 win — just their second of the season, which marked an improvement over the previous year’s one-win campaign. A small note acknowledged the game’s noteworthy feat at the top right of the Monday Post-Gazette sports section — “No Penalties in Steelers-Eagles Game.” Aside from head referee William Halloran’s reluctance to throw a single flag, this 1940 contest would have been quite unremarkable. There was nothing significant at stake, except perhaps a chance to clinch second-to-last place in the division. The Steelers attempted five passes and competed just one, while the Eagles rushed for an abysmal 70 yards. Maybe Halloran realized early on that this would be his one chance to achieve fame and notoriety. It’s possible — he officiated one of the only three other no-penalty NFL games in 1936, but a different reffing crew accomplished the feat again in 1938, so the pressure was on to one-up them and become the last to do it.

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It’s also possible that Halloran suffered some injury that prohibited him from moving his arm in a throwing motion to issue the flags — or maybe the two teams truly put on the most recent display of pure, clean football, played within the confines of the rulebook. We’ll never know for sure, but as the years go on and new penalties are concocted, the legacy of this Forbes Field phenomenon will only continue to grow. The day before, and appearing on the same 1940 page of the Post-Gazette, the Pitt Panthers took on Carnegie Tech — now known as Carnegie Mellon. Although the 6-0 Panther victory was similarly ugly and low-scoring, it fell on the complete opposite end of the penalty spectrum. “The number of penalties in the game … must be close to a local record, and there were field generals in the press box who thought that another series or so was overlooked by the officials who probably failed to see them out of sheer exhaustion,” the Post-Gazette wrote. The Panthers were flagged 12 times, so apparently not all referees back then were as negligent as Halloran. This also goes to show that penalty issues are nothing new for Pitt football, and the football team at Carnegie Mellon might not be as much of a pushover as some believe.




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September 12, 2018