PittOpinion

  • Inform yourself and vote

    | Rachel Herring |

    The executive board, consisting of me, William Ibenthal as vice president, Tadd Lucian as treasurer, and Kiki Eigenmann as secretary, has been coordinating students to volunteer at events. Next week, we will be volunteering at an event hosting Gov. Sam Brownback, Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Rand Paul.
    The campaigns CRs are working on include Sam Brownback for governor, Pat Roberts for Senate, Lynn Jenkins for Congress, and Chuck Smith for state representative and many more at a local level. We believe in these candidates because they will do whatever they can to protect and defend our constitutional rights. These candidates will make sure the government is held accountable for its actions.
    Registering first-time voters on and off campus did raise a challenge, though. The new SAFE Voting Act in Kansas requires two forms of ID, such as a birth certificate or passport, in addition to a Kansas drivers license. Students do not normally bring those items along with them to college. We completed the first step for them and gave them the information to complete their registration by themselves.
    We encouraged voters registered outside of Crawford County to register here. Getting out to vote is so important because every vote counts! Voting is such a privilege taken for granted, and voter apathy can really hurt an election. It is your civic duty to inform yourself and vote!

    Rachel Herring is a sophomore in business management

  • It’s a busy semester for SGA, campus

    Hello, Gorillas,
    I hope everybody had a good and restful fall break. I know I sure did. But as we now enter the second half of what seems like a very fast semester, we just wanted to let you know what’s been going on and what we have coming up in the world of SGA.
    We have finished collecting our parking surveys and are working alongside administration to come up with some solutions. Your surveys showed overwhelmingly that you would be interested in us exploring a bus system that would go from the lots out by the softball fields to Kelce and everything in between. We will keep you updated on the progress of this endeavor.
    We also have a sexual violence prevention day on Oct. 30 in Lindburg Plaza. The library will be having a pumpkin carving contest out there beginning at 5:30 p.m. and we will hold a panel discussion regarding sexual violence on campus with members of SVP, candidate for U.S. Senate Margie Wakefield and sitting member of the Kansas House of Representatives Julie Menghini. This is an exciting time to have them on campus with an upcoming midterm election, and it would be amazing to show them some Pitt State support while they are here. We will also be giving out several Pitt Point scholarships to students who come to the event, so come on out, learn about a growing problem across all college campuses, talk to legislators and get some free food!
    We have a couple of projects we’ll be working on as well. We’ll be gathering information from you all about parking tickets and possible alternatives to having to pay a monetary fine. We’ll also be having a Bail and Jail fundraiser in the Oval on Nov. 5, so be thinking of anybody you’d like to see sit in a jail cell in the middle of campus.
    But I hope everybody has a safe Halloween and don’t forget to get out there and vote on Nov. 4!

    Jordan Schaper is president of the Student Government Association.

  • Prince charming is not coming

    | Val Vita |

    When I was a kid Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney classic.
    I thought the idea of falling into a deep sleep until a gorgeous prince woke me up with a kiss was quite wonderful. Those were the kinds of references I grew up with: Aurora sleeping and waiting for the prince to start living; Snow White, doing pretty much the same thing; the Little Mermaid, who even changed who she was to be with the man of her dreams and Cinderella, who just asked for a night off and a dress, but ended up in love with a prince who changed her life.
    When I got a little older, people started telling me the ugly truth: that prince charming didn’t exist. Even though everybody knew something was wrong with these Disney classics, during my adolescence and adult life I was repeatedly exposed to innumerous romantic movies that looked a lot like those old stories. The plot was always the same, with the main female character having a single purpose in life: finding the right guy.
    I realized that the romantic movies I watched almost 20 years after watching Disney classics, still show the same role models of women: sweet, naive, gentle, submissive and patiently waiting to be rescued.
    It’s like their whole journeys are directed to that, their entire lives would just start making sense when this “perfect” man appears, giving meaning to their existences and becoming the sole source of their happiness.
    Even in Sex and the City, in which the main characters are successful women with the coolest friends and exciting lives, the conversations among Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte are always around finding the perfect man.
    Fortunately, today’s girls are growing up with some better references.
    Take “Frozen,” in which the central theme is the relationship and difficulties of the two sisters, “Brave,” in which princess Merida is determined to make her own path in life and even “Maleficent,” a story about resilience (since Angelina Jolie’s character needs to recover from a heartbreak from a guy who turned up not being prince charming at all).
    All of these new models can contribute to change girls’ views about the real world and relationships and to avoid future frustrations.
    It is important to stop with the stereotype of the passive and vulnerable princess. And to go beyond saying “prince charming does not exist.” A girl should be thought that life is bigger, even though she might end up finding the right man at some point of her life, she must keep in mind that the only person responsible for her happiness should be herself.

  • Remembering Nikki Patrick

    | Staff Ediotial |

    I met Nikki Patrick a month ago. She had called me the day before to schedule an interview for her daily profile, Patrick’s People, in The Morning Sun newspaper. On the day of the interview, a small and fragile woman slowly walked through the Overman Student Center, using a portable oxygen tank and wearing a kerchief on her head. I was expecting a reporter and a photographer, but Nikki arrived alone. She told me after the interview that she had even driven her own car there.

    Nikki Patrick was a reporter for the Morning Sun for 47 years. She passed away on Monday, Oct. 20.

    Nikki Patrick was a reporter for the Morning Sun for 47 years. She passed away on Monday, Oct. 20.


    During 20 minutes, Nikki asked me some questions about my life, but most of the time, she just let me speak. As a reporter, I couldn’t help but notice her messy handwriting (typical of us reporters). As a first-time interviewee, I was kind of worried if she was actually going to understand all of that back to the newsroom. After we talked, she chose a good spot outside to take a picture of me. She took a small digital camera out of one of the bags, and after only two shots she said she was done.
    Before we say goodbye, I asked her how long she has been writing for the paper, and her answer was an incredible 47 years. That was the first and the last time I talked with Nikki Patrick.
    A couple of days later, my profile story was published without a single mistake. Everything was exactly as I told her, word for word. Even the photo, taken so quickly, was great. I was so proud that I sent copies of the page to my family and friends in Brazil.
    I’m telling you of this experience to show how a few minutes of Nikki Patrick’s work impacted my life and the life of my loved ones. So just imagine, in her 47 years as a reporter, how many lives she touched, not only in this community, where she was born and raised, but beyond.
    We are told that we need to find a passion in life. If you actually find it, you won’t need to work a single day of your life because work will be a pleasure. Nikki definitely found this passion, which was telling other people’s stories. She published her last column on Wednesday, only four days before she died Monday morning after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 68 years old.
    Nikki is no longer here to introduce people to one another in Patrick’s People, and her presence will surely be missed in this town. But memories of this outstanding reporter will be forever held in all of the lives she touched in these 47 years.

    Val Vita is a staff writer for The Collegio.

  • Homecoming is a Gorilla family reunion

    | Steven A. Scott PSU President |

    As Homecoming week unfolds, it brings added energy and emotion to the campus. There’s no doubt it’s a special time of year, and to me, the campus has never looked more beautiful. Homecoming is a time of reflection and connecting to our past through some of the most important traditions we have, including the convocation, Yell Like Hell, the parade and, of course, the football game.
    This year we will add something new to our list of rich and enduring traditions. Just before the kickoff on Saturday (at 12:13 p.m. to be exact), we will reveal an amazing campus feature that will celebrate our passion for being Gorillas and our aspirations to be champions in all that we do.
    In some ways, the role of university president allows me to be in homecoming mode on almost a continuous basis. It’s one of the best parts of my work. As I meet with alumni throughout the year and throughout the country, I hear them reflect on what Pittsburg State meant to them as students and what it continues to mean. They talk about the Oval, the beauty of the campus, and the faculty and staff who supported them, and they talk about the friendships they made while they were here. It reminds me that today’s students are creating similar memories, building relationships that will last a lifetime, and developing a foundation for a professional life and career.
    So, as our alums return to campus and reconnect with us, and as they see the progress we’ve made since their graduation, we should all embrace the fact that we are in many ways a family. Let’s welcome their return. Together, let’s acknowledge that homecoming is not just a reunion, but it is in essence a family reunion. We are not just Gorilla Nation; we are a family of Gorillas!
    I wish all of our students, faculty, staff and, most importantly, our returning alumni the best homecoming ever. Enjoy your time on the campus and enjoy your time together.

    Steve Scott is president of Pittsburg State University.

  • Avoiding the rape culture

    | Taylor Cunningham |

    If you’ve been reading the headlines lately, you will know that we are facing an epidemic on college campuses across the country: sexual assault and the obvious mishandling of abuse cases.
    The neglect that many individuals have faced after reporting the crimes committed against them is disgusting; the effects can only be assumed to be devastating to survivors after the bravery of their voices.
    As institutions become increasingly complicit in the perpetuation of sexual assault on campuses, we must ask ourselves what ways we aid in the suffering of other human beings who have been victims of sexual assault. An honest, soul-searching question must be asked: Am I aiding in the perpetuation of rape culture?
    For those unfamiliar with the term, rape culture refers to a society in which sexual violence and inappropriate sexual language have become normalized, encouraged, or ignored. While most students at PSU would never blatantly encourage the acts of rape or abuse, there is a habit that is insulting and offensive that must be stopped: the casual and flagrant use of the word rape.
    I have heard this word – this inherently violating and gruesome word – used in phrases since my middle school days. “Dude, I totally raped that test,” or, “We totally got raped by the other team” are just two examples of this. Just last week, I was sitting in class and heard a freshman behind me loudly exclaim, “This class is totally f*****g raping me.”
    There are many excuses given when individuals are confronted about their flippant usage of the word. I’ve been told that it’s an accurate description of what happened to them. I’ve been called an angry feminist for openly airing my grievances with it. I’ve been told that “it’s not what they meant” as if that makes its meaning any less detestable.
    Rape is not triumphant. Rape is not the equivalent of failing a test. Rape does not accurately describe your sports team win or how you won an argument. Rape is an act of sexual violence so disgusting and violating that many who are victims of it need lifelong mental health rehabilitation. And every time you claim that you’ve “raped” something, you are trivializing a word that is associated with many ruined lives and broken homes. You are associating your own academic weakness with the soul-crushing offense that many have faced bravely.
    So please, for all of the people who have to endure flashbacks of abuse when you open your mouth, stop. For the girl sitting in front of you with a keen awareness that one in six of her friends will be raped, stop. For the sake of just being a decent human being, stop.

    Taylor Cunningham is a senior in sustainability

  • Slavery all over again

    | Staff Editorial |

    Everyone assumed the Supreme Court would take on at least one of the five cases appealed to them regarding same-sex marriage.
    The Supreme Court, with its ability to decide the constitutionality of prohibiting same-sex marriage for the entire country, chose instead to deny the cases. By doing this, same-sex marriage became legal in those states where the cases originated: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. It also will leave room for expansion to include another six states in those allowing same-sex marriage. However, the rest of the country is left to fight over the legalization of same-sex marriage on its own.
    Why did they basically run away? The situation is going down a similar road as the issue of slavery. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the delegates proposed the 3/5 Compromise that counted three out of every five slaves as people and voted that the country would not have to face the issue of slavery again until 1808, when Congress would then have the power to ban the slave trade should it wish to do so.
    The issue was then pushed until 1861 with the start of the Civil War and even after the war was over and the Supreme Court granted freedom, citizenship, and voting rights to black males, African Americans were still denied rights.
    The Supreme Court kept pushing the issue of civil rights and refusing to rule on the unconstitutionality of segregation until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    The Supreme Court has continually backed out of a fight that has been a long time coming and will continue to be in its face until the court finally takes it on.
    The issue of same-sex marriage has grown exponentially and must be resolved before things potentially get out of hand. The Supreme Court has a duty to take on such challenging cases as these; it’s why it was created. The justices are the people with the knowledge, experience and responsibility to be able to determine the outcomes of cases that can affect the nation as a whole.
    The issue of slavery was pushed and ignored for almost 200 years, led to the bloodiest war in American history and a major movement that left a huge impact on the country.
    If the Supreme Court chooses to do the same with the issue of same-sex marriage, there could be severe long-term implications.
    If a war broke out over the issue of letting black people have freedom in the 1800s, what could happen in today’s times over the issue of letting gay people marry? In both cases, a group of people was denied a right that most people are entitled to.
    If we want to avoid the issue festering and blowing up, the Supreme Court needs to act now.

  • You can help, too

    | Ali Smith guest writer |

    We live in a culture where our society, more often than not, ignores, trivializes, normalizes or makes jokes about sexual assault, rape and violence in general. I see this every day on the news, in social media, and I hear it in the conversations around me.
    When the journalists and news anchors blamed Janay Palmer for being abused because “she chose to marry” Ray Rice, I saw the prevalence of victim blaming in our media. When 16-year-old Jada’s sexual assault was videotaped, published on the Internet, and eventually goes viral, I see how our society trivializes and jokes about the violence that happens to our friends, sisters and daughters. When I see the words “When No Means No” and then see the caption “Walking around campus alone at night leads to great vulnerability for sexual assault,” I see how far myths have perpetrated the minds of ordinary people.
    I want to change this. We need to create an environment where sexual assault is not acceptable. We need to create a society in which victim blaming does not exist. We need to create an environment where victims and survivors are supported and loved, not looked down upon and mocked.
    Sexual assault happens here at PSU. It is an issue that needs to be taken seriously by not only the administration, but by the faculty and the students who have the power to step up and stop it.
    The article published in the Collegio two weeks ago, “Sexual-assault concerns hit colleges,” did a good job of focusing on how the university administration handles sexual assault and how victims can report it to the university and the police; however, the article did not focus on how victims can receive help.
    PSU has a campus victims’ advocate, Brooke Powell, who also works at the Safehouse Crisis Center in Pittsburg as an advocate. Advocates are trained to be with victims in the hospital, to go with them to law enforcement stations, provide counseling, and provide specific information about sexual assault.
    Sometimes victims choose not to report. This is up to them. It’s their choice. The PSU campus victims’ advocate is an invaluable source to students who have been a victim of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a crisis and everyone handles a crisis in different ways. Victims can go into shock, experience overwhelming anger, shame or anxiety. Each victim’s experience is different. Advocates are experienced in helping, supporting and counseling in these situations, and everything is absolutely confidential.
    If you have been a victim of sexual assault, it is not your fault and it will never be your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, what you were drinking, if you were alone or with friends. Whatever the situation was, it is not your fault. You can find help, support and love.
    If you or a friend has been a victim of sexual assault, you can contact Brooke Powell at 620-231-8692 or 620-235-4831 or email her at brooke-cunningham@hotmail.com. For more information about Safehouse Crisis Center go to www.safehousecrisiscenter.org

    Ali Smith
    Student coordinator, Students for Violence Prevention

  • SGA tackling several projects

    | Jordan Schaper guest writer |

    Hello, Gorillas,
    I hope everything’s going well with you all as we get closer to the halfway point of the semester.
    It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks in SGA as we’ve been trying to tackle a variety of issues. We are still looking for feedback on the parking situation via our transportation survey in the SGA office. We are actively searching for solutions that students can get behind and working with the administration to make those a reality. It’s only going to be available for a little bit longer, so make sure you have your voice heard.
    We will also be in the Oval the rest of this week running our voter registration drive. With an upcoming gubernatorial election this November, we think it’s of utmost importance to get registered as soon as possible. We have all of the forms needed to get you registered; you will only have to send in some kind of proof of citizenship to the Crawford County clerk either through the mail or via e-mail. Feel free to stop by the Oval for more information or contact your legislative affairs director, Lindsay Ong.
    On top of this, we are also collecting children’s shoes for the students of Meadowlark Elementary School. The Kicks for Kids program is beneficial to local youth who may not be able to afford new or fitting shoes. We would like to provide these students with shoes ranging in sizes from 10-children to 6-adult. If you or your organization would like to participate in this great cause we would be very appreciative of your contributions.
    Good luck on your upcoming exams, and in the next installment of this SGA update, I’ll be letting you all know of some of our Campus Capital Improvement projects to benefit the campus as a whole.
    Jordan Schaper is president of the Student Government Association.

  • Register to vote

    Staff Editorial

    The 2014 Kansas general election is fast approaching on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Many students may not know that, as students, we have the right to register to vote in the state we are going to school. The constitutional right is to register to vote wherever we consider home. This means that, regardless of how temporary our residency here may be, we are able to register to vote in Crawford County if we so choose.
    A lot of students may not realize just how important it is for us to be able to vote in Kansas. The government of Kansas has authority over our school as a public institution. Therefore, legislation can be enacted that does affect us as students. Voting in Kansas also means we get to vote for senators and representatives who will be sent to Washington. If we want a chance to change the government for the better, we need to do our part by voting for the people who will best be able to help.
    SGA this week has been promoting student voter registration, to give us a chance to have a say in the government. We have the chance to register for the state of Kansas and vote in the elections coming up next month through SGA. There are no extra hoops to jump through, no conditions, we just register now and vote when the elections are held. So why aren’t more students getting involved?
    Yes, politics can be boring; but they are important. Politics affect us and our university whether we realize it or not. We have a right and a duty to make sure that the state we go to school in gets the best representation in Congress so that we can have the best college experience we can. If we are complacent and just let the government slide, we are cheating the country, the university and ourselves.
    Even though SGA is done with its voter registration table on Thursday, Oct. 2, we still have until 21 days before the election, Oct. 14, to register in Kansas.

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