- Silence hides violence
Student’s benefit concert raises awareness of abuse
Kelsea Renz | managing editor
Vandi Johnson says domestic violence is a problem close to her heart.
“I have a family member who experienced domestic violence,” Johnson said. “The issue is out of control.”
Johnson, senior in social work, organized a benefit concert on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Twisters Bar, to promote awareness of domestic violence and to raise donations for the Pittsburg Crisis Resource Center.
Johnson organized the concert as a final project for her Advanced Social Work Practice II class.
“We had to raise awareness for a social issue in the community,” Johnson said.
The event, dubbed “Silence Hides Violence,” featured four local bands that played for free. The volunteers who worked the event also sold T-shirts and bracelets.
“The safehouse is a place set up specifically for people who have experienced abuse,” said Amber Jameson, senior in social work. “They provide everything for the people who come to them and help them get back on their feet.”
Johnson’s event attracted more than 200 people.
“This topic affects many, many people and people want to support efforts to fix it,” said Brittany Mitchell, sophomore in psychology. “Even if you have not experienced domestic violence you may either know someone who has or can sympathize with the ones who have.”
Johnson also had more than 50 volunteers help, mainly family and friends.
“Once my family and friends started hearing about what I was planning, they just asked what they could do to help,” she said.
Johnson publicized the event, but a bigger concert was held in Joplin, Mo., the night before, so the radio stations would not publicize hers.
“A lot of people forgot about my event because of the bigger bands that were in Joplin,” Johnson said. “But I would have loved for the event to have done more.”
The one thing the volunteers thought could have been better would have been holding the event at a different venue.
“A lot of people didn’t want to drive all the way out to Twisters for small-name bands,” said Jameson.
Overall, the event brought a lot of publicity and awareness to the issue of domestic violence, Johnson said.
“A lot of people who came to the concert said they appreciated what we were doing,” she said. “I think we made a difference.”
- Strategic plan under construction
Officials launch 10-year plan at arts center
Audrey Dighans | copy editor
Yellow tape, extension cords, heavy machinery and the never-ending nails-on-a-chalkboard-like screech of a saw in the background. This is the PSU Center for the Arts.
About 70 people were bused from McPherson Nursing Hall to the nearby construction site of the Center for the university’s new 10-year Strategic Planning Launch on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
“I didn’t realize, Brad, that so many people had an interest in strategic planning,” said Steve Scott, university president.
Standing on the dusty concrete stage minutes before Scott, Brad Hodson, vice president of University advancement, welcomed the audience to the center and thanked them for attending the launch.
“The 2000-2015 plan saw great improvements to the Pitt State campus,” Hodson said. “Record enrollments, up 13 percent, new residence halls constructed and the existing ones renovated, the Bryant Student Health Center and, of course, the Center for the Arts.”
Hodson and Scott added that the next 10 years will see even more improvement to the PSU campus.
Jan Smith, special assistant to the provost and professor in psychology and counseling, agreed.
“This plan will not be placed on the shelf,” she said.
Smith announced that the process for strategic planning begins with the task force, comprised of 20 members from various areas of the campus. The 2015-2025 task force includes professors from the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Education, Business and Technology, residents, faculty, staff and students.
“Students and others not on the task force will have several opportunities for input on the new plan,” Smith said. “The method of collecting this input has yet to be decided but events such as open forums, informal meetings and surveys will most likely be used to find out what PSU students want for the university.”
Scott says the strategic plan is starting with a blank slate.
“There’s been talk of different types of projects, but it really is up to the task force to determine what the new official plan will be,” he said. “We know that we need more scholarships and that could definitely be a foreseeable possibility to implement into the plan.”
Scott added that the Center for the Arts was at one point considered to be an unbelievable and unattainable dream for PSU.
“Look where we’re standing now,” he said.
Smith says that the strategic plan has two phases: one, developing the task force and the projects for the plan and two, implementation of the plan.
“Strategic planning may not
- ‘Go make me a sandwich’
Students debate gender issues in Battle of the Sexes
Audrey Dighans | copy editor
Although the questions were serious, laughter rang out from participants and audience members alike during the Black Student Association’s (BSA) “Battle of the Sexes” debate on Thursday evening, Nov. 7, in the Governors Room of Overman Student Center.
The event was co-sponsored by the BSA and PSU Diversity Office.
Nick McCoy, junior in public relations, says even though it was sponsored by BSA the event was intended to be about disagreements that pertain to men and women regardless of race or ethnicity, hence the involvement of the diversity office.
“This isn’t so much about being black, white, Asian, etc.,” he said. “All races, all people have disagreements that transcend ‘race’ lines. Black girls are just as offended as white girls when a guy says, ‘Go make me a sandwich.’”
Archellus Ponds, senior in mechanical engineering and emcee, called everyone’s attention to the front of the room to begin. Ponds explained the rules and format of the debate, which featured two parts: first, Ponds would ask questions allowing 60 seconds for each side to give opening statements and three minutes of full debate and, second, audience members could ask questions for the debaters.
The two teams consisted of four members each, one team made up of women and the other all men.
“The less you hold back, the more interesting this will be,” Pond said, starting the debate.
Pond asked 12 questions to the debaters.
“Some topics were more serious than others,” said Kimberlee Fields, junior in psychology, president of BSA and member on the women’s team. “I definitely believe that they all reflected what our generation is going through right now.”
The topics included questions and statements such as: men should approach first, the safest way to end a relationship is via text, what constitutes cheating, it’s OK for men to have multiple partners but not OK for women, and it is OK to lie to save a relationship.
“To me, honesty is the best policy,” said Rashid Bey, junior in sociology and participant on the men’s team.
Several questions sparked agreement between the two teams. For example, the statement that men should approach first sparked a debate on why this view is generally accepted.
The men say they shouldn’t have to be the first to approach and that girls shouldn’t be shy to say hi.
“We want that and need it,” said Kevin Georges, junior in communication and participant on the men’s team.
Women agreed, saying that both men and women should approach each other, that girls shouldn’t be afraid to make the first move because boys are just as afraid to approach someone.
Other topics created clear divisions between the two teams.
On the topic of ending a relationship via text, all four men agreed that it was OK.
“We’re not saying we like it or would do it, but the answer to the question is yes. For us, it is the safest way to end a relationship,” Bey said.
The women responded that that was the cowardly way to break a relationship.
Overall, many participants said they thought the debate went well and succeeded in thoroughly discussing the issues.
“Even though I am a pretty opinionated person, I usually just like to sit back and hear what others have to say instead,” Fields said. “Some of the moments got really intense and others were very funny. My favorite question was about light skin vs. dark skin, a big subject that gets brought up a lot within the black community.”
Shontae Cobb, junior in construction management, also participated on the women’s team during the event.
“My favorite part was when the audience got involved,” she said.
Both Fields and Cobb say that people need to become more aware of their actions and how they treat members of each sex.
“Battle of the Sexes was a fun and safe way to bring out some of the issues we face,” Fields said. “It was a big success. I felt like everyone enjoyed the event. There were members of all races, majors and organizations in attendance and hopefully the message we were trying to spread will.”
- What to do if attacked
Kelsea Renz | managing editor
Luke Robinson, 2010 PSU graduate, says self-defense is important to know as a precaution. Robinson taught a self-defense seminar on Thursday, Nov. 7.
“I think people should know what to do if they are attacked,” Robinson said. “If they came away from this knowing at least one new thing, they are better off than they were before.”
Robinson went through a series of about 20 basic moves a person could use if attacked, each move depending on how the person gets attacked.
“I teach simple moves because those are the ones that usually work the best,” he said.
Many of the moves involved the attacker grabbing one or both of the person’s wrists and the person being attacked would bend or spin away from the attacker, use pressure points to break grips and twist the attacker’s arms to get away.
“Sometimes I would have trouble with the footing and twist the wrong way,” said Lydia Pine, freshman in elementary education. “But other than that, the moves were basic and pretty easy.”
Robinson also taught that if the attacker grabs for the throat, the person being attacked could turn to trap the arms of the attacker and elbow him or her in the face.
“I had trouble with these because I’m so short, so my elbow wouldn’t reach the face of a tall attacker,” Pine said. “But Luke said short people should just go for the groin.”
Robinson showed the group, mainly girls, how to escape if an attacker grabs at hair.
“Just grab the attacker’s wrist with both of yours, step backwards behind the attacker and twist the arm behind his back,” he said.
In an actual scenario with adrenaline and fear, often even the most basic moves are forgotten.
“I think I could remember some of them, but definitely not the more complex moves,” said Briana O’Neill, senior in print and digital media management.
Robinson left the group with some final advice in case they forget everything in a real situation.
“If all else fails, go for the groin,” he said. “Make the attacker be in so much pain he doesn’t want to mess with you anymore.”
- Food, fun, facts
Kazakh students share culture at International Gathering
Kelsea Renz | managing editor
Laughter echoed through Grubbs Hall as Kazakh students entertained and informed the crowd of students, faculty and residents at the International Gathering on Friday, Nov. 1.
The final International Gathering of the semester showcased Kazakhstan, a relatively unknown country located in eastern Europe near Russia.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for the PSU community and the Pittsburg community, because this is a chance for a cultural exchange,” said Cathy Lee Arcuino, director of international programs and services.
The 10 Kazakh exchange students, with help from the Friends of Pittsburg, the International Office and the International Student Association provided Kazakh food, fun and facts to attendees.
“When we meet new people, most of them don’t know much about Kazakhstan,” said Igor Gorn, sophomore in English language and literature from Kazakhstan. “We wanted to inform them about our country.”
The students also prepared a presentation about Kazakhstan including information about demographics, history, sports, the capital, music and traditional games.
One such game explained during the presentation translated as “Kiss the Girl” and involves a boy chasing a girl on horseback. If the boy catches her, he is allowed to kiss her. The girl is allowed to lash him with a whip if he does not.
“It was crazy. The conditions for the game are crazy,” said Yulia Senkiv, instructor of Russian. “But it was fun, of course, and unexpected.”
The Kazakh students called for volunteers from the audience, two to be the horses and one boy and girl to participate in a makeshift version of the game.
“The whole thing was an experience. It’s very different from American culture,” said Antoine Brown, freshman in construction management. “It was fun and I definitely like it.”
The Kazakh students showed a lot of pride in their country as they gave information and excitement to the crowd.
“It’s always really interesting to see what whoever is hosting the event brings,” said Kate Bishop, senior in international studies and sociology. “Whether the food or the presentation, it’s always interesting and informative.”
The Kazakh students say they hope the gathering would leave people more knowledgeable about what Kazakhstan is and what it means to them.
“Most of us are only here for one semester,” said Botagoz Kunedilova, junior in international studies. “Before we leave, we want people to know about our country, our traditional food, our history and our culture.”