Active Shooter 101

Indiana University of Pennsylvania police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer leads a class of faculty and staff on active-shooter response strategies. Photo by Ethan C. Brogan.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer leads a class of faculty and staff on active-shooter response strategies. Photo by Ethan C. Brogan.

By Ethan C. Brogan

INDIANA –- Indiana University of Pennsylvania faculty and staff heard how to respond to a shooter who is attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area: Run. Hide. Fight. Some of the 17 who attended the Stephenson Hall session said it was good advice.

IUP police Sgt. Tami L. Cramer led the hour-long morning meeting using a Federal Emergency Management Agency online presentation that includes 48 slides and a six-minute video.

“We stress the importance of always being prepared,” Cramer said during the training.

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Semiotics of summer ‘16

Sutton Hall signage, July 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

Sutton Hall signage, July 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

By Ethan C. Brogan

INDIANA –- By summer’s end, Indiana University of Pennsylvania will have erected 2,000 new signs, including street, parking and disability guideposts, the administration reports.

L&H Sign Co. in Reading laid the groundwork for the Signage Project by digging an estimated 3,000 holes around the campus.

Sutton Hall signage, June 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

Sutton Hall signage, June 2016. Photo by David Loomis.

IUP adopted the project in 2012, according to June and July emails from Michelle S. Fryling, executive director of communications and media relations. Campus administrators approved the $1.4 million “complete navigation system” in 2015.

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Mobile game ‘craze’ mobs IUP campus

Ethan A. Isenberg, 25, of Homer City (left), and Chad A. Corle, 24, Justice S. Cowen, 14, and David C. Williams III, 28, of Indiana, play Pokemon Go on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, July 11. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Ethan A. Isenberg, 25, of Homer City (left), and Chad A. Corle, 24, Justice S. Cowen, 14, and David C. Williams III, 28, of Indiana, play Pokemon Go on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, July 11. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA –- Indiana University of Pennsylvania has become a hotspot for Pokémon Go.

Familiar name? It is the latest wrinkle of a wildly popular game that emerged from Japan in the 1990s, sparking “Pokemania” then. Since the updated, free-to-play, augmented-reality mobile game was released in selected countries on July 6, it has achieved “craze” status, The Wall Street Journal reported July 11. The phenomenon has boosted game-developer Nintendo’s stock value by $9 billion in a week.

And it drew more than 90 players to IUP’s campus in the wee hours of Sunday morning on the game’s debut weekend.

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Local Muslims, non-Muslims unite

Najlaa Alharbi, doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at University Square, June 21, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

Najlaa Alharbi, doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, at University Square, June 21, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA – Members of the Islamic Center of Indiana PA and the local Muslim community say they are banding together following the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando by a self-avowed Islamic jihadist. And they are finding friends among non-Muslims.

Najlaa Alharbi, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania doctoral student from Saudi Arabia, said she tried to explain jihadists to her four children as she watched various national news networks the day after the attack.

“They are talking about groups of crazy people,” Alharbi said in a June 21 interview in a local coffeehouse. “That group doesn’t belong in Islam.”

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The last of the IUP dorms

Elkin Hall, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, June 19, 2016. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Elkin Hall, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, June 19, 2016. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — A milestone will pass this fall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania when its last open-access dormitory will close its doors to student residents. Elkin Hall, a five-story “traditional residence hall” built in 1964 on School Street near Oakland Avenue to house more than 300 undergraduates, is being converted to administrative offices, university officials said.

Elkin will be remodeled to house the IUP Center for Student Life and the Multicultural Center, Michael W. Lemasters, IUP associate vice president of student affairs, said in an April 14 interview in Ruddock Hall. Newer residential housing is more attractive to prospective students, he explained.

“Visiting high-school students find the new suites more appealing,” Lemasters said.

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Academic building falls; dining hall to rise from rubble

Gutted Keith Hall from behind Leonard and McElhaney halls, June 11, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

Gutted Keith Hall from behind Leonard and McElhaney halls, June 11, 2016. Photos by Ethan Brogan.

By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — One of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s oldest buildings is being demolished after 77 years of housing the academic departments of special education, history, industrial and labor relations, political science, and continuing education.

Keith Hall, built in 1939, is falling to make room for yet another feeding facility, the North Dining Commons, as set out in the campus master plan and its revisions. The new facility will allow students to grab some grub on the opposite side of campus from the Crimson Café, which opened in 2014 on the south side. Folger Dining Hall re-opened in fall 2015 following a $13.7 million makeover.

The new north-side diner is scheduled to open during the 2017-2018 academic year. That’s when already-shuttered Foster Dining Hall is scheduled for demolition.

Keith Hall, on the other hand, fed minds — and in more than one dimension.

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Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Fest ’16: hot weather, cool scene

Dancing in North Seventh Street. Photo by Ethan Brogan.

Dancing in North Seventh Street. Photo by Ethan Brogan.


By Ethan Brogan

INDIANA — Summer heat and bright sun drew crowds downtown to start the 2016 Memorial Day weekend at the Westsylvania Jazz & Blues Festival.

Festival organizers said Saturday’s weather cooperated and business support increased for the third annual music fair.

“This year we tried to up the game,” said Matthew R. Baumer, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania music professor and an event coordinator.

Organizers estimated daytime attendance at 1,200 as weather reports pegged temperatures in the low 90s.

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Reassessment symposium: the video

INDIANA — On April 19, dozens of Indiana County citizens attended a public forum on real-estate reassessment for property-tax purposes. And they peppered expert panelists with questions about the issue — the county’s top news story of 2015.

Local news coverage of the public event was thorough. And IUP-TV plans to air the complete video. Meanwhile, for the record, the complete video recording of the 90-minute symposium is available here:

In the video, symposium panelists discuss the history, the reforms and the future of the property tax and of reassessment in Pennsylvania. And they answer audience questions.

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Life after death at IUP: student-bereavement policy adopted

Katelynn H. Tucker, junior exercise science major at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Zink Hall, April 21, 2016. Photo by Jaimi Dodson.

Katelynn H. Tucker, junior exercise science major at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Zink Hall, April 21, 2016. Photo by Jaimi Dodson.

By Jaimi Dodson

INDIANA –- Katelynn H. Tucker, 21, a junior exercise science major at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, endured the worst hardship of her life on Nov. 12, 2014. That’s when her mother – her biggest supporter and best friend — died of breast cancer.

That was the start of her grief. Tucker said she went into denial and struggled with depression.

“I tried to go right back into life after the funeral,” Tucker said in a March 24 phone interview. “The whole spring semester after, I felt kind of non-existent.”

For students like Tucker, the university offers services for the grief-stricken. But, also like Tucker, few students seek help.

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Most IUP students report self-medicating with marijuana

Corey S. Simpson, management information systems major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in his off-campus apartment, April 27, 2016. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

Corey S. Simpson, management information systems major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in his off-campus apartment, April 27, 2016. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Most students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania report using marijuana, a recent email survey shows. And of those users, more than half say they do it daily.

The survey, sent to 1,000 undergraduates on April 21, found that 60 percent said they smoke marijuana or consume marijuana-related products. Of users, 55 percent said they get high every day. (See survey details in Sidebar 1, below.)

Marijuana recently made headlines in the Keystone State when Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 on April 17 to legalize it for medical use. (State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, and state Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, voted for the measure.)

Full implementation of the law may require as long as two years. But some IUP students have moved beyond marking their calendars.

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