A match on Tinder, a #MeToo moment

Taylor Allison, 25, a funeral director from Indiana, Pa. Photo taken from Facebook, posted Nov. 18, 2017.

A Civic Project story

By Paige Johnson, Terra Neary and Angie Prencipe

INDIANA — On Feb. 10, Taylor Allison, 25, a licensed funeral director in Indiana, tweeted screenshots of a series of messages from an Indiana University of Pennsylvania fraternity member. His messages insulted her weight, appearance and intelligence.

He called her a “cow,” a “heffer” (sic) and said she was “not only fat and ugly, but also a dumbass,” according to the screenshots supplied by Allison on her Twitter account.

The screenshots went viral on Twitter and gained more than 40,000 retweets within 24 hours. Hundreds replied, some supporting Allison, others supporting the frat member, IUP history major Steven M. Pedersen. He had messaged Allison on the dating app Tinder after the app indicated they were a match — they were interested in each other.

Allison later changed her Twitter username and made her account private. She was messaged on Twitter via direct message and responded April 24, but she declined comment on the incident.

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Who wants to weaponize the college campus?

A Civic Project story

Dakota E. Rossmiller, IUP criminology and English major, has a concealed-carry permit but chooses not to carry her firearm on campus. Photographed in Stapleton Library at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on April 25. Photo by Samantha Kahle.

By Samantha Kahle

INDIANA — Dakota E. Rossmiller, 22, a senior criminology and English major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, supports the Second Amendment, and she exercises that right with her own concealed-carry license. However, when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, she said she is an “iffy” advocate.

“I lean towards not supporting it,” Rossmiller said in an interview April 19 at Stapleton Library. “Certain people are responsible, but not enough people are.”

Rossmiller said she obtained her permit in Pittsburgh, but she doesn’t bring a firearm to IUP. She said the university’s party atmosphere is why she does not support guns on campus.

“Putting guns with drinking is a bad idea,” she said. “I think with IUP having a lot of partying, things could go wrong easily.”

Rossmiller said she is a responsible gun owner. But strong opinions others have about guns deter her from carrying.

“There’s too much conflict on college campuses,” she said. “I don’t want to pick a fight with anyone who’s against it.”

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Race coverage nets awards for four at The HawkEye

Staff report

PITTSBURGH — For their news reporting about race, diversity and inclusion at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, four student reporters for The HawkEye were honored by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation on Thursday at its annual awards banquet at the University of Pittsburgh.

Three students won first-place honors, and one took second-place in a category for online collegiate news media.

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The life sentence of Aaron Seidel

Aaron David Seidel, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, March 30, 2018. Photo by David Loomis.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Aaron D. Seidel is busy.

The fifth-year Indiana University of Pennsylvania undergraduate triple-majors in geoscience, environmental engineering and applied mathematics. In March he won a prestigious  Goldwater Scholarship. As an April  18 IUP news release reported, the award is the preeminent honor of its kind, given to outstanding STEM undergraduates nationwide to encourage careers in their fields.

On April 17, Seidel presented his research in Harrisburg. He was the first IUP student to place at the annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Pennsylvania poster competition, an annual event that invites students statewide to pitch their work to lawmakers.  Seidel’s poster, “Application of Ground  Penetrating Radar and the Complex Refractive Index Model to Estimate Methane Dynamics of Semi-Natural Environments,” placed third.

Seidel studies geoscience for “the betterment of humanity” and seeks to conduct research in arid regions to maximize access to clean water through irrigation and agriculture engineering “to optimize water efficiency and improve crop yields in African countries.”

In his spare time, Seidel established and manages a nonprofit that collects surplus IUP textbooks and donates them to Nigerian children.

He is a member of IUP’s Cook Honors College, and he is a McNair Scholar, a program to prepare undergrads for doctoral study. He maintains a 3.96 grade-point average on a 4-point scale.

He volunteers at a local animal shelter.

Faculty mentors use superlatives to describe his scholarship, his service, his work ethic. One faculty collaborator said Seidel was a model and an inspiration, and he expressed pride in what Seidel has achieved and what he can accomplish in a promising career.

But there is one catch:

Seidel is a convicted felon.

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‘Love trumps hate’ during night of dueling campus speakers

Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA founder, speaks at the Kovalchick center in Indiana, Pa., April 9, 2018. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Two speakers drew crowds to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus on Monday evening with some expecting divisive rhetoric about racism. The contrasts between the two messages were sharp, but contrary to early fears of violence, both events passed peaceably.

The university boosted a speech by Holocaust survivor Moshe Baran, whose appearance was moved onto campus, upgraded to Fisher Hall and followed by breakout discussions and free pizza in a nearby classroom building.

The visit by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, in contrast, was moved off-campus to the adjacent Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. Ten mounted officers and more than 20 state and university police patrolled the grounds and supervised two admission-ticket checkpoints. Officers blocked adjoining streets and corralled protestors.

Attendance told a tale of the tape: Baran’s speech drew 640 people; Kirk’s event drew about 150.

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The First Amendment, white supremacy and IUP students

An opinion

March for Our Lives, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

March for Our Lives, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018. Courtesy Getty Images.

By David Loomis

INDIANA — Power to the students. They are once again in the vanguard of social and political change. On Saturday, March 24, they were leading March for our Lives rallies at venues far-flung and near-by.

Their numbers and their eloquence exhibit the pressure they are applying to the bleeding wounds of U.S. gun violence. It is producing results.

On the day of the marches, The Indiana Gazette, in the heart of small-town Pennsylvania, home to voters who “cling to guns,” according to Barack Obama’s famously infamous 2008 description, published on its front page an Associated Press story headlined, “Poll: Support soars for gun control.”

The militantly middle-of-the-road AP reported that the new nationwide poll, conducted March 14-19, in collaboration with the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago, found 69 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, up from 61 percent recorded a month before the 2016 election. The new poll reports that 54 percent of gun owners also want stricter gun laws, and so do 50 percent of Republicans.

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IUP, police, partners prep for IUPatty’s ’18

Indiana University of Pennsylvania administrators, off-campus landlords, police and other borough officials on Monday at a meeting of the Indiana Area Collaborative Team in the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. The agenda: the annual unsanctioned IUPatty’s student revel scheduled for March 22-25. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

 

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Indiana University of Pennsylvania students who join annual IUPatty’s parties this weekend won’t notice much change in policing, according to local officials attending a strategy session on Monday at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. But revelers should expect to see an increase in campus-sponsored, alcohol-free alternate activities.

Members of the Indiana Area Collaborative Team, a town-gown group of public and private officials, emphasized deterrence of alcohol-fueled parties off campus and encouragement of alcohol-free alternatives on campus.

I-ACT formed shortly after the 2014 IUPatty’s weekend that made national headlines for its rowdiness. The group represents police, landlords, borough officials and university administrators.

On Monday, IUP administrators unveiled an “IUPLeads” program that offers financial incentives to student groups that encourage sobriety and personal responsibility. The March 19-25 “positive engagement campaign” offers up to $250 to each student organization that satisfies a six-point checklist of requirements:

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Gun-control debate comes to IUP

Todd N. Thompson, IUP English professor, chaired an ad-hoc committee created by APSCUF, the faculty union, to express support for campus gun-reform advocates. Photo taken March 7 in Thompson’s office in the Humanities and Social Sciences building. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Since Jan. 1, 14 school shootings have been recorded in the United States. Now, Indiana University of Pennsylvania groups are bringing a nationwide debate here.

They agree: Action is needed.

On Thursday, IUP College Democrats, a university-recognized student organization, met in Wallwork Hall to finish drafting an official statement on the issue of gun control. Jesse J. Brown, an IUP history major, Student Government Association senator and the organization’s vice president, provided a copy of the written statement in a Thursday email.

“IUP College Democrats stand with the more than 33,000 victims of gun deaths per year in the United States,” the statement reads. “We support comprehensive gun reform that will save lives in the future.”

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Students, profs, managers rally for more higher-ed funding

Students and faculty from all 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities packed the Capitol rotunda stairs on Thursday during a Thursday rally in support of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, which calls for a $15 million increase to higher education spending for PASSHE schools. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

HARRISBURG — Students and faculty from all 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities struggled to fit onto the Capitol rotunda stairs on Thursday. But they had no trouble amplifying their message throughout its halls.That message?

Increase funding for higher education.

On Feb. 6, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a 2018-2019 budget to the General Assembly. Among its provisions was a $15 million increase in higher education spending for PASSHE schools.

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on the budget. Right after giving closing remarks at the committee hearing, PASSHE interim Chancellor Karen M. Whitney went straight to the student-rally podium.

She was cheered on by nearly 200 students and faculty members from across the state system.

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The HawkEye honored for library-weeding coverage

Reporter Logan R. Hullinger

By The HawkEye staff

INDIANA — The HawkEye’s 2017 coverage of a contentious plan to remove more than a third of the books in the Indiana University of Pennsylvania library was honored today by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association in its annual Keystone Awards for collegiate journalism.

Between September and December, reporter Logan R. Hullinger wrote four stories about the proposed library-weeding — supporters call it “de-accessioning” — and the opposition to it.

IUP administrators appointed a roughly 10-member task force to study the issue. The group met twice before the start of the spring semester, and additional meetings were scheduled, according to a source close to the process who spoke off the record on Jan. 23.

The controversy attracted the attention of the Associated Press, which published a Feb. 7 story that ran in newspapers in the United Kingdom and around the United States.

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