‘Shhh!’ happens at IUP library over ‘weeding’ debate

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – Debate over a plan to rid the library of more than a third of its books has spread to nearly every corner of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania librarian Susan S. Drummond, Stouffer Hall,, Nov. 2, 2017. Photo by David Loomis.

Since September, the controversy has cropped up on the agendas of student government, the University Senate, a council of academic-department chairs and an ad hoc committee appointed by administrators to study the issue.

But as the debate has grown campuswide, a silence has descended on the library and the librarian at the center of the controversy.

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Library ‘weeding’ endorsed by IUP SGA on split vote

IUP Student Government Association members SGA member Jesse J. Brown, left, and Jonathan A. Biller, Stapleton Library, Nov. 3, 2017. Photo by Logan Hullinger..

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – Student government representatives voted Tuesday to endorse a controversial plan to remove a third of the books from the campus library to make room for more student study space, according to two senators. The proposal has sparked opposition from librarians and faculty members campuswide.

Members of the IUP Student Government Association were divided, too. They voted 12-5 to support the “weeding” process ordered by Dean Luis J. Gonzalez, who asserted in September that his plan was a response to student demand. However, neither Gonzalez nor student government representatives produced data to support the assertion.

On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 26, SGA representatives distributed questionnaires in the library between noon and 4 p.m., according to student patrons. Some student government representatives said the survey was rushed and flawed.

One student senator said he voted against the SGA’s Tuesday resolution to endorse the survey, and he raised doubts about it during discussion.

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The man behind Indiana County Parks & Trails

Edwin R. Patterson, director of Indiana County Parks & Trails, Cummings Dam, Blue Spruce Park, Sept. 25, 2017. Photo by Cara Mehalek.

By Cara Mehalek

INDIANA — Edwin R. Patterson, 62, an outdoor enthusiast from Armstrong County, always thought it would be neat to work at a park. Still does. Forty-one years ago he started working for the budding Indiana County park system. For the past 35 years, he has served as the 50-year-old system’s director.

“Where I hung out at as a kid was a lot like this,” Patterson said in a Sep. 25 interview at the Indiana County Parks & Trails office in Blue Spruce Park.  “There was a small dam. It was in a little valley.”

When he started working for Indiana County Parks & Trails, the system had three parks – Blue Spruce, Pine Ridge and Hemlock Lake.  Now, it operates 14 sites. The only comparable neighboring county is Westmoreland, which operates 15, according to its Parks & Trails webpage.

“I used to tell people years ago, ‘Come to Blue Spruce on Friday evening because there’s nobody here,’” Patterson said.

No more.

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Return of the perennial Oak Grove preachers

Keith Darrell, an itinerant preacher from Ohio, spoke to a responsive and occasionally angry crowd on Monday afternoon in front of Stapleton Library at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — A group of traveling preachers drew a crowd in the Oak Grove on Monday, and some students gave them hell.

Christian itinerants perennially visit the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus to preach the Gospel and test the public institution’s acceptance of the First Amendment right to free speech.

Three preachers were present during Monday afternoon’s raucous revivalism, but only one attracted an animated — and occasionally angry — crowd. That was Keith Darrell, a self-proclaimed “Christ ambassador” from Ohio.

“I’m not out here for things like sexuality, because the root issue is worship,” Darrell said during his sermon. “If I had an agenda, Page One would be ‘who’s a living God?’”

Darrell, however, did emphasize sexuality. He spat out a sermon condemning the “sins” of homosexuality, drug use and premarital sex.

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IUP flood trackers document local changes in storms, climate

Indiana borough flooding I

Katherine L. “Katie” Farnsworth, a geoscience professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is studying how to slow the amount of rainfall that flows into Marsh Run in Indiana, Pa. Photo by Cara Mehalek

By Cara Mehalek

INDIANA — Several short intense storms flooded streets and homes here in June and July. For affected residents, that’s not news. It’s been a dispiriting routine for decades.

But a new political reality has floated up in the wake of the summer floods. After hearing citizen complaints about chronic flooding and borough inaction, borough officials announced Oct. 3  that they will go door-to-door in flood-prone neighborhoods to gather data for municipal flood maps.

Meanwhile, additional data are coming from Indiana University of Pennsylvania geoscience professor Katherine L. “Katie” Farnsworth and her students, who have been measuring municipal surface water trends, too. One tentative conclusion Farnsworth draws from the data is that local flooding may have a link to global climate change.

The summer 2017 storms “produced what we consider very intense rainfall,” Farnsworth said in a Sept. 7 interview in her Walsh Hall office. “The last time we saw rainfalls of that intensity – that much rain, even – was in the late ’70s.”

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Budget swamped, taxpayers may foot flood funds

Indiana borough flooding II

 

By Logan R. Hullinger

INDIANA — Lee C. Vest is no stranger to flooding. As a longtime resident of the 300 block of Water Street and as a neighbor of Marsh Run, she’s been urging the borough’s council members to do something about recurrent floods for 30 years.

“I can’t tell you how many washers, dryers and sump pumps that I’ve had destroyed,” said Vest, secretary in the Journalism and Public Relations Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, during a Sept. 19 interview. “The ground is literally caving in where Marsh Run goes underground. The whole thing is collapsing. I took photos to a borough council meeting in 2015. But they said they didn’t have money to fix it.”

Vest has documented flooding in her neighborhood since 2012 on a Facebook page titled “Flooding (Marsh Run) Indiana, PA 15701.” It includes posts about her experiences with accompanying images.

Vest said she has urged council members to buy houses near Marsh Run and turn the flood plain into park land. Council members have not acted on the proposal.

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Homecoming 2017: town and gown gear up

 

The Indiana Area Collaborative Team rallied on Monday at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, Oct. 2, 2017. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan R. Hullinger

INDIANA – A wide cross-section of the local town-and-gown community met Monday to discuss carrots and sticks to prod the coming weekend’s Indiana University of Pennsylvania Homecoming celebrations to pass with safety, sobriety and a positive spin.

About 60 public-safety representatives, campus administrators, students, landlords and others attended the hourlong late-afternoon meeting of the Indiana Area Collaborative Team at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. The by-reservation-only gathering allowed limited public view of a group that has been quasi-secretive from its start three years ago.

On Monday, IUP President Michael A. Driscoll recalled the formation of the I-ACT group in the aftermath of the March 2014 IUPatty’s weekend that drew widespread headlines for its frat-row rowdiness.

“I-ACT started after very unpleasant activities in the community fueled by alcohol and lack of common standards,” said Driscoll.

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Library ‘weeding’? Or ‘clear-cutting’?

Luis J. Gonzalez, dean of libraries at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in his Stapleton Library office, Sept. 7, 2017. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — More than a third of the books in Stapleton Library are scheduled to be removed in less than two years. But the library dean, librarians and faculty members aren’t on the same page about how – and whether — to do it.

Weeding — the process of culling uncirculated books from a library — will remove 172,161 of the 486,000 books in IUP’s library by spring 2019, library officials say. That’s the equivalent of clearing out the entire second floor of the four-floor facility.

The weeding plan responds to student demands for more study space in the library and a decline in book circulation, said Luis J. Gonzalez, dean of libraries, in a Sept. 7 interview in his office.

“Students for the last three years have wanted more study space,” Gonzalez said. “And we’re out of space in the library. I’ve even seen students sitting on the floor.”

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Another racist Snapchat stirs IUP campus

A panel addressed the latest racist Snapchat by an Indiana University of Pennsylvania student, the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, Sept. 6. Left to right: Theodore G. Turner, director of the IUP Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement Department; Kathleen R. Linder, associate vice president in the student affairs division; Yaw A. Asamoah, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Pablo B. Mendoza, assistant to the president for social equity. Photo by Cody Minich.

By The HawkEye staff

INDIANA — For the second time in less than two years, a social-media photo and caption seen as racist by Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and administrators has prompted calls for action against hate speech. But reaction to the latest incident was muted among administrators and absent from news media.

The offensive Snapchat image appeared on Sept. 4. It depicted a blackened sandwich with a caption reading, “How do you like your grilled cheese? The same as my slaves.”

The Snapchat image and message posted Sept. 4. Screenshot by Septima Simpkins.

The image was sent from an account in the name of IUP marketing student Garrett J. Baerg, whose name appears on the message. Baerg is listed as community outreach chair of the Student Marketing Association in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology.

Baerg could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

A student representative of the group dissociated the organization from Baerg’s comment and asked him to step down from his position.

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A monument to a spirit of national unity

The steel 9/11 piece loaned to Indiana University of Pennsylvania by the Kovalchick Corp. will once again serve as centerpiece during a Monday morning memorial service. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA — Every day, thousands of Indiana University of Pennsylvania students walk through the Oak Grove and pass a towering piece of scrap metal by Sutton Hall. The 13-foot hunk is a memento of the country’s most catastrophic terrorist attack.

The rusted piece of steel once formed part of an enormous beam that rose from the base of one of the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan. On Sept. 11, 2001, the beam came down along with the rest of the tower and its twin after two commercial airliners plowed into them.

The trident-shaped piece of beam came to the IUP campus when the Kovalchick Corp.,  a local scrap dealer, loaned it long-term to the university. The company purchased pieces of the fallen towers from a New Jersey recycler.

Since its Oct. 4, 2002, dedication, the remnant has served as the centerpiece of IUP’s annual 9/11 memorial service. The 16th anniversary service is scheduled once again for Monday morning, at the hour when the first plane struck.

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