Creature comforts eclipse academics in IUP construction plans

The new $30 million IUP College of Humanities and Social Sciences building, left. Photo courtesy of a Dec. 14, 2015, blog post by IUP President Michael A. Driscoll.

The new $30 million IUP College of Humanities and Social Sciences building. Photo courtesy of a Dec. 14, 2015, blog post by IUP President Michael A. Driscoll.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA -– A lot of ribbon has been scissored at new buildings at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in recent years. But IUP President Michael A. Driscoll’s Jan. 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new $30 million home for the institution’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences marked the first time an academic structure has opened on the campus in two decades.

The last new classroom building to open was the Eberly College of Business in 1996. The last one before that was erected in 1980, according to an inventory provided by the university’s media relations office.

Next up is a new home for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, according to the university. But the academic building has been put off repeatedly over the years.

Meanwhile, during the past decade, much of IUP’s brick-and-mortar effort has been poured into housing, dining and recreational facilities to make the university more appealing to prospective undergraduates.

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SGA president: IUP racism may be institutional

Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael A. Driscoll, far right, joins demonstrators in front of the Stapleton Library, Jan. 22, 2016. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael A. Driscoll, far right, joins demonstrators in front of the Stapleton Library, Jan. 22, 2016. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – Professors, administrators and students demonstrated daily against racism during the first week of the spring semester to remind the IUP campus community of a student’s racially tinged post that sparked a protest and headlines at the end of the fall term.

But Student Government Association President Vincent J. Lopez said the incident reflects more than bad behavior by one individual. The photo that appeared Dec. 9 on the video-messaging application Snapchat was a “straw that broke the camel’s back,” Lopez said in a Thursday interview in the new College of Humanities and Social Sciences building.

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The online course and the easy A

A Civic Project story: high-tech cheating at IUP (II)

“Natalie Blomberg,” IUP senior business major, boosts her GPA by enrolling in online courses. Photo by Alyssa Gould.

“Natalie Blomberg,” IUP senior business major, boosts her GPA by enrolling in online courses. Photo by Alyssa Gould.

By Alyssa Q. Gould

INDIANA -– As her spring 2016 graduation approached at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Natalie Blomberg, 21, a senior business major from Hershey, Pa., realized that she completed about a quarter of her required 120 credits in online courses.

Blomberg (not her real name; she requested anonymity because she said her job prospects would be diminished if her real name were published) said she struggles to find classes in her major that are offered in an interactive classroom setting. She resorts to taking at least two of her five classes online each semester.

Blomberg said she is happy to receive all A’s in her online classes. But she would have gotten more out of face-to-face learning.

“Sometimes I wish I would have just stayed at home and worked while earning an online degree,” Blomberg said during an Oct. 14 interview at her off-campus apartment. “At least that way I could have saved money.”

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How to ace ECON 101

A Civic Project story: high-tech cheating at IUP (I)

“Rebecca Ross,” Davis Hall, Nov. 30, 2015. Photo by Samantha Bell.

“Rebecca Ross,” Davis Hall, Nov. 30, 2015. Photo by Samantha Bell.

By Samantha Bell and Katrina Bednar

INDIANA — ECON 101, a course offered at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, aims to teach students in various disciplines the basics of economics by looking at the performance of households, businesses, firms and government policies that affect the economy, according to an online course descriptor. However, one student said she will ace the course at the end of the fall 2015 semester without this basic knowledge.

During the fall 2015 semester, ECON 101 was offered online. Health-and-human-services major Rebecca Ross -– a pseudonym granted at her request for anonymity so her prospects for employment after graduation will not be limited by her admissions — said she successfully cheated her way through this course. David B. Yerger, an IUP professor with a doctorate in economics, taught the class.

Ross, 20, is a junior. ECON 101 is a course she is required to pass to successfully complete her major.

But the course got difficult during the third week of the 15-week semester. That compelled Ross to start cheating, she said.

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The face of sexual assault at IUP

A Civic Project story

Former IUP student Jillian Lee Fanty, October 2014. Photo by Jillian Fanty. (Image pixelated at Fanty’s request.)

Former IUP student Jillian Lee Fanty, October 2014. Photo by Jillian Fanty. (Image pixelated at Fanty’s request.)

By Evan Sakowicz

INDIANA – Jillian Lee Fanty was 21 and a senior criminology major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a double minor in women’s studies and psychology when she guzzled green beer with a friend and his companions during the rowdy March 2014 IUPatty’s party weekend.

One of the companions was a Homer City man who was visiting the campus to party with some friends from Pittsburgh. The man was staying with Fanty’s friend. And he was making advances at her throughout the night, Fanty said.

After drinking more than she was used to, Fanty said she and the group migrated to her friend’s Philadelphia Square apartment on South Seventh Street. Fanty’s friend said she could stay in his spare bedroom for the night.

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Truth or consequences? Fake IDs and expungements

IUP nursing student "Alycia Borden," Nov. 20, 2015. Photo by Annie Coffman

IUP nursing student “Alycia Borden,” Nov. 20, 2015. Photo by Annie Coffman

A Civic Project story

By Annie Coffman

INDIANA — On Sept. 3, Alycia Borden, 19, willingly handed her driver’s license to the bar bouncer who soon would have her cited for underage drinking and carrying false identification.

The brown-haired, brown-eyed nursing student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania panned the room inside Twisted Jimmy’s, a bar and lounge on Philadelphia Street, the college town’s main drag. It was much emptier than the five or six other times she came. This made her a little nervous.

She watched as the bouncer compared her ID, bought on a Chinese website, to a book of other IDs. He walked to the back of the bar and picked up the phone. She thought she should leave. When she turned around, two borough police officers were standing in front of her. They cited her for carrying false identification and drinking underage. Then they released her.

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Greek life, hazing and IUP

A Civic Project story: Greek life at IUP (II)

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, 220 S. Seventh St., Indiana, Pa. Photo by Chris Hayes  Mason B. Varner, president, Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, from his LinkedIn page

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, 220 S. Seventh St., Indiana, Pa. Photo by Chris Hayes

By Chris Hayes

INDIANA ¬– On the morning of Sept. 22, 2014, Tucker Hipps, a freshman at Clemson University, went on an early-morning run with his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers, according to greenvilleonline.com. A few hours later, his body was found under a bridge.

More than a year later, the cause of Hipps’ death remains unclear. However, many believe, including Hipps’ own parents, that fraternity hazing had something to do with it.

Hazing, as well as alcohol consumption, has been associated with Greek life for decades, but college hazing deaths are on the rise. According to data from a 2013 Bloomberg study, at least 60 fraternity-related deaths have been reported since 2005, most of which involved alcohol and hazing.

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Greek life, rape culture and IUP

A Civic Project story: Greek life at IUP (I)

The Sigma Chi fraternity house, 246 S. Seventh St., Indiana, Pa. Photo by Logan Hullinger Indiana, Pa., police Chief William C. Sutton, IUP Davis Hall, Oct. 16, 2015. Photo by David Loomis

The Sigma Chi fraternity house, 246 S. Seventh St., Indiana, Pa. Photo by Logan Hullinger

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – Indiana University of Pennsylvania saw a surge in reported sexual assaults during the fall 2015 semester — and fraternity life could be contributing to it, research studies, local police and IUP students suggest.

Police reported six incidents of sexual assault involving IUP students since the start of the 2015-2016 academic year in August.

This is the same number reported by university police for the entire 2014 calendar year and triple the number of cases reported in 2012, according to the campus police department’s October 2015 IUP Annual Security Report.

On Sept. 1, Indiana borough police charged IUP freshman William R. Scott, 19, with several counts of raping and sexually assaulting a female student. Police said the assault occurred during an Aug. 28 party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house adjacent to the IUP campus at 246 S. Seventh St.

The rape survivor’s detailed report said she had been handed an open container of alcohol from which she drank and lost consciousness. She regained consciousness during the assault, she reported.

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I am Muslim; killers are not Muslim

An Opinion

Mehdia Tariq 121115

Mehdia Tariq, Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by David Loomis

By Mehdia Tariq

INDIANA — Why have they hijacked my identity? I look at myself in the mirror, my scarf wrapped around my head, my long coat, jeans and tennis shoes. My name is Mehdia Tariq, I am a Muslim, I am a college student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I am a mother, my parents are from Pakistan and I am an American citizen. It’s like I am reading the description of the San Bernardino shooters. I feel ashamed, saddened, cheated and angered. Then when I get past the similarities in outward appearances and background, I realize I could not be more different.

I am the girl who read the Declaration of Independence over and over again because it gave me goose bumps. I am the girl who has the Gettysburg Address up on her wall to inspire her writing. I am the girl who has always been in awe of our forefathers, who has been inspired by the words of Patrick Henry — “Give me liberty or give me death!” — and the words of James Madison — “Resistance to tyranny is service to God.” I am not the shooters or the terrorists shown in the media. They are my tyrants, they are oppressors of my identity and I will resist them.

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Bipolar and a baccalaureate

Indiana University of Pennsylvania theater major Kaitlyn P. McGilvray with her graduating class, May 9, 2015.  Photo by Andrew Milliken.

IUP senior theater major Kaitlyn McGilvray, at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony, Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, May 9. Photo by Andrew Milliken.

A Civic Project story

By Andrew Milliken

INDIANA — Kaitlyn P. McGilvray was 13 when she was diagnosed as clinically depressed.

Since then, she has seen her diagnosis change to Bipolar II Disorder (aka, manic depression), been prescribed daily anxiety medication and spent roughly the past five years in and out of enrollment at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to get a bachelor’s degree in theater.

She also has been candid about her mental illness.

“I’m very open about everything,” McGilvray, 29, said in an April 27 interview in IUP’s Orendorff Music Library. “I’m interested in ending the stigma and want to get people talking about this.”
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