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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Indiana borough poverty and ‘statistical porn’

A Jan. 18 Harrisburg news story that reported Indiana borough, Pa., had the state’s highest poverty rate among 35 towns. (Click to enlarge.)

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – The headline in the Jan. 18 Harrisburg newspaper read “The 35 Poorest Towns in Pennsylvania.” And the poorest of them all, according to the Jan. 18 PennLive story?

Indiana borough. That is, if one draws conclusions from skewed statistics.

Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, the staff-written news story reported the borough’s 2016 population was 13,975, the number of people living in poverty was 6,009, with a resulting poverty rate of 43 percent.

The math is right. But the conclusions drawn from the data are wrong.

Nevertheless, the article has been shared more than 11,000 times and has been a hot topic among the respective local communities on social media.

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IUP celebrates new multicultural center

Guests celebrate on Friday morning at a ribbon-cutting on Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s new $2.7 million Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement in Elkin Hall. Photos by David Loomis.

By The HawkEye staff

INDIANA – University officials cut a ribbon Friday morning on a new multicultural center in an old building at the campus’ northwestern boundary. A diverse crowd filled the lobby of the renovated Elkin Hall to hear speeches and to brunch on breakfast sandwiches in an adjoining meeting room.

The $2.7 million Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement (MCSLE), or “muscle” as speakers abbreviated it, provides space for administrative offices, for student groups, a multipurpose room and a dance studio.

MCSLE director Theodore G. “Theo” Turner thanked students for helping to design the space.

“’We want a dance studio,’ is one of the things they said they wanted,” Turner said. “We made that happen.”

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‘The Post,’ the press and the Third President

An opinion

Tim Hayes, IUP JRNL ’82.

By Tim Hayes

PITTSBURGH — In the new film “The Post,”   the Nixon White House in 1971 attempts to squash release of the Pentagon Papers, a secret and unflattering government assessment of the Vietnam War.  The administration threatened the publisher and editor of The Washington Post with contempt – a federal offense, punishable by imprisonment – should they decide to publish their reporters’ stories.

During the internal deliberations, the newspaper’s attorneys argue that if publication of those documents occurs, then The Washington Post would “cease to exist as we know it” – to which Ben Bradlee, the editor, counters, “If we let the government tell us what we can and cannot publish, then The Washington Post has already ceased to exist as we know it!”

Freedom of the press was enshrined in the Bill of Rights as the First Amendment.  Not the Second, the Fifth, or the Ninth, but the First.  There’s a reason for that.  Just ask that tall, red-headed fellow holding the quill and parchment.  I yield the floor to my colleague from Virginia, the right honorable Mr. Thomas Jefferson:

             “No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one                   ever will.”

As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black noted, in the ruling that supported the right of the press in the Pentagon Papers case, “In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam War, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the founders hoped and trusted they would do.”

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A night at Phi Kappa Psi

A Civic Project story

Deandre L. Easterling, a defensive lineman for Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s football team. Source: IUP Athletics website.

By Rachel Brieve, Madison Longenecker and Laura Scott

INDIANA –  On Saturday night, April 29, Deandre L. Easterling, a defensive lineman for Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s football team, attended a party at Phi Kappa Psi, a social fraternity at 220 S. Seventh St.

It was the last weekend before the final week of spring-semester classes. Music was blaring. Guests were drinking. Another party night on frat row.

Shortly after midnight, the scene turned violent.

In the early hours of Sunday, April 30, a fight broke out between fraternity members and football players. Police came. They issued citations. They left. A melee erupted. Police returned. Then left. Then returned a third time.


THE STORY OF THAT early Sunday morning, as told by witnesses, university officials, borough police officials, police documents and court records, provides a local look at a widening national narrative of the troubled relationship between Greek social fraternities and college campuses around the country.

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The racial climate on campus, and off

Race and IUP: a Civic Project story

Indiana University of Pennsylvania student Justin G. Cobb at a rally sponsored by The Racial Justice Coalition for Change, Stapleton Library, Nov, 1. Photo by Tiffany Brisbon.

By Tiffany Brisbon

INDIANA — For four years, Justin G. Cobb, a senior communications media major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has heard people talk. Racist talk. On campus.

“I’ve heard some things you wouldn’t believe,” said Cobb, 20, as he held a “no hate” sign at a Nov. 1 rally against racism in front of Stapleton Library.

His African-American friends have been called the “N” word, he said. But that’s only part of the problem.

“I’m looked at as your typical white male,” Cobb said. “Fine. My black girlfriend is looked at with disgust.”

The issue goes beyond the personal, Cobb said.

“There is racism on an institutional level,” he said.

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On being black at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Race and IUP: an opinion

Septima Simpkins at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, Indiana University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony, Dec. 16, 2017.

By Septima Simpkins

INDIANA — Growing up in multicultural neighborhoods of Queens and Brooklyn, I never paid much attention to racism. That was a gift and a curse. I often was oblivious.

Even when I moved to Tobyhanna, Pa., in 2009, I had yet to understand what it felt like to be discriminated against. That first feeling occurred while I was at college.

I arrived at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. I was swept away. It was like something out of a story book.

But the beautiful façade soon faded under an uglier appearance.

I began to feel the weight of my race as I became active on campus. I attended diversity events and NAACP meetings, only to find that these organizations were underfunded and undermined by school officials.

I began to feel the racial disparity and prejudices personally. For the first time in my life it sunk in that I was the only black person in my classes. Hearing about acts of racism on campus made my stomach turn. To think that peers harbored hatred toward people because of the color of their skin was eye-opening.

And the administration played a role in spurring these divisions, as I witnessed.

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One year later: Trump, news media and Indiana County voters

An analysis

By The HawkEye staff

INDIANA — Half a small sample of Indiana County voters say they maintain a favorable view of President Donald Trump after his tumultuous first year in the job. However, a third of county voters hold a “very unfavorable” view of him.

These local voters also express skepticism about promises Trump made in an Oct. 21, 2016, campaign speech in Johnstown.

And news-media usage among these sampled county voters is fragmented in ways that do not support stereotypes of conservatives watching Fox and progressives watching MSNBC. For example, equal numbers of these survey respondents watch CNN and Fox.

These tentative findings are drawn from a project undertaken by Indiana University of Pennsylvania students enrolled in a fall 2017 undergraduate journalism and political-science course.

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A revolving door for TPUSA faculty advisers

Alexi S. Thompson, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania economics professor and former faculty adviser to the IUP chapter of Turning Point USA, in his McElhaney Hall office, Dec. 5, 2017. Photo by Logan Hullinger.

By Logan Hullinger

INDIANA – Last week, the Turning Point USA chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania lost its faculty adviser. This week, it acquired a new one, retaining its status as an officially recognized student organization.

 On Nov. 29, TPUSA faculty adviser Alexi S. Thompson, an IUP economics professor,  resigned his position with the group, one day after a news story profiled the campus chapter, the national organization and their leaders.

Thompson’s Nov. 29 email described his brief association with the student group, beginning in fall 2017, and his decision to dissociate himself from it.

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