Act 101 to receive limited PA funding

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The Act 101 program, officially called the Pennsylvania Higher Education Equal Opportunity Program, has been operating at Eastern for the past three months without state funding.

Recently, the school was finally notified that Governor Ed Rendell has chosen to continue funding the statewide program this year. 

“We got the news that Act 101 was retained in the governor’s budget,” said Dr. Lisa Hemlick, Act 101 program director. 

Hemlick said they learned on Oct. 22 that $3 million was allotted for the program, compared to the $8 million requested by 60 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. 

Eastern received $60,000 last year to support 50 students in the Act 101 program, but this year the school only expects to receive $27,000 for the same number of students.

“The request (for funding) is still pending,” Hemlick said. “It’s not finalized.”

Eastern was unsure whether funding would be offered but planned to continue the program anyway. 

“The students are not affected,” Hemlick said. “There is nothing different for them this year.”

The Act 101 program assists students from modest incomes, she said. Students enrolled in the program receive advisory and counseling support, priority access to tutoring, the writing center and counseling and an Act 101 grant as part of their financial aid package among other benefits.

“Schools around the state are dropping out (of Act 101),” Hemlick said, explaining that not all are able to participate with such limited funds. “We’re pleased that we’re included.”

“We thought it would totally be cut,” she said, pointing out that Act 101 represents the only state-supported educational opportunity program. “But it’s not really enough money for schools to run efficient programs on that grant money alone.”

Eastern must contribute financially, picking up costs no longer covered by the state, to keep the program running as usual.

“We’re going to keep that commitment to the families and students,” Hemlick said.
 

Domestic violence film raises awareness

“Who’s going to stop me? You? You’re a woman–you’re nothing!”

The words echoed off the walls of the Gough Great Room as the man on screen held a scalding iron inches away from his wife’s face.

This act of domestic violence was one of many in the UK film Provoked, which told the true story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia.

Ahluwalia went to prison for setting her husband on fire after being abused by the man for ten years. The film shows her transformation from an insecure and broken victim into a confident and free woman.

The movie was shown as part of Domestic Violence Awareness day on Oct. 27, sponsored by Students Advocating Gender Equality.

Throughout the day, SAGE members were available at a display table to answer any questions and hand out purple ribbons.

The main event that evening was the presentation from Laurel House, a local domestic violence shelter. In addition to the movie, Tommie Wilkins, director of volunteer services and community education at Laurel House, led a discussion about domestic violence.

Wilkins attended Eastern and was impressed by the turnout of about 75 students.
“You make me proud to be an alumni because when Cabrini did this, only one person showed up,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins went on to share about an experience she had as a student witnessing domestic violence. She said she watched as a guy punched his girlfriend down the first set of stairs outside of the Dining Commons. As she lay on the marble landing between the staircases, he walked up and pushed her down the second set with his foot.

“No one said anything,” Wilkins said. “The entire campus knew what happened, but no one did anything.”

Due to situations like this, several students felt the need to make SAGE an official campus club, where students can gather to explore gender equality topics and conversations.

They meet Tuesday evenings at 9 p.m. in Walton 3.

“It’s a very encouraging, safe place and we all feel comfortable with each other,” Kane said.
 

Eastern goes paperless

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Remember those course evaluations that always spring up during the last week of classes.
It’s time to say good-bye. At least to the paper versions.

In an effort to make the student course evaluation process more efficient, all evaluations of fall classes will be conducted online.

The evaluation form will be exactly like the one previously handed out in classes, including the option to submit personal comments.

The main question, however, is not how to fill out the new evaluation forms, but if students will actually take the time to do it. Since they will no longer be required to do them in class, many students may forget or choose to ignore them.

Tom Dahlstrom, director of institutional research said professors are encouraged to offer incentives, such as extra credit, to their classes to fill out the evaluations.

An e-mail will be sent within the next week inviting students to complete evaluations and will remain open until Dec. 12. A total of 427 courses, roughly half of the amount offered, will be evaluated through two systems: Onlinecourseevaluations.com and the Educational Testing System.

Dahlstrom said the new system will be much more effective than the old one. Before, it took his office anywhere from six to eight weeks to process the paper forms and type up the written comments, making it impossible to get the results to professors before the spring semester began.

With everything online, the faculty can view their results about a week after the evaluations are closed and make adjustments to their personnel and courses.

In addition to evaluations, Student Accounts is hoping to roll out its new online bill system this month.

“It’s something (students have been asking us for,” Carol Suter, Acting Director of Student Accounts said.

The online system, which is partnered with CashNet, will allow for electronic payments and refunds. Suter said that anyone not wishing to pay with a credit card online can simply print off the bill from the online account and mail in their payment.

“I think it’s nice that we can go paperless,” Suter said. “It helps us process faster and it helps the environment.”
 

Security Report

Tuesday, Oct. 13
9:00 a.m. HCC

A student fainted in class and was taken to the health center once revived.

Wednesday, Oct. 14.
10:00 a.m. Kea Guffin

A vehicle with multiple parking violations was booted. Boot removed when permit was surrendered. Can no longer park on campus.

Friday, Oct. 16
1:15 p.m. McInnis

A vehicle was struck while parked in the lot. Information exchanged between owners.

Monday, Oct. 19
12:01 p.m. Gough

Fire alarm was activated. Caused by a curling iron or hair dryer under smoke detector.

Tuesday, Oct. 20
12:30 p.m. Gallup

Fire alarm activated by steam from shower. The smoke detector needed to be changed.

Thursday, Oct. 22
7:50 p.m. Gough

Was a report of loud students. Students left premises at RD’s request.

From across the globe to Eastern

There are a total of 168 international students that attend Eastern, representing a total of 28 countries. The largest populations are from South Korea (96), Canada (14) and China (10). Students have traveled from all over the globe to attend Eastern.

Kathy KautzdeArango, coordinator of International Student Services, has the day-to-day responsibility of helping international students facilitate the application process and entry into the country.

“I think it takes a certain kind of person to be able to come to a different country and study,” KautzdeArango said. “These students are the cream of the crop.”

Sophomore Yera Park had her pick of schools to attend, applying to thirteen different universities. She choose to leave her home in Seoul, South Korea to attend Eastern.

“Coming here for school was my first time in the U.S. last summer,” Park said. “I really liked what the representative said and it sounded like the school I was looking for.”

Most students will tell you that coming to college can be a difficult transition. It would be even more so if you were coming from halfway around the world, but many international students have made a seamless transition into the culture and community here at Eastern.

“I was sure I made the right choice within the first two or three weeks,” junior Paul Charles said. “Eastern is a good place to come if you don’t know anyone.” Charles is from Liverpool, England and is majoring in Biblical studies and theology.

Eastern’s emphasis on building strong community and fostering relationships appears to be a key factor in helping students to adjust.

First-year Klaudia Balogh from Hungary is one of the many international students who found the community at Eastern very welcoming. “I love the community and there is always something to do here,” she said.

In terms of adjustment there have been few complaints.

“Because I also have other students from my country, I feel like I have a family here,” said Zhangkair Wang, a MBA student from China. “And also the Eastern students are very nice to foreigners.”

Elaine Dube, from Zimbabwe, has nothing but good things to say about her time spent at Eastern. “I love Eastern,” she said. “Not only did I meet my future husband here but let’s face it, it’s just a beautiful place to be. It reminds me of Zimbabwean culture with the close-knit communities. I love that part of it.”
 

The KaGe opens for business

After years of begging for something resembling a student center, the wait is over.
Or at least it will be soon.

The KaGe, the renovated, former Guffin apartment located beside The Breezeway, opened its doors on Oct. 21 as a new space for students to relax.

KaGe visionary and Coordinator of Student Activities Paul Daigle will be the first to point out that the area is not a full-fledged student union, but it was created to address student requests for a place to hang out.

The grand opening of the KaGe, originally scheduled for the Dia del Este weekend, was delayed about a month to finish renovations and find student employees.

Students can now be in the lounge, but many of the features promised are still in the works.

“We don’t have everything we’ll eventually offer, but we went ahead and opened,” Daigle said.

Students can currently use the foosball and air hockey tables, relax on the couches, concoct creations in the kitchen and choose from a variety of board games.

In addition, discounted movie tickets to Anthony Wayne theater and SAB event “punch cards” can be picked up at the desk.

The Xbox 360 and Wii game systems promised at the beginning of the year are still being set up, Daigle said.

There will also be two laptops available in the near future that can be rented by students in two-hour time blocks. Students will need to keep the laptops within the Kea-Guffin building and cannot download any programs.

Renters must fill out an extensive liability form as well.

“If you damage it, you buy it,” Daigle said of the laptops.

To help promote the KaGe’s initiation, the Breezeway will be opened at 1 p.m., Monday to Saturday for the next two weeks as a convenience store. The grill will still open at 8 p.m., but students can purchase drinks and snacks in the afternoon.

Daigle said the change will serve as a trial run to see if students actually take advantage of the extended hours.  

The KaGe is also the only place on campus where students have access to a full kitchen. Daigle said the main policy with the kitchen is that students clean up once they are finished.

First-year Rachel Stout, one of the KaGe employees, said many students have stopped by to check out the space, but not many have stuck around.

“It’s hard right now for people to see it because it’s not really done yet,” Stout said of KaGe. “It’s going to be pretty cool once it’s up and running.”

Strong winds, fallen tree lead to campus power outage

So what’s the best way to create community within residence halls? How about a 12-hour power outage?
 
On Oct. 7, Eastern literally shut down when strong winds knocked trees into power lines throughout the neighborhood. Students across campus were forced to find creative ways to complete homework or waste time until the electricity came back.
 
Director of Security Jim Magee said the power outage on campus was due to a tree that fell down behind the Mall Cottage.
 
Classes for the evening were cancelled and McInnis Hall, the Harold Howard Center and Warner Library were closed due to the loss of electricity.
 
The only buildings unaffected were the Eagle Learning Center and Eagle, Sparrowk, Fowler and Workman Halls. These buildings are on a separate circuit than the rest of campus, Magee said, and only experienced a few brief moments, if any, without power.
 
Having the only electricity on campus, the lounges within Sparrowk and Eagle Halls quickly became what many students referred to as “refugee camps,” with students cramming power cords and chargers into all available outlets.
 
The electricity went out about 2 p.m. and was restored early the next morning, about 3 a.m. While Magee was not sure of the exact times, he said the power was out for at least 12 hours.
 
While most students learned of the outage from simply being on campus, others found out in text messages from the new function of the e2campus alert system. The system, which was implemented a few years ago to contact students when emergency situation occur on campus, recently added severe weather alerts.
 
Magee said a message went out to those registered announcing the class cancellations and the closure of McInnis and the library. In the winter, messages will be sent whenever classes are delayed or cancelled because of snow or ice.
 
Students can also register to receive the same notifications by e-mail, if they are concerned about text message costs. However, as Magee pointed out, the e-mail alerts would not have done any good with the power out.
 
To register for the e2campus weather and emergency alerts, students should go to the Safety and Security page on the Eastern Web site. After clicking on the link, students simply need to create a username and password, submit their phone number and email address and then verify both. Students must also select if they want to receive emergency situation alerts, weather alerts, or both and for which Eastern campuses.

Mayer property future slowed by zoning issues

About two years ago, Eastern obtained ownership of the Mayer property, the two-story house that sits along Eagle Road next to Kea Hall, as a means of future expansion.

 

However, due to township zoning, the future use of the property, which connects Eastern to Fenimore Park, is still primarily up in the air.

 

“The township has yet to zone it for institutional use, which we have requested,” Chancellor Chris Hall said of the property. “Sometimes it just takes an unbearable long time for the township to rezone something.”

 

The property is currently zoned for residential use only. Hall said Eastern is being very careful with how the property is used until the zoning changes so as not to violate the law.

 

“I just thought, ‘Let’s explore this other possibility because it’s just sitting there empty,'” Hall said. “What we’ve learned is that we can … provide residence for the scholars who will be heading up the new Center for Early African Christianity.”

 

The Center is based on a 28-volume book series Hall recently completed concerning the origins of Christianity. One of the scholars, Michael Glerup, is currently living in the house on the Mayer property with his wife Kate.

 

“Legally speaking, it’s their residence,” Hall said. “They have a private box, but the university can also use it, with their permission, to hold receptions.”

 

Hall said the future use of the property is still up in the air and that the opportunities available when the property becomes legal for institutional use are not being explored at this time.

 

“We’re kind of doing a fine dance here,” Hall said. “We don’t want to violate laws but we want to use (the space) as much as we can.”

Uganda Riots

 When riots broke out in Maska, Uganda on Sept. 11, senior Angela Geer could hear gun shots and yelling from her residence hall room. 

 

Currently, five Eastern students are studying abroad at the Uganda Christian University in Mukono, and Geer is one of them. Violent rioting in the nearby city has killed at least 21 Ugandans and injured more than 80 others.

 

The riots began after a misunderstanding between the central government and the Bugandan kingdom leadership (the largest tribe in Uganda). The Bugandan King, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, was scheduled to visit the capital city, Kampala, for the youth celebration days.

 

Word of the King’s visit upset the Banyala tribe, which claims it has been treated unfairly by the Bugandans in the past. There were also rumors of threats between groups prior to the visit, which resulted in Buganda’s prime minister, Katikiro, traveling ahead to address the situation.

 

Five miles from the venue, Katikiro was blocked off by the military and police because of the threats.  Opportunists took advantage of this and spread word that the Prime Minster was arrested. This misunderstanding led to a series of violent riots including shootings and fires.

 

Geer described the situation as “quite an experience.” Although the campus remained safe throughout the days the riots occurred, those out in the streets were not as fortunate.

 

One of Geer’s leaders, who was a part of the group that opposed the King’s visit, was not as protected as the students. “He told us he was scared to be on the streets because the Buganda rioters were stopping people and, if they couldn’t sing the song of the Buganda, they were beaten,” Geer said.  “It made us worry about our Ugandan friends a bit.”

 

Another local Ugandan, Pastor Bob-Gad Kalyowa from Kampala, was also affected by the riots. Upon returning home from a mission conference in a nearby village, Kalyowa was not able to travel home because of the riots.

 

Kalyowa said he had to “run for his life from tear gas” and was not able to return home until the following day. “Merchandise was stolen and destroyed, the building burnt and vehicles burnt too,” he said, describing the scene on the streets. “A police station was burnt down and the inmates released.”

 

There were also “stones and bottles being thrown about and cars in the middle of the roads,” he said.

The riots died down after two days, and currently the city is much calmer. On Sept. 30, Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Mseveni and the king of Buganda met to discuss the misunderstandings. More than a thousand people have been arrested in connection with the riots and the city is slowly being put back together.

The Eastern students studying in Uganda have resumed normal schedules but have themselves been changed because of this experience.

 

“I have come to find out that safety here is not guaranteed,” Geer said. “I never thought I would say it, but I have a new respect for our democracy.”

 

Students get a taste of protest at G-20 summit from blockades, tear gas and rubber bullets

Police in riot gear, people pushing and shoving and running, a helicopter hovering overhead, chaos, bedlam, and disorder.

These words paint a harrowing picture and would not be the first to come to mind when one hears the words “peaceful protest.”

This was the reality that met those who arrived to protest the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24. Four Eastern students were among the protesters.

Juniors Stephanie Ciner and Katy Slininger, first-year Valerie Woodhouse and sophomore Timothy Wotring left Eastern’s campus at 5 a.m. Thursday morning and arrived in Pittsburgh around 11:30 a.m.

“I was protesting the assembly of the G-20 and how undemocratic it is,” Wotring said. “When a small group of people are telling the world what to do, we have a problem. Centralized power equals corruption in my mind.”

The students met in Arsenal Park several miles from downtown Pittsburgh along with several hundred likeminded radicals, but they were met with resistance when the march began.

“The police were on bikes, lined up outside the entrance shoulder-to-shoulder,” Ciner said. “We couldn’t just leave the park–we had to climb over a stone wall to get down.”

Once they got out of the park, the students still had problems getting to their desired location. “We didn’t get very far and we didn’t get anywhere near the G-20,” Wotring said. “I felt great until they said they were going to start using force.”

Blocked by police at every turn, the protesters were unable to get close to the meeting place, but were still able to get a message across. Trapped in an alleyway at one point, the students were tear-gassed.

“When my eyes started to burn I started wondering, am I really in Pittsburgh?” Ciner said. “I was fleeing the police with a bandana over my face – it was very surreal and really hard to figure out what was happening.”

For some protesters, the tear-gas was not enough to make them stop.

“We left around the time they started shooting people with rubber bullets,” Slininiger said.

 

Some wonder why they were there if nothing was accomplished. However, the students have no doubt they were a part of something meaningful.

“I did not expect that our protest would have any effect on the G-20, but I want to demonstrate that there are people who still care about these issues–about human rights and poverty and environmentalism,” Ciner said. “We have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble and petition our leaders. They were there making decisions for the 6.7 billion in the world – where do we fit in there?”