Students showcase their talents at Dons on the Mic

The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs hosted an event titled Dons on the Mic on Jan. 25, where students had the opportunity to perform in the Walb Classic Ballroom.


Students and faculty were encouraged to showcase their singing, dancing, poetry, comedy, and rapping skills.

The program assistant for ODMA, Diana Mejia Bonilla, a senior health-care administration major from San Salvador, El Salvador, said the event aligned with the goals of ODMA: to celebrate diversity and promote inclusiveness.

“One of our biggest goals is to provide students with a platform where they feel comfortable,” Mejia Bonilla said, “and I think this is a good way of doing that.”

Mejia Bonilla said ODMA tries to be inclusive by reaching out to all students, faculty and staff, and creating relationships.

Justin Beckstedt, a sophomore music performance major from Fort Wayne, was the first to take the stage. He said he enjoyed the positive atmosphere as people were not afraid to be themselves.

Justin described himself as a natural performer and performed multiple acts at the event, including song covers and an original dance.

Justin said he loves all crowds, even small ones.

“I feel like it is more intimate, and people get to know each other in smaller crowds,” Justin said. “It just makes everything a little bit more exciting.”

Maggie Blackwell, a senior Spanish major from Fort Wayne, also performed. She taught the audience how to dance the merengue, a skill she said she learned while studying abroad in Mexico.

IMG_9939.JPGMaggie said she made a lot of friends at the event and plans on going again in the future. Like Justin, she said she liked how people could be themselves.

“They can get up there and do whatever they want and know that it is a safe space and know that people will clap anyway if it is really horrible,” Maggie said. “Or if it is really good, it’s like discovering talent you didn’t know you had.”

The night ended with a game of “Heads Up,” where around 18 audience members sat in a circle and tried to get each other to guess the word on their phone.


Both Maggie and Justin said they hope the event is advertised more in the future. Maggie said so many people do not know about the events on campus and thought if more people knew, they would come.

“It is like a bonding event for sure,” Maggie said, “especially if you are new on campus or you don’t have a place where you feel comfortable yet, this is definitely an event to come to.”

Mejia Bonilla said ODMA plans to reach out to professors and advisors who have connections with students to perform at or host the event in order to draw in a bigger crowd.

Dons on the Mic will be held again on Feb. 15 and March 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Walb Classic Ballroom.

The 97 Percent

Planned Parenthood has been providing a range of health services to men and women for 100 years.

The clinic offers much more than abortion services, including birth control, general health care, HIV testing, LGBT services, STD testing, and men’s health care. In fact, men make up 11 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients according its website. In 2015, nearly 650 Planned Parenthood centers served 2.4 million men, women and youth.

This is despite an effort to defund Planned Parenthoodsin the U.S. In 2015, nine states eliminated Planned Parenthood from public health programs, according to its website.

The opposition also hits home. Abigail Lorenzen is the operationsand media director for Allen County Right to Life, which coordinates the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fort Wayne.

The campaign has three pillars: prayer, presence, and community awareness. Lorenzen said the presence aspect requires participants to be present and pray in front of an abortion clinic.

She said there is at least one person praying at an abortion clinic every day during the campaign and that their presence raises awareness about the issues behind abortion.

Lorenzen said they protest in front of the Fort Wayne Planned Parenthood because although the location does not provide on-site abortions, they refer patients to other Planned Parenthoods that do. Yet according to the Planned Parenthood website, only three percent of their services nationally are abortions.

I Stand With Planned Parenthood protest and counter-protest, Feb. 2017

IPFW senior Sylvia Rusk, a communication and political science major from Fort Wayne, has used these other services offered at Fort Wayne’s Planned Parenthood. Rusk said she went to Planned Parenthood to get contraception after her general practitioner refused to provide her birth control based on their religious beliefs.

Rusk said she had a positive experience at Planned Parenthood, as they were informative and explained the process to her.

IPFW senior Nicole Sanders is an English and women’s studies major from Fort Wayne and is the treasurer for IPFW Generation Action, formerly IPFW Voices of Choice. They are a Planned Parenthood affiliated group that is working to educate students about reproductive health.

IPFW Generation Action hosts events such as “condoms and candy,” where they hand out contraceptives and informational pamphlets about services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Nicole said she advocates for Planned Parenthood because she had a negative experience at her family doctor after getting a pap smear when she was only 16.

“I wish I had had information about Planned Parenthood,” Sanders said. “If I was able to go there, they would have been more gentle, more understanding, and they would not have put me through a physical examination that I was not ready for.”

The Aftershock

November is usually a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for – the opportunity to have a quality education, for one, combined with two of the top universities in the state.

However, for some students at IPFW that was taken from them, by defunding liberal arts and humanities courses.

On Nov. 2 and 3 of 2016, students and faculty gathered in protest of the USAP recommendations, following the announcement of a split between Indiana and Purdue. Certain programs, such as women’s studies and philosophy, would be cut.

These reforms are in correlation with those across the nation. Universities in New York andIllinois have made cuts to humanities courses in recent years, while Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky was quoted by Inside Higher Education in September saying, “Public universities should consider cutting programs that don’t graduate students who are able to fill high-paying and in-demand jobs.”

According to some professors on campus, that is exactly what the university did following the USAP report.

“The focus here is on employability directly after graduation,” said Charlene Elsby, director of the philosophy program. “There is a long standing history of which kind of knowledge is more valuable and the professional degrees versus the liberal arts degrees.”

Elsby came to IPFW after finishing her Ph.D. in Canada back in 2014. She was on the tenure track here before the academic cuts took place. She was told tenured and tenure-track professors would not be affected.

“If I can determine excellence in teaching, research and service then I should be able to get tenure,” Elsby said. “However, I have received some communications to the effect that I should not expect for that to happen.”

Sophia Ulmer, professor of English and women’s studies, has only been at IPFW since the spring semester of 2017. She immediately saw the impacts of realignment.

“Of course I teach in women’s studies, so obviously people were very unhappy,” Ulmer said.

Ulmer said she feels extremely proud to work alongside Dr. Badia, who took a pay cut in order to keep the department running. But she’s less proud of working at IPFW, saying that after the decisions made last fall she is not impressed by the university.

“The first women’s study programs were in the early ‘70s and IPFW followed shortly after that,” Ulmer said. “It was special, it was cool, and I just wish that it was in a culture that valued women and the study of us.”

While women’s studies was able to resurrect itself with the sacrifices made by Professor Badia, the philosophy department was not so lucky.

Elsby said the faculty got a notice that some programs were on the chopping block in May of 2016. When the USAP report came out, there was a list of programs up for restructure.

“Last year was a shit show,” Elsby said.

Both professors Elsby and Ulmer are concerned about more cuts being made. Elsby pointed out the university can justify cuts when they see it appropriate and hopes they learned their lesson the last time.

“Hopefully, they will not only realize that these cuts were not well thought out,” Elsby said, “but that if they continue on this path it will continue not to be well received by our students and the general public.”

Women’s studies professor Ulmer said, that if the cuts keep happening it will begin to tarnish the reputation the school has built by offering Indiana University and Purdue University degrees.

Another thing that has Ulmer agitated is the $80,000 spent on the company Simpson Scarborough, who works with higher education institutions from its base in Alexandria, Virginia, that the university had brought in to help with the rebranding process.

Ulmer said she is grateful for the knowledge the liberal arts and humanities courses provided her with when she was earning her degree. Yet, she understands the other side of the topic.

A change to the campus that might affect the future of the philosophy department lies in the hands of the new Chancellor, as Elsby has high hopes for reinstating the philosophy program.

“What is a university without a philosophy program, like literally everyone who works here has a Ph. D. which stands for doctor in philosophy,” Elsby said. “It seems kind of contradictory to say that we do not teach philosophy here.”

Being First teams up with the Honors Center to offer new scholarship

Being First and the Honors Center are collaborating to offer a potential new scholarship, exclusively for honors students who are the first in their families to attend a four-year college.

The director of the IPFW Honors Center, Farah Combs, announced the possibility for the new scholarship at her talk “Are You Honors Program Material?” on Sept 21 in Walb Student Union.

Combs said the application for the first-generation scholarship will hopefully be available soon, following more discussions with HPC members to finalize the decision. Once students are accepted into the honors program, they must complete three credits in an honors or H-option course to apply for scholarships, which can reach $1,000, Combs said.

Aside from scholarship opportunities, Combs said benefits to joining the honors program include early registration for freshmen and sophomores, access to the Honors Center, and making students more marketable after graduation.

Despite these benefits, Julie Creek, director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, said Being First events about the Honors Center have significantly lower attendance than their other workshops. She said the first time they did the workshop over a year ago, nobody showed up.

“I think a lot of what we are dealing with is that whole impostor syndrome thing that first-gen students frequently deal with,” Creek said. “They can’t conceive of themselves as possibly being honors students, so, you know, why would I bother to go to something that doesn’t apply to me?”

Combs said she thought the talk went well but wished more students came. She said the Honors Center definitely needs to reach out to first-generation students more to make them aware of what the university can offer them.

Many first-generation students who attended the event said they would have considered joining the honors program if they had known more about it sooner. Thaigo Amaral, a junior mechanical engineering major from Piracicaba, Brazil, was one of them.

“If I knew all this information from the beginning I could have considered joining, but now I’m a junior so it’s too late probably,” Amaral said.

Creek said Being First will have to figure out better ways to get people to show up to these workshops. She said she considered having outdoor programs where people walking by can just join in.

“I think the feeling sometimes is that if I walk in that door they’ve got my soul and we don’t,” Creek said. “I mean, we don’t want anyone’s soul. We just want to help them get through school and have the absolute best experience possible. But they ultimately have to be the ones that step up and say, ‘Yes, I want to do this.’”

Being First will hold more workshops throughout the semester on topics such as the library, Facebook, studying abroad and impostor syndrome. Dates for these events can be found on the IPFW website.


Fort Wayne Athletics Raises Money for Scholarships

The IPFW split has resulted in a series of changes to its campus, one of the most notable being the rebranding of IPFW Athletics into Fort Wayne Athletics.

Fort Wayne Athletics held their third-annual Mastodon Run 4 Scholarships Sept. 10 at the IPFW Gates Sports Center to raise funds for its 14 NCAA Division I teams.

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One of the ways in which the event raised money was by offering raffle tickets.

JW Kieckhefer, assistant coach for Fort Wayne Men’s Volleyball, said that it is important to raise money for athletics scholarships, considering the national trend of rising tuition. Funding student athletes helps the teams stay competitive while costs increase little by little, he said.

As reported by Forbes, in the last two decades tuition costs have risen to double their starting amount. According to the US department of Education, by 2030, the annual cost of public tuition will average $44,047, putting the total cost for a four-year degree at over $205,000.

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Participants and event staff (mainly student athletes) stand for the national anthem.

“The teams that we are competing with in the Division I world,” said Kieckhefer. “They are all fully funded in the scholarship aspect, so if we want to keep competing at the highest level nationwide, nationally, we gotta make sure that we raise money and get the best student athletes we can in this institution.”

5k Map
Course map for the 5K Run/Walk at the Mastodon Run 4 Scholarships. Student athletes were spread around the course to cheer on the participants.

The event started at 2:30 p.m. between Rhinehart Music Center and Gates Athletics Center with opening remarks and the national anthem. Meanwhile, final sign-ups were being processed inside the Gates Fieldhouse.

The 2017 event consisted of four separate races within the IPFW campus. In past years there were only two main events: the 5K Run/Walk and the 1-Mile Family Walk.

Lisette Pierce, a Spanish teacher at Concordia High School and wife of the Fort Wayne baseball coach, has run the 5K Run/Walk every year since the event began. This year she decided to make the extra effort, Pierce said, branding a Wonder Woman costume under a Concordia T-shirt

“I was like, what can I do? So I just kind of put a superhero team, just to, kind of, pump people up to come out and run,” Pierce said. “I invited some friends, first of all, I invited my Concordia family, so I said, ‘Let’s go all out with Concordia.’ I also wanted the best dressed team award, so ‘Let’s go with superheroes.’ So I kind of combined superheroes with Concordia.”

This year, a 100-meter Kids Dash and 400-meter Kids Stomp were added, in order to make the event open for all ages.

The event was mainly staffed by student athletes, who manned the sign-up tables and did most of the setup and tear-down of the event. The students were also tasked with cheering on the participants of the events around the course of the races.

Lauren Hoffman, a senior majoring in psychology from Monroeville, plays volleyball for Fort Wayne Athletics. In her first time helping in the event, she said she was enthused to participate and help with the first events for children in the Mastodon Run 4 Scholarships.


Furthermore, Hoffman said she recognized the importance of the event as a way for Fort Wayne Athletics to stand on its own two feet.

“So this is kind of our way to be self-sufficient and funding ourselves and not having to worry about budget cuts in the future,” Hoffman said.

By the end, all runners won participation medals, in addition to awards for specific categories, such as best-dressed team.

Kirsten Crow, an IPFW mom who ran the 5K with her husband and her three dogs, praised the event after the awards.

7 Dog Lady
Kirsten Crow walked the 5K with her husband three dogs.

“It was beautiful, fun, everyone was very encouraging,” Crow said, “then they clapped and said good job, keep going… Nice weather, people are friendly. Definitely doing it next year.”

If you’d like to read a more detailed account of the event, click here.

IPFW Color Stomp Postponed

The Color Stomp was to take place on Tuesday, but has been postponed to a later, unknown date.

IPFW Intramural Sports and Student Life will host the Color Stomp sometime this semester, taking place near the IPFW baseball and softball fields.

It costs participants five dollars to run in the event. Runners will also receive a free t-shirt at check-in, complimentary dinner, and a color stomp towel. All the money from the run goes to Erin’s House for Grieving Children in Fort Wayne.

The run’s route will take place throughout campus with multiple “color stations”, where volunteers will blast the runners with a color-dye as they run through.

Andrew Kreager senator for IPSGA, who has sponsored the event in the past, said with budget cuts affecting their sponsorship of the event, they could not co-fund it this year.

“Student Life didn’t necessarily need us to help fund it this year,” Kreager said. “I know there was a conversation between Student Life and Student Government asking if they really needed our funding this year, and they said they had leftovers from years past that they could fund it with.”

Kreager said IPSGA will still be showing their support because it is a special event with proceeds going to a good cause.

Andrew Meyers, graduate assistant for Intramural Sports, said their biggest goal is to increase participant numbers.

Meyers said that with participant numbers going down in the past couple years, they plan on increasing the numbers through promotions on social media prior to the run.

According to Meyers, last year’s color stomp had approximately 50 participants. Meyers said if they see any increase at all, they will be satisfied. But, to put on the event, they desperately need people’s help.

“So right now, we really need volunteers,” Meyers said. “We’ve only had a few people contact us, and we need about thirty to forty people to help.”

Meyers said it’s important for volunteers and participants to come out because the run is a great way to get students to come together and interact in a positive way.

“I think that’s the biggest draw for me to help make it a good event,” Meyers said. “It gets the university some exposure and it just helps students have a better experience here at IPFW.”

Purdue Library Working Group to Propose New Plan to Provost

The Dean of Helmke Library will introduce to Purdue University’s provost a three-year plan-of-action of how IPFWs library will stand alone with its own catalog, policies and contract amid separating from Indiana University.

Helmke’s Dean Alexis Macklin said the split creates an opportunity for Purdue to construct a library system that is more personal for each campus’ needs, while also focusing on sharing among their individual library collections.

“We’re putting our efforts on other ways we could be working together to provide more resources, more efficiently,” Macklin said.

The meeting takes place on Oct. 17 in Macklin’s office, who is also head to the Purdue System Library Working Group. It comprises representatives from the Office of the Treasurer, the provost’s office, and from each Purdue campus: West Lafayette, Northwest, and soon to be Fort Wayne.

Macklin said the meeting will deliver a proposal of library systems and vendor contracts, how the campuses will share collections, and suggest working groups that look to improve the library system throughout the future.

According to the provost’s website, the new system will be running by July 1, 2018, which is also when IPFW will officially be Purdue Fort Wayne.

Macklin said IPFW could not sign the same contract as the West Lafayette and Northwest campuses because it is not solely affiliated with Purdue yet. Therefore, IPFW had to produce their own strategy for which library management system to commit to.

Also, Macklin said with West Lafayette’s interim library administration, it causes some difficulties because they may not want to make huge, system-wide decisions without a permanent team on board.

Macklin said these challenges give IPFW a chance to show how it can be independent so no student or faculty member on campus will feel pain from actions on the administration’s part

Overall, Macklin said the only differences in the library’s system will be how its pages look because it will not be from IUs vendors, but resources will remain the same.

“I’m confident that it’s going to be less hairy than what people were afraid it was going to be,” Macklin said.

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana Hosts Tribute Dinner

The 13th-annual Cancer Services Tribute Dinner started at 6 p.m. in the Mirro Center for Research and Innovation at Parkview Sept. 6.


Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana is a non-profit organization established in 1944. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer by providing resources, information and assistance.

Robin Hixson, a client at Cancer Services, said she attended the event with her family because she wanted to bring them all to celebrate with her.

Robin Hixson and Family at Cancer Services’ Tribute Dinner

“I was diagnosed in December of last year, right before the holidays, and I probably made my first trip there in February when I started chemo,” Hixson said. “When I started losing my hair, that’s when I made my first trip to Cancer Services.”

Hixson said she went to Cancer Services seeking as recommended by a friend, but she was nervous to go and didn’t know what to expect.

She said getting diagnosed with cancer is a roller coaster ride full of mixed emotions. Yet, through Cancer Services, she made many new friends going through the same things and found support to get her through.

Ed Souers, chairman of Cancer Services, said the concept of this event is to get people together to pay tribute to those affected by cancer. This includes not only cancer survivors, but also their families and doctors who have treated them.Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.11.32 AM

Souers said his organization is completely supported by the community. They have about 600 volunteers, and do not charge their patients a dime.

Souers calls what they do “the softer side” of cancer. They provide things like emotional support, practical resources, wigs, transportation, information, and much more. He said this allows patients and their families to help deal with what they are going through.

Part of the show they put on for the night included keynote speaker Mayor Suzanne Handshoe.

Handshoe is a retired marine corps veteran, the first female mayor of Kendalville, and a cancer survivor.

To end the night, Handshoe spoke for approximately 23 minutes in a powerful speech discussing her life and her battle with cancer.

“I was notified a few years ago that in 1979 at my first duty station of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, I drank contaminated water for over 14 months, and multiple myeloma is one of the presumed diseases from contamination,” Handshoe said. “I never dreamed the career that I loved so much serving this great country would make me so ill. However, I have absolutely no regrets.”


Mayor Handshoe and Family

Mayor Handshoe was recommended to Cancer Services by Dr. Chitneni of Parkview. Like Robin Hixson, Mayor Handshoe said the organization made her experience with cancer a little easier.

Hixson said she respects everything Cancer Services does because they have a really big heart.

“I just want to applaud everybody involved in Cancer Services. This is my first event here and I will be back for many more,” Hixson said. “They put on a great show and I am very happy to be a part of it.”

West Central Neighborhood Holds 35th Tour and ArtsFest

The West Central Neighborhood Association presented its 35th Home and Garden Tour and ArtsFest on Sept. 9 and 10 in downtown Fort Wayne, where people could visit historical homes while consuming music, art and food.

Event Chairwoman Charlotte Weybright said the tour consists of 10 stops to architecturally significant homes and buildings in West Central, the city’s oldest historic neighborhood.

“I think the history is critical,” said Weybright, who also owns a home in the neighborhood.DSC_0158

According to the WCNA website, West Central was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and was later recognized as a local historic district.

Through such action, Weybright said the neighborhood is protected from deterioration and subject to guidelines, but residents become devoted to the history and architecture.

Suzy Giant, a 29-year West Central resident and artist, said she appreciates old things because of their craftsmanship.

Her husband, Kevin Giant, said he moved into his West Central home 38 years ago and still finds himself appreciating the close community and eclectic atmosphere today.

Since moving in with Kevin, Suzy said she decorates their house with antiques and projects that match her bohemian style.

She also painted it pink.

“You got to be secure in your manhood to live in a pink house,” Kevin said.



So, Suzy said they travel the Midwest to find pretty collectibles and furniture for their home through Craigslist.

“I just like old things that are made right,” Suzy said. “I don’t see that a lot.”


Both Kevin and Suzy said they love going to the home and garden tour each year to experience how people are changing and fixing their homes’ exteriors to remain historic.

From the event, Weybright said the proceeds fund WCNA projects, such as their tree program, or with financial support and expert knowledge to help West Central residents restore their homes. Other programs assistance may be added as the WNCA sees fit.

All three West Central residents said they are excited for the change in their neighborhood because it continues to be unique.

“An old house has character,” Suzy said “and we’re characters.”