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HIV & AIDS Information Session

CCSU Women’s Center partnered with AIDS Connecticut to provide free male and female condoms.

by Cyrus dos Santos

The Ruth Boyea Women’s Center and AIDS Connecticut (ACT) held an information session to encourage safe sex and disease prevention. The event, titled “No Glove No Love,” took place in the Women’s Center lounge on the second floor of the Student Center Monday evening.

“It’s completely free,” said Sharise V. Truman, coordinator for women’s health services at Central Connecticut State University. “We’ve partnered with AIDS Connecticut, and through them we’re able to get male and female condoms for individuals as well as lubricants.”

Along with free contraceptives, ACT provided literature as well as guest speaker LaToya Tyson, ACT’s prevention program manager.

“We work on improving the life of people that are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Tyson.

One of the main goals Tyson and her colleague, Norman Lebron, aim for is emphasizing personal risk awareness. According to Tyson, many individuals are simply unaware that they are at risk for contracting HIV and lack the knowledge necessary to eliminate that risk.

“I want to work myself out of a job,” said Tyson. “The only reason I have work, is because people are still getting infected. It’s a preventable infection. It’s something that you don’t have to get.”

ACT was formed in 2013 when the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition and Alliance for Public Health, two organizations that began in the 1980s, merged. They are federally funded through the Department of Public Health in Connecticut. Located in Hartford, the organization provides assistance to individuals dealing with employment discrimination issues, as well as a syringe service program. ACT also offers confidential HIV testing. Information can be found at their website, aids-ct.org.

This is the second information session hosted by the Women’s Center this semester. Truman spoke about the need for a continuing conversation on the importance of safe sex. “Because some individuals may be practicing un-safe sex and that puts them at risk for contracting HIV.”

Blue Devils Beginning to Find Their Groove

by Dillon Meehan

Following last week’s string of games, Central Connecticut is beginning to find their form. Winning four of their five games this past week, the Blue Devils have now won seven out of their last nine games overall.

“You get into a little bit more of a groove, I think it’s better to say we’re evolving as a team,” Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey said.

On Tuesday, the Blue Devils (16-12, 7-3 NEC) came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third inning to defeat Quinnipiac 6-3.

Just a half inning later, CCSU was able to kickstart the comeback. Junior Nick Garland led off the inning by reaching safely on an error by Quinnipiac’s third baseman. The next at-bat senior Nick Landell walked, while fellow senior Franklin Jennings moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

With runners on second and third, freshman Chris Kanios grounded out at third to score. Garland and Landell would score on a wild pitch during the following at bat, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Devils extended their lead in the forth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Sean Udris grounded into a double play allowing fellow junior Ron Jackson to score, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1.

CCSU would extend their lead in the fourth inning to 5-1, with hits from junior Ryan Costello and Landell.

“The emergence of Ryan Costello was big for us Tuesday,” said Hickey. “He delivered with a clutch hit for us to win the ballgame.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Jennings practically scored by himself. He reached first safely with a leadoff bunt, and proceeded to steal both second and third base before scoring on a throwing error by the catcher.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Quinnipiac hit a two-run home run to make it 6-3 but were unable to retake the lead.

Freshman Andrew Braun started for the Blue Devils and completed three innings, allowing only one run and two hits. Arik Sypher came on in relief for the final six innings, allowing only two runs and three hits.

“With conference games losing, trying to maximize pitching depth is crucial,” said Hickey of the ability to . “Arik Sypher continued to throw strikes and continue to take advantage of their aggressiveness. The more versatility and more depth you have, the better you’re going to be, that’s what we are striving for.”

Following Tuesday’s game, the Blue Devils went on the road for a four game series against LIU-Brooklyn, winning three of the games.

The Blue Devils won Friday’s opener shutting out LIU-Brooklyn 5-0.

It was the Blue Devils third shutout in NEC play this season.

The Blue Devils started the scoring off in the third, when freshman Buddy Dewaine walked with the bases loaded. On the next at bat, Costello singled to score two runs to extend the lead to 3-0.

Costello would get another RBI in the fifth inning, when he launched a double to left field to score junior Dean Lockery, extending their lead to 4-0.

CCSU would add their final run in the eight, when junior Ron Jackson singled in Jennings who had tripled to center field.

Senior Brendan Smith pitched eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits.

Saturday saw both teams split the doubleheader. The Blue Devils won the opening game 9-8, scoring all of their runs in the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Blue Devils were trailing. Freshman TT Bowens started the comeback with a pinch hit single to score junior Dylan Maher. With the score at 5-1, four singles from Mitch Guilmette, Jennings, DeBrosse and Kanios to score four more runs.

Following that, the bases were still loaded with no outs. With the score tied 5-5, Lockery earned a walk with the bases loaded to score a run, as Costello lined a double off and cleared the bases to make it 9-5.

The Blue Devils offensive inefficiencies reappeared for the second leg of the doubleheader, when they were only able to score four runs off of nine hits.

The Blue Devils trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning before Bowen’s third home run of the season tied the game. But the Blue Devils could not complete the comeback, as LIU would add another two runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure their lone win in the series.

Muslim Student Association Holds Immigration Panel

by Cyrus dos Santos 
Amongst a family from Syria, a student from Bosnia and others, Central Connecticut State University students came together Monday evening to raise awareness and voice their concerns of the growing intolerance for Muslims in America.
Amid further action from President Donald Trump to ban the entrance of immigrants from predominantly Muslim Countries, CCSU students gathered for an open-forum discussion on a variety of issues hosted by the Muslim Student Association.
We want to bring awareness to who we are, and how it affects us in society,” said MSA President Isra’a Alsaqri. “And with Trump being our president, how that affects us.”
Students from CCSU’s theater department read from the “Gaza Monologues,” a dramatic look into the suffrage within the Gaza Strip.
Although the concentration on Muslims in the news tends to be focused on The Middle East and Africa, students from predominately Muslim populations in Europe came to speak.
“We didn’t come here for a better life,” said CCSU junior, Semra Efendic. “We came here to have a life.”
Efendic, a refugee from Bosnia, came to the United States in 2001 after her native country was torn by war. “Everyone’s scattered, my family included.”
 Efendic’s family was able to escape their turmoil due to a lottery that her mother entered the family in.
Guests of the open forum included a family of refugees from Syria. The family of nine arrived in December of 2016.
Muhamed and Aysha Marri arrived in New Britain with their seven children, ages 1-11, through Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities, a non-profit out of Connecticut, mission is “Motivated by Christ’s social teachings and respect for the richness of diversity,” according to their web site. They stand to promote diversity and equality.
Catholic Charities provides the Marri’s with food and rent for six months while they get settled into their new surroundings. After that, “they are on their own,” according to the family’s translator, Ghoufran Allababidi, a Syrian immigrant who came to the United States in 2000.
The children that are of age, have enrolled in the New Britain Public School System, “with difficulties, of course,” said Allababidi.
Through translation, the family expressed that they miss their family, “because they left everything behind,” said Allababidi.
At the onset of the war in Syria, Marri and his family fled to Turkey, where they lived in a refugee camp. Three of the children were born there. There was no school and they were living in a tent as, Allababidi explained.
She spoke openly of a fear of the regime in Syria and that most refugees believe “the walls have ears.”
  After three years in the camp, and two more years of extensive vetting, the family was finally allowed to enter the United States.
“Do these kids really deserve to live in turmoil?” Ahmad Badr asked as the conversation quickly returned to Trump’s recent actions.
Trump signed a revision of his controversial immigration ban, known collectively as the “Muslim Ban,” Monday morning. The revised law now excludes Iraq from the travel ban as well as the provision that gave priorities to religious minorities from the remaining banned countries.
Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees, which was formally categorized as “indefinite,” has now been given a 120-day ban, according to reports from The New York Times. The ban will be up for review after the 120 days.
 Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen still remain on the list of Trump’s travel ban.
 CCSU President Zulma Toro released a statement after Trump’s original executive order, that said, “I want to say on behalf of the university that we stand in compassionate solidarity with our Muslim students and colleagues.”

Faceboook Begins Fighting Fake News

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Major steps have recently been taken by Facebook to combat the spread of fake news and ultimately help decrease the amount of misinformation the public is exposed to.

The new feature on the social media sight flags stories that are disputed by the Associated Press and Snopes.com

When someone tries to share an article that is disputed, Facebook displays a warning that informs about the user that the information is disputed. Then a second pop-up that lets the user know Facebook is adhering to Poynter’s non-partisan code to distinguish that the article may have false information.

Facebook then links the user to pages on Snopes.com or on the AP website that explain why the article is labeled as disputed.

Individuals are able to ignore these messages and still post the article on their timeline, but directly below is a warning that says, “Disputed by Snopes.com and Associated Press.”

This feature apparently began a few months ago, but recently is making its appearance on social media where users are noticing it.

The model that Facebook chose to inform the public about fake news, and to tame the spread of fake news throughout social media, could be what the country needs.

Individuals who want to share questionable articles could be deterred if they are repeatedly informed that it is disputed by reputable fact-checkers.

This combats the spread of fake news from two angles; by informing the individual sharing the news and anyone who may come across in on Facebook.

This lessens the possibilities for people to become misinformed or play a part in the spread of fake news.

As it is a progressive step in the fight against fake news, this model of sifting out misinformation needs to be seen on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

This model could even be seen going as far as flagging memes that spread made-up facts and ideas.

Among the most recent flagged articles that was seen and shared on Facebook was a fictionalized story: “Trump’s Android Device Believed To Be The Source of Recent White House Leaks,” from “The Seattle Tribune.”

The story carried the disputed label with the links to AP and Snopes.com explaining why the story was not real.

According to USA Today, the articles that do end up getting flagged not only have the label, but they also get pushed down on people’s newsfeed.

As sharing regardless of the disputed label is a personal preference and there is no clear solution to stopping that in the near future, hopefully more and more Facebook users will get the hint to just not share it at all.

If Facebook users respond the right way, only then should other social media platforms follow Facebook’s lead.

A Concern for Medicaid

Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump are making an effort to alter the Medicaid program by issuing block grants, or per capita enrollment, to states.

This would differ drastically from how the funding is currently. “Medicaid now operates as either a negotiated fee-for-service system or a monthly rate per Medicaid enrollee. The federal government pays a portion of the expenses, and state government pays the other portion,” wrote usnews.com.

Ultimately the federal government pays for the needs of its beneficiaries. This results in the federal government covering about 57 percent of the states’ Medicaid costs, according to The Fiscal Times.

A block grant is a specifically structured federal funding with a set sum of money that will be given to the states in a designated period of time.

Under a per capita enrollment, the federal government would only reimburse the states for a specific amount per enrollee.

Whether states are issued block grants or per capita enrollment, Medicaid benefits are going to be impacted and will affect many elderly and disabled individuals. This would also impact children and adults who were unfortunate enough to be born with a disease, such as cystic fibrosis or kidney disease, that prevents them from working.

The change in Medicaid funding is part of Trump’s effort to save the federal government money, which he believes will leave more power in the hands of the state.

Medicaid is a federal program that provides healthcare funds for nearly 70 million Americans, according to the Chicago Tribune.

This raises concern in Connecticut because there are more than 765,000 Connecticut residents who receive Medicaid and $2 million at stake with the proposed cuts, according to the New Haven Register.

“Eliminating the federal dollars for experimenting with payment methods and care delivery structures would cost Connecticut billions,” said Lieutenant Nancy Wyman, co-chair of the Access Health CT board of directors to the New Haven Registrer.

The funds states are receiving for Medicaid should not be tampered with. They are used to help immense numbers of elderly and disabled individuals nationwide. Tampering with the funding to save the federal government money would impact the largest insurer in the country and the 73 million people they currently cover, two-thirds of which are in nursing homes.

There needs to be more caution taken when it comes to altering the dynamics of Medicaid and who that will impact. There seems to be an unwritten obligation that needs to be upheld in which Medicaid is maintained, or even improved in order to ensure all who rely on it are properly receive the care they need.