Increased Enrollment Numbers For Fall Semester Off To A Slow Start

by Diondra Clements

As the end of the spring semester approaches, it is becoming time for high school seniors and college transfer students to decide where they are going to study, come August 2017.

Recently at Central Connecticut State University, there has been an increase in school tours and admitted student days, inviting many students to walk around campus and wonder if CCSU is the right place for them.

Feb. 18 and March 26 were dates of Admitted Student Days and April 8 was the most recent Open House.

Before visiting campus, many see CCSU as an “easy” school that offers few job opportunities following graduation.

However, in the last three years, recognition of CCSU has gone from a school that’s easy to get into, to being recognized for its actual achievements.

“Our advertising has only been getting somewhere the last three years. Additional resources have been added recently. Thanks to President Toro, she has been adding to the additional resources,” said Lawrence Hall, director of admissions.

The application deadline for high school seniors to apply to CCSU is May 1 and the deadline for transfer students is June 1. The current total of students who have sent confirmation of their acceptance as of April 13 is 645 for freshmen. CCSU’s goal is 1,300. For transfer students, 225 have sent acceptance confirmations, with a university goal of 895.

Though this may seem like a small number, Hall reassured that it was an increase from previous years, also touching upon the fact that this is not an official final count. It will not be until the middle of July that the school will have a finalized count of new students enrolled at CCSU.

Hall explained that sometimes they may not know the official count of the total incoming freshmen and transfer students until the first week of September.

As far as the financial situation goes, Hall also made note that they have already seen an increase in deposits compared to last year at this time. Freshmen deposits are up by 96 and transfers are up by five. Although this is an improvement, there is still more that can be done.

“Even though we’re very visible to the Hartford/New Britain community and its surrounding areas, the bread and butter is we want to be visible to different cities, such as Danbury and Stamford,” said Hall. “Reaching out to students out-of-state and even started to get our feet wet in the international field about three years ago.”

The largest factor in recruiting new students is finding how to attract more people to CCSU with reasons other than it being close to home or knowing someone who attends.

CCSU sophomore Dejhana Sejdiraj’s initial thought when she first got to CCSU was that it felt “homey.”

“My sister was already attending this school, so that helped in  my decision to apply,” said Sejdiraj. “I’m actually glad I got denied at UConn because I absolutely love this school. It honestly feels like a home to me.”

Shattered Trust: CCSU Student That Was Sexually Assaulted By Professor That Resigned And Later Taught At A Women’s College

 

by Analisa Novak

Although room 212 of Willard Hall is no longer in use, the traumatic memory of what occurred there still exists for former Central Connecticut State University student, Shannon Cunningham. This is where she was sexually assaulted by then Adjunct Professor Daniel Gula, according to multiple court documents.

Cunningham said that her attack happened when her guard was down the most and in broad daylight.

“The location was without a doubt safe. It wasn’t in a dark ally, in a dark parking lot or parking garage. It was on a state university campus, around 5 p.m. The sun still out and shinning bright when I walked in. Classes in session all around , students and faculty walking around outside. I can see the students and professors teaching in the rooms; doors are open,” Cunningham said in a victim statement to the court.

Before the assault, Cunningham said she respected Gula after she met him through a chance encounter. They spoke about Italian culture and museums, and had previously met in his office before where they shook hands as she left.

She never expected that weeks after meeting him he would trap her in a room, grab her breast, grind on her buttocks and expose himself to her.

According to the arrest warrant, Cunningham met with Gula on Sept. 15, 2014 to discuss an event she had attended. They conversed in his office and Gula shut the door due to noise.

Once the door was shut, the conversation then shifted with Gula playing with his wedding ring and saying “shinny shinny, pretty pretty.” Cunningham thought this was odd and got ready to leave for class. It was then that Gula asked her for a high-five, instead of the normal handshake they would do.

Shortly after, he asked Cunningham to hug him. As they hugged, it was then that he squeezed her, so tightly that Cunningham heard the professor’s shoulder pop.

“The hug was only a way to restrain me,” Cunningham said in her victims statement.

Cunningham still remembers how she was backed into a small corner of the room, as Gula began to sexually assault her.

“He backed me into a wall between the first desk in the room on the left and book shelves to the right. The area felt small. I felt trapped. I remember feeling like my brain was numb and body was numb all over. I couldn’t think clear…it wasn’t registering what was happening to me….it was as if my brain was on overload and wasn’t connected,” Cunningham said in the victim statement.

Cunningham told police that the more she tried to get away, the more aggressive Gula became.

“I kept trying to pull his arms and hands off my breasts and body. He was untouched by my words to stop. He continued pulling and grabbing at my breasts,” Cunningham said in the victim statement.

Cunningham said the event lasted eight to nine minutes, but felt like it was never ending. She was fearful that if she screamed, Gula would do something else.

“My thinking wasn’t clear, but I was terrified and numb. If I screamed or made any sudden moves, I didn’t know if he would strangle me, to shut me up. His hands had been so close to my neck. I had no idea who this monster was. I had no idea what else he was capable of doing,” said Cunningham in the victims statement.

Cunningham told police that she was unable to yell but she did manage to convince Gula to stop. She then escaped the room and went to class, although she was very late.

Days later with the support of her friends, Cunningham went to the Ruth Boyea Women’s Center and reported the assault. The case was then passed on to the CCSU Office of Diversity and Equity.

According to the arrest warrant, CCSU Police then spoke to Cunningham and she told them about the assault that had occurred.

Later that day, Gula came into the CCSU Police Department to speak to the them. According to the arrest warrant, he was told that he was not under arrest and could leave at anytime.

According to the arrest warrant, Gula adamantly denied any sexual misconduct, only stating that he gave her a hug. CCSU Police then told Gula that Cunningham was not going to be pressing charges, and they were looking to get the truth to close the investigation.

It was then that Gula admitted to the assault and signed a sworn voluntary statement, attesting that what he did to Cunningham was true. After the interview was over, he was allowed to leave the police station, according to the arrest warrant.

Cunningham said in the victim statement that the CCSU Police told her they had took Gula’s badge and keys, and fired him. Cunningham elected to be withdrawn from her courses and was issued a refund.

Months later, according to an investigation report done by Chief Diversity Officer Rosa Rodriguez, the report concluded that Gula violated the Board Of Regents and Connecticut State Colleges and University’s Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence Policy.

The conclusion of the investigation was that the case was completed and closed, as Gula resigned from his position before the investigation was completed according to the report.

After Gula resigned from CCSU, he then went on to teach at the University of Saint Joseph, a mostly female university.

“Daniel Thomas Gula was an adjunct faculty member here from Aug. 24, 2015 to Sept. 4, 2015,” said University of Saint Joseph marketing director, Diana Sousa.

Almost a year after the assault, Cunningham decided to press charges when she discovered that Gula was never fired from CCSU. Cunningham said she feels betrayed by CCSU because they allowed him to resign, thus allowing him to go teach at other universities.

“I believed he was fired. I believed they took his badge and keys the day he confessed. I believed this would forever stain his teaching record. After all, it was a criminal act, a felony or two and misdemeanor and not just policy violations. I believed that a university had obligations by law to ensure the safety of their campus and other campuses,” Cunningham said in the victim statement.

On Aug. 14, 2015, Cunningham along with CCSU Victim Advocate and Violence Protection Specialist Sarah Dodd, met with CCSU Police where Cunningham then pressed charges. Gula was arrested for third degree sexual assault, second degree unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct.

Gula pleaded no contest and was found guilty of second-degree unlawful restraint and first degree reckless endangerment. He was sentenced to a one‐year suspended jail sentence and two years probation.

According to Cunningham, a judge suppressed Gula’s confession because he confessed under the impression he would not be arrested. Cunningham has currently filed a civil suit against Gula and she is being represented by Nina Pirrotti.

The event took place more than three years ago, but Cunningham is still suffering from post traumatic stress.

“It has affected everything in my life. I would say prior to his crimes against me, I was a strong woman, able to overcome anything. I believed in myself. I could count on myself. Now, I live in this place that is guarded by fear of the unknown. I have never been so scared, humiliated or degraded in my whole life. I have lost my independence,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham still is haunted by what occurred at CCSU and how administrators handled it. She wants students to know of what occurs behind closed doors.

“Students and campuses have a right to know what happens on their campus. That when an institution fails to address the horrible acts of a faculty member or anyone, committing such violations of law, that the criminal court will serve justice and hold the individual accountable. I had no control over the investigation by CCSU Police. I had no idea my life would be changed forever after the crime. CCSU Police had an obligation to process this assault for the crime that it was sexual assault,” Cunningham said in the victim statement.

 

Is SGA Discriminating Against The Student Veterans Organization

by Analisa Novak

The mood at the Student Veterans Organization’s weekly meeting was business as usual, but a looming question thickened the air for its members; do they go for a third time to the Student Government Association and ask for the apparel originally granted to them, but then quickly vetoed the next week?

For current SVO Vice President Paul Small, that is no longer an option.

“I am not going back, I went there, plead my case to them, asked them for money that we pay for students funds and for SGA to cut our budget to $812 dollars last semester. This is okay but you should know if you cut a club’s budget so much, especially an active club and important club that does a lot of campus, SGA should expect us to come and ask for money,” said Small.

The SVO was approved for funds totaling $1,720.01 for sweatshirts and T-shirts on April 4. The majority unanimously approved it originally with 18 senators in favor and four against it.

Small then found out that SGA President Jahmil Effend vetoed the motion hours after the meeting. Small felt hopeless after finding out it was vetoed, as it was the only other option to receive the funds after a dismal budget that was given to them.

The veto prompted the SVO to reach out for the third time to the SGA, only to be called “immature,” and was attacked by SGA senator Danielle Plaskonka.

“They’re using emotional heart string pulling tactics, they’re saying they feeling alienated, which I understand where you’re coming from. I understand you feel Social Justice has not been fair to you, but it was not intentional and I wish you guys could see that. You also mentioned you tried coming for sweatshirts all semester, so why do you keep calling back SJC?” said Plaskonka.

“Is that your one move to get these shirts? I’m very sick of personal attacks, it’s immature and below everyone in this room. If you can’t handle this professionally, then shame on you,” Plaskonka added.

She continued on in a recently deleted Facebook post saying; “Please help me in understanding how both T-Shirts and sweatshirts will assist them in significant issues such as PTSD, suicidal ideation and societal understanding.”

“One of our agendas is raising PTSD stereotypes, but that was never the intent of the reasons to get shirts,” SVO  President Tyler Listro said. “Being able to raise awareness about PTSD is a benefit of having great representation of student veterans on campus, not the reason why we submitted a request for shirt funding,” Listro said.

Small said the request for the shirts was to let over 400 veterans know that there was a club here for them.

“Many veterans don’t participate with our club or know we exist. We have 50 members, 20 of which are active all the time. But we have approximately 500 veterans on this campus, National Guard members, and veterans from active duty that receive benefits to continue their education. Upon approval, when worn by members of our group, this will show others here that there is a club with people like them,” Small said.

Small stated that the request had nothing to do with using emotions to manipulate the system.

“I was told by that particular senator that I was there to manipulate the feelings, manipulate peoples’ decisions. That’s true in the sense that this emotional for me, but it’s not true that I am using what happened with the Social Justice Committee as a catalyst asking for money,” Small said.

This desire for sweatshirts and T-shirts has been actively discussed during the SVO meetings for the entire year. The SVO actively participated in the SGA canned food drive, so they could use the funds to attain apparel. However, due to a decreased budget, they had to use it for their annual Hoffman’s Gun Range trip instead.

“Our club minutes reflect that we have been trying to get this clothing all semester,” Small said.

The veto was held up by a 2/3 vote and the SVO was denied the funds. The same meeting in which the SVO’s contingency request was vetoed, Lunar Exploration Club’s contingency request of $905.76 for space suits was approved.

“They came with a similar request like SVO and they were approved. We were approved, but then vetoed by the SGA president. It seems clear to me that there is a clear case of discrimination,” Small said.

SGA senator Stephen Dew believes by the SGA not overturning the veto that the president ordered, and allowing the Lunar Exploration Club to receive space suits is a clear indication of discrimination happening within the SGA. Dew, who voted for the space suits, says that he has been voting for club requests each time.

“The fact that the veterans got a 18-4 vote the first time they requested, and got a majority the second time, speaks to the facts that senators in the majority want to fund the SVO. However, there is clearly an element on senate that doesn’t feel that way. It is rather disgusting that four people who voted against the SVO to begin with managed to obstruct government, and by obstructing government, a club was not able to get what they were requesting for,” Dew said.

Small has said that a number of senators have stepped in to assist the SVO and even attended their meeting last Thursday.

The SVO then filed another contingency request to the finance committee for $1,174.57 on April 17, for uniformed sweatshirts. The Chair of Finance Committee Treasurer, Brendan Kruh, decided not to hear the contingency request after he felt it was invalid due to the bylaws.

Vice President Christopher Cappiello disagreed with this, and said there seems to be a pattern with the SGA bringing up bylaws when it comes to the SVO.

“I think this is a good motion, they have everything they need to fill the bylaws, in my opinion: there is nothing wrong with this. We don’t have to pay 50 percent of it, we can pay 100 percent of it,” said Cappiello. “I don’t know why the argument is being brought up again when it comes to SVO and bylaws. Its like senate has this gravitational pull with bylaws when SVO walks into the door.”

It was appealed unanimously by the finance committee. The contingency request was approved by the majority of members of the finance committee, and will be heard by the SGA today.

Small already paid out of his own pocket to provide the club with T-Shirts. The shirt designer felt bad that Small had to pay for the SVO shirts after the SGA vetoed their request, and gave him a small military discount of 10 percent.

Active members and members who put out for the food drive will be receiving T-Shirts for free from Small. The SVO is looking into charging new members who would like to have T-Shirts, so that they can no longer go to the SGA for any other requests and are able to sustain themselves.

Will Project Scorpio Be Enough To Save Microsoft?

by Dillon Meehan

In May of 2013, then-head of Xbox Don Mattrick, unveiled the Xbox One, Microsoft’s successor for the Xbox 360.  It was supposed to give the company a leg up against their competitors, specifically Sony and their system, the PlayStation 4. However, it was the opposite.

The rumors of mandatory Kinect usage, the need for the system to always be connected to the Internet and the banning of used games from working on another system, were all true.

It was a PR disaster for the company, by mid-June after E3 – the video game equivalent of the Super Bowl – the Xbox One’s grave was already dug. Their competitors, Sony, had a slightly more powerful system that did not require constant Internet activity. It allowed gamers to share used games with their friends, and didn’t require a camera that was always listening to you even when the console was “off.” To top it all off, it was $100 cheaper.

Less than a week after E3, Microsoft – with their tail between their legs – backtracked on their ridiculous demands.

A few weeks later on July 1.  2013, Don Mattrick had left Microsoft to join Zynga and become their CEO, a position he would resign from a year and a half later.

In March 2014, it was announced that Phil Spencer had been selected as the new head of Xbox. The former intern-turned executive, had spent nearly three decades with the company and promised to turn the company in a new direction, and he has. But the damage was already done.

Fast forward to early 2017, the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One nearly 2-1.  The estimates are around 50 million PS4s in the wild, compared to 30 million for Microsoft.

However, Spencer and the rest of the Xbox team plan to change that with Project Scorpio. At the end of Microsoft’s E3 presentation in 2016, a sizzle reel teased an upgraded Xbox One with the code name “Project Scorpio.” It was touted as the “most powerful console ever,” that would deliver native 4k graphics and be set to release in “holiday 2017.”

In the first week of April, Microsoft gave Eurogamer and Digital Foundry an exclusive look at the system. So far, it has lived up to the hype. The system is four and a half times more powerful than the original Xbox One that launched in fall 2013, and nearly twice as powerful as the PS4 Pro, Sony’s more powerful version of their PS4 which launched in fall 2016.

For Microsoft to make this system a massive success and to try to cut down on Sony’s lead, it needs to have a $400 price point. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. Since it’s announcement, it has repeatedly been referred to as a “premium” system for hardcore gamers.  In English, that means $500.

Now maybe that is simply Microsoft attempting to be coy, then have a massive reveal at E3 with a $400 price point. However, that is very unlikely. During their tech reveal, Eurogamer estimated $500 as well.

Apart from price point, there is also an issue about exclusive games.  Software sells hardware, it’s that simple. Nearly 20 years ago, Steve Balmer purchased a Bungie from Apple so that Halo could be developed for Microsoft’s first game console, the Xbox. The rest is history, as the Halo series became a staple for their systems.

But that was 20 years ago, as Microsoft is now in dire need of exclusives and their new “killer app.” The Halo and Gears of War franchises are still strong, but not what they were during the days of the Xbox 360. Apart from those, the only games Microsoft has that cannot be matched by Sony are the Forza series and Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive.

While Sony doesn’t have games in the first or third person shooter genre that match up Halo or Gears of War, they offer plenty more than Microsoft. They have the Uncharted series, The Last Of Us, Horizo: Zero Dawn, Neir: Automata, Bloodborne as well as the upcoming Spiderman game as well Hideo Kojima’s newest game, Death Stranding.

On June 11, Microsoft will have their last chance to win fans over for this generation. Not only will they need the right price point, they will need the right games as well.

Premier League Week 32 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured all top-five teams earning a victory and top club Chelsea extending their lead to seven points.

Although Manchester United has not lost a match since Oct., goals have been hard to come by. Prior to Sunday’s match, the Red Devils have only scored 43 goals, well behind the other top clubs. United’s offense woke up this week with a 3-0 victory at last-place Sunderland.

United’s first goal came in minute 30, thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Sweden international met a pass by Ander Herrera, and scored from just outside the box with a shot that curled into the right side of the net. It was his 17th goal of the season, good enough for fourth in the league, tied against Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Manchester got off to a hot start after halftime, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring his fourth goal of the season in minute 46. The former Dortmund star took a left-footed shot that went past Sunderland’s goalkeeper into the right side of the net. Forward Marcus Rashford secured the victory for United with his goal in minute 89. Ibrahimovic provided the assist on the short-range goal. It was Rashford’s fourth goal of the season in his 12th substitute appearance.

Sunderland’s performance was overshadowed by Sebastian Larsson’s red card in minute 43. The midfielder was booked following an aggressive slide on United’s Herrera. This left Sunderland down a man for the rest of the match. Their offense produced just nine total shots, and held just 29 precent of possession. Forward Victor Anichebe had a goal opportunity in minute 40, with a shot to the left side of the net that was saved by United’s David De Gea.

With the win, Manchester United moves up to fifth in the table. It was the club’s first victory since March, 19. If the offense continues to produce like they did on Sunday, they can continue their push for a spot in the top-four. Paul Pogba’s play has been disappointing recently with his last Premier League goal being in December. His hefty cost has resulted in him still finding spots in the starting lineup. If Pogba steps up, the offense will improve. The Red Devils’ next match will be a tough test as they host league-leaders Chelsea on Easter Sunday. United’s last loss was a 4-0 defeat at Chelsea. The Blues have won two straight.

Sunderland continued their disappointing season with the defeat. They currently sit at last place in the table and face relegation to the English Football League next season. They barely escaped relegation last season with a 17th place finish. Being relegated gives the club an opportunity to rebuild and grow their young players. Their next match is against West Ham United.

Liverpool bounced back from their draw against Bournemouth on Wednesday with a 1-2 victory at Stoke City. The win keeps them ahead of Manchester City, who is just two points behind in fourth place.

Two late goals secured the comeback victory for the Reds. Midfielder Philippe Coutinho scored in minute 70 with a shot from the center of the box into the left side of the net. It was the Brazil international’s ninth goal of the season. Forward Roberto Firmino scored just two minutes later with a stunning goal. He met a pass by Georginio Wijnaldum that went over Stoke’s defense. Firmino then scored with a curling goal from just outside the box, being his tenth goal of the season.

Stoke scored first with a goal by Jonathan Waters in minute 44. The Ireland international met a pass by Xherdan Shaqiri in the center of the box and scored with a header. It was Waters’ fourth goal of the season. Stoke had an opportunity to tie the match in minute 74 with a close-range attempt on goal by forward Saido Berahino. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved the shot.

Liverpool’s successful season continues. Their balanced, unselfish attack puts them among the best. They sit behind second-place Tottenham by five points, and first-place Chelsea by 12. A top-two finish is not out of reach, but it will be hard to catch up. Tottenham have won six straight. The Reds’ next match is against West Bromwich Albion, who currently sits at ninth in the table.

The loss was Stoke’s fourth straight and sets them back to 13th in the table. Their last victory came on March, 4. against relegation-facing Middlesbrough. Their next match is against Hull City who is just outside of the relegation zone at 17.

Other notable matches next week include Southampton- Manchester City and Tottenham- Bournemouth.

 

North Carolina Wins Sixth NCAA Tournament

by Kyle Flynn

March Madness – arguably the pinnacle of American sports – is what everyone is waiting for all year long regardless of age, gender or interest in sport. Filling out a bracket and rooting for crazy upsets while pulling for an alma mater to go all the way, is a thrill like no other.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are possibly the most storied university in the realm of college basketball, and best team in the 68-team field in 2017. They carved their path to the championship game by beating Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler, Kentucky and Oregon.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the mid-major school that has always been a Final Four hopeful, made it into the Elite 8 this season for the first year. This year was an anomaly for the Bulldogs, as they finished the regular season with just one loss before defying all odds and making it all the way to national title game against the Tar Heels. Gonzaga defeated South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, Xavier and South Carolina to get to the final game.

This was the eighth ever national championship game that featured two number one seeds, and as expected, it came down the wire. North Carolina, who lost the 2016 title game at the buzzer to Villanova, was looking for redemption against the Zags. This year’s rendition of the championship had a total of 46 made shots and 44 fouls called. Many would agree that the game was too much in the referees hands, as the officiating was so tightly called that neither team was able to get a great rhythm going in the game. Joel Berry II, Carolina’s star guard finished with 22 points, six assists and three rebounds. Berry made all four of North Carolina’s three-point tries, and became the first player to score 20 points in back-to-back title games since Bill Walton (1972-73).

The two sides were trading blows and exchanging leads throughout the game, especially during the second half of the final game of the 2017 season. In the second half, Gonzaga went eight entire minutes without scoring a basket, but was able to create foul calls and get to the free throw line to keep themselves in the game.

Nigel Williams-Goss was Gonzaga’s top scorer in the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but he shot just 5-17 from the field. Only one other Gonzaga player finished the game with more than 10 points (Perkins, 13).

Tar Heels frontcourt stars Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks, who average 34 points per game during their tourney run, finished with just 23 points on 9-24 shooting. Meeks blocked a shot in the final minute of the game, which led to North Carolina being crowned champion for the first time since 2009.

The victory was head coach Roy Williams third national championship win and 100th overall tournament victory.

Joel Berry II earned MVP honors for his performance in the Final Four, while dealing with an ankle injury.

This was North Carolina basketball’s sixth national championship win in their school’s history, third most in history behind UCLA (11) and Kentucky (8).

NHL Turns Down the Olympics

by Tyler Roaix

The National Hockey League made waves with commissioner Gary Bettman’s announcement that the league would not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

There are several factors that leave the NHL and its owners reluctant to allow their players to compete in the Olympics. The first is simply that the players could get hurt. In reality, if a player suffers an injury requiring them to miss an extended period of time, the NHL team ultimately has to face the brunt of that burden.

Another major hurdle in the way of a deal, is that the NHL wants the International Olympic Committee to somehow compensate the league to essentially rent out its players. The two sides have fiercely debated over who should pay various expenses, such as travel and insurance.

One final concern for the NHL is a unique one. Whenever the Winter Games come around, the league puts its season on hold while its players are overseas. Typically the break is roughly two and a half to three weeks, but it makes it difficult to schedule the rest of the season. It forces teams to have more back-to-back situations that players are accustomed to. In a physical sport like hockey, that kind of wear-and-tear can take a serious toll on a player’s body.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was quick to show his displeasure in Bettman’s announcement, stating that he didn’t care what the league had to say. He still plans to take part and play for Russia. Several players have also expressed their dissatisfaction. Some are also following Ovechkin, saying they will compete regardless of what the league thinks.

As a hockey fan, it’s hard not to be disappointed in the NHL’s decision. The Olympic Games are when we get to see the very best from each country go at it. It adds another layer to the idea of competition. There is something special about fighting for the title of “Best in the World” that a regular NHL season could never give.

Bearing this in mind, what this means for the NHL next season is also worrisome. The league stated they are moving forward as if they won’t be participating. This means that when they generate the schedule, there won’t be any break or layoff as there normally is in an “Olympic year.” So what happens if a player, like Ovechkin, decides to go anyway? What would that mean for the Capitals? Would the NHL reprimand him in some fashion? These are all questions that have to be troubling fans, players, owners and even Bettman himself.

If both sides are unable to come to an agreement before the games get underway in South Korea next winter, it would be the first time since 1998 that the NHL doesn’t participate. Although it sure seems like the NHL will stand its ground, nothing is definite.

After all, there was a similar situation before the 2014 Games until the sides came together months before the start. As a fan, you have to hope that some sort of deal can be made. Because if not, it could get very ugly.

Was the Pepsi Commercial Really that Controversial?

by Kimberly Pena

Pepsi and Kendall Jenner have been under attack after the release of a new commercial which some viewers felt was a mockery of the marches and protests happening around the country, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.

The roughly two-and-a-half minute commercial begins with Jenner doing a photo shoot while a protest is occurring in the street next to her. As the commercial progresses, Jenner decides to ditch the photo shoot and join the march. She then approaches a police officer and hands him a Pepsi drink and everyone ends up cheering and applauding.

Activist DeRay McKesson tweeted out, “If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested. Who knew?” Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., also tweeted “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.”

Due to the negative backlash, Pepsi has retracted the commercial and issued an apology. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the company said last Wednesday in a statement. “Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

Although it is clear why the commercial has been viewed as offensive and insensitive, it seems very unlikely that was the message Pepsi was trying to market. The video demonstrated human beings from all different backgrounds coming together for one common cause; harmony.

The handing off of the Pepsi drink to the officer and the cheering on afterwards was also controversial, but the way I saw it, it was an opportunity for Pepsi to advertise their drink and use it as a moment to symbolize peace — not that a Pepsi can solve everyone’s problems as some people are trying to put it.

However, it must be noted that people do come from different backgrounds and perceive things in different ways, so all views should be respected, especially to those who may have been offended.

Although seen as controversial by some, it should be noted that the ad did continue the ongoing conversation of the social injustices and movements going on around the country today. It did unite the internet and in a way made everyone speak about Pepsi; just maybe not the way that the company had hoped for.

If there should be any positive takeaway from the approximately three-minute video, people from different ethnic, cultural, religious or whatever backgrounds can come together and fight for whatever they may believe in, even if it means to come together against a Pepsi commercial.

Blue Devils Softball Split Double Header After A Tough Start

 

The Blue Devils are now 3-5 in conference play

by Kimberly Pena and Brennah Dallaire 

Game 1

The Central Connecticut State University Softball team faced Bryant University in a double header at Arute field this past Saturday. After a strong performance by pitcher Emily Sargent, the CCSU offense couldn’t come through with the big hit.

Sargent was efficient as she pitched all seven innings and saw 30 batters. Sargent cites some of her performance highs as contributing to “getting out of some tough spots with runners on base in the first and fourth innings.”

“Our defense played well with runners in scoring position, and held them to only three runs on eight hits,” said Sargent.

Sargent could not find the strike zone when she walked in a run in the second inning. After throwing a wild pitch that hit Bryant’s center fielder, Haylee Haas, catcher Robyn Ukegawa scored the first run of the game. Sargent also gave up a home run in the third to Bryant University’s short stop, Marianna Politis.

Politis’s teammates congratulated her at home plate after she hit the only home run of the game over the left field wall.

After a slow start offensively, the Blue Devils picked up momentum in the third inning. Central’s right fielder, Kerri Dadalski doubled to right center field sending catcher, Brittany McNulla to third and center fielder, Brittany Camara in to score. Central’s second baseman, Kaitlin Paterson followed up with a single through the left side, sending McNulla in to score Central’s second and last run of the game.

In the sixth inning, Bryant’s third baseman, Rachel Monroe tripled to right center. With Monroe in scoring position, Gabrielle Ermish hit an RBI single to center field and the Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead over the Blue Devils.

“I think that offensively we put up a good fight, but struggled stringing together the hits that could’ve given us one or two more runs,” said Sargent.

“We showed up to win two games today, played hard and unfortunately fell short by one run in game one,” said Sargent.

Kaitlin Paterson dives for grounder

Game 2 

After dropping their first game of a double-header in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss, the Central Connecticut State University softball team redeemed themselves with a 4-1 win over Bryant University on a windy Saturday afternoon. The win improved the CCSU’s record to 6-16 for the season.

Pitcher Alex Casañas threw a complete game of one-run ball against the Bull Dogs, giving Casañas her first win of the season and dropping her ERA to 4.96 for the season. The only blemish in Casañas outing came from an RBI single by Gabrielle Ermish in the second inning.

“Today I focused more on the small details and just trying to focus on each pitch I threw to the batters and as a team we focused on winning each inning,” said Casañas. “My changeup was working great today, so I threw that way more often than I normally do.”

Unlike the first game, the Blue Devils provided much more offense, scoring four runs in the third inning to back up the strong performance by Casañas. Tori Constantin led off the inning with a single, Emily Cronnin followed up with a walk and a bunt single by Alexis Debrosse loaded up the bases. Brittany Camara came through with a two-run scoring single to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

“It was great though to see my team hitting like I know they can,” said Casañas. “When your team is able to back you up offensively, it makes the game a lot easier for the pitcher.”

Brittany McNulla then hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Blue Devils lead to 3-1. The inning was capped off by an RBI single by Kaleigh Edwards, scoring Camara to give the Blue Devils a 4-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

“Some changes that we made between games was that we reset our mindset and realized that we needed to string some hits together and tally up some more runs, which we did,” said Sargent.

Casañas surrendered only one hit after the second inning, breezing right through the Bull Dogs offense.

“The defense did another great job and backed up our sophomore pitcher Alex Casañas for her first win in the circle,” said Sargent.

Alexis Debrosse lines a ball into play

Although the team has been off to a rocky start, the team is hoping with the win a lot more W’s can come their way.

“I hope that we as a team can move forward with a lot more confidence to finish off the season with the wins we need, and the right mindset to win the conference,” said Casañas.

The Blue Devils move on to Mount Saint Mary’s University on Friday, April 14 for a double-header. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m.

Opinion: Why Everyone Needs To Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

by Trizy Garcia

The new Netflix’s series “13 Reasons Why” is taking the world by storm, and for a good reason. The series addresses various topics that are all too common for the reality of teenagers, yet never properly represented on screen.

The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel that tells the story of Hannah Baker, a teenager in school who leaves behind seven tapes explaining who influenced her suicide. The tapes are dedicated to each person in her life that has wronged or treated her poorly, revealing 13 reasons why she took her life.

In the series, the tapes make their way to Clay Jensen, who was a close friend of Hannah’s. Clay is terrified and confused as to why he would be on the tapes, as he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

Clay must listen to each tape to find out what he did, and through this, he finds out dark and disturbing secrets from his other classmates mentioned in Hannah’s tapes. The problem is, the people mentioned in the tapes want to protect themselves and keep their secrets from getting out, which means making sure that Clay keeps his mouth shut.

“13 Reasons Why” is more than just listening to see why Hannah Baker killed herself, it’s an unsettling truth about what teenagers are forced to deal with during the years where they’re trying to find themselves and figure out who they are.

“The whole issue of suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but it happens and we have to talk about it. It’s dangerous not to talk about it, because there’s room for hope,” mentioned Jay Asher, the author of the novel, in the documentary “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons.”

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming, and suicide are among the uncomfortable topics depicted throughout the series. Hannah’s life, which was turned upside down by a single photo taken out of context, is the reality of the impact technology and social media have on the lives of teenagers.

That photo meant more than just the bullying of a teenage girl. It became the beginning of what many teenage girls face; being over sexualized and objectified regarding their bodies and their selves.

The producers of the series weren’t shy about portraying difficult and graphic scenes in order for an honest depiction of what teenage girls experience. This made for some unsettling and uncomfortable scenes, but each one necessary to authentically and truthfully showcase what happened. There is, however, trigger warnings just in case it may be too much for a viewer.

In the “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” documentary, Justin Prentice, who played Bryce Walker in the series, stated that, “As a society, we tend to shy away from these hard topics sometimes. In cinema, we do that too, and I think this is great because this says ‘no, this is a problem and it needs to be addressed.”

Although some of the scenes may be difficult to watch, it’s something everyone needs to see to understand what drove Hannah over the edge, why she felt so alone and isolated from everyone around her.

Hannah is no different from millions of young teens in high school. The thing is, everyone has met someone in high school or middle school, who was self-harming, or depressed – or was that person. Its too common for teenage to be harassed and objectified.

“There’s nothing about this story that’s polite. You can really tell a story that’s going to start a conversation,” said Brandon Flynn in the documentary. Flynn played Justin Foley, or in Hannah’s words, “the beginning to my end”.

An important takeaway from “13 Reasons Why,” is that what people say to one another really has an impact on how someone perceives themselves. A negative remark towards someone, although unintentional, could drive that person to the edge. While, a positive compliment could make that person stop and think for a second before they decide to do something drastic.

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming and suicide are things that “13 Reasons Why” took seriously in developing to make it an eye-opening experience. There’s a reason why the series is trending all over social media quickly within the short week it’s been on Netflix.

Clay Jensen seemed to sum it all up perfectly. In his own words, “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other, it has to get better somehow”.