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What They Said: January 2009

The recession is taking a toll on local colleges and universities. Endowments are shrinking fast, which could affect students in Allegheny and surrounding counties. The average of total endowments to schools in the Pittsburgh area is down one tenth of a percent, which is still much better than the national average of 3 percent. But even the best ranking schools say the penny pinch is about to get worse. St. Vincent College saw one of its biggest endowment increases ever —12.1 percent. President Jim Towey said it hasn’t been easy. ‘When you have a worthy goal for an endowment, you’ll find donors. Of course they want to feel good about the future of the college because endowments are about the future of the college. Maintaining a higher level of services into the future,’ said Towey. Endowments have helped fund the Fred Rogers Center, scholarships for minority students and professorships. But not all local schools are fairing so well. Westminster is down 7 percent, Chatham is down 7.6 percent and Duquesne is down 7.7 percent. Carnegie Mellon took a 4.3 percent hit. The university froze wages back in July and the number of big donors continues to get a lot smaller. Pulling up the local average are schools like Indiana University of Pennsylvania which saw an increase of 3 percent. Robert Morris saw an increase of 3.2 percent and the University of Pittsburgh saw an increase of 3.5 percent.

—WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh, Pa.),
Jan. 29, 2009, 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Political commentator Donna Brazile will offer the keynote address Thursday at a commemorative program for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. ‘Dawning of a New Era,’ which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Eberly College of Business auditorium. Brazile’s address at IUP’s 19th annual commemoration is titled, ‘Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, Obama and Now Us: The Politics of Climate Change.’ 

—"CNN Commentator Brazile to Speak at IUP on Thursday,” 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 27, 2009

Some public universities in Pennsylvania are seeing a surge in applications as students and parents fret over the recession. Applications are up 8.9 percent at Clarion this month over the same period last year. They’re up 15 percent at California University of Pennsylvania, 12 percent at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and 9 percent at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

—“With Jobs Scarce, More Turn to University Education,” 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 23, 2009

The Butler County Symphony Association will host ‘Symphony Idol’ competition at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 in Butler County Community College’s Succop Theater. The symphony is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The competition is the association’s 30th annual contest, which rewards one of the area’s talented, hard-working college-age artists. Five young musicians made the cut from 21 applicants to compete in the finals this year. The winner will receive $400 and an opportunity to perform with the Butler County Symphony Orchestra on March 14. Also, an ‘audience favorite’ will be selected and earn $100. This year’s finalists include: Jamie Betteridge of Pittsford, N.Y., a French horn player and music education major at Grove City College; Steven Cosnek of Coraopolis, a vocalist from Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Christiana Howell of Erie, a voice performance/music education major at Slippery Rock University; Katelyn Olsen of Felton, an oboist and music education major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Justin Ryan Polyblank of Scottdale, an alto saxophonist and music education major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

—“Butler Symphony Holds ‘Idol’ Event,” 
Kittanning Leader-Times, Jan. 15, 2009

Fire safety is probably not at the top of the list when looking for off-campus housing. Mary Robb Jackson joins us with more. Reporter: a young woman from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, IUP, is back at school after suffering terrible burns in an off-campus house fire. She’s not shy about showing her scars and hopes that young people who see them will remember to keep themselves safe. Emma was alone in her off-campus housing on Washington Street. Candles were lit, a fast moving fire started. Emma Sacharczk, fire victim, says you can’t believe it’s going to happen to you, and you should. Reporter: Emma tried to escape but collapsed on the stairs. First responding police officers risked their lives going into the wood frame home trying to pull her out. Officials found numerous violations like windows that would not open. Joann Sacarczyk, Emma’s mom, says I don’t think I was totally aware of everything that you should be aware of when you send a child off to school. Reporter: Emma spent an agonizing two months recovering here. Dr Ariel Aballay, West Penn Burn Center, says 60% of her body was burned. She had burns to her arms, legs, face. This right here is where they shaved off good skin. She underwent numerous skin grafts and surgeries. Emma says about a month into the hospitalization, I suffered a severe stroke. Every year there are an estimated 1400 fires involving college students. The burn center is launching a campaign to prevent as many of the fires as possible. Every year there are an estimated 1400 fires involving college students. This free brochure outlines fire safety tips for their students and parents. Dr Roger Barrette, West Penn Hospital Burn Center, says burn prevention has been a neglected group. Emma is talking about her experiences because she doesn’t want anyone to go through what she has. Unlike most people her age, she doesn’t feel invulnerable any more. Emma says you have to be more aware and just realize it can happen to you. It’s such a cliche to say, but it really can happen to you. Reporter: I am also the parent of a student living in off-campus housing, and this brochure really does contain a lot of good information, things like that mom that I had not thought of. It is available free through the outreach program at the West Penn Hospital Burn Center. Live from the newsroom, I’m Mary Robb Jackson. Really good advice, thanks, Mary Robb.

—KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 12, 2009, 5 p.m.;
WNPA-TV, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 12, 5 p.m.

A fire near the IUP campus almost took a student’s life. Now the survivor is warning college students don’t get burned. College students looking for a place to live often look for bargains, of course. One thing they may not think about is fire safety. That’s where a local burn survivor comes in. As Vince Sims tells us, she’s now sharing her story so that others don’t have to share her pain. Emma Sacharczk, burn victim, says I went through eight surgeries. Reporter: this is Emma, in November of 2007, she was burned on more than 50% of her body. The fire happened in this house just off the IUP campus where she was a student. She was treated at West Penn Hospital Burn Center. Emma says I can’t even put into words how painful it really was. Then on top of like you don’t want to move at all. You’re just laying in bed every day. Reporter: statistics show about 1,400 fires involve college students every year. That’s why West Penn Hospital doctors have published a ‘don’t get burned’ injury prevention guide. It gives title information and simple information college students need to know to stay safe whether you live on or off campus. Dr. Roger Barrette, burn surgeon, says simple things such as do windows work. But it goes beyond that. Looking at cooking, do it safely, candle safety, cigarette safety, a whole host of different things that can prevent another tragedy. Reporter: Emma’s father knows college students can be stubborn, but he hopes the ‘don’t get burned’ program reaches as many students as possible. Bruce Sacharczk, father, says one or two or three read it and see it, and said, hey, maybe I should not. Maybe I should not stay in a so- called slum lord’s place, you know. Reporter: as Emma proudly shows her survival scars, she hopes others learn from what she has already gone through. Emma says it’s really important. People don’t understand that it can happen to you and there’s so many things you can do just to prevent it. Reporter: West Penn Hospital’s Burn Center will be working with orientation coordinators at area hospitals to make sure students receive this safety information. More details now. The doctors at the burn unit weren’t the only heroes in this story. Four Indiana Borough police officers were honored for knocking down the door and pulling the student out of the burning home. The four officers received certificates of commendation from the university back in 2007.

—WPGH-TV, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 12, 2009, 10 p.m. 
WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 13, 2009, 5:30 p.m.

A graduate student who suffered severe burns during an on- campus fire will be working to spread the message of fire safety. Emma Sacharczk was injured in a fire on the IUP campus last fall and spent two months in rehabilitation at the West Penn Burn Center. This morning, she and other doctors at West Penn will discuss fire safety for college students. The discussion starts at eleven.

—WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 12, 2009, 5:30 a.m.

Emma Sacharczyk doesn’t remember the early-morning apartment fire that scorched more than half of her body, or even the day in November 2007 that it happened. But the graduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania can’t forget the months of hospitalization and physical therapy, and in the midst of that, the stroke, that followed the fire.

—“Badly Burned IUP Student Stresses Importance of Fire Safety,”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 13, 2009

INDIANA - Two Clarion County students have completed requirements for graduation from Indiana University of Pennsylvania as of August 2008. Receiving degrees were: Mallory Lee Julian of Clarion earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. Katrina Ann Simpson of Sligo earned a PSYD in clinical psychology.

—“Academic Briefs,” 
The Clarion News, Jan. 12, 2009

The following students from Armstrong County have been recognized as a Provost Scholar at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. At the start of the fall semester, any undergraduate student who meets the following requirement is eligible to be named a Provost Scholar: a current junior with a minimum of 45 semester hours earned at IUP with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Provost Scholar recognition is given only once during a student’s time of study at IUP. Adrian: Kenneth P. Nutter, Waterway Drive, bachelor of arts in anthropology; Deborah Ann Reid, Adrian Sherrett Road, bachelor of science in accounting Dayton: Jason Stephen Schrecongost, Spruce Hollow Road, bachelor of science in management information systems Elderton: Marissa R. Bruno, bachelor of science in education in music education Ford City: Devyn Julia Opalka, Fourth Avenue, bachelor of science in accounting; Brittney Leigh Shope, Fort Run Road, bachelor of science in accounting Kittanning: Angela Kristina Colo, Keystone Boulevard, bachelor of arts in psychology; Mallorie Dawn Franceschi, Westmont Drive, bachelor of science in education in elementary education; Joshua P. Garcia, McCanna Street, associate in applied science in electro optics; Laura Dee Kline, Cleveland Street, bachelor of science in accounting Leechburg: Samantha Nicole Bond, Beale Avenue, bachelor of arts in journalism North Apollo: Sean Timothy O’Neil, Moore Avenue, bachelor of science in education in music education.

—“Provost Scholars Named at IUP,” 
Kittanning Leader-Times, Jan. 12, 2009

Organized labor and business groups are bracing for a battle this year in Congress over a controversial bill that would significantly change six decades of labor-management relations, observers on both sides of the bargaining table say. There are very few cases of coercion by the union, said Charles McCollester, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor of labor studies and director of IUP’s Center for the Study of Labor Relations. ‘The coercion comes from the employer’s side, which holds the power of life and death over workers through collective threats to close or move a plant and individual threats,’ said McCollester, a chief union steward at the former Union Switch & Signal plant in Swissvale.

—“Congress to Take on Significant Labor Bill,” 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 4, 2009

The message underlying ‘Animals in Your Trash,’ a project partnering Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s art department and the Indiana County Recycling Center, is anything but garbage. As part of the project, IUP students made sculptural critter creations bursting with the colors of post-consumer plastics provided by the recycling center. The collection of ‘trashy’ art was on public display in December at the recycling facility along Route 119 between Homer City and Indiana. 

—“Partnership Puts Trash to Artistic Use,” 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 4, 2009

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Police in Bethlehem say the eastern Pennsylvania town had its first murder-free year since 1992. Police commissioner Randy Miller says he knew the city was getting close to the benchmark as December wound down. But he didn’t want to tempt fate. In 2007, Bethlehem had six homicides. Police say they had more time to investigate crimes in 2008 and also were able to intervene earlier in domestic disputes. But one criminology expert says it’s more likely to be luck. Dennis Giever, chairman of the criminology department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, says many killings happen behind closed doors where police can’t intervene. Giever also says better, faster medical care may have saved some victims.

—“Pa. Town Reports First Murder-Free Year,” 
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Jan. 2, 2009

For the first time in 16 years, Bethlehem did not have a homicide reported in 2008. While Bethlehem police officials said they believe officers have played a key role in keeping homicides at bay, a criminology expert said law enforcement officials typically have little to no effect on homicide rates. While no homicides is something residents can be thankful for, even the best police work isn’t likely to prevent them, said professor Dennis Giever, chairman of the criminology department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In many homicides, the victim and suspect are domestic partners and the killing typically happens behind closed doors, not in a public place where police may be able to intervene, Giever said. He also cautioned police not to take credit for a lower homicide rate because that opens them up to criticism when killings rise. ‘Nonetheless, it’s something to be happy about, but it may just be the luck of the draw.’ A factor that can have a tremendous affect on homicide rates is medical care for the victim, Giever said. After an attack, if a victim is fortunate enough to be close to a trauma center, that can make all the difference between a homicide and an aggravated assault, he said. ‘But, if the ambulance is maybe a little slow or that person isn’t close enough to a trauma center, that can change the circumstances dramatically,’ Giever said.

—“City Has No Murders for First Time in 16 Years,”
Allentown Morning Call, Jan. 2, 2009

Pianist Tom Glovier has a history of not letting things get boring. The Observatory Hill resident has a bachelor’s in classical piano performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but topped that of with a jazz piano master’s from Florida State University. In a similar manner, the Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, native now is leading the Phoenix Jazz Project, teaching and working at a music store in Washington County.

—“Personality Test: Pianist Tom Glovier,” 
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 1, 2009