IUP Home | A–Z Index | Apply Now | Support IUP | News and Events | Find People |

Letters to the Editor

Research Gives Tacit Approval

This letter is pursuant to an article, “ On Top of Marcellus,” and my phone call to IUP Magazine requesting the fact sheet IUP was using for its involvement with high volume slick water unconventional hydraulic fracturing in shales for natural gas—fracking for short.

The very idea that taxpayer dollars will be spent to fund a Marcellus shale gas research cluster at IUP gives tacit approval to an industry that has caused damage to human and environmental health beyond repair and has deceitfully and cleverly made provisions for no traces or accountability.

Why didn’t the industry have a research partnership involving government and higher education before commencing an industry foreign to Pennsylvania?

Not one penny associated with IUP’s budget should be spent giving tacit approval by researching the impact or building a knowledge base from secrets only executives of high volume slick water unconventional hydraulic fracturing companies know.  

When backflow from a well site in Juniata Township was reported in an article in the Altoona Mirror a year after it happened, I was told, if I wanted to know where the tons of contaminated soil were taken, I would need to go to Williamsport and do a file search. No records of the toxic chemicals used at the site were available. Portage Township supervisors were not even told of the backflow and had no knowledge of toxic chemical having been spewed in the township. A water reservoir is about three miles from the well site. How far did they frack horizontally? To the general public, nothing happened.

I do hope to get a response to these concerns.  If this industry had been introduced to Pennsylvania in a controlled environment via the partnership described earlier, truth and knowledge would have led to good decisions for good reasons with expected good outcomes with all knowledge and understanding used to prevent damaging harm. This has not been the case. Human and environmental health is threatened by this industry, and IUP should not enable, accept, approve, or endorse the industry or its suspected impact. Incorruptible government regulation and oversight is the appropriate action starting with a moratorium or ban on the industry until more is understood and established about its impact.  That is the moral road to take.

Etta Albright

Editor’s Note: Etta Albright is the wife of Patrick Albright M’72 and the mother of Adam Albright ’91.

Wanting More on Energy Efforts

I read with great interest the exchange in the Summer issue. I would be very interested to read features about the work of the Geoscience Department and others concerning hydraulic-fracking and alternative energy. I would like to see what information the university is providing to monitor, assess, and minimize impacts on the environment.

I am particularly interested in surface spill and wastewater effects in Pennsylvania generally and the Monongahela River in particular. The Associated Press reported that 1.2 million barrels of wastewater was not accounted for. ProPublica reported more than 1,000 cases of water contamination in states where fracking has gone on for longer than in Pennsylvania, and including Pennsylvania. The House Energy and Commerce Committee found that these chemicals include benzene, lead, and diesel fuel. In addition, Pennsylvanians have been killed in explosions, including in Allentown. Those are just a few of the issues I have discovered through my own research.

Concerning the business of it all, I would like to get an assessment of the historic consequences of foreign investors buying and controlling these resources now. The investment in building of pipelines to coastal shipping terminals suggests to me that this gas is for export to the highest bidder rather than for domestic use, energy freedom, or “patriotism.” The real profits from these ventures will go to these places, not stay in the US. I know people in Pittsburgh from Wichita who have been sent up here to work in this industry, as if we didn’t have people in Pittsburgh who could do those jobs of reading township maps and basically being landmen.

At a time when U.S. citizens experience the lowest functional representation in government owing to the campaign finance regime, is the U.S. now an export nation of natural resources under foreign control? Under these kinds of campaign finance conditions, how will Americans defend their property rights and safety in the face of money paid by the owners of these companies to our politicians? It would be good to hear some university historians’ perspective on all of that in future issues of IUP Magazine.

I would also like to know what the university is doing about development of non-fossil fuel alternative energy, since this gas boom is merely a transitional period for us, so we are told. Ultimately, our development as a nation depends on moving beyond fossil fuels and catching up with Europe and China in the technologies and enterprises to do so.

I would like to see the cost benefit analyses produced by the university that demonstrate it is worth all this risk of contamination and destruction of our property values. We all need to see what our tax dollars are paying for at the university, so that we can weigh the returns publicly and democratically. Professor Hovan is correct that all this information needs to be publicly available. I look forward to your editorial program about these important efforts Professor Hovan has told us about.

Brett Barndt ’83
New York City

Editor’s Note: IUP Magazine detailed the university’s involvement in Marcellus shale research, education, and environmental monitoring in the story “On Top of Marcellus” in the Spring 2013 issue. A reaction letter and university response appeared in the Letters to the Editor in the Summer 2013 issue.

I-Uppers: Not Forgotten

I was astonished and thrilled to see the picture of the 1970 I-Uppersin IUP Magazine. I had thought that the university had forgotten about us after the group disbanded in 1985. I was a member of the I-Uppers from 1974 through 1977. Being a member of the group was a great experience, plus it was the best musical organization that I have ever been associated with.

I got all of the names of the 1970 I-Uppers. Front row: Cissy Rebich ’70, Fran Russo Kayatin ’72, Erma Marian MacPherson ’73, Marilyn Phillips Rogerson ’72, Janet Fink Rogers ’73. Middle row: Nancy Beatty Wiglesworth ’73, Sue Liggett McConnell ’73, Debbie Pasternak ’70, Lynne Powell ’72, Carol Stewart Moore ’71, Debbie Myers ’73 (deceased), Carol Vinson Lawfer ’72. Back row: Chris Betsch ’71, Barry Stoner ’72, Rob Cypher ’74, Darrell Arelt ’74, Bill Reefer ’74, John Holt ’74, Terry McDowell ’74, Howie Moser Jr. ’74, Judy Legier ’74, Sally Amero ’74, Kathie Griggs Hunter ’74.

Carol Stewart Moore is a charter member and lives not too far from me. Howard Moser Jr. was the student director during my first year in the group. He also organized the three shows that we did for the university as alumni. Mr. DeFabo (Mr. D.) was the heart and soul of the I-Uppers. The time that he spent dedicated to the I-Uppers was immeasurable, as Mrs. D. (now living in Greensburg) can testify. He was able to bring out talent in the students that they didn’t even know that they had. He retired as the director of the I-Uppers in 1977.

I have a scrapbook of the newspaper articles, programs, and some pictures from my years in the I-Uppers and beyond. I am willing to scan whatever I have and send it to you over time. I know that Mrs. D. donated the group’s official scrapbooks to Stapleton Library.

Ron Markvan ’77


Editor’s Note: In a separate message, Ron Markvan added the following: 
“The I-Uppers represented the university well during their tenure as IUP musical ambassadors wherever they went. Barely a year old, they placed first in the Eastern Regionals of the Intercollegiate Music Festival in the folk music category and placed second nationally among 3,500 entries. They performed with notables such as Jerry Lewis, Frank Fontaine, Shari Lewis, Buddy Ebsen, and Irene Ryan on KDKA-TV’s Christmas telecast for Children’s Hospital. In 1975, they entertained the troops on a 30-USO tour of the Caribbean. For the entire summer of 1977, the Cultural Affairs Council of the City of Philadelphia hired them to perform for the public at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Betsy Ross House.” 

This photo, courtesy of Rob Markvan, shows I-Uppers alumni and the group’s former director Leonard DeFabo, front, left, during Alumni Reunion Weekend in 1997. Alumni also returned to campus in 1990 to perform during the 25th anniversary of the school’s university status.

Transformative, Indeed

I was so excited to see that you ran an article about international study in the Summer issue of IUP Magazine . I love that this fantastic program is being recognized.

As a student, I participated in an international study program through IUP. I went to London as part of the European Teacher Exchange Network. It was one of the best experiences of my education and my life. I would not be the person I am today without IUP Study Abroad.

I really wish that as many students as possible would take advantage of the fantastic international study programs provided by IUP. I was very excited to see that there is now a scholarship program to help students financially achieve that goal. Bravo!

Nicole Sharkey ’07

More from the Fall-Winter 2013 Issue of IUP Magazine

Surviving the Storm

Surviving the Storm

As shrinking high school class sizes take their toll on student enrollment, IUP must rely on innovation to weather the challenge

Dr. Rock

Dr. Rock

Mike Barnett came to IUP to grow musically. Twenty years later, the CU-Boulder faculty member has enlisted the help of an IUP mentor on his latest project—a fusion of metal, rock, and jazz

Message from the President

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Namedroppers | Achievements | Mentors

Photo Gallery | In Brief

The Spirit of Us

University athletics benefit more than student-athletes; they build school spirit and a sense of community. Now, the university has a bold new symbol to showcase that pride

Homecoming, 80 Years Later

As thousands of alumni returned to campus in October to celebrate Homecoming 2013, they continued a tradition that has spanned eight decades


Women are no longer outsiders in distance running, even in races beyond 100 miles, due in part to the trailblazing Marcy Schwam