Body cams now available for DSU police

The Dixie State University Police Department officially implemented body cameras into their police budget as of fall of 2018.

The DSUPD discussed the possibility of body cams after the hiring of the new chief of police Blair Barfuss in May. He said he felt it would make a positive impact on campus and be a useful asset to the police department, having used this technology at his previous position in West Valley.

Barfuss said once the record button is pressed, the camera rewinds 30 seconds, allowing it to catch the incident leading up to the contact. Everything recorded on the cameras is saved and put into evidence and collection release. The recordings are then available to officers if needed for evidence after a serious altercation or when writing reports, Barfuss said.

According to Barfuss, in order for the DSUPD to make this addition to the current police department budget, they had to be more aware of what they were spending and make sure to prioritize what the funding is being used for. The general police fund is used for things such as office supplies, police uniforms, police training and gas for vehicles.

Barfuss said one reason he advocated for the body cams was safety on campus; he said he wants people to know that they are being protected.

Even though there haven’t been any serious incidents on campus between officers and the public, Barfuss and his officers have seen the value in having body cams over the years, he said.

Olivia Koziatek, a freshman general education major from Salt Lake City, said she questions whether it is a necessity for the police force to have body cams if there haven’t been specific reports about students retaliating against the officers or vice versa.

“The cameras might backfire and cause more violence because it’s adding extra protection when nothing caused it,” Koziatek said.

Barfuss said he doesn’t have any doubts about the use of body cams for his officers because he has the knowledge about national research and studies indicating the value of body cams.

I’m going to go with the experts; I’m going to go with the national recommendations,” Barfuss said. “I’m going to do what is seen as best practice in law enforcement.”

A 2018 study by Northwestern Law found that officers equipped with body cams had fewer complaints and less recorded use of force than officers without.

Barfuss said his most significant reason for encouraging the use of body cams is transparency.

“[The body cams] allow anybody to see what’s going on with the officers and how they handle incidences,” Barfuss said.

Officer and training coordinator Daniel Kaonohi said he thinks the biggest change in having the body cams is the public interaction.

“[The body cams] keep the officers honest and I know in the public eye, people like to see the officer is recording everything that is happening,” Kaonohi said.

Tylee Blackner, a freshman education major from Kaysville, said the body cams will do good.

“I think the police having body cams will benefit everyone on campus,” Blackner said. “For me, it makes me feel safer knowing everyone is protected on both sides of the camera.”

DSU North Plaza, Testing Center evacuated under bomb threat, investigation completed

The Dixie State University North Plaza Building and Student Testing Center were evacuated by DSU Campus Police and Fire teams, and students were asked to stay away as a bomb threat was issued Thursday.

DSU posted to Twitter at 11:55 a.m.: “St. George Police & Fire have responded to a bomb threat at the DSU Testing Center, located in North Plaza. The building has been evacuated and everyone is advised to stay clear of the North Plaza Area. We will post an update as soon as we have more information.”

According to a statement released by Blair Barfuss, chief of campus police, the DSU Testing Center received an email at 11:23 a.m. stating that a bomb had been placed inside.

“This was the first bomb threat sent in Washington County of this type,” Barfuss said. “Due to the location and it being finals week, DSUPD and Washington County Bomb Squad responded and evacuated the Testing Center.”

Barfuss said Utah SIAC and the FBI were alerted to the threat, and dozens of identical emails were appearing across the state. A certified bomb dog and officers cleared the building, and the DSU Testing Center was reopened after one hour, Barfuss said. At this point, dozens of locations across the nation were receiving similar emails, he said.

“In general, the emails are poorly written, contain multiple typos and grammatical errors, and request money be sent to a link requesting $20,000 in Bitcoin,” Barfuss said. “If you have received any email similar to this, please forward the email to me and I will provide them to the FBI Bomb Squad commander in Salt Lake City.”

DSU tweeted that all other areas of the university are open to students, faculty and staff.

Students received texts from the university that read: “Bomb Threat at the North Plaza Testing Center. Police and Fire are on the sene (sic). Evacuate the area and stay away.”

Landon Kinder, a junior business administration major from Salt Lake City, was halfway through his micro economics final when he was told to evacuate.

“… One of the people from the front desk came into the testing area and told us all that we had to evacuate,” Kinder said. “Nothing else was said and everyone gathered up there (sic) things and began to exit the building. I didn’t find out it was a bomb threat until I spoke with the women (sic) who gave the alert on my way out of the building.”

Nicole Woods, a sophomore general education major from Las Vegas, said she was in the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building when she heard an alarm and received the text.

“There was just an alarm and warning that popped up on all the computer screens in the library,” Woods said. “Everyone looked around for a second and then continued studying. I was worried but unsure how serious it was. I received a text and the same message appeared on all [of] the computer screens.”

DSU alerted students that the investigation was over at 12:51 p.m. via Twitter by writing: “A thorough search and investigation has been completed. No bomb found. The North Plaza has been cleared and the building is now open.”

Twitter user Mike Robson said multiple businesses and other universities around the country are facing similar events as he waits outside the One City Plaza in Raleigh for 45 minutes. NBC also reported dozens of bomb threats all over the country.

Rico Del Sesto talks importance of scientific literacy, accuracy of science in media

This article is one of a series, which provides media recommendations relevant to the interviewed faculty member’s field, as well as their thoughts on pursuing a similar career path.

Rico Del Sesto, department chair and professor of chemistry, has been at Dixie State University for over six years. He attended University of Utah for graduate school and then travelled the southwest for a few years before returning to Utah. He loves to read Stephen King novels because of their imaginative and unpredictable plots. Sesto’s is passionate about chemistry and helping students to explore and innovate their surroundings.

Q: What science or science-fiction or any other books, movies or documentaries would you like to recommend and why?

A: “Two of my favorite books are ‘Hyperspace’ by Michio Kaku and ‘What if?’ by Randall Munroe. I recommend them to anyone because they explain some really complex theories and consequences of science where it meets our imagination, and the books are written for a general audience – you don’t need to be a scientist to understand the books, or to realize how amazing the universe truly is and how little of it we have experienced or understand.”

Q: How important is it that people become scientifically literate?

A: “I think it is important that everyone take science classes at some point during their education. I think more importantly, people should be able to question things they read and know how to find resources to answer those questions. There is a lot of misinformation out there that anyone can access. If someone doesn’t realize that it’s misinformation, it could cost them in terms of time, money, or in some cases can be deadly.

Students ask me all the time about some ‘cure-all’ product they hear about or some latest statement about organic foods – the most exciting part about that is they knew enough to investigate the claim further rather than just accept as is. A scientist doesn’t have to be someone who knows everything about science.

Anyone that questions a claim or theory and investigates the different perspectives using established sources (literature, people, etc) and coming up with a supported conclusion is doing science.

A scientifically literate person knows what questions to ask, how to find resources and determine the validity of those resources, and use logic and data to support a conclusion. That being said, the resources and references are often the weak point in that process. There is a fairly effective movement in marketing products that capitalizes on people’s lack of knowledge in the chemistry field. Examples include the ‘chemical free,’ ‘non-GMO,’ and ‘organic’ labeling of foods or other healthcare products.

People should know that everything is made from chemicals – there is no such thing as ‘chemical free.’ You need chemicals to live. There are indeed chemicals that are toxic, either through acute or chronic exposure, but you need most of the chemicals in food and in water to live.”

Q: In your opinion, what is something that many T.V. shows/movies/books get wrong?

A: “There are a number of things that they get wrong about science, and it’s usually the science. The labs use horrendous techniques in most of the shows, and their tests are likely contaminated during sample processing! The biggest issue is that they take the science out of the science.

If you watch an investigative drama show, there is a lot of investigation and analysis into who did what in a crime and how, but then they put a forensic sample on an instrument and it tells them exactly what it is and where it came from. In reality, that one test on an instrument is just one piece of the puzzle, and there is so much more analysis and investigation that goes into determining the details of that sample – that’s the puzzle that makes it ‘science.’

One exception where the science is correct is ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ especially the earlier seasons – they generally covered about real scientific concepts, theories, and experiments. Also, parts of Breaking Bad did have proper chemistry techniques, but they underplayed the significant health and safety issues of doing any type chemistry outside of a laboratory setting – working with chemicals poses a significant hazard, regardless of what the application is.”

Q: What is an often misunderstood facet of your field?

A: “People often envision a chemist as being a person in a lab coat and goggles, pipetting chemicals in a lab. That is one area of chemistry, but you can do almost anything with a background in chemistry.

Chemists go on to develop new therapeutic drugs and pharmaceuticals; they can become forensic scientists that analyze samples and/or help create policy in areas that impact the local or global environment; chemists are often at the forefront of the energy industry, whether it is in fossil fuel processing and refining, designing new materials for solar photovoltaics, or developing battery technology for energy storage; computational chemistry is a significant and growing field where computers are used to help understand chemical processes that occurs at the atomic level up to organismal level; chemists can go on to law school or into government positions, since chemistry plays a role in so many policies and laws.

The knowledge gained in chemistry is often just a springboard to build a career that meets your interests and goals while applying your knowledge. Chemistry, and chemicals, are intertwined with everything in the universe, so a person’s knowledge in chemistry can be applied to almost any other field.”

Q: How do you correct the misunderstanding people have of your field?

A: “At the college level, we often introduce how chemistry is applied across many different disciplines, to make sure students understand what opportunities are there. We also offer different research experiences for our students so they can engage in and experience the life of a chemist, even if for only a couple of hours per week.

At the pre-college level, our department is engaged in a number of outreach activities to let kids experience different areas of chemistry. We also have visited several schools in the area to talk about our chemistry degrees and what to expect from life as a chemist.

Q: Would you say science is your biggest passion? Are you following your dream?

A: “Science is one of my passions, and especially chemistry. I have always been excited about chemistry – I thrive on the “why” questions – the understanding why things are or why they happen, the puzzle of solving complex problems, and the opportunity to use that information to create and advance modern technology.

Even since I was in college, I wanted to teach someday at an undergraduate institution, to share knowledge of chemistry, and to engage students in research projects that would develop their own sense of wonder and a passion in the process of exploring and innovating.”

Q: What advice would you give students? Is there anything students should know wanting to go into Chemistry or other sciences?

A:  “Chemistry and other science degrees can be challenging, but they provide students with much more than just the knowledge. The critical and analytical thought processes that they develop are just as important as the knowledge itself – that is why students that major in chemistry can pursue so many different careers.

Having knowledge of chemistry is also important, and most students are amazed at how complex things really are – the oceans, the atmosphere, life itself – that they realize the more they learn, the more there still is to learn. The amazement in discovering and understanding more and more about the world around you will keep you engaged for the rest of your life.”

The answers are super long. I looked at the big block of text and got, for the lack of a better word, scared. Just because he said it all at once doesn’t mean you can’t break it up to make it easier to read. I gave you some example in the first big chunk. Do this will all of them.

Fall fashion is back at DSU

Morning temperatures are dropping below 45 degrees, and it feels appropriate to throw on a hoodie with a pair of jeans before leaving for school, but more fashionable options this fall will keep you warm and turn some heads.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Glamour a few popular trends for women this Fall are animal print, colorful plaid, dark denim, magenta and corduroy.

GQ has the following style ideas for men: a distinctive sport jacket­­, denim layers, bold prints and a goto chino. Trendspotter’s website included ’70s style, athletic accents, militaryinfluenced jackets and vintage checks

This makes one wonder if there is such a thing as animal print hoodies. Plus, there is the added temptation to wear leopard print everything.

“Maybe one clothing item in leopard print, like maybe just your pants or a shirt,” said Rozlyn Melluish, a freshman general education major from Sacramento, California. “Not the shirt and the pants because that’s too much, so make sure it balances each other out. Maybe with a black pair of pants and a leopard print top.”

Hannah Roselle, a freshman exercise science major from Omaha, Nebraska, said dressing well is important to her because it makes her feel more productive than if she were in sweat pants. She said sweats make her feel like staying home and lying in bed.

“I’m so excited about boots, like [Timberland’s],” Roselle said. “I’m so excited to wear those. I just ordered this faux fur jacket from Zaful for $25. I’m excited about that.”

Baylee Stephens, a junior dental hygiene major from Riverton said sweaters, leggings and boots come to mind when thinking of what to wear for Fall. She said she has seen a lot of ’70s, ’80s and ’90s clothing making a comeback, such as high waisted jeans and overalls.

Clothes from Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Levi’s are outside the average college student’s budget since the price range for Levi’s is between $50-$60 and a blazer from Burberry is $1,400. Shopping online is a good alternative to buying designer clothes or going to outlets for discounted attire.

“It’s way cheaper online,” Roselle said. “I go to Fashion Nova and Zaful. Fashion Nova has everything. For jeans it’s $30, where at Pac Sun it’s $52.”

Melluish said she would like to make dresses a fall fashion, so she will wear a knit dress with tights and a denim jacket or wear a long sleeve shirt under a dress and layer that with a jacket, leggings and long socks.

Something comfortable and warm is important during the colder months, Stephens said. She will wear oversized sweaters and leggings to beat the cooler temperatures without sacrificing comfort.

“I have to remind myself to always dress for the weather,” Stephens said.

When dressing for the weather, putting on a sweatshirt or hoodie would be the quickest and easiest way to be warm in lower temperatures, though there is a social aspect to college Roselle said and making a good first impression is important.

Go out and find that pair of plaid boots, the military bomber jacket or cable knit sweater that looks great with a pair of jeans, because fall fashion doesn’t mean you can’t look good while staying warm.

End of sports seasons not end of work for DSU Athletics

Off season does not necessarily mean time off for the Dixie State University athletics department.

The official Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference season has concluded for fall sports, but does not mean the teams are done training, recruiting or restructuring.

The women’s soccer team concluded its season in early November then jumped into recruiting by participating in the 2018 National Signing Day where they signed 11 players for next season.

Sydney Roberts, a high school senior from Lehi, is one of the 11 and has already had the opportunity to participate in activities with her new team. On Dec. 15 women’s soccer will host a training camp for girls 14-19, and Roberts plans to attend as part of her preparation for next season.

“The camp will let me meet many of my future teammates and coach,” Roberts said. “I’ll hopefully see how they act on and off the field.”

Head coach Gerry Lucey sees nothing but success and opportunity as he prepares to enter a second RMAC season with an expanded team.

“This is a very exciting time for the team, re-branding in a way,” Lucey said. “I’m honored and humbled to be the head coach for DSU and can’t wait to train the new players.”

DSU football will participate in physical training and restructuring with a new head coach. Former head coach Shay McClure’s coaching contract was not renewed for the future season.

Director of Athletics Jason Boothe announced the following at the conclusion of the season:”I am very proud of how the team performed on the field this year; however, I am responsible for ensuring that all facets of all programs are meeting the expectations set forth since the conclusion of last season. We will quickly begin the search for our next head coach to ensure continuity and continued momentum for the team.”

This announcement left DSU football with no head coach, minimal staff and fewer players. During this off season, players will need to be prepared for an all new coach and coaching technique.


Division I decision remains undecided

The Dixie State University Board of Trustees discussed the Division I offer in their Nov. 30 meeting, but a formal decision is yet to be made.

Jordon Sharp, chief marketing and communications officer, said: “[President Williams] is currently going through the feedback from the online surveys and town hall meetings, along with the feasibility study data, and will make a final decision in January. The Board of Trustees will affirm the decision at that time.”

President Richard Williams will ultimately make the final decision.

If DSU Athletics does go Division I, all sports would enter the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) beginning July 1, 2020, except for football. Football would be independent.

Athletic Director Jason Boothe said everything is being considered.

Boothe said: “…Finances being the largest factor, but also very important are academic impact on the student-athletes, athletic impact on our teams and student-athletes, community impact/support/interest, impact on the rest of campus academically, socially, and logistically, alumni outreach efforts, and university branding. We found that overall these factors are all affected positively.  Sure, there are some negatives, just as there would be if we remained Division II. However, we feel that the positives far outweigh any negatives.”

While an exact date for the announcement of the decision is still not in place, Boothe said he does not anticipate the process taking much longer.

Southern Utah offers variety of attractions when temperatures drop

Southern Utah is famous for its golfing, cliff jumping, and warm weather. However, for those living here, or even visiting during the winter months when it may be too cold to go tan at the pool, what other options are there? St. George provides many ways to keep up with the cooler weather and still enjoy many of the fun outdoor activities that it is so well known for.

Ice Skating

Although most people enjoy St. George in the winter for its lack of snow and ice, some people would feel like they are missing out on the holiday season without it. Thanks to Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Southern Utahns can enjoy these as well. Tuacahn’s Christmas in the Canyon has created an out-door ice skating rink for visitors to enjoy alongside hot cocoa and a live Nativity scene.

Because ice isn’t commonly found in St. George, they have created state-of-the-art synthetic ice, according to Kevin Smith, Tuacahn CEO.

“It is definitely something everyone should try,” said Kammi Johns, a sophomore business administration major from Logan. “You can enjoy all the perks of Christmas time, outdoor ice-skating and wandering around the center, and you can ditch the giant winter coats and scarves.”

Christmas in the Canyon begins Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, and hours are from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are available for $7 per person, however group rates are available for $5 per person.


Christmas Lights

One of the best ways to spend a cool winter evening is listening to Christmas music and admiring hundreds of twinkling lights on display.

You could easily pack some friends into a car and drive around looking for over-the-top light displays on houses throughout the city of St. George, but several students prefer to do something a little different.

“The lights at the St. George Temple are some of the best in the city,” said Jonah Keese, a freshman biology major from Sandy. “My family comes here every year for Thanksgiving and we all look forward to it. The lights are gorgeous and it’s only a 10 minute walk from campus.”

The St. George Temple has a ceremony on the day following Thanksgiving complete with music and speakers. The lights will be on throughout the end of the year, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the brilliant display.



Steep rocks, cold weather, and ice usually don’t mix super well. This is one of the main reasons hiking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of winter outings. But for those lucky enough to be living in Southern Utah, hiking is one of the most accessible of fun activities to do.

“St. George really prides itself on all the outdoor activities, and the best part is we can do many of them year-round,” said Micah Smith, a sophomore business administration major from Salt Lake. “If you can brave the cooler air for a while, you can enjoy some of the best hiking in Utah.”‘

Parks such as Snow Canyon and Zion are only a short drive away and provide many hikes to choose from, with different difficulties to fit all hikers. The busiest months are in the warmer seasons, so hiking in the winter allows for less crowds.

Southern Utah may be known for its warmth and sunshine, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing all the fun when it drops too cold for swimsuits. St. George offers many ways to enjoy the holidays if you just know where to look.

Student body president aims to follow through on campaign promises

Dixie State University Student Body President Cajun Syrett, a junior communication major from Bryce Canyon, focused his campaign on putting students first and getting them more involved.

As of the fall 2018 semester, Syrett said he believes he has started to accomplish that goal.

“I have planned to implement being honest, integral and transparent by making sure students have information that is public,” Syrett said. “The biggest tool we’ve utilized this year is the Dixie Insider on the Blazer Digest in each restroom on campus. Every week, the Executive Council comes up with a topic that students might not be up to date with. Like the rumors about Division I, for example. If there’s any buzz on campus, I work with the administration to make sure students get the information they deserve.”

English professor Susan Ertel said the Dixie Insider is definitely important, but it might be more effective if it were edited for conciseness and if its font size were bigger.

“There’s transparency, and then there’s wordiness,” Ertel said. “[And unfortunately,] most people aren’t going to take the time to read a long paragraph in a small font size.”

Syrett also promised to add a student voice button to the student government’s website. He said the suggestion form at the bottom of the homepage fulfills this role.

Syrett said: “Every suggestion is forwarded to me and my chief of staff, Calli Gines. We work together to try and efficiently take in all the suggestions as well as reply to let the individual students know that they have been heard.”

Syrett’s goal to get students more involved is getting implemented through student government’s “Invite and Unite” mantra, he said. The idea of the mantra is to make every conversation the student government has with its fellow students an opportunity to invite students to be more involved on campus.

“This could be joining a club, organization, coming to events, getting involved with intramurals and so many other things on our campus,” Syrett said. “If students have a genuine invitation and follow through, they now have an experience that will better unite them and instill within them more school pride.”

Kiel Lambson, a junior communication major from Santa Clara and the communication senator for DSUSA, said he agreed.

Lambson said: “I have been able to see a few presidents come and go. I’ve enjoyed every year for different reasons, but this year has by far been the most unified to help the organization fulfill our responsibilities and have fun while doing it. Everyone has done a great job of getting along and the reason for that, I believe, is Cajun has exemplified the theme ‘Invite and Unite.’”

Two of Syrett’s other goals are to make DSU safer and ensure resources are available for students to help them succeed in college.

To make campus safer, the Utah Student Association Board, which includes student body presidents from all over Utah, met at DSU on Nov. 30 to discuss the implementation of the initiative. The tagline is “Campus is your home, and home should be safe,” and one of the main focuses is on sexual assault, though it includes all aspects of campus safety. Another meeting will be held on Jan. 2 at Utah Valley University and will involve incorporation of different resources to help and empower sexual assault victims.

Next semester, Syrett said he plans to help students be aware of resources at times when resources are most needed. Syrett said he’s also excited to get to work on student fees with the Student Fee Allocation Committee at the beginning of the spring semester.

“This is a time that I really get to be integral to students,” Syrett said. “The committee does its best to ensure these fees are being used to benefit all students. Students already have to pay so much in tuition and fees. If they aren’t getting back from the university what they put in through experience, that’s unfair and not very integral on the university’s side.”