DSU volleyball hosts 3-day tournament

To open its season, the Dixie State University women’s volleyball team is set to host the 2019 Dixie State/Desert Garden Inn by Wyndham Classic tournament.

Head coach Robyn Felder laid out the game plan on how the team will prepare for the tournament. She said it starts with putting the starting lineup in place, creating chemistry and getting the right timing between hitters and setters.

“We did well last year but I keep telling these guys it’s a new year, so you’re going to have to earn everything,” Felder said. “You got a target on your back so you’re going to start from the ground up redefining who we are.”

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The teams DSU will be playing in this tournament are St. Cloud State, Simon Frasier, Stanislaus State and Northwest Nazarene.

St. Cloud State, Simon Frasier and Stanislaus State were all ranked top 100 or higher in kills per set, assists per set and digs per set in the 2018 season according to the NCAA.

Right-side hitter and setter Megan Treanor, a junior media studies major from Salem, had the most kills, kills per set and fourth-most blocks on the DSU women’s volleyball team last season, according to DSU Athletics

Treanor said she is most looking forward to playing NNU because DSU defeated them 3-2 last season in an intense five set match at the NNU-hosted Fairfield Inn & Suites Invitational.

Felder said these preseason matches are important because they set the tone early and help prepare the team on what’s to come in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Felder said she likes to find what the team is doing wrong in the preseason and fix it. If the girls are not hitting well, or are getting blocked or beat repetitively, they go back to the drawing board and make adjustments.

“You got a target on your back so you’re going to start from the ground up redefining who we are.”

Robyn Felder

Felder said: “Make [the adjustment] in the middle of the game. Don’t wait until the game is over and you got beat on it ten times; make an adjustment. Make them do something they’re not comfortable doing.” 

Middle blocker and outside hitter To’a Faleao-Balch, a senior recreation & sports management major and from Lehi, was second among the DSU women’s volleyball team in kills, kills per set and had the fifth-most blocks last season, according to DSU Athletics.

Faleao-Balch said: “[This season] means a lot because this is our last season in the RMAC and last year was our first year and we were co-champions. So, if I play like I did last year, I can help Dixie take the RMAC this year.”

DSU women’s volleyball will have its first match against St. Cloud State on Sept. 5 at the Student Activity Center at 7 p.m.

Outdoor leadership academy offers leadership opportunities, new experiences

Imagine sailing to Catalina Island on a look-alike pirate ship, or spending four days hiking through the red rocks of Bryce Canyon and Zion. If this is something you’ve always wanted to do, it can now easily become a reality.

The Outdoor Leadership Academy at Dixie State University gives students this opportunity. OLA has partnered with the National Parks Service to create more diversity in the National Parks and public lands’ visitor demographics.

According to OLA’s website, its mission is to provide outdoor experiences and leadership development for underrepresented youth. 

“National Parks Service has realized that their visitation is not demographically very diverse,” said Kelly Bringhurst, director of community-engaged learning. “White, middle-class is the typical people who visit the parks. So, a lot of people from minority groups and other underrepresented groups haven’t had experience going when they were young; so, we [OLA] want people to go and enjoy it.”

“We want to help underrepresented youth to experience public lands and national parks in a meaningful way that helps them to establish an emotional connect to public lands…”

Erin O’Brien

It is important for underrepresented youth to be given the opportunity to explore the National Parks, even if they aren’t the biggest fan after their visit, said Erin O’Brien, biology department chair and head of the OLA.

O’Brien said youth qualify as anyone who is 35 or younger, but most students a part of OLA are high school and college-aged.

“We [OLA] want to help underrepresented youth to experience public lands and national parks in a meaningful way that helps them to establish an emotional connect to public lands while also helping them develop leadership skills,” O’Brien said.

OLA creates a safe environment for students to be in and they can really express how they are feeling, Bringhurst said. 

“I almost don’t want to graduate so I can just stay on for as long as I can,” said Elizabeth Aguirre, a senior biology major from St. George and intern for OLA. “I get to meet new people, experience new places, and it’s really helped me become a better leader as well and helped me open up more and break out of my shell.”

Aguirre said they go on really cool trips, such as four-day hiking trips through Zion and sailing trips to Catalina.

O’Brien said the goal with OLA is to create a “ripple effect,” meaning students who are a part of OLA encourage other students to participate and the cycle continues on.

“Don’t be afraid to come,” Aguirre said. “I meet so many students who say they don’t do well with the outdoors, and all I can say to them is to give it a shot. You’ll find that you’ll actually get more out of it than you think.”

To learn more about OLA or to join, visit http://outdoorleadershipacademy.us/ or follow them on Facebook at Outdoor Leadership Academy.

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OPINION: General education courses unnecessary, limit students

We spend 13 years in school learning basic subjects to prepare us for college, and then we get here and are required to relearn the same material in general education courses.

General education courses are a waste of our time because college is the place for us to pursue the career we as college students are interested in or to explore various classes to figure out what we want to do.

Even students who have a declared major may want to take classes for fun, however, general education is taking away from that opportunity. Without it, students could seek out fun classes without racking up extra semesters of school.

General courses include English, mathematics, American institutions, life science, physical science, laboratory science, fine arts, literature/humanities, social & behavioral sciences, and an extra general education breadth and depth course.

According to the Dixie State University website, general education course requirements are a minimum of 32 credits. By taking these extra classes, our college education is prolonged by roughly three semesters, depending on how many credits you take per semester.

Including my media studies major, general courses and social justice minor, I will be in school for close to five years. However, without general education classes – which are not necessary for my major or minor I could potentially graduate within three years. Now imagine those who have not declared a minor – they could graduate even quicker.

It is rare to find universities that don’t have general education requirements, but there are a few including Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. These schools have what is called an “open curriculum,” or “individually advised curriculum.”

“Open curriculum ensures you great freedom in directing the course of your education, but it also expects you to remain open to people, ideas, and experiences that may be entirely new.”

Brown University

According to Brown’s website, their “open curriculum ensures you great freedom in directing the course of your education, but it also expects you to remain open to people, ideas, and experiences that may be entirely new.”

Every college should provide students with this opportunity because it challenges our thinking and leads to a unique college experience.

Less time in school also leads to less money spent on tuition, which then decreases the amount needed for school.

According to the DSU website, DSU students would save $7,328 by removing generals classes from the curriculum. Just think how much money students would save at more expensive universities.

We may learn more from our college-level general classes, but that’s only worth it if we’re interested in learning more about it; otherwise, the class is pointless to take.

Some may say that general education courses can provide direction to those who don’t know what they want to do heading into college. However, those who start college not knowing what they’re interested in doing yet are typically just work on getting their generals out of the way, not to find what they are interested in.

If we eliminated generals, those uncertain students could instead focus on taking classes that explore their already-developed interests. Then, once they have figured out what they want to do, they could continue down that path and not have generals to worry about completing.

If you are a student who believes that generals does not benefit you or are holding you back from graduating and beginning your career, take action. Reach out to the director of general education and discuss how you feel and why.

You can reach Erin Ortiz, director of general education at 435-879-4268 or email him at [email protected].

Coping mechanisms used in stressful situations

Everyone experiences stressful times in their lives, whether it’s from school, work or personal responsibilities. What matters is how we manage it.

Stress in college is a common struggle for students at universities everywhere; however, it’s important for students to deal with stress in healthy ways. Copious amounts of stress can lead to harmful or helpful coping mechanisms.

“People may use coping mechanisms for stress management or to cope with anger, loneliness, anxiety or depression.”


Coping mechanisms are used when stressful life events occur, good or bad, and in college, this can become more prominent in students. Stress can affect mind and body in various ways which can eventually affect your schoolwork, career and future.

According to GoodTherapy.org, “People may use coping mechanisms for stress management or to cope with anger, loneliness, anxiety or depression.”

There are two different types of coping mechanisms for people, adaptive and maladaptive, and it’s important to understand the difference. Adaptive coping mechanisms are healthy and normal ways that people deal with stressful situations.

“Coping refers to the human behavioral process for dealing with demands, both internal or external, in situations that are perceived as threats,” according to Positivepsychology.com.

A few prime examples of this kind of coping mechanism can include support, relaxation, problem-solving, physical activity and humor.

Maladaptive coping mechanisms are harmful to the body and mind and can cause extreme physical and mental issues if not treated. These coping mechanisms can include escape, unhealthy self-soothing, numbing with drug and alcohol abuse, compulsions and risk-taking, and self-harm.

Students may turn to maladaptive coping mechanisms because “the overpowering stress can make people feel hopeless and try to find other solutions to make themselves feel better,” said Jessi Anderson, a freshman nursing major from Kanab.

Dixie State University has many resources such as the tutoring center, study rooms and various events during finals week to help students relieve stress. Students can also create healthy coping mechanisms by finding new interests in activities like such as sports, reading, self-care and even making new friends.

If you or someone you know are struggling with maladaptive coping mechanisms, contact the Health and Counseling Center at (435) 652-7755 available Monday-Friday 9 a.m-5 p.m and closed Saturday and Sunday.

You may also visit https://wellness.dixie.edu/mental-health-services/ for additional mental health professional contacts.

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DSU, 10 DSU faculty being sued for termination of professor

Another former Dixie State University professor has officially filed a federal civil lawsuit against the university which relates to events beginning around 2015.

The federal complaint was filed by former tenured music professor Ken Peterson on Aug. 19, a little over a year after his initial dismissal in March of 2018. His termination, as well as the disciplinary actions put on his coworker and assistant professor of music, Glenn Webb, was the cause of contentious situations across campus including a protest, a last chance agreement letter, and a faculty call to action.

What happened?

According to the official complaint, Peterson is filing on the claims of “breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, tortious discharge in violation of public policy, and other violations of Utah State Law committed by Defendants,” as well as compromise of his First Amendment rights.

Peterson’s complaint chronologically describes the events that ultimately led to his termination and his eventual lawsuit, including disagreements about former theater professor Varlo Davenport’s dismissal, disputes between him and the former chair of the theater department, Mark Houser, and a Last Chance Agreement that Peterson has called “punitive, vindictive, disenfranchising and dehumanizing.” Peterson also argues DSU did not follow Policy 371 throughout his firing process.

Policy 371, or the faculty termination policy, outlines the process that should be followed in the case of faculty dismissals. Since Peterson was a tenured professor, a faculty review board was assembled to weigh in on whether Peterson should be reinstated.

After deliberation and a court-like hearing from both parties, the board recommended to President Richard “Biff” Williams that Peterson be reinstated after a two-week suspension.

According to section 4.5 of policy 371, the president has three options after receiving this recommendation: accept the decision of the board, hold further proceedings and get a second opinion, or reject the board’s decision.

In Peterson’s case, Williams recused himself from the decision since he was involved in the case and sent it to Elizabeth Hitch, associate commissioner for academic and student affairs for Utah System of Higher Education. Hitch determined Peterson should be reinstated with a last chance agreement document, which Peterson refused to sign due to fears of First Amendment infringements.

The LCA listed 28 points that Peterson would have had to sign in order to be reinstated and included things such as not posting “unfounded or untruthful derogatory statements” toward the university on social media.

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The lawsuit

According to the official statement of the university: “Dixie State University is committed to expanding opportunity, to excellence, and to creating the diverse community essential to fulfilling its mission of higher education. In the matter regarding Dr. Peterson, Dixie State followed standard personnel policies and procedures which provided Dr. Peterson the opportunity to return to his professorship on campus. While this matter is in active litigation, the University will refer all inquiries to the Utah Office of the Attorney General.”

Peterson is specifically filing against Williams, General Council Doajo Hicks, Provost Michael Lacourse, DSU Investigator Lynn Joseph, DSU as an institution, and 10 others whose names are not listed.

All DSU employees named in the lawsuit declined to comment.

The amount Peterson is seeking in this lawsuit is not stated in the original complaint. According to the complaint, “Peterson has suffered in an amount to be proven at trial.”

Both Peterson and his lawyer, Benjamin Lusty, declined to comment.

“I would sum up my experience with the current administration at DSU as an ongoing interaction with a group of people committed to self-preservation through mendacity,”

Varlo Davenport

A look to the future

Davenport, who is currently suing DSU for around $22 million, said things were hard after being terminated from the university, especially when it came to finding new work.

“After I was terminated I applied for university teaching positions all around the country and was invited to interview several times, but it never went any farther than that,” Davenport said. “I was finally hired as a car salesman in St. George, and with a great deal of help from family and friends we were able to limp along for a while.”

Davenport is now working for the Salt Lake School for Performing Arts.

“It took time,” Davenport said. “There were some board members who were very reluctant to hire me based on what they read online, but the principal, Ron Literal, took my ‘not guilty’ verdict at face value and went to bat for me.”

Davenport said he suspects this will be a long process and that his case is to be scheduled soon.

“Simply put, I would sum up my experience with the current administration at DSU as an ongoing interaction with a group of people committed to self-preservation through mendacity,” Davenport said.

Peterson said he is currently keeping busy with the Southern Utah Heritage Choir, piano work, his family and a book project he said he has been working on for a very long time.

OPINION: Is 18 too young to be considered an adult?

As a kid, turning 18 seemed like the destination point we all wanted to get to, but once we reach this age, everything changes.

While we all would like to consider ourselves adults, the majority of 18-year-olds are not quite ready for the responsibility that comes with that title.

I remember my 18th birthday like it was yesterday. I went from a carefree teenager who’s only worry in life was to try and go to bed at a reasonable hour and stressing out about how I was going to pay for everything. I think that I can safely say that I am the poster child for the argument that 18 is too young to be considered an adult.

“A lot of 18-year-olds are still in school. As teenagers, they are still going through a lot emotionally and mentally,” according to The Should, “Some are of the opinion that they lack the maturity to be regarded as adults. It makes no sense in legally stating they are adults when they aren’t yet capable of acting like one.”

The Should stated that by deeming an 18-year-old as an adult, we are simply picking an age to declare the difference between an adult and a child. Just because the law has given the age of 18 the official title of adulthood, not every 18-year-old is instantly ready to handle that transition.

An article Mother Nature Network stated that the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25. Therefore, the next few years of a young adults life are crucial to learn and develop skills such as impulse control and problem-solving.

“As teenagers, they are still going through a lot emotionally and mentally… It makes no sense in legally stating they are adults when they aren’t yet capable of acting like one.”

The Should

“In studying scans of the adolescent brain, neurologists have learned that when kids are around the age of 18, their prefrontal cortex is only halfway developed,” the Mother Nature Network said. “This is the area of the brain that helps control impulses, solve problems, regulate emotions and organize behavior.”

If we argue that 18-years-old should be considered adults, then why are there still so many things that are permitted at that age? For instance, you can’t legally drink alcohol until you are 21 and you can’t rent a car until you are 25. If 18 is the magic number that deems us all as adults, why are you not allowed access to these things at that age?

Growing Leaders says because we are expected to live longer lives there is no point in jumping into adulthood.

“Often young adults argue that since they’ll likely live to 90 or even 100 years old, why should they rush their entrance into adulthood or careers,” said writers of Growing Leaders.

 Even though 18-year-olds are given a substantial amount of responsibilities, adulthood should not come so abruptly. I think that the legal age of adulthood should be pushed to 21-years-old because that gives individuals time to slowly transition from a kid to an adult. We should all strive to spend those years growing and learning from our experiences so that we will be better prepared for what the future has in store. Needless to say, there is plenty of time to grow up and take on such responsibilities; live in the moment and enjoy where you are right now.

New tunnel creates easy access to campus for students

After years of planning and six months of construction, the new pedestrian underpass located at 400 South is open to St. George residents and Dixie State University students.

Thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation and a partnership among DSU, the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city of St. George, the idea of a tunnel connecting DSU’s east and west campus came to life.

The walkway gives DSU students living on the east side of the freeway an easier route to campus while avoiding the busy 100 South and 700 South streets.

UDOT Regional Director Rick Torgerson said this project is something everyone in the city can use and hopefully reduce some of the congestion in St. George.

While the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new walkway, officially named Trailblazer Tunnel, was held Aug. 27 at noon, the tunnel became accessible on Aug. 19, the first day of classes at DSU.

Sebastian Garcia, a freshman psychology major from Fillmore, said the underpass has made his walk to school easier since he no longer has to go around the freeway.

“I think this tunnel is very efficient in helping students get to class on time in a safer way and makes being closer to campus and the campus atmosphere more accessible,” Garcia said.

The Trailblazer Tunnel is approximately 200 feet long, 16 feet wide and 10 feet high. Inside the tunnel, there are cameras, several light fixtures and an emergency button that a person can use to alert police if they are in danger.

According to a media fact sheet presented at the ceremony, UDOT paid for half of the $2.8 million project at $1.4 million, the city and DSU each paid $600,000, and DMPO paid $200,000.

Mariah Breaux, a junior health administration major from Las Vegas, said this new tunnel has already drastically helped her daily commute.

“Now I don’t have to wake up 30 minutes earlier just to walk to class,” Breaux said. “Also, the convenience of being able to hang out with friends more easily and not have to plan it out, bust a whole mission or make accommodations for them to pick me up.”

The DSU University Marketing and Communication Department is hosting a tunnel mural contest. The winner of the contest will receive $1,000, and their original artwork will encompass the entire west entrance of the Trailblazer Tunnel. For more information regarding the contest visit umac.dixie.edu/trailblazer-tunnel-mural-contest.

Campus scare caused by confused caller

I was alone in the newsroom when I received a campus alert about a suspicious man wearing a bulletproof vest nearby. I didn’t get the notification that it was a false alarm until an hour later.

A campus alert was sent informing students of a “suspicious male wearing [a] bullet proof vest [and] camouflage pants” walking toward the center of campus from Nisson Towers. Further messages stated that the suspect was located and questioned by the police, who found that no crime had occurred. Specifically, the man had been wearing motorcycle gear, which was confused as a bulletproof vest by the person who had called the police.

Posts on Dixie State University’s social media an hour later confirmed that the situation was a false alarm. During that hour, students and faculty braced themselves for the worst.

“We pushed tables against the door and waited,” English professor Stephen Armstrong said. “No chance to run. We were ready to fight.”

Mark LaVoie, an assistant professor of media studies, said he had his students hide in the corner of his classroom until he confirmed with police that it was safe to resume normal activities.

DSU’s public information release about the incident said a resident adviser noticed a suspicious man wearing camouflage pants and what appeared to be a bulletproof vest just after 2 p.m. The resident adviser called dispatch at 2:13 p.m., with St. George police arriving 10 minutes later to assist campus police. Campus alerts were sent out starting at 2:31 p.m., and police had located the suspicious man at 2:40 p.m. at the Kenneth N. Gardner Student Center and quickly determined the man was wearing a motorcycle vest and wasn’t a threat.

There were roughly 10 minutes between the alerts and the determination that the man wasn’t a threat, but it took an hour for some students to be notified of the false alarm.

“Many people received multiple notifications of each specific message sent through phone, text, email and the notification system on campus, causing some to complain about too many notifications being received,” said Blair Barfuss, chief of campus police. “We try really hard to be very aware of our use of the campus alerts system, and believed the need to inform outweighed the possible inconvenience of over notification.”

Barfuss said he recommends that the community sign up for campus alerts at https://safety.dixie.edu/emergency/dixie-alert-system/ and use the page to educate themselves about how the system works.

Artist Claudia Hecht offers modern twist on cultural art

Have you ever been to an art exhibit? If not, now is your chance to go. Claudia Hecht, an award-winning artist, is currently displaying her prized pieces in the Dixie State University Sears Art Museum.

Hecht is a Mexican-American artist who has had various exhibits across the world showcase her work. According to her website, “Hecht has melded those influences and created a unique style, which is largely characterized by the prominence of abstract hybrid figures and forms, often derivative of distinctly Mexican themes, the degree of abstraction depending upon the underlying aesthetic and the choice of colors shapes and proportions used to achieve such.”

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Hecht’s art is typically based on Incan and Mayan cultures with a modern twist.

David Newren, her representative from Arte Divine, said “Well, as an artist, [Claudia] uses all mediums: she draws, paints, [and] uses mosaics. She doesn’t just limit herself to one technique. Most artists can’t achieve that.”

Hecht’s most popular art pieces include “Transformation”, “Luminary” and “Abundance”.

Print version: Hecht’s art includes pieces such as “Transformation” which depicts a large two-headed, two-faced green sculpture with a dog face and a human face, “Luminary” which stands tall with colorful pillars and flame-shaped tips pointing upward, and “Abundance” which displays a large silver curved sculpture.

Art Professor Glen Blakely encourages students in all creative genres to participate in the art exhibit as a means of inspiration.

“When I saw some pieces [in the exhibit] that were inspired by Klimt, Picasso, and the areas in Mexico, I thought I just need to gear up another notch, and it made me want to do better and bigger and more beautiful works of art that I’ve ever done,” said Blakely.

Madison Boyd, a sophomore recreation and sports management major from Salt Lake City, admires Claudia Hecht’s sculpture at the Sears Art Museum. Hecht’s art will be in the Sears Art Museum until Oct. 18th. Photo by Madison Anderson.

“[Claudia] uses all mediums: she draws, paints, [and] uses mosaics. She doesn’t just limit herself to one technique. Most artists can’t achieve that.”

David Newran

Hecht is known for her unique techniques where she Produces art on large gold leaves and wood, large scale sculptures (up to 700 pounds) and painting and sculpting intricately on various materials.

“Claudia started a technique that artists copy from her, and not many artists can start a movement like that,” Newren said. “She’s not following anyone else, she’s blazing the trail.” 

“I really love all primitive culture,” Hecht said. ” African, Hindu, and many others. I get inspired by them but I do my own version… My art is something I developed myself, I created my style, with my own contemporary style… I want people to see that.”

The selection of sculptures and art in the Sears Art Museum Exhibit is a showcase of Hecht’s favorite pieces that remain in her private collection; they are not for sale.

Hecht’s work will be displayed at the DSU Sears Art Museum until Oct. 18, You can visit for free Monday-Friday from 9 a.m-5p.m.

OPINION: Women’s rights are human rights

Women’s Equality Day was Monday, Aug. 26, and although this day celebrates equality of women, the state of Utah (and the United States as a whole) are not showing that equality very well.

According to an article published by The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah was voted the worst state for women’s equality. How could this be? Women bring so much knowledge and have such high potential to change the world. Women bring a whole new perspective when it comes to politics, economics, business, etc., to be more women’s equality in all aspects of life.

Although women’s rights have come a long way, there is still a long way to go. There is still a significant gender pay gap in all industries. On average, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.

“Women have the potential to literally change the world.”

Noelle Spencer

In Utah, it’s worse. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, women in Utah make 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, making it the biggest gender pay gap in the U.S.

In addition, women only make up 20 percent of Congress and other government positions. With that being said, more women are running for government offices, but they are not being elected in.

If the U.S. government was more evenly split between men and women, decisions made would reflect more accurately on the wants and needs of both women and men, not just men making decisions that should be made by a woman.

For example, the decisions and laws put into place concerning birth control and abortion are decisions that should be made by women since women are the ones who are directly affected by it.

Government leaders need to proactively support women and encourage women to focus on their careers (if they prefer), rather than being a stay at home mom and focusing on creating a family. Women have the potential to literally change the world.

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As a native of Utah, it is disappointing to call somewhere home that takes women’s equality so lightly. Utah can do better and should do better. The government leaders need to recognize the importance of women’s equality and be willing to change things.

Women’s rights are fundamental human rights and women should be given the same rights and opportunities as men, always. The U.S. and the state of Utah especially has a long way to go.

As students at Dixie State University, we can begin the change of creating more equality by voting women into office, signing petitions for higher pay for women, and encouraging our fellow women to never give up on their dreams and goals, no matter what.