Security update in progress, allows for better safety

The antiquated security for campus buildings is currently in the process of being updated as a safety measure for a more effective security system.

Facilities management began the transition from physical key access to electronic key card access in 2017 for the majority of exterior and specific interior doors of every building.

“Security is always the No. 1 goal and desire for our campus… the higher security allows us to protect the individuals, protect the university and [protect] the assets,”

Chief of Police Blair Barfuss

The key cards are an advanced security measure to help people feel safe on campus, said Roger Watson, Human Performance Center marketing and building operations manager.

“It limits the [number] of keys you have out there [and] it allows you to have restricted access if you need it,” Watson said.

President Richard “Biff” Williams said the key card access has the ability for facilities management to manually lock the doors from the outside in case of any emergency.

The key card access also allows a key card to be deactivated if it gets lost, Chief of Police Blair Barfuss said.

“It’s a better way of allowing the right people into the right places and keeping the wrong people out,” Barfuss said. “It allows us to track who goes in and out, and to make sure that [the key cards are] being used for the intended purpose.”

By using key card access, the system tracks whose card was used, where it was used and when it was used, Barfuss said.

Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to obtain access to certain places around campus with their issued IDs. For example, if a student is taking a lab and that lab has a key card access pad, the student can request special key card access to get in.

“Security is always the No. 1 goal and desire for our campus… the higher security allows us to protect the individuals, protect the university and [protect] the assets,” Barfuss said.

  Williams said he is proud of the campus police department for doing a great job at ensuring the safety of the campus and taking it seriously.

  “We don’t have safety issues; we just want to make sure as the student body grows the public safety grows too,” Williams said. “Unfortunately, it’s not ‘if’ something happens but ‘when’ something happens.”

This is a developing story. Read next week’s story to find out more about the reasoning for the long transition, and where the administration is with the timeline.

Class schedule change coming fall 2020

Beginning in fall 2020, Dixie State University will likely offer more class times in the morning, late afternoon and evening.

DSU plans on offering more class times so it can meet state standards on space utilization by using classrooms and labs more frequently.

Until state standards are met in its current buildings, DSU can’t have any new buildings approved, but Provost Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs, said that likely won’t be a problem because the DSU administration is in the process of creating a solution.

“For instance, a lot of students like having classes in the morning, but we don’t typically have a lot of classes offered from 9 a.m-1 p.m.,” Lacourse said. “That’s what we’re working out right now.”

According to the Utah System of Higher Education 2018 Annual Report, USHE “adopted a space utilization policy to provide a system-wide standard for the effective utilization of classrooms and teaching laboratories as well as centralized scheduling and an annual reporting requirement.”

Vicki Peacock, central scheduling and space utilization manager, said classrooms must be used 33.75 hours per week with a seat occupancy rate — percentage of students using the rooms — of 66.7% and labs must be used 24.75 hours per week with a seat occupancy rate of 80% to meet USHE’s standards.

According to the latest report on space utilization from USHE, DSU has fallen short of all four of those standards since at least summer 2017. Statistics from spring 2018 place DSU’s classroom use at 22.5 hours with a seat occupancy of 58.4%, while its lab use was placed at 19.4 hours and 56.3%.

So, classroom use needs to be increased by roughly 10 hours and 8.3%, while lab use needs to be increased by roughly five hours and 23.7% to meet USHE standards.

Solutions suggested by DSU in its report to USHE include increasing enrollment and retention, expanding graduate–level courses and programs, designating certain classrooms for community use and certain labs for open study hours, placing smaller courses in smaller classrooms, and ensuring collaboration between Central Scheduling and academic colleges.

Until state standards are met in its current buildings, DSU can’t have any new buildings approved, but Provost Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs, said that likely won’t be a problem because the DSU administration is in the process of creating a solution.

“We’re working on a lot of interesting things where scheduling is concerned,” Lacourse said. “We’re also working on apps and programs to better help students plan their schedules, including [an app] that will help students plan out all four years of their degree.”

Pamela Cantrell, associate provost for academic and budget planning, said the proposal for how best to alter class schedules is still a work in progress and will be available this week.

This is a developing storyRead next week’s story to find out more about the proposal and what it will entail.

Unhealthy relationships prominent in younger women

She attended a high school birthday party with her friend where she caught a boy’s eye from across the room. She was instantly mesmerized. Her friend exchanged their phone numbers for them and they began talking. Shortly after, he asked her to be his girlfriend. It was new and exciting… until it wasn’t anymore.

Leah Zeiger was 15 when she met a boy who she thought she loved. Soon after the beginning of their relationship, he started getting paranoid that she would cheat on him. Then he started getting overly jealous of her speaking to any other guys. When they argued he would trash talk and threaten her. Then, it escalated to physical violence. After arguments, he would beg for her forgiveness and guilt-trip her into forgiving him. Then it would happen all over again.

Elizabeth Bluhm, advocacy coordinator at the DOVE Center, said in the last two years she has worked with nearly 100 women and two men who have experienced different types of unhealthy relationships, including physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.

“The ones who have experienced the physical abuse always say the other two are the worst [because they’re] more scarring and harder to get over,” Bluhm said.

According to loveisrespect, 43% of college women in relationships report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.

The majority of cases involve women between the ages of 15 and 24, Bluhm said. Younger women get into these relationships at young ages and do not understand what a healthy relationship should be.

Bluhm said the prominent reason people are hesitant or can’t get out of their unhealthy relationship is because it begins at such a young age.

“The younger you are the less emotionally mature you are to even recognize the warning signs of an abusive or a manipulative person,” Bluhm said. “People should be taught at a younger age how to avoid unhealthy relationships and recognize warning signs.”

Statistics show one in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

Cindy Cole, Dixie State University title IX director, said those who grow up in an unhealthy dynamic may have trouble steering away from that lifestyle because they don’t know any better.

People end up in relationships based off the environment they grew up in, Bluhm said.

Individuals who grow up with autocratic parents are more likely to find themselves in an unhealthy relationship because they were raised being told how to feel and what to think, Bluhm said.

“That [autocratic care-giving] sets people up for getting into a relationship where they’re not given choices and they’re told and controlled,” Bluhm said.

This kind of abuse can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence, according to loveisrespect.org.

Zeiger said she suffered physical and mental trauma, including severe depression and isolation, and it was hard to become comfortable in any relationship afterward, both romantically and with friends.

“I urge survivors to find the support system that works for them — family, therapy, running, screaming into a pillow, writing a book… whatever it may be,” Zeiger said.

Zeiger said she pursued art as a way of expressing what she went through in a productive and healthy way.

“Mainly, I used writing and dancing to help process my experience and to help tell my story in a way I felt I could control and be proud of,” Zeiger said.

Zeiger said she also received support from her parents, friends and a therapist.

Bluhm said having a good role model and open communication can prevent or help get someone out of an unhealthy relationship.

The most important thing you can do for a friend or family member who is in an unhealthy relationship is to be supportive and listen to them, Bluhm said. Understand that leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship is never easy.

Zeiger said she stayed in the unhealthy relationship out of fear of being alone and in hopes she could change him into a better man.

“He convinced me that I needed him to breathe,” Zeiger said. “I was scared to not give him what he expected.”

Another factor in victims staying in an unhealthy relationship is love; they feel a strong sense of love for that person and it’s harder to leave than people think, Cole said.

“We as a society need to recognize that [abusive relationships] are still happening… and we need to be out there helping people we know and not blaming the victim,” Cole said.

Bluhm said she is seeing more men come forward and overcome the stigma of men not being able to be abused.

“Slowly but surely some of the societal norms are getting changed and opening up for people to come forward,” Bluhm said.

People are wary to come forward due to various barriers including fear of being blamed, retaliation and social pressures, Bluhm said.

Cole said sometimes it helps victims to share their story with the world because it is freeing and liberating to be able to say they’re not a victim anymore.

Zeiger said, “I want every survivor to know that it’s not their fault and that the world is a better place because you survived.”

If you or anyone you know are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, you can reach St. George DOVE Center’s 24-hour hotline at 435-628-0458.

DSU women’s swim “leaps and bounds ahead” of where they were last year

By: Lindsey Grenowich

The Dixie State University women’s swimming team is preparing for the San Diego Dual after placing second overall at the Colorado Mesa University A3 Performance Invitational.

Head coach Tamber McAllister said, “If you can compare it to where we were last year, we’re leaps and bounds ahead.”

The Trailblazers broke 12 DSU women’s swimming records at the four-day meet.

Portia Blackert, a freshman general studies major from Las Vegas, said, “Coach Tamber is putting together a very good team that is getting increasingly faster and stronger over the years.”

This is the last season that many of the athletes will compete at the collegiate level. For the seniors on the team, this is the last chance to come home with a better title.

Hannah Hansen, a senior exercise science major from Lehi, said: “We are just getting back to the grind. We have to build up our yardage to get back to where we need to be. December through January we are just focusing on building up our intensity.” 

Hansen finished the meet with 57 points, tied for fourth place overall.

“I am just enjoying every last minute of it,” Hansen said. “I am hoping to make it to nations again, but I also hope some of my teammates make it because I think that would be the most memorable way to end the season.”

The new Human Performance Center at DSU, which is equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, serves as the team’s new home. The new addition gives them the convenience and accessibility to practice and prepare for upcoming meets at any time of the day. Before the HPC was built, the Trailblazers occasionally had to drive to the Washington Recreation Center to practice because it was the only facility large enough for the entire team.

Kelsea Wright, a sophomore nursing major from Canyon, California, said: “It is super nice to have a pool on campus that I can walk to from my classes and still be on time. It just isn’t the hassle like it used to be.”

The new facility also gives them access to an on-site athletic trainer to help keep them healthy before and after practices.

McAllister said: “Our training space is amazing; we have two, three girls in a lane and that’s really unheard of. It gives us the space to do whatever we want at practice instead of limiting us.”

The Trailblazers will complete in the San Diego Dual on Dec. 14 at the University of San Diego for their final meet of 2019. The team’s next home meet is the Northern Arizona University Dual on Jan. 18.