A Safe Haven

Thirty-eight percent of them are date-rape victims. Twenty-two percent of them have experienced physical violence in dating relationships. And annually, 100 of them look to the MSU Safe Place for advice and shelter. They are college-age women, and they defy the false belief that only married couples experience domestic violence. In fact, women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per-capita rate of intimate partner violence, according to statistics released by the United States Department of Justice.
Few students seem to know the prominence of domestic violence on college campus. “I don’t think it’s really a huge issue,” psychology sophomore Georgia Stamatopoulos said. She, like most students, knows nothing about Safe Place. The MSU Safe Place celebrated its ten-year anniversary this year and is still one of the only campus centers for domestic violence in the nation. This is shocking, especially since 40 percent of domestic violence incidents occur between young, unmarried couples.
Erica Schmittdiel, the advocacy coordinator for the Safe Place, noted the significance of an institution to help battered women. “It’s important that MSU has this resource, because the Lansing shelter is often really full.” Even if a victim is not in need of shelter, she can simply call the Safe Place and talk on the phone with a worker or volunteer to receive advice. She can also receive assistance with going to court, acquiring personal protection, and contacting professors to explain absences or low grades.
It is true that women aren’t the only victims of domestic violence, but they make up about 95% of them. Men occasionally show up at MSU Safe Place. “We are also a resource for the family and friends of a battering victim,” Schmittdiel said.
Even with such a reliable resource as this for victims and their loved ones, a constant awareness of possible abusive relationships is important for all students to have. According to the American Medical Association, one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And the telltale warning signs of a victim bear repeating: the appearance of “mystery bruises,” absences from class or work, sudden personality changes, self blame and the blaming of others, and low self-esteem. “It’s present everywhere,” psychology sophomore Kenya Talton said, “and I think it happens to college women more than people realize.”
Unfortunately, Talton is right, and all students should be aware of potentially abusive situations, for both themselves and for loved ones. Domestic violence among college students should not be ignored, and help is available.
If you or someone you know is suffering from intimate partner violence, contact the MSU Safe Place’s 24-hour crisis line at (517) 372-5572. Advocacy services can be reached at (517) 355-1100.

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They Must Be Colorblind

Last Saturday, most people in East Lansing sat with racing hearts and clenched fists in front of their televisions. For four-and-a-half grueling hours, Spartan fans were riding an emotional roller coaster through the rivalry game against U of M. Fans watched as the Spartans lost a 17-point lead and spun into triple overtime, finally ending in a disappointing loss for MSU.
To top it all off, golden quarterback Drew Stanton was injured late in the second quarter, smothering a new found confidence Spartans had gained after watching his stellar performance against Minnesota. All along the banks of the Red Cedar, students’ shouts for MSU to put some vim into their fight were heard loud and clear.
[um] But for the East Lansing students that actually got a chance to be at the football bloodbath, it wasn’t always green and white they were cheering on. In short, the U of M is more difficult to get into than MSU, and it’s only natural that some hard-core Wolverine fans end up at their second choice school, MSU. This leaves such students torn between cheering for their “first love” or their “current fling”, a dilemma felt by engineering freshman and Ann Arbor native Andrew Zawisza. “I was kind of scared, but I changed over and went as an MSU fan,” Zawisza said. “People gave me dirty looks and talked smack like ‘fuck MSU’ and ‘State sucks’.”
The ridicule didn’t change Zawisza’s colors, though, and the game even seemed to seal his loyalty to MSU. “Before the game I was going to be happy either way with whoever won,” Zawisza said. “But then when State got up big and blew it, it made me hate Michigan.”
Other fans just can’t seem to end their devotion to the maize and blue, no matter how long they’ve been at MSU. “I’ve been a Michigan fan all of my life,” said mathematics junior Dan Sikora. “Born and raised, ’til the day I die.” Sikora plans to transfer to U of M after fall semester.
Seeing as Saturday was the 97th game between the two schools, the clash between fans was as heated as ever. There was even reported rioting by Michigan students outside the stadium, with fire included, during the first three quarters when the game looked like it was going to be a blow-out in favor of State. Yet Spartan fans do not go without blame for the hostile environment. “I saw four or five State guys pick out two Michigan guys and try to start a fight,” Michigan engineering freshman Alex Muhs said. “They were in a crowd of blue and gold and obviously weren’t going to accomplish anything.”
With such high emotions running in Saturday’s game, it’s clear that MSU students really felt for their team. But in the background, blending in with every other body painted blue and gold, are the “closet Michigan fans” that masquerade as Spartans to get by without harassment. Sooner or later they’ll come around. After all, yellow and blue make green.

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Excited on the Ice

Shortness of breath, chest pains, and a state of dazed confusion were all side effects felt across the nation on September 15, 2004. No, not side effects of a heart attack, but rather the pangs of withdrawal felt by die-hard hockey fanatics after the National Hockey League postponed its 2004-2005 season indefinitely, due to the league’s unbalanced economic system and disputes between players and owners.[coach]
It’s crystal clear that the effect of the hockey lockout is negative for fans of professional teams, but it remains to be seen if that will be a different story for college teams. With the Spartan’s hockey season heating up fast enough to melt Munn Ice Arena, it’s likely that the drain of fans from national hockey could trickle into Spartan territory. “We don’t have the location of big teams like Boston or Denver,” Head Coach Rick Comley said, “but there could be a positive spin-off from all of this.”
The spin-off of new fans would most likely be satisfied, too, judging from the Spartans’ promising performance at the exhibition game on October 10. The team took a sweeping victory over Toronto with a final score of 7-2. Although the Canadian competition was below par in comparison to the men’s usual opponents, the game supplied fans, coaches, and players with a boost of confidence. “Sunday’s game was amazing,” Russian freshman Barb Hagberg said. “From what I saw, the guys are going to live up to and surpass any expectation put on them.”
Even though the Spartans’ hockey fan base seems lush, it’s too soon to say whether the lockout has actually increased ticket sales. “Sell-outs” are often announced prematurely for hockey tickets, shutting out any extra fans looking for a hockey fix and making it nearly impossible to know how many students actually wanted to buy tickets. “We always want more students in the building,” Comely said. “If the right word gets out there, we could get three, four, or five hundred more students. It would be tremendous.”
Some players on the team feel the increase in fans will be much smaller, if there’s any increase at all. “I don’t think the NHL lockout will have much effect on college hockey unless it continues to next year,” sophomore and Assistant Captain Drew Miller said. “[It just means] I’m not able to watch it on TV anymore.”
If the absence of professional role models is all Miller has to worry about, he should be just fine, considering as a freshman, he was drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
In truth, only time will tell if the NHL’s shocking announcement will be enough to draw a much larger fan base for the Spartans. But one thing’s for sure: the MSU hockey team is bound to get some more attention from the media, and they are prepared.
“They’re hungry to be out there, playing their first meaningful game,” Comley said. Hopefully, the fans will be starving to watch.

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Dude, Where’s My Bike

After three hours of studying for a calculus midterm, the last thing on one’s mind is making sure their bike lock went through the bike’s front tire, frame, and most importantly, the bike rack. Yet, on today’s campus, students don’t have to just worry about the most expensive or attractive bikes being stolen. Bike theft seems to have become a past time for bored students rather than a crime done out of need for an actual ride.[bike]
Finding a bike with a broken lock but only the seat stolen is not too uncommon for a student new to the area. This was exactly the case for Wilson resident Aaron Tawes, whose seat was stolen the night of the Michigan State vs. Notre Dame football game.
“I think it happened because people were drunk and it was a big game, Tawes said. “[It was] just another repercussion of irresponsible tailgating.” Unless the bike seat trade has recently boomed on the black market, theft of this nature is clearly not for use of parts.
If only a wheel or seat is stolen, do a double check of the bushes and surrounding area. It’s very possible that a thief who swiped a bike part for kicks quickly got bored and discarded it nearby.
To stop a seat, or worse, the entire bike from being gone in sixty seconds, permits are the place to start. The Department of Police and Public Safety (DPPS) issues bike permits online, and by knowing the manufacturer number (located on the frame), registration is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. Not only does having a bike permit allow for a bike to be returned to the owner after theft, but it also prevents it from being impounded. Police can impound an unregistered bike at any time and do a post-spring semester “clean up” as well.
The second key concept preventing of bike theft is “safety in numbers.” It’s simple, would someone rather have their child chained up with other children in a busy, well lit area, or chained up alone to a tree? Hopefully neither, but in the case of bikes, the former is the better choice. Keeping a bike on a bike rack rather than a light pole or tree discourages students to blatantly break through a lock and steal a bike.
It also helps to ride the bike frequently.
“I started to ride the bus to try to learn the CATA system and didn’t use my bike for a while,” Brody resident Phil Tularak, a no-preference freshman, said. “When I went to check on it all that was left was a broken lock.”
If the bike is not in use, the best idea is to store it in a bike room, which several MSU dorms provide.
After doing everything possible to protect a bike, it sometimes still manages to disappear. One place to look for console is the MSU Surplus. After DPPS impounds or finds unregistered bikes, they hold them briefly then give them to the Surplus, where they are sold on a “first come first serve” basis.
At MSU these days, it’s not only the five hundred dollar GT bikes that get swindled, it’s any bike, any time, any place. Even worse, it seems to happen for no apparent reason. Yet, there are important precautions students can take to discourage bike theft that take no time at all and save hours of grief over the loss of a loved one. Take them, and then get back to the more important things, like that calc midterm.

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