FROM THE POUCH
Volume 3, Issue 2–September 6, 2016
The Semester Begins!
Fall semester has begun and I hope everything is going well. Remember, our Early Warning System will be checking to make sure you are engaged in your classes at the end of week three of the semester, so be sure to go to class and turn in all assignments. If you’re not engaged in your classes you’ll hear from us offering to help. If you’re a no-show, you could lose your financial aid, so don’t let that happen. You can find out more about our Early Warning System in the previous issue of the POUCH.
I’m happy to tell you that compared to most campuses and other locations in the United States, SUNY Canton is a very safe place to be. The incidence of crime of any type is quite low, and we have an excellent police force on campus and in the village. That having been said, we want things to be even safer here on campus. Here are some ways you can help.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
If you see something that doesn’t look or feel right, contact someone who can help. That someone can be your residence hall advisor, a faculty member, campus police, or even me. It may be that a door has been propped open that shouldn’t be. It may be that you see someone pushing someone else around. It may be that you see someone staggering around who has had too much to drink. It’s way too easy to say “It’s not my problem” or “I don’t want to rat anyone out”, but in many cases, by doing nothing, you can be leaving a fellow classmate in real danger.
I’ve already heard about one incident on campus where someone was being pushed around and other students were present, but didn’t call anyone. That’s unacceptable—it’s never OK to push someone around. There are always better ways to handle a situation. If you see something, say something.
It may also be that you’ve noticed that a friend or someone on your residence hall floor is having a hard time of it. They’re on the razor’s edge. They seem depressed, they aren’t leaving their room, and their personal hygiene has deteriorated. You’re afraid something is wrong. You can let us know that you’re concerned by clicking here and filling out an anonymous referral form. We have a team of faculty and staff who meet every week to address issues like this, and only want to help. If you see something, say something.
Our Green Dot program is somewhat similar to IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. The Green Dot means that you should take action when you see something wrong going on. It’s when you use your words or behavior to stop power-based violence from occurring. Examples of power-based violence are sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or dating violence. We refer to these acts of violence as red dots.
There are two types of Green Dots:
Suppose you see a red dot occurring and you do something to stop it. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can be something small. Examples of green dots are: asking a friend if they need help, sharing your concern with an RA, or taking someone who is in a risky situation to a location of safety.
There are things we can do to stop red dots before they ever start. Examples of proactive green dots are: having a conversation with your friends about ending red dots, hanging a green dot poster in your residence hall, and asking your instructor to host a green dot overview talk in their class.
You Can Create Green Dots by:
- Challenging jokes that minimize violence.
- Making sure a friend who is incapacitated due to drugs/alcohol gets home safety.
- Calling University Police if you see any high-risk situations. From a campus phone, call x7777; from a cell phone, call 315-386-7777.
- Speaking up if you are concerned a friend is in an abusive relationship.
- Leaving a party with the friends you came with.
- Talking to your friends about the importance of being an active bystander.
- Referring your friends to resources when they need help.
- Talking to the students in your student group about the importance of looking out for each other.
And so many more! What’s your Green Dot?
You can maximize your impact as an active bystander by attending a Green Dot training. As part of the training you will build skills to recognize red dots, examine your own barriers towards taking action, and gain the ability to intervene early in situations that can lead to violence. You’ll learn about proactive and reactive green dots and figure out what green dots make the most sense for your life.
To request an overview talk or to attend a bystander intervention training, contact the Green Dot Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YES MEANS YES.
You may have read about various incidents of sexual violence that have occurred on other campuses. In some cases, those colleges responded well, supporting the victim while ensuring that the accused person’s rights were also respected. In other cases, the colleges didn’t do so well, leaving the victim feeling unprotected or jumping to conclusions without evidence.
At SUNY, we take the issue of sexual violence extremely seriously. We have comprehensive policies addressing how to support the victim and how to gather evidence so that the accused’s rights are protected. SUNY was the first university system to endorse Senator Gillibrand’s Campus Accountability and Safety Act bill, which provides support for victims of sexual assault on college campuses. Our own SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher made the following statement:
“SUNY has a long and unwavering commitment to combating sexual assault and we strongly support Senator Gillibrand in her efforts to make this pressing issue a national priority just as we have done here in New York. With resources, training, expert and caring staff from law enforcement to attorneys to student affairs all working together to protect and assist students, SUNY can and should be a national model. Under Senator Gillibrand’s leadership Washington is coalescing and is poised to act, making college campuses safer so we can grow our public mission of educating more students and educating them better than anywhere else in the world.”
I had the privilege of representing the SUNY presidents at Senator Gillibrand’s press conference announcing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, and you can read her press release in its entirety here.
At SUNY Canton, our primary goal is for you to have a safe environment to study and learn in. We need all of our students to understand that yes means yes. This means that if you’re about to engage in a sexual relationship, you need to get a specific “yes” from your partner that they want to proceed before doing anything. You can’t assume that they mean “yes” by their actions. You need to ask. And most important—if your partner is drunk or otherwise incapacitated, their condition means that they CAN’T say “yes”. Only a sober person can say yes.
Too often, sexual relationships happen when one or both partners are intoxicated. Some students think that being drunk excuses them from responsibility from what happens next. It doesn’t. Aside from the obvious consequences of possible pregnancy or disease transmission, being intoxicated does not provide a defense against being prosecuted for rape. Being intoxicated does not indicate consent for sex. Yes means yes, and only a sober person can say yes.
If you engage in a sexual relationship with someone who is intoxicated, you are taking the very real risk that your partner will see things differently when they are sober. You may think they wanted to have sex. They may even say “yes”, but when they sober up, they may accuse you of having purposely gotten them drunk. You may even be accused of rape. That’s why it is important to understand: only a sober person can say yes.
When you are intoxicated, you’re not in control of your actions. Many times, people who are intoxicated do things they would never dream of doing when they’re sober. They ignore warning signs. They ignore when their partner is pushing them away. They think that pushing their partner down on the bed and forcing them to have sex is OK because in their intoxicated state, they think their partner wants it. Only a sober person can say yes.
If you push someone who’s intoxicated into having sex, especially if any level of force or coercion is involved, even if you’re intoxicated yourself, you are committing rape. Dating violence and sexual assault is never the victim’s fault or responsibility. If you’re the one pushing for sex, whether you’re intoxicated or not, it’s YOUR fault and responsibility. Yes means yes, and only a sober person can say yes.
There are some excellent websites on how to end domestic violence and sexual assault. One of the best, which also has an extensive section on the current domestic abuse issues involving the NFL, is called No More, and can be accessed here. The state of New York also has a website for its Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which can be found here. Spend a few minutes and look them over.
DANGER ON CAMPUS
Even though it doesn’t happen very often, whenever there is any danger on campus, you’ll want to know about it and know what to do about it. Here’s how:
First—every student should be signed up for Rave Alert. That way, you’ll know when there’s an emergency on campus and be alerted as to what to do. You should have already gotten email already, telling you that you have been enrolled, and asking you to enter your phone number so we can send you texts. If you didn’t get the email, you can go to https://www.getrave.com/login/canton and sign in with your canton.edu email and password – then add your phone number(s). There’s a link for this on the front page of the College’s website too. If you haven’t signed up yet, drop everything right now and do it.
Second—even on the safest of campuses, unexpected things can happen. You should be alert to your surroundings. If you even have just a feeling that you’re being followed or are in danger, go quickly to a safe location and call the Campus Police (386-7777). Our police would much rather deal with a possible false alarm than have you be threatened by a dangerous situation.
Third—all students should know what to do if there’s a dangerous situation. And you need to know what to do before it happens. There is a useful video prepared by the City of Houston called Run, Hide, Fight that you should watch, which tells what to do in an active shooter situation (though the advice applies to many other kinds of dangerous situations). While the chances of this happening on our campus are very small, we still want you to be prepared. Please take six minutes to watch the video. It could save your life.
As mentioned in the previous issue, our new co-Chief Diversity Officers and folks from our Student Affairs area worked together to have three vigils on campus, one each on August 30th, September 1st, and September 2nd. The first was in memory of those who lost their lives in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub shootings on June 12th. The second was in memory of black citizens who were killed in several terrible incidents this past summer. The third was in memory of police officers who were killed in several terrible incidents that followed, also this past summer.
All three vigils were held at the Memorial Rock near French Hall, and drew large, respectful groups of students, faculty, and staff. Lashawanda Ingram, one of our co-Chief Diversity Officers, thanked the participants for coming, and introduced what the various parts of the vigils were going to be. The first part in each case was a prayer from one of our campus ministers (Rev. Brian Drury, and Rev. Fred Sykes). This was followed up by short talks by me and by Prof. Bill Jones, our other co-Chief Diversity Officer. Lashawanda then invited the participants to share with the group by saying a single word describing their feelings about the event being remembered. The words ranged from anger to fear to sadness to anguish. The group then shared a moment of silence for healing. The program for the vigils ended with a closing prayer. Many of the participants also stayed behind a few minutes longer to talk with each other.
It’s really hard to know what to say at events like these. Words seem insufficient to capture the feelings and emotions associated with such tragedies. On the first day, to answer the questions of why we held the vigils, I told the story of the woman in ancient Greece who had died after a difficult life and was being ferried to the afterlife. Charon, the ferryman, moved by the woman’s sad story, offered to let her drink a cup of water from the River Lethe, the river of forgetfulness—the last river crossed before entering heaven. The woman asked if she would forget her pains from life, and Charon answered “yes, but also your joys”. She asked if she would forget her failures, and Charon answered “yes, but also your successes”. She asked if she would forget those who had betrayed her, and Charon answered “yes, but also those who loved you and who you loved in return”. In final understanding, she declined the drink and said “I choose to remember everything”. We must all be like this woman and choose to remember everything—to learn, to pay respect to the dead, and to do what we can to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.
SUNY Canton in the News
As many of you know, SUNY Canton has been named one of the top ten pet-friendly colleges in America. The demand for space in the pet wing of our residence halls has been increasing, so this year we designated a second pet wing. All 140 spots in the two wings have filled. Well, the Syracuse Post-Standard picked up on this news, and published a very nice article entitled “What’s it Like to Live in a College Dorm That Has 100 Cats?” on August 29, which featured Syracuse-area resident Christina Romanoski, who is majoring in Veterinary Technology at SUNY Canton and is also a resident assistant in the hall, and our Director of Housing John Kennedy. You can see the full article here.
Speaking of Syracuse, the New York State Fair was held there this week. No, I didn’t go this year, but SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher did on SUNY Day, September 1, and gave a short talk about the high quality and low cost of the SUNY system. During the talk, she mentioned that at various locations at the fair, you could pick up some swag from the various SUNY colleges, and then held up a pair of SUNY Canton sunglasses! You can see that historic moment here—it’s at about 2:30 into the video.
What Is “FROM THE POUCH”?
FROM THE POUCH is a blog I write for SUNY Canton students. During the fall and spring semesters, it comes out every week more or less, depending on how busy I am. It consists of news, answers to student questions, and random thoughts that cross my mind. There’s even a trivia contest in each issue—if you’re the first to get every question right, you win a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus. Even if you’re not the first, you get your name published in the blog, and that’s priceless! I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear your comments.
Dr. Zvi Szafran
President, SUNY Canton
Last Time’s Trivia Contest
Last time’s contest dealt with word that begin with the letter “j”. We had a ton of entrants, and our fastest responder with all five correct was Genna Goodman. Just come to my office on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall to get your prize, Genna—a $10 gift card, good anywhere on campus.
Others getting all four right (so better luck next time!) included Ruffels Mackenzie, Anthony Romano, Bristol Woods, Gabriella Vega, Amanda Dahl, Alexis Carreau, Heather Gabetta, Nicole O’Brien, Miriah Mono, Kylie Currier, Kelly Hutchins, Rieanna Dupree, Valentin, Deangelo, Kayna Fenlong, Randi Conway, Charles Hanby, Jacobe Flanagan, Gage Emerson, Allison Farnung, Beoncia Chaplin, Lee Meggison, Jasmine Duvall, Peyton Robinson, Kaleb Morrow-Simmons, Brian Lennox, Erich Mattice, Tabitha Jaycox, Harley Woodruff, Olin Nahjae, Christopher Rock, Ellen Green, and Chris McCollum. Here are the correct answers:
- It goes perfectly with peanut butter. Jelly.
- Successful hip-hop artist, married to Beyonce. Jay Z.
- Star Wars knights. Jedi.
- Actor that played Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, John Dillinger in Public Enemies, Tonto in the Lone Ranger, and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp.
This Time’s Trivia Challenge
Continuing our trek through the alphabet, this issue’s challenge is about words that begin with the letter “k”. Everyone with all five correct wins a $10 Gift Card, good anywhere on campus. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO email@example.com since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- Our mascot Roody is this animal.
- Superman was born here.
- Recording artist who did My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, and collaborated with Jay Z on Watch the Throne.
- Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was from this prairie state.