Intramural Sports at Eastern

(From The Campus Lantern – January 22, 2015) 

Eastern is offering many intramural opportunities for students in the Spring 2015 semester. Intramural sports are designed to provide fitness opportunities and foster healthy competition amongst participants.

All Eastern students may participate in intramurals. Students from other colleges and universities and non-students are not permitted to participate. Although the primary purpose of the program is to serve the student population, faculty and staff may participate. All participants must bring their valid Eastern ID to each intramural event.

All of the intramural programs are coordinated through the intramural website, http://www.imleagues.com/EasternCT. All participants must create an account on IMLeagues.com. A team can be organized by a captain or students can join a friend’s team. Students can also sign up as a free agent and be placed with a team.  Sign-up instructions can be found on the website.

Spring 2015 intramural leagues include men’s and women’s basketball, co-ed outdoor soccer, co-ed floor hockey, softball, co-ed volleyball, and additional mini leagues and tournaments.  Each league will have a regular season followed by a playoff tournament.  All information, including dates, times, league descriptions, can be found on the IMLeagues website. The first sport is basketball – men’s NBA division, men’s ABA division, and women’s WNBA division.  Registration is now open.     

All Eastern rules, regulations, and policies must be followed while participating in campus recreation and intramural events.  The Intramural Coordinator and the Athletics administration have full discretion to determine appropriate sanctions against individual participants, teams, and spectators that are in violation of any University or intramural policies.  The IM / Rec Handbook has all intramural rules and regulations and can be found online at http://www.easternct.edu/athletics/intramurals/handbook.htm.

Anyone who is interested in playing an intramural sport is encouraged to visit the IMLeagues website or reach out to Coach Wilde, Coordinator of Intramurals and Recreation.

Sexual Assault and Mental Health on College Campuses

(From The Campus Lantern – January 30, 2014)

A video was recently posted on ESPN telling a heart-wrenching story of a college athlete who was mistreated by her school. Sasha Menu Courey was just starting her career at the University of Missouri (MU); she had always loved swimming and got a scholarship to be on the swim team. Sasha had suffered from “major depressive disorder” for some time. However, when she was allegedly raped by an MU football player, another mental disorder, “borderline personality disorder,” was triggered within Sasha. By this time, she was going to counseling, but was still suffering from suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

In the video, it is very unclear why both the swim team coach and the school officials handled the situation the way they did. The coach dismissed Sasha off of the swim team, claiming that it was because she had hurt her back and that it had nothing to do with her mental instability. Also, a school official came to her hospital room and personally handed her papers of withdrawal from the university. They later claimed that it did not have to be permanent, that she could have come back – but if someone is not in their full mental state, being kicked off of a sports team, let alone being dismissed from a college, can feel like the end of the world.

These events led to Sasha overdosing on 100 Tylenol pills in 2011 and she was declared dead at the young age of 20.

Sexual assault is an ongoing problem on college campuses. The Associated Press (AP) has shared a report by the White House Council on Women and Girls that states that “[n]early 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped in their lifetimes.” That same report also states that “7 percent of college men admitted to attempting rape, and 63 percent of those men admitted to multiple offenses, averaging six rapes each.” AP also states that a recent White House report verifies that “1 in 5 female students [are] assaulted while only 1 in 8 student victims report it.”

Any gender can be susceptible to rape, but the numbers that represent how it affects women can be overwhelming and quite terrifying. President Obama is targeting this sexual assault epidemic. According to AP, he has recently “signed a memorandum creating a task force to respond to campus rapes.” One main goal of this memorandum is to make guidelines for reporting sexual assaults stricter for campuses, and therefore, increase awareness of the issue.

It is important to talk about tough issues such as sexual assault and mental health. These are real problems affecting real people – most likely, some even on Eastern’s campus. Eastern has a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) on campus available for student to talk about such issues. Through SART, Eastern has taken great strides in addressing issues of sexual violence and all forms of interpersonal violence. If you need to contact SART, or if you are interested in learning more about the team, contact Starsheemar Byrum at byrums@easternct.edu or (860) 465-4314. We need to speak up; that is the first step in sparking a change.

Letter to the Editor: Inappropriate Behavior at the Pep Rally

(From The Campus Lantern – October 3, 2013)

Pep rallies are usually geared toward students who want to exhibit school spirit. Eastern Connecticut State University’s pep rally on Thursday, September 26th, however, was geared toward heterosexual men, and encouraged them to see their female peers as sex objects.

The first words out of the host’s mouth were cuss words. His first comments included, “Oh shit,” “This is one sexy crowd,” and “Who’s ready to see some sexy cheerleaders?”.

The DJ at the pep rally played a song at one point that had the line “I don’t smoke crack, motherf*cker, I sell it.” Considering Eastern is a strictly dry-campus, I thought this was an interesting song choice. (Even if the college wasn’t a dry campus, crack is an extremely harmful, addicting – not to mention illegal – drug, and I thought it was shocking to witness Eastern promoting the selling of it.)

The seemingly whole purpose of the pep rally was to support Eastern’s athletes, dancers, and cheerleaders, but that purpose was skewed by sexism. The first sports team to be introduced was the men’s basketball team. The seniors were mentioned, and then an almost twenty minute slam-dunk contest ensued. The crowd was revved up, the players were revved up, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Once the lengthy contest ended, the team left the basketball court and the women’s basketball team was introduced. The seniors were highlighted, and then the whole women’s team sat down. No never-ending slam-dunk contest, significantly less support from the crowd compared to the men’s team, and no revving up of the players.

At this point, I was confused as to why the male team had gotten a whole slam-dunk contest in their honor, and the female team had a measly thirty seconds to shine. The student next to me commented, “It’s because the women’s team sucks.” Maybe they “suck” because of the absence of support from their peers. The lack of time and attention that the women’s team received reflects the lack of respect that the school gave to them in comparison to the men’s team.

Next up the host introduced the crowd to the “cute and sexy dancers” – he objectified them instead of highlighting their talent. At the end of their performance, the host singled out one of the dancers and claimed that she looked like the pop-star Taylor Swift. He brought her to the middle of the gym, and in front of Eastern Connecticut State University staff and students, stated that he was “going to have sex with her.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. The host had just verbally sexually harassed this girl in front of the whole gymnasium. Instead of treating her like the human being that she is, he made her out to be a sex object that was only there for his pleasure. The student next to me (the same one who claimed that the women’s basketball team “sucks”) said, chuckling, “What if that girl’s boyfriend went up to him and punched him in the face?”

The girl’s boyfriend shouldn’t be the only one concerned in this situation. Students, teachers, faculty, and everyone else at Eastern should be concerned that this kind of behavior is deemed appropriate.

I stormed out of the pep rally at this point. I felt so uncomfortable and offended that I had to leave. I came to support my friends who were on the dance team and the cheerleading squad; instead of being supported at the pep rally, the cheerleaders and the dancers were disrespected and treated as sex objects by the host. I had to leave before the cheerleaders’ performance. I could not support my fellow classmates with my presence anymore because I was on the verge of tears over the sexism that went down at the pep rally.

Even though the host was not part of the Student Government Association (SGA), they were putting on the pep rally, so he reflected badly upon them. SGA is a student association, which means that they represent Eastern – so, the sexism and the inappropriateness of the pep rally reflected badly upon Eastern. (Not to mention that my tuition money went into the making of this offensive, sexist event.) What happened at the pep rally needs to be addressed by Eastern Connecticut State University, by the SGA, and by the host. Written apologies are the first steps that should be taken by the offenders. Also, there should be a code of conduct constructed for future hosts of events held at the school. Additionally, the host of the pep rally should apologize in front of the Eastern community – if he could make sexist comments in front of a gymnasium of Eastern students and staff, he should apologize in front of a gymnasium of Eastern students and staff, too.

I will not tolerate this kind of speech or behavior at Eastern Connecticut State University. Those who do accept “entertainment” like this – entertainment that is disrespectful toward the women on campus – need to realize the hateful and hurtful messages that are being sent out.