Annual crime report shows increase in drug violations

Esther Peralez has an actual badge that says “SHERRIF,” but for the vice president of student affairs, the increase in drug law violations is more about education than enforcement. “I’m really about accountability. I’m really about teachable moments and educational moments,” she said. “So if we say that there are no drugs or alcohol on campus, why are we turning our heads if there is?” The release of the 2010 Annual Clery Crime Report revealed increases in arrests and referrals for several crimes. Drug law violation referrals increased by 337 percent while arrests increased by 57 percent in the residence halls. Drug arrests on campus increased by 90 percent. “Drugs and alcohol are probably not a good choice,” Peralez said, “but for many of you, you’re probably going to try it.” Peralez would rather call those people in and discuss the opportunities that the students are jeopardizing. “For some it’s scary enough that they stop and you don’t see them again,” she said. “For others, they keep pushing the envelope and finally you’re suspended.” For the first time last year, Peralez said that all of the Residence Hall Directors had their Master’s degrees. She believes that the increase is due to the maturity level of the RHDs and their willingness to work with students and discover drug problems. Police Chief Jon Kelley also attributes the increase in referrals to the awareness and education of students by Residential Life and Student Affairs. Despite several increases, Kelley believes that the report still shows that Western’s campus is safe. “I see no murders and no manslaughters,” Kelley said. “I’m happy about that.” Kelley said that most of the drug related arrests are for drug paraphernalia or marijuana. “You’ve got to remember, we live on a college campus,” he said, “and when you live on a college campus those things are going to happen.” Putting things into perspective, Kelley said that out of the roughly 1000 residential students, Western police only arrested 19 for drug law violations. From 2009 to 2010, the number of liquor law violations went from 20 to 28, or a 40 percent increase. “I don’t think drug arrests are any more serious than alcohol arrests,” Kelley said. “If you look across the country, alcohol kills more people every year than drugs — alcohol related incidents.” Mel Klinkner, vice president for financial planning and administration, believes that the report reflects that Western is a safe campus. “I think we have heightened the awareness of it,” Klinkner said. “I think it’s always difficult to determine what causes the change from year to year. Sometimes you can point to it.” The largest increase in the report was the increase in referrals, which Klinkner attributes to the education of Student Affairs and Residential Life. “To me it’s more of students taking ownership in it,” Klinkner said. Another staggering number is the increase in sexual offenses. In 2010 the number of forcible sexual offenses increased by two, which was zero in 2009. “There’s a couple of sexual offenses,” Kelley said, “and of course we always want to work on those and refer those people to the areas they need to be referred to for their benefit.” While the number of forcible sexual offenses has increased, Kelley said that neither of these were offenses by strangers to the victims. Kelley believes that the reason this number is low is because of the proactive enforcement of the other violations. “We take the drug offenses and alcohol offenses seriously,” Kelley said. “But the majority of crimes that are committed today, those types or crimes, are committed by people who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.”

Karaoke lets Western the hit high notes

Recently appointed Director of Entertainment Sebastian Smith rocks out to Journey's Don't Stop Believing
  [caption id="attachment_6483" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Recently appointed Director of Entertainment Sebastian Smith rocks out to Journey's Don't Stop Believing"][/caption] A hopeful student approaches the mike as the huge crowd stops their laughter and awaits the upcoming talent. The student is scared yet confident that their voice will harmonize like the brilliant tones of a canary. Yet as the words come along the screen, the student realizes that he doesn't know exactly how the song goes, causing him to hum what he doesn't know and below out the little amount know as that of an angry black crow. This was the normal talent that graced the stage of the WAC Karoke night, held in Blum food court on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.. WAC president Robin Ussher felt having the karaoke show in the food court  would be more beneficial for student enjoyment and would spark student attendance at WAC events. The show, which had numerous people in attendance either awaiting to perform or stopping by as they were waiting for food, had the most student participation in a single event for the entire year. "It's something different that WAC has never really done before," Ussher said. "I did some research and I found "Karaoke Productions" from Kansas City, Missouri and she had a really cool package with music videos and lights and stuff that would really make it fun for everybody that came out for it. We decided to give it a try." Around 30 to 35 people showed Western their gums as they sang along to Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Journey and Lauren Hill. Some came in groups, others came in pairs and some crooners flocked to the mike solo. Yet everyone showed what they can do; both the good and the ugly. "I like the way this works because it's not a matter of people committing to go," Ussher said. "Things for like the talent show and other events, people have to decide that they are going and have to go out of their way to go to it. This event is kind of hard to miss. We are catching everybody at dinner time. They can make a split decision and boom they are here in attendance. It's a lot of fun. A couple of our very own WAC members have been up there [singing] with very impressive voices." videos and lights and stuff that would really make it fun for everybody that came out for it. We decided to give it a try.” Around 30 to 35 people showed Western their gums as they sang along to Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Journey and Lauryn Hill. Some came in groups, others came in pairs and some crooners flocked to the mike solo. Yet everyone showed what they can do; both the good and the ugly. “I like the way this works because it’s not a matter of people committing to go,” Ussher said. “Things for like the talent show and other events, people have to decide that they are going and have to go out of their way to go to it. This event is kind of hard to miss. We are catching everybody at dinner time. They can make a split decision, and boom: They are here in attendance. It’s a lot of fun. A couple of our very own WAC members have been up there [singing] with very impressive voices.” Among these “impressive voices” was WAC Director of Entertainment Sebastian Smith who sang numerous times on the stage to daring songs such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Smith however, who recently received a job singing at World’s Of Fun as an entertainer, was one of the night’s highlighted singers and kept the crowd amused. “Starting in November you can see me on the comedy city stage in downtown Kansas City doing improve,” Smith said. “[Singing] is a hobby that I would really like to explore in the future.” Smith also feels that not only students but WAC members should focus on showing good attendance at events. “We want to gain a lot of buzz about WAC,” Smith said. “Students are paying for these events in their tuition. As a member of WAC, you are planning, organizing and working these events. But you are also a student. If you want to participate in these event, chances are other students will to. Whether karoke night was just a fun event catered for student enjoyment, or a revealing of Western talent and future celebrity singers and songwriters, the night will  definitely leave campus wanting more from WAC in their future events. Charlonda Bozeman expresses how fun the show was and believes the location was a smart idea. “Having it in the food court is common because everybody hangs out there and it is a popular spot,” Bozeman said. “WAC events are important to attend to be social to have something to do. It is good to get your name out there.

Stress: How to juggle it all

Whether it’s making grades, keeping scholarships, maintaining work and school or building relationships, college students are always stressing out about something. On Oct. 29 physical therapy majors in Eder Hall 208 hosted a stress management seminar. The 14 students that were in attendance were also treated to a free massage. For Katie O’Toole, a massage is exactly what she needed. “The massage was amazing, it felt really good. I could almost feel every negative thing in my body just melting away,” O’Toole said. “Sometimes you just have to unwind and let everything go.” There can be many reasons why someone is stressed out, but there are also many ways to handle stress. Counselor Steve Potter, who was the presenter at the stress management seminar, presented some of the ways students can deal with the stress in their life. “I practice what I preach, everyone handles what life gives them differently,” Potter said. “Some people just need to talk it out with themselves. It’ll take time to master a way that works for you. Sometimes people just need to recharge their batteries and do things that they enjoy doing.” Time management may be difficult for college students but it is important for success. Balancing work, school and everything in between is something that “For me it is not as stressful as it once was, since I now work here on campus and go to school,” Shannon Ebling said. “With working here it gives me more time to get homework done, and unlike other jobs, here at Missouri Western, they will work more around your school schedule.” On a campus with a large non-traditional population, older students like Marilyn Colboch, usually have more on their plate than traditional students. “I’ve been to college once before, and honestly I think it varies on the individual,” Colboch said. “Everyone’s circumstances in their lives are different, and how they deal with them are different as well.” Regardless of age, students who are having trouble managing their stress should consider counseling. The counseling center at Missouri Western is located in room 203 of Eder Hall. Counselors are there Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. You can simply go into their office or call them at (816) 271-4327 to set up an appointment.

Intramurals increase student involvement

The Intramural Sports program at Missouri Western State University provides an opportunity for all students to enjoy satisfying experiences according to their particular needs; which vary from highly competitive to recreational. There are many intramural sports a student can participate in, varying from the always popular and competitive flag football to a more relaxed sport like bowling. Other available intramurals are powder puff football, billiards, kickball, badminton, volleyball, racquetball and dodge ball. Recreational Services Facilities Director Wonda Berry said, “A student should play intramurals because it gets them engaged in the university experience itself. It gets them out of their dorms, and allows them to meet other students and extend their high school years of sports activity.” For someone to sign up to play an intramural sport all one has to do is go to the Front Service Desk in the Looney Complex and fill out an entry form, stating what they’re wanting to take part in, if they need a team or already have assembled a team to do battle with. This year the Recreational Services Department wants to appeal to everyone.They are going to try to have sports for students with disabilities so they too can have fun. Some of these sports have to be modified to suit certain participant’s particular needs. But the people that run the Recreational Services Department say that will not even be a problem and that they love the challenges that are presented to them to try and satisfy everyone’s wishes. Some of the sports that could possibly be in the works for people with disabilities to play are disk golf and wheelchair basketball. Here at Missouri Western, they really strive for there to be something for everyone that wants to partake in some activity. “We want everyone to get the most out of their college experience,” Berry said. Like most students that go out for intramural sports, many of them are excited to play if they’ve been a part of it in the past. As for the newcomers, they are not sure of what to really expect. “I am ready to whip up on some people, I am ready to do work son!” Freshman Justin Berry, who plans to play flag football, said. While some appear ecstatic, pumped up and ready to go, others seem a little hesitant and don’t know what to expect with what kind of experience an intramural sport will bring them. “I wanted to play last year, but I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not; maybe I’ll go out this year.” Sophomore Neva Kidwell, who is thinking about playing volleyball, said. Most of the intramural sports will take place on Monday-Thursday and usually will go from 5-10 p.m. So if you have the time to play, maybe you should give it a shot. You may find it to be one of your best experiences while you are in college. Anyone that has any more questions should contact the Front Desk inside Looney Complex at (816) 271-5604.

Family weekend honors students’ kin

Kari Rapp, a junior Biology Major at Missouri Western State University, throws a Frisbee during a tailgating event here Saturday. Along with tailgating, Missouri Western provided the family members of students with various activities throughout the day including a 5 and 10 kilometer run, a free brunch, and tours of the facilities.
[caption id="attachment_5667" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="James Goodrich, the father of a Central Missouri student, flips burgers on a grill during a tailgating event here Saturday. The tailgating event was part of the family day festivities hosted here this weekend."][/caption] Missouri Western State University Family Day Sept. 9 and 10. The event included a free showing of “Thor,” a 5 and 10 km. walk/run, a free pancake brunch, viewings at the planetarium, tailgating before the football game and various other activities. The University hosts similar events every year. “Tailgating is always a family event, but it’s nice to know that the University cares about us,” said Andre Dean Lance, a 14 year old who attended part of the events. Hundreds of students and their family members took advantage of the free activities despite occasionally having to brave less than ideal weather. “When we first got here it was raining pretty hard,” said Rodney Saunders, the father of a Missouri Western student. “After that it was off and on throughout the day.” The rain couldn’t keep the spirits of the families down as many kept doing what they were doing despite the rain. “A little rain isn’t enough to keep us away from doing something like this,” said Saunders. Many of the activities such as brunch, the planetarium tour and a free tour of the sports complex did not require the risk of getting wet. “Thankfully, there was always something to do when it started raining,” said Lance. “It was a fun way to keep dry and entertained.” Once the main activities for the day were finished, the families and other Missouri Western fans got together for a tailgating bash, which included food, drinks, Frisbee and other games. “Tailgating might be the best part,” said Saunders. “You get to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends while knowing that there's plenty of food and good will to go around. It doesn’t hurt that watching football afterward is always a blast.” The Griffons delivered for the families during the game dismantling Central Missouri 23-6. [gallery]