<![CDATA[Ball State Daily RSS Feed]]> Fri, 22 Feb 2019 02:28:37 -0500 Fri, 22 Feb 2019 02:28:37 -0500 SNworks CEO 2019 The Ball State Daily <![CDATA[How It's Played S3E3 - Apex Challenges Battle Royales]]>

Welcome to this week's episode of How It's Played! Apex Legends dropped suddenly by Respawn Entertainment, but it has gained a wide range of players. How will EA handle this new popular title under their possession? Will this finally end Fortnite's reign? All of this and more on this week's episode of How It's Played.

Hosted by: Eli Sokeland, Brad Killion, Alexander Smith
Edited by: Brad Killion
Graphic by: Daley Wilhelm

Thumbnail by: Evan Williamson

For more entertainment, tech, and pop culture news be sure to check out bytebsu.com

<![CDATA[Ball State biology graduate student hooks 3MT judges with aquatic thesis]]> Ten graduate students sat in the front row of the audience, awaiting their turns for Graduate School's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenge Thursday evening.

One by one, nine of the 10 finalists gave a simplified version of their graduate research in front of a single, static powerpoint slide. Then it was biology student Kirsten Vacura's turn.

They saved the best for last.

Vacura took home the $1,000 first place prize, which she plans on saving.

Her thesis focused on how anglers, fishermen, spread invasive aquatic species, water creatures that when introduced to new areas eliminate the native specie, between bodies of water across the United States.

She tracks this by utilizing information from a phone app that anglers use across the country when they fish.

"It was my advisor's idea," Vacura said about assistant professor of fisheries Paul Venturelli. "He's the one who brought me here. He had the app data that I'm using and he had a few questions so we just sat down and brainstormed some questions together and over two years, it's become what it's become."

Counseling psychology student Byron Long won second place and chemistry student Dayna Arnett placed third.

Arnett also won the audience's choice award for her thesis about the studies of mitoNEET, a chemical related to insulin that affects how diabetes progresses. She took home a combined total of $1,500.

Graduate School Dean Adam Beach, one of the three judges, said the competition was really close.

"It came down to really minute differences between the top candidates," Beach said. "We were looking at the overall significance of the research study, how well did they present the study, how they did the study, what the results were and what the significance was. And on the other hand you had the performance aspect."

Vacura will go on to represent Ball State at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools March 20-22, in St. Louis, Missouri.

"I'm very excited to go to that to compete again," Vacura said. "There's a lot of really cool research being done so we'll see."

Event coordinator Nathan Hitchens said that 3MT will be an annual event and encouraged graduate students to try out for it next year.

Contact Hannah Gunnell with comments hrgunnell@bsu.edu or on Twitter @hagunnellNEWS.

(Left) Byron Long, Kirsten Vacura and Dayna Arnett competed in the Graduate School's inaugural Three Minute Thesis competition. Vacura finished first, winning $1,000 for her thesis about how anglers contribute to the spread of invasive aquatic species.Hannah Gunnell, DN

<![CDATA[Luke Brown breaks Blackford all-time scoring record, Burris falls to Bruins ]]> Should-to-shoulder in Ball Gymnasium, Blackford fans and Burris fans alike flooded the Owls' home court to see the show. And what a show it was.

Senior night for the Owls, the seniors were locked in at tip off. Seniors James Roysdon scored an early bucket and Jackson Adamowicz was hot from the start, steering the Owls from buzzer to buzzer.

But when it came to the Bruins, it was no surprise that sophomore guard Luke Brown lived up to the hype leading Blackford to a win, 88-69, over Burris,

By halftime, he had not only tallied 21 points but had broken Blackford's all-time scoring record. Brown had just broken 1000 points mere weeks ago in the beginning of the month.

"I thought at times we did pretty well defending [Brown]," Burris head coach Joseph Anderson said. "Other times I thought we played a little timid. We knew it'd be a circus with that kid coming in town."

Junior Brandon Stroble joined Brown in adding a spark to the Bruin offense, posting 13 in the first half.

It was Adamowicz that kept the Owls in the game, cutting through the lane multiple times in the first half and leading the team in points. But with a score of 50-36 at halftime in favor of the Bruins, the Owls had some catching up to do.

"[Adamowicz] showed up and played a strong game for us," Anderson said. "It was his last senior home game and he did it well."

Adamowicz continued to guide the Owl offense, recording paint points and adding continuously leading the team. He was accompanied by junior Bracken Karnes who showed his skills behind the arc, racking four threes throughout the night.

"We played really hard," Adamowicz said. "That's a really good team we played tonight. We left it all out there. At times we just lacked the focus."

Brown proved to be unstoppable, relentlessly registering 35 points by the buzzer. Stroble drained five threes of his own and junior Dalton Willmann added nine.

With a final score of 88-69, Anderson was happy with his team's performance overall.

"For me, I wanted it to be about our kids," Anderson said. "Our seniors did well and I don't want that to get lost."

Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at grglass@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gabiglassBSU

Burris senior Jackson Adamowicz shoots over a Blackford defender in a game against the Bruins on Feb. 21 at Ball Gymnasium. The Owls fell to the Bruins, 88-69. Jack Williams, DN

<![CDATA[No. 12 Ball State Men's Volleyball drops fourth straight MIVA match to No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne]]> A .147 to .292 gap in hitting percentage and 18 attack errors proved costly for No. 12 Ball State Men's Volleyball (7-8, 1-4 MIVA) Thursday, as the team fell 3-0 to No. 15 Purdue Fort Wayne (9-7, 3-2 MIVA).

Coming off a two-match road trip last weekend with losses to No. 10 Lewis and No. 7 Loyola-Chicago, head coach Joel Walton has been disappointed with his team's effort.

"Every conference match is becoming more and more critical," Walton said. "We're losing to some teams that I think we're capable of beating, but some teams have outplayed us."

Junior outside hitter Pelegrin Vargas was a standout for the Mastodons, leading the team with 19 kills. The Mastodons were also led by sophomore outside hitter Kade Bontrager.

"Bontrager is really just a substitute, he shouldn't have even been out there even with an injury happening" Walton said. "Vargas was just more than we could overcome. When Vargas gets going, he lights [the Mastodons] up."

Set one saw the Cardinals take multiple three and four point leads early on. However, a .077 hitting percentage cost the Cardinals the set, 25-21.

Sophomore outside attacker Ben Chinnici said his team giving up leads may have been a result of overconfidence and physical errors.

"We had leads, and we threw them away," sophomore outside attacker Ben Chinnici said. "We started off games pretty well, which is something we don't normally do.."

Set two saw the Cardinals go to extra points, but Vargas' play gave the Mastodons a 26-24 win. The Mastodons would take set three, 25-20, to sweep the match.

Thursday's match was the Cardinals fifth straight without junior setter Jake Romano, who suffered a thumb injury earlier this month. The Cardinals have gone 1-4 without his presence, with all four matches being against MIVA opponents.

"These losses have hit us hard," Chinnici said. "We know that conference matches are huge. To lose these past four is very motivating. It's kind of like hitting rock-bottom, with losing these matches you know you shouldn't be."

The Cardinals will be off until March 1, when the team hosts Lindenwood at Worthen. Walton said an extended period off could be valuable to re-energize.

"We've got two more important conference matches at home and a stretch of important conference matches on the road late in the season," Walton said. "Right now, it's about getting back into an offensive rhythm and running some good defensive strategies against teams running a good left-side offense."

Contact Connor Smith with comments at cnsmith@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cnsmithBSU

Senior Mitch Weiler spikes the ball over the net during the game against Lindenwood University on March 30 at John E. Worthen Arena. Weiler had one ace during the game. Rebecca Slezak, DN

<![CDATA[Warmth means heightened severe outlooks ]]> Tonight: Temperatures drop into the upper 20's for our overnight low and mostly cloud skies persist. Winds will remain light.

Tomorrow: Sunshine is back and temperatures will be in the mid-40's. What a better way to start the weekend!

This Weekend: Warmer temperatures mean severe weather threats increase. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a marginal risk for severe weather for most of central and southern Indiana. The greatest threat will be heavy rainfall due as an influx of moisture drives its way northward.

7-Day Outlook: No high temperatures within the 20's within the next 7 days. Warmest temperatures will occur this weekend bringing heightened rain chances and potential severe weather. To start of the work week on Monday, temperatures will be in the mid-30's as well as sunshine will make a return.

-- Chief Weather Forecaster Payton Domschke

Follow us on Twitter @NLIWeather for breaking weather updates.

NewsLink Indiana is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.

For more information about the Weather-Ready Nation program please click HERE

<![CDATA[Efforts throughout roster contribute to Ball State Softball's positive start to season]]> After going 4-2 at the Madeira Beach Invitational, Ball State softball heads to sunny California for the Silicon Valley Classic to take on five opponents from the West.

"You know when you're seeing a lot of West Coast opponents that you're going to see a faster speed of the game," head coach Megan Bartlett said. "They're going to have more slappers and speed kids, which is something you don't see a lot of in the Midwest."

There are a number of moving parts to this year's Cardinal squad. Between junior Janae Hogg's four homers thus far in the season and junior Alyssa Rothwell tallying seven strikeouts in the game against Quinnipiac in her second to last appearance, the upperclassmen are providing an early boost in the 2019 season.

Along with the strikeouts, Rothwell found herself rewriting the Mid-American Conference record books by notching her 18th career save over the weekend in the Cardinals' win over Central Arkansas. The relief pitcher has helped anchor the Cardinals' pitching staff to a 2.43 ERA in 11 games this season. Rothwell owns the second lowest mark on the team at 0.81, behind the squads leading hurler Darcie Huber, who sports a 0.47 ERA.

"It's a huge deal to have [Huber] back," Bartlett said. "She's such a competitor, and not only does she raise the physical level of what we are doing on the mound, but she doesn't let anyone off the hook. She is a leader and a standard-holder."

Not only are the Cardinals receiving a jolt from the pitching staff, but Hogg has set the standard on offense. With 6 extra base hits to lead the team this year, Hogg is pacing the team with a .700 slugging percentage.

While being a stat leader, Hogg is a leader on the field for her teammates, as well.

"I open myself to others and I allow them to talk to me with anything they need," Hogg said. "I've learned from other leaders on the team because they play just as big of a role, as well."

And it doesn't stop there. The Cardinals have a number of freshmen on their bench ready to come in at any time.

"The freshmen are natural athletes and really solid ball players," Bartlett said. "The reality is that, they are behind some really tough veterans right now, but they're doing a tremendous job and if the older ones let up for even a second, the younger ones will slide in and take the opportunity."

Looking toward the weekend, the Cardinals will face a slate of Northern Colorado, San Jose State, CSU Bakersfield, Utah State and Montana. Their first game of the classic will be Friday against Northern Colorado at 12 p.m. (EST).

Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at grglass@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gabiglassBSU.

Ball State senior Cadie O'Donnell hits the ball during the first game against Central Michigan April 21 at the softball field at First Merchant's Ballpark Complex. Briana Hale, DN

<![CDATA[Ball State trials SGA slate Elevate's additional blue loop bus platform point]]> In the lead up to the voting days for Student Government Association's (SGA) 2019 Election, one slate claims to be nearing completion on a platform point.

Elevate's platform point advocating for adding one more Blue Loop bus was tested out. Ball State's Transportation Services performed a trial run by having an additional Blue Loop bus run for three hours Thursday morning.

Aiden Medellin, presidential candidate of Elevate, said the slate met with Sue Weller, director of Facilities Business Services and Transportation, Feb. 20 to discuss his slates' platform points dealing with transportation.

"[Elevate] made a good case about needing another blue loop bus," Weller said. "I said we'd certainly look at it."

"Little did I know that the trial would be today," Medellin said. "[Weller] did not tell me that they were going to try and do the second Blue Loop bus today."

Weller said she was out riding the Blue Loop bus that was being trialed.

"This was just a preliminary test so that we could see how many riders there were on a cold Thursday morning on Blue Loop," Weller said.

She said Transportation Services previously tested out an additional Blue Loop bus in Fall 2018.

Medellin said he presented running the trial again in the Winter because he felt there were probably more students wanting to ride the bus in the winter instead of walking outside.

"We haven't done an evaluation yet because we have to wait till the end of the day to get all the information from the other blue loop bus so that we can compare with the two buses to when just one bus runs," she said.

She said Transportation Services was going to have a look at the number of riders, the time of the day and how the cost fits within its budget perimeters.

"My slate is already doing work that is going to benefit the student body here on campus," Medellin said. "After one meeting alone, I can say that me and my slate have effectively almost completed a platform point."

"It really speaks to our slate and the work that we are going to do should we get elected," he said.

Contact Rohith Rao with comments at rprao@bsu.edu or on Twitter @RaoReports.

A blue loop bus stops for students at a bus stop Feb. 21, 2019, next to Hargreaves Music building on McKinley Avenue. Transportation Services performed a trial run of having an additional blue loop bus for three hours in the morning. Rohith Rao, DN

<![CDATA[Ball State Women's Basketball looks to stay focused after losing seventh straight game ]]> "These kids need to taste a win."

Head Coach Brady Sallee said after Ball State Women's Basketball (7-18, 2-11 MAC) suffered its seventh straight loss being defeated by Buffalo (17-7, 9-4 MAC) Wednesday 97-58.

It has been a down season for the Cardinals following one of their best seasons in the Sallee era as Ball State finished last season with a record of 25-7, 13-5 MAC.

This season the Cardinals have struggled to find ways to come out on top of many battles and the last time Ball State was able to secure a victory was on Jan. 23. However, according to Sallee it's not due to a lack of effort or determination.

"I feel for them, they're continuing to show up for practice and pay attention to the plan and I think that they are going about that part of it the right way," Sallee said.

Nonetheless, it was another rough night for the Cardinals as Buffalo dominated Ball State at Worthen Arena. The Bulls lit up the scoreboard finishing the game shooting 62.5 percent as a team from the field and knocked down 8-18 from behind the arc.

The Cardinals struggled offensively turning the ball over too much and having trouble making shots consistently due to the constant pressure the Bulls brought in their full-court defense.

"Hats off to Buffalo they just put it on us," Sallee said. "They had a sense of urgency and it was just too much for us."

Giving up early leads has been a problem for the Cardinals as they find themselves attempting to dig out of a hole throughout games. With the low win total, the main focus for Ball State is still to try and get better going forward as they finish up regular season conference play.

"Believe it or not, there are places that we are getting better, but there are plenty of places where we have to keep growing," Sallee said.

Time is limited for Ball State to turn the season around as they only have five remaining regular season games and then they'll start conference tournament play. The MAC also hasn't treated the Cardinals well as they sit at the bottom of their division with only two wins over Bowling Green and Kent State early in conference play.

"Give a lot of credit to how good these teams are in this league are," Sallee said. "You still have to show up and do your job and I think the kids have done a great job of doing exactly that."

The Cardinals will look to get back on the right track as they have two more games in their three-game home stretch against Toledo (15-9, 7-6 MAC) and Central Michigan (19-6, 10-3 MAC). Ball State has been most successful on their home court this season with a 6-7 record in Muncie.

Contact Daric Clemens with any comments atdiclemens@bsu.eduor on Twitter@DaricClemens

Ball State Women's basketball team watch on the bench as free throws are shot that could determine who wins the game in the fourth quarter in John E. Worthen Arena Jan. 23, 2019, in their game against Kent State. Ball State won by four points bring their season record to 7-11. Eric Pritchett,DN

<![CDATA[And the Oscar goes to...]]> With the winners of the 2019 Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards already announced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will host the 91st Academy Awards Feb. 24. Also known as the Oscars, the Academy Awards will honor films released in 2018.

<![CDATA[How feasible are the 3 Ball State SGA 2019 Election slates' platform points?]]> With voting for the 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) four days away, The Daily News has fact-checked platform points of all nominated slates.

The Daily News spoke with all four members of Empower, Elevate and United to see how feasible it is to complete or implement their platform points within the 2019-20 academic year.

The Daily News also spoke with Ball State departments, administrators, professors and officials to complete the fact-check.


Self-protection objective

Feasibility: Unlikely

Implement a self-protection course in the curriculum to combat sexual assault.

Why: Empower said it wants to implement a course designed to combat sexual assault to serve as a Physical Fitness and Wellness (PFW) course alongside other classes like jogging and walking.

The slate also reached out to sociology professor Mellisa Holtzman who runs a program called Elemental which is a self-protection seminar at Ball State that combines education on consent, alcohol awareness and gendered interactions along with self-defense curriculum.

Empower presidential candidate Julian Simmerman said the slate reached out to a few kinesiology professors about the objective and said they received "a very good response." He said the course has about the same level of physical activity as other PFW classes.

What we found: Holtzman said she has taught the course on campus and across the nation. She said the class could easily be adapted into a physical education class, but said she has no idea how it would play out in terms of the implementation of the course in PFW.

Sarah Shore-Beck, assistant lecturer of kinesiology, said although this can't be created into a PFW course, it could possibly be integrated into other PFW courses as a week-long segment.

Kendra Zenisek, assistant lecturer of kinesiology and coordinator of physical fitness and wellness, said there a lot of complications.

She said administratively, the department is limited and is unable to hire faculty that would be able to teach those courses.

Another issue, she said, is there are certain assessments in place to evaluate health-related fitness components, and she said despite the importance of the self-protection course, it does not fit within the health-related fitness component to be made into a PFW course.

"We have specific assessments. All of our activity classes have to engage in pre-imposed testing so that they're engaging in some type of cardio respiratory assessment," Zenisek said.

She said because the cardiorespiratory piece of the self-protection class would need to be emphasized, detracting from the actual focus of the class.

Safe ride home program

Feasibility: Maybe

Providing students with free or discounted rides home on Thursday-Sunday nights

Why: Empower said it wants to follow in the steps of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in a safe ride program by having Uber and/or Lyft give Ball State students half off rides Thursday-Sunday nights.

Simmerman said the slate had begun talking to Lyft about this point, but did not mention any concrete deals or discussions with Lyft.

Nate Woods, treasurer elect, said they are trying to work out expenses but have budgeted $15,000-$20,000 to pay for the amount left unpaid from the half off rides. They said they have not seen examples of students receiving free rides.

Empower said Charlie Charter is slow and might take up to 15 minutes to order a charter compared to ordering an Uber or Lyft. However, the charter is completely free to students.

What we found: The UCF SGA does have a partnership with Uber called UCF Safe Rides where students can buy 50 percent off rides 8 p.m. - 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday nights. The rides are 50 percent off up to $10, and if trips are more than $10, it will be $5 off.

According to campus information from UCF, 68,571 students were enrolled for Fall 2018. At Ball State, the total enrollment for the same semester, including on- and off-campus enrollments of graduate and undergraduate students, was 21,884.

Laundry grant

Feasibility: No

Helping on-campus residents apply for a grant to cover their laundry expenses

Why: Empower's laundry grant program would give about 300 students who live on campus $10 for laundry, per semester. It would be first-come, first-serve.

What we found: Chris Wilkey, assistant director of Housing and Residence Life for marketing and communications and technology, said housing would be happy to act as a "pass through mechanism" for the slate, but said the slate has not talked with the Residence Hall Association.

Wilkey said Housing and Residence Life does not have the funding for this and that it would need to come from an outside source.

"Essentially, the issue is you can't really just load up funds to Cardinal Cash because then students could use that for anything instead of just laundry. And that's how our systems currently operate, is using Cardinal Cash. So there's an issue with logistics and we don't have that system in place," Wilkey said.

SGA President Isaac Mitchell said he loves the idea, however, under the new finance policy, SGA cannot give money to students or to student organizations. Because of a lawsuit filed against Ball State regarding issues with this sort of funding, giving laundry grants directly to students would be impossible.

Collegiate readership program

Feasibility: Maybe

Providing students with free, digital access to today's most popular news sources

Why: Empower said it wants to enhance students' "careers and knowledge" by providing free access of popular digital news services to 6,250 students on a first-come, first-serve basis

Woods said Empower budgeted about $25,000 for the program, and said they had been trying to work something out with publications they would like to have including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

The slate said it did not reach out to the library or other university officials.

What we found: Mitchell said the New York Times reached out to him about a subscription service like this. He said from his understanding when they contacted him last December, it would cost $15,000-$20,000 to give all students an online subscription.

However, Isaac said the SGA budget this year was cut tremendously. The 2017-18 OPTiC slate had a $101,000 budget. Amplify, this year's slate, received a $72,000 budget.

"I would assume they would get about what I got," Mitchell said about the budget for the upcoming slate.

Mitchell also said about $30,000 of the budget goes to salaries of SGA's executive board, and said platform points that are expensive, such as the collegiate readership program, could potentially be almost half the budget.

John Lacheta, vice president of student initiatives at Butler University, said in an email the school removed print newspapers that were distributed through campus 18 months ago. Butler now offers subscription services to New York Times and Wall Street Journal to students and staff.

Lacheta said the program costs around $10,000 and he said the reception at the school has been positive. However, he said the slate should look into integrating this program into all divisions of the university with an interest, especially the library.

"Butler University currently provides subscriptions for about half of university faculty, staff, and students, which that number could differ at Ball State, however, outreach should be done to determine the appropriate number," Lacheta said.

According to Butler University enrollment numbers, there were 5,489 students enrolled for Fall 2018.

"The money probably is not there unless they have some sort of deal," Mitchell said.

University Libraries Dean Matthew Shaw said in an email the library "would need more information about the access, licensing, and technical models to decide whether or how the University Libraries should be involved."

The Daily News reached out to the New York Times to determine costs but was told to contact the university.

Student calculator rentals

Feasibility: Probably

Providing students with the opportunity to rent calculators

Why: Due to constant sharing, loss and the extra expenses, the slate said it wants to purchase several calculators and donate them to a department for rental.

Erin Byrne, secretarial candidate, said the Department of Mathematical Sciences does not rent out calculators.

Woods also said at an initial meeting with The Daily News that the slate budgeted out about $800 for 20 Ti-84 calculators and 20 others.

At the initial meeting, Empower said it did not contact Bracken Library to see if calculators would be rentable there, but Simmerman said at the Presidential Town Hall Debate that there were calculators to rent there, but only a few scientific calculators.

Simmerman said after the debate that to save money, SGA would probably purchase used calculators.

What we found: Currently, Bracken Library does rent out two calculators, both scientific, Ti-36 x models, and the Department of Mathematical Sciences does not rent out calculators.

On Amazon, new Ti-84 plus graphing calculators are $108.99, which if 20 are purchased, means the cost including shipping would be $2,372.80.

Used Ti-84 calculators on Amazon range between $67.99 and $89.95.

Universities Libraries Dean Matthew Shaw said the library would be able to add more calculators if they were donated to the library by SGA.

Plastics initiative

Feasibility: Yes

Continuing the conversation of reducing our use of plastics, particularly straws.

Why: Empower has the goal of beginning conversation of reducing the use of plastic on Ball State's campus, with its focus primarily on plastic straws.

The slate said it wants this point to be inclusive, and will conduct research to provide to the university. It also said this research and discussion could serve as a "stepping stone" for further plastic reduction.

At the time of the initial meeting with The Daily News, the slate did not reach out to any officials, but said they would most likely talk to food services and dining halls to present their findings.

Empower said it does not believe it is realistic to achieve these goals by the end of term, but hope to see progress by 2024. The slate said past efforts have not succeeded due to lack of research.

What we found: Mitchell said the year he was in the senate working on the Community and Environment Committee, it passed legislation to ban plastic straws and then presented to Dining Services where it said would never get rid of plastic straws.

He said despite the research done to find the cheapest paper straws, the cost-effectiveness of buying the plastic straws in bulk was much more inexpensive compared to paper straws.

However, Mitchell said something like this could possibly happen, but seems unlikely.

"I hope they [Empower] change their focus on that," Mitchell said.

DJ Cleveland, marketing and communications specialist for Dining Services, said Empower has not reached out to dining, but dining officials had conversations with SGA representatives on subjects like this in the past.

"Since we are dedicated to representing our entire student body, we have no intentions of removing plastic straws or lids from circulation in our dining venues, as doing so would negatively impact students and campus community members who need them for accessibility reasons," Cleveland said.

Cleveland said dining encourages students to reduce their use of single-use plastics, and said dining would be happy to partner with SGA slates if the organizations is interested in providing reusable straws or lids.

Student grievance policy

Feasibility: Maybe

Working to raise the allotted excused absences, giving appropriate time to grieve

Why: The slate said the current student bereavement policy at three days within 150 miles of the university is not enough time for students to grieve after the death of a loved one.

Simmerman said in order to make this change, they'll probably have to sign legislation and work with the university to change the policy.

At the meeting, the slate said it did not contact any university officials about the point, and said it wants to gather a lot of student input.

What we found: According to current university policies, students can be excused from class for funeral leave, but it does not specify anything in terms of being excused from class. The amount of time to attend the funeral depends on the distance from Muncie, Indiana:

Three school days - Within 150-mile radius

Four school days - Between 150-300 mile radius

Five school days - Beyond 300-mile radius

Seven school days - Outside of North America

The policies also state that if a student is unable to attend the funeral service, they will be allowed three school days for bereavement. With proper documentation, instructors can excuse students from class and provide opportunities to earn equivalent credit for assignments missed.

Mitchell said SGA has no formal power to change the number of days allotted for student absences. The only thing SGA can do is to raise the topic to the administration.

"If they [Empower] win, they have a higher chance of getting in the room and being able to discuss why they believe something matters," Mitchell said. "There's nothing SGA can do other than that to actually enforce that."

Mental health awareness

Feasibility: Maybe

Improve awareness by attracting speakers to campus and revamp the SGA website for more links and resources for students

Why: To spread awareness and discussion, Empower wants to invite more mental health speakers to campus. The slate said this point would be easy to implement.

Woods said $6,000 of the budget would be set aside for speakers, and are hoping to invite at least two speakers, but there is no set number. The slate also said the one speaker that came invited by SGA was not enough to facilitate a full discussion of mental illness.

The slate said it had not reached out to the counseling center, but said they are sure they would be on board.

Empower also said Step In. Speak Up., an organization that aims to end sexual assault and sexual violence in the Ball State community, is too general and wants to facilitate more conversation.

What we found: Dr. William Betts, director of Counseling and Health Services, said in an email that though there are no speakers scheduled by the Counseling Center for the Spring semester, they may not be needed.

"The number of students seeking services at the Counseling Center has increased by 36% in the last 5 years and research consistently shows a high level of awareness about behavioral health issues among college students," Betts said.

Mitchell said costs of this point could be high and very difficult.

"Time and money-wise, it's certainly possible, but financially it's very difficult," Mitchell said. "The speaker [the current SGA] brought in, Joshua Rivedal, he was a very cost-effective speaker, and he was only $3,000 to pay him to come here. Most speakers are even more than that."

Career choice objective

Feasibility: Maybe

Optimize Ball State's website for prospective students to see what jobs are available in their chosen major.

Why: Empower said Ball State's website does not contain enough information to show what career fields a certain major could lead to for a student.

These options for possible careers would appear alongside majors that can be looked at on the general Ball State website. The slate said department websites would still stand as their own entities.

The slate said this would be a simple modification on the website and would cause less jumping around on majors if students have a better idea of career fields.

What we found: The Daily News reached out to the Career Center and Ball State University Foundation to determine feasibility.

DeAnna May, associate vice president of communications, connected with the Daily News, but were unable to procure any solid information on the platform point.

Childcare grant opportunity

Feasibility: No

Making funding available to full and part-time students to help pay for daycare or afterschool programs.

Why: SGA would give 10 $500 grants to 10 student parents for the semester. The grant could be used by anyone with dependents under 18-years-old. Empower said not much is being done for student parents and they need all the help they can get.

Empower said parents would need to provide information to prove their children exist, including birth certificates. Byrne also said the program could be modified as an essay contest to win the grants.

The slate said it understands $500 will not cover every single expense associated with taking care of a child, but it wants to help with any amount of money.

The point said the funding would be used to help pay for "daycare or afterschool programs," Simmerman said at the meeting with the Daily News that they can't decide where the money will go to, but that he also wants to make sure the money is being spent correctly.

What we found: Mitchell said this is similar to the laundry grant point, meaning SGA cannot directly give money to Ball State students.

"It's against the rules of Ball State," Mitchell said.

Jennifer Young, program director of the infant and toddler program, said childcare can be expensive and access to that care can be difficult to find. She said students juggling children and school are definitely in need of scholarships and grants.

"I think that money towards helping parents to pay for childcare would definitely be a help," Young said.

SGA website revamp

Feasibility: Unknown

Redesign the current SGA website in order to be more user-friendly and resourceful

Why: Empower said in order to reach out to more students, they want SGA to create an up-to-date, accessible website.

The slate said the website should be home base for student affairs, and also want to incorporate more social media use along with it, including posting SGA updates more often. It said no amount of the budget was allocated for the new website.

What we found: As of Feb.19, the current Ball State SGA is unaccessible. Mitchell said the website was taken down in agreement with the Office of Student Life to update it.

"Really making sure we get all the up-to-date information on senate, times, office hours and things like that on there," Mitchell said.

Eli Sokeland, a sophomore web developer in Digital Corps, said a new website in the future without a web develop team would require a dedication of time from the members of the slate.

"Without using a site like Wordpress and Wix you have to build everything yourself. Which is fine if you know how to do it, but it always takes time of some sort," Sokeland said.

Editor's Note: Sokeland is a member of Byte, a Unified Media Lab organization.


Bus routes

Saturday stadium bus

Feasibility: Yes

Why: Elevate said it wanted to expand on the current Saturday shuttle service by adding a route to take students to and from Scheumann Stadium.

If paid for by the university, Elevate said it might be an orange or green loop bus, and if handled by SGA it would be a shuttle service similar to the one they use for the farmer's market.

What we found: Elevate said it costs a flat rate of $187 for one day of shuttle service for the farmer's market, which was three trips out and four trips back, but the rate might be cheaper for the Saturday stadium bus because the route would be shorter.

Elevate said it intends for these shuttles to run from 5-11 p.m., similar to that of Sunday's bus service.

Sue Weller, director of Facilities Business Services and Transportation, said she is always willing to listen to suggestions.

"We're always willing to look at our routes and our numbers and see if there's anything we can do," Weller said.

Mitchell said the "big thing" with this platform point was cost.

"When you rent a shuttle, you have to do it for at least three hours. And it costs like $32 an hour, so you have to go at least like a $100 in order to get a shuttle in the first place," Mitchell said.

Additional Blue Loop bus

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: Elevate wants to repurpose one of the red loop buses into an additional blue loop bus because it said having only one blue loop causes delays and inconveniences to students.

They said since it would repurpose a bus, they didn't estimate any extra costs apart from paying for increased fuel consumption.

What we found: Weller said the original blue loop bus was planned to accommodate a large number of riders.

"We actually bought a bus that was a little bit larger to run the blue loop, because we knew we're going to be picking up more students," Weller said. "It's a 10-minute route, so if somebody misses one, it'll be there in 10 minutes."

Weller said the main purpose of the red loop shuttles was to provide students who park in the far north and south lots a more accessible way to get to the center of campus. Taking that away would put more stress on the remaining red loop.

"Our main focus is getting students from the parking lots into the center of campus," Weller said.

Mitchell said Amplify had thought about this point previously, but decided against it.

"We had thought about making that a platform point when I ran, and we decided not to, though, because in our talks with Sue Weller, we realized that she said it was highly unlikely," Mitchell said.

Map app improvements

Feasibility: Yes

Why: Elevate said it would improve the Ball State University Campus Map App that Digital Corps developed. The app should be quicker and more accurate with high-speed usage, Elevate said.

The map app shows bus routes, parking buildings, dining locations and bathrooms, said Brandon Smith, director of the Academic Project Support Office at Digital Corps.

Elevate said times can show up incorrectly for bus routes on the app.

What we found: Digital Corps is willing to talk with Elevate about making the app faster overall, Smith said. Digital Corps works to update the app every one to two years, he said.

However, Smith said the bus route information on the app comes from another company, TransLoc Rider, and Digital Corps can't change the way that data comes into the app.

Ball State hasn't considered using any system other than TransLoc Rider, Weller said.

"The TransLoc system is a state-of-the-art system," Weller said. "I don't think there's anything out there that's better than TransLoc."

Information about TransLoc Rider can be found on its app.

Meal and dining

Weekly meal allotment

Feasibility: Unlikely

Why: Currently, students with on-campus meal plans are allowed one meal swipe before 11 a.m. for $5.05 and two meal swipes after 11 a.m. for $8.60 each. Elevate wants this policy to change.

The slate said students should not be limited to when they are allowed to use their swipes, but rather that they should be able to use their meal swipes throughout the week, giving students a more flexible meal schedule.

Elevate does not expect a cost increase since most students are already on at least a 14-meal swipe plan, pay for every meal and often have swipes left over.

The slate's members do not wish to pursue the rollover of unused meal swipes as the slate already believes that its proposed platform point is ambitious.

Elevate considers off-campus swipes unfair when compared to the current on-campus plan. Off-campus swipes can total up together and be used whenever the student pleases, while on-campus swipes are set to a strict schedule and are not eligible for grouping.

Because of this, Elevate would like to change the contract for on-campus students to allow them more leniency with their swipes.

This platform point coincides with Elevate's desire to open a 24/7 convenience store for students.

What we found: DJ Cleveland, marketing and communications specialist with Ball State Dining, said it understands Elevate's interest, but it would limit many of the options dining currently has for students.

Cleveland said there are a wide variety of student needs like the number of dining-created meals they want in a week, how to utilize their meal swipes and whether they want a prepared meal in one of the dining venues.

The amounts set aside for lunch and dinner meals versus breakfast meals are based upon nutritional values recommended and offerings for given meals, Cleveland said.

"We've taken student feedback and offered later times for breakfast meals as well as the opportunity to use lunch and dinner swipes concurrently, if desired," Cleveland said. "We want to be good stewards for our students, and we feel that these suggestions would make it difficult to uphold that value."

24/7 convenience store

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: Elevate wants to open a 24/7 convenience store in one of the dining halls, giving students the option to shop for food at any hour of the day.

The slate wants one section of one dining hall on campus where students can buy non-perishable items at any time they desire. They have no plans to open anything new, but rather to change the hours of a convenience store that already exists to 24 hours.

Elevate has not decided on the location of this 24/7 convenience store, but would prefer for it to be centrally located, possibly in Woodworth or Noyer halls.

Students would only have access to the convenience store section and the only additional costs, Elevate said, would be to pay employees.

What we found: Cleveland said costs to operate an overnight store would be significant.

"In regards to opening late-night options, we are always having conversations about trends in student purchasing and needs across campus," Cleveland said in his email. "While data does not currently support the need of an overnight option, we will continue to monitor if trends start pushing in that direction."

Cleveland said beyond standard labor, other costs would include utilities, maintenance labor, tech-support labor, security and labor, communication costs, management costs, and so much more.

"However, this doesn't mean there can't be anything - it just means we have to think about it a little differently than the standard way to do things," Cleveland said. "We've had some conversations in regards to possible ways to have extended offerings and we will continue to keep researching to determine if there is ever something that makes sense for our campus community."

Green to-go containers

Feasibility: Unknown

Why: Elevate wants to implement the use of green to-go containers in the dining halls. Currently, only one dining hall on campus offers biodegradable containers for free when an individual purchases food.

Elevate has contacted Dining Services about disposable, biodegradable containers and hopes to learn what material is used in their biodegradable containers upon getting a response.

The slate said despite SGA's Green Action Team's efforts toward this goal, they have not been effective in achieving anything.

Elevate said they will only know cost estimates when they receive more information on the proposal.

What we found: Cleveland said Dining Services was surprised that this was brought up, since it offers recyclable to-go containers in every unit across all of campus.

"In fact, we go so far as to offer to-go bags, cutlery, packaging, and napkins in all units that is completely recyclable," Cleveland said. "There is one non-recyclable option that is in use in a single concept on campus, specifically to aid in portion control and reducing food waste, but the remainder are what most would define as 'green.'"

"Key to social, economic, and environmental sustainability is using less across the board, and we want to encourage our campus community to take only what they need in each instance, even if those materials are recyclable," Cleveland said.

University promotion

Weekly social media updates

Feasibility: Yes

Why: Elevate said they want to post weekly updates on what SGA is doing. These updates will be informational in nature about their meetings and legislative decisions and differ from promotional material SGA currently posts on the account.

What we found: As of Feb. 19, 2019 the Ball State SGA account had 610 followers on Instagram, 2,204 followers on Twitter, and 1,300 likes on Facebook.

Since starting an Instagram account, Amplify has posted 16 times on its Instagram. These posts included the official response to the John Schnatter incident, shuttle schedules for home football games and promotional material involving SGA-sponsored events.

Monthly senate invite to outside organizations

Feasibility: Yes

Why: Elevate wants to give on-campus organizations a chance to have a voice and be seated in the gallery with SGA. SGA will yield the floor to these organizations for them to voice their concerns.

What we found: Maggie Lewis, vice president of the Women's Soccer Club has been in contact regarding this platform point.

"In terms of senate invites, this is a platform point that a few of our girls were excited about, especially our politically interested players," Lewis said.

For some outside organizations like Spectrum the invite coincides with the involvement of the senate already. The organization's president Brooklyn Arizmendi saw the invite as a opportunity that was already being met through the representation of a senate member.

"We discussed this point; however [it] was previously not very relevant to Spectrum because we already have a senate member," Arizmendi said. "But overall, we have communicated about our needs as part of the LGBTQ+ community on campus."

Other organizations that have been contacted include the Transfer Student Association and Cardinal Kitchen.

Big entertainment at Emens

Feasibility: Unlikely

Why: Elevate said Ball State has had big entertainment in the past, giving the 2017 Jesse McCartney event as one example. They want SGA to have a voice in suggesting big-name entertainers.

The slate said SGA had previously provided discounted tickets for the Ball State football's game against Notre Dame by purchasing tickets in bulk and selling them at a fraction of the cost.

Elevate explained that they would first reach out to potential entertainers. Once they have a list of "big entertainment" options they would create a survey asking students to pick a choice.

During Tuesday's Presidential Town Hall Debate, Aiden Medellin, presidential candidate of Elevate, said the slate has allocated $5,000 for this platform point.

Elevate said they want to keep ticket prices to a cost of no more than $10.

What we found: Kristi Chambers, the assistant director of marketing and communications for Emens, said this would be costly and the total price differs depending on the type of event ranging "anywhere from $5,000 to $120,000."

"Obviously, with those larger artists, it's hard for us to put $100,000 in one show with no guarantee that we would make that back," Chambers said.

She said the event featuring Jesse McCartney cost somewhere around $280,000 and was largely possible due to special funding from the university.

"Black Friday" bookstore event

Feasibility: Maybe
Why: Elevate said this event would be hosted the week before Thanksgiving on campus and the hope is to offer students discounts on items both at TIS and the University Bookstore.

The slate said that the bookstore on campus is owned through Barnes and Noble, meaning hosting such a promotional event could be difficult and that the slate needs to negotiate prices with the on-campus bookstore and TIS College Bookstore.

What we found: General manager Pam Suminski confirmed TIS has received an email from the slate. The store currently hosts a Black Friday sale on the actual event, but since many students aren't on campus the sale is not utilized by those consumers.

"It is something I would be interested in looking into. If a student organization is looking to do something and to organize an event we would be open to discuss," Suminski said.

Elevating experience

Peer mentor program

Feasibility: Unknown

Why: Elevate said it wants a requirement that freshmen are mentored by upperclassmen regarding career and academic advice.

The slate wants the program to run alongside the KEY Careers program.

Freshmen are required to complete the KEY Careers program, according to Ball State's website. The online experience is used during freshman orientation as a career tool "to connect the dots between your chosen major and your future career goals," according to the website.

Elevate said the mentor program would give freshmen additional insight into what major or job they want. The slate said it was hoping upperclassmen mentors can be volunteers and department advisers could run the program.

Elevate said they would be meeting with Laura Helms, executive director of Academic Services and associate dean of University College, to speak about the platform point.

What we found: "I'm not comfortable talking about it until I talk to them," Helms said when the Daily News contacted her. "Even then I will not have an opinion on what can or can't be accomplished. That's up to the slate."

When asked if The Daily News could contact her later, Helms said, "No, I prefer you not."

Helms said it wasn't appropriate for her to comment on whether someone else's plan is feasible.

Commuter LLC access

Feasibility: No

Why: Elevate wants to give off-campus students access to Living Learning Communities (LLC) in residence halls.

This platform point would give all students in a major access to the same LLC resources, Elevate said. For example, all students in a dancing major would be able to access dance studios in Schmidt/Wilson residence halls, Elevate said.

What we found: The point is "most likely not possible" to be achieved, Wilkey said.

LLCs offer on-campus students facilities for their majors, like dance studios for dance majors, said Chris Wilkey, assistant director of housing and residence life for marketing and communications and technology.

They also offer Academic Peer Mentors for majors of those in the LLC and major-specific programing.

"Students who are on campus… are actually paying for the living learning spaces," Wilkey said. "There is a little bit of a difference between an academic building and a living learning community space."

Wilkey said that students who live in LLC's have extra resources as an "added perk." However, most of these resources can be found in academic buildings, which all students have access to.

Embracing students

Expedite counseling sessions

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: Elevate suggested hiring more counselors as a means of expediting counseling sessions at Ball State's Counseling Center.

The slate said Ball State needs to hire better counselors as well and that the center has hired unqualified counselors in the past.

Elevate said this was going to be a legislation offering the counseling center this suggestion and that they don't intend on financing the program themselves.

What we found: Elevate has already reached out to William Betts, director of Counseling and Health Services who will meet with him to discuss the feasibility of hiring more counselors to expedite the on-campus counseling process.

"Before we add any new positions, we would have to evaluate the need for additional positions. We would also need to make sure there is money available in the budget to pay for additional therapists," Betts said.

Sexual assault monologue event

Feasibility: Probably

Why: Sexual Assault Monologues would be an SGA run event similar to Spectrum's Queer Monologues, where students would lead an open discussion about their experiences with sexual assault.

In Tuesday's Presidential Town Hall Debate, Medellin said a theater group called Busted Space "would love" to pair with the slate to put on performances to tell stories of the anonymous survivors of sexual assault.

SGA plans to have the event held on a public platform inviting even those who haven't experienced sexual assault so they can learn about the experiences of survivors.

What we found: Abby Clifton, graduate assistant victim advocate, said in an email "The Office of Victim Services would love to form a partnership with any students working on these types of programs."

"The office serves as a place for students to go after they have experienced sexual assault," Clifton said. "We are there for support and giving out all options and resources available."

Expanding gender-inclusive housing

Feasibility: Yes

Why: In an interview with The Daily News, Elevate said this point would not add to the number of spaces already available in the gender-inclusive housing pilot, but rather, it would make students more aware it's available to them.

Elevate also said the cost for implementing this point would be conservative, estimated to be about $300.

What we found: Wilkey said in an email this point is feasible, and that out of the 60 spots reserved for the pilot, they are "not close to capacity."

Wilkey said gender-inclusive housing is mentioned at freshman orientation and is featured on incoming students' housing applications.

"I would honestly say that we are already doing this," Wilkey said.


Student embodiment

Conduct open forums to increase student input and campus awareness

Feasibility: Yes

Why: United wants to boost the number of open forums to get student input that they can incorporate into its platform.

"As only four people, there is no way the slate can be aware of everything on campus," said James Schwer, United's vice presidential candidate.

"I think the students know better than anybody about what is going on on this campus, what should be fixed, what should be addressed. We have some ideas on where we would like to get started, but past that we want to keep going and address what students want," Schwer said.

What we found: Jim Hague, director of Student Life, said the Agenda Committee of SGA would be able to create space in the agenda to promote presentations, panels and open forums.

"It's very possible. I don't believe that [feasibility] would be a real concern," Hague said. "As long as they're working with the respective senate and the Rules and Constitution and Agenda committees to get this set-up."

This semester, SGA held a Title IX panel where students voiced their concerns on changes proposed to Title IX.

Set aside time in senate meetings to allow students to voice their concerns to the senate

Feasibility: Yes

Why: United presidential candidate Jake Biller said the slate wants to give time in SGA meetings for students to voice concerns to the senate. He said the slate has talked to students who have encouraged United to do this.

Hague said that this would be doable.

"I don't believe there's been a regular use of that within SGA," Hague said. "... Any slate would be within their authority to work with the Rules and Constitution Committee to incorporate that into the senate rules and then also into the actual agenda."

What we found: SGA President Isaac Mitchell said he doesn't think any previous slate has tried this, but Amplify had considered it as a platform point.

"I think [the] feasibility regarding them being able to do this is 100 percent," Mitchell said. "But, they will have a tough job of convincing a student to walk over to the Student Center and talk about their issues."

Miami University has already made time within their student government meetings to voice student concerns, and has legislation that could send a student's concern to a specific committee.

Environmental awareness

Install more eco-friendly water stations and ice machines in the Recreation Center

Feasibility: Unlikely

Why: United wants to install more "eco-friendly" water stations and ice machines in the Recreation Center.

The slate said the costs of installing these eco-friendly ice and water stations are "fairly attainable" and hope to already use the existing water valves for the new machines. They also believe that having ice readily available will help with injuries.

United said they had spoke with Michelle Jones, coordinator of informal recreation and aquatics. The Daily News attempted to reach out to her, but never received a response.

What we found: An office assistant at the Recreation Center said over email after reaching out to the upper management of the center, "I have passed this message on to upper management and they wanted me to pass the message back to you to inform you that we are not looking for any new ice machines at this time."

Install LED lights and solar panels on outdoor lighting fixtures

Feasibility: Unlikely

Why: United has a multi-step process for how it would implement this. First, it would switch the current lights on McKinley Avenue to LED, which would also have a solar panel attached to the light pole.

Later, if this proves effective, United said it will consider doing the same with lights along the Cow Path and in the Quad.

United estimates the project will cost approximately $250 per light post, not counting labor; however, by installing these lights, United believes that the university will save $414 per post.

What we found: In an email, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management Jim Lowe said he had further questions about United's cost analysis.

"Retrofitting the lights from high pressure sodium to LED alone will cost over $1,000 just for the fixture conversion kit," Lowe said. "This does not include the labor to install the fixtures or the cost of the solar panel and the labor to install it."

Campus and student safety

Initiate the dialogue for Residence Hall directors to be CPR/first aid certified

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: United plans to start a dialogue to require all Ball State residence hall directors to be certified in CPR and first aid. CPR classes cost $90 at the Recreation Center, but United wants the training to be free for the directors.

What we found: Wilkey said he knows professional staff go through similar training, but he was not sure about resident assistants.

"I wouldn't say that's impossible, but I also don't know if they have something like that already or not in that process," Wilkey said. "I haven't been through that training."

Improve lighting for sidewalks on university walkways to allow for safer foot travel

Feasibility: Unlikely

Why: United said this point would be tangential to their outdoor LED lights platform point and would also help the University Police Department (UPD) patrol streets.

Cutting down some foliage and shrubbery in the way of walkways would be part of this point.

What we found: UPD Chief Jim Duckham said in an email nobody from any nominated slate has spoken to him about their platform points. He said he was not aware of any specific locations where lighting could help with patrol routes or where plants would be in the way.

However, Duckham said better lighting can "certainly" enhance safety and UPD "encourages students to travel in well-lit areas."

Combat sexual assault on campus and in the Muncie community

Feasibility: Unknown

Why: United said it intentionally left this platform point vague due to the complexity of the issue. It also said they wanted to include the Muncie community to account for students who do not live in dorms.

What we found: Mitchell said he's wary of the lack of specificity.

"I love the intention," Mitchell said. "But I wish they would be more specific."

United has no funding allocated for the point at this time.

Extend hours and services for Charlie Charter

Feasibility: Probably

Why: United said it wants to extend the hours of Charlie Charter from 3 to 4 a.m. The slate said students who have to work the late shift may not get off work before 3 a.m.

Jones said they have spoken to students who work in the residence halls, and they said they don't get off work until 3:30 a.m.

"With that being said, not having transportation at such an early time, like 3:30 in the morning, they have to walk back to their dorms," Jones said.

What we found: "We are always evaluating our service to ensure we are providing for student needs, however, currently there is no plan to change the hours of Charlie's Charter," said Nicholas Capozzoli, parking services manager.

Technology initiatives

Introducing a 24/7 text-based therapy service

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: United wants to institute a text-based therapy service called Talkspace, though they did not specify whether this service would replace WellTrack, Ball State's current online mental health service.

Pricing for Talkspace's services are on a ladder system, ranging from $196 per month to $316 per month.

What we found: Betts said giving students access to Talkspace through the university would involve vetting the service.

"Before adopting any new service, the university would need to ensure that the providers are appropriately credentialed and properly licensed to provide therapy in Indiana," Betts said in an email. "We would also need to make sure that there are adequate safeguards in place so that students can access in-person services if the student is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else."

Promoting technology resources to improve the first year experience

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: Biller said the slate received several testimonials from freshmen who were struggling to find services. The slate wants to make a "streamlined list" for students to know where to access technology and other necessities.

The slate has also wants to make the Benny Link website more user-friendly for all students.

What we found: Hague said if any changes were to be made to the Benny Link website, it would be through the Office of Student Life, but they may work with student organization officers.

"Depending on what the change is, there may be costs," Hague said. He said when it came to helping other student organizations with their social media accounts and advertising, there wouldn't be any costs.

Hague said Student Life has never received any formal complaints over the Benny Link site to his knowledge.

"Even after the debates, I'm still left confused at exactly what they mean by promoting technology for first-year students," Mitchell said. "I think cleaning out Benny Link is a good idea, but I'm not sure exactly how SGA is going to do that."

Cultivate student success

Feasibility: Unknown

Begin the discussion with faculty about allowing students to miss a class for career readiness fairs/events

Why: United wants to begin reaching out to administration to see if it is possible to have professors excuse students from classes to attend career development events, such as a job fair or seminar.

Jones said certain professors required him to go to professional development events.

"With the career fair being on a specific day and at a certain time, if it wasn't a requirement of me from one class to go, I would not have had the chance to go," Jones said.

Jones said this platform point will help upperclassmen so that can start to network with possible employers for jobs or internships.

United mentioned deans may be the best fit to decide what events would and would not be worthy of missing a class.

What we found: The Daily News reached out to multiple deans, but were unable to speak to the deans directly.

Ball State does not have a set attendance policy.

Offer opportunities to students for career development and professional competence

Feasibility: Maybe

Why: United wants to create more opportunities for students to develop skills needed for a career.

Jones said this point along with the point of discussing career development with faculty builds student success.

"This includes resume building, this includes professional etiquette and these things that the career center offers, whether it be like interview prep or things like this," Jones said.

What we found: Jim McAtee, director of the career center, said there is a lot going on at campus that students don't know about.

"I think more is better. But I also think that there's a whole lot going on on campus right now that maybe not a lot of people know about," McAtte said. "I think it might be important to make sure that the student body is fully aware of all the opportunities to engage, and then take a look at how do we do more."

This story will be updated.

Sara Barker, Pauleina Brunnemer, Ayah Eid, Andrew Harp, John Lynch, Chase Martin, Charles Melton, Jacob Musselman, Rohith Rao, Liz Rieth, Taylor Smith and Evan Weaver contributed to this story.

Empower, Elevate and United kicked off their campaigns for 2019's Student Government Association (SGA) Elections Tuesday. The Daily News fact checked the 38 platform points to see how feasible they are to complete or implement. Photos: Scott Fleener, DN; Graphic: Emily Wright, DN

<![CDATA[Sharp Around the Edges: Censorship of chanting in sports has gone too far]]> Jack Williams is a junior journalism major and writes "Sharp Around the Edges" for The Ball State Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jack at jgwilliams@bsu.edu.

The F-word tends to trigger a lot of emotions for anyone. If it's said sarcastically, maybe a laugh. If it's said in a hostile tone, maybe a punch in the face. Either way, there's going to be some sort of reaction to those four letters.

In the dying seconds of a heated Indiana-Purdue men's basketball game, Purdue center Matt Haarms tipped in the eventual game-winner for the Boilermakers. Haarms' four-finger victory would cause IU fans inside Assembly Hall to respond with three words. "F*** you, Haarms."

While fans from both sides showed displeasure at the chant, triggering an apology from Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass, I don't see much reason for fans to be upset. While the statement is vulgar, it can be said to anyone in any context and stands as a testament to the censorship of chanting at sports events all over the world.

The comment was aggressive, that is true, but did not target the player's sexuality, gender, nationally, religion or background in any way, shape or form. So what's the big deal?

This isn't the first time that fans have been displeased with a chant in this rivalry. Indiana fans have been up in arms about Purdue's "IU sucks" chant, which is even more tame than what was hollered on Tuesday.

Boilermaker head coach Matt Painter wasn't bothered by the comment at all, saying to 1070 the Fan's Dan Dakich on Wednesday that he expects comments like that because this is a competitive and heated rivalry. The language is just part of the rivalry and what sports are.

Other schools don't seem to have an issue with using words that may go above the PG rating. It's normal for Duke fans to chant "go to hell, Carolina." Kentucky fans chanted "overrated" when they took down then No. 1 Tennessee last week and Kansas State fans chanted F-B-I in regards to Kansas' recruiting investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Chants are supposed to be full of anger, agitation and gloating. It's part of the game.

Of course there's a place where the line needs to be drawn, such as the Center Grove student who mocked a Cathedral player by pretending to have a seizure during a free throw attempt. That is directly attacking a player about something they cannot control.

In the end, yes, I agree that the usage of the F-word was aggressive, but it shouldn't be so blown out of proportion, to the point where people get so upset the athletic director needs to apologize. It's a chant. It's supposed to make people mad and that's exactly what it did.

This is a big part of the game. Chanting shows the heart, passion and pride of fans feel toward their team. If we begin to censor any word that's worse than "darn" or "crap," we are taking away an aspect of the game experience. If we continue down this road, games will be dead silent and we'll be handing out more participation trophies.

<![CDATA[Mild February Temperatures With a Warmer Weekend on the Way]]>

Tonight: Tonight will be below freezing with a high of around 27 degrees. Winds coming from the West at 5-8 mph. It will be cooler night with mild winds that shouldn't be too much of a hassle to bundle up for.

Tomorrow: Temperatures will begin to climb as we approach the weekend. We are looking at a high of about 42 degrees and mostly sunny for your Friday. Mild winds once again from the West at 5-10 mph. Not a bad way to end the week for February and even warmer weather on the way! However, rain will be a factor with the warmer weather following Friday.

7-Day: This weekend expect rain and pop up showers for your Saturday and Sunday. We have over an 80% chance for rain on Saturday with a high of 55. Sunday has a 60% chance of showers and 41 for the high. Temperatures cool down slightly for Monday and Tuesday with partly cloudy conditions. Wednesday will bring the possibility of the snow with a high of 37 degrees.

<![CDATA[Ball State Women's Swim and Dive need success from Vormohr, Bertram to achieve higher team placing]]> Anne Vormohr remembers seeing her mom, Marcie, and wondering 'did I make it?'

Marcie Vormohr stood tallying up the top preliminary swimming times. Within minutes, the pair thought they had an answer.

"She was like, 'I think you're in. I think you're in,'" Anne Vormohr said. "And I was super excited, especially to represent Ball State."

Vormohr had finished 12th and 14th in the backstroke events at last season's Mid-American Conference Championships. A pair of Cardinals earned top-16 finishes in two different events at those championships: juniors Vormohr and Rachel Bertram.

Now Ball State's Women's Swim and Dive is looking to them to carry the team to a higher placing.

Setting the bar

As a senior in high school, Vormohr had some lofty goals for herself in collegiate swimming. Arriving to Ball State three years ago, Vormohr said she expected herself to be in this position to lead the team.

"I had set these goals back in high school: placing at the MAC Championship and placing in the top 8," Vormohr said. "But I do have bigger goals. My goal is still to place in the top 8. I hope to achieve that."

While Vormohr has led the swimmers with high placing in the pool, Bertram has done the same for diving.

Last season, Bertram finished seventh in both the 1- and 3-meter dive. For the championships this season, Bertram said she wants to feel more relaxed and have fun because that means she doesn't have to worry about anything else.

"If I just let loose and not think about placing higher or lower, then I can compete better," Bertram said. "I'm not going to worry about it and just focus on doing my best."

Aiming higher

For the team as a whole, the Cardinals are hoping to improve their placing. In the past, the Cardinals have ended the season near the bottom of the conference, finishing eighth for the last five years.

Earlier this season, head coach J. Agnew said he wanted his team to focus on technique, stroke mechanics and improving efficiency. He said his team is going into the championships with a lot of confidence.

"We have put ourselves in a position to be in the top 16 and hopefully top 8," Agnew said. "Our team is tired of being last. We can't control what other teams can do, but we can swim our hearts out."

Bigger meets like the conference championship can create pressure, and Vormohr said she feels it heading into the MAC Championships. Needing to swim a personal-best time, representing Ball State and needing to do well for teammates and coaches are all in her head.

"I feel that everyone feels a sense of pressure going into a championship meet," Vormohr said. "I don't feel that I'm the only one, but I do feel a bigger sense of pressure this year."

Akron has been one of the more successful teams at the MAC Championships in recent years. According to the MAC Women's Top 20 Best Time Rankings of the 2018-19 season, the Zips have the top times in all five of the relays (200-, 400- and 800-yard freestyle and 200- and 400-yard individual medley) as well as six out of 16 events. Agnew said his team is excited to compete and can promise one thing.

"I can promise you that our ladies will be ready to compete," Agnew said. "I don't know where we will finish, but we're going to show up and race like Cardinals."

Contact Patrick Murphy with comments at prmurphy2@bsu.edu or on Twitter @PMURPH505.

Junior Rachel Bertram dives during the meet against Grand Valley State on Nov. 18,2017, in Lewellen Pool. The Cardinals won the meet, 164-136. Kaiti Sullivan, DN

<![CDATA[Ball State School of Kinesiology to bury time capsule]]> "Hope parking services doesn't tow your hover car!"

This was one of the many messages students and faculty alike wrote on sticky notes for the School of Kinesiology Time Capsule.

The School of Kinesiology is celebrating the centennial by collecting items and notes for a time capsule set to open in 25 years.

Department Chair Thomas Weidner said the idea of a time capsule correlates with the centennial's celebratory theme, "Proud Past, Bright Future."

"It was an idea to share our present with the future," Weidner said.

The school set up a table in front of room Health and Physical Activity building room 253 on Monday and Tuesday, where it showcased some of the items collected. Students could also write notes for the time capsule.

Information about the Kinesiology School's program, a heart-rate monitor, a gator ball, a tape measure and a stopwatch were some of the items gracing the School of Kinesiology display table.

Freshman computer science major Nathan Brant was one of the student assistants who monitored the display table and took notes from students. He hadn't written a note yet, but he said he was probably going to write about his aspirations for work.

"I'll have to think about it so I don't write something dumb," he said.

Other students didn't write out more than their names, majors and graduation years. Sophomore health and physical education major Hannah Thompson submitted a post-it note that had "literally, those three things."

Weidner wrote a letter to those opening the time capsule, wishing them enjoyment in "studying the artifacts" and hoping they learned something from what those in our time submitted.

Weidner said he didn't think he'll be around when the time capsule opens in 25 years.

"I doubt that will happen, but some of my new, young faculty may be [here]!" he said.

The School of Kinesiology will assemble the items in the time capsule on Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Worthen Arena Lounge 3-3:30 p.m.

Once assembled, the time capsule will be placed in a locked display case in the School of Kinesiology main office, HP 260.

Contact Hannah Gunnell with comments hrgunnell@bsu.edu or on Twitter @hagunnellNEWS.

Freshman computer science Nathan Brant is stationed at the School of Kinesiology desk where sophomore health and physical education major Hannah Thompson writes a notes for the time capsule. The time capsule will contain everything placed upon the desk including written notes from students. Hannah Gunnell, DN

<![CDATA[Buffalo shows no mercy, takes down Ball State Women's Basketball by nearly 40]]> Coming off two consecutive losses for the first time this season, Buffalo (17-7, 9-4 MAC) was not taking this game with Ball State (7-18, 2-11 MAC) lightly. The Bulls came out with the losses to Bowling Green and Central Michigan on their minds, and they took it to the Cardinals (7-18, 2-11 MAC), 97-58.

"I give all the credit in the world to [Buffalo head coach Felicia Leggette-Jack] and her team," Ball State head coach Brady Sallee said. "They had a sense of urgency and frustration from those last two losses, and they took it to us."

Despite having every active player on the roster with points and winning the offensive rebounding game, the Cardinals couldn't seem to stop the Bulls' key players when they were hot. Ending the game with 12 scorers, three in double figures, points were not hard to come by for the Bulls.

While Cierra Dillard and Summer Hemphill have been standouts for the Bulls, it was Theresa Onwuka who got off to a hot start. Onwuka had 10 of the team's 28 points at the end of the first quarter where the Bulls also managed to avoid turnovers entirely compared to the Cardinals' six.

A key point for the Cardinals in the first half was their ability to keep Dillard under control, holding her to only six points in the first 20 minutes of the game.

"Our focus on Dillard was pretty good, but we lost some other ones," Sallee said. "They're a good team, and they're more than just Dillard. That's always the hard part in coming up with the game plan - deciding how much to focus on her and let the others get loose."

The story of the night was the Buffalo's shooting percentage. The Bulls shot 69 percent from the field and 55 percent from three, and the Cardinals struggled to keep up with those numbers. While the Cardinals remained close in rebounds and had more second-chance points, they could not seem to stop the Bulls' offense.

It didn't stop in the second half as the Bulls came back out and scored five points in the first minute of the half. By the end of the third, the Cardinals still did not have a single player with double-digit points. On the contrary, the Bulls saw Hemphill with 20, Onwuka with 14 and Dillard with 12. They also had six other players contributing to their total of 71 heading into the fourth quarter.

Sophomore forward Oshlynn Brown inched her way into double digits late in the fourth and ended the night with 10. With Dillard's strong second-half performance, finishing with 20 points, and Hemphill's 24, the Cardinals were unable to keep up.

"These kids need a win," Sallee said. "But it doesn't come without the fight. They're going to keep working."

Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at grglass@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gabiglassbsu.

<![CDATA[Boys and Girls Club Awards Youth of the Year]]>

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink)- Mentors are great motivators to achieve big things. The Boys and Girls Club offers high school students with an adult to look up to in order to keep them on track with their professional and personal goals.

One of the mentor relationships that exists in Muncie's Boys and Girls Club is between Jayonna Taylor, a sophomore at Muncie Central High School, and Gabrielle "Gabbi" Smith, who graduated from Ball State University over the summer and is a mentor.

Smith pushed Taylor to work hard for the Youth of the Year award that the Boys and Girls Club presents.

"Everybody [pushed me]. My mentor, Miss Gabbi, my parents. I had a whole bunch of people help me push," Taylor said.

The award required the student to write essays and do a speech over why they deserve the award. This year, Taylor competed against one other person to get the award and she won.

"It was cool to see the great sportsmanship between each other. I really liked seeing that," Smith said.

Smith and Taylor met in August when Taylor started to attend the Boys and Girls Club regularly. They quickly became good friends.

"I instantly fell in love with the person that she is. She's just a great person," Smith said.

Smith hopes that Taylor keeps up the momentum of hard work for the state level Youth of the Year Award. The state level will feature Boys and Girls Club members from all over the state, so there will be more competition.

"i'm pretty nervous," Taylor said.

Taylor has Smith's support.

"She's got this." Smith said.

Taylor will head to the state competition for Youth of the Year, which will take place in Indianapolis in May.

<![CDATA[Warm up on the way]]>

Tonight: Overnight tonight we will see mostly cloudy conditions with temperatures dropping to the low 30s. Winds will be coming out of the W at 10-15 mph, making it feel like the mid to upper 20s.

Tomorrow: We are going to be warmer, with high temperatures reaching the mlow 40s. We are going to see mostly cloudy conditions with winds coming out of the W at 5-10 mph.

7-Day: Temperatures are going to reach a high near 60 on Saturday, but that doesn't come without the chance of rain and thunderstorms. Temperatures are going to drop back down into the upper 40s and low 30s for next week.

--Weather Forecaster Hannah Stutler

Follow us on Twitter @NLIWeather for breaking weather updates.

NewsLink Indiana is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.

For more information about the Weather-Ready Nation program please click HERE.

<![CDATA[Ball State SGA votes to revise emergency alert text system]]> Student Government Association (SGA) senators voted for a resolution requesting that the Office of Risk Management at Ball State change the university's emergency alert system for text alerts Wednesday at the senate meeting.

The bill authored by Cameron DeBlasio, At-Large senator, would change the system from an "opt-in" system to an "opt-out" system. The bill passed the senate 37-2.

"The idea behind it would be we want to show that we have the support of the senate backing this bill to request that they would make this change," DeBlasio said.

He said, if necessary, the senators could ask Matt Hinkleman, SGA's vice president, to create an ad hoc committee where a group of senators would come together with the Office of Risk Management to collaborate on how to revise the system.

"There are several other schools in the MAC that do this," DeBlasio said.

According the website of Ohio University, another Mid-American Conference (MAC) school, if its employees have a cellular phone number listed in their personal information, Blackboard Connect automatically sends emergency text messages to that number.

The senate also voted on and passed two bills amending the language of SGA's bylaws: one clarifying the requirement of volunteer hours for senators and the other clarifying what happens when a member of SGA does not maintain their requirements.

Later the senate discussed an amendment that establishes a requirement for all cabinet members to give one report each month. This report will be submitted either in front of the senate body or in writing to the chief of staff, to be distributed to all senators and executive members.

Contact Rohith Rao with comments at rprao@bsu.edu or on Twitter @RaoReports.

Student Government Association's (SGA) At-Large caucus discusses with its senators during the senate meeting held Feb. 20, 2019, at the L. A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom. The senate passed a resolution to revise Ball State's emergency alert text system. Rohith Rao, DN

<![CDATA[Ball State SGA-nominated slates Empower and Elevate could be fined for copyright violations]]> Yesterday, two emails were sent to Student Government Association (SGA) with evidence that both slates were infringing on copyright logos.

The evidence submitted against Elevate referenced a social post that the slate's Twitter account posted, using the Ball State logo in the graphic. According to Sara Maier, the chair of the elections board, the logo had been modified.

Ball State's website asks that requests of the logo be sent to the Ball State Marketing Strategy Team.

The evidence submitted against Empower shows that a website's logo and name were similar to that of Empower's. Empower has used the logo on several of their social posts. Maier said this logo also appears to be modified.

Maier said the two slates will go through a hearing process Thursday.

"We haven't decided outright that we are going to fine them," Maier said. "We have taken steps to look at the violations that were reported to us."

According to the Elections Code, the slates have to be voted guilty by a two-thirds majority vote. The code also states that the board has to first notify the respective campaign managers and then the public must be notified within 24 hours of the decision by the press secretary.

If either slate were to be fined more than 20 percent of the maximum expenditure amount of $2,000 for a campaign, which would be $400, then that slate will be automatically removed from the race.

Maier said the board will have to decide whether or not Empower's violation is greater than Elevate's.

"So we're going to have to decide an amount basically, and then the reach and is there any difference because one is specifically Ball State-related, and the other doesn't really have anything to do with Ball State."

Maier said that based on precedent, previous slates that have used Ball State's logo without permission have been fined $100. "But, once again the board is going to have to vote on that." Maier said.

"At this point in time, we haven't found any precedent regarding trademark violations apart from Ball State specific trademark violations." Maier said. She said the board will continue to search for any precedent.

Isaac Mitchell, SGA president, said that the elections board is a "100 percentage, independent autonomous board". He said that he has no influence over what the board does.

"So, all I know is kind of what they've told me about their process," Mitchell said. "So far what it's looking like though is the Elections Board is researching the incident and additionally that their researching now all slates [running], just to make sure that everyone is good."

According to the Elections Code if either slate is found guilty of a copyright violation, they can appeal the decision to the Student Judicial Court. This court also has the power the reverse the decision made by the Elections Board if it is found to be "inappropriate," in which the board will change its decision. The code also states that the press secretary must inform the public within 24 hours of the Student Judicial Court's decision.

"Likely, what I think is going to happen is as soon as the hearings are done, we will inform the slates of our decisions.Then we will type up statements, then we will probably have our press secretary, Thomas May, send those to student media," Maier said.

The Daily News has reached out to all three slates for statements. As of print time, no slates have responded.

Contact Charles Melton with comments at cwmelton@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Cmelton144.

(Top to bottom) 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) candidates from Empower and Elevate stand before the All-Slate Debate Feb. 18, 2019 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom. Both slates could face fines for copyright violations. Scott Fleener, DN

<![CDATA[After record year, Activision-Blizzard lays off 8% of workforce]]> After having their most profitable year yet, Activision Blizzard laid off eight percent of their employees last week.

Blizzard's president J. Allen Brack released a statement about laying off nearly 800 employees, saying "this was an extremely difficult decision, and we want to acknowledge the effort of everyone who has contributed to Blizzard."

The employees laid off were primarily non-game development positions. The company also stated that they plan to replace these jobs with more game-development positions to boost production in Call of Duty and Diablo.

These layoffs upset many people as, on the exact same day, the company's CEO Bobby Kotick, announced that Activision had just had the most profitable year since the company's start. Activision made nearly $7.5 billion in sales and $1.8 billion in profits in 2018.

The layoffs sparked controversy online, and had many people discussing unionization for game developers. While Activision did provide a severance package, a union would have allowed them to argue for better benefits while employed, and protected some of the jobs from the layoffs.

Carla C. Flores, lecturer of management at Ball State, stated that this may not work as well as people are wanting. Activision uses a lot of contract workers, which are not protected by unions. Flores explained "Contract workers could also be brought in to work in place of union workers in the event of a work stoppage (strike) by workers." This would make the effectiveness of a union less useful because it would make one of the their strongest bargaining tool useless.

Sources: Polygon, Kotaku, Blizzard

Images: Wikimedia