Clothesline Project: Bringing Awareness to Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

By Elizabeth Phillips

If you happened to walk by the Student Center at Western’s Midtown campus on last Tuesday March 21st, you may have been asked if you would like to decorate a t-shirt. This was the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury’s Clothesline Project. Inspirational messages and pictures were drawn by students on white t-shirts and then hung in the student center for all to see. Their hope was for the messages on the shirts “to inspire others,” as Campus Counselor/Advocate Jill Daddona explained.

As of today, the shirts are still hanging in the Midtown Student Center lobby.

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In 2007, Western Connecticut State University and The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury signed an agreement for the Women’s Center to provide domestic violence and sexual assault outreach services to the Western community. Through projects, such as the Clothesline Project, they hope to trigger other students into reaching out for help and knowing that they are not alone with what they have endured. The Women’s Center’s main goal: “To stop violence and bring support to survivors of domestic violence,” as Child and Campus Counselor/Advocate Melissa O’Connor stated.

They offer support to not only victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but also to those who have family members who have been victims, as well as anyone who has been affected. Further, the center is not simply for women, but men too, and every age is welcome. The counselors are there to help and everything is kept confidential.

If you are a victim or know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault and would like to meet with one of the counselors they are located on the Midtown Campus in Higgins Hall Annex room 105 C and on the Westside Campus in the Campus Center, 3rd floor, room 300E. For more information on the center, its counselors, and the programs and support they offer, visit their web site – http://www.wcsu.edu/womenscenter/.

24- hour hotline:

Sexual Assault: (203)-731-5204

Domestic Violence: (203)-731-5206

Journalist and Lawyer Visit WCSU to Fight for Free Speech

By Briana Stiger

The Connecticut Foundation for Open Government (CFOG) has decided to take matters into their own hands regarding this nation’s First Amendment. CFOG has been promoting National Sunshine Week (March 12-18, 2017) which is a national effort to bring awareness to the significance of freedom of press for the sake of public access to knowledge.

For National Sunshine Week, journalist Jim Smith and journalist and lawyer Thomas Scheffey visited Professor John Roche’s News Writing class at Western Connecticut State University on Thursday March 9th. During their visit, Smith and Scheffey discussed the history of the First Amendment as well as the different ways students can protect their rights to free speech.  

 

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Smith and Scheffey talking to Professor Roche’s class on Thursday March 9th.

Scheffey shared with the class an encounter that challenged his right to free speech as a journalist.  He was reporting a story in Nebraska involving the murder of an entire family.  After the arrest, a confession of the suspect had been recorded.  Scheffey was told last minute by government officials that he could not publish the story of the confession because the suspect had the “right to a fair trial.”  Despite this claim, Scheffey decided to publish the story anyways.  There is this misconception where the law makes us believe that the law or the government have the final call however, that decision to speak is ultimately up to the editor.

 

Also during Scheffey and Smith’s visit to Professor Roche’s class, Smith discussed the right to freedom of speech outside of the realm of journalism. He specifically emphasized it is important for students to understand where the line is crossed with practicing their free speech rights.

Smith shared a story about high school students in the Vietnam war era who would wear black wristbands in protest of the fatalities from the war.  The wearing of wristbands was a peaceful protest but the school district challenged the students’ right to free symbolic speech.  However, “speech not turning into violence is to always be protected,” says Scheffey.  

As times goes on, the amendments that originally founded our country are continuing to be misconstrued.   Scheffey and Smith very much stressed during their presentation that we all have to be observant of the government in order to protect our right to free speech.  “These are the public liberties and the public needs to be unendingly vigilant to protect them,” says Pearlman, “and that begins with education.”

For more information about Connecticut Foundation for Open Government and its dedication to freedom of speech rights, contact Mitchell Pearlman at (860) 881-3517 or see http://www.ctfog.org.

Western Students on Ice

By: Sophie Pizzo

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Western Recreational Services hosted a free open skate for Western students at Danbury Ice Arena last Friday.

Directly after the Danbury Titans game, students hit the ice from 10 pm to 12 am, with music, free refreshments, and skate rentals provided. Shuttle service was also available to and from the arena.

The ice was brimming with students of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned skaters. Though there were a few falls and bumps along the way, the night was full of energy and fun.

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The free skate was part of Rec After Dark, which provides opportunities for Western students to get together for fun night-time events. Past events have included a free skate session last semester, as well as a “Glow” event featuring laser tag, glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and Zumba in Berkshire Hall.

“It was really fun to go back and ice skate after last semester,” said Sarah Hoffkins, a junior at Western. “I really hope that it keeps going on!”

For more information about upcoming WesternRec events, including Rec After Dark, visit http://www.wcsu.edu/recreation/.