Chatham’s Sustainable Impact Team Calls for Divestment

Author: Claire Rhode

The Sustainable Impact Team finally met with Walter Fowler and members of Chatham’s Board of Trustees Friday February 17, for a meeting that had been rescheduled multiple times. They were discussing divesting Chatham from fossil fuels. To do this, the school would have to change its investment strategy and try to invest only in companies that do not propagate fossil fuel use.

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David Finegold named new university president

-UPDATE- 03/03/2016, 9:25 p.m.

Chatham students, faculty, and staff, as well as the board of trustees and presidential search committee, filled the chapel on Thursday, March 3, in anticipation of the announcement of who the next university president would be. It was announced that Dr. David Finegold would be Chatham University’s next president.

Since President Esther Barazzone announced her retirement last June, the Presidential Search Committee — made up of trustee, alumnae, and two students — went on the hunt for a worthy candidate.

After nine months, the Presidential Search committee unanimously recommended Finegold, and the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to elect him as the university’s 19th president.

Finegold was introduced as having over 30 years of experience in higher education including impressive statistics showing how he increased funds and faculty size at other institutions. During his speech to the community, he made several points about his beliefs and where he plans to take Chatham in the future.

Finegold began by commending Chatham’s environment and innovative history of providing resources to women. He addressed the gender inequality in the world and the opportunity Chatham has as a newly coeducational university to educate male students on the value of gender equality.

Finegold also addressed his work with American Honors, a program that is dedicated to making higher education available to all students. Finegold is the Chief Academic Officer of this program and plans to use these values to also make Chatham as accessible as possible to all.

Before wrapping up, Finegold brought up ideas such as reforms in undergraduate and graduate education, improving retention, enhancing Chatham’s schools and amenities such as the arboretum, and getting alumnae and Chatham stakeholders more involved with students. He said he wants Chatham to be the “go to” for those who are “eco-minded” and those who want to learn to be global leaders. Finally he spoke about wanting to support and expand the Women’s Institute and bring more women leaders to campus.

Finegold said his goal is not for radical change, but to follow through and give attention to things that have already been implemented while also working with Chatham’s limited resources.

Finegold was eager to hear from the Chatham community and encouraged the audience to look out for town halls, forums, invitations to Greg House, and possibly a chance to do yoga with his wife, Sue.

-ORIGINAL COPY- 03/03/2016, 12:24 p.m.

In an all campus update meeting on Thursday, March 3, Dr. David Finegold was announced to be Chatham University’s 19th president. His presidency will begin on July 1, 2016.

Finegold, who has worked in higher education for over 30 years, cited continuing Chatham’s tradition of working towards gender equity and engaging alumni as some of his goals for his presidency.

This appointment comes exactly nine months after current president Esther Barazzone announced her retirement on June 3, 2015. She has served as president of the university for nearly 25 years.

Jenny Nordberg lectures at Chatham

In partnership with several prominent Pittsburgh organizations, Chatham University’s Women’s Institute brought investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize winning contributing author, lecturer, soon-to-be professor, and highly regarded author of groundbreaking book “The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan” Jenny Nordberg to Chatham University.

Imagine if the news of whether or not you would have a son or daughter meant more than if you would be decorating a nursery in pink or blue. If it determined not just the choice between “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl” signs at baby showers, but the status of your family. If being a girl determined everything about your life the moment you were born, from whether or not you would get an education to what sort of diet you would have.

Nordberg took the audience back to 2009, when she was in her own words heartbroken, angry, and still covering the United States’ long lasting War On Terror. The journalist, being interested in the “women’s issue,” observed American politicians’ tendency to use Afghan women as pieces in a never ending game of political chess — the “liberation” of Afghan women being a constant selling point.

Feeling troubled by the crimes being committed against women — “against my own kind, in my own time” — Nordberg convinced her editor to send her abroad.

As a reporter Nordberg spent time talking to anyone who was willing to speak with her. From victims to activists to the wealthy to the poor to the devout, trying to go outside of the categories in which Americans see Afghan women: fundamentalists and the oppressed.

While researching and attempting to challenge her own perceptions as well as western perceptions of the Middle East, Nordberg wound up speaking with Azita, one of the few Afghan women who had made her way into parliament. During a routine interview, while speaking with the parliamentary member and her daughters, she learned something surprising. Despite all appearances her youngest child was not a little boy, but a girl.

To be clear this child and children like her are not what most Americans would consider transgender, but a bacha posh. The literal translation of that term is “dressed up like a boy.”

Why would a parent do this? Not being able to produce a son is seen as a failure — something that impacts a woman’s credibility and “usefulness.”

“All you have for security as a parent is your son,” Nordberg explained to the captivated audience.

There are a number of reasons why families (with the fathers on board) chose this route for their daughters: for status, for their children to have a chance at getting an education, so that female children can travel freely either as boys or with their “brother,” and to help provide an income for a family.

However, as the author would explain, there is an expiration date on the freedom being a boy will provide. Once puberty takes away this façade, the girls who have spent years pretending to be boys must be thrust back into womanhood — womanhood that must happen without the benefit of having really gotten to be a young girl.

Through pictures and anecdotes Nordberg explained the after effect of being a bacha posh. Some never want to “turn back,” unwilling to give up their freedom. Some are able to successfully transition and, because of the confidence acquired growing up male, know their value in one of the most sex segregated places on earth.

Although this may seem unorthodox while telling this story about gender that turned into a story about oppression, the journalist who spent so much time with these women and girls wanted to make it clear that this is not something parents do lightly or cruelly.

It is simply that, “Living in a rigid society makes for creativity,” Nordberg said.

She went on to point out that the practice of “passing” for a not subjugated group of people is not something exclusive to Afghanistan.  

Nordberg was candid throughout the lecture, from her discussion of feeling protective of her subjects, to the surprise she felt when she was told by an Afghan woman that she herself was a man (because she was well educated and free to go where she wanted when she wanted).

The experience was enlightening for Nordberg, and her talk was enlightening for all those who ventured to Chapel Hill to hear her speak.

Students question Chatham’s response to recent Oakland assaults

Within the past two weeks in Oakland near the University of Pittsburgh, there have been at least four assaults, three being sexual assaults against women one being an assault against a man. All of the suspects are men with vague descriptions.

The University of Pittsburgh sent out campus alerts after the third assault took place and has recently sent out an email to students after the fourth.

“The safety and security of all members of the Pitt community remains our highest priority, and we take these incidents very seriously. We continue to take the steps necessary to safeguard our students, faculty and staff,” read the email from Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Safety & Emergency Management of University of Pittsburgh, Ted P. Fritz.

The email continues to give students tips to stay safe in the city and on campus such as “Always keep your cell phone charged and on you”, “Trust your gut. If you are uncomfortable, leave,” and “Do not approach suspicious persons or vehicles.” There are also links to the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) and the contact information of their Title IX coordinator as well as a list of things the campus safety will do now, including more patrols and a texting function for reporting to them.

Robert DuBray, Director of Facilities Management and Public Safety, also sent out an email on Tuesday to Chatham’s community. Chatham’s email appeared to be similar to Pitt’s though not as comprehensive. The email gives a brief description of the recent crimes and tips that are very similar to the Pitt email for students traveling to Oakland, though only the Public Safety non-emergency number is given as a resource.

Leighton Meyers, a Chatham senior, says that DuBray’s email was only sent after she emailed Student Affairs and Public Safety a few days before. Meyers received a response from Chatham’s chief of police, Donald Aubrecht, saying, “Due to the fact that the alleged crimes took place on the University of Pittsburgh campus, Chief Loftus was required to alert his student body. If these alleged crimes would have taken place here at Chatham, I too would have sent out an immediate alert to the campus community.”

Meyers also received a response from Mary Utter, Assistant Dean of Students saying, “Please know that we are working coordination with Public Safety to get a message out to Chatham students.”

“It’s disheartening how there were two different contradicting responses as if the issue hadn’t been brought up at all [amongst faculty and staff],” said Meyers, “And the ‘we weren’t required to immediately release information so we won’t’ attitude in the first email acts as propaganda for the failed crime prevention meetings more than a concern at all.”

With students going to Oakland for shopping, events on nearby campuses, cross registered classes, and parties, just two miles down the road, Chatham students are asking for a better sense of security on campus and more resources.

Alex Waasdorp, a junior, expressed anger that Chatham hasn’t taken better action on the issue which she heard about on the news over the past weekend.

“The University of Pittsburgh was aware of [the attacks] because a lot of them were on the local campus and Fifth Avenue. That’s really close,” said Waasdorp, who was concerned that she was just hearing about the crimes. “It’s an injustice to our students that they can’t protect us by staying aware of these sorts of situations.”

As former CSG Class of 2018 President, Waasdorp met with the chief of police about the distance between students and Public Safety. She said officers walking around and handing out the emergency and nonemergency numbers on campus is not enough, and suggests that bigger changes may be needed because she feels the issue is treated “like a joke.” Waasdorp encourages the Chatham community, faculty, staff and students alike, to report more frequently to make safety a larger issue on campus. Beyond this, she doesn’t see a clear solution.

“I don’t have faith in our public safety, and I feel if anything, there will be a few policy changes. But that’s not what we need; we need a leadership change. We need it so that we have a leader of public safety that we can count on and [who] knows what’s going on around us. [Students need to know] that they’re not in the Chatham bubble they expect us to be in,” said Waasdorp.

She believes that sending out an email after students have “informed themselves” about issues in the surrounding areas is reactive and not “proactive in a way that would protect us.”

Since the email was sent out, there has been a promotion of the Crime Prevention Series on campus taking place in the Fickes Living Room. This month’s topic: How to be “streetwise” and safe. March’s topic will be on identity theft.

Chatham Student Government has created a Safety Committee that is chaired by junior student Maraena Testa. Students should contact Testa at for more information on how their voices can be heard about this topic.

Loose Ends follow through on hair donations

Relay For Life commenced on Friday, February 5, at noon. By midnight, Lynzy Groves and Chatham’s Relay for Life committee reached their goal of the night, $15,000. One team that fundraised tirelessly followed through on their pledge that night.

Sophomore Krista Arena, junior Fia Nicoloso, and sophomore Kaitlyn Shirey created the “Loose Ends” Relay for Life team when they decided to donate their hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. They reached their initial goal of $300 in only three days, and continued to receive support and funding in the days leading up to the event.

After raising $1,200 — four times their original goal — Loose Ends went under the blade at 7 p.m. to make good on their deal. Two donors at a time took a seat and allowed their hair to be separated into sections and put into smaller ponytails. Then loved ones, highest bidders, and friends came forward to cut one ponytail at a time. After the initial chop, cheers erupted from the watching crowd, and stylists got to work, cleaning up the new short hair looks.

Photo Credit: Teri Bradford

Photo Credit: Teri Bradford

“I’m very excited to show it off. I kind of feel like a different person,” said Arena, who cut off 11 inches of hair and has never had her hair short before. “I [felt] like I should buy some styling gel, but after [the chop] I think I’m good.”

“I love my hair,” said Nicoloso, who also cut 11 inches. “I’m not going to change it. I like the way that [the hair stylist] styled it a lot, and I think that it will grow out well. I was looking at different hairstyles to show her but then I thought: ‘people are going to do what they want to do.’ So I told her to have fun.”

“I feel great. I love it, it makes me so happy,” said Shirey, who cut off over 18 inches of hair. Her hair used to be two inches above her waist, but she now has a short Mohawk with shaved sides. When asked if she was going to do anything else to her hair, she said she had no long-term plans. “I hope that [whoever gets the hair] really likes it and I’m glad that I could contribute to their head.”

After hearing that the three young women were getting their hair cut, at least four other students joined the cause including senior Brianna Young, junior Diana Cabrera, and senior Christina Fortunato. Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a program that asks for 8 inches of hair or an $8.00 donation that goes towards making free, real-hair wigs for cancer survivors. Over 800,000 ponytails have been donated to them, resulting in over 42,000 wigs. The program received at least seven wigs from the Chatham Relay for Life Loose Ends team.

“I’m sad that [the survivors] need the wig in the first place, but hopefully this will give them more normalcy,” said Nicoloso. “When I was in 8th grade, [I knew] a five-year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia and getting a wig really changed her spirits. I hope my hair can do something similar for another kid.”

Chatham’s compliance with ADA guidelines questioned by students

One thing students will tell you makes Chatham great is the inclusive environment on campus. Chatham prides itself on helping make students “World Ready” and positive influences on society. One aspect of inclusivity is being Americans with Disabilities Act accommodating.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became a law in 1990. According to the ADA national website, it is “a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.”

Though Chatham includes many of its students in a variety of ways, some students argue that this community hasn’t extended its open arms to students who are differently abled.

Kit Gigliotti, a former student and employee at the Programs for Academic Access, Confidence, and Excellence (PACE) center on campus, is legally blind and maneuvers the campus with her guide dog, Scarlett. When talking about the state of the campus, Gigliotti was passionate about change.

“I’m legally blind, so while I do not personally experience all of the issues with accessibility on campus, many people do. This issue means a lot to me; even my tutorial is based on it,” said Giglioti. “Chatham’s campus is a horrific ADA nightmare, some of which is not Chatham’s fault due to the old structures. For example, Woodland Hall is the only accessible dorm on campus, so if someone has limited mobility that is where they will live. Getting from Woodland Hall to the chapel, a one minute walk, turns into a several minute long hike.”

With the multitude of stairs and limited alternative options such as ramps or lifts, people needing to get from close locations such as the Chapel parking lot to Café Rachel, would have to find an alternative route. Entering Anderson Dining Hall is also troublesome because the entrance that avoids stairs is on Woodland Road, an out of the way option if a student were in the post office or Carriage House.

“Braun is horrible, with only the first floor being accessible. While, yes, technically any classes a student is in can be moved to a location that is more easily reached, what about Chatham events? Students with mobility challenges cannot attend anything on the upper floors of Braun where there happen to be administrative offices [as well].”

Gigliotti went on to explain some of her personal endeavors with some of the resources on campus.

“In the library the supposed ‘ADA Compliant’ restroom is in the basement, which does not have a door for the stall. It only has a shower curtain. Personally, if I’m in the library and need to use the restroom, I go to Café Rachel, which is a huge pain during my workday, but that curtain makes me hugely uncomfortable. Braun/Falk/Coolidge has some accessible bathrooms on the bottom floor of the building, but I haven’t found them. So, again, I just go to Café Rachel. [This is] hugely annoying if I don’t have time to run over there before class.”

Gigliotti is asking for change, but she isn’t the first. In 2008, Chatham had a lawsuit brought against them after an investigation showed that the campus did not comply with Title III of the ADA. A settlement resolved the issue and Chatham agreed to changes in many buildings like Eddy Theater and Coolidge Hall, including amenities such as water fountains, repaving sidewalks, new exterior ramps, and braille on signage. Since then, many things have changed, making it possible — though not necessarily easy — for students to get around campus if they have mobility restriction.

Emily Packer, the undergraduate campus visit coordinator and receptionist in Berry Hall, has a first hand view of how difficult the campus is to maneuver around. When prospective students or their parents come to visit, they get a sneak preview into what their lives may be like for the next four years. Students are asked if they have any mobility constraints, and if they do, they are asked to clarify what their limitations are. They then receive a tour that fits their needs.

“If someone needs a wheelchair accessible tour and they’re already coming to us in a wheelchair, we have a specific route [that] kind of winds through campus more. It can sometimes be more time consuming because they have to go around [buildings] because students can’t necessarily [access buildings from all sides]. Our tour guides have to, when we know about it, [go] out early so that they walk the path and make sure that they are used to it.”

Packer says that Chatham only gets one or two tours like this a year. Though they don’t happen often, when they do, it isn’t without some setbacks.

“[Some tour guides] said that some of the [handicap] doors didn’t open around campus. Because they were together, they could adjust and do that.  But that’s something we try to go around and check so that they’re on and working.”

There are also limitations when having to use, often times, the only accessible entrance to a commonly used building.

“If we had a music major that was wheelchair bound or a parent of a music major, we potentially have to use the wheelchair lift in Laughlin [Music Hall]. What makes it tricky, though, is that if the Welker Room is being reserved for an event, you would have to go through that front door where the event is to get to the stairs versus using other stairs somebody who has full walking capabilities [could use]. There are other entrances with stairs that will lead you down into the basement, but if somebody was wheelchair bound, they would have to go through an event, which is a little bit unfortunate,” said Packer.

Wheelchair accessible tours aren’t the only options for students. There are also golf cart tours though these also have their own setbacks. When students came back to campus in the Fall of 2015, they were met with bollards placed on campus, seemingly to limit the amount of traffic seen on the sidewalks. However, this makes golf carts unable to travel through central campus without using the roadways on the campus’s perimeter.

“[Tour guides] learn how to follow the posts, and we can’t drive on the grass,” said Packer. “I think the golf cart tour is, to me, the least desirable tour that we offer because usually it’s [with] somebody that can walk but can’t walk necessarily a lot because either they have pain or they have heart problems so they don’t get to see quite as much. When a student comes, though, like when we [do] the wheelchair tour, it’s just different. You just have to learn how to get in and out of the buildings.”

Maya Carey, a sophomore student, does not have a mobility restriction, but is frustrated with the difficulties in moving around campus, particularly within residence halls.

“Chatham only has one dorm building that has an elevator, and it’s already been broken once this [year]. There are no rooms on the first floor, so if the elevator broke people who needed to use the elevator would not be able to get up or down from their rooms.”

Woodland Hall is the only accessible residence hall on campus. This is because of the ramp and elevator that is a part of the building. However, the size of doorways and the placement of furniture within a living space also plays a significant role in whether or not a student would be able to live in a room.

“I think that the biggest thing that Chatham could improve on, though it would be very expensive, [would be] to work on the physical restrictions of our environment,” said Packer, “And it would be very difficult because of our old buildings, because of the architecture in the buildings. The newer buildings, clearly, like the new part of Buhl and the AFC are much easier to get around. I do think, and maybe making other buildings more accessible like for example Rea. Even to visit your friends on the first floor of Rea it would be pretty difficult to get to Rea to hang out, so you would always have to come to Woodland, which isn’t bad. I just think that, that would keep someone from being included.”

Unfortunately, being confined to Woodland Hall eliminates a student’s chances of being able to be a part of a Living Learning Community or take part in a Rea Coffeehouse event.

“If more students, especially with physical disabilities, come onto campus, people are going to need to make conscientious decisions about where things are located and what’s going on. To make sure that those events actually are inclusive and we’re not eliminating somebody’s attendance or experience at Chatham because of that,” said Packer.

Stephanie Alvarez Poe, the Director of Student Activities, said that, for students who need accommodations, faculty and staff will do what they can.

“If a student here were to ask for accommodations for an activity, we would do our best to make sure they were met. At this time this would be done on a case-by-case basis. If a student needs an accommodation, all they need to do is inform us of it. We make sure there is a contact area and phone number/email with all of our my.Chatham advertisements.”

However, being ADA accommodating isn’t limited to physical disabilities and mobility limitations, they also include mental and learning disabilities.

The PACE Center on campus provides a combination of academic support for students with disabilities, as well as the tutoring program, supplemental instruction (SI) program, the Writing Center, and general academic support for any student who may need it. Shannon Brenner and Cindy Kerr work as two of the four staff members working to make this possible.

“So [what students with disabilities] have to do is meet with myself,” said Kerr. “I ask what their disability is, how it impacts their academic life, how it impacts their life in general, and they are required to provide documentation from a licensed professional who can attest to that specific disability and what’s recommended for that student. For example, if a student has a learning disorder and one of the accommodations is that it’s better for her or him to have additional time for assignments. What we would do is talk to the student and say, ‘How much additional time might you need?’ and they can say maybe a day for really big assignments or on quizzes and tests, a time and a half would work for [them]. We just have a very long conversation with the student, and we put accommodations into place by notifying all their professors. We never ever disclose a student’s disability but we say they’ve met with someone at the PACE Center and these are the accommodations that are needed in the classroom and there is a whole post of accommodations that can be asked for.”

Like many departments on campus, the PACE Center has a full plate but few human resources. With two full-time staff members and two part-time staff members, the center is working hard to provide for an amazing amount of students. PACE assists undergraduate and graduate students on the Shadyside, Eden Hall, and Eastside campuses, as well as online students in various states.

“Since our enrollment levels have gone up, that means the students coming to our offices and seeking services has also gone up. We’re providing more services with the same amount of resources,” said Kerr.

“[The number of students with disabilities] is going up more than the enrollment is going up,” said Brenner. “More things are diagnosed, more students are on the autism spectrum, and that kind of stuff so it’s not proportional to the enrollment number so it’s [an] even bigger increase here. And we have a really small staff so obviously more manpower would be great. We sort of have to have everything we need to provide the accommodations [we do].”

“Working with students with disabilities it’s not a one and done process,” Kerr said. “Even though a student’s accommodations may be in place that doesn’t mean you’re done or the student is done seeking services. So they may be utilizing services on a weekly basis, on a biweekly basis so it’s a never-ending process. At the beginning of next semester it starts all over again because new classes, new professors, and sometimes even new accommodations and new diagnosis have been documented.”

Brenner and Kerr encourage Chatham’s community, students, faculty, and staff alike, to remember that not all disabilities are visible and to be supportive of all students.

“When it’s a person with a visible disability, say a student with a mobility issue or a student with a visual or hearing [impairment], the community in general and the world in general are more apt to assist them because they can see something. [For] students with non-visible disabilities, students and community members might sense that there’s something different about them but since they can’t see it, [the student] is treated differently. Our goal is to help students advocate for themselves, but then at the same time teach the community [that] just because you can’t see a disability, doesn’t mean somebody doesn’t have one. That may be why they are a little different in the classroom or that’s why they don’t take tests in class. It’s not something they want to have to do. It’s something that they need to do to have equal access to Chatham’s educational and activity programs that are on campus.”

Carey has found the non-visible impairment aspect on campus a tough situation to maneuver. She believes that Chatham isn’t as supportive as they could be.

“There’s not readily accessible technology for people who have needs [within the classroom]; like a magnifier when there’s [reading] handouts,” said Carey who experiences hearing loss. “I don’t think there’s training with professors to deal with students with hearing loss or [similar limitations]. When I’ve brought it up, it’s sort of just been pushed aside and not really addressed. I just think it’s wrong for Chatham to call itself an ADA approved campus because it’s not [accommodating] at all. Disabilities aren’t always physical. A lot of them are mental, and I can thoroughly say that I don’t think that Chatham is capable of accommodating people with mental disabilities, people who need special accommodations, or people who need counseling.”

Though there are many struggles on campus, there is a sense that the community on Chatham’s campus will help alleviate some of these problems as long as they work together. The Admissions office, for example, has found itself communicating with the PACE Center.

“[Based on] the amount of work that I’ve done with the PACE Center, I don’t work with them super regularly, but every time I need to talk to them they’re so accommodating. Cindy Kerr has come to campus on a weekend to meet a student before and I was just amazed,” said Packer. “To have somebody in another department go that extra step was really cool. And I think that’s just something about Chatham anyway. We are tight enough; we’re really close knit. The staff here really loves students, and I think the student population really cares about each other in general. I think to me that’s the thing about it. There’s going to be a large support network.”

Brenner and Kerr agree with this sentiment and have found that the support they receive is what helps their resources work as well as they do.

“I think there’s a sense of community here that’s really good. It seems to be overall that people feel very supported and feel welcomed,” said Brenner.

“Faculty [is] always willing to work with us when working with students. [When working with] staff and administration, I’ve had no problems getting what we need to accommodate a student,” said Kerr.

    These collaborations lead to fantastic results. Gigliotti reflects on the impact that the PACE Center had on her as a student.

“First and foremost, Chatham’s PACE Center is amazing. I mean the best. I’ve been to a lot of universities, all over the world, and Chatham’s PACE staff is simply top notch. During my first year orientation they provided me with all the materials I needed in braille, and they once built a tactile cell diagram for me because I couldn’t see the handouts and I was having trouble grasping what a cell looked like,” said Gigliotti.

Though there is so much support, the school still has far to go. Whether change will come when there are more students with physical disabilities on campus or before is unclear.

“[A student’s ADA experience] is definitely going to come with more challenges because of the geography and the actual landscape of our campus is hilly. We have a lot of steps so you have to be strategic about where you’re going. You’re going to have to learn so if you’re [moving] around campus, your friends would have to know where to walk with you because you’re going to [get places] differently,” said Packer, “You may always, no matter where your classroom is, enter through the same door or two. I’m wondering if it would take a student longer to get around campus, to their classes and such. I do think that Chatham is the kind of community [where] everyone would come together and make it happen. I think there’s that. But there are just some physical restrictions on our campus. We have some sidewalks that may or may not be wide enough for a wheelchair. Even along the road; the sidewalks are pretty narrow when you’re going down from Berry Hall towards Chapel Hill. You don’t even walk two people side by side sometimes. I imagine that would be difficult in a wheelchair. And if somebody were just using a walker or [forearm crutches], I feel like that would be really difficult. I think it would be easiest if somebody came in a power chair.”

When thinking of inclusivity, Gigliotti reminds everyone that supporting minorities on campus is the job of every person on campus.

“It’s kind of like asking ‘Why should Chatham be accepting of Black or LGBT students?’ Every student, faculty member, and guest on Chatham’s campus deserves to have the freedom to go to all events hosted on campus without feeling excluded — just like every other minority group,” said Giglotti.

Chatham has a new year to show support to students on campus who may have disabilities, take part in awareness months like Developmental Disability Awareness month in March, and even put forth some initiatives.

“Students pick up on who the administration values,” said Gigliotti. “Our students are going to go on to be employers and members of the wider community. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities in the United States is about twice as much as the national average. As students and the future employers of the world, we have a chance to challenge stereotypes and to change this statistic. By making campus more accessible, and making students more aware how their actions affect people with disabilities, my hope is that our ‘World Ready’ students will take on these issues. Which they can’t do if they don’t know there’s a problem.”

Pittsburgh celebrates Lunar New Year

The Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) has arrived in Pittsburgh!

In Pittsburgh, the arrival of the Lunar New Year means two weeks of celebrations for the advent of the Year of the Fire Monkey, kicking off with all-day performances at the Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center on Saturday, February 6, and ending on Sunday, February 21, with a parade in Squirrel Hill.

This is the first year that such events are being offered to the wider Pittsburgh community, due in part to two formal announcements from Councilman Corey O’Connor and Mayor Bill Peduto.

Councilman O’Connor issued an official statement called the Lunar New Year Proclamation, which recognizes the cultural and historical significance of the Lunar New Year to the Pittsburgh community.

Mayor Peduto issued a second proclamation to observe Chinese American Day every February 6 in Pittsburgh, in recognition of the historical and cultural contributions of Chinese Americans in Pittsburgh, especially the entrepreneurs who played an essential role in shaping the city.

Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off in Squirrel Hill and the Jewish Community Center with a performance by the Pittsburgh Chinese School Cultural Choir at 1 p.m.

Other events of the afternoon included a performance by the Steel Dragon Lion Dancers and martial arts performances by Oom Yung Doe. The OCA Cultural Youth Performance featured a variation on the Hand Drum Dance by the youngest performers of the afternoon, alongside a performance of Romance in the Palace and a solo performance of Dancing with the Wind by Rachel Sew. The Silk Elephant, a Thai restaurant in Squirrel Hill, also provided entertainment during the kick-off.  Their performance was well-received by the younger attendees.

In between performances, attendees had a wide array of smaller demonstrations outside the theater. Attendees were able to have their names written in Chinese, make origami, paper lanterns and dragon masks, and browse vendor tables throughout the afternoon.

Margarte’s Fine Imports provided samples of tea and a coupon good for the duration of the festivities. Several restaurants and eateries provided food for sale for attendees unwilling to brave the cold air. Pink Box Bakery offered a wide variety of buns appropriate for the Lunar New Year, including pork and tarot.

OCA Pittsburgh had a table, advertising their Lunar New Year banquet on Sunday, February 7, and offered discounts to students for the banquet. The cost of admission covered the 12-course Mandarin-style buffet and performances by several Asian-American groups over the course of the evening.

The afternoon’s celebrations concluded with a performance by the Pittsburgh Taiko drummers.

The final event for the Lunar New Year will be a parade in Squirrel Hill on February 21 at 11 a.m. The parade will start at the corner of Murray and Phillips and will end at Darlington.

Getting Rid of Loose Ends for a Cause

Chatham’s Relay for Life is coming up quickly; and with a goal of $25,000, Chatham community members are coming together to raise funds. From student organizations to academic departments, RFL teams are being created left and right to help fight cancer one dollar at a time through the American Cancer Society.

One special group was formed this year by sophomores Kaitlyn Shirey and Krista Arena and junior Fia Nicoloso. Cleverly named “Loose Ends,” these three ladies have made a Relay team focused on cutting their hair for charity. They are using their locks as an incentive to receive more donations. The more people donate, the more they will cut.

What are you doing and what is your goal?

“[We’re] collecting donations for the American Cancer Society to get research and to help the families of those suffering,” said Arena, who is cutting more hair with the more donations she receives. Shirey on the other hand, is planning on going all the way.

“My goal is to raise as much money as possible for Relay for Life and to donate all of my hair,” said Shirey. “When I say all of my hair, I mean that I want to actually shave my head bald. Let no hair go uncut!” Shirey plans to sell the opportunity to take the scissors to her hair at Relay for Life. Anyone willing to donate will be able to cut her hair.

“As a bonus to monetary donations, our team is going to donate our hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths,” said Nicoloso. “It’s an organization that gives wigs to cancer patients who have lost their hair.”

Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a program that asks for eight inches of hair or an $8.00 donation that goes towards making free, real-hair wigs. Over 800,000 ponytails have been donated to them, making over 42, 000 wigs.

“I like that [Pantene Beautiful Lengths] uses all the hair that they possibly can to make free wigs for cancer patients,” said Shirey. “It turns out that there are a lot of ways to donate your hair, and Pantene is the best fit for me. I don’t want to throw rocks, but Locks of Love sells their wigs on a need basis. It is often the case that a person could make a bigger impact for cancer patients by selling their own hair on the Internet and donating the money to research than by donating hair to [Locks of Love].  Additionally, some organizations will take hair donations to clean the environment.”

Though Pantene asks for eight inches minimum for hair, they will still take your hair to use for other resources, some that help with environmental issues.

“Every time you get a trim you could send that hair to clean up oil spills,” said Shirey.


Why did you decide to use your hair as a donation?

“I have donated my hair about five times now,” said Arena. “As soon as it gets too long to deal with anymore, I want to cut it. I feel that since I am fortunate enough to be able to grow my own hair, I may as well donate it to someone who can’t rather than it being thrown away.”

“I’m cutting my hair to help support patients undergoing cancer treatment. Due to treatment, many cancer patients lose their hair. Hair is a funny thing. It’s not something we think about much until it’s taken away from us. Sometimes the gift of a wig can really boost the spirits of cancer patients and give them a little bit more autonomy in a rough situation,” said Nicoloso.


Why did you choose Chatham’s Relay For Life and the Pantene Beautiful Lengths?

“I chose to raise money through Relay for Life because many of my family members and friends have or had cancer,” said Nicoloso. “Some of them lost their battle, and some are still fighting, but no matter what, the support that events like Relay for Life are invaluable for patients and caregivers alike,” said Nicoloso.

RFL’s donations all go to the American Cancer Society so cancer research can be done, as well as campaigns such as the Great American Smokeout, and provide support for those who currently have cancer.


Did you know anyone else was cutting their hair? How did all three of you decide to do it together?


“I originally got the idea when Kaitlyn and I were talking about how much easier our hair would be to manage if we shaved our head.  Then we thought about donating it, and the idea sort of just stemmed from there,” said Arena.

“I have donated my hair several times in the past- roughly every two years for a while now. I wanted to donate my hair soon and one day I brought it up at dinner with Kaitlyn and Krista. Eventually, we couldn’t stop talking about donating our hair, and once we got in touch with [Chatham Relay for Life president] Lynzy Groves, the whole thing just came together,” said Nicoloso.


How do you think people will react to your new hairstyle?


A big hair change is a lot for many people to handle. All three of the young women express that they are expecting shock from others and even themselves.

“I already know my dad will not be happy. But if the donations are high enough, and I end up cutting my hair really short — I’ve [wanted] to try it — I may as well make such a drastic change while I’m in college.  I feel like everyone will be very surprised at first, because I am somewhat known for how long my hair is, ” said Arena, who has donated her hair before, but has since felt her hair length was becoming part of her identity on campus.

“I often wonder whether I’ll even look like myself or be recognizable after all my hair is gone,” said Shirey, who has had longer hair for most of her life and is making the largest change if enough money is donated. From over a foot of hair to shaving her head, everyone is in for a surprise.

“My family may be a bit more shocked.  I honestly don’t know what any of them will say when they find out how much has been cut — hopefully, all of it,” she said. “[It will be interesting] when they see me for the first time.”

For Nicoloso, who has donated her hair a handful of times before, she says that she gets mixed reviews over the way her hair looks after a big chop.

“At the end of the day, I don’t care about other people’s reactions. It’s my hair, and I can do what I want with it. I’m not using it, so if I can donate it to someone who will genuinely appreciate it, then I’m more than happy to do so. Besides, my parents always told me that the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is two weeks,” said Nicoloso.

Relay For Life is from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Feb. 5. “Loose Ends” will be cutting their hair at 7 p.m. in the AFC. To donate to their team, visit the Chatham event page on the Relay for Life website.

Chatham ceilings falling down

By: Teri Bradford

One of the major selling points of Chatham University is the historic campus. Students walk among an arboretum, have first and only edition books in the library, and regularly pass buildings that hold the names of Pittsburgh legacies. Most excitingly, students who live on campus stay in mansions, some of which have been standing since before 1869 when Chatham was first the Pennsylvania Female College.

However, as the years pass, the historical landmarks students live in have been seeing problems. When students have construction issues in the residence hall living areas, they are encouraged to put in work orders to get the problem fixed. From flickering lights to broken windows, students are told that maintenance will get it done and preserve the history.

Robert DuBray, the director of facility management for the Chatham campuses, explained what happens when a student puts in a work order.

“The work order goes to the [Resident Assistant] or the [Graduate Resident Assistant] and it’s sent over to Lisa, [the secretary at Rea Garage], who puts it into the computer,” said DuBray. “Then she issues it to the appropriate tradesperson to make the correction. They will go to the location within the next day or two. [The tradesperson] will assess what the problem is and whether or not they have to order parts or if it’s a quick fix. Then they have these small red cards that they are supposed to fill out briefly just to tell the occupant that they were there and are ordering parts, that they fixed the problem, or whatever the case may be just so they can close the loop with that person.”

However, some students are finding that their work orders have graduated from leaky faucets to plaster and debris falling from their ceilings. Diana Cabrera, a junior, found herself in a serious dilemma early in the fall semester.

“I noticed my bed had tiny spots of wetness, then realized the ceiling above my bed was dripping water,” said Cabrera. “When I initially moved in, no one warned me about the ceiling. A friend who lived next to this room in previous years said that the area around the door had water damage, [but] the area above my bed was nowhere near the door’s water damage. I ended up leaving a towel on my bed to soak up the water since I was going to be out late for [a theater] rehearsal.”

Cabrera said she did not put in a work order because she didn’t have the time and didn’t think a small leak was a relevant problem. She found that she was mistaken later that night.

“I came back to my room shortly after midnight. The desk attendant just got off, and she was my roommate. She told me there was something wrong with my side of the room. We both went up to the room and saw my bed was completely drenched, [and] so was the floor on my half of the room, including under my bed where I stored items.”

Cabrera said that Residence Life moved her to the Gate House for the night and eventually relocated her and her roommate.

“I would go to the room regularly while it was being repaired because I did not fully move out. My stay in Fickes was intended to be temporary. When I went to my Rea room, I would clean up the plaster [and] move furniture around, so it wasn’t in the way or in danger of having more things fall on it. I had to throw out items that were damaged by the water or had started to grow mold. I would open the window while I was there and turn on my fan to circulate the air because it was difficult to breathe and smelled terrible. The repairs took longer than a week. I was able to move back the Tuesday before classes started again after Fall break,” said Cabrera.

She praised the Residence Life staff life for relocating her so quickly but said that the RAs weren’t informed when she relocated or returned. Though she no longer lives in the room, to Cabrera’s knowledge, the roof is fixed.

Incidents like these happen in upper campus housing, but also in lower campus housing. Earlier this semester, a bathroom ceiling in the Chatham undergraduate apartments collapsed, leaving a leaky hole in sophomore Lacey Massari and her roommates’ bathroom.

“[The damage] happened on a Tuesday night,” said Massari. “[My roommates and I] called the emergency number, and they said that someone would come the next morning, but no one did. Someone eventually came and said the plumber would come on Thursday, but they didn’t.”

Massari said that a plumber came on Friday but, that the leaking came from the room above, stopping it from being a quick fix. Corrin Walker, a junior transfer and a member of the track team, is the resident in the bathroom above Massari’s.

“My roommate and I’s shower was leaking to the apartment below us and [maintenance] came on a Tuesday to fix the problem,” said Walker. “The maintenance man came and said that he fixed it, and I just needed to give it an hour to let the caulking dry. I had class all evening and didn’t come back until later. When I tried to turn on the water, nothing came out. So I called [the maintenance number], and a woman said that there would be someone there the next morning. They came later that evening, and the maintenance man left a note saying ‘debris stuck in shower body need to replace whole unit will order new one sorry.’

Walker says she didn’t call again because she knew that they were ordering a unit, and that may take time. However, when it came to be Monday, she felt she needed to take action.

“That is when I talked to Kim Small [in Residence Life], and she said that she would help me and send in another work order. On [the next] Tuesday it still wasn’t fixed. When I told my coach I still didn’t have [a shower]; he contacted Heather Black. I explained my situation to her, and she said she would talk with facilities to get the problem fixed. Finally, on Thursday, my shower was fixed. When it was all said and done, it was 11 days that we went without a shower,” said Walker.

Since then, Walker says that her shower is working, and Massari says the leaking has stopped in her bathroom, but the hole has not been patched up.

Cabrera’s, Massari’s, and Walker’s stories are not uncommon among the campus. There have been discussions amongst the student body about horror stories in different campus buildings.

As the director of facilities, public safety, and transportation, DuBray says that he receives many complaints from students as well as parents, faculty, and staff. He encourages the community to look at the bigger picture.

“I’m responsible for every building on this campus, and we don’t have that many collapses [within residence halls],” said DuBray. “What we do here is big but with [the] support of the senior administration, we try to maintain every single building [with] the intent that it was meant to be. Every building has got something [that needs work]. That’s all controlled by a capital budget that we try to fit in during the summer months when we can, hopefully, do [construction] uninterrupted. We have a window of opportunity [in the summer] to do this work, so it’s a challenge.”

The facilities team at Chatham takes care of the daily work orders in residence halls, offices, academic buildings on the Shadyside, Eastside, and Eden Hall campuses. In the summers, the team does the bigger renovations including the newly transformed carriage house and post office. And in the winter, the team clears the pathways, stairs, and roads for Chatham and the Woodland neighboring community.

“We get over 25,000 requests for service [in a year], and we only have a handful of tradespeople,” said DuBray. “We have two plumbers, two electricians, one HVC cooling guy, two painters, [and] two carpenters. We do a pretty good job of responding and getting things fixed.”

As for the campus horrors, DuBray asks the community to be wary of stories that may be lacking truth. Many students may be concerned about things in their dorms such as cracks in the plaster of their dorms, which are more benign than anything.

“[With] all due respect to the students or whoever makes the comments, they need to know what the problem is before they elaborate or blow it up into something that it’s not. As soon as you find something, and we can’t stress it enough, tell all the RAs and GRDs as soon as a problem is identified in your building. We need to be notified because we need to investigate to see what the extent of the problem is. Then, if at all possible, we fix it right away. But if it’s [in] the dead of winter, it’s a little tough to get [to] the roof of a building for a leak, but we still do it. So let’s not lose track of really what it is,” said DuBray.

“Some [students] complain, and it’s legitimate, some exaggerate. [We] treat certain circumstances that arise, but we don’t know it’s a problem until someone reports it. We don’t just ignore things that are leaking,” he continued. “We don’t put students at risk in an area that shouldn’t be lived in. We would never do that. It takes a lot to maintain these buildings at the level of activity that they get, and we operate about 12 months a year. We don’t get any downtime, but I’ll say it again; when we get a problem we address it. Some are corrected immediately, some take longer, it’s just the nature of the beast.”

DuBray says that many complaints come from students possibly thinking that their problems are worse than they are.

“I deal with students. I deal with parents because they get reports from their son or their daughter that the sky is falling, and the sky is not falling. It’s a crack above your bed that you stare at every night. It’s a roof. It’s just a hundred-year-old building.” said DuBray.

Some members of the Chatham community want to see more action in the way maintenance handles the campus and won’t settle for less. The topic of building conditions has risen in Chatham Student Government meetings multiple times in the 2015-2016 school year alone. Early in the fall semester, Bethany Bookout, President of the Class of 2018, spoke on the issue.

“When will we stop band-aiding problems in the residence halls?” Bookout asked.

The idea that Chatham has lower quality living conditions that can be fixed is something that is not new to the campus. On Niche, a website designed for providing reviews, anonymous or not, and insight on colleges shows Chatham students expressing frustrations about their living conditions up to five years ago.

“They won’t update the dorms because they would have to comply with codes for historical buildings. So they leave them. I have seen the paneling on the ceiling fall off, [and] someone’s windows [almost] fall out all winter (later to just have plexiglass screwed in). The bathrooms are never quite clean and have improper ventilation. There is mold and scum [almost] everywhere,” said an anonymous junior student’s comment from 2011.  

Two years later, a similar comment was written by a Chatham alum.

“Buildings were falling apart, [leaking], balconies on buildings were physically separating from buildings. [Roofs] had green vegetation growing on [them], as it was so old it needed to be replaced, and [the roofs] leaked,” read a comment from an alumnus in 2013.

“These are old buildings and they are in deep need of repair,” 2011 sophomore student stated simply.  

DuBray acknowledges the fact that these buildings are older, and that there are unique difficulties that come with this. However, he wants it to be known that the facilities team is doing the best they can.

“You have to think about how many buildings we have, how many rooms we have. We have not had a problem in these dorms. These are old buildings, I give you that much, and we do get the occasional roofing [problem]. We try to address that as much as possible. We put new roofs on Woodland. We put new roofs on Fickes. We’ve repaired roofs over here in Rea and Laughlin,” said DuBray. “You can’t just go in and fix them any way you want to. You have to maintain the integrity of the building and its historical appearance. In some of these [buildings], like Mellon, [the walls] are 38 inches thick. If you have a plumbing or electrical problem, sometimes you just have to abandon it because you can’t get to the problem and then rewire or re-plumb.”

The effects of time can be seen in Mellon, but also in some of the academic buildings. The prayer room in the basement of Braun Hall sees some need for repairs as well.

“I have absolutely no idea what is going on with the hole in the wall in the Prayer Room,” said Maryem Aslam, a Muslim commuter student who uses the prayer room while on campus.

Muslims pray five times a day, so Chatham’s community uses it often.

“The hole has been in the wall of the Prayer and Meditation room for at least the duration of the Fall 2015 semester,” said Aslam. “Before it was a hole, it seemed as though the wallpaper or paint was bubbling due to the humidity or atmosphere of the basement of Braun Hall. The hole was covered up by plaster for a [few months], but it was never properly repaired. [Assistant Dean of Students] Mary Utter, said that she would email the head of facilities and let me know when s/he replied. I have not heard anything since I went to the Office of Student Affairs last week.”

Aslam says she has been off campus for the past week and is not sure if it has any progress.

“Older buildings present a lot of problems. It’s all old piping,” said DuBray. “We try to maintain safe, secure buildings, but it’s a structure. Things are going to go wrong; it’s what happens with old buildings. It’s the difference between a young person and an older person. They’re going to require more medical help as the years go on. It’s a never-ending battle for us. But that’s kind of the mystique and the character of the campus.”

Destynie Chase, a sophomore student who lives in the apartments, considers the idea that facilities may not be the problem.  

“I’ve heard if you email maintenance directly instead of going through Chatham [with work orders]; things get fixed in a timely matter,” said Chase. “Maybe the solution is to cut out the middleman.”

Though for Walker, she did cut out the middleman in her situation and directly called maintenance. She found that this did not hurry the results.

“I understand that sometimes it takes time to fix issues, but I thought I was being courteous by giving them time to order the new unit,” she said. “I really appreciate my coach, Kim, and Heather for putting in the time to help me fix the problem, but I feel like it still should have been done in a more timely manor. I’m not sure where the miscommunication was with the issue, but I wish there [were] a way I could have communicated better with maintenance so that the process could have been fixed quicker.”

Changes may need to be made on the campus to satisfy all parties involved. Proper upkeep is essential for the historical buildings that create the school many students have come to love. Until then, DuBray encourages students to come to him if they have concerns.

“Anytime when anyone has a concern, I’m more than available,” said DuBray.