Department of Campus Safety conducts emergency exercise in Berkman Hall

The emergency exercise Cleveland State University Department of Campus Safety conducted March 13 on the second and third floors of Berkman Hall involved around 80 people during the approximate four-hour event.

In a school-wide email regarding the spring break activity, the university notified students and faculty of the exercise. Other than the email, not much information was shared about the specifics of the exercise.

Lieutenant Beverly Pettrey of the Cleveland State Police Department, who is also the supervisor of the Offices of Emergency Management and Environmental Health and Safety, said the exercise was to prepare for an active shooter on campus and that the exercise involved more than just the campus police.

“The scenario was an active shooter on campus,” Pettrey said. “Those that were involved were CSU police, (and) we had actors from Traumatic Players of Cleveland … about 20 of those actors, and about 15 volunteers,” Pettrey said. “The County Emergency Management Agency was there too, and they helped us evaluate our actions. We also involved our CSU senior leadership and they kind of played along as well.”

The university senior leadership on hand for the exercise was President Harlan Sands and his leadership team.

With the actors, loud noises, and extensive police response, an active shooter drill is a rather large operation that can cause a scene. Pettrey said the decision to conduct the drill when there would not be many people on campus was for a reason.

“We planned this exercise during spring break in order to keep the campus safe and reduce unnecessary panic,” Pettrey said.

Although the exercise was mainly to test the Cleveland State Police response to this type of situation, Pettrey said that it also helped test the preparedness of other Campus Safety operations, which involves more than just the Police Department.

“Not only did we test the actual response of our police to an incident like that, we then continued the exercise on to test our emergency operations center, which involved the CSU leadership team,” Pettrey said.

Pettrey explained that the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management evaluated the university Police during the exercise. The Department of Campus Safety is getting together the results and will present them to university leadership, but overall their actions were quick and effective.

“The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management evaluated our response and recovery actions,” Pettrey said. “We are still compiling that information and will present the results to CSU leadership later this month. Overall, our response was quick and we stopped the shooter.”

Pettrey wants everyone on campus to know that their safety is important to the department, and these types of exercise are part of their preparation. Their officers are trained annually on how to respond to active shooter incidents.

“The safety of our campus is of the upmost importance and our department takes these exercises very seriously,” Pettrey said. “Our officers are trained every year on the latest active shooter response tactics.”

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Preseason poll selects men’s tennis to repeat as Horizon League champs

The Horizon League preseason poll has selected Cleveland State University Men’s Tennis to repeat as champions of the league.

This is the second straight year that the poll, voted on by the head coaches of the teams in the Horizon League, selected Cleveland State to win. It is also the sixth time the team has been selected to be one of the top-two finishers in the seven seasons the poll has existed.

Men’s tennis head coach Brian Etzkin said that it is nice to be chosen in the preseason poll, but the team is concentrating on smaller, weekly goals to stay focused.

“It’s great to be picked and it kind of gives some credence to how we feel about ourselves because other people see it too,” Etzkin said. “But we are trying to take one week at a time and make each match at the end of each week our goal and try to do little goals rather than worry about if we will be first at the end of the year. If we can handle each week’s goal and work hard each week, then hopefully at the end of the year it will take care of itself.”

Etzkin said that it is nice to get recognition from the opposing head coaches in the league, but that once the teams step on the court, preseason polls don’t matter to anyone.

“It’s nice but I know that once we step on the court, no one is thinking about that poll anymore and they’re all going to try to beat us as badly as they can,” Etzkin said.

The team is coming off a Horizon League championship and trip to the NCAA tournament. Etzkin said his message to the team to stay focused and continue its successful run was to work hard, earn everything, and realize that injuries could happen and Horizon League competitors will get better as the season goes on.

“Number one, we want to work hard every week and take each week as an individual goal. Number two, we talk about how nothing is a given,” Etzkin said. “One injury and it makes things a lot tougher. I know the other teams will get better over the season and someone will step up and try to take us down.”

Etzkin, in his 17th season as the head coach, is trying to coach the team to its seventh Horizon League title and seventh trip to the NCAA tournament.

Since joining Cleveland State as the head coach, Etzkin has posted 13 winning seasons. He said he attributes his success as a coach to his players.

“I attribute it to having good players who work hard,” Etzkin said. “If we have good players who work hard and work to get along with each other, then we have a really good chance for success.”

Semester of Stories Concludes

As I head into my winter/holiday break from school, that will conclude my stories from this semester.

Overall, it was a very good learning experience for me. My reporting skills have grown and my writing improved. Being able to write for the Cleveland Stater has given me the opportunity to report on different topics and enhance my ability to create valuable and honest content that will look good in my portfolio.

With that being said, I am eager to relax and enjoy a few weeks away from my busy school and work schedule. Hopefully this time off will make me feel refreshed and ready for the Spring, which will be my last semester as an undergrad.

I am excited to get going on my reporting in January–until then– Happy Holidays!

CSU athletics posts high graduation rates, NCAA report says

The NCAA released its report detailing student-athlete graduation rates across the nation—and Cleveland State posted some numbers above the national average and atop the Horizon League.

Cleveland State athletes posted a multi-year graduation success rate of 94 percent, a single-year graduation success rate of 97.8 percent, and eight of the teams had perfect graduation success rates, according to the report.

Among the eight teams with perfect scores were men’s basketball, men’s tennis, cross country, women’s golf, softball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis and volleyball.

Cleveland State’s 94 percent multi-year graduation success rate was top in the Horizon League.

Cleveland State Athletic Director Michael Thomas said that the high graduation rates for Cleveland State student-athletes results from the commitment to helping students earn a degree and hard work from everyone involved.

“Athletics high graduation rates is consistent with the commitment we make to our prospective student-athletes and their families in making it our top priority to ensure their son or daughter earn a degree,” Thomas said. “Making this a reality at such a high level is a real credit to our academic staff, coaches and student-athletes and reflects their continued dedication and hard work.”

Thomas also said that credit should go to the academic support services that are available for student-athletes at Cleveland state.

“CSU Athletics has tremendous support services which starts with incredible academic advisers who are passionate about the daily and long-term success of Viking student-athletes and play a significant role in each of these individuals earning a degree,” Thomas said. “Viking student-athletes have access to an extremely qualified and committed support staff who work out of academic space in both Woodling Gymnasium and the Wolstein Center.”

Thomas said that these types of graduation rate numbers for athletics start with the head coaches creating a culture of academic importance.

“Having high-achieving academic programs starts with the head coaches and the emphasis they place on student-athletes excelling,” Thomas said. “Establishing a healthy academic-centered culture is reflected not only in high graduation rates and GPAs, but also results in strong retention figures.”

Cleveland State’s 97.8 percent single-year graduation rate is nearly 10 percent higher than the national average. Thomas said that for this trend of student-athlete academic success to continue, athletics must grow areas of importance and continue to bring in people who believe in their mission.

“It starts with hiring personnel, coaches and staff and recruiting prospective student-athletes who believe in our mission to provide an outstanding overall experience and knowing that graduating with a CSU diploma is paramount to making this happen,” Thomas said. “It is imperative we continue to grow with facilities, staff, technology and programming if we hope to sustain a high-level of success in this very important area.”

USA Today article highlights CSU for increase in applications

In a USA Today article published on Oct. 13th, Cleveland State University ranked 43 out of 100 on the list of colleges with the greatest increase in applications.

With a 66.8 percent increase over the past five years, Cleveland State received national recognition by being featured on the list.

As for what sets Cleveland State apart from other schools, Lee Furbeck, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Cleveland State, said that the school is growing along with the city—and the appeal of going to school in a big city plays a role.

“As the city of Cleveland has been on the rise for the last few years, Cleveland state is coming right along with it,” Furbeck said. “There are a lot of students who are interested in going to school in a city, not out in the middle of nowhere, so that has certainly helped.”

As for the specific growth in applications, Furbeck said that the number has grown substantially in the time since she has joined Cleveland State in 2014.

“I came in February of 2014 and we had 6,256 freshman applications for fall of 2014,” Furbeck said. “Then last year we had 13,352, so that is how we landed on that list.”

Many would believe that the surge in applications would make for a lower acceptance rate and more competitive applications process—but Furbeck said that the school was able to admit and enroll more students as the number of applications grew.

“Our admissions requirements are pretty straight forward and they really haven’t changed during that time period,” Furbeck said. “We are not more selective, the selectivity is about the same actually. We are definitely admitting more students and we are enrolling more students, too.”

Cleveland State was the only public university from Northeast Ohio featured on the list. Furbeck said this is because of the exciting and positive image that the university displays, as well as strong leadership—all the way up to the presidency.

“This has been a very positive and exciting place to be,” Furbeck said. “We have been lucky enough to have great leadership and a stability in the presidency.”

Furbeck said that the strong leadership from the president will only continue now that Harlan Sands has taken over, which gives Cleveland State an edge over other public universities in Northeast Ohio.

“By the looks of it, our new President Harlan Sands is ready to hit the ground running,” Furbeck said. “He is very interested in admissions and enrollment and growing our student body and making Cleveland State even more of a first-choice school. He is very interested in academic reputation and research and those are all really good to see in a new president–and I think that some of the other schools around here maybe haven’t been as lucky with this, at least in the last few years.”

Furbeck said that the national recognition from the story and positive publicity is always a good thing for the university.

“Anytime we get some national recognition in a positive way, then we will take it,” Furbeck said. “I was pleased that CSU was recognized and hopefully some positive publicity will come out of it and more students will want to find out what the big deal is.”

Furbeck said she hopes that the application surge continues, but also realizes that for this to happen, there must be some type of investment of resources to support the growth.

“I think that we are kind of at a point where we have done a lot of good work and we have made a lot of changes, and I think that to take that next leap forward, there may need to be some sort of investment,” Furbeck said. “I mean you can only grow the application numbers, the number of schools you are visiting, and the number of students that you are doing outreach to a certain point with existing resources. If we are going to continue to grow, I think we need to look at what kind of resources need to be put into that effort if we are going to continue on that upward trajectory.”

CSU Athletics release Men’s Basketball promotional schedule

Cleveland State University Athletics has released the promotional schedule for the men’s basketball season with giveaways, cheap eats, student perks, and the return of 216 Hoopy Hour highlighting the list.

For 16 out of the 17 home games, a certain number of fans will receive some type of giveaway– anything from T-shirts to yo-yos to bottle openers. For Brandon Longmeier, assistant athletic director in charge of marketing and promotions, these giveaways are about added value.

“We just want some added value for people,” Longmeier said. “It is ‘What can we do to make it a memorable experience?’”

Not only this, but Longmeier said that some of the promotions directed toward children will help spread the Cleveland State message and get the Viking logo into people’s homes.

“A lot of the giveaways on the weekend are simple things that kids can play around with in their house,” Longmeier said. “Just to know that the Viking logo is on something in their home is important to us to continue to spread that message.”

By popular demand, 216 Hoopy Hour is returning for this season for weekday home games. Two-dollar food items and $1 draft beers are available until tip-off. Longmeier said the return of 216 Hoopy Hour is due to its popularity, but also because it gets people into the arena—and encourages them to spend throughout the game.

“It just gets people into the arena,” he said. “That is what we want. We want them there earlier and we want the players that are warming up to feel that energy pregame rather than just at tip. They’ve found that if people have a beverage before the game, they also will do some stuff during the game.”

Longmeier said that one of the biggest challenges when creating the promotional schedule for the season is trying to compete with the other opportunities that Downtown Cleveland has to offer.

“It is always a challenge knowing that we do have professional sports, we have the theatre district, and there are so many opportunities in Cleveland to take advantage of,” Longmeier said. “We just want to be one of those opportunities for people to take a chance on–and we believe that when they are here, being able to sit in the lower level on top of the basketball action is quite the benefit for what we have to offer.”

As far as student attendance, Longmeier said it is important to head coach Dennis Felton that there is a student presence provides an electric atmosphere.

“Coach Felton is very big into the student body and the atmosphere that a passionate group of students can bring,” Longmeier said.

And if the promotions aren’t enough, Longmeier said he wants the students to know that their support is appreciated—and that they receive two free tickets to each home game.

“We just want them to come out, and we want them to know that they get two free tickets to every home game,” Longmeier said. “We want the students to be a part of it and not just show up, but make noise and enjoy themselves while they are here.”

For students interested in attending home games, a new student entrance—the Medical Mutual gate at 21st and Prospect allows students to swipe their student ID cards to gain admission into the student section.

CSU Volleyball catches steam, wins 8 of last 11

After a shaky start to the season, Cleveland State University Women’s Volleyball is beginning to catch steam, winning eight of its last eleven games.

After losing four straight, their run of success began on the weekend of Sept. 14, in which they won two out of three games. Then, the team really caught fire, winning its next six.

Prior to the six-game win streak, the team was sitting with a .500 record at 6-6.

Sophomore middle hitter, Hannah Greene, said that the team’s mindset has changed since it has been winning.

“We have really picked up our work ethic and our mindset,” Greene said. “We believe in each other and play together, and we have fun while doing it. It makes it a lot easier to win games.”

Greene said that the recent success for the team can be attributed to hard work in practice—and what their coach uses to motivate them.

“We like to go off of an acronym our Coach made up “C.U.B.I.E.  Can you bring it everyday?” Greene said. “We pretty much say this before every practice.”

The CSU Volleyball team is no stranger to success, coming off three-straight Horizon League championships. The adversity of climbing back from a .500 record could stall some teams, but Greene said it has only helped this group.

“It just makes the team closer,” Greene said. “We become a lot stronger together when we truly are pushing and fighting toward being better and pushing for the same goal.”

Expectations for the team are already high, but Greene said they have a bigger goal this year—to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament, something that Cleveland State’s volleyball team has never done.

“Obviously, another [Horizon League] championship is always the goal but to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament is one of the many things that has motivated us to better ourselves,” Greene said.

Greene said that having fun while winning is important—and as long as they continue to keep the games fun, the team should continue its success.

“Everyone loves to win but I believe a good win is one that is earned and that was fun to earn. We have had a good amount of those,” Greene said. “I think that is what gives us steam. We love the thrill and the feeling of that.”

When asked if the team is getting hot at the perfect time, Greene’s answer was simple.

“I think every time is a good time to be hot. There is no good time for it–it should be all the time.”