KNDS News Updates Get the latest news from the KNDS news department Nondiscriminatory Bill Downed Again, Students Speak Up GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM Sunny Branick, a graduate student, said like many LGBT members in North Dakota, he has faced discrimination based on his sexual orientation.PHOTO: GABBY HARTZE

At 2:38 p.m. April 2, the North Dakota House of Representatives failed Senate Bill 2279.

In an emotional Capitol Building, a Republican-led majority sunk the bill, which a bipartisan coalition sponsored.

Supporters said SB 2279 would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Detractors of the bill said the wording was vague, and the bill itself was an unnecessary addition to North Dakota law.

‘Incredibly disappointed’

Legislators have voted on similar versions of SB 2279 in previous sessions.

This month’s down vote was the third in six years.

For Minot, N.D., native Grace Cabarle, the failed bill is another heartbreaking defeat.

“I’ve been following North Dakota discrimination laws since I was a junior in high school,” Cabarle, an NDSU senior and president of the university’s Pride Alliance, said. “ … We are all obviously incredibly disappointed, and many of us are simply devastated by this news,” she said.

As a lifelong North Dakota native, Cabarle said her state needs to protect the gay community better.

North Dakota transplant Sunny Branick offered similar sentiments.

The Kansas native and NDSU graduate student said some of the state’s problems regarding LGBT people might stem from ignorance.

Branick cited North Dakota’s low percentage of personally identifying LGBT people.

Less than 2 percent of North Dakotans identify as LGBT, the lowest in the nation, a 2013 Gallup poll reported.

“North Dakotans are not exposed as often to these types of minorities,” Branick said. “It’s easier to hate a group who you have no personal connections to and/or are just plain misinformed about.”

Branick, who moved here with his boyfriend, said the bill’s failure does not personally impact him as much as it may impact others. He said he and his partner own the house they live in and both work jobs with nondiscriminatory language written into policy.

In North Dakota, supporters of SB 2279 cited the lack of specific law barring people statewide from using sexual orientation in decision making regarding housing and work.

While Branick said their managed variables offer “a sense of security,” he and his boyfriend still face discrimination.

“We both quickly recognized that ‘North Dakota Nice’ doesn’t apply to people who are anything but heterosexual,” he said, noting within the first week of moving to the area, he and his boyfriend’s orientation were subject to resentment and pranks.

“It could have been worse, but it was still unexpected,” he said, noting the difference between his old home in Lawrence, K.S., and Fargo. “ … (We’d) forgotten what it was like to be called a ‘faggot’ in the street or at work by customers until we moved here.”

For more voices regarding the bill, read on via The Spectrum.

]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:41:46 -0700

Few words have such complicated meaning as the word “slut.”

It can be an insult or a compliment, a label or a badge.

But often it is used in cases of sexual shaming and assault to place blame on the victim.

Though an issue society does not always like to talk about openly, it is the central theme of the upcoming production “SLUT: The Play.” Sponsored by the Equity and Diversity Center, Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy, Theater Arts and Women and Gender Studies, this play delves into a world where oversexualization of girls causes sexual shaming and assault – a world closer to home than we think.

“Language is powerful. We often forget this fact,” director Jessica Jung said. “The labels we use can ingrain or evoke stereotypes that we do not intend. This play reminds me of this.”

The story follows Joey, a high school student who is sexually assaulted one night before a party. She and her male friends go out for drinks before getting into a cab to go to the party. Later on that night, Joey’s best friend finds her locked in a bathroom at the party, covered in vomit and holding her underwear in her hand.

“One challenge of playing Joey is that this terribly awful thing happened to her that I could never even imagine,” senior Kami Sim said, “and I have to try to go there and try to make it believable without completely overplaying it.

After, Joey decides to speak out about what happened despite the challenges she must face. The town is turned upside down as her friends are arrested and social media erupts with gossip.

Intertwined with Joey’s story are those of her classmates: the dance team girls who shun Joey and defend their right to be “sluts,” one boy’s sister confronts him about whether he did it and another girl wants to buy condoms at the grocery store but does not want to be labeled a “slut.”

“I think ‘SLUT’ is a brilliant play with a relevant message,” Sim said. “We are so quick to slut shame people and judge them for things we do not even understand. Our words have a huge impact on ourselves and others. This play brings up a lot of things that we don’t talk about but we should.”

Each of the stories asks a different question about our culture. Is using the word “slut” okay? Do we judge women when we use the word? Does the fact that Joey was drunk or wearing a short skirt mean she was asking for it?

Are women ever really asking for it?

These are difficult questions, but they need to be asked and answered.

“SLUT: The Play” will be performed as a stage reading in order to focus on the text, with the actors reading off music stands. They have been rehearsing weekly for almost a month.

“People should come to this show because it could give them new insights into slut shaming and rape,” Sim said. “I know it changed the way I look at things.”


WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Memorial Union Century Theater

]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:39:40 -0700
Protesters Decry 'Rape Culture', Verdict A flood of people, about 50 protesters brandished with colorful posters, united together Tuesday afternoon above the Red River.

Feet from honking traffic – blaring their horns in support – the activists rallied on the warm sidewalks of Veterans Memorial Bridge to voice their collective disgust of rape culture in America.

A recent court ruling sparked the event.

Minnesota State University Moorhead student Jessy Hegland created a Facebook group after a local man facing felony charges had his sentence lessened through a plea deal.

Taylor Pederson pled guilty last week in a case accusing him of raping an MSUM student in Fargo.

Instead of facing up to 20 years in prison with the Class A felony charge, Pederson pled guilty to two Class B misdemeanors.

With the plea deal, Pederson avoided jail time and having to register as a sex offender.

“This case is just another one where a rapist pleads guilty and gets to live on with his life,” Hegland said.

While the case itself catalyzed the event, Hegland said the protesters were not only picketing the verdict.

Most, if not all, protesters said something needs to change with the United States’ “rape culture.”

North Dakota State student Margalit Balaban said not only was she protesting the “lenient charges” against Pederson, but she was also showing her support for women.

“We can’t continue to support rape culture,” Balaban said. By doing so “we are saying what happens to women doesn’t matter.”

She continued, saying while laws could be stricter, rehabilitation for offenders needed to be offered, too.

Recently released polls have put college sexual assaults in the national spotlight.

A Public Religion Research Institute survey of millennials found about one-third of respondents said they though sexual assault was “very common” in the university setting. About 40 percent of respondents thought sexual assault was “somewhat common,” the largest percentage.

Less than 5 percent said sexual assault was “very rare.”

The same poll revealed the majority of millennials – about 60 percent – thought collegiate institutions were not doing enough to address sexual violence on campuses.

For more from Hegland other others at the protest, read on via The Spectrum.

]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:37:24 -0700
Bike Share Races Out Gates, Pushing Through Issues BY: CAMILLE FORLANO

GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM NDSU’s bike share launch has broken records with 3,000 students signed up. PHOTO: GABBY HARTZE

North Dakota State students have been breaking records with their widespread use of the new bike share program.

Student government and Great Rides Bike Share did not expect such a tremendous response from the students initially. Almost 3,000 students have activated their Bison card to use the program, the largest B-cycle Bike Share launch in the nation.

Some snags have surfaced since the launch last month, but these problems, student government members say, are avoidable.

NDSU executive commissioner of finance, Preston Gilderhus, said he is encouraged by the response of the NDSU community and is relieved to have the program in place.

“It was an uphill battle at times, but the system is here and has been very successful in its first few weeks of operation,” Gilderhus said.

For more on Gilderhus' advice on what and what not students can with Bike Share, read on via The Spectrum.

]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:33:07 -0700
Sexpo Sparks Conversation in Community BY: PACE MAIER

The first Sexpo at North Dakota State will take place at 5 p.m. Friday at the Memorial Union on campus.

Nicole Dahl, the treasurer of the NDSU Women’s Activist Organization, has been tying down loose ends for the event, which will be packed with speakers covering multiple topics in the Mandan and Prairie Rose Rooms.

“We chose these topics because of how they relate to our community. Sexual assault, education, experiences of women who work at local clinics and native women’s health are all issues that we feel should be discussed more openly and more consistently in our community,” Dahl, a senior, said.

Along with providing speakers, the event will also display informational booths covering a variety of topics and people who attend the event can experience a comprehensive setting.

]]> Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:28:33 -0700
'A Helluva Good Time in Zap, ND' BY: JACK DURA

DIGITAL HORIZONS | PHOTOS COURTESY Zip to Zap put North Dakota State on the map. To date, the event is the only riot in North Dakota's history.Photo Courtesy: Digital Horizons

What started as a spring break excursion suggested by The Spectrum became North Dakota’s only riot.

Over 3,000 college students overran the small city of Zap, N.D., in May 1969, taking spring break a bit too far in an event that became state history and the stuff of legend.

Forty-six years later, the incident is still memorable, and now more than ever, spring break safety is vital, from the lessons of Zip to Zap to NDSU’s annual “5 S’s of Spring Break.”

Zipping to Zap 

It all started with Chuck Stroup’s subpar grades.

The NDSU Student Body President, then 22, knew he wasn’t going to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., like others with the grades he had, but he wanted to have a memorable trip nonetheless.

“There’s a whole bunch of other suckers just like me that aren’t gonna do anything like go to Florida, so what could we do?” Stroup said.

After thinking everyone else like him could come together for something big, he took his idea to a Spectrum reporter who asked what the answer might be.

“I know that on Saturday night, you can have a helluva good time in Zap, North Dakota,” Stroup, a Hazen, N.D., native, recalled answering.

Stroup then placed teaser ads for “Zip to Zap” in The Spectrum and then-editor in chief Kevin Carvell penned an article promoting “a Grand Festival of Light and Love” in a city described as the “Fort Lauderdale of the North.”

From there things “went viral,” as outside media picked up the story and Zip to Zap caught college students’ attention across America.

For more on North Dakota's 'Woodstock,' read on via The Spectrum.

]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:55:00 -0700
Cyber Security a Necessary Conversation, IT VP Says

Students staying next week still looking to sharpen their minds will have opportunities, even though classrooms will be empty during spring break.

The 2015 North Dakota Cyber Security Conference is scheduled 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Memorial Union.
The full conference, valued at $115 for general admission, is $25 for students, including a refreshments and a fajita bar.
Students only attending sessions will not be charged, but registration is still required.
The event is keynoted by Nancy Williams, the chief information officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. More than two dozen other speakers are scheduled to present,  the conference’s website said.
The overarching theme, “Cyber Security is Our Shared Responsibility,” addresses “the vast scope of modern cyber threats,” the website said.
Marc Wallman, vice president for information technology at North Dakota State, said cyber security is “a very important issue for everyone.”
Wallman, who will give the closing remarks, said students particularly have plenty to garner from the conference.
He said students “have a lot of personal information that is stored by their schools, financial institutions, and online retailers.”
The cost of information breaches is significant. North Dakota University System experienced a server breach last spring.
“Additionally, as students store more and more personal items digitally, they could lose valuable, irreplaceable content to malicious software,” Wallman said.
He continued, saying students who are knowledgeable of cyber security and threats are more marketable in the job world.
Many students have already signed up for the conference, which is hosted in part by other North Dakota technology factions.
Many people have already registered, Wallman said, which is encouraging.
“I’m really happy to see student engagement, and I look forward to hearing feedback from students about their experience at the conference,” he said. ” … The conference is clearly meeting a need we have in the state.”
]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:51:25 -0700
Fargo Weather Heats Up BY: PACE MAIER

Windows have opened as a breath of fresh, warm air washed over the region.

A heatwave traveling through this past week has awoken hibernators. Temperatures skyrocketed to 58 degrees Monday in Fargo, which broke the record, a record that’s been held for 113 years. Back in 1902, thermometers reached 55 degrees.

“There are a few reasons for the latest and the record warm up,” North Dakota State climatologist Adnan Akyüz said. “One of the most important one is the predominant wind pattern started to bring warmer air to (North Dakota). In addition to this warm air advection, there are also local impacts.”

This winter ranks in the top 10 driest for Fargo and as well as the top 20 in history for winter warmth.

“So far we have had half a month of warm weather followed by a half of cold this winter,” Akyüz said. “For example, (February) 11 through March 5 was the (eighth) coldest such period in Fargo’s climatological history since 1881.

“Prior to this cold period, we have had another warm period from (January) 15 through (February) 1. This period for Fargo was 3rd warmest in history since 1881.”

Warm weather and not a lot of snow is what the F-M community dreams of having, but Akyüz said some winters are bad for snow and others aren’t.

“(It’s) just part of our climate system,” he said.

Fargo is known for its bad snow snowstorms and classes school days canceled, but this year hasn’t been that kind of winter.

There has been 16.8 inches of snowfall this winter, which is eighth least in the history of snowfall recorded.

Is the area due, then, for a big storm? Akyüz said it’s improbable.

“However, the current trend is showing that the probability of significant snow after this point is very slim,” he said. “So far we have had only (two) storms that brought snowfall greater than 1 (inch), the first 1 (inch) and greater amount of snow came in (February) 10 which is the latest measurable snow in history for Fargo.”

With temperatures this weekend projected in the 50s and 60s, students may forget of how volatile the region’s weather can be.

“Meteorological spring starts in March 1,” Akyüz said. “But in reality, our spring does not start until April 1 based on the historical records. It is too early to put away our winter clothes.” 

]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:50:44 -0700
Students Serve Communities Over Spring Break BY: CAMILLE FORLANO

TYRA PAYER | PHOTO COURTESY Students from across the country sacrifice their spring breaks to volunteer on Pay It Forward Tours, sponsored by STLF.Photo Courtesy: Tyra Payer

As the North Dakota State community prepares for a week filled with sun and fun, one campus group says it’s important to remind people that college students do more with their free time than party and relax.

Students from across the country will once again participate in the Pay It Forward Tour, a nine-day spring break volunteer road trip, this spring break.

Over the next few weeks, over 2,000 students from more than 30 universities will descend upon communities across the nation to volunteer their time and effort.

A student-group-turned-nonprofit called Students Today Leaders Forever sponsors the tour.

Eighty students from Fargo will leave campus in two buses to volunteer at a botanical garden, a wellness center for people with physical disabilities and other outdoor recreational parks, among other places.

One bus will make its final stop in Atlanta, Ga., and the other bus will stop in Washington, D.C.

The Atlanta bus will take its time getting to Georgia, making the following stops: Omaha, Neb.; Springfield, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans, La.; and Mobile, Ala.

The other bus has a travel itinerary including: Madison, Wis.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Butler, Pa.; Hoboken, N.J.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and finally Washington, D.C.

At the end of the week, the group will meet with six other buses in Atlanta and D.C. to do one large-group service project before students head back home.

The tour groups will be sleeping on floors, exploring the city and participating in leadership and service activities at each location.

Whitney Hansen, a freshmen studying nursing at NDSU, said she is excited to go on the Atlanta trip.

“Excited is an understatement,” Hansen said. “I am looking forward to it more and more every day as it gets closer to our departure. I am excited I get this opportunity to meet new people and I hope to gain a new perspective on people living in different communities other than my own.”

For more information, including STLF's history, read on via The Spectrum.

]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:49:19 -0700
A 'Safe Place' To Continue the Conversation Last fall, Census Bureau data revealed lopsided statistics regarding gender in North Dakota.

For every dollar a North Dakota male made in 2013, a woman made 70 cents.

Women held only 28 percent of management positions in the state, the lowest in the nation.

And, if choosing to go on maternity leave, employers are not required to pay the mother’s time off.

“Women are still not at the same place as men are,” Erienne Fawcett, an assistant director of women and gender studies, said.

In response to these inequalities, along with an all-encompassing celebration of womanhood itself, North Dakota State is hosting its 33rd annual Women’s Week.

Binaries Bent

Starting Monday, multiple campus organizations will host events and activities, including a keynote address by a nationally renowned speaker.

Regina Ranney, the Diversity Program coordinator, said a student requested Boston-based Robyn Ochs to headline the week.

Ochs, a gender and sexuality activist, will speak 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Prairie Rose room of the Memorial Union.

The speaker was also selected because of her message’s relevancy, Ranney said.

“We try to select a speaker and theme that resonates with current discussions related to gender equality,” she said.

Ochs and Women’s Week’s theme is “Bending the Binary,” which Fawcett said is an important idea in gender studies.

“It’s talking about everything in between. It’s not this dichotomous (system),” she said. “… It’s so much more than this or that.

“It’s letting people be free to be who they are.”

Ranney concurred, saying she hopes Women’s Week “encourages everyone to be who they really are and to think critically about the impact of imposing gender expectations on individuals.”

She continued, noting the theme applies to “both men and women since societal limitations, expectations and stereotypes are placed on both genders in our society.”

For more on Women's Week, read on via The Spectrum

]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:36:51 -0700