Take Back the Night set for April 11

The Take Back the Night rally, march and speakout, which is a nationally recognized event that provides a supportive environment for survivors of sexual assault while increasing public awareness, takes place at Oakland University Thursday, April 11, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Participants will meet at 6:30 p.m. at a tent by O’Dowd Hall and walk around campus voicing words of compassion and concern. At 7 p.m., they will walk to the Pioneer Room in the Recreation Center, where there will be a series of speakers talking about sexual harassment issues. Survivors of sexual harassment also will be encouraged to share their emotions and experiences through an open microphone.

Take Back the Night was started after a female student was sexually abused on a university campus. Since then, numerous universities and organizations have been raising sexual harassment awareness.

The event is sponsored by the Oakland University Police Department, Center for Student Activities, Women’s Survival Center, HAVEN, Jimmy Whiteside, Care House and Easter Seal.

For more information, contact Michelle Brock at (248) 334-1284 or visit the HAVEN Web site .

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OU campus sustains wind damage

Strong winds over the weekend caused damage to trees and some structures on the east side of Oakland University’s campus. The damage was contained to exterior items and did not affect building operations, said Rusty Postlewate, associate vice president for facilities management.

The damage included:

  • 35 to 45 uprooted trees at Katke-Cousins Golf Course
  • 12 uprooted apple trees adjacent to the Adams Road entrance
  • two uprooted 40-foot spruce trees
  • damaged fencing adjacent to John Dodge House
  • one uprooted maple tree in the wooded area east of John Dodge House
  • gutter and shingle damage to John Dodge House
  • glass and vent damage to Meadow Brook Greenhouse
  • portions of wooden fencing knocked down along east campus roadways
  • a wooden light pole knocked down east of Meadow Brook Health Enhancement Institute
  • frame and glass damage to a window at Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion
  • damage to the OU entrance sign at Adams Road

“The trees that were uprooted around the John Dodge House and Adams Road entrance are presently being cut and removed,” Postlewate said. “The golf course staff is still in the process of assessing their tree damage. We’ve already begun making arrangements to make the other repairs. Now that we have made assessments and have materials identified, work will begin shortly.”

The damage has been estimated at $19,500. It has not yet been decided if the trees will be replaced, Postlewate said.

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OU offering self defense class for women

Oakland University is offering a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D) class, which is a women-only course that offers realistic self-defense tactics and techniques.

The 15-hour program begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, then progresses to basic hands-on defense training.

“One out of every three women is assaulted in her lifetime and one out of four female students is assaulted while in college,” said Terry Ross, OU Police Department officer and R.A.D instructor. “This self-defense class combines risk reduction strategies along with dynamic simulation where women play scenarios and go up against the R.A.D aggressor.

“Women find the course to be a very empowering experience.”

The five-session class, endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators , is on Tuesdays and Thursdays — March 5, 7, 12, 14 and 19 — from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Recreation Center.

“As an OU graduate, I am proud that my school is actively participating not only in educating women in academics but in self-defense and survival as well. I can’t imagine any single more important endeavor,” said Ann DePouw, a recent R.A.D participant. “Since this course is very affordable, I was able to take my two teen-age daughters through the classes. They would like to return, as would I, and we plan to bring friends along, too.”

The course is free for Oakland University students and $20 for the general public.

For more information or to register, contact Ross at (248) 370-3334 or ross@oakland.edu.

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Campus closed Thursday for winter storm

Oakland University has canceled classes and closed campus for Thursday, Jan. 31, as a result of a winter storm. For updated information on school closing for Friday, tune into your local television or radio station. Or, check OU’s school closing line at (248) 370-2000. Watch the Web site for further updates.

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New parking lot ready for use

To meet the parking demands on Oakland University’s campus, a new overflow parking lot has been completed and is ready for use.

The new lot, located south of Pioneer Drive near Library Drive, contains about 170 spaces, said Rusty Postlewate, associate vice president for facilities management.

“The intent of the lot is that it be primarily used for daytime overflow parking and provide a good relief valve for the lots between Varner Hall and the Science and Engineering Building,” Postlewate said. “There will be two light fixtures installed in that lot sometime later this month, but the lot is striped and usable.”

Demand for parking on OU’s campus is usually highest during the beginning of fall and winter semesters, especially at P-1, the main university lot that stretches from South Foundation Hall to Graham Health Center. During these busy periods, motorists usually can find parking in P-3, located next to Graham Health Center at Meadow Brook Drive and East Oakland Drive.

The OU Police Department also suggest that motorists allow extra time to find a parking space, study the campus map to learn of all available parking spaces and to make several parking lot selections closest to your destination, and select a safe and appropriate space to avoid accidents or tickets.

The university is addressing the shortage of spaces by taking other steps to provide relief. In December, the OU Board of Trustees approved the schematic design of a new parking structure. The three-level structure, to be located at the lower playing fields across from the new School of Education and Human Services building, will have a brick veneer exterior and provide about 550 spaces. The final architectural plans are near completion, Postlewate said.

“We’re going to be advertising toward the end of January to solicit bids from contractors, with the goal of awarding a bid for construction by the end of February,” Postlewate said. “Groundbreaking should be in March or April, with a goal of completion by the end of October.”

For more information and additional updates on parking related issues, visit the campus parking Web page.

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OU honors local heroes

As soon as Auburn Hills police officer Rick Leonard II heard about the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, he said he wanted to turn on his red and blue lights and drive to New York to help. By 11 p.m. that night, he and fellow Oakland County law enforcement officers were on their way.

Leonard was among officers that Oakland University’s Center for Student Activities honored at its Monday, Dec. 3, “Tribute to the Heroes.” The event recognized the efforts of 26 Oakland County police and fire personnel who assisted in the Sept. 11 recovery efforts at the former site of the World Trade Center, known as Ground Zero.

Leonard, son of former OU police chief Dick Leonard and an OU alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in March 2001, volunteered to join other officers from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, Royal Oak and Lake Angelus, who caravanned with other metro Detroit officers to New York.

“We ended up doing whatever anybody needed us to do,” Leonard said. “We ended up spending most of our time in the bucket lines at Ground Zero, removing debris.”

He said the unity at the scene impressed him the most.

“It was just amazing. There was an army of officers and firemen down there working — and there was this whole other army of people trying to help. You couldn’t go 10 feet without somebody offering water or a sandwich or asking if we wanted our eyes rinsed out,” Leonard said.

The most rewarding moment, Leonard recalls, was when the New York City officers asked him where he came from. “I said, ‘Auburn Hills, Michigan.’ They would stop and give me a big hug and say, ‘Thanks for coming — you have no idea how much it means to us.’”

The tribute, which drew more than 60 people in the Oakland Center’s Fireside Lounge, featured singing by Ann MacDonald, an OU junior majoring in musical theater; a slide show of the World Trade Center rescue efforts by Paul Franklin, coordinator of campus programs for the Center for Student Activities; a presentation of certificates by Franklin and Derek Dickow, student body president; and remarks by Damon Shields, captain with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and Neal Shine, OU professor in the Department of Rhetoric, Communication and Journalism.

“Today we stand once again among heroes,” Shine said. “We will speak of our national response to the cataclysm of September 11. We’ll call it the spirit of New York, the spirit of America, when what it really is is the spirit of our own humanity, of our own compassion, of the love we have for each other.

“We are sustained not by terrorism alone, but by the strength and spirit of that humanity. A humanity, which, as it always has, requires us to do what must be done, to give what must be given, to share what must be shared. It is within this humanity that heroism truly lies. It is this humanity that gives us heroes. It is this humanity we honor in those with us this afternoon. Today, these people will graciously accept our thanks for what they have done for us and for their country.”

Shields thanked Oakland University for the tribute.

“It’s very gratifying,” he said. “I think most of the officers who went to New York would say that we’re not heroes; we did what we do every day.”

Shields said he and his colleagues have been asked many times what it was like in New York. “The magnitude (at Ground Zero) is the thing that you can’t describe,” he said. “The actual site was absolutely devastating. To think that two great representative structures of our country were just gone — they disappeared. To see the faces of the firefighters who just would not give up. To see the faces of men who had worked tirelessly for 24, 36, 48 hours, was heart wrenching.

“One of the reasons we went was that we’re used to responding to calls for help from agencies around us. The residents and people there were just incredible. It was one country, one people, all pulling for the same thing.”

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OU building new overflow parking lot

To provide some relief to the parking demands experienced this fall semester, and in preparation for the winter semester, Oakland University began construction of a new overflow parking lot on Friday, Oct. 26.

The lot, located south of Pioneer Drive near Library Drive, will have about 170 parking spaces, said Rusty Postlewate, associate vice provost for facilities management.

“The intent of the lot is that its primary use will be for daytime overflow parking,” Postlewate said. “We feel that once the lot is completed, it will provide a good relief valve for the lots between Varner Hall and the Science and Engineering Building. The object is expediency and to have something in place before winter.”

The lot will have two entrance/exit drives off of Pioneer Drive, with a crosswalk across Pioneer Drive and sidewalk along Library Drive. The completion date for the $120,000 project is Nov. 30, Postlewate said.

The university also is in the process of hiring a firm to design a campus parking structure that will provide up to an additional 550 parking spaces. The structure will open sometime in fall 2002.

For more information and additional updates on parking related issues, please see the campus parking Web page.

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OU administrators address campus security

Virinder Moudgil, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Lynne Schaefer, vice president for finance and administration, sent the following letter concerning campus security to Oakland University faculty and staff on Oct. 17:

Recent events here and abroad have lent an air of uncertainty and fear to our everyday lives. Please allow us to take a moment to reassure the entire Oakland University community that we are vigilant and prepared for incidents that may occur related to terrorist activities.

First, let us affirm that we have had no specific threats directed at the campus or any groups or individuals among the campus community. But, as with any emergency, natural or man-made, it pays to be prepared before anything happens. That is the spirit in which this message is delivered.

The recent national focus has been on anthrax, as you know, and the delivery of anthrax through the U.S. Postal system. If any suspicious piece of mail or package arrives in your office, please call the OU Police Department immediately at (248) 370-3331. The OUPD is prepared to answer your call expeditiously and handle situations as they may arise. If there is any doubt about mail you receive, it’s a good idea to err on the safe side.

We have accessed the most up-to-date information about anthrax, and how to handle campus security issues from the Centers for Disease Control  and the FBI , and invite you to visit their Web sites if you want more information.

Additionally, we do not work with anthrax in our research labs. No substances resembling anthrax exist on this campus. If you hear rumors to the contrary, please bring them to our attention immediately.

We also are prepared to mobilize our emergency team if we receive any threats to the safety and security of the campus and its faculty, students and staff. Please report any threats you receive, of any nature, to the OUPD at once.

While we take any threat seriously, we also believe that it is important to conduct business as usual, to the extent that that’s possible. We wish to assure the university community that we have response plans in place to deal with threats and emergency situations. Since the terrible events of Sept. 11, we have been on heightened alert and all campus security measures have been stepped up.

That said, it also is important to avoid overreacting. While we need to be ready for any situation, we also believe it is unlikely that anything will happen on our campus. Still, we ask you to be vigilant and prepared in the event of an emergency.

We will keep you posted as developments warrant. In the meantime, let’s work together to enhance the personal safety of the entire Oakland University community.

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OU addresses parking demand

As the increased demand for parking extends beyond the beginning of fall semester, Oakland University is taking steps to address the parking needs of students, faculty and staff.

“So far this semester, there has been a parking space shortage that we are addressing daily,” said Lynne Schaefer, vice president for finance and administration. “While at most times of the day and week there are adequate parking spaces for our students, spaces available at peak volume times of the day tend not to be as conveniently located as they are accustomed to.”

An updated campus map is being mailed to each student detailing all available campus parking lots. The university also will create a temporary paved lot by mid-November for approximately 170 vehicles south of Pioneer Drive near Library Drive. OUP will continue to allow parking in temporary lots on designated grassy areas.

For Wednesday matinee performances at Meadow Brook Theatre, OU will no longer reserve lanes in P-1, the main university lot that stretches from South Foundation Hall to Graham Health Center. Instead, theatre patrons will be directed to park in P-3, the lot just north of Graham Health Center.

The university is in the process of hiring a firm to design a campus parking structure that will provide up to an additional 550 parking spaces. The structure will open sometime in fall 2002.

Additional short-term parking solutions also are presently being evaluated. In the meantime, the following suggestions can help minimize the time spent finding a parking space:

Leave early so you can find a parking space and make it to class or work on time. Please keep in mind that peak traffic times on campus are Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The best lots to find a space when the main lots are full are P-11, across from the George T. Matthews Apartments; P-32, south of Kresge Library; and P-3, north of Graham Health Center, according to OUPD.

Whenever possible, try to carpool with a fellow student, faculty or staff member.

“We appreciate your continued patience and support as the OU community works together to address the problem,” Schaefer said. “We are committed to making your on-campus experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.”

For more information and additional updates on parking related issues, please see the campus parking Web page.

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OU response to national crisis

We have had a number of parents calling with concerns about the safety of students on campus during today’s national terrorist crisis. Please encourage all students you come into contact with to call their parents as soon as possible to assure them that they are safe. Should you see any unusual behavior on campus, please alert the Police (3331) immediately.

If you get calls, please assure callers that:

  • We have the best interests of our students and employees in mind during this tragedy.
  • Classes have been cancelled for today, Tuesday, Sept. 11.
  • The Graham Health Center has counselors on hand for students who need to talk to a professional.
  • The campus is on alert for any possible safety problems.
  • Parents with specific questions should call the Housing Office (for residence hall students — 3570) or the Office of Student Affairs (4200).
  • Any calls from the media should be routed to Media Relations (4346 or 4345).
  • Some campus events are being canceled. Interested persons should call ahead to see if events will proceed as scheduled.
  • This message and further updates will be posted on the university’s Web site, although web traffic is difficult at this time.

Thank you for your cooperation during this difficult period.

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