UConn to Hire Nurses Specifically for Sexual Assault

The University of Connecticut will receive permission and means to hire nurses specialized in the treatment of sexual assault, thanks to legislation signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday. UConn Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said the bill will go into effect July 1 and “the services will be in place and available for the start of the new academic year.”

Proponents of the legislation, which the state senate passed unanimously in April, say having these services on campus will soften the trauma of sexual assault by making specialized treatment more accessible, reducing the number of times victims must relate their experience to medical staff and allowing them to stay on campus while being treated.

Connecticut currently has nurses trained as Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) in six hospitals throughout the state. The one nearest to the Storrs campus is Windham Hospital, 8 miles away in Willimantic. This requires the many students without access to a car on campus to take an ambulance in order to receive the fullest treatment.

Sen. Mae Flexer, a primary supporter of the bill from Danielson, said these measures would “slightly reduce the trauma that survivors of sexual assault experience.”

The Campus Sexual Assault Study, conducted in 2007 for the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, found that one in five of female college seniors surveyed had been sexually assaulted during their college years.

The legislation comes after UConn has received media attention in recent years concerning sexual assaults on campus. Last year, UConn agreed to a $1.3 million dollar out of court settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by five students who said the university had mishandled their claims of sexual assault and harassment. UConn admitted no fault as part of the settlement.

The university was not required to make any institutional changes as a result of the settlement, but has since created a new assistant dean of students for victim support services, a Special Victims Unit in the UConn Police Department, and two staff investigator positions.

“This is an issue that is dear to President Herbst and all of us at UConn,” Dean of Students Elly Daugherty said of the recent law, “and we’re grateful that legislators heard our students’ concerns and acted quickly and decisively to give us more tools to help them.”

Students spoken to about the legislation appear to come to the general consensus that it’s a positive change but is by no means a definitive solution to what are perceived as broader inadequacies in how sexual assault is treated at universities.

“It makes me a little uncomfortable that there are enough rapes on campus for a specialized nurse to be cost effective,” said Kimberly Armstrong, 5th-semester journalism and environmental studies major (and staff writer for the Daily Campus), “but I assume that would only be part of their job. Paired with preventative measures this will definitely make a difference on campus.”

“I think that having a nurse at UConn that is specifically trained to help victims of sexual assault is a step in the right direction,” said Lauren Colburn, 5th-semester biology and psychology double major, “there is still a lot that needs to be done but I’m happy to see advances like this.” Colburn is also chief financial officer of on campus activist group Revolution Against Rape.

Zoë Esponda, 5th-semester environmental science major, expressed more general concern about current costs of medical treatments for students. “I know friends that avoid the Health Center when they are sick because they get ninety dollar copays with their insurance,” she said, “I hope this won’t be the case with the new staff.”

The Health Center, as stated on its website, “uses a fee-for-service model… for office visits, laboratory services, x-rays, pharmacy items, as well as specialty clinics.” Fees for office visits alone range from “$25 to $250, depending on the type and complexity of the visit.” The fees are added to the student fee bill, sometimes weeks after the appointment.

Still, the move can be viewed, at the very least, as part of a broadening concern for victims of sexual assault and efforts on the part of the state government to alleviate the problems.

“I’m really glad that this is happening,” said Allie Prince, 5th-semester Allied Health Sciences major and secretary of RAR, “and I think that it definitely should have been sooner but I’m glad that they’re really taking action now.”

“I really hope that other colleges and universities follow in UConn’s footsteps,” Prince continued, “I also think that there’s a lot more that needs to be done but for now this is a good step.”

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Four-star junior recruit Mamadou Diarra chooses UConn

Four-star junior recruit Mamadou Diarra announced Friday in press conference that he will be joining the UConn men’s basketball team in 2016.

The 6-foot-8-inch center is currently finishing up classes at Putnam Science Academy and will spend the 2015-2016 as a postgraduate at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut.

Diarra chose the Huskies over Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Queens, New York native is known for his explosiveness near the rim and the ability to rebound on both ends of the court. Diarra is currently averaging eight points and eight rebounds with his AAU team, the New York Jayhawks, including a 12-point, 14-rebound performance against the Illinois Wolves on April 26.

 

Diarra’s commitment marks Kevin Ollie’s first signing for the Class of 2016 and marks yet another spring signing season commitment for the Huskies. After signing Jalen Adams and Steven Enoch in the fall for the 2015-2016 season, Ollie has also brought in two immediate-impact graduate transfers in Shonn Miller and Sterling Gibbs.

 

Men’s Lacrosse: Huskies reach new heights in 50th season

By Dan Madigan, Associate Sports Editor

Throughout its existence, the UConn men’s lacrosse program has had to deal with its fair share of adversity. Since losing recognition as a Division I program in the 1980s, the men’s lacrosse program has operated as a club sport, playing their home games at UConn’s Depot Campus.

As the program celebrated its 50th season this year, the team was able to reach new heights despite significant obstacles.

“The culture of UConn lacrosse has always been extremely hard working and just get it done, find a way to get it done,” senior captain and first team All-American Pierce Bushby said.

Bushby and the Huskies did just that this season, compiling a 6-7 record in the regular season and a 2-3 record in the Pioneer College Lacrosse League with 25 new members. After their regular season, UConn entered the PCLL tournament as the No. 3 seed.

In the first round of the PCLL tournament, UConn took down No. 2 seed Northeastern 7-6. John Takita scored a hat trick and assisted on two other goals for UConn as they held onto a one-goal victory. Northeastern nearly scored to send the game into overtime with just seconds remaining, but senior goaltender Brendan Helberg made the last of his 16 saves to send UConn to the championship game.

With the win, the Huskies squared off against No. 1 seed New Hampshire in the PCLL championship game and defeated the Wildcats 9-2. Arthur Sullivan and Jason Campbell each had two goals for the Huskies, and Helberg made 22 saves to secure the program’s first-ever PCLL conference championship and a berth in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association tournament.

The historic win also served as a barometer for the improvement of the team since the regular season, where the Huskies lost to both their conference tournament opponents in the regular season by a score of 20-9.

“I think that was really just an effect of what our coaching did the entire year, to really build us up and really peak during the playoffs, which is what the best teams do,” Bushby said. “We lost to those teams in the regular season, we’d seen what they had, and we knew that we still had a lot we could build up to.”

The Huskies’ noticeable improvement helped buoy confidence as they entered the MCLA tournament as No. 15 seed, where they would take No. 2-seeded Arizona State.

Stiffer competition wasn’t the only problem the Huskies would encounter at Nationals. Simply getting there would be a battle in itself.

While the team had enough funding from the UConn Club Sports program for most of the team to fly out to Southern California, there weren’t enough funds for the entire team to make the trip.

In order to prevent leaving some teammates behind, the team sent out a newsletter to all of the program’s alumni, and set up a GoFundMe page for other contributions. The GoFundMe page was a huge success, raising over $5,500 from friends, family, and young alumni to offset costs and send every team member to California.

“It wouldn’t have been right if all the guys that stuck it out through the season, even some of the guys that weren’t playing but cheered us on the sidelines and been there the entire season if we just said ‘we can’t quite take you because we don’t have the money,’” Bushby said. “We knew that that was going to be our main goal, to bring everybody on the trip.”

Once the team arrived in California, the team quickly prepared for its inaugural MCLA appearance against Arizona State. UConn dug itself into an early 6-1 hole after the first quarter and was unable to come back, losing to the Sun Devils 15-5. Despite being knocked out of the MCLA tournament, the Huskies still had one last game to play before heading back home, squaring off against No. 16 Purdue in the consolation game.

“We knew there wasn’t any championship to be won if we did beat Purdue, but we looked at it as a pride game,” Bushby said. “We wanted to come back to Connecticut with a W and send the seniors off right.”

UConn did just that against the Boilermakers, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to pull out a 6-3 win and finish their inaugural MCLA appearance with a 1-1 record.

Despite the early exit in the MCLA tournament, the experience that the team has collected throughout this season’s miracle run has helped the program take another big step in becoming an elite team in college club lacrosse.

“I think this season changed the culture of UConn lacrosse,” Bushby said. “We went out to nationals, and the kids on our team got a taste for it, and I think they’re hungry and I think its’s going to drive them in the offseason to get better.”

 

Sterling Gibbs commits to UConn

Sterling Gibbs announced on Saturday via his Twitter account that he will be joining the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team next season. Gibbs is a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately.

Gibbs had an on-campus visit to UConn on Thursday.

The transfer marks the second of Gibbs’ career. After playing his freshman at Texas under former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes, the Scotch Plains, New Jersey native played sparingly at Texas and transferred to Seton Hall after his freshman year.

He played two seasons with the Pirates after sitting out in 2012-13 due to NCAA transfer rules.

As a member of Seton Hall last season, Gibbs was a second team All-Big East selection. The 6-foot-2-inch dynamic scoring guard led the Pirates in points per game (16.3), assists per game (3.8) and 3-point shooting percentage (.436).

Gibbs is the fifth notable transfer player brought into the program under coach Kevin Ollie. He joins Rodney Purvis and Sam Cassell Jr, both still in the program. Gibbs is also the fourth graduate transfer to commit to UConn in the Kevin Ollie era and will suit up this season alongside fellow graduate transfer Shonn Miller, who spent his previous four years at Cornell.

Gibbs also considered Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Baylor, NC State and VCU.

Associate Sports Editor Dan Madigan contributed to this report.

Patient at Health Center Confirmed Negative for Ebola

After 24 hours of public anxiety, a patient at John Dempsey Hospital at the UConn Health Center in Farmington has been confirmed to not the Ebola virus. He was instead diagnosed with malaria, a disease generally completely curable with proper treatment.

The patient is in “good condition and is comfortable,” according to a press release from UConn Deputy Spokesperson Tom Breen.

The patient was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night exhibiting some symptoms consistent with the virus and had been in Liberia, one of the West African countries that had been suffering from the Ebola virus, from November 2014 to the end of April 2015.

As an aid worker, the patient had helped the effort in Liberia in an administrative role and had not come into direct contact with any patients of the disease.

Additionally, statement from the World Health Organization determined Liberia to be “free of Ebola virus transmission” as of May 9. At that time it had been 42 days since the last case of Ebola in, a timespan over twice that of the virus’s incubation period.

“The patient is at very low risk for Ebola virus,” Paul Richard Skolnik, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the UConn School of Medicine, said before the diagnosis was clear, “But, out of an abundance of caution, we activated our Ebola virus disease protocol.”

“The patient,” said Breen, “was isolated in a negative pressure room in the Emergency Department.” Both the state Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control were notified.

Last October, the Health Center’s Vice President Frank M. Torti said, “UConn Health, together with hospitals throughout Connecticut, is taking steps to be fully prepared to detect, treat and respond to cases of Ebola.” The center formed “a multidisciplinary Ebola team” and “comprehensive action plan” to ensure that all proper safety precautions were met.

“Please keep in mind,” Torti continued, “the Ebola virus is not an airborne disease.” The virus cannot be transmitted through air, water or food, and only from the bodily fluids of a person or animal infected with Ebola or from contaminated objects such as needles.

As of now, the only two countries to be exhibiting serious outbreaks of the disease are Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Terrence Samuel to transfer from UConn

Sophomore Terrence Samuel is transferring from UConn, the school confirmed on Thursday evening.

“Terrence has been a player who has always given his best on the court and in the classroom,” UConn head coach Kevin Ollie said in a statement. “We thank him for his contributions to the program and wish him good luck and much success in all his future endeavors.”

Samuel also confirmed that he was transferring in an email.

The 6-foot-4 guard played in all 35 games last season and averaged 3.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Women’s Soccer Season Preview

By Spencer Mayfield

After advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014, the UConn women’s soccer team will have high expectations for their 2015 campaign where they will return several key players.

 

The Huskies are coming off a very successful season where they won the American Athletic Conference Championship and finished the year with a 14-5-5 record.

 

The Huskies are on the upward trend after posting back-to-back seasons with double digit wins for the first time since the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

 

UConn will be returning their biggest offensive threat in Rachel Hill, who led the team with 16 goals scored in 2014. Heading into her junior season Hill has already gained national attention and there is no reason to believe that she will not continue to improve. Hill, who was named the American Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the year in 2014, has started in every game during her UConn career.

 

Hill will not be alone on the UConn attack, the Huskies are also returning Danielle Gottwik and Samantha McGuire who scored six goals apiece last season, tied for second most on the team.

 

The Huskies will be faced with replacing the leadership of Riley Houle, who lead the team with five assists as well as six goals from the forward position. UConn will likely look to McGuire to fill that role. McGuire has played in every game during her UConn career heading into her senior year.

 

Besides the possibility of having a great offense, UConn returns two goalkeepers that saw major playing time in 2014. Allison Saucier started 23 games in goal for the Huskies and posted a 76-percent save percentage. Emily Armstrong also saw action in 23 games despite having only three starts in goal. Armstrong posted an 82-percent save percentage.

 

The 2015 season will be all about taking the next step for the Huskies. UConn has plenty of moments to build on from the 2014 season, including holding a two-goal lead at home of the eventual national champion Florida State Seminoles. The sky is the limit for this UConn team that is returning not only talent but experience as well.