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MAC Presidents Vote to Begin Football Season on Nov. 4

The Mid-American Conference announced on Friday that its 2020 football season will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The league’s 12 schools will play a six-game schedule of league games that will culminate with the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Dec. 18 or Saturday, Dec. 19.

The announcement followed a meeting of the MAC’s 12 presidents and Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. A complete 2020 MAC Football schedule and other details with respect to the season will be announced at a later date, according to Steinbrecher.

“I am pleased to inform our student-athletes, coaches and fans, that the Mid-American Conference will resume the fall football season,” said Steinbrecher. “Our decisions, in August and again today, have been guided by an overriding concern for the well-being of the student-athletes, institutions and the community at large. Our medical advisory group, presidents, directors of athletics and others, have worked hard to develop a plan that provides the opportunity for student-athletes to compete. We will be diligent in monitoring the dynamic health environment across the conference footprint and the country.”

Graphic with football players running and text we're backThe conference will implement a COVID-19 testing program requiring four antigen tests per week with all positive tests needing confirmation with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Any student-athlete with a positive test will enter a cardiac screening protocol.

The MAC’s approved COVID-19 testing protocols, including four tests per week, will begin Monday, Oct. 5. The complete set of protocols will be released next week.

One of the primary changes that led to reconsideration was the availability of tests and timeliness of receiving test results across the conference, in addition to the changes and improvements of testing protocols. The MAC is establishing criteria relative to contest interruptions/cancelations, monitoring and reporting of test results as well as other COVID-19 regulations consistent with the NCAA resocialization guidelines. All football return to play is subject to national, state and local health guidelines.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made with our Rocket Restart plan,” said UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel. “The health and safety of our entire campus community remain a top priority, and we believe we now have the appropriate precautionary measures in place to safely resume football.”

“We are very excited that our football program will be playing a fall schedule of games,” said UToledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “We are looking forward to the season with the expectation that we will be providing the safest possible environment in which our student-athletes will compete.”

No general public attendance or tailgating will be allowed at MAC football games. The participation of marching band, dance, cheer and spirit squads at football games will be guided by conference protocols at institutional discretion consistent with public health guidance.

All other fall sports, such as women’s volleyball, soccer and cross country, will be played next spring. Schedules for those sports will be announced at a later date.

For more information, please visit the UToledo Athletics website at utrockets.com or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Toledo Women’s Tennis Player Gets Her Teeth Into Student-Athlete Experience

While many college students arrive on campus without a clue about the direction of their future career, that was never an issue for University of Toledo women’s tennis player Eileen Carney.

“As long as I can remember,” Carney said, “I wanted to be a dentist. I have a few dentists in my family, and each time they talk about their work, I’m very intrigued. As young as 7 years old, my dream was to be a dentist.”

Carney

Carney, who begins her third year with the Rockets this fall, has been a powerhouse on the court and in the classroom. A regular in the lineup the last two years, Carney has tallied 16 victories at the No. 2 singles spot. As a freshman, she was named the Mid-American Conference Singles Player of the Week after clinching the Rockets’ come-from-behind win against Oakland. She also has flourished with her studies at UToledo, making the dean’s list on two occasions.

“Making the dean’s list has motivated me to work hard and show how The University of Toledo stands behind its student-athletes for success,” said Carney, a medicinal and biological chemistry major. “The best teachers I’ve ever had have been at UToledo. I feel so honored to have made the dean’s list.”

“Eileen has made an incredible impact on our program,” said Head Women’s Tennis Coach Tracy Mauntler. “She’s a lead-by-example type of person in everything she does and an incredibly hard worker. We’re very fortunate that Eileen is a Rocket.”

Carney attributes much of her success at UToledo to her ability to prioritize and work ahead.

“The weeks can get busy, and the best way I’ve found to cope with that is to work ahead and stay ahead,” Carney said. “I feel I do my best when I start studying two weeks before tests. That helps me to not stress out and allows me to keep up with my other classes. By giving myself ample time to prepare, I can study a little each day and not worry about pulling all-nighters.”

Carney also acknowledges that Mauntler has provided her valuable insight into balancing athletics and academics.

“Coach [Mauntler] told our team that we have to learn how to compartmentalize tennis and school,” Carney said. “When we are on the court, we are only thinking about tennis. When we are in class, we are focusing on school. This has been extremely helpful because it has enabled my mind to stay clear of excess stress that can float around if academics and athletics cross.”

With Carney devoting a majority of her day to the court and with her studies, the Joliet, Ill., native still finds time for community service. She and her Rocket teammates have volunteered at the ALS Walk in downtown Toledo and the 13 ABC Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive, to name a few. She understands how important it is to serve others in the community and give back.

“I want to help and serve others,” said Carney, who was selected by Mauntler to spearhead the team’s community service efforts. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to lead our efforts because I can reach out to those who need help directly. Toledo has given my teammates and me so much. We have an opportunity that very few get to experience. Our team wants to show UToledo how grateful we are by giving back. I hope to repay the community through volunteering. One of the things that motivates me most is thinking about the impact I can make helping people.”

At the midway point of her time at UToledo, Carney feels very fortunate to play the sport she loves, study at a great university that is preparing her for dental school, all while having the opportunity to give back to the community.

“The University of Toledo has been a great fit for me,” Carney said. “It has helped me succeed as a student-athlete, grow as a person, and hopefully fulfill my dream of becoming a dentist.”

UToledo Student Disability Services Showing Promise of Ohio College2Careers Program

Navigating the college experience can be daunting: taking measure of your own skills and interests, choosing a major well-suited to those interests, and, of course, mastering the network of people, offices and resources that are critical to earning a diploma.

Doing so with a disability, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, adds complexities to an already challenging environment. Fortunately, The University of Toledo is demonstrating early success in a statewide program to empower disabled students as they successfully transition from college life to full-time careers.

College2Careers, a program offered by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, was announced in fall 2019 and is supporting students at 15 public colleges and universities around the state. Through each institution’s disability and career services offices, College2Careers helps provide career exploration, assistive technology, resumé preparation and more for students to complete their degree, earn higher wages, and meet the demands of employers.

The University of Toledo was selected as a participating institution at the program’s launch based on a combination of census information of students with disabilities, a need for geographic representation throughout Ohio, and the availability of dedicated space and resources.

“College2Careers was conceptualized as a way to close gaps in services for students, not only during college, but after graduation as well,” said Tinola Mayfield-Guerrero, a vocational rehabilitation counselor embedded with UToledo’s Student Disability Services Office.

“Through a collaborative process and conversation with each student, we’re able to take a holistic, ‘listen first’ approach that helps them understand the system. We want the graduation and employment experience to be seamless.”

Part of the program’s potential is to address urgent disparities in the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 80% of persons with a disability are unemployed nationwide, compared to only 34% for those without a disability.

The Student Disability Services team implementing College2Careers at UToledo has shown success with assisting students with disabilities, in large part because of how immersed Mayfield-Guerrero is within their office and workflow.

“Developed with the staff at the Student Disability Services Office, UToledo’s process helps incoming students understand how the program can help them during college and in achieving their career goals,” said Kristin Garrett, program administrator at Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. “They have worked together to set up a system of serving students with disabilities that has been very effective and successful.”

College2Careers is already showing promising results among students. Fawad Khan, a computer science and engineering technology major expecting to graduate in spring 2021, is legally deaf and worked with UToledo’s team on virtual interviewing skills.

“When everything shut down due to the pandemic, I was worried. I’m more used to in-person interviews,” Khan said. “But after the coaching and training, I felt very comfortable during a remote interview with a recruiter. The questions were very similar to our practice sessions, and I feel like I aced it.”

For more information on College2Careers or other resources, contact UToledo’s Student Disability Services team at studentdisability@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4981.

Exercise Freedom to Read During UToledo Banned Books Week

For the 23rd year in a row, The University of Toledo will celebrate the right to read and think freely during Banned Books Week with the American Library Association.

“Without unfettered access to ideas, we could not survive as a democracy and change with the times to help those whom majority complacency silences to find their voices,” Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UToledo professor of communication and coordinator of the UToledo Banned Books Coalition, said.

Events will take place virtually from Monday, Sept. 28 through Thursday, Oct. 1 on YouTube and Facebook to spotlight current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools with a theme this year of “Censorship is a Dead End.”

In 2019, the American Library Association tracked nearly 377 attempts to censor library, school and university materials and services, encompassing 566 books that were challenged or banned.

In support of the UToledo Banned Book Coalition’s fight against censorship, this year Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz signed a proclamation declaring Thursday, Oct. 1 as “Read Banned Books Day.”

“I am excited about our campus legacy festival of the mind and look forward to continuing our ongoing battle to keep the First Amendment robust,” Kilmer said. “Long live books and reading!”

UToledo Banned Books Week Vigil speakers and events include:

Monday, Sept. 28

• 11 a.m. — “The Hate U Give” by Dr. Monita Mungo, assistant professor of sociology.

• Noon — “Studying and Struggling: The Works of Elaine Brown and Assata Shakur” by Dr. Carla Pattin, assistant lecturer in the Jesup Scott Honors College.

• 1 p.m. — “Banned Books Jeopardy!” with Saadia Farooq, UToledo alumna and member of the UToledo Banned Books Coalition, and Dr. Sumitra Srinivasan, associate professor in the Department of Communication.

Tuesday, Sept .29

• Noon — “HIV in the Rust Belt” by Holly Hey, professor of film, Dr. Ally Day, associate professor of disability studies, and Lee Fearnside, co-producer of “HIV in the Rust Belt.”

• 1 p.m. — “Banned: Female Leaders of the Indigenous Woodlands” by Dr. Barbara Mann, professor in the Jesup Scott Honors College.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

• Noon — “Old Man Trump” by Risa Cohen, creative director of Sing Into Reading.

• 1 p.m. — “Girls Knight Out at the Franklin Park Mall with Pandora, Lilith and Eve” by Warren Woodberry, Toledo author.

Thursday, Oct. 1

• Noon — “Freedom of Thought and the Ministry of Truth,” the Dr. Linda Smith Lecture given by Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, professor emeritus of humanities and cardiothoracic surgery.

• 1 p.m. — “20 Years of Censored Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

• 2 p.m. — “Accessing the ‘Right’ to Read in Prison” by Dr. Renee Heberle, professor of political science, co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought, and coordinator of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Project.

• 3 p.m. — “Brilliant Banned Tunes” by Cohen and Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor of theatre, with family.

The UToledo Banned Book Coalition will be giving away door prizes and $20 Barnes & Noble gift cards throughout the events.

Students may sign an electronic guestbook and indicate a code word, which is changed with each presentation, to provide proof of attendance should a faculty member give students credit for attending a session.

To sign the guest book or to watch a recording of each presentation after the event, go to the UToledo Banned Book Coalition’s website.

U.S. Department of Justice Grant to Support Campus Sexual Assault and Victimization Prevention Programs

The University of Toledo has received a $299,999 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to enhance efforts to prevent and address sexual assault and victimization on college campuses.

The agency awarded more than $2.3 million to five organizations in northern Ohio to help reduce violence against women and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

“Every dollar that the Department of Justice provides to address domestic violence in northern Ohio has a positive impact on the lives of victims and survivors,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “These organizations have a strong program in place to address crucial needs or expand services.”

The UToledo Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, which offers programming in prevention, education and intervention for sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, will use the grant to support the UToledo Awareness and Prevention Project for another three years.

This continued funding will support the UToledo Coordinated Community Response Team and provide for training and education for faculty, staff and students across all campuses.

The response team includes the UToledo Police Department, the Toledo Police Department, YWCA Rape Crisis Center and other University and community partners working together to strengthen existing education and prevention programming and also the delivery of comprehensive strategies that help survivors heal.

“This award will help the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness provide victim services to faculty, staff and students in the form additional staffing for the center, as well as allow us to promote and continue our efforts to engage in best practices surrounding victim services, programming, education and prevention on campus,” Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, professor of criminal justice and director of the UToledo Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, said.

“For domestic violence victims, the added stressors of the pandemic can make a dangerous situation even worse,” said Laura Rogers, principal deputy director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. “Our grants in Ohio are a timely contribution to approaches already underway to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.”

UToledo Students Star in New University Commercials

Two outstanding Rockets are starring in the new UToledo TV spots which will begin running in key markets throughout the state of Ohio. The commercials, inspired by the well-known Goldilocks fable, highlight The University of Toledo’s academic programs, internships, research, technology and student life experiences that students say make UToledo the perfect fit.

The two spots feature current UToledo students Anthony Gennings and Hannah Haselhuhn. A nursing student from Amelia, Ohio, Gennings is actively involved in a number of student leadership positions on campus. Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major from Toledo, chose UToledo because of the College of Engineering and the opportunity to participate on the University’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team.

“We know students have a lot of choices when deciding on their college experience and we wanted to capture the feelings students share with us all of the time after visiting other institutions and knowing that UToledo feels like home because of the opportunities they have here,” said Jennifer Sorgenfrei, director of marketing. “We recognize how special The University of Toledo is and want to be sure students take an opportunity to get to know our University and all that we have to offer.”

The spots were originally scheduled to be produced last spring, but were delayed due to the pandemic. The University’s creative partner, Madhouse in Toledo, brought the spots to life while adhering to all health and safety precautions. Featuring individual student stories minimized the participants on camera and provided context for inclusion of face-coverings. Green screens and computer imaging were used to safely simulate crowds.

Watch the TV spots on the University Marketing and Communications website.

 

UToledo Awarded Grant from Campus Vote Project to Encourage Student Civic Engagement

The University of Toledo is partnering with the Campus Vote Project to encourage students to participate in the political process.

UToledo received a $1,000 mini-grant from Campus Vote Project, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works with colleges and universities across the country to normalize and institutionalize student voting, to increase voter registration and turnout for the 2020 election.

Campus Vote Project Poster“We are very excited to increase civic engagement on our campus,” said Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion in the UToledo Division of Student Affairs. “These funds will assist our efforts in gaining recognition as a Voter Friendly Campus, which will enable UToledo to apply for additional funding and develop a strategic plan to increase our engagement efforts.”

In addition to the mini-grant, the Campus Vote Project provides two democracy fellowships to current UToledo students who will provide leadership for the project. Leticia Skrabut, a junior majoring in political science, and Kyra Valentine, a junior in political science and special education, have been awarded the fellowships.

“I am excited to receive this fellowship and work towards a more involved voting community on our campus,” Skrabut said.

“Not only is voting our civic duty, but as young people, we want our voices heard and we want to select candidates who will execute what we want to see in our society,” Valentine said.

For more information about getting involved in the Campus Vote Project at UToledo, contact Soliz at 419.530.5323 or michele.soliz@utoledo.edu.

UToledo Hosts Dialogue on Diversity to Discuss Gandhi Sculpture

The University of Toledo is continuing its Dialogues on Diversity series with a conversation about the role of art in society, the differences between art and monuments, and how to best recognize the achievements of fallible individuals.

The next virtual town hall in the series titled “Stay or Go? The Story of a Gandhi Sculpture” will take place 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 and can be accessed on Webex using the access code 172 458 2365. The meeting password is DoD8. Join by phone at 415.655.0002.

This summer the University removed a sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement, that was part of the group of new art works installed on campus for UToledo’s 15th annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

The President’s Commission on Campus Design and Environment, which chooses new sculptures to be installed at the University each spring, made the decision after a student brought forward concerns about Gandhi’s comments about Black Africans and women.

The student wrote, in part, “In this time of movements and stress, I do not think that this Gandhi statue will help.”

“The goal of the sculpture program is to add beauty to our campuses through one-year exhibits that rotate annually,” said Dr. Jonathan Bossenbroek, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences and president of the President’s Commission on Campus Design and the Environment. “This is a critical example of why it is important to keep these conversations going and include a diversity of voices in decision-making. We are grateful to the student for bringing his concerns to our attention. We did not intend to be offensive, and we do not stand for that.”

The University also added students to the selection committee for future exhibitions.

The discussion will be moderated by Bossenbroek, with participants including:

  • Dr. Dale Snauwaert, professor of social and philosophical foundations of education and peace studies;
  • Dr. Rachel Dudley, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies;
  • Dr. Mysoon Rizk, professor of art history;
  • Riley Danford, UToledo student majoring in human resources who brought forward concerns to the University; and
  • Sanat Wagh, UToledo student majoring in finance and economics, and member of the International Student Association.

This is the eighth in a series of recent virtual Dialogues on Diversity since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer, sparking protests against systemic racism across the country.

Building Racecars Helps Student Discover Passion for Project Engineering

Hannah Haselhuhn is all about trying something new.

It has been the hallmark of her time as a Rocket, and it’s taken her down some interesting paths, including one that’s led to a role as the team lead on UToledo’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team.

In that position, Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major and also a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College, directs the design and build process for a Formula-style race car. The team manufactures custom parts either in their machine shop or in the UToledo engineering labs, and in a typical year, they’ll create up to 90% of the car’s parts themselves.

Hannah Haselhuhn and Engineering race car team

Hannah Haselhuhn poses with members of UToledo’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team. As the team lead, Haselhuhn, a mechanical engineering major, directs the design and build process for a Formula-style race car.

“I absolutely love seeing the process from start to finish,” Haselhuhn said. “That’s a big part of the reason I think project engineering appeals to me.”

Haselhuhn hopes to put what she’s learned about project engineering to work in the oil and gas industry. A junior, she’s already completed one co-op with Marathon Petroleum in Findlay, and has another slated for the summer of 2021.

“I didn’t necessarily know what kind of industry I wanted to go into when I selected mechanical engineering, but now that I’ve completed one co-op and I have experience in project engineering, I really, really liked it,” she said. “I’m hoping I will end up at Marathon after graduation.”

A Toledo native, Haselhuhn chose UToledo specifically for its engineering program, selecting it ahead of the University of Cincinnati, which had offered her the equivalent of UToledo’s Presidential Scholarship. She chose to stay close to home in part because of the nearly limitless opportunities available at her hometown university. That includes the chance to do things she’d never done before — like leading a team that designs and builds a race car. Even if that was part of the appeal, she’s still a little amazed at just how far she’s come.

“I really didn’t have any idea what to expect, but it’s been fun.”

UToledo to Host a Virtual Celebrate for the Fall 2020 Graduating Class

The University of Toledo has announced that the fall 2020 commencement ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

University officials announced the decision Monday, citing ongoing safety and health concerns of the campus community.

“While we’re disappointed that we won’t be celebrating together in Savage Arena, we continue to follow the guidelines from federal, state and local authorities regarding social distancing and limitations on large-scale gatherings,” said Interim President Gregory Postel. “The safety of our students and their families and friends, as well as our faculty and staff, continues to be our highest priority.”

Over the next two months UToledo will be finalizing the details for fall commencement, and plans to go live on Dec. 6, the same day the University had planned for the in-person event for undergraduate and graduate candidates for degrees. As information becomes available, it will be shared with graduates and the campus community at utoledo.edu/commencement.

“This is a very special event in the life of our graduates, their family and friends, and I know that I speak on behalf of the entire Rocket community when I say to our students that we look forward to celebrating the success of your educational journey at The University of Toledo during our virtual commencement ceremony on Dec. 6,” said Provost Karen Bjorkman.