Category Archives: Oakland Post

‘Wild and crazy’: A look back at the Gustafson/Ring administration

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Photo – Jason Willis/The Oakland Post

Following the record turnout in the 2010 Oakland University Student Congress election, Student Body president Brandon Gustafson and vice president Amy Ring were faced with the task of overseeing OUSC’s growth as an organization.

After being elected with a record 1,429 votes in the 2010 election, roughly 51 percent of the 2,796 votes cast, Gustafson and Ring came into office with a plan already in place.

“When we first got elected, we had a lot of goals and a lot of things that we wanted to accomplish,” Gustafson said. “I think right from the gate, you realize that things were going to be harder than we anticipated, but by us having goals and a plan already set up, it made some of our things easier.”

Ring said the new administration was able to get most of its platform initiatives accomplished within the first few months of its term.

“We spent a lot of the summer in the office so that when school started we really could concentrate on specific issues that students had,” Ring said. “By the end of the summer last year, we had already implemented our spirit packages in all the different local businesses and built relationships with that. When school started, we luckily had our hammocks outside, and I think that was a really great tangible thing that people remembered from our platform that they were able to actually utilize right when school started.”

Ring said one of the first things she and Gustafson did was try to meet with university President Dr. Gary Russi to discuss their platform and goals, and Gustafson said building a good relationship with the university administration was key to their success.

“We were able to gain respect (from the administration) because our first meeting with Dr. Russi, we came in with solid plans and ideas and we just presented them to him,” Gustafson said. “One of the biggest things that I’ve learned in this position is that the administration is here to help us, and they want our help and our input. They don’t want Student Congress to fail because then that means that students aren’t taking an active role in their education.”

Throughout their administration, Ring and Gustafson have focused on working for the students and holding events that students would be interested in attending.

”We’ve really tried to create programs and events where the average student would want to go to,” Ring said. “Maybe they don’t want to go to a luncheon and get educated by a forum, but maybe they want to go to a tailgate, so we were able to make different events and programs that the average student would hopefully want to go to. Hopefully, that will lay the groundwork for future administrations.”

Gustafson said he also focused on growing OUSC’s profile within the student community. In addition to the tailgate, OUSC sponsored several events this year including a bonfire for the soccer team and a bus trip to Tulsa, Okla., for the NCAA Tournament.

“I think our underlying theme was to show people what Student Congress can do. I think we did a really good job of just doing wild and crazy stuff just to kind of show that ‘hey, we’re able to do this,’” Gustafson said.

OUSC adviser Meghan Walters said Gustafson and Ring have done a great job increasing student involvement within the organization.

“This is the first time we’ve had a full legislature, and I’m very impressed with that,” Walters said. “I think they really did try to get the message out there that they’re here for the students and they wanted to bring programming here that’s applicable to them and interesting to them.”

Ring said she and Gustafson will help ease the transition for the new administration and offer them advice.

“I think the most important thing that we’ll be sharing with the new administration is to be proactive,” Ring said. “To show that initiative really shows the (university) that the new administration is going to want what’s best for the students also.”

Ring and Gustafson will both be graduating on April 30. Ring said she plans to attend graduate school at Kent State University for higher education, while Gustafson plans to pursue internships and a master’s degree in business administration.

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Column – Wings’ goaltending not a pressing issue

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 9:24 pm

The Red Wings will win a Stanley Cup with Jimmy Howard as their goaltender. There, I said it.

Yes, it is true that Howard’s numbers are down from last year. He ranks 32nd in the NHL with a 2.79 goals against average and 29th with a .908 save percentage.

But let’s not forget that last year Howard ranked in the top five in the NHL in both categories when he posted a 2.26 GAA and .924 save percentage. Oh, and that was his first full season in the league.

This year, despite the down peripheral numbers, he also leads the NHL in wins with 34.

Much of the blame for Howard’s inconsistencies can be placed on the team surrounding him and the defense in particular.

The Red Wings currently only have one defenseman with a plus/minus rating over 10 — Brian Rafalski with a +12 rating. Rafalski has also missed significant time this season with injuries.

Future Hall-of-Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom’s offensive numbers are up, but he has a -1 rating after finishing at +22 last year.

Jonathan Ericsson has been a disappointment this year, while Ruslan Salei has been solid but unremarkable.

In many cases this season, the team has simply looked tired or uninterested.

Take Monday’s game against Pittsburgh for example. For the first two periods of the game, the team was unmistakably awful. The Red Wings stood by flat-footed as the Penguins raced out to a 4-0 lead.

Howard was pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots. However, it was only the second time in eight March starts that Howard gave up more than three goals, and the Wings earned points in six of those starts.

Despite struggling with injuries again, the Red Wings still rank second in the Western Conference at press time,  eight points behind Vancouver and three points ahead of San Jose. Howard has been a big part of that success.

More encouraging is the fact that Howard now has a year of playoff experience to build on.

Howard’s numbers in last year’s playoffs are very similar to the ones he has posted so far this season — a 2.75 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

Those numbers don’t seem remarkable, but consider the numbers of the two goaltenders who led their teams to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

Philadelphia’s Michael Leighton had a .916 save percentage, which was only slightly higher than Howard’s, and a 2.46 GAA.

Chicago’s Antti Niemi posted a 2.63 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

Going into last year’s playoffs, did anyone think either of those goalies could carry a team to a championship?

Similar concerns seem to exist this season among Red Wings fans who are used to the likes of Mike Vernon, Chris Osgood or Dominik Hasek leading the team to playoff glory.

But if Leighton and Niemi can lead their teams to the Finals, why can’t Howard?

It’s not like those two are setting the world on fire this season.

Niemi ranks in the middle of the pack in most goaltending categories this season, while Leighton currently plays for the Flyers’ AHL affiliate after being placed on waivers earlier in the season.

It’s reasonable to believe that Howard’s numbers will improve in the playoffs now that he knows what to expect.

If the team in front of him can stay healthy and play to its full potential, Howard is capable of leading the Red Wings to their 12th Stanley Cup.

After all, it’s not always about having a big-name goaltender (see Curtis Joseph). It’s more about having a goaltender, like Leighton, who can go on a hot streak at the right time.

Will Howard have to step up his game for the Red Wings to hoist the Stanley Cup in June? Absolutely, but so will the rest of the team.

Grizzlies can’t catch up to Texas in NCAA Tournament loss

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Photo – Kevin Romanchik/The Oakland Post

TULSA, Okla. — It seemed so close. After trailing for much of the game, and by as much as 17 in the second half, a three-pointer by senior guard Larry Wright brought No. 13 seed Oakland University within just five points of No. 4 Texas with 1:22 remaining in the game.

However, it was not to be as another captivating season for the Grizzlies came to a disappointing end Friday afternoon as the Longhorns held on for an 85-81 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Grizzlies had a chance to make it a one-possession game, but junior guard Reggie Hamilton’s three-point attempt with 47 seconds left rattled in and out, allowing Texas to put the game out of reach at the foul line.

“All throughout the game you’ve got to have the confidence that every shot’s going in,” Hamilton said. “That’s how the ball rolls sometimes. Unfortunately, that ball rimmed out.”

Oakland coach Greg Kampe was particularly disappointed because he felt this team had a chance to make a postseason run.

“This is a team that I thought could get to the Sweet 16,” Kampe said. “Our league’s gotten so much better. Our league’s good and people don’t know it. The way they’re going to find out is if a team like Oakland goes and wins in the Tournament. That’s where the disappointment comes from.”

Kampe said he was still surprised that Oakland drew the Longhorns for its opening game.

“We just got a bad draw,” Kampe said. “We play everybody in the country. I know who is good and who isn’t — and that Texas team is as good as anybody. Texas can win the National
Championship.”

Kampe said Texas’ defense and ability to bother Oakland’s shooters was the difference in the game.

“If you would have told me that we were going to hold them to 85 points and we’d have 17 offensive rebounds and they’d have 15, I would tell you that we were going to win,” Kampe said. “We just didn’t make shots, and I think we might not have made shots because of their defense. Every shot we took was contested.”

The Grizzlies took an early 7-4 lead, but Texas went on a 6-0 run and never relinquished the lead. Oakland trailed 46-38 at halftime, and saw that deficit climb to double-digits early in the second half.

“Texas is a tough, great team,” Hamilton said. “It all started in the first half. You know you make runs, everyone’s going to make their run. Unfortunately, our run came too late.”

Hamilton led Oakland with 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, but he was just 2-of-9 from 3-point range. The Grizzlies shot only 24.1 percent as a team from beyond the arc.

“We had two or three go in and come out, but (Texas) really contested the three, and they can do that because if you get by them they can block shots, similar to at our level how we contest teams in our league,” Kampe said. “If they get by us, (Keith) Benson’s there to block shots.”

In what turned out to be his final collegiate game, Benson scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds, his 20th double-double of the season.

Benson finishes his career as the Summit League’s all-time leading shot blocker with 371, and he ranks second all-time in rebounds.

Benson was matched up with the Longhorns’ dynamic freshman center, Tristan Thompson, for most of the game.

“(Thompson) has long arms and he goes hard to the offensive boards, so as a team we really had to focus on him a lot,” Benson said. “He had some good shot blocking skills, so I just tried to battle with him and keep him off the boards.”

Senior forward Will Hudson had a double-double of his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Wright added eight points.

Kampe said saying goodbye to Benson and the other seniors will be difficult.

“Our university owes (the seniors) a great debt,” Kampe said. “I’m so fortunate to have coached them.

“To see a kid like Benson come through, and when David Stern yells his name with the whatever pick in the first round, I’m going to be the happiest Oakland University employee in America because these guys have done great things for our university.”

The loss dropped Oakland to 1-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and 0-3 in its last three tournament games.

“Last year I was upset about the way we finished against Pitt, and I watch coaches at these things and how they look like they’re going to cry and all that,” Kampe said. “It’s a tough business, but I’m going to tell you something. I love this basketball team. It was a great year for Oakland University, just a great year. So I guess I’m going to cry too, because I hate that it’s over.”

Oakland women lose to IPFW, fall to third place in Summit League

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Photo – Bob Knoska/The Oakland Post

With second place in the Summit League standings on the line, the Oakland University women’s basketball team lost its shooting touch at the worst possible time.

The Grizzlies (16-9, 10-4) fell behind early and never recovered as they fell to IPFW, 70-55, Saturday afternoon.

Oakland shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half and shot just over 34 percent for the game, while the Mastodons (17-6, 11-3) seemingly couldn’t miss. IPFW shot 54 percent from the field, including 8-of-17 from three-point range.

“They shot a great percentage and we couldn’t get stops,” Oakland coach Beckie Francis said. “We’re a great defensive team, so I give them a lot of credit.”

Francis said that the Mastodons’ experience, and the Grizzlies’ lack of it, was a major factor in the game’s final outcome.

“IPFW is a really good team — it’s a veteran team,” Francis said. “They have five starters back, and they were fired up to try to get a win on our court.”

“That’s an experienced team, and we’re a younger team. We sometimes have three freshmen on the floor, and it takes a while for a team to get confidence if you don’t hit a couple shots.”

Sophomore forward Bethany Watterworth scored 17 points for Oakland, while freshman guard Zakiya Minifee added eight points and eight rebounds.

Watterworth said the key for the Grizzlies moving forward is  simply to get their confidence back.

“We’re a great team, and we got a big weekend next weekend with the Dakotas coming in,” Watterworth said. “We just need to get after it in practice and work on the little things defensively.”

Senior guard Jordan Zuppe led the way for the Mastodons with 23 points, including 6-of-8 from three-point range, while junior forward Stephanie Rosado added 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Watterworth often drew the tough task of guarding Rosado in the low post.

“(Rosado) had a good game, and their team just hit shots,” Watterworth said. “They shot over 50 percent for the game, so it’s tough to win when the other team is making half their shots.”

Despite falling into third place in the Summit League, Francis said she wasn’t concerned.

“We’re just going to improve and win games one by one,” Francis said. “We don’t care who we play. (We play) Saturday and next Monday, then we get our seed,  then we win three in a row and that’s our goal. When we’ve gone to the NCAA Tournament we’ve been a (No.) 3 seed and a (No.) 6 seed and we’ve still been in the tournament.”

The Grizzlies’ next game will be Saturday, Feb. 19, at home against South Dakota State University.

Oakland’s lesser-known Div. III club hockey team aims for postseason run

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Photo – Jake Thielen/The Oakland Post

What many students may not know is that Oakland University has not one, but two winning hockey teams.

The university’s Division I team has gained the most notoriety, winning a national championship as recently as 2007. This year, the lesser-known Grizzlies’ Division III club team is looking to achieve similar success as a member of the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Blue Division, which is a part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

However, in order to reach that success the team must first overcome an obstacle that doesn’t affect major sports at OU, such as basketball.

Hockey’s status as a club sport at Oakland means that much of the financial burden is carried by the players themselves.

Second-year coach Troy Barron said the fact that hockey is not a scholarship sport at Oakland can make recruiting difficult at times. While other colleges can afford to buy their players equipment, Oakland simply offers a good education and a competitive team.

“We are not the Yankees where kids get paid in scholarships,” Barron said. “These guys work jobs, they go to school full-time and they pay for their own hockey. It’s like playing travel hockey — you’re paying $300-$400 a month.”

Despite potential financial and recruiting difficulties, Barron has managed to put together a solid program.

Game day

The team entered Friday night’s showdown against Michigan State University at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills with a record of 16-7, which was good for seventh place in the most recent ACHA North Division rankings. The Grizzlies had defeated Michigan State 5-2 on the road in their last game on Jan. 23.

Early on, it looked like Oakland would repeat its previous success against the Spartans. The team came out looking to dominate the game physically in the first period, and that’s exactly what happened.

Barron said setting the tone early with physical play is part of the team’s game plan.

“I think the whole reason for being physical is to get somebody off their game,” Barron said. “You don’t want to be dirty, but you want to force (the other team) up the boards and counter-attack it. The whole thing about being physical is getting them off the puck. If they don’t have the puck on their stick, they can’t do anything.”

The team’s physical play helped create several early scoring chances. After a Michigan State penalty, sophomore forward Derek Sulpizio put home a rebound in front of the net that gave the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game.

Michigan State tied the game in the second period, but Oakland team captain Zach Warson put the Grizzlies in front again with a redirection goal with eight minutes left in the third period.

Despite several late penalties, it appeared Oakland would be able to hold on for a victory. However, Michigan State’s Joe Kulczycki scored with just 1.3 seconds left in the game to force overtime.

“I didn’t even know there was that much time left; I was just playing,” senior goaltender Steve Henzie said. “After they scored, I looked up and saw 1.3. It was just like a backbreaker. It was tough to get out of my head.”

Michigan State went on to win the game in a shootout.

“With one second left, you think you have it,” Sulpizio said. “You’re that close, and then they get a lucky goal bounce off the back of the boards. It’s a tough loss, but we’ll come back hard next week.”

Looking ahead

Oakland will look to rebound in its next game against the University of Michigan-Flint Feb. 11, and cap off the season with a trip to the ACHA National Tournament.

“The first goal that everybody set was going to nationals,” Henzie said. “I don’t know if we’re saying winning, but we definitely want to get there, and we’ll take it from there.”

A 6-3 loss to Davenport University in the ACHA regionals kept the Grizzlies from qualifying for the National Tournament last year. Henzie said avenging that loss was a motivating factor entering this season.

“The other number one thing that we set out to do was to beat Davenport, which we did,” Henzie said. “We lost to them in the first game that we played them (Nov. 5), and we won the second game at their ice (Nov. 7). That was one of the big goals, so we accomplished that.”

The ACHA Regional Tournament is scheduled to begin Feb. 18 at the Suburban Ice Arena in Macomb. Barron said he expects the Grizzlies to be seeded in the middle of the pack, but he still has high expectations for his team.

“At this level, any level, it’s who wants it more,” Barron said. “Anybody can win on any given night. If the guys want it, they can play the best, and they can beat the best. It’s not up to the coaching staff; it’s what they want to do.”

If Oakland advances from the Regional Tournament, they would play in the National Tournament in Holland beginning  March 9.

“We won our first game, and we were a period away from going last year,” Barron said. “Hopefully, if the puck bounces right, we’ll be able to be there (this year).”

President Russi presents slideshow at OUSC meeting

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Monday’s OUSC meeting featured a special guest speaker. University president Dr. Gary Russi was on hand to give a slideshow presentation on Oakland University’s progress and to answer questions from students.

Russi said Oakland has been receiving accolades from groups outside the university.

“There is an accrediting body, North Central Association, and they come to us every 10 years,” Russi said. “It’s remarkable; last time they were here, just a few months ago, they told us that we had no weaknesses. In other words, they gave us a clean bill of health and gave us 10 years before they came back.”

Russi talked about how the university has been able to avoid cutting programs and jobs, despite having the state funding cut every year since 2000, while other universities around the country have not been so fortunate.

“We’ve had none of that at Oakland, and there are some special reasons why that has occurred,” Russi said. “One of the reasons is that we’ve done great planning at Oakland. We have been able to invest in faculty as we continue to grow, which continues to say that we’re of quality. We’ve been able to add (degree) programs, and in fact we’ve added about 65 programs in 10 years.”

Russi talked about how technology will impact Oakland in the future.

“Technology is going to change us and the type of students that are coming to us will change,” Russi said. “Interdisciplinary learning will become a very, very important part of the world. We think students will take control of their own learning. Faculty will facilitate that and they’ll connect you with resources. It’s becoming more prevalent every day, but it’s going to be huge in the future.”

Russi said students need to be involved in planning OU’s future.

“One of the challenges we have is to identify our competitive advantage,” Russi said. ”If we don’t identify our competitive advantage, competitors will run us over. As part of the planning process, we need your insight. I would like to hear students’ insight on what is our competitive advantage for Oakland University.”

Russi followed up his presentation with a question and answer session. He was asked whether Oakland would receive more state appropriations in the near future.

“I had an opportunity to meet with (Gov. Rick Snyder) three times, and with the 15 public university presidents,” Russi said. “We sat with him and talked about funding and higher education. He told us that ‘everyone is going to share in the pain,’ so that suggests that the likelihood of seeing an increased appropriation for higher education, certainly in the next couple years, would be pretty slim.”

Russi was also asked about potentially switching athletic conferences, given the success of the basketball team.

“The Summit League is a basketball league,” Russi said. “It is surrounded by schools, there are 10 of us, that their premiere sport is really basketball. We’ve been very successful in all of our sports, and we’ve done extremely well in those 11 years (of Summit League membership).”

Moving to another conference, Russi said, would increase the pressure to add a football program.

“At this point, football is not in the cards for some time, but once football is in the cards and we start to think about football, then you start looking at other athletic conferences, “ Russi said.

Russi was also asked about the upcoming Homecoming tailgate and he said that students seem excited for the opportunity.

“I think there are 185 spots available for the tailgate,” Russi said. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all 185 spots were taken and each spot brought the maximum of 20 guests? That would be pretty cool for our first tailgate experience.”

Other OUSC news

Three OUSC legislators were approved as committee chairs. Alexis Halsell was approved as the steering committee chair. Darrell Boyd was approved as the judiciary chair. Trang Le was approved as the research and review chair.

Emilia Allen and DeTara Michener were approved as multicultural affairs committee members.

OUSC also announced the winners of the Monopoly stock challenge.

The 22 participants in the challenge were given $10,000 of imaginary funds to work with. The students then chose up to five stocks, and whoever made the most money between Nov. 26 and Dec. 26 was declared the winner.

Samantha Dowda won first place after buying 600 shares of Arvin Mentor and making a profit of $2696. Trang Le finished in second place with a profit of $1,523.37 and Charles Scott finished in third with a profit of $1,036.96.

Scholarship committee chair James Kaminski said first place was awarded $200 in Spirit Cash, with second place receiving $100 and third place receiving $50.

“It was a good turnout and we had a lot of people show interest,” Kmainski said.

A jump to the next level

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Photos – Bob Knoska/The Oakland Post

On March 20, 2010, Malika Glover and Zakiya Minifee celebrated East Lansing High School’s 65-54 victory in the Class A state championship. Just 10 months later, the two high school teammates are in search of a different kind of championship — a Summit League championship as members of the Oakland University basketball team.

Despite being freshmen, Glover and Minifee are both key contributors to an Oakland team that is currently tied for second place in the conference race.

Glover is averaging 5.8 points per game for the season, but has doubled that average since she moved into the starting lineup on Jan. 8 against Western Illinois.

Meanwhile, Minifee is averaging 7.8 points per game and is second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per game. She began the season in the starting lineup, and has since become a fixture of the starting five. Minifee said stepping into the starting lineup was difficult at first, but her teammates helped ease the transition.

“Coach (Beckie) Francis kind of surprised me for our first game telling me that I was starting,” Minifee said. “The first couple games were really nerve-wracking, trying to make sure I didn’t mess up, where I was fitting in, that type of thing, but the team made it really smooth. They never made me feel like I was out of place in any way, so it just was like playing basketball all over again.”

Glover also credited her teammates for helping her make the jump to the starting lineup.

“I was starting to feel a lot better about the way I was playing, so it was pretty comfortable coming in,” Glover said. “The team’s really helpful with making you feel like you belong there.”

Francis said she has been impressed with the poise shown by the two freshman and their ability to contribute from day one.

“It shows a lot of mental toughness,” Francis said. “It shows maturity, but I think it (also) shows hard work on their part and good attitudes.”

Rob Smith, who coached Minifee and Glover in high school, said he’s not surprised that either of them are off to such a productive start in college.

“Malika played like ‘Miss Basketball’ throughout the state tournament,” Smith said. “She did a lot in terms of transition, running the offense and shooting. She became a passionate leader for our team.

“Zakiya rebounded like no one I’ve ever seen for her size,” Smith said. “We called her ‘The Beast.’ She’s one of the most intelligent players I’ve ever coached.”

Smith said the two had great chemistry during their time at East Lansing.

“They played together ever since middle school and they were on the same AAU team,” Smith said. “They had a real good feel for what they were going to do, and they had a really good idea of what we wanted to do in our system. They were good at bringing younger kids into the mix and maturing into leadership roles.”

It’s possible that the Grizzlies’ starting lineup could have featured three players from East Lansing High School, if it were not for an injury.

Sophomore guard Victoria Lipscomb started 23 games for Oakland last season, but has been limited to just three games this season due to a long-term knee injury suffered in November.

Glover and Minifee said Lipscomb was instrumental in helping them choose to attend OU.

“Victoria is a year older than us, and she’s from East Lansing too,” Minifee said. “She talked about how much she loved it and how well the team got along, so it just made it more comfortable to know someone also at the same time.”

Once Minifee signed with OU, Glover quickly followed suit, largely for a chance to reunite with her teammate.

“I knew Victoria had (committed) here, and then (Zakiya) committed,” Glover said. “I really liked the environment and everything like that, so I just decided to join them.”

Francis said she hopes to continue building a good relationship with the East Lansing program to hopefully land more recruits in the future.

“I really like their program, and it’s kind of obvious that it’s a good program because of the fact that they won the Class A state championship,” Francis said. “It really helps also because I think Rob Smith is a really great coach and very similar in style (to us), so the learning curve is reduced when I sign East Lansing players. That’s why Victoria could start last year, and that’s why Zakiya and Malika could step right in because they’re just so well-coached.”

Smith said he has worked with Oakland during recruiting for the last four years.

“We feel like they’re in a great place (at Oakland),” Smith said. “Whatever they learn here, Beckie can take them to the next level. I’ve heard nothing but good things from parents, not just about basketball, but about academics and the school as

Student Congress welcomes new legislative affairs director

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Oakland Univeristy’s Student Congress met for the first time in the winter semester on Monday afternoon. Items on the agenda included approval of new committee members, statements of student concern and the Student Association of Michigan conference.

New legislative affairs director

Ben Eveslage was approved as the new legislative affairs director, replacing Nessma Bashi who resigned in December.

Eveslage said he plans to hold several events including “Law and H’Orderves” and an OU Day at the Capitol in March.

“Law & H’Orderves” is scheduled to take place on Jan. 22 from 12-1 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge. Event attendees will learn about their rights as young adults and students, and free food will be provided.

Student body vice president Amy Ring said Eveslage has already adapted to the job well.

“He’s been very detail-oriented about everything,” Ring said. “We’re very happy with his performance thus far.”

Student Program Board Committee Members

Tyanna Moore was approved as the associate chair of the Student Program Board.

“The associate chair position is responsible for preparing and getting everything ready for all of the events that Student Program Board will be putting on this semester and next semester,” Moore said.

Kate Rozek, a junior communications major, was approved as mainstage chair.

“My biggest job so far is putting on an April concert at OU and doing entertainment stuff for the next year,” Rozek said.

Current OUSC legislator Nick McCormick, a junior communications and cinema studies major, was approved as special events chair.

“This is my third year in Congress, and I kind of always had in interest in Student Program Board, but I just never really had the time to do it,” McCormick said. “I’ve always kind of had an interest in event planning and I’ve had experience with planning events through my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon. I’ve already pretty much completed the main trip that we’re going to be doing this semester, Walt Disney World, which sold out as it opened.”

Other appointments included Alejandro Herrera as public relations chair, Max VanRaaphorst as campus connections chair, Jasmine Moseley as annual events chair, Yasmine Shitta as golden events chair and Jibron Ahmed as diversity chair.

Statements of Student Concern

Student services director Brett McIsaac followed up on two statements of student concern from last semester.

“(OUSC legislator Louie) Alkasmikha voiced a concern before break about there not being a blue light in P-35 and P-37, the two far lots down Library Drive,” McIsaac said. “I contacted OUPD regarding the issue and the response I got was they just went through and upgraded all the blue light systems, and right now there aren’t any plans to purchase and install new ones, but they’ll keep it as an idea and think about it for the future.”

“I really think it’s a good idea to get one down there because if there was an emergency down there, it would be quite a hike to the nearest one, so I’ll keep pushing them on that.”

Student Association of Michigan conference

Student body president Brandon Gustafson said Oakland hosted a conference for the Student Association of Michigan the previous weekend.

“It went really well, “Gustafson said. “We had 13 of the 15 public universities here and the largest turnout was about 55 people.”

OUSC’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. in the Oakland Center’s banquet room.

Column: Lions’ win streak could prove costly

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The Detroit Lions’ 20-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday gave fans plenty to be excited about.

Yes, the team still finished with a losing record, but it ended the season with four consecutive victories.

It was the first time the Lions had won four games in a row since 1999. In the process, the Lions snapped their 19-game losing streak in divisional games and an NFL record 26-game road losing streak.

Certainly, the streak will give Lions’ players and fans confidence heading into next season. For the first time in recent memory, the Lions resembled a team that could challenge for a division title or playoff berth.

Detroit was competitive in every game it played, and the argument could be made that the team could have finished at or above .500 if not for several questionable calls by officials.

Is there anyone who agrees with the ruling that Calvin Johnson “didn’t complete the process” when making a potential game-winning touchdown catch against Chicago in Week 1?

Despite the good feelings that came out of Sunday’s win, it’s possible the team would have benefitted more from a loss. I’m not saying that the team should have lost on purpose, but really what good came from the win?

Detroit still finished with a 6-10 record, which gave the franchise its 10th consecutive losing season. They will still watch the playoffs on TV along with 19 other NFL teams.

Despite all the young talent on the Lions’ roster, the team still has several holes to fill, particularly on defense. The secondary still gives up too many big plays and the depth at linebacker is woefully thin.

This is where the bad news comes in.

With one meaningless win on the season’s last day, the Lions effectively took themselves out of the running for the top prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Had Detroit lost the game to Minnesota, the team would have finished 5-11 and picked sixth in the 2011 Draft. Instead, the win tied them with six other teams at 6-10.

The NFL uses strength of schedule as its tie-breaker for determining draft order, with the team that had the weakest schedule getting the first pick.

The Lions had the most difficult schedule of all the teams that finished 6-10, thus they were awarded the 13th pick.

Remember when it looked like the Lions would have a chance to draft star cornerback Patrick Peterson of LSU and finally solidify a secondary that has ranked among the worst in the NFL in recent years? Well, you can say goodbye to that dream.

Peterson is considered a top-five talent, and while he might have been available with the sixth pick, there is no chance he will be on the board when the Lions make their pick at 13th overall.

The same goes for Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, who will likely not make it past the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans, two teams also in need of help at defensive back.

Will the Lions still be able to pick up a quality player with the 13th pick? Absolutely, but it likely won’t be a player who could step in and immediately improve a below-average pass defense like Peterson or Amukamara.

Instead, the Lions will likely select the best player available, regardless of position, and turn to free agency to fill needs.

If either of those two players turns out to be the next Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha, and the Lions’ secondary struggles again in 2011, will the fans still feel so good about meaningless wins in late December and early January?

More likely, it will seem like just another wasted season for a team that seems like its been in rebuilding mode since 1957.

Kresge in search of dean

By Jake Thielen
Posted: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Photo – Jen Bucciarelli/The Oakland Post

Julie Voelck, dean of Kresge Library, announced last month that she will be resigning from her position and chose to step down for personal reasons.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Voleck’s colleagues at the library held a farewell reception in her honor. The reception took place from 2-4 p.m. in the Oakland Center’s Fireside Lounge.

Voelck has served as Kresge’s dean since 2004 and was the associate dean, 2001-03.

“This is a semi-retirement for me,” Voelck said. “I live in Ann Arbor and it’s kind of a long commute every day, so I’m looking forward to not getting up quite so early for a while and staying close to home.”

Voelck said the library has changed a lot since she took the position as dean in 2004. New additions that were implemented during her time as dean include the Writing Center, which opened in 2006, and the Kresge Café that opened earlier this semester.

“The librarians and the library staff have, I think, transformed the library from what it was back in 2000,” Voelck said. “It is, first of all, a place where students want to come.”

With the implementation of new information commons, “Students can use computers there, work in groups and practice presentations,” she said.

Voelck said the library has also focused on making it easier for students to find and understand information.

“We have really focused in our library on information literacy, which is helping students understand how to use, access and evaluate information,” Voelck said.

Voelck will be replaced on an interim basis by Frank Lepkowski, Kresge Library’s associate dean.

Voelck said one of her responsibilities as the dean has been to promote the work of Lepkowski and the Kresge Library staff.

“My role as dean has been to serve as the mouthpiece for the all good work that people like Frank and everyone at the library are doing,” Voelck said.

Lepkowski said part of his role as interim dean will be to support the library’s interests during meetings with university officials.

“The dean provides leadership for the library and also sells the library outside the library, because we need people to understand our needs,” he said.

Lepkowski said there will be a national search to find Voelck’s permanent replacement. The university’s provost, Virinder Moudgil, will name a campus-wide search committee that will identify candidates for the job.

A new dean could be in place next year.