Monthly Archives: February 2017


CASTING CALL Western film student need actors for their short fictional films to be produced this February and March.

Film students need several young adult men and women actor for their narrative films being produced late February through March.  Students’ original scripts involve subject matter that ranges from coming of age, self-reflective, existentialist narratives to a not-so-innocuous crime mystery.

“We’re seeking several 18 to 32 year old actors, or those that want to be actors, willing to act in a film and take direction from one of our talented young filmmakers.  No experience necessary, though if you have acting experience, we’d sure appreciate it.” said Lucido.  There is no compensation involved, just good experience to be gained.

CASTING CALL dates are Tuesday February 21st 3:30-4:30 PM and Wednesday February 22nd 6:00-7:00 PM.  Both of these casual, come as you are, audition sessions will be held in 118 Taylor Hall on the campus of Western State Colorado University.  No monologue or other audition preparation is necessary.  Please come join us.

More information on Western’s film program:


Moving Mountains initiative hopes to bring students together

The student led program aims to promote inclusion and diversity

Roberta Marquette-Strain

The Western community has recently been making strides toward creating a safe and inclusive campus for everyone. One campus-wide program aims to promote these ideas by encouraging students to partake in conversations concerning race, sexual orientation, and other such topics.

The Moving Mountains initiative is a student led program created by members of the Student Government Association (SGA) and will be launching later this month. “We want everyone to feel welcomed and safe at Western, and to do that students have to understand what is going on with one another,” said SGA Flynn Guerrieri. “(Moving Mountains) will provide a place for students and faculty to talk about things that are difficult while feeling safe and comfortable.”

The idea for a program that promotes inclusivity came at the beginning of the school year. Terri Houston, a visiting speaker, had inspired the SGA to create a program that allows all students to feel welcome. Due to busy schedules, launching the Moving Mountains initiative was postponed. It was an incident in December involving discriminatory hate speech made by a student that reignited the program, reminding the students that Western is not exempt from these type of events and that there is still work to be done to create an accepting and understanding campus.

Moving Mountains hopes to achieve that by engaging in conversation with students. The program will host monthly meetings for people to attend to get their voices heard in a judgement free zone. The meetings will be open to people who feel isolated or want voice their concern about how they are being treated, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about the hot-button topics and how they can approach them. “It’s a place where everyone is welcome and can express their opinions while learning at the same time,” Guerrieri explained.

The exact meeting times are still being planned, but to get the conversation starting, the program will be hosting an Inclusion Walk on Feb. 22 from 6-9 p.m. in the Field House. The event will allow students to learn more about Moving Mountains and will also showcase speakers, displays, and have games that are all focused on the idea of inclusion and diversity. Dean of Students Gary Pierson said that the event will “demonstrate the cohesiveness of our community and the support for it.” Guerrieri mentioned that she feels the event will begin to build a stronger community and is looking forward to seeing how the campus comes together for this event and beyond.


On The Home Stretch

Regular Season ends at home before Mountaineers leave for year-end competitions

Nicholas A. Fischer/Staff Writer

The Mountaineers Basketball, Track and Field, Wrestling, and Swimming and Diving teams have entered the final stretch of their seasons with a plethora of home events before conference tournaments and Regional and National Championships.

On Feb. 12, Western’s Swimming and Diving team finished their RMAC season in third place finish and are competing in RMAC championships in Grand Junction between Feb. 9-12. For a second year in a row, Randy Yarnell will represent Western at the NCAA championships in Birmingham, AL from March 8 – 11. Not only did Yarnell secure a second visit to the National Championship she broke two school records, one in the 100 fly and the other in the 400 relay with fellow swimmers, Ma’alaea Lawrence, Akemi King, and Kate Hewson.

Mountaineer Wrestling was able to wrap up their home season with a pair of victories over Adam’s State and New Mexico Highlands on Feb. 10 and 11. In their senior seasons, Brandon Supernaw, Mick Dougharity, and RMAC champion Ronald Wardleigh have helped the Mountaineers to a 9-6 record before leading to the NCAA DII Super 4 Regional Championships in Golden, CO over Feb. 24-25.

With a record of 26-4 and 15 falls, Wardleigh is the second ranked wrestler in the nation and is the RMAC Champion for the 125 weight class. Supernaw is ninth in the nation at with a record of 23-7 and has 3 falls. In the 197 weight class, Dougharity is 18-8 and the team points from his 7 falls have helped keep Western competitive in duals ad tournaments this season.

Dougharity and Supernaw both said they are happy to see the team come together and finished strong and excited to head into the Regional Championships with this team.

Western’s Track and Field team will finish their indoor season with a meet on Feb. 18 with the Western Open in the Mountaineer Field House. This will be the chance for Mountaineers to qualify at home for the National Championships before heading to Spearfish, SD on Feb. 24 and 25 for the RMAC Championships. The NCAA Indoor National Championships will also be in Birmingham, AL on Mar. 10 and 11.

Noah Zorsky, Avery Roberts, and Cameron Gill have been jumping to new heights and lengths for Western. Meanwhile, Alicja Konieczek and Georgia Porter have been running through the school record books, while Elijah Gilbert has been sprinting through them.

Konieczek and Porter hold first and second place record times in the 3000-meters for Western. However, on Feb. 11 at the Husky invite in Washington, Konieczek beat her previous 3000-meter school record by 14 seconds. In addition, Konieczek holds third best time in the 800 meters and Porter has the second best in the 5000 meters. Meanwhile, Gilbert has Western’s top speed in the 60 meters dash and the second best time in the 200 meters.

Roberts posted a 6’9.75” mark in the high jump, grabbing sixth place on Western’s record book. Gill was able to go further in the triple jump with a distance of 49’1.75”, which put him in third for school history in that event. However, Zorsky toped them as he vaulted himself to the school record in the pole vault after clearing an impressive 17’9”.

When asked about what advice they will take with them to Nationals, Roberts said, “Work hard, never give up, and eat your veggies.” Cameron said, “Take care of business and everything else will take care of itself.”

All three Jumpers have posted qualifying marks for the National Championships and are looking to ensure their spots during the Western Open.

Both of Western’s basketball teams started the season with hopes of improvement from the year before and to be more competitive in games. While their seasons started slow, both teams were able to find some success throughout it, developing a will to fight through their struggles.

Sadie Stroup, Harley Williams, and Brianna Wiber have been sharing the load to lead the women’s team. Will Duggin, Brady Subart, Collin Smith, and Ben Beauchamp have been leading the men’s team with their barrage of three pointers this season. However, the two hardest workers on either team have to be Kaylynn Bush and Brandon Cosby-Lee, as they led their teams in two stats not officially tracked, taking charges and setting screens.

The Mountaineers have a chance to end the regular season strong as they play their final three games at home in the Paul Wright Gymnasium. The home games on Feb. 18, 24, and 25 will determine Western’s position in the RMAC tournament, and should be beneficial to them as both teams feed off the cheers of the Mountaineer crowd.

Western student body leads diversity sit in

Students brought their concerns about diversity and inclusivity to Dr. Salsbury

Marisa Cardin / Senior Staff Writer

On Feb. 2, at 3:30 in the afternoon, twenty-three students met at the lobby of Taylor Hall. Some held signs, while others brought only themselves. All of these students held on to a message of diversity that they hoped to spread to the rest of Western.

Following the allegations of the Jackson National Life Insurance Company Lawsuit, Jodie Howard, junior, scheduled a meeting with President Salsbury to discuss diversity and go over the open letter that the student body had written shortly following these allegations. “President Salsbury, your responses to multiple discriminatory events in Western’s recent history have been inadequate, absent, or tactless,” the letter read. “Last year, the administration’s stubborn and muffled reaction to the threatening posts on Yik Yak, a public social media forum, disheartened us. The silence from your own office, President Salsbury, after the hate crime that occurred in Colorado Hall last December, disturbed us. Most recently, your statement regarding the allegations filed against your previous employer, Jackson National Life, disgusted us; it was impersonal, lacking sympathy, and merely highlighted your own success rather than recognizing and taking responsibility for the damage that was done regardless of your own involvement. This is unacceptable.”

Madison Manning, one of the students who had organized the silent sit in, originally intended to be held right outside Dr. Salsbury’s office, encouraged the gathering students to exhibit peace and kindness, in order to more efficiently spread the message of diversity. A few minutes after everyone had arrived, the group of students moved in solidarity and silence down to Mad Jack’s, where they were to meet with Dr. Salsbury. Though the president was unaware of the amount of students he would soon be meeting with, he made it clear that he was thoroughly enjoying the discussion that followed. Upon Dr. Salsbury’s arrival to Mad Jacks, the peaceful protestors, who had been silently sitting until then, stood and proudly showed off their signs. “Diversity isn’t a game. Discrimination isn’t a joke,” one read. Another stated, in big red letters, “Equating race, sexuality, gender, and ethnicity is wrong and delegitimizes the experience of minorities.” The students remained silent as Dr. Salsbury moved through the crowd, taking his time to read each and every sign. By this point, about thirty students were gathered together, with more students approaching curiously as they moved through the University Center.

For the next few minutes, Howard and Dr. Salsbury sat at a nearby table, to discuss the student body’s open letter. The students remained quietly sitting around them. The crowd continued to gather, even drawing employees from Mad Jack’s and the Bookstore out to see what was happening. By 4pm, only thirty minutes after the sit in had started, there were nearly forty people there.

“I really appreciate this conversation,” Dr. Salsbury said right away. Soon after he arrived, students began calling out their own questions and concerns about diversity at Western. One of the biggest concerns that was addressed was the recent hate crime at Colorado Hall, as well as an incident of cyber bullying that occurred last year over Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging board. Dr. Salsbury said that, regretfully, it was hard to monitor things happening over social media. “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…we would need a much larger staff to be able to monitor it 24/7,” he said.

When a student asked if he could comment more about the alleged statements made during his time at Jackson National, Dr. Salsbury said: “Those attributions of what I said are wrong, they’re false, and they didn’t happen. It’s allegations, and that’s all I can say on it.”

Students also voiced their concerns about the lack of professors of color at Western, and Dr. Salsbury agreed, asking students to feel free to bring their ideas of how to increase the diversity of faculty. “We can’t hire who won’t apply,” he reminded them, stating that, although he would like to have more people of color teaching at Western, professors of color must first apply.

Tukano Salat, Junior, raised her hand and stated simply: “I want to know how you’re going to approach diversity.”

“We’re [increasing diversity of faculty] by approaching the front range,” Dr. Salsbury responded. “And that’s helping. But I think it would be good to have a student subcommittee to deal with the diversity of students. We’ve already had great success on improving the diversity of our student body,” he added.

The conversation eventually led to Jenny Cirkovic, junior, asking Dr. Salsbury, “What are you going to take away from this?”

Dr. Salsbury thought for a moment. “I believe that there are two races of people,” he said, “the decent and the indecent. It’s important to give equal opportunities to everyone. I believe that color blindness and race blindness are important.”

Madison Manning immediately responded to this. “That delegitimizes the experiences of minorities,” she said. “You can’t be colorblind because we aren’t all treated equally in this country.”

“The most important thing I can learn about you is your value,” Dr. Salsbury responded. “What’s most important is how your background, culture, and ethnicity affect your values. Values trump all, in my view.”

Unfortunately, President Salsbury had to cut the meeting short in order to pick up his daughter from school. “We’re not always going to agree,” he addressed the student gathered. “But I can assure you, my intentions are good. To a degree, Western has some issues, but I don’t want that to be the only thing we focus on,” he said. “I will always do my best to share with you what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I don’t need this job. I’m letting you know my personal commitment to being here.”

“We will keep coming back and voicing our opinions,” Howard replied. With that, the President left, and the students remained to mingle around Mad Jack’s and discuss the sit in with each other.

After the sit in, a number of students were interviewed about the goals of the protest. Jay Ytell, a junior and member of SGA, had been at the sit-in since the group originally met in Taylor Hall. “Western stands for inclusivity and diversity, and every student is valued,” he said, when asked why he wanted to attend the sit in. “We want to show this to the administration and hope they follow in our footsteps.”

Jodie Howard had similar thoughts. “I’ve been on student council for three years, and there’s a lot of things on campus that aren’t heard,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that are brushed under the rug, and there’s a lot of problems that students are afraid to vocalize because of the power structure. We need to be able to have a free-speaking student body and be able to work towards what we believe in without things being brushed under the rug. When we had hate crimes on campus, not many students knew about it. I want everyone to feel just as important every day that they’re here, as important as the highest power on campus.”

When asked how she felt the meeting went, Howard said: “I feel like Dr. Salsbury didn’t really hear us, so I’m interested to see what’s going to happen in the future, and we’ll be able to tell by the actions that are taken from here on out. If we don’t see action made and if we don’t feel heard, we will definitely have more meetings like this.”

In a student-wide email, Dr. Salsbury later invited student to participate in an open forum with him and other faculty on Feb. 16, during which students could address more of their concerns.

On Monday, Feb. 6, the Western Faculty Senate passed a statement on diversity and inclusion:

“Western State Colorado University takes a firm and unyielding stance in support of diversity, inclusivity, scientific inquiry, and creative expression. We believe these principles are necessary for the free and open inquiry that defines our role as a public institution in a democratic society. We believe that these principles are a moral imperative requiring constant vigilance and a firm stance against actions motivated by hate or intimidation.  The university welcomes people of color, people with disabilities, people of all genders and orientations, people of all religious preferences, immigrants and refugees regardless of national origin or ethnicity and other underrepresented communities regardless of socioeconomic class. We actively seek to build a civil and respectful culture which affirms these principles in all that we do.”

The purpose of this statement was to assure students of the safety they should feel in and around campus, and of the importance of inclusivity, regardless of any differences between people.


Kids Art Classes

Extracurricular art classes have been proven to enhance cognitive development, social interaction, and higher attention span for kids and teens. The GAC has many opportunities for kids this winter! Arting Around for ages 6-12 is on Mondays afternoons from 4:15 – 5:15 pm ongoing weekly until March 27 with a new art project each week! Art Start for toddlers ages 2-5 is every other Friday from 2:30 – 3:15 pm, parents are encouraged to join in on this class. Pre-register and more info at, 102 S. Main St. or by calling 970-641-4029.


The Art of Fly Tying w/ Merne Judson

Discover the art of fly tying! Merne Judson, a Whitling Farms Pro Instructor with 40 years’ experience will instruct this exciting art form twice a week at the GAC. In each 2-hour class, students will start and finish tied flies ready to head out fishing with. The beginner’s course will take students through each step of how to tie both wet and dry flies. The intermediate/advanced course is suited for the more advanced tier and will introduce techniques and materials to improve their ability to tie more advanced patterns. GAC Adult Art Studio. All supplies included. 5 student min. Instructor: Merne Judson. Register at, 102 S. Main St. or by calling 970-641-4029.

David Wilcox Concert

David Wilcox, an award winning singer-songwriter, will take to the GAC Black Box Theatre stage on Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30 pm. This Cleveland-born father was first inspired to play guitar after hearing a fellow college student playing in a stairwell. Now 18 records into a career marked by personal revelation and wildly loyal fans, his lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, virtuosic guitar chops, and creative open tunings. A concert not to miss. Tickets on sale now! $25/advanced & members. $30 at the door. Box office tickets at, 102 S. Main St. or by calling 970-641-4029.

Western Student Responsible for Discriminatory Vandalism

December incident resulted in a conduct hearing

Roberta Marquette-Strain/Senior Staff Writer

A Western student responsible for vandalizing two stairwells in Colorado Hall has gone through a University conduct hearing after coming forward. Due to privacy rights, the student has been kept anonymous and the result of the hearing is unknown. However, Dean of Students Gary Pierson said that at Western, there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior.  

The graffiti was found the morning of Sunday, Dec. 11 by two Colorado Hall Resident Assistants (RA), who notified two Resident Directors (RD) immediately. In an email to the student body sent out Dec. 16, Pierson wrote that the graffiti contained “inappropriate language, hate speech, profanity, and racist comments.”

Escalante Terrace RD Jonathan Stubblefield said that the RAs immediately covered up the comments with paper. Due to the nature of the incident, the Gunnison Police Department was contacted and assisted the Residence Life staff in an investigation. According to Stubblefield, the investigation consisted of asking residents if they had seen anyone hanging around the stairwells prior to the incident, which gave them a few key people. The student responsible admitted to it that Monday and the hearing was later that week.  

Pierson explained to the Top, “I think we dealt with it very efficiently and professionally. There was an immediacy to our response.”  

After discovering the incident, Stubblefield sent out an email to the residents of Escalante Terrace explaining what had happened and offered support to anyone who might need it, pointing them in the direction of the residence staff and the counseling center, as well hosting an optional meeting for the residents the next evening.  

Stubblefield said he had never seen anything like what was written. “I’ve heard about similar incidents on other campuses but it’s definitely hard to see it on your campus, let alone the building you manage.”  Despite the intent of the comments, the Colorado residents responded positively and wrote messages of acceptance and inclusion on top of the paper.  

One Colorado resident, Shawn Ashmore, said that he was saddened by the hateful language that was written and that it was written at all. “The more we’ve advanced as a culture, the more covert things like racism have become, so it was hard to see it so overtly out there.”  

Daizie Tuomala, a freshman who resides in Dolores Hall, had a similar reaction and was “shocked” and “confused.” She said, “I never pegged Western to have something like this happen.”  

Pam Gonzales, an RD for Ute and Robidoux, was on call when the graffiti was found. Gonzales also serves on a Social Justice and Diversity committee for the Association of Intermountain Housing Officers, a regional student affairs organization. She said that two days prior to the incident, she was on a conference call with other committee members who discussed the recent increase of acts of discrimination that they had seen on their campuses following the recent presidential election. Gonzales believes that Western has been able to avoid these types of incidents because, “we are a smaller institution and we try to focus on individualized attention and make sure that students feel that they matter.”

The student’s motive is not known. However, Stubblefield has noticed that the incident sparked a discussion on the topics of racism, hate speech, and prejudice, and is planning to create a program for his building to begin tackling these issues.

The Student Government Association is also planning to address these issues campus wide through the “Moving Mountains” initiative. “It’s supposed to empower students as well as educate them on behavior and language, and to make sure people know that this is a diverse and open community,” Pierson explained. The initiative is planned to have a “kick-off” event and inclusion walk February 22.  

Keeping up with Western’s big mountain team in Canada

Students compete at Revelstroke

Jeremy Wallace/Staff Writer

Western State Colorado University snowboarder Zach Bare flies over coach Edward Dujardin on a road gap at Whitewater Ski Resort during a trip to compete in a freeride world qualifier event January 9th.

Ski bags and backpacks are tossed frantically in the back of a black rental SUV at Western’s Mountaineer Fieldhouse as night approached on Thursday, Jan. 5, as the departure to Revelstroke, British Columbia was fast approaching. However, the snow in Crested Butte delayed the team, and they ended up leaving two days later.

The team is traveling to the first four-star competition of the season for the Freeride World Qualifiers. A crew of high caliber athletes including Grifen Moller, Zachary Bare, Kat Seibert, and coach Edward Dujardin, go to represent Western in Canada. Their first stop is Nelson, B.C., a quick 20-hour car ride away. Fueled by caffeine and corny pop music, the team pushes on through the night, headed North to the land of maple syrup and hockey.

The sun greets the team on the outskirts of Missoula, Montana the next day, and a few hours later they are crossing the Canadian border. As afternoon rolls around, they pull into the mountain town of Nelson, B.C., and begin a crazed search for wi-fi, Canadian currency, poutine, and housing for the night.  The next three days are spent exploring the impressive terrain of local Whitewater Ski Resort where the crew practices airs, cliff drops, and prepares for the approaching competition.  

Western State Colorado University big mountain skier Grifen Moller airs off a boulder at Whitewater Ski Resort during a trip to compete in a freeride world qualifier event January 8th.

After day three at Whitewater, it’s finally time to travel to Revelstoke. The team once again packs the rental car full of skis and bags and sets out on the road. After a few hours and a ferry ride across Upper Arrow Lake, they arrive in Nelson, B.C., and make an important stop at Tim Hortons. A few T-Ho’s donuts and a healthy amount of stereotypical Canadian jokes later, they check in at their Airbnb with friendly frozen-yogurt-enthusiast hosts. From here on, competition lines are the sole focus.

The next morning brings overcast skies and a skin-numbing -22°C (-8°F) on the mountain. The day is set aside for course inspection- athletes are granted access to the venue in order to size-up features and plan out their qualifying run. Coach Ed talks through runs with each athlete, giving his input and recommendations for line choice. The day ends with registration and an athlete dinner, as well as anticipation for qualifying runs the next day.

As the sun kissed the peaks of the Selkirk Mountains the next day, athletes were already loading the gondola at the base of the resort. The qualifiers kick off with snowboarding, where Western athlete Zach Bare makes a strong run and secures his spot in finals the following day. Next up is Women’s skiing- Kat Seibert skis strongly, but does not make the cut for finals.

“I could’ve done a little better in my qualifying run, but better luck next time at the Crested Butte Comp,” said Seibert after her run.

Freshman Grifen Moller is the last Western athlete to compete, and scores highly for his control and confidence throughout the run.

Western State Colorado University big mountain athletes Grifen Moller and Zach Bare pose with coach Edward Dujardin after receiving second place in men’s skiing and snowboarding at a 4 star freeride world qualifier event in Revelstoke, British Columbia January 21st.

The last day of competition. It’s finals day. High performing skiers from all over stack the start list on the morning of Jan. 12. A different venue in the North Bowl of the resort is selected for today’s competitors, speckled with cliff bands, big drops, and tight trees. Spectators gather to watch big lines put down by strong skiers. Zach Bare competes first, dropping in with confidence and strength, and nails down a solid finals run. Grifen Moller completes his final run later in the day, stomping a big air and technical line. That evening energy fills the air as athletes fill the resort plaza for awards. Cheers, high-fives, and smiles abound as both Bare and Moller are welcomed up to the podium, claiming second place in men’s snowboarding a skiing respectively.

“It was pretty exciting, everyone did really well in that finals run and I was happy to come out with second,” said Bare, holding his wood trophy and prize money.

Reveling in the excitement from awards and seeing old friends in the freeride circuit, the team celebrates with the other athletes and returns back home to their basement Air B&B for the final night in Revelstoke. The next morning, bags are yet again stuffed carefully in the rental, and the long drive back to Gunnison begins as the Canadian anthem plays loudly over the stereo speakers.

Coming together for the environment

MEM program hosts panel discussion

Jeremy Wallace / Staff Writer

Coldharbour Institute executive director Suzanne Ewy discusses the important role of non profits in environmental action at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo. during a panel discussion Wednesday, January 18.

The Master in Environmental Management Program at Western hosted a panel discussion Wednesday, Jan. 18 in the University Center ballroom. The panel was comprised of local experts in the fields of energy, public lands, agriculture, and more, with over 16 speakers in total. Titled “United with Our Environment: where we are now, the new administration, and the future,” topics discussed by speakers tied in to the current change in political climate and what it means for the future of environmental policy and activism.

“We wanted to create a space where we could have constructive conversations around what the environment meant for us and our community,” said MJ Pickett, MEM student and event organizer.

A small group engages in discussion at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo. during a Master in Environmental Management panel discussion Wednesday, January 18.

The ballroom was nearly full with Western students, members of the local community, and those interested in environmental happenings. The night opened with refreshments and a panel introduction by Gillian Rossi before the audience split into different tables by topic.

“These discussions are great to bring us together; I like seeing my community all in one place,” said MEM student Phil Keim.

Attendees had the opportunity to converse with experts in specific fields, and engage with one another in a constructive, educational setting. In addition to bringing everyone up to speed, solutions to current problems were pondered and ideas shared, along with a few light hearted political jokes.

“I was curious about the conversations that would be happening, especially after the election,” said ENVS student Jared Cohn. “It was interesting to hear what people think might happen.”

The night concluded with a representative from each table presenting their key discussion points to the group as a whole, and a standing ovation from Coldharbour Institute executive director Suzanne Ewy, “You students are the future; we will be alright.”

The MEM program has plans to continue with similar discussions, along with a film series and other events. Check the calendar at for more information.