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Students Take Responsibility for Keeping Each Other Safe

BY Sarvary Koller ’15

PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2015

Hannah Hendricks’ experience with sexual assault hits especially close to home for Butler students—she was raped during her first year on campus.

“Students know that sexual assault exists,” said Noelle Rich, founder of Stand Tall, a student organization dedicated to awareness and prevention of sexual assault. “But not everyone knows it exists on our campus. Having Hannah hear to talk about it as someone who’s been a Butler student, gone to the campus Starbucks, studied on the Mall—it brought the issue back here. It could happen to any of us.”
Noelle Rich and Austin Del Priore emceed and helped organize the "It's On Us" Butler kickoff.

Hendricks came to speak as a part of the “It’s On Us” Butler Kickoff event on Monday, March 30, in which students signed a pledge to end campus sexual assault.

The pledge is a part of President Barack Obama’s national “It’s On Us” campaign, and it encourages “a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It is a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.” (Take the pledge here.)

Butler’s event, organized by the Student Government Association’s Council on Presidential Affairs (CPA) with involvement from the Presidential Commission on Sexual Assault and the Stand Tall student organization, kick-started the university’s involvement in Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April.

The event was part of a larger initiative to eradicate sexual assault on campus. (Check out the SGA “It’s On Us” video here.)

Over 500 students gathered in the Atherton Union Reilly Room to sign the pledge and learn more about the nature of sexual assault, how to prevent it, and where to find help or information.

Austin Del Priore, SGA President of Administration, emceed the event with Stand Tall founder Rich, and he said he was thrilled by the heavy turnout.

“I was immensely proud of the campus community for uniting around such an important cause,” Del Priore said. “Butler students are involved in so many different clubs and organizations, but we all share the fact that we belong to the greater Butler community. I believe we all have an obligation to make that community a safe place for everyone.”

Campus representatives from Counseling and Consultation Services, the Victim Advocate, and University police participated in the event to demonstrate the support available to students on campus and the university’s dedication to creating a safe and healthy campus environment.

But sexual assault exists everywhere, not just on a college campus.

Representatives from several community agencies, including the Julian Center, Legacy House, Domestic Violence Network, and Center of Hope, joined the event to speak about the availability of community resources to students and survivors of assault. Each organization addressed the group of attendees, and students were able to connect one-on-one with agency leaders at the conclusion of the program.

Sarah Diaz, Coordinator for Health Education and Outreach Programs, said she hopes the involvement of community agencies encourages students to reach out for information and discover new ways to make an impact in Indianapolis and beyond.

At the end of the event, students left armed with the resources, community connections, and an “It’s On Us” T-shirt to act as crusaders in the effort to end campus sexual assault.

Rich said she is excited to see the rapid growth of sexual assault awareness on campus. From the start of her Stand Tall photo project last semester to becoming a recognized and valuable student organization this semester, Rich said she hopes the momentum keeps up.

“To see it all come together has been really cool for me,” Rich said. “We are putting on the same T-shirt, promoting the same cause. We are all Butler students coming together to be on the side of change on our campus.”


Butler Issues Statement on RFRA Change


PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2015

Butler University issued the following statement after the legislature voted to change Indiana's divisive "Religious Freedom" law:

This Organization Serves EveryoneButler University applauds and supports today’s proposed revisions to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They represent a strong step forward and make clear that discrimination has no place in Indiana.

The people of Indiana often talk about “Hoosier values.” Butler University reflects the best of those values. We believe that all people should be welcome, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, or ethnicity. Ours is a culture of acceptance and inclusivity that began with our abolitionist founder in 1855 and continues to pervade the Butler University community today.

The outpouring of support and advocacy across Indiana over the last several days is clear evidence that these Butler values are shared by institutions, businesses, and citizens across our great state.

Now the real work begins—to build upon today’s efforts to ensure our state is forever free from the taint of discrimination, and to restore our state’s reputation as one of the nation’s best places to live, visit, and do business.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


President Danko Issues Statement on 'Religious Freedom' Law


PUBLISHED ON Apr 01 2015

On March 26, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the controversial "Religious Freedom Reform Act" (RFRA).

The result was a backlash that spread across the country.

Butler President James M. Danko was the first university president to speak out against the law. (See President Danko discussing the "Religious Freedom" act on MSNBC here and here.)

This is the statement he issued on Sunday, March 29:

As president of Butler University I am particularly sensitive to the importance of supporting and facilitating an environment of open dialogue and critical inquiry, where free speech and a wide range of opinion is valued and respected. Thus, it is with a certain degree of apprehension that I step into the controversy surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

However, over the past week I have heard from many Butler community members—as well as prospective students, parents, and employees—who have expressed concerns about the impact this law may have on our state and our University. As such, I feel compelled to share my perspective and to reinforce the values of Butler University.

President DankoWhile I have read a variety of opinions and rationale for RFRA, it strikes me as ill-conceived legislation at best, and I fear that some of those who advanced it have allowed their personal or political agendas to supersede the best interests of the State of Indiana and its people. No matter your opinion of the law, it is hard to argue with the fact it has done significant damage to our state.

Like countless other Hoosier institutions, organizations, and businesses, Butler University reaffirms our longstanding commitment to reject discrimination and create an environment that is open to everyone.

Today, more than ever, it is important that we continue to build, cultivate, and defend a culture in which all members of our community—students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the public—can learn, work, engage, and thrive. It is our sincere hope that those around the country with their ears turned toward our Hoosier state hear just one thing loud and clear—the united voice of millions who support inclusion and abhor discrimination.

Butler is an institution where all people are welcome and valued, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, gender, race, or ethnicity; a culture of acceptance and inclusivity that is as old as the University itself. Butler was the first school in Indiana and third in the United States to enroll women as students on an equal basis with men, was among the first colleges in the nation to enroll African Americans, and was the second U.S. school to name a female professor to its faculty.

I strongly encourage our state leaders to take immediate action to address the damage done by this legislation and to reaffirm the fact that Indiana is a place that welcomes, supports, respects, and values all people.


Butler Celebrates Founder's Week, February 1-7


PUBLISHED ON Jan 26 2015

One hundred and sixty years ago, Butler University was founded on the principles of diversity, equality, innovation, and access. Those characteristics are still vital today as we seek to recapture and reclaim the values of Ovid Butler.

Join us the week of February 1-7 as we celebrate Ovid Butler's legacy with these Founder's Week events:Ovid Butler

Sunday, February 1
Honor a Butler Hero Fund Drive
Make a donation to the Butler Fund in honor of a member of staff, faculty or student body who exemplifies Ovid Butler’s belief in diversity, equality and inclusivity.
Suggested pledge: $18.55

Monday, February 2
Founder’s Week Kick-Off
3:00 p.m., Irwin Library Collaborative Space
Welcome by Provost Kate Morris and President Jim Danko
Photo unveiling ceremony at 3:30 p.m.
Coffee, tea, cookies provided

Founder’s Week Keynote Speaker
Dr. Leslie Nardo-Ashburn, Associate Professor of Psychology, IUPUI
4:00 p.m., Irwin Library Collaborative Space

February 3
Butler vs. St. John’s men’s basketball game
7 p.m., Hinkle Fieldhouse
Founder’s Day giveaways at the game

February 4
ACLU First Wednesday Panel Discussion (BCR Event)
"What Would Ovid Butler Do: Today's Movement for Better Policing and Racial Justice"
11:30 a.m. Lunch and check in Robertson Hall
Noon event in Robertson Hall or Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall
Moderator: Erica Smith, Columnist, Indianapolis Star
Kelly R. Eskew, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney
Benjamin Hunter, Public Safety Director, Butler University (former IPD officer and current member of the Indianapolis City-County Council)
Regina Marsh, Executive Director, Forest Manor Multi-Service Center
Monica Solinas-Saunders, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs, IU Northwest

Indianapolis Illustrator Michele Wood book signing
4:00-6:00 p.m., Irwin Library Collaborative
Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony by Nikki Grimes

Movie: “Dear White People!” (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
6:00 p.m., Efroymson Diversity Center in Atherton Union lower level
Discussion will follow with Professor Terri Jett from the Political Science Department

February 5
Founder’s Grant Winners Presentations and Honor a Butler Hero
Noon, Starbucks
What Would Ovid Butler Do? Game, Demia Butler, poster presentations
Pizza will be served

Comedian Mo Amer (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
5:30 p.m., Reilly Room
Palestinian-American standup comedian whose work promotes understanding of differences.
Free food available

February 6
Butler vs. DePaul women’s basketball game
11:30 a.m., Hinkle Fieldhouse

Food Truck Friday
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Hinkle Fieldhouse parking lot

Pride Party (R.E.A.C.H./SGA event)
5:30 p.m., Efroymson Diversity Center

February 7
Butler vs. DePaul men’s basketball game
3:30 p.m., Hinkle Fieldhouse
Founder’s Day giveaways at the game

Events starting February 2 and going all week:

Irwin Library
Founder’s Week exhibit showcases history of Butler University.
Interactive Race Kiosk: we are all part of the human race.
Cut-outs of Ovid Butler and his daughter, Demia Butler- tweet a photo!

Why Founder’s Day? Video
Showcases why we celebrate Founder’s Day.

Founder’s Week Twitter Contest
Question of the Day: Tweet your answer to #standwithovid
(A Starbucks gift card will be given to two randomly selected winners each day, chosen from all appropriate responses.)

Founder’s Week Challenge Card
Participate in key events and activities and get your challenge card stamped. Pick one up at the library.
(Two iPad minis will be raffled to one student and one faculty/staff member randomly selected from those with five stamps or more on their cards by the end of February 6.)


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Butler University Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


PUBLISHED ON Jan 16 2015

The Butler University Celebration of Diversity 2015 proudly presents the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration “Preserving the Legacy – Fulfilling the Dream” January 17-30 at various locations on and around campus.

Below is the schedule. For more information on these events, contact the Office of Diversity Programs at 317-940-6570.

Martin Luther King Jr.January 17

11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Peace Learning Center’s 17th Annual “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival” celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Enjoy music, dance, poetry, a community fair, and a free lunch. The festival will be held at the Christian Theological Seminary, 1100 West 42nd Street. Admission is free. For more information, contact the Peace Learning Center at 317-327-7144.

January 19


Songs of Freedom and Celebration Carillon Concert, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., performed by William E. Engle, University Carillonneur. The concert will take place in Holcomb Gardens, on the Butler University campus.

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

MLK Day at the Indiana State Museum. All are invited to join the Indiana State Museum in celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with demonstrations, activities, and performances throughout the day. Admission is free with each canned good donated to Gleaners Food Bank.

11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All are invited to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art., 4200 North Michigan Road. Enjoy a day full of interactive activities to honor Dr. King’s legacy, including gallery tours, games, art activities, and continuous film screenings designed for all ages. Admission is free. For more information, call 317-923-1331, ext. 214.

6:30 p.m.

“Fulfilling the Dream,” a candlelight reflection honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The ceremony will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center, Atherton Union 004.

January 20    

7:00 p.m.

Diversity Expressions Series, celebrating films on the Civil Rights Movement, presents

King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (1970), an Academy Award-nominated documentary that follows the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his decades of civil rights activism. Narrated by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The screening will take place in the Efroymson Diversity Center. Refreshments will be served.

January 22

7:00 p.m.

The Diversity Expressions Series presents Four Little Girls (1997), Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed documentary that chronicles the story of the four young victims of the Birmingham church bombing. The screening will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center. Refreshments will be served.

January 24
6:00 p.m.

“Stand Together for Justice, a prayer vigil and interactive discussion on “knowing your rights,” with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. The event will be held in the Reilly Room, Atherton Union. Sponsored by the Black Student Union.

January 27

7:00 p.m.

Diversity Expressions Series presents Freedom Riders (2010), the critically acclaimed documentary by Stanley Nelson that chronicles the inspirational story of American civil rights activists’ peaceful fight against racial segregation on buses and trains in the 1960s. The screening will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center. Refreshments will be served.

January 28

6:00 p.m.

I Can’t Breathe! What Would King Do? A dialogue to explore the impact of Dr. King’s philosophical perspective on contemporary societal issues, with a focus on the resurgence of social and political activism. The dialogue will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center. Refreshments will be served.

January 29

7:00 p.m.

Gospel in the DC, an evening of music, praise and fellowship, featuring Butler’s Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir. The performance will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center. Co-sponsored by Diversity Programs and the Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir.

Film Screenings and Dialogue

Continuous Screenings will be held in the Efroymson Diversity Center, Atherton Union, Room 004

January 20
The Speeches Collection, Volume 1 (2002). Follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s electrifying speeches from his early days as a young pastor in Montgomery to the march on Washington.

January 22

Martin Luther King Jr. The Man and the Dream (1997). A&E Biography profiles Dr. Martin Luther King, providing rare footage and exclusive interviews go beyond the myths and bring his story to life.

January 27

KING: Go Beyond the Dream to Discover the Man (2008). A&E History takes viewers through the extraordinary life and times of America’s civil rights visionary.

January 30

Eyes on the Prize, Part 1 (Episode 6)Bridge to Freedom: 1965 (1987). PBS’s groundbreaking documentary on the American civil rights movement. This episode covers Bloody Sunday and the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march.

Butler University's "Celebration of Diversity 2015" Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday activities are sponsored by the Black Student Union, Efroymson Diversity Center, Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir, Student Government Association, R.E.A.C.H., Clowes Memorial Hall, Division of Student Affairs, Peace Learning Center Inc., Indianapolis Museum of Art, Morton-Finney Leadership Program, and the Office of Diversity Programs.

The Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series is a Collaborative Diversity Initiative between Butler University and the Office of the Mayor, City of Indianapolis, with generous support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Citizens Energy Group, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Old National Bank, The Kroger Company, Radio One, and The Columbia Club.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


President Danko's Mid-Year Update


PUBLISHED ON Jan 12 2015

One year ago, we introduced the Butler 2020 Vision—the culmination of two years of discussion and feedback from Butler students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Twelve months later, we have made major strides and are poised for great achievement in the months and years to come. I would like to begin the year by sharing updates on key accomplishments and opportunities—all made possible by your support and engagement, and that of the entire Butler community.

Jim DankoAcademics
The first platform of the Butler 2020 Vision outlines our strategy to distinguish Butler through innovative programs and a strengthened commitment to community engagement, experiential learning, and international education. 2014 brought exceptional recognition of our work in these areas, as U.S.News recognized Butler as one of the top schools in the country for undergraduate education that supports student success. Butler—listed among the nation’s best for internships, undergraduate research, service learning, study abroad, and first-year experience—was one of only three universities in the United States recognized in five or more categories, and was recognized in more categories than all other Indiana schools combined.

The New Year has already brought further affirmation of Butler’s efforts, as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized Butler with its Community Engagement Classification, which acknowledges colleges and universities that have gained national distinction by developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations and surrounding communities.

These accolades reflect the exceptional work of faculty and staff across the University. In the year to come, we will continue to build upon these accomplishments as we launch new programs, expand online offerings, continue to fund innovative initiatives, and further distinguish Butler within a crowded higher education landscape.

Health and Safety
There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our students. With the topic of sexual violence front and center at college campuses around the country, Butler has taken proactive steps to build a Community of Care. In 2014, we expanded student programming focused on education and prevention, collaborated with government stakeholders and peer institutions, and worked to improve Butler’s sexual assault policies, procedures, and enforcement efforts.

Last spring, we announced plans to create a commission of students, faculty, and staff to build upon current efforts to stop sexual violence at Butler. The Presidential Commission on Sexual Assault—which includes representation from students, faculty, and staff from across the University—will meet actively throughout 2015 and provide Butler’s leadership with ongoing recommendations to improve assessment, education, and prevention.

At last year’s Convocation, it was inspiring to watch our incoming students stand together and take the #ButlerPledge to care for one another and keep each other safe. I am proud of our community’s efforts to uphold these commitments and look forward to a safe and healthy 2015 at Butler University.

We are fortunate to welcome two new members to the University’s leadership team in 2015—VP for Advancement Jaci Thiede, and VP for Enrollment Management Lori Greene. Jaci and Lori bring significant talent and experience to Butler and I am confident they will help lead their divisions and—in partnership with our existing leadership team—our University to great success in the years to come.

Congratulations also to Chris Holtmann, who was named men’s basketball Head Coach on January 2. Coach Holtmann has done a tremendous job leading the team in recent months and we are confident in his leadership—and that of all athletic coaches and staff—as our Bulldogs complete their second year of BIG EAST competition. We appreciate Brandon Miller’s many contributions to Butler over the last 18 months, and wish him well.

Campus Environment
Following the 2013 completion of the Schrott Center for the Arts and West Campus infrastructure improvements, we made major strides in 2014 toward advancing Butler’s educational mission through superior campus amenities.

In April 2014, the University—in partnership with the City of Indianapolis—broke ground on the Sunset Streetscape Project, intended to beautify the eastern border of Butler’s campus, while improving safety and sustainability. The bulk of the project was completed this fall, with finishing touches scheduled for this spring, prior to Commencement.

In September, we broke ground on a multi-use parking facility that will address long-standing parking concerns and bring new dining and retail options to Butler’s campus. The five-story facility, expected to open in August, will house 1,038 parking spaces and 15,000 square feet of retail space.

Thanks to the generosity of thousands of supporters, the Campaign for Hinkle Fieldhouse formally concluded at the end of 2013 and raised approximately $18 million for the preservation and enhancement of Butler’s 86-year-old national landmark. Renovations—many focused on supporting student-athlete well-being and academic success—were completed in October, in time for the 2014-2015 basketball season. The team did an incredible job maintaining Hinkle’s charm, while providing modern amenities to athletes and fans, alike. If you haven’t yet seen the updates, I encourage you to attend a men’s or women’s basketball game this year.

Also in 2014, the University entered an agreement with American Campus Communities (ACC), a national leader in campus housing, to develop world-class residential facilities to serve the next generation of Butler students. The first phase of development will begin this March, when the University and ACC break ground on a state-of-the-art 630-bed residential facility along Sunset Ave. north of ResCo. This facility, which will also feature a large community space at Sunset and Butler Way, is scheduled to be complete by fall 2016. Planning is underway for future phases of housing development, which will ultimately include the renovation or replacement of beds in Schwitzer, Ross, and ResCo.

For a closer look at the impact these projects will have on Butler’s campus aesthetic, click here. In the long term, these projects are all necessary precursors to planned expansion and modernization of academic spaces. The Science Commission made great progress in 2014 on its recommendations for developing state-of-the-art science facilities in Gallahue and Holcomb, while a new task force began planning for a new academic building to house the College of Business and additional programs.

As Butler builds and grows, we remain committed to sustainability. In August 2014, the University approved and submitted a Climate Action Plan as part of the American Colleges & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which we signed in 2012. The plan, which will require extensive collaboration among campus stakeholders, outlines short- and long-term strategies to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Final Thoughts
At Butler’s December board meeting, our trustees expressed great confidence and enthusiasm in the University’s vision, strategy, and progress to date. They also acknowledged the significant challenge ahead as we seek to grow and distinguish Butler in the face of demographic and marketplace shifts that will confront higher education in the coming years. I share our trustees’ confidence in Butler’s future, and I am thankful for the great people of Butler—our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—who make this future possible. Thank you again for all you do for Butler University, and I look forward to working alongside you to accomplish great things in 2015 and beyond.


Carnegie Foundation Recognizes Butler's Community Engagement Efforts


PUBLISHED ON Jan 07 2015

Butler University has been selected to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s 2015 Community Engagement Classification, a distinction that recognizes the University’s efforts to connect with the Indianapolis community.

This designation acknowledges the ongoing involvement of college students, staff, faculty, and community partners in working together to improve the quality of life in Central Indiana and beyond.

clear1x1Carnegie Foundation"The classification recognizes our commitment to partnering with communities as we provide experiential learning opportunities,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “Our students connect with the community, and together we serve the common good."

In the award notification letter to the University, representatives of the Carnegie Foundation noted Butler’s application “documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Butler is one of 361 institutions nationwide to receive the Community Engagement Classification—and one of 240 selected for 2015.

In earning the Carnegie classification, Butler is cited for programs such as its Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR), a unique component of Butler’s core curriculum through which all students take at least one course that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community. More about the ICR is here.

Other programs across Butler's six colleges also encourage community engagement, including:

  • The Butler-Shortridge partnership, engaging Butler faculty and students in various curricular and programmatic collaborations with Indianapolis Public Schools' Shortridge Magnet High School for Law & Public Policy.
  • The Early College Program, which brings select Shortridge juniors and seniors to campus each semester to earn college credits and contribute to the Butler community.
  • Partnerships with local organizations such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, The Immigrant Welcome Center, and A Caring Place.
  • The Butler Community Arts School, which provides low- and no-cost music and arts education to hundreds of students across the community.
  • The Community Screening Practicum, through which Butler students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program conduct speech, language, and hearing screenings for children enrolled in Indianapolis community schools.
  • Generation Rx, a joint effort of Butler Student Association of Pharmacy and students of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences that strives to educate and raise awareness about prescription drug misuse.
  • Writing in the Schools, a collaboration between Butler’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and Shortridge Magnet High School, has worked directly with more than 300 of Shortridge’s 900 students.
  • The Butler Business Consulting Group, which helps Indiana companies and the Butler College of Business grow by leveraging our depth of experience and breadth of resources in a spirit of teaching, learning and caring.

Danko said Butler-Indianapolis connections help students learn about themselves and others, while engaged in meaningful community service.

“This experience,” he said, “is an investment in their future as engaged citizens who will continue to recognize diverse viewpoints, understand the value of collaborating with others, and work together on solutions to problems.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan


See a Free Showing of 'Mentor,' A Film About Bullying, at Butler


PUBLISHED ON Dec 16 2014

Butler University’s College of Education and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences present a free public screening of the documentary “Mentor,” about two high school students who were bullied so severely that they died by suicide, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts.

The film, written and directed by Butler Visiting Professor Alix Lambert, focuses on the families of Sladjana Vidovic and Eric Mohat, who sued Mentor (Ohio) High School administrators for ignoring the bullying that led to the death of their children.

mentor for ButlerIn all, five Mentor students killed themselves from 2005 to 2010.

“ ‘Mentor’ is both heartbreaking and soberly resolute in its inquiry into the institutional forces and ‘culture of conformity’ that fail young members of our communities,” Filmmaker Magazine wrote.

Brandie Oliver, Assistant Professor of School Counseling in Butler’s College of Education, said she wants the community to see the film “because we need to continue to address the topic of bullying.”

“This film provides a platform to engage in critical dialogue surrounding the devastating impacts bullying can have on a community,” she said. “As educators, we need to continuously work to build school cultures that are teaching kids the pro-social behaviors that result in the development of kind, accepting, and productive citizens in our communities."

Lambert’s previous documentaries include “Mark of Cain,” a documentary about Russian prisoners that was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline, and “Bayou Blue,” a look at the families of the victims of a Louisiana serial killer. She also has worked on the HBO series Deadwood and John From Cincinnati as a writer and producer.

Lambert said she made “Mentor” as a way to put the issue of bullying in context.

“For me, the word ‘bullying’ is a problem because people just think it’s like, ‘Oh, kids get called names,’” she said. “And then, you’re like, ‘Well, but this girl was eating her lunch in the bathroom stall and being pushed down the stairs and touched inappropriately.’ And then the fact that kids came to her funeral parlor and made a MySpace page about how ugly her dress was. I mean, who does that? This is not teasing on the way home from school. It’s a shocking, shocking thing to do.”


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Student LifeCommunity

She Won a Contest. Now the Kids Are Having a Ball


PUBLISHED ON Nov 19 2014

Jill B. Allen ’13 needed physical education equipment and resources for her Movement Studio classroom at the Butler Lab School and, thanks to the participants in the NFL PLAY 60 Showdown, she’s getting it.

lab school picAllen’s class will receive an array of volleyballs, basketballs, soccer balls and other gear after her project, called “Help Us Get Moving in Class and at Recess!,” was featured in the NFL/DonorsChoose competition. The NFL Play 60 Rush initiative is a weekly contest that pits two deserving youth health and fitness projects from the corresponding cities who play on Monday Night Football against each other each week. Fans vote for the winner.

“My students are diverse and love being able to explore in multiple ways,” Allen wrote on the NFLRush website. “That is why I am requesting movement manipulatives, balls, and other PE equipment so my students can learn the importance of physical activity, living a healthy life, and what it means to be skillful.”

Allen’s project won against a school from Queens, New York, which will receive 50 percent of the money it requested.

“This is a new program and I'm starting from scratch,” Allen said. “The kids only have about six items to play with at recess and some of the equipment is too young for them. This will really build our physical education and recess equipment base.”

Mindy Welch, Coordinator of the College of Education’s Human Movement and Health Science Education (HMHSE) program, said Allen has established “a remarkable impact” at the Lab School.

“Securing the funding for this DonorsChoose project is simply one fine example,” Welch said. “Through Jill's leadership, initiative, and innovations, she is really helping to build community in new ways through the Movement Studio curriculum.”

Allen was one of six Butler juniors who were in an inaugural physical education practicum at the Lab School in the spring 2012. HMHSE students and faculty have provided the school’s only movement education since then, until Allen was hired this fall.

Welch, who is on sabbatical this fall, is working with Allen to develop the Movement Studio curriculum.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


President Danko's Statement Regarding Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig


PUBLISHED ON Nov 16 2014

Butler University President James M. Danko today released this statement regarding Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig:

Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig had traveled to Lebanon in 2012 to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to those in need. He founded Special Emergency Response and Assistance, an aid organization for Syrian refugees. He approached life selflessly and courageously, and he upheld the Butler ideal of trying to make the world a better place.

The Butler community joins millions around the world in prayer and support for the Kassig family and for Abdul-Rahman's cause in the Middle East.

James M. Danko
President, Butler University


In This Program, Young Writers Find Their Voice

BY Sarvary Koller '15

PUBLISHED ON Oct 16 2014

As students trickle into room 238 at Shortridge Magnet High School, stagnant silence grows to a dull roar of laughter and chatter. Butler University students and Shortridge students catch up over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then get to the task at hand: creative writing.

Today, they will be crafting their own parodies.

Butler MFA graduate student Luke Wortley leads an impromptu poetry slam as part of the Writing in the Schools program.
Butler MFA graduate student Luke Wortley leads the weekly poetry slam as part of the Writing in the Schools program.


One student writes and performs a parody of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” reflecting upon the human contribution to global warming and the destruction of our planet. Another student exercises her imagination to rewrite One Direction’s “You and I” from the viewpoint of a love-struck fan.

It took less than 15 minutes for the cluttered science classroom to transform into a collaborative, energetic writer’s studio. The students spent the afternoon writing and laughing and writing some more. No idea is rejected ­– all are important and supported.

Their activity is part of Writing in the Schools, a product of the Butler University and Indianapolis Public Schools partnership. The program meets twice a week at Shortridge, with Butler students enrolled in EN455-S Writing in the Schools offering student-to-student mentorship to Shortridge youth.

The writing prompts vary each week, and all students are encouraged to perform their work in front of the class at the end of the session.

The program was initiated in 2011 under the guidance of Susan Sutherlin, Butler English Department Director of Peer Tutoring, to provide students the opportunity to work in the community with liberal arts and encourage written creativity among local youth.

“We are all writers,” Sutherlin said. “We deeply believe in and are committed to creative writing and fostering that form of expression.”

Sutherlin taught and developed the program during its first two years before passing on the baton to Butler faculty member Chris Speckman, who served as her graduate assistant while still in Butler’s Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing program.

Speckman, EN455-S professor and Writing in the Schools director, is entering his second year as the leader of the program. He hopes to build a community of writers where people from different walks and stages of life can connect through creativity and shared experiences. Room 238 is a nonjudgmental space where all students are encouraged to find their voice.

“This program is not the outsider coming in and bestowing all the knowledge on the lesser,” Speckman said. “We are doing this with them. We are a community of writers where we are all equals. Butler students and Shortridge students. We do it to discover things about ourselves.”

Wortley and Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd
Wortley and Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd

MFA graduate student Luke Wortley, in his second year as a graduate assistant, has found particular meaning in the Writing in the Schools program. He chose to attend Butler because of the one-of-a-kind opportunity to mentor high school students through creative writing.

“I’d never really worked in a setting like this where you work with kids that come from such different walks of life,” he said. “It’s instructive about the world. It’s helped give me some perspective, which is huge.”

Wortley said he never gets tired of watching the Shortridge students break down their barriers as they cultivate relationships with Butler students and learn to understand their written voice.

He experienced this transformation firsthand while working with Shortridge senior Paula Cloyd, a veteran of the program who has participated since its inception. He worked with Cloyd as she wrote a poem called “Speak” that eventually won the 2013 IUPUI Poetry Contest. (read her poem here)

“It was that first connection where we produced something really beautiful together,” Wortley said. “We instantly formed this relationship.”

With a newfound passion for public education, Wortley said he now hopes to become a high school teacher and remain involved in after-school programs for youth. He credits this decision to his experience with Writing in the Schools.

“It’s the single most meaningful thing I’ve ever done,” Wortley said. “It’s fulfilling in a way that I wouldn’t have gotten from anything else. It’s not only informing me as a writer, it’s informing me as a person.”



For Families at St. Vincent Heart Center, Mozart While They Wait


PUBLISHED ON Oct 14 2014

By Sarvary Koller '15

Piano melodies of Chopin, Mozart, and Gershwin drift through the air as Patricia Smith walks into the St. Vincent Heart Center lounge to wait for her husband during his surgery.

She enters the atrium, makes a beeline past the blaring television and concerned families, and takes a seat to listen as Butler University Adjunct Piano Professor Anna Briscoe performs.

Anna Briscoe said her performances at the St. Vincent Heart Center helped soothe anxious families.
Anna Briscoe said her performances at the St. Vincent Heart Center helped soothe anxious families.


“It’s soothing while you have to wait and wait and wait,” Smith said. “This place is noisy, but it covers that up. I think the music maybe keeps people from talking so loud.”

Briscoe plays at the Heart Center as a part of a new partnership between the hospital and the Jordan College of Arts School of Music. Faculty and student musicians will play informal lunchtime concerts at the Heart Center each week to share the power of music for healing and relaxation.

Susan Jacques, hospital chaplain, said the Heart Center agreed to host the concerts to support the spiritual health of families and loved ones waiting nervously in the lounge.

“This is a high-anxiety place,” Jacques said. “Your heart is life or death. Music is a way of feeding people’s souls to help them calm down a bit. It lifts their spirits.”

Briscoe said she enjoyed her first time playing piano at the Heart Center. She has played at retirement centers before, but she said she thinks her music has a different kind of impact here—it helps people relax and remember to just breathe.

“These people aren’t all obviously listening, but they are,” she said. “People go on their way, but if my music just for a moment lifted somebody, that’s wonderful.”

Larry Shapiro, Professor of Violin, said the idea for this partnership developed after Chuck Goehring, his longtime friend from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, proposed that the School of Music send student and faculty musicians to the hospital to heal through music.

Goehring underwent open-heart surgery at the Heart Center about six years ago, and Shapiro said his friend was bent on giving back to the hospital after his incredible care. Shapiro presented the idea to Lisa Brooks, Chair of the School of Music, and Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of the Jordan College of the Arts, several weeks ago, and they supported the idea.

The partnership is new to Butler this fall semester, but the School of Music aims to provide the hospital with a student, a faculty member, or a small chamber ensemble to play music on a weekly basis.

Ben Abel ’16, concertmaster of the Butler Symphony Orchestra, will play violin at the Heart Center sometime this week. Others scheduled to perform this month are guitar student Patrick Wright and former violin student Tricia Frasure.

Briscoe said she is already looking forward to a full season of festive music at the Heart Center.

“I just can’t wait to come back during the holidays,” she said, “for Christmas carols and Nutcracker selections.”