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EpiPen’s new price affects Cleveland State students

September 21, 2016

EpiPen’s new price affects Cleveland State students

William Roane got a prescription for his first EpiPen when he was 8 years old. A bee had stung him and he had an allergic reaction. Since then, he has had to purchase EpiPens — no matter the cost – in case he was stung by a bee.

“It doesn’t really seem fair to have just one company making all of [the EpiPens],” Roane said. “But maybe that is because the ingredients, like adrenaline, shouldn’t be available to anyone that wants them.”

Roane is a senior communication major at Cleveland State University, and he is one of the many students affected by the rise in cost of EpiPens.

An EpiPen is a medical device that contains epinephrine, which is commonly known as adrenaline, in an injectable tube for personal use.

Sheldon Kaplan, a biochemist engineer, invented the first way to self-inject epinephrine for military use in chemical warfare, according to Business Insider. Soon, he realized the epinephrine could be used for allergic reactions as well, and he created the EpiPen.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the EpiPen in 1987 and Meridian Medical Technologies (MMT) bought it. In 2007, MMT announced that Mylan Pharmaceuticals would begin marketing and selling some of its products, including the EpiPen.

In 2007, MMT was making about $200 million per year from the EpiPen. Today, it makes more than $1.1 billion from the device, according to Business Insider.

MMT now holds about 90 percent of the epinephrine market, which means 90 percent of people with an allergic reaction get their EpiPens from Mylan.

The price of a set of two EpiPens has increased from $100 in 2007, to $600 today. Mylan is offering $300-off coupons, but if someone doesn’t have health insurance, all of that money comes out of pocket.

No exact numbers exist as to how many students at Cleveland State University have EpiPens,  but the Wall Street Journal reported that 3.6 million Americans ordered an EpiPen in 2015.

Shelby Wilson, a first year health science major and employee at Cleveland State’s Health and Wellness Center, said that the Center does carry EpiPens that students can use in the case of an emergency.

“We have [EpiPens] in stock here,” she said. “We can administer them to students, but their insurance will be billed for the cost of the product.”

If students need a prescription for an EpiPen, they can stop by the Health and Wellness Center and see one of the doctors.

“Our doctors can prescribe them, but they have to see the student a few times first.” Wilson said.

It is unclear whether Cleveland State police carry EpiPens with them. Cleveland’s transit police and the Cleveland Police Department do not carry them, but most Emergency Medical Service personnel (EMS) do carry them.

The Viking Market Place, located on the second floor of the Student Center, also does not have them available, but it does list any ingredients that are present in its foods that may cause an allergic reaction.

Roane tries to avoid his allergy at all costs because of  the high cost of EpiPens and the lack of availability.

“I never thought that I would see EpiPens become such an issue,” Roane said. “They are about $550 dollars now, and I’m not sure how much insurance can really help.”

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CSU wins last two games

The men’s basketball team defeated Western Michigan Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Q with a final score of 85-62.

Bobby Word scored a career-high 25 points and lead the Vikings in scoring, while Demonte Flannigan helped with 20 points.

The game was tight in the first half with Western Michigan being up by nine in the first six minutes of the game, but the Vikings answered with a 14-5 run to tie the game with a little under nine minutes left.

At halftime, the Vikings moved their lead up to six with a score of 37-31 and never lost the lead – once being as high as 25 points –  in the second half.

This game was the best of the season so far for the Vikings. They shot 34-58 from the field and held a 32-25 advantage on the boards.

Coach Waters said he was happy with how the team played and improved this time around.

“We were finally able to put 40 minutes together,” he said. “Our focus at halftime was to come out and shut them down defensively and we did that, holding them to 36 percent in the second half.”

Cleveland State University men’s basketball also defeated Bethune-Cookman with a final score of 73-62 at the Quicken Loans Arena Dec. 3. This victory ended their four game losing streak.

Leading the Vikings was Demonte Flannigan with 21 points, one assist and nine rebounds, just narrowly missing a double-double. This was Flannigan’s fifth time scoring 20 or more points in his career and he has his free throws to thank. He made five out of his six from the line.

Also helping the Vikings with their win was Robert Edward with 19 points, three rebounds and five assists.

The first half was tight, but ultimately Cleveland State remained ahead. In the first six minutes of the game, the Vikings built a 12-4 lead thanks to Bobby Word’s layup and three-pointer. This set the tone for the rest of the game with Cleveland State never giving up its lead.

By half-time, the Vikings had moved their lead up to nine points with a score of 38-24. The second half was consistent for Cleveland State as it pushed the lead up to 17 points four different times and never let it drop below double digits.

Head coach Gary Waters said in his press conference after the game that he was pleased overall with the game and how Cleveland State played, but he knew there were things to work on.

“I thought we played hard, especially on the defensive end,” Waters said. “We held them to 37 percent, but we have to get better on the offensive end.”

Waters also said he was also happy with the Vikings 40 points scored in the paint.

“We did a good job of attacking the basket in the first half and getting the ball inside,” he said. “I knew if we could get the ball inside that we could score.”

In the end, Waters explained that some of the team’s weak points could be coming from the fact that they played at the Quicken Loans Arena — a place where the Vikings do not get to practice whatsoever.

“This was hard for us here because we never been in this gym all year and for me,” Waters said. “I really don’t like that because it’s a home court but it’s really not a home court because [we] don’t get to practice in the place, [we] just come in and play the game. We literally couldn’t even have a shoot around because the game was too early, so when they come and play on this court, they are doing exactly as we are – coming to play on this court.”

Athletes miss class, still get quality education

Kevin Blackwood, a junior communication and business administration major at Cleveland State University and a member of the soccer team, finds himself missing one or two classes each week when his sport is in season.

“We practice from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., so no one on the team has classes at that time,” Blackwood said. “But sometimes when we have games at home, we normally play at 7 p.m., but we have to be at the field by 5:45 p.m., so if you have a class from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. [or later] you’re going to miss that class.”

Blackwood is one of the many student athletes at Cleveland State who misses classes because of their sport.

According to an article from CBS News that broke down a survey by the National Collegiate Athletic Committee (NCAA), Division I men’s basketball players spend an average of 39.2 hours per week on their sport and women’s basketball players spend an average of 37.6 hours. The average across all Division I sports for men is 35 hours and 33 for women.  

This seems to be accurate at Cleveland State, according to Lisa Hehman, the coordinator of student athlete affairs and the academic adviser for the men’s basketball team and the men and women’s tennis teams.

“We have to remember that student athletes basically have two full-time jobs,” Hehman said. “They have a full class schedule and a full-time sport, which is basically like work. It is at least four hours per day that they dedicate to this sport and then they travel with it, too.”

Athletes at Cleveland State aren’t left alone to deal with their difficult schedules, according to Hehman. They are provided with an academic adviser who pays extremely close attention to their grades, attendance and participation in their classes. These advisers also help student athletes get their work done while they are traveling during their sport’s season.

“There are four athletic academic advisers, the fourth one being added this semester after lacrosse was added and wrestling was kept,” she said. “We are very intrusive academic advising, probably not what the average student experiences on the campus — we are much more intrusive and much more hands-on.”

The athletic academic advisers are in constant contact with their athletes’ professors to make sure that they are on track in their courses.

Student athletes also have a required specified study hall during their freshman year, or in their first semester if they are a transfer student, according to Hehman.

“All freshman must have a study hall period, regardless of their capabilities,” she said. “Then, depending on your performance level, that amount of time could be decreased if you are independent or increased if you are struggling.”

All of these things are in place to make sure that Cleveland State’s student athletes remain within the guidelines of eligibility set by the NCAA, according to Hehman.

The two-inch thick book rested within arm’s reach of her desk with the academic eligibility requirements bookmarked.

“Challenges exist for every student on [Cleveland State’s] campus in different ways, and student athletes just have different things to worry about than other people,” Hehman said. “I don’t want anyone to think that we think student athletes have it harder — it’s not — it’s their choice. They made the choice to be a student and an athlete, and we are here to support them in that endeavor and make sure they can accomplish it all within the rules [from the NCAA.]”

With the added stresses of being a student athlete, Blackwood says he would still choose to play soccer if he could do it all over again because he learned many skills through playing his sport while pursuing his degree.

“Being a student athlete has its pros and its cons, but it is going to benefit you in the future,” he said. “It teaches you time management, how to budget and how to take care of yourself. I’m here by myself, my family is back in Jamaica, so I have to learn all of this on my own and being a student athlete helps.”

 

Faculty share expertise on election issues

November 3, 2016

Faculty share expertise on election issues

Law specialist stresses future financial policy decisions

Christopher Sagers, a professor in the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law since 2002, specializes in United States antitrust policy, financial policy  business regulations and is  the author of the forthcoming book “Apple, Antitrust, and Irony,” published by Harvard University Press.
Sagers discussed how financial and regulatory issues will affect the next president of the United States.

“These issues are very significant in this elections,” Sagers said. “We are in the midst of ongoing regulatory change that is very controversial, and that will pose a lot of very difficult issues for the next administration — whomever is in charge.”

In 2010, Congress reported to increase regulation of the financial sector, which had  been deregulated in the past few decades, according to Sager. The law adopted to complete the Dodd-Frank bill, doing several things in the process, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It also set up the first program that regulated the derivative instruments, which led to the 2007 mortgage meltdown.

“The other really important thing that Dodd-Frank did was it also tried to regulate the systemically significant entity  — the too-big-to-fail financial entities,” Sager said. “The problem is that Dodd-Frank is really just a beginning and there needs to be a lot more attention on these sectors to protect the consumer.”

Sager added that, like many things in government, Dodd-Frank was very controversial and about half of Congress wants to stop further regulation and to repeal what has already been done.

“The problem the next president is going to face is that we are going to have very narrowly divided Congress, which is probably to some extent at odds with the White House and the Financial Regulatory Agency,” Sagers said. “But, they are going to have to deal with serious problems. Mainly that there is still a small number of very large financial entities that control most of the financial sector and they pose certain threats, and they are going to continue to do whatever they can to get away with whatever they can.”

Sager said he believes the next president will need to pay a lot of attention to the financial sector.

“No matter who wins, they are going to have to face the fact that there are problems in the financial sector that haven’t been fully addressed to anybody’s satisfaction,” he said.

Data expert looks at access to voting, minority populations

Dr. Mark Salling is Senior Fellow in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and director of the Northern Ohio Data and Information Service. He is an expert on the U.S. Census, redistricting and minority and low income voting.

Salling has his doctorate in geography with an interest in urban geography and demography. In the last 15 years, he has been involved in political geography dealing with elections, voting rights issues and redistricting.

Salling’s research center has produced the database for the state to do its redistricting. His research team  isn’t doing it this time around, but have been the ones collecting and organizing the data for the past 30 years.

Salling has also participated in several federal cases revolving around the issue of voting rights.

“I’ve been involved in the issue of the lack of early voting opportunities and how it can be discriminatory to minorities,” Salling said. “I’ve done some research on this that has been used in federal cases.”

While Salling said he believes that Ohio has one of the best systems for early voting, he also thinks that there is always room for progress with this type of issue.

“It has been shown in my research as well as other research conclusively that limiting early voting has a greater negative impact on minority populations,” he said. “It can be said to be discriminatory to minorities.”

Minority voters are more directly affected by the lack of early voting options than Caucasians because they are more likely to be living in poverty, according to Salling.

“People can either vote by mail if they’ve applied or they can go to the county before the actual day of the election and they can vote,” he said. “The questions are: ‘How many days before the election are they allowed to vote,’ ‘What are the voting hours of operation for each of the counties,’ and ‘What days, including weekends, is voting offered?’

“All of these affect people’s ability to vote. Some work, some don’t have much of the ability to get to the voting place on the days that are allotted to vote or it is inconvenient if they have children to watch and take care of.”

Cybersecurity concerns should be an election consideration

Candice Hoke is the co-director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection and a professor in Cleveland State’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She has been in the cyber security field for almost 12 years and has earned an information security degree to augment her credentials for teaching and consulting in this field.

Times are changing and the world is becoming more digital. But, this has its perks as well as its downfalls, according to Hoke.

“Unlike 20 or even 10 years ago, most businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, educational and financial institutions, hospitals and health care entities now store their business information in digital information systems instead of in filing cabinets,” she said.  “Many connect these digital files to the Internet, to allow their remote employees and contractors to access information efficiently.  But, this Internet connectivity can present the opportunity for rogue actors across the planet to access, use or corrupt this information.”

She went on to explain how we are also using cyber-physical systems, which means our infrastructures depend on cyber security as well. Hoke explained that computer chips and computer softwares are now determining if things like the electrical grid or even a complex manufacturing machine will work and do its job, or just explode. She said she believes there needed to be more cyber security involvement in the switch to the digital age.

Hoke said the United States is not teaching Americans how to recognize and manage cyber security risks so that they can make good decisions as far as what the put online. She said she believes that more students should be taking classes in cybersecurity and privacy protection.

“[Students] need not be a software programmer or technically proficient person to be a professional in one of the many career paths now developing in these exciting, cutting edge fields,” she said. “One can serve tremendous public and business needs. Yet too few are being trained for the jobs that are open and expanding.”

As far as this election, Hoke believes that there are many examples as to why the U.S. needs to pay more attention to cybersecurity.

“There’s a lesson for everyone in the hacked emails from presidential candidates and their advisers.  Email as most use it is not secure and private.  It’s like sending a postcard that can be copied by many,” she said. “We need to do a far better job in educating the entire public, but especially college students, on what we term basic cyber hygiene. Email should virtually never be considered a private or secure communication method.”

In order to fix this problem, Hoke said she thinks there needs to be legitimate government action taken.

“In the short term, we need Congress to appropriate monies for investing in the security infrastructure that is needed by our States and localities when they seek to conduct elections,” she said. “Election cybersecurity has not been recognized as the critical national security need that it is.  Election operations are largely underfunded and definitely underperforming given the substantial security risks we face from abroad and even domestically.”

Racial issues still in the forefront as election nears

Ronnie Dunn, associate professor of urban studies, is an expert in urban and social policy, race relations and racial profiling. He also has expertise in race, crime and criminal justice.

“Race relations [and] how racial profiling is becoming more prominent in criminal justice are two of the most significant domestic issues in this election,” Dunn said. “This is a tough issue that will require reforming the criminal justice system throughout, not just the police.”

These issues like racial profiling are and always have been more likely to take place in poor, impoverished places, according to Dunn, and need more attention than just some regulation changes.

While Dunn is a firm believer in establishing federal regulations against racial profiling, he said he believes that there is more to the puzzle than just that.

“The new president will need to remediate the lives of the people already affected,” Dunn said. “The damage has already been done and we need to fix it by creating jobs in these poor communities and allowing these areas to rebuild themselves.”

As far as a candidate that is up to this difficult task, Dunn says he only has heard one candidate like they are ready and that is Hillary Clinton.

“Clinton is more sensitive to these kinds of issues,” he said. “Donald Trump wants more stop-and-frisk-type interactions and that is not what we need. I’ve also heard him say a lot of offensive things in his policy recommendations, and that will not help us put an end to racial profiling or crime.”

Raising minimum wage added to voter ballot next year

October 13, 2016

Raising minimum wage added to voter ballot next year

Cuyahoga County’s Board of Elections has approved a higher minimum wage to appear on the ballot in May 2017.

This issue was going to appear on this November’s ballot, but Raise Up Cleveland, a group that seeks to eliminate poverty from Cleveland, according to their website, missed the Sept. 9, 2016 or 60 days before the election deadline,  according an article by Leila Atassi on Cleveland.com.

The agreement made by City Council was to phase in a $15 minimum wage over time. The phase-in would start with a $12 minimum wage starting in January 2018 with a $1 increase over three years. Cuyahoga County would be the only county in Ohio to have a minimum wage higher than $8.10.

This increase of the minimum wage would not affect Cleveland State University as much as one would think, according to Jesse Drucker, chief human resources officer at CSU.

“The university currently has a small number of staff whose wages fall below $15 per hour,” Drucker said. “Should a law be passed mandating an increase in the wages of those staff members, the university will comply.”

The wages for students who receive federal work studies would not change either, according to Will Dube, director of communications and media relations at Cleveland State University.

“Federal work study follow federal laws, not the laws of Cuyahoga County,” Dube said. “Therefore, their wages would not change if this issue passes.”

The reporters of the Cleveland Stater will continue to look into this issue and report further developments.

International students face limited medical assistance while attending university

October 13, 2016

International students face limited medical assistance while attending university

An international student from Nigeria getting her Masters in Communication, had a medical emergency while on campus last week.

Being new to the country and to the university, she did not know where she could go to receive medical help. Her only knowledge was that she could go to the Health and Wellness Center – but it was 8 p.m. and the clinic was no longer open.

Not knowing what to do, she asked some students who were sitting in a lounge area for help. They eventually called 911 for her, but she is still trying to figure out what her insurance is covering.

This student, who wished to remain unnamed, is one of the many international students at Cleveland State who struggles to understand their healthcare.

International students are required to have health insurance just like every other student at Cleveland State, according to Harlan Smith, Cleveland State’s executive director of the International Center.

“All CSU international students are required to have and maintain health insurance coverage – this is a U.S. federal government regulatory requirement for F-1 and J-1 students – and Cleveland State also requires proof of coverage for all students,” Smith said.

“The CSU student health insurance policy covers basic health care needs and it also allows CSU students to visit Student Health Services for general office visits, reproductive health needs and for flu shots.”

Students are encouraged by Cleveland State staff to visit an urgent care facility outside of school clinic hours, but an emergency room visit will only be covered by CSU insurance if they believe it is actually an emergency. They are also subject to any co-pays and the annual deductible, according to Eileen Guttman, the supervisor of Cleveland State’s Health and Wellness Services.

“If there is an urgent situation, the students can go to an urgent care center that is in network for the student health insurance such as [University Hospitals] urgent care,” Guttman said. “If it is an emergency, then they can go to the nearest emergency room for care.  If it is life threatening, then they would call 911.”

The Nigerian student is hoping to never have another medical emergency while she is studying in the United States and away from home, due to this unfortunate incident.

“I don’t feel like I was treated well and I never want to go back to the hospital,” she said. “Maybe the CSU clinic should be open longer hours so international students don’t have such complicated experiences.”

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