UB – the University at Buffalo – as a Sexist Institution (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

When I first entered the University at Buffalo as an undergraduate student in 1989, I felt included. For me, as a woman, it is important to me to feel and be a part of any group or institution that truly ‚Äúincludes‚ÄĚ women, both appreciating and respecting women. The atmosphere that is present at UB today, in 2014, however, has changed. UB has become a sexist institution that promotes a perspective and images that make men the priority. Women‚Äôs concerns and interests have taken a backseat to those of men, sometimes being entirely excluded. What happened?

The University at Buffalo (UB) is one of the four university centers within the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Being born and raised in Western New York State, I was aware of UB as an institution that was prestigious, with a reputation for educational excellence. As a high school senior, I was accepted at all of the eight or ten colleges and universities to which I applied. UB was actually my second choice behind Ithaca College, though I chose to attend UB because of the lesser cost, closer proximity to home, and excellent reputation as a research institution. I had been interested in pursuing a medically-related career at that time, and I am an individual who gets much enjoyment from completing research, so UB seemed the perfect place for me to go after high school.

After arriving at UB, I quickly gained the feeling that it was a place in which I could soar, and I was correct. In my first year there, I became a member of several student organizations in which I was interested; studied a science-related curriculum to prepare for a medical career; worked part-time in my dormitory complex; was active in the university wind ensemble and chorus; and was a member of both the indoor and outdoor women‚Äôs track and field teams. I was not, nor have ever been a ‚Äúpartier;‚ÄĚ and I never put on the ‚Äúfreshman 15.‚ÄĚ In fact, I became more busy and active at UB, getting into better shape, and structuring my life and managing my time so that I would be as successful as possible. While doing this, I also met new people, made new friends, tried out different avenues of interests and enjoyment, and stayed as focused on my studies as possible.

As a member of the women‚Äôs track and field team at UB, I was one of the Royals. The men were the Bulls, and the women were the Royals. My specialty areas were in field events, including shot put, discus, and javelin. In my last two years of high school, I was recognized as one of the top competitors in shot put and discus throughout Western New York State. While I also competed in nearly every other event throughout the six years that I was a member of my varsity high school team, those two were my top events. As a Royal, I was a proud member of the women‚Äôs team at UB. Today, women‚Äôs sports teams are only known as Bulls, a masculine term that excludes, overlooks, and denies the ‚Äúfemaleness‚ÄĚ of women. As such and in the manner that it is used at UB, the term ‚ÄėBulls‚Äô has become a sexist word that excludes women, and in turn, prioritizes only the gender, concerns, and interests of men.

Throughout most of my time spent at UB as an undergraduate, I was also a member of the university’s pep band. The Pep Band was a group that played songs during men’s home football and basketball games to liven up the crowd. The Pep Band also played at one away football game per semester. In my schooling prior to attending UB, I had been a member of the band and marching band for eight years. Included as a requirement for being a band member in high school was participating in both the marching band and pep band. Therefore, while UB did not have a marching band at that time, I was quite familiar with what was expected and required of musicians, whether they were extremely serious or playing just for fun. The Pep Band provided an outlet for students to play their instruments socially and recreationally.

Thunder of the East Logo (Retrieved on June 16, 2014 fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_of_the_East)

Thunder of the East Logo (Retrieved on June 16, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_of_the_East)

At UB today, there is the Thunder of the East Marching Band. The main logo that promotes the image of the group reflects a man playing a trumpet. Inequality and sexism are represented in the image because of this. There is no woman who is reflected in the logo. Women are completely excluded from being portrayed in the logo, though the marching band is not a group that is exclusively male. This reflects another situation in which men’s gender, interests, and concerns take priority over women, excluding women.

At UB, I never had a boyfriend. As a heterosexual woman, that was a part of my life that was lacking. At more than half way through my senior year, I was still a virgin, and was quite proud of it. I had prided myself in trying remain chaste for the ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ person. Certainly, I dated and always had many male friends, with many who were very good friends ‚Äď respectful, caring, protective, and gentlemanly, more like good brothers. But, there was never one who could adjust to my busy and focused lifestyle; perhaps there was never a man who wanted to work as hard as it would be required to maintain an intimate relationship with me. My focus was on my studies and activities, ending up with completing two degrees in the less than 3.5 years, less than the amount of time that it takes most students to complete one degree. And, perhaps I was not willing to ‚Äúmake‚ÄĚ the time necessary for which an intimate relationship would have required to be successful. Through all of this, it was still okay at UB for me to make my own decision in regard to the types and levels of intensity of my relationships with others.

In the latter part of 1992, in my last semester at UB as an undergraduate, a peer raped me. The rape occurred on a blind date with him that had been arranged by two mutual friends, one of whom was a fraternity member. This man was a fellow UB student, two years younger than me, from Downstate New York who was also a member of the same fraternity as our mutual friend. The morning following the violent and hurtful rape that I experienced, I informed my two friends about it, and one friend encouraged me to confront the rapist about it by phone, another hurtful experience for me. While four people knew of the rape, it was not reported until I reported it to UB campus police a few years later, having caused all those involved to protect the rapist so that he cleanly got away with his crime, as well as creating accomplices out of our mutual ‚Äúfriends.‚ÄĚ

In later reporting the crime to public safety at UB, one of the police chiefs laughed about it, dismissing it and minimizing it. The case went through the legal system, but the perpetrator was never charged, nor prosecuted. He got away with a violent rape in which I was harmed and injured in many ways. No one at UB provided me with any support in coping with what had occurred. No one told me that women at college and university campuses may have a chance of being raped. No one told me that men who are members of many college and university fraternities believe rape is sex. No one told me that the assistant district attorney in Buffalo would deny that I was raped, telling me that I had not been raped. No one told me that my life would be forever altered by being trusting of a man who was twisted in his thoughts and actions, violently raping and harming me, and getting away with it. No one asks to be raped. And, when it happens, I have experienced that it is the victim or survivor who is blamed, revictimized, and punished by many in society who do not hold the offender responsible or accountable for his actions.

Ejaculating Snow Penis at UB in 2010 (Retrieved on May 28, 2014 from http://photographsbyseon.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/the-snow-phallus-is-back/)

Ejaculating Snow Penis at UB in 2010 (Retrieved on May 28, 2014 from http://photographsbyseon.wordpress.com/ 2010/02/27/the-snow-phallus-is-back/)

Colleges and universities in which there is a rape culture present within their fraternities are not only sexist and harmful, but criminal. When all those who are supposed to protect women from harm, and support them in their reporting and recovery, but do not do so, and instead, support the actions of the rapist, they embolden and enable such men to continue their criminal actions, believing they can get away with it, because they have gotten away with it. It has been my experience that this hidden rape culture within certain fraternities at UB has continued and has been perpetuated. The annual tradition of fraternity men creating snow sculptures of ejaculating penises is only one reflection that this hidden rape culture within UB’s fraternities still exists, and is very much alive and well.

Lastly, when I completed my studies at UB in 1992, and returned to attend the graduation ceremony in 1993, it was a Division III institution. There had been a lot of talk and news about the possibility of UB going to Division I. Many students did not think it would happen; in fact, many hoped that it would not happen, including myself. This is because there was a belief among students that football would detract from UB’s reputation as a renowned research university in the Northeastern United States. My experience, as well as that of many students and faculty, was to observe that to occur.

In 1994 and 1995, I returned to UB and took several classes as an open student. I completed undergraduate courses, a graduate course, and a post-graduate class. It was during that time that I realized that the atmosphere and mood at UB had changed. Football became the ‚Äúall important‚ÄĚ aspect of UB. An example of that occurred in my sociology class. In my class were three football players who had extremely disrespectful attitudes and toilet mouths. They were disrespectful to the instructor, resistant and angry about having to attend class (and often, did not do so), and sat in the back of the class, swearing and causing disruption. Unfortunately, because they were football players, they were ‚Äúuntouchable.‚ÄĚ They got away with all of these behaviors, and appeared to have the support of the heads of the athletics department in their unruliness. They acted abominably and they got away with it. Professors were afraid to speak out and express themselves about the manner in which education was deteriorating at UB, having been replaced with football, so lauded and supported by the institution‚Äôs president.

Women who enter UB, as well as other colleges and universities, must be informed and educated about these types of issues that are present in institutions of higher education so that we can better empower, bond with, and protect ourselves. Our society so often teaches girls and women that we must sacrifice ourselves, our identities, our safety, our intelligence, our feelings, our bodies to men. In order to survive and even prosper, women have often learned that it is a man’s world, and that we must be submissive and/or subservient to men. There are men and women who perpetuate this societal standard when they promote issues such as sexism and inequality toward women, as well as issues including sexual assault and rape. Denying and turning a blind eye to resolving these issues only promotes a culture that becomes even more sexist, unequal, harmful, and violent toward women and girls.

Prestigious universities such as UB have an opportunity to get back on the right track. College and university leaders must remain open-minded when faced with issues such as sexism, inequality, and sexual assault on campus, including rapes experienced by both women and men. They must not attempt to hide, cover up, ridicule, deny, or minimize these situations. Doing so only worsens and perpetuates them. College and university leaders must promote environments on campus that are fair and equal, respectful and appreciative, caring and sensitive.

I went to UB to gain an excellent education. While I, indeed, obtained a great education from an outstanding institution, I also graduated from UB, unnecessarily, as a rape victim and survivor. ūüė¶ No one did anything to prevent or stop it from happening then, and to my knowledge, the culture there has not changed for the better for women, thus still perpetuating its continuance now.¬† UB did not make it better for me, but it can still make things better for others.

Author’s Note: This post – along with dozens of others regarding campus sexual assault – is listed on the National Center for Domestic and Sexual Violence website as of January 1, 2015 at:¬†http://www.ncdsv.org/publications_sa-campus.html .

The Nice, Hintermister, and Martin Side of the Family (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Michele Babcock-Nice, John Nice, Jr., and Son, Buford, Georgia, 2004

Michele Babcock-Nice, John Nice, Jr., and Son, Buford, Georgia, 2004

I married John Nice, Jr. in July 2002, and our son was born the following year in 2003. ¬†John is a member of the Nice Family of Jacksonville, Florida. ¬†John is a high school physics teacher; most of my career experience (15 years, to date) has also been in teaching. ¬†John’s mother, Carol (Martin) Greene Nice Bennett is from the Martin Family of Florida. ¬†Carol’s parents were Elizabeth “Bessie” (Robinson) Martin and Elmer Martin of Florida. ¬†This article will provide information and photos of some members of those families, as well as the Hintermister’s, who were cousins to the Nice’s due to Betty Jane (Hintermister) Nice marrying Clarence Carter Nice, Jr.

The Nice's, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2004

The Nice’s, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2004

This photo is of my family with John’s parents, Carol (Martin) Greene Nice Bennett and J. Bob Nice. ¬†Carol and Bob have been divorced twice and married three times. ¬†Both of them are now married to their third spouse. ¬†Carol is currently married to Arnold (“Art”) Bennett and Bob is married to Marilyn Nice. ¬†Carol has two brothers, Louis and Charles (“Buddy”) Martin. ¬†They are both married and have families. ¬†Carol also has two sisters. ¬†Her older sister experienced late stage breast cancer and died before I knew her. ¬†I don’t know alot about her older sister. ¬†Her younger sister is Rachel (Martin) Hunter, who is married to Charles Hunter, and¬†they have¬†two daugthers, Kelli and Brandi. ¬†Carol and her family were raised in rural Live Oak, Florida¬†during their¬†childhood.

The Nice's and The Bennett's-Michele Babcock-Nice and  John Nice, Jr. and Son, Carol (Martin) Greene Nice Bennett, Arnold Bennett, Christmas 2004

The Nice’s and The Bennett’s-Michele Babcock-Nice and John Nice, Jr. and Son, Carol (Martin) Greene Nice Bennett, Arnold Bennett, Christmas 2004

This is a photo of my family with John’s parents, Carol (Martin) Greene Nice Bennett and Arnold “Art” Bennett. ¬†Our son was about 1.5 years old at that time. ¬†Carol is Art’s second wife; he had four children with his first wife, two sons and two daugthers.¬† Art is a Vietnam War military veteran.

Three Generations of Nice's (Bob, John, Baby, Marilyn, Janet's Son), Lawrenceville, Georgia, 2004

Three Generations of Nice’s (Bob, John, Baby, Marilyn, Janet’s Son), Lawrenceville, Georgia, 2004

Bob and Marilyn Nice came to visit us with Janet’s son in 2004.¬† This picture shows three generations of Nice’s, including Baby Nice.

John Nice, Jr. Dancing with Rachel (Martin) Hunter, Jacksonville, Florida, Summer 2002

John Nice, Jr. Dancing with Rachel (Martin) Hunter, Jacksonville, Florida, Summer 2002

This photo shows John Nice, Jr. dancing with Rachel (Martin) Hunter, the younger sister of his mom, Carol, in 2002.

Matt, Brandi (Hunter) and Baby Boy Brown, Tallahassee, Florida, Christmas 2005

Matt, Brandi (Hunter) and Baby Boy Brown, Tallahassee, Florida, Christmas 2005

Bob and Marilyn Nice, and Baby Nice, Snellville, Georgia, 2003

Bob and Marilyn Nice, and Baby Nice, Snellville, Georgia, 2003

This image is of my son as a newborn with his grandparents, Bob and Marilyn Nice when they came to visit and welcome the baby. ¬†Marilyn has two daughters, including one who is adopted. ¬†This is Marilyn’s second marriage and Bob’s third.

Wedding Party of John Nice Jr. and Michele Babcock-Nice, Snellville, Georgia, July 2002

Wedding Party of John Nice Jr. and Michele Babcock-Nice, Snellville, Georgia, July 2002 (Photo by Emmett Clower, Snellville, Georgia)

In this photo are members of John’s family. ¬†They include Janet (Greene) (Nice) Hebson Adams, Natalie (Nice) __ ¬†__ Tuttle, Jason Nice, Janet’s son, Carter Nice, and¬†Krissy Nice,¬†an adopted sister of John. ¬†Janet is a half-sister of John; she is divorced from her first husband, and is married to her second husband. ¬†Natalie has been divorced twice, and is currently married to her third husband. ¬†Jason and Carter Nice are John’s half-brothers.* ¬†One is married and has a family.* ¬†The other has never been married, has a son, and is separated from his son’s mother.* ¬†John also has another adopted sister, Jenni (Nice) Robison, who is married and has two daughters.¬†¬†Krissy has been married and divorced, and currently does not have any children. ¬†John’s sister, Natalie, pictured in this photo, is his only full biological sibling to him. ¬†Natalie’s children are her adopted children through her marriage to her third husband, Ben; her third husband has three children from his first marriage, of which he is divorced from his first wife. ¬†Natalie is an attorney.

Janet, Mike, and Son, Wedding, Jacksonville, Florida, 2003

Janet, Mike, and Son, Wedding, Jacksonville, Florida, 2003

This photo reflects Janet (Greene) (Nice) Hebson Adams with Mike Adams and Janet’s son from her first marriage. ¬†Both Janet and Mike are divorced from their first spouses; this is their second marriage. ¬†Mike also has a daughter from his first marriage.

Janet (Greene) Nice Hebson (and later, Adams) with Penny Nice, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2001

Janet (Greene) Nice Hebson (and later, Adams) with Penny Nice, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2001

Both this photo and the following one are those that I took at the Nice Family Christmas Party in 2001.

Jimmy Nice, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2001

Jimmy Nice, Jacksonville, Florida, Christmas 2001

The Nice's-Meghan, Krissy, Carter, Jamie, and Jason, Jacksonville, Florida, 2001

The Nice’s-Meghan, Krissy, Carter, Jamie, and Jason, Jacksonville, Florida, 2001

Ben and Natalie (Nice) Tuttle and Family, Georgia, 2004

Ben and Natalie (Nice) Tuttle and Family, Georgia, 2004

Christian, Stephanie, and Baby Girl Nice, Christmas 2004

Christian, Stephanie, and Baby Girl Nice, Christmas 2004

The Nice Boys-Carter, Jimmy, and Bob, Florida, Circa 1948

The Nice Boys-Carter, Jimmy, and Bob, Florida, Circa 1948

This photo shows the Nice boys performing at a church service or concert in Florida around 1948.

Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. and Betty (Hintermister) Nice, Circa 1945

Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. and Betty (Hintermister) Nice and Sons, Circa 1945

This is a photo of the Nice Family around 1945, showing John Nice, Jr.’s father as a toddler (the younger boy) with his brother, Clarence Carter Nice, III, and their parents, Betty (Hintermister) Nice and Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. ¬†The boys’ youngest brother, Jimmy, had not yet been born. ¬†Betty attended college from 1931-1935, graduating in May 1935 with a B.S. in Commerce, I believe from the University of Florida. ¬†She took many business, math, and economics classes, as well as Spanish and psychology.

Elizabeth Nice, Mother of Clarence Carter Nice, John Nice Jr.'s Great Great Grandmother (Image on Porcelain), Circa 1900

Elizabeth Nice, Mother of Clarence Carter Nice, John Nice Jr.’s Great Great Grandmother (Image on Porcelain), Circa 1900

The Nice’s were well-known in Jacksonville, Florida because Dr. Clarence Carter Nice and his son, Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. were symphony conductors there. ¬†Dr. Nice was also known as “Pops.” ¬†Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. also owned a music store in Jacksonville, which, following his death, has been continued by his sons, Bob and Jimmy (now deceased).

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice, Florida, 1934

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice, Florida, 1934

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice and Friends, Circa 1930s

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice and Friends, Circa 1930s

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice and Mrs. Nice, Florida

Dr. Clarence Carter Nice and Mrs. Nice, Florida

Starlight Symphonette, Conducted by C. Carter Nice, Jr., Jacksonville, Florida

Starlight Symphonette, Conducted by C. Carter Nice, Jr., Jacksonville, Florida

Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. at his Music Store, Jacksonville, Florida, 1995

Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. at his Music Store, Jacksonville, Florida, November 21, 1995 (Photo by John Pemberton from the Jacksonville Times-Union)

The Nice’s were big in the Jacksonville, Florida music scene from about 1930-1980. ¬†Clarence Carter Nice, III has been a prominent and successful symphony conductor in California, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in being successful symphony conductors.

The Nice's and Hintermister's, Circa 1950

The Nice’s and Hintermister’s, Circa 1950

This photo shows the Hintermister’s (on the left) and the Nice’s (on the right) from about 1950 in Florida. ¬†The Nice’s and Hintermister’s are cousins. ¬†From left to right in the photo are Sam Hintermister, John Hintermister, Cril Hintermister, Clarence Carter “Carter” Nice, III, Jimmy Nice, and J. Bob Nice. ¬†Sadly, Jimmy struggled with and was lost to cancer a number of years ago. ¬†All of the others are still living. ¬†Sam is married and has adopted children; John is a widower (Candy) and has an adopted son, Josh; and Cril is a bachelor. ¬†Carter is married to his second wife, Jennifer, and has one daughter with her, Olivia; they live in California. ¬†Carter is divorced from his first wife, and has two children with her, a son and daughter, Christian and Danielle. ¬†Jimmy’s wife is Penny, and they have a son and daughter, Jamie and Meghan. ¬†Jamie is married.*¬† And, I have described about Bob throughout this article.

Divorce in the Nice Family began with Clarence Carter Nice, Jr., when he divorced from Betty. ¬†He married his second wife, Jean, and he adopted her children, a son and two daughters. ¬†The cycle of divorce was broken with Jimmy Nice, who remained married to his only wife, Penny. ¬†The cycle of divorce, however, was continued in both Carter and J. Bob Nice’s families when they became divorced. ¬†J. Bob Nice is divorced from his second wife, Karen (McLane/McLain) Kirton Nice.¬† Divorce has further continued with John Nice, Jr. due to his divorce from me in 2009. ¬†Most adults in the Nice Family, and half of the adults in the Nice’s extended family, therefore, have been married and divorced at least once. ¬†Three generations of single and/or multiple divorces presently exist in the Nice Family.

John Hintermister

John Hintermister

This photo is of John Hintermister, father of Sam, John, and Cril Hintermister.  He is a decorated military veteran, and is at rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Marguerite Hintermister

Marguerite Hintermister

This image is of Marguerite Hintermister, wife of John Hintermister. ¬†I believe these photos of them were taken at or prior to their attending a military ball. ¬†I’m not sure of the year in which the photos were taken. ¬†Marguerite was the sister of Betty Jane (Hintermister) Nice, who married Clarence Carter Nice, Jr.

Marguerite Hintermister in her Later Years, Florida

Marguerite Hintermister in her Later Years, Florida

Marguerite Hintermister on 100th Birthday, Florida

Marguerite Hintermister on 100th Birthday, Florida (Photo by Jill Gutmann, Jacksonville-area Newspaper, 1989)

Cril Hintermister Playing With Baby Nice, Waynesville, North Carolina, 2005

Cril Hintermister Playing With Baby Nice, Waynesville, North Carolina, 2005

John Hintermister and Bob Nice, Jacksonville, Florida, 2002

Bob Nice and John Hintermister (the Younger), Jacksonville, Florida, 2002

Mrs. Hintermister lived to be a centenarian.  This photo of her was taken on her 100th birthday while she was a resident of the North Florida Special Care Center.  She was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania in 1989, and moved to Gainesville, Florida in 1940.

So, all of this information and images lead back to my family, including my son, who is descended from the Babcock’s and Nice’s.

John Nice, Jr., Michele Babcock-Nice, and Son at Kindergarten Graduation, Lilburn, Georgia, 2009

John Nice, Jr., Michele Babcock-Nice, and Son at Kindergarten Graduation, Lilburn, Georgia, 2009

Janet's Son and my Son, Snellville, Georgia, Summer 2012

Janet’s Son and my Son, Snellville, Georgia, Summer 2012

My Webelos Cub Scout Son, 2013

My Webelos Cub Scout Son, 2013

My son has been a Cub Scout for five years, and will transfer to Boy Scouts in May 2014. ¬†He has been an honor student in school for many years. ¬†I love and am very proud of my “Nice” son!

As I locate additional relevant photos from the Martin side of the family, I will include them.

*Author’s Note: Please note that I have edited this article to reflect some of the information provided by Meghan Nice in her above comment.¬† I did review the article, and believe that no inaccuracies were made.¬† Information that was not known was merely excluded or written in a vague manner.¬† In a prior version of the article, information about Jamie Nice being married was not included because that information was not known.¬† Additionally, the information about John Nice, Jr.’s half brothers is correct because I did not specify which status (either married or separated) was attributed to which man.¬† I simply stated that one was separated and the other was married without naming them.¬† Therefore, I will maintain that information as is since it is correct.¬† For any further detail, please refer to the first comment above in which I have quoted and edited that of Meghan Nice.

References and Sources:

Clower, E. (2002).  Wedding Photos of Michele Babcock-Nice and John Nice, Jr.  Snellville, Georgia.

Guttman, J. (1989).  Photo of Marguerite Hintermister. Jacksonville, Florida-area newspaper.

J.C. Penney Portrait Studios (2004).  Babcock-Nice Family Photos.  Buford, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida.

Pemberton, J. (1995).  Photo of Clarence Carter Nice, Jr. in accompanying newspaper article about him.  Jacksonville, Florida: Jacksonville Times-Union.

Photos and information of Michele Babcock-Nice from 2002-2013 (2014).  Snellville, Georgia.

Photos and information of Natalie (Nice) Tuttle from 1900-1960, Jacksonville, Florida.  Those included herein currently the property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014).  Snellville, Georgia.

Other photographers/photo sources of professionally-taken photos, unknown.

“University at Buffalo Alumnus Personal Biography Update” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

To follow is an alumni update that I posted today at my alma mater, the University at Buffalo.  I am also posting it here so there is awareness regarding what I wrote, and so that my readers may understand a bit about my background.

In my years since graduation from UB in 1993, most of my career experience has been in teaching, mostly social studies and science.  I obtained my MS from Buffalo State College in 1997; and returned to school there for my education certification, receiving it in 2000, also interning for Sam Hoyt.  I moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area for an employment opportunity in teaching in 2000.  In 2002, I was married; and in 2003, my son was born.  In 2009, I was divorced, following a 2.5-year separation.  I returned to New York State and worked for a few months before moving back to Georgia.  Then, I returned to school and obtained my certificate in healthcare with honors.

Currently, I am pursuing my second master’s degree, this one in counseling, at Argosy University in Atlanta.¬† There, I am an honor student, and am taking double the full-time course load.¬† My current activities include volunteer work, as well as maintaining two blogs, and being active on LinkedIn with two groups that I founded and manage, “People Against Retaliation and Bullying,” and “Lepidoptera Lovers.”¬† I also write and contribute, pseudonymously, for both a national and an international non-profit.¬† I enjoy nature and the outdoors, and spending quality time with my son.

In my experiences at UB, I am thankful for the opportunity to gain a great education, particularly learning about research and participating as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology.¬† Having experiences in music as a member of pep band, wind ensemble (concert band), and chorus enriched my life.¬† Being a member of the UB Royals women’s track team, and competing in shot put at the 1990 NCAA championships also broadened my horizons.¬† Studying abroad in Poland, visiting relatives, and traveling in Europe were also enjoyable.

UB gave me opportunities to expand my interests and personality in many ways, as I was a member and/or leader in many clubs and organizations.  I met many people at UB who enriched my life.  I am thankful for these experiences, and do my best to make a positive difference in the lives of others, including as a result of both the positive and negative experiences that I had at UB. As a result, I have become a strong advocate for children and women, and victims/survivors of trauma and sexual assault.

Michele Babcock-Nice

BA, Psychology, 1993 & BA, Political Science, 1993

“Enjoyed Last Night’s Gwinnett Gladiators’ Hockey” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

My Son with Maximus

My Son with Maximus

Last night, my son and I enjoyed an evening of Gwinnett Gladiators’ hockey.¬† We have gone to watch several Gladiators’ games at the Gwinnett Arena through the years, and this one was another good experience.¬† Of all of the times that we have gone to watch Gladiators’ hockey, last evening was the most full of spectators that I have ever experienced the Arena!¬† There were lots of people out to support the hometown team last night.¬† Of all of the times we’ve gone to Gladiators’ hockey, we’ve never had a photo opportunity with the team’s mascot, Maximus, but we did last night.¬† Thank you, Maximus – both my son and I really enjoyed that!

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

The Gladiators’ played the Reading Royals from Pennsylvania.¬† There was alot of good hockey that was played, and also much fighting on the ice – which got some of the crowd pretty riled up.¬† Some folks like a good show, but I come for the hockey.¬† The goalie who played for the majority of the game really got a workout – he prevented the Royals from scoring on 35 of 37 attempts!¬† Way to go, Nick Niedert!¬† Our concern goes out to the first goalie of the evening who took two really hard hits and appeared to get knocked out after a hard hit by a member of the Royals’ team.¬† We hope you are okay.

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

This weekend was also a special “Puck Dynasty” time for the Gladiators.¬† Vouchers for special grey and white camouflage, mesh jerseys were being sold at the Arena last night, inspired from the show, Duck Dynasty.¬† While I have never watched that show – nor really have an interest to – it was good to come out to support the team and for my son and I to enjoy a good game of hockey!

An AC-DC tribute band played songs of the hard rock band, AC-DC, during intermission periods, as well.  There were many people who enjoyed the music, though it was just noise to us.  While I mean no offense, I think that a band that played country music would have been a bigger hit at the game.

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. Reading Royals, February 22, 2014, Duluth, Georgia

We are happy for the opportunity to have sat by some really nice folks at the game, last night, too.¬† It certainly makes for a better experience for everyone when people are kind and polite to each other.¬† And, thank you¬†for locating and turning in my camera that I inadvertently left¬†– I returned to find it, and am very appreciative of getting it back! ūüôā¬† I really appreciate the kindness of whoever¬†turned it in to customer service, and those who helped me retrieve it when I came back for it!

Though the Gladiators’ came out with a score of 2-1 in a loss to the Royals, you are a winning team in our book.¬† We appreciate enjoying an evening of good hockey!

References:

Gwinnett Gladiators (2014).  Duluth, GA: Gwinnett Gladiators.  Retrieved on February 23, 2014, http://www.gwinnettgladiators.com/site/default.asp

OurSports Central (2014).  OurSports Central.  Retrieved on February 23, 2014, http://www.oursportscentral.com/sports/?t_id=804

“Two Days at Disney” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

View of EPCOT with Flower Show, Monorail, and Spaceship Earth, Disney World, Florida, April 2, 2013

View of EPCOT with 20th Anniversary Flower Show, Monorail, and Spaceship Earth, Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, April 2013

During Spring Break 2013, in the first week of April after Easter, my son and I spent two days at Disney World.  I have visited Disney world numerous times throughout my life, and have taken my son there on some occasions, as well.  He and I enjoyed two wonderful days at this wonderful, get-away paradise, wishing that we could have stayed longer.  For a single parent on a limited budget, even two days was financially difficult to do, though it was important to get away and enjoy some refreshment even for a couple of days.

Flamingos at Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

Flamingos at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

On our first day at Disney World, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom.¬† My son had not visited the Animal Kingdom for the past seven years, and I promised him that we would go there on this trip.¬† I am so happy that we went because it turned out to be the absolute perfect day!¬† The weather was great, and while it was toasty, it was not too unbearably hot outside yet.¬† The shade of the many trees in Animal Kingdom also helped to keep us cooler.

African Dance Party at Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

African Dance Party at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

The highlights of our visit to Animal Kingdom were going on the safari ride, eating lunch at the Tusker House Restaurant with some Disney characters, and viewing the Lion King Show.  Each of these activities were wonderful, and we really enjoyed them!  On the safari, we saw many animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, monkeys, crocodiles, and more.  During lunch, Mickey Mouse visited with us, as well as other Disney characters.  And, the acrobatics, songs, and costumes of the Lion King Show were amazing!  Additionally, in the African section, we did some shopping and enjoyed African culture, including music and singing.

The Lion King Show at Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

The Lion King Show at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

On our second day at Disney World, we went to EPCOT.  It was another beautiful, yet humid day, and we often got refreshed in the air conditioned buildings or drank water or juice to cool down.  At EPCOT, we visited different sections, including Canada, England, France, Morocco, and Japan.  We were privileged to see and hear three marching bands troop past us.  We also had our pictures taken with many characters, including Alladin and Princess Jasmin. 

A Marching Band from Ohio, Performing at EPCOT, Disney World, Florida, April 2013

A Marching Band from Ohio, Performing at EPCOT, Disney World, Florida, April 2013

Also at EPCOT, we rode on the newly upgraded and more modernized Test Track, at which my son designed his own red sports car on the computers there.  We extremely enjoyed the 20th Annual EPCOT Flower Show, particuarly with flowers arranged on the ground in the form of flowers and butterflies.  While we did not stay late into the evening to see the fireworks, we still had a fabulous time!

Beautiful Flowers at the 20th Anniversary EPCOT Flower Show, Disney World, Florida, April 2013

Beautiful Flowers at the 20th Anniversary EPCOT Flower Show, Disney World, Florida, April 2013

My philosophy about children is that they grow up very fast, and it is important to provide as many fun, interesting, and memorable experiences for them as possible.  Disney World is a place where I have vacationed very often, having first visited when I was about three or four years old.  Now, I have the pleasure and satisfaction of taking my own son to Disney World for his enjoyment.  I am happy to have the opportunities and ability to provide for such family enjoyment, and look forward to more visits there in the future.

Me with my Son and Mickey Mouse at Tusker House Restaurant, Disney World's Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

Me with my Son and Mickey Mouse at Tusker House Restaurant, Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, April 2013

This blog post is a tribute to all those who lost their lives or who were injured – especially children – in¬†the bomb blasts at yesterday’s Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts.¬† May God bless you all and keep you close.

“How Time Flies: Graduating From UB…20 Years Ago” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

UB President Bill Greiner and I at Commencement, May 1993, Amherst, New York

UB President Bill Greiner and I at Commencement, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Twenty years ago this month (February 2013), I graduated from the University at Buffalo (UB) in Buffalo, New York, having earned two baccaulaureate degrees in psychology and political science.  Unofficially, I also earned a specialization in music performance in voice and clarinet.  And, I completed my studies at this very rigorous university in less than 3.5 consecutive years.   I completed my studies in December 1992, my degrees were conferred in February 1993, and I participated in the Commencement Ceremony in May 1993.

It is so difficult to comprehend that 20 years have already passed since my degrees were conferred!¬† It seems like such a lifetime ago that I had graduated from my high school in Gowanda, New York, and began my adult journey in life at UB.¬† How fitting on this President’s Day, February 18, 2013 – 20 years since I completed my undergraduate studies at¬†UB – that¬†I should recall some of the good memories of my younger and more inexperienced days as a college student there.

As a college student at UB, there were so many activities in which I was involved.¬† Always very outgoing, I wanted to be involved in as much as possible, desiring to get the most and best that life had to offer.¬† At UB, the world opened up to me and I took it all in – the good, and the bad, too¬†(when I couldn’t avoid it) – like a sponge.¬† UB was my oyster, and I revelled in all that it had to offer.

Indeed, I am proud of all that I accomplished and all in which¬†I participated and/or had leadership opportunities with at UB.¬† With all of my classes, activities, and just living in general, there was not enough time in the day to pack everything in!¬† During my first year, I carried a heavy load of classes, while also performing in the wind ensemble (and being a soloist) and chorus, as well as participating in field events on the women’s track team (and earning a personal best in shot put at the NCAA championships), being involved in student government and yearbook, and going for tutoring on some evenings for my failure in chemistry.¬† I also immersed myself into intermediate Spanish during my first year, and was happy to be exempt from introductory English composition, however I had to take courses to catch up on my math proficiency.

As time went on, I also found the Polish, Irish, and German Clubs at UB, and was involved in each one, being both the Treasurer and Homecoming representative of two of the groups.  I will always appreciate my Polish Club Homecoming co-rep for showing up and being a gentleman during one particular year because the co-rep from the Irish Club chickened out and forced me to go solo, which I did during another year, however embarassing that was (needless to say, he never showed his face at the Club meetings again after that).

Being a member of these ethnic/language-related clubs opened my world yet further to students of Irish descent from New York City, as well as those of Polish and German descent from right around Buffalo.¬† The Irish Club, in particular, was a favorite of mine because I could always “let my hair down” and be myself with my friends in that group.¬† No matter our background or experiences, we always respected and accepted each other, and enjoyed each other’s company.¬† Additionally, it was my membership in the Polish Club that opened up opportunities to visit Poland as an exchange student to Jagiellonian University – and travel to several European countries, which I did during one summer, and had an absolutely fantastic time!¬† It was all just as it was described to me – and so much more.

In changing my major from physics to psychology in my second year at UB, I found my life becoming much less stressful.¬† No longer pursuing studies toward my goal of becoming a veterinarian, I found classes in which I truly excelled and enjoyed, those that “fit” my personality.¬† Psychology and the social sciences were right up my alley, and I took opportunities to complete independent research in political science, as well as to be a research assistant in a sensitive graduate-level psychology research project.¬† Also, the more classes that I took in political science, the more I enjoyed them, and became a double major, desiring to go to law school and become an attorney.¬† I, therefore, became a member of the Democrats Club, as well as the Political Science Club, and traveled with several members during one year to visit Yale University, a very impressive campus, indeed.¬† And, in my last¬†semester at UB, I was named to the Dean’s List – miracles never cease!

Also during my time at UB, I was involved in other activities such as the Aeronautics Club, Striders Club (and I often went running independently at night under the lights), Recyclers Club (I had responsibility for managing the recycling in my dorm), and I was a regular participant in the religious celebrations of my faith that were held on campus, where I also became a lay Eucharistic Minister.¬† I also remembered the memory of a slain fellow UB student, Linda Yalem, by attending a memorial service for her, and running in the Memorial Run in her name.¬† I also worked part-time on campus, and was involved in so many groups and activities that I have difficulty bringing them all to mind.¬† Further, I took opportunities to attend college sports games, such as volleyball and basketball, even after having attended so many¬†football games as a member of Pep Band.¬† It was in Pep Band that I met some really great, “real” people with whom I became friends, and with whom I kept in touch for a number of years as a student at UB (see photo to follow).

Me with my Friends, Karyn and Lori from Pep Band, on Graduation Day at UB, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Me with my Friends, Karyn and Lori from Pep Band, on Graduation Day at UB, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Within all of that, I attended many college events that included students, student-athletes, student government representatives, public officials (such as the mayor and governor), and college leaders (such as the president and his family, vice president and his wife, dean of students, and others).  Not only did I know many students, professors, religious leaders, and coaches, but I also met and got to know a few of the college leaders who so often worked behind the scenes to improve the university and try to make it better for everyone.  Of course, there were situations in which they did not always make things better, but I believe that the majority of them tried to the best of their ability to achieve that endeavor.

Particularly in my last year at UB, I got to know UB’s President Bill Greiner (sadly, who is now deceased) and his wife, Carol.¬† It often seemed that no matter where I was or what event I was attending, they were there, too!¬† It was great to see Bill and Carol so “involved” in student life at UB.¬† It was wonderful to observe and experience their commitment – not only to each other as great role models – but also their commitment and dedication to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and patrons¬†at UB.¬† I always made a special effort to speak with Carol as she is so intelligent, insightful, and positive, always having something kind and encouraging to share.¬† I definitely aspired to be more like her as she is such a great female role model and inspiration.

Before leaving UB upon completing my studies in December 1992 to head to New York City for about one year, I asked President Greiner to write a recommendation on my behalf.  Being so proud of myself and all that I accomplished at UB, as well as having some bittersweet memories and having experienced a critically life-changing event in my last semester as a student at UB (and surviving through it in the years to come), I desired something more to take away with me from my UB experience Рjust some pieces of paper with words written on them about me by others familiar with me.

My First Recommendation Letter, from UB President William Greiner, December 1992

My First Recommendation Letter, from UB President William Greiner, December 1992

My recommendation from President Greiner is the very first formal, written recommendation that I ever received (see document above).  He very eloquently and concisely stated many kind things about me, which I fondly remember and review to this day.  His recommendation is also one that I sent, along with my resume, in my job search to about 100 law firms in Buffalo in 1993-1994.  The piece of paper that I received from him was one that certainly helped to open a few doors for me, and I will always appreciate that, even though I did not pursue a law degree.

In fact, I can look back on it now, and remember a conversation that Bill and I shared one day, during which he inquired about the career I intended to pursue.  When I told him that I was interested in being a lawyer, he actually discouraged me from pursuing a law degree, stating that law firms are like factories.  I believe and warmly recall that he already knew that such a profession would not fit my personality.

There is definitely alot that I miss about UB, and I have fond memories and tearful nostalgia about many of my experiences at and through UB.  UB was a place in which I became an adult, whether I like it or wanted to, or not.  I can remember so many wonderful things about my experience at UB, however one or two critically hurtful things have also colored and clouded my perspective, still, to this day.  However much I would like to remember only the good things, the harmful experiences are also a part of who I am, of who I have become, for whom I advocate, and for whom I support Рwomen (and children) who are victims and survivors of violent crime, trauma survivors.

While I believe that there are reasons for everything, I must be real in remembering my experiences at UB, both good and painful.  While there are many more good things that I experienced as a student at UB, what I experienced that was harmful РI believe Рhas shaped me into becoming a better, and more insightful, compassionate, sensitive, and understanding individual.  My experience at UB has helped me to become an advocate for and supporter of victims.  And, however painful, I have my experience at UB to recognize for that, too.

I also have that experience in being aware that not all offenders of violent crimes are apprehended, charged, or prosecuted, as well.  Further, such experience taught me that survivors of violent crimes may be revictimized by police and prosecutors.  I would not be who I am today without recognizing and being aware of all of my experiences, and I am now thankful (in a very sad way) for having such an experience because it has helped me to relate more personally with other victims and survivors of similar experiences, including those who are close to me.  While we cannot remove from our consciousness those painful experiences, we can try our best to make them better for ourselves and others.  I, therefore, remember that when I left UB, I intended to change the world, however it has been the world that has changed me.

So, on this President’s Day 2013 – and 20 years to the month that my baccaulaureate degrees were conferred to me – I remember and recall many of my experiences as a college student at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB).¬† I had many wonderful experiences there, met many wonderful people there, and have many fond memories of my time there.¬† However much I would prefer not to remember the painful experiences that I had there, I would deny myself and not be who I am today.

And so, I must also be strong in mind, body, and spirit and integrate all of my UB experiences into my life, God willing.  Hopefully in doing so, I will have also assisted and supported others who have had similar good and/or painful experiences in their lives.  Therefore, I must recognize UB, for giving me the wings to soar into my life Рin all experiences.

References:

DellaContrada, J. (2009).  William R. Greiner Dies.  Buffalo, NY: UB РUniversity at Buffalo: News Releases.

Scrivani, Maria (1999).¬† Bill and Carol Greiner: UB’s Perfect Pair.¬† Retrieved on February 17, 2013 from http://www.livingprimetime.com/AllCovers/jul1999/workjul1999/bill_and_carol_greiner.htm

State University of New York at Buffalo Graduation, May 1993.  Buffalo, NY.

Special Note:

This article was also published by both the University at Buffalo Alumni and RAINN on LinkedIn (February 2013).  Mountain View, CA: LinkedIn.

“A Visit with Santa Claus” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

My Son Talking with Santa Claus, December 8, 2012

My Son Talking with Santa Claus, December 8, 2012

Each year for the past four years, my son and my family have enjoyed our annual visit with Santa Claus at my son’s school, St. John Neumann, in the Gwinnett County City of Lilburn, Georgia near Atlanta.¬† St. John Neumann is a regional Roman Catholic school, educating children in kingergarten through eighth grade.¬† And, every year, the Santa Claus Breakfast is a big, “no-miss” event!

For the holiday season, the school is decorated for Christmas with festive trees, pictures, ribbons, bows, and ornaments; and Santa Claus and his eighth grade student “elves” speak with the children about Christmas and what they would like to receive for Christmas.¬†

A local diner, “Dicky Doo’s,”¬†caters a lovely breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, grits, and rolls, along with toppings of strawberries, chocolate morsels, and whipped cream for the pancakes, all served with orange juice and/or milk.¬†

The students have an opportunity to purchase items from the Secret Santa “Shop” for family members and friends.¬† These gifts are inexpensive and thoughtful presents that make the children feel good about being able to give to their loved ones and friends.¬†

This year is the first year in which professional photographs were made available to everyone who visited with Santa Claus.¬† A student’s grandparent who is a professional photographer offered some nice photos for sale.¬† Students’ families could also take their own pictures.

Each year, children can also participate in “cake walks.”¬† Children walk along a numbered-circle to the sounds of Christmas music, and must stand still¬†on a number when the music stops.¬† Hopefully, the number pulled out of the hat is the number on which the child is standing so that he or she can select a prize of a cake, cookies, or brownies.¬†¬†This year, there were many, many¬†baked goods left since there was less generosity with issuing confectionary prizes, however it was still a¬†memorable experience.¬†

In past years, students also enjoyed singing Christmas songs with Mrs. Claus as she stummed her guitar, however she must have been at home today baking cookies or otherwise getting more prepared for the holidays. 

Breakfast with Santa is always a wonderful experience, and one to which we look forward every year.  It is an affordable and inexpensive way to spend a joyful and festive Saturday morning at school during the Christmas and holiday season.  The best part is remembering and being thankful that it is because of Jesus and His sacrifices for us that we celebrate Christmas.