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2015 Journalism Opinion Photography Video


Gargoyle Gargoyle Flagler College

2015

VOLUME 5


“I always thought writing was the foundation and the basis for journalism in the same way being able to draw is the foundation for art.”

bob schieffer

© 2015, Anthology, a publication of Flagler College. Visit gargoyle.flagler.edu


ANTHOLOGY

Introduction Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS introduction

2 3 4

journalism

6 11 15

News Feature: Gold Award News Feature: Silver Award News Feature: Honorable Mention

opinion

20 22 24 26 28 30

Personal Essay: Gold Award Personal Essay: Silver Award Personal Essay: Honorable Mention Commentary: Gold Award Commentary: Silver Award Commentary: Honorable Mention

photography

33 34 35 36

Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo:

v i d e o / m u lt i m e d i a

38 39 40

Gold Award Silver Award Honorable Mention

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Title IX Flagler by Kathleen Quillian

About the Anthology Judges About the Gargoyle

Gold Award Silver Award Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

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ANTHOLOGY

Introduction About the Anthology

ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY overview

In 2010, the Gargoyle staff decided to publish an annual anthology to honor the best work of communication students. This anthology represents work from students in journalism, opinion, photography and video while enrolled at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.

scoring

Each submission was rated by Communication Department faculty. Gold awards represent the best work in their respective categories; silver awards represent the second place award. Honorable mentions were selected by the judges as outstanding entries that did not qualify for the gold or silver awards.

g r a n d awa r d

online

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The grand award was selected out of all submissions across all categories. The student winning the top prize receives $100. The entire Anthology is available online at http://gargoyle.flagler.edu.


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Introduction Judges

JUDGES T R AC E Y E ATON

Assistant Professor, Communication Former Havana Bureau Chief, Dallas Morning News

H E LE NA SÄR KIÖ, PH.D.

Associate Professor, Communication Adviser, Flagler College SPJ Student Chapter

BR I AN T HO MP SON

Adviser, Flagler College Gargoyle Visiting Instructor, Communication

JO SH WALLACE

FCTV Station Manager/Director

STAFF BR I AN T HO MP SON

Gargoyle and Anthology Adviser

H E AT HE R SE I DEL

Cover Design and Manager

C HE LSE A C O MMODA RI DOW Anthology Account Manager

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ANTHOLOGY

Introduction About the Gargoyle

ABOUT THE GARGOYLE the purpose of

1.

To serve as an extracurricular learning experience for aspiring journalists, communication majors and other students at Flagler College.

2.

To report news and provide information to the Flagler College community and other audiences in a fair, accurate and responsible manner.

3.

To serve as a forum for various opinions, perspectives, issues and viewpoints.

4.

To uphold the standards of the journalism profession and strictly adhere to all ethical guidelines to ensure the integrity and credibility of the newspaper.

the gargoyle

the gargoyle is

Flagler College’s student-run, onlineonly newspaper in St. Augustine, Fla. http://gargoyle.flagler.edu

g a r g o y l e s ta f f

2015

EDITORS Alexa Epitropoulos & Heather Seidel A&E EDITOR Matt Goodman OPINION WRITER Emily Topper PHOTOGRAPHER Gracie Stackhouse SENIOR WRITERS Memory Camero Kelly Goddard Justin Katz Darby Moore SPORTS WRITERS Jeff Batt Jared Brehm Chelsea Commodari

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JOURNALISM News Feature


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Gold Award: News Feature

Even with food stamps, those in poverty struggle By Alexa Epitropoulos Carra Wall is conscious of the looks she gets when she uses her EBT card at the nearby Winn-Dixie. When she walks in the door with her five small children, she embodies every stereotype of a food stamp recipient. She has, however, grown accustomed to the looks. She no longer pauses to worry about the customers behind her who carefully examine her purchases. She admitted to others—and herself—that she needed help years ago. “If I need help, I need help, plain and simple. I’m not shy about it anymore,” Wall said. “If we need to go to food banks to last us to the end of the month, that is what we do.” It wasn’t an easy admission for Wall, who readily admits she is stubborn. She had her first child as a teenager and separated from her children’s father in 2008. At first, she stayed at her father’s home in St. Augustine, but soon faced the possibility of living on the streets. “We were ready to be homeless. My stepmother told us it was time to go, that we had to find something and get out,” Wall said. Wall turned to transitional housing as a last resort and an attempt to provide stability for her children. In the year Wall has lived in transitional housing, however, her food stamps have steadily decreased. Since September, Wall’s food stamps have gone from $600 to $350 a month. The decrease has required Wall to pay many of her grocery bills out of pocket. “When I was getting $600 a month, I always had a little bit left over until the next month,” Wall said. “Now, my freezer is bare.” The money Wall pays out-of-pocket for 6

Wall said.

groceries takes away from bills and rent. It also makes it difficult to keep her growing family fed. “It’s not even that the money is being taken away from me. The money is being taken away from my kids,”

Lack of access Wall’s struggles to feed herself and her family reflect those of countless Americans across the U.S. And as demands to restrict food stamps grow, the need for them only increases. While more and more families are turning to benefits from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, to afford groceries, fewer are able to access the help they need. According to Terry Skulavik, a case manager at the Homeless Coalition, which operates transitional housing in St. Augustine, food stamps in St. Johns County have increased by 15 to 20 percent in the last few years alone. In Florida, about 18 percent of the total population, an estimated 3,552,000 residents, will receive food stamps in 2014. In comparison, 2,603,185 enrolled in the program in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although some understand how to apply for food stamps on their own, many lack the knowledge and the resources. “They’re coming from Bunnell, Elkton, Hastings and Palatka because there’s not other agencies that are helping them in certain areas,”


Journalism Gold Award: News Feature

Skulavik said. “We constantly get bombarded.” Skulavik is tasked with helping residents navigate the increasingly difficult system every Monday and Wednesday. She helps with everything from filling out paperwork to scheduling their follow-up phone interview with the Department of Children and Families. Although the Department of Children and Families once maintained a sub station in the area, it closed its doors years ago. Now, residents rely on nonprofit organizations like the Homeless Coalition to provide them with guidance. Skulavik helps residents with more than just food stamps. She acts as a life coach for individuals she helps into transitional housing. Although Skulavik sees many residents abuse food stamps, she is quick to praise residents, like Wall, who have succeeded against all odds. “She is one of our most promising residents,” Skulavik said. “She perseveres and makes sure her life and her children’s lives are constantly improving.” Fear to come forward Although many families could use the benefits to improve their circumstances, some are

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simply afraid to access the resources available. The stigma surrounding food stamps has discouraged many from coming forward and seeking help, according to Casey Welch, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and criminology at Flagler College. Welch said the stigma impacts how food stamp recipients see themselves, but, more importantly, how others treat them in day-today life. “Regardless of how you feel about yourself, other people are going to treat you differently,” Welch said. “Someone might be less likely to hire you, someone might be less likely to rent to you.” Welch, who studied food stamps in the early to mid 1990s, said food stamp and welfare recipients are subject to the greater attitude towards poverty in the U.S. Instead of structural flaws, like lack of educational opportunities, poverty is largely blamed on individual shortcomings. “Intellectually, it’s easier to say ‘you’re poor, it’s your fault’ as opposed to ‘you’re poor and something that exists 300 miles away in Tallahassee is partially to blame for your poverty’,” Welch said. “People tend to use the individual 7


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Gold Award: News Feature

level of analysis and, therefore, it’s easy to stigmatize you and say that you are less worthy.” The stigma leads to many individuals opting out of food stamps, which can lead to malnutrition. “When somebody is avoiding food stamps and decides to eat Ramen noodles instead, it might be good for pride, but it’s not going to be good for health,” Welch said. The growing resentment towards welfare and food stamps has played a major role in heightening the stigma. Conservative politicians have recently called for more restrictions on food stamp recipients, including drug tests. Food stamps were also cut by five percent across the board in November. The 2014 Farm Bill worsened the problem, slashing food stamps by $8.6 billion. The decreases in foods stamps reflect a national trend that began in the 1980s. Negative portrayals of welfare recipients, such as “welfare queens,” turned national sentiment against means-based assistance. Growing dissatisfaction culminated with President Bill Clinton’s introduction of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, in 1996, which instituted time limits on benefits and work requirements for welfare recipients. While TANF intended to lift individuals out of poverty, it also made it more difficult for families to apply and receive adequate assistance. TANF has also repeatedly failed to break the cycle of poverty within families. A generational problem Chelsea Bellere, a 22-year-old single mother, has experienced the difficulties of applying for and receiving adequate benefits. Bellere, who has only been on food stamps since Jan. 2013, is the second generation in her family to rely on food stamps. Her family has depended on the benefits since her father lost his job more than six years ago. Bellere made the decision to apply for food 8

stamps on her own when she was pregnant with her now 8-month-old son, Elijah. While WIC, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Children and Infants, paid for her medical expenses and food during her pregnancy, the program did not pay her expenses after her birth. “I wasn’t working that many hours. I was pregnant and moving out on my own. I had to feed myself,” Bellere said. Bellere currently receives $246 for herself and her son, but is still left paying an additional $100 out of pocket each month. For Bellere, who works full-time at Publix in addition to her internship and coursework at Florida Technical College, the additional money can seem like an insurmountable burden. In all, Bellere works about 85 to 90 hours per week. Her father and mother, although still on food stamps, also struggle to provide for their five-person household, including Bellere’s 14-year-old sister. Their food expenses far surpass the $300 in food stamps they receive each month. Because both are currently disabled, there is little that either can do to increase their income. “We have been on food stamps for about seven years and it has always been a hassle for my mom with the insurance and the food stamps and finding the correct paperwork,” Bellere said. “My mom has struggled with it this whole time.” Although Bellere had prior experience with food stamps, filling out the paperwork with the Department of Children and Families was also problematic. “I had done the paperwork for my mom, but the first time I signed up it was aggravating,” Bellere said. “Every time I have to renew them, there is always a problem.” Bellere hopes to graduate from her medical assistant program within a year and gain a job that will eliminate the need to be on food stamps. Affording rent and utilities while paying for some groceries out of pocket, however,


Journalism Gold Award: News Feature

continues to be a challenge for her. Despite the benefits they receive, Bellere’s family is part of a growing amount of individuals who are food insecure, which is defined as a lack of access to adequate food needed to live a healthy lifestyle, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bellere is, however, one of the fortunate few able to apply for and receive food stamps. St. Johns County has a 12.6 percent food insecurity rate, according to Feeding America. Sandwiched between Duval County, with a 19.2 food insecurity rate, and Flagler County, with a 17 percent rate, St. Johns County can appear to be less poverty stricken. Families like Bellere’s and Wall’s, however, prove poverty in the county is still prevalent. Moving forward Wall knows that she has a long road ahead of her, especially when it comes to lifting her own household out of poverty. She has made the first few steps towards moving out of transitional housing by paying bills on time and building her credit. For the moment, however, basic needs sometimes come before her bills.

ANTHOLOGY

“I make sure everything is paid on time. That’s a big thing with me. If I know I’m going to have to spend that extra money on food, I’ll put it aside, make sure my bills are paid,” Wall said. “Sometimes you can’t help it—a bill has to be late so you can buy food.” She faces a potentially difficult process, but Wall is dedicated to achieving her goals, for herself and, most importantly, for her children. She thinks about her 14-year-old son, Caleb, who has aspirations of being a police officer. She worries about her youngest son, Charlie, who will lose WIC benefits after his fifth birthday in May. When she looks back at herself, she can see the mistakes she made. She encourages her children to learn from her past. “I always tell them ‘you don’t want to go down the road I did. You don’t want to struggle’,” Wall said. “Are there things I could have done better? Yes. Did I do better? No.” She has high hopes for her children and is intent on seeing them succeed. “I want to see each and every one of them graduate from high school. I want to see each one of them go to college and do better than what I’ve done growing up,” Wall said. 9


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Gold Award: News Feature

Wall sees a life beyond food stamps and transitional housing for her family. In the next few months, she hopes to increase her credit to the point where she can begin the process of applying for a house of her own through Habitat for Humanity. Once she increases her credit, she can move onto the next step: putting a down payment on the house and completing “sweat equity” hours by helping others construct homes of their own. She hopes her family will be able to move into the house by December. In the future, Wall also hopes to further her own education by returning to school to study medical billing and coding. It’s a path she couldn’t have imagined herself just one year ago. “I want to go back to school. That’s my main focus. I don’t want to stand behind a desk for the rest of my life,” Wall said. “I’m only 31. I have so many years in front of me.”

Succeeding, at this point, is not just for her own pride and well-being. She hopes to set a positive example and improve her condition on her own. The benefits she does receive she uses to move herself forward. When Wall goes to the grocery store, she relishes the small things—the look on her son’s face when he is able to buy a Lunchables. The sale on chicken cutlets she will use to prepare for dinner. The way her $300 grocery bill diminishes as she applies the coupons she brought from home. Soon, she hopes to be able to afford groceries on her own. For the time being, however, she is thankful for what she does receive. “I’m trying to get everything situated to where I can do it. Right now it’s hard,” Wall said. “It hasn’t fallen into place yet, but next year I want to be in our house. I want to be stable.”

Al e x a Epitropou los, 2 1 , is a Commun ic a t ion ma jor w it h an e m ph as i s in jo ur n alism and a min or in p olit ic a l s c ien c e. Sh e is wo r k i n g f u l l t im e a s D igital P rodu ce r a t t h e J a c k s on v ille Bus in es s J o u r n al , an d al so se r ves as co- edito r a t t h e F la g ler Colleg e Ga r g oy l e . A l e x a h as re ce iv ed multiple Mark of Exc ellen c e a w a r d s f r om t h e S o c i e ty o f Pr o fe ssional Jou r nalists , in c lud in g f or b es t f ea t ur e a n d be s t o n l i n e re p o r t ing. She is also t h e r ec ip ien t of t h e 2014 Gr a n d Awar d f o r Ant ho l ogy.

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Journalism Silver Award: News Feature

ANTHOLOGY

With a focus on testing, education in Florida results in more stress B y E m i ly T o p p e r The re-election of Gov. Rick Scott means more education changes in Florida. Scott stated his plans for Florida’s education budget if re-elected after facing pressure from his opponents in the midterm election last month. Scott has pledged to increase public school funding by $700 million through a surplus in the state’s budget. Many Florida residents are cautious of Scott’s promises due to previous cuts made to education. During his first year in office, Scott cut $1.3 billion from Florida’s public education budget, later restoring $1 billion. He also implemented Senate Bill 736 in the public school system, which changed the evaluation of public school teachers and created more standardized tests for students. The bill, which was approved in July of 2011, calls for teachers to be evaluated on a pay-for-performance scale based on the learning growth of students and eliminates tenure for teachers. Under the bill, Florida’s teachers are placed on an annual contract that can be renewed based on school evaluations and the students’ performance on state and county tests. Standardized testing was originally developed by the Bush administration in 2002 under the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act, which served to raise student achievement. Teachers on the pay-for-performance scale may see a salary increase if they receive a ranking of “highly effective” or “effective” at the end of the school year. Teachers who receive a lower ranking, such as “needs improvement,” may receive termination if they fail to improve their scores in more than two consecutive years.

Although the goal of the bill is to create effective educators and successful students, many teachers are feeling stress under the new education guidelines. Teachers at low-performing schools in poor socioeconomic areas are evaluated under the same parameters as teachers at higher performing schools. Under the new bill, students must take an exam at the end of every term in their core classes. The overall scores on the exam determine how the teacher of the course is rated, while also factoring into the student’s grade for that term. Teachers of core subjects such as science, math, language arts and history are given curriculum maps at the beginning of the school year to cover what will be on these exams— and they must cover all of it, as they do not see the tests ahead of time. Catherine Johnson* is a history teacher at Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla., a school that received a “B” ranking for the 2013-2014 academic year. She believes the new curriculum guidelines are causing both teachers and students to feel the pressure to perform. “I’m forced to rush through things,” Johnson said. “If kids get interested in something, I 11


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Silver Award: News Feature

have to skip over it. If it didn’t affect me at all, I would spend more time on stuff regardless of what the curriculum map says, but the scores on those tests are going to dictate my pay.” Johnson teaches 10th grade world history and 11th grade American history. In addition to the state mandated tests, Johnson gives tests of her own to see what information her students are absorbing. Johnson gives lecture notes and moves quickly from topic to topic instead of spending extra time creating projects that her students would benefit from. Johnson believes the increase in testing may be creating apathy among her students. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink,” Johnson said. “That phrase can definitely be applied to students.” Grayce Halter is a freshman at Pedro Menendez in the International Baccalaureate program. Halter says that she has at least two hours of homework every night, but only learns her course material so that she can pass the tests. “Most goes in one ear and out the other,” Halter said. “I feel like I learn it and then forget it after the test.” Madison Hobbs is also a freshman at Pedro Menendez, and part of Halter’s IB study group. Like Halter, she believes the standardized testing is doing more to hinder students than to help them. “It takes away from teachers’ independence and what they want to teach,” Hobbs said. “I don’t like how we could work so hard over the course of the nine weeks or longer than that, but everything depends on one test.” Halter’s older brother, Chip Halter, is a senior at Pedro Menendez High School. He says that his school-related stress has grown over the last four years. “I always want to know the point or purpose of what we’re learning,” Halter said. “We have an IB Procrastination Station page on Facebook to help each other and I learn more 12

from that than the actual teachers.” Johnson, who has been teaching at Pedro Menendez High School since 2012, is trying to remain optimistic under the new curriculum guidelines. Even so, continuously high performance ratings could potentially have a negative effect on her career. “If I score well, and my pay keeps going up and up, they might just let me go because they would want to keep costs low,” Johnson said. “They would hire someone new so that they wouldn’t have to pay them as much because they would start them right at the bottom of that pay scale.” Johnson has no way to secure her current position for longer than a year due to the elimination of tenure. Even so, she is determined to create the best classroom possible for her students. “Go with the flow, do what you can with what you’ve got and think about how you’re going to benefit your students,” Johnson said. “When things get to the point where I can’t pay my bills, then there’s going to be issues. But until then, I’m not going to freak out.” Throughout her own high school career, Johnson was not dedicated to her grades. She does not want her students to make the mistakes that she did. “I know how hard it is to do something after you’ve blown off high school. I failed algebra, I got a D in chemistry,” Johnson said. “But that’s because I didn’t care. When I moved down here and got my act together my senior year, and got A’s and B’s, that still wasn’t going to fix my GPA. I didn’t get good SAT scores, I didn’t get into college. It’s really hard to have self-esteem when the only college you wanted to go to didn’t accept you.” Johnson, who graduated from Pedro Menendez High School in 2005, went to community college for two years before graduating with a history degree from the University of Central Florida. She then obtained her teaching license from St. John’s River State College.


Journalism Silver Award: News Feature

John Eick is a senior at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., studying secondary education. Like Johnson, he failed to take his first few years of high school seriously. After moving to Florida from Pennsylvania at the start of his freshman year of high school, Eick was placed in remedial classes since he had never taken the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, more commonly known as the FCAT. “Overall, I was not involved in school just because it was so easy,” Eick said. “I stopped caring and my freshman year GPA partially shows that. It was a 1.7.” Eick and Johnson say that one of the main factors in their apathy in school was due to the sudden changes that they faced in their curriculum. Both Eick and Johnson moved to Florida after receiving most of their education in another state. After finding Florida’s curriculum too easy, they stopped caring about school. Now, Eick and Johnson believe that the statewide differences in public schooling curriculum are a problem. States do not follow the same curriculum maps, which can again differ within a state’s counties. If a student moves from Arkansas to Florida, they could be three weeks behind. If another student moves to Florida from Maine, they might be ahead of the rest of their class. These statewide differences are affecting the nation as a whole. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the United States has seen

ANTHOLOGY

a decline in their rankings of math, reading and science compared to other nations since 2009. In 2012, the United States was ranked 31st in math, 24th in science and 21st in reading. Halter and Hobbs believe their teachers’ fast-paced curriculum is a contributing factor to these declining rankings. “We learn to pass the test in order to pass the class,” Hobbs said. “We’re not learning for our benefit and not for the long run.” Education reformers are trying to develop new ways to improve the United States’ status. In 2010, the National Governors Association (NGA) finalized the benchmarks that today make up the Common Core State Standards. The development first began in 2008 and has received opposition from Democrats and Republicans since its implementation into the public school system. The Common Core is often criticized for creating a nationwide standard of learning that infringes on states’ rights of creating education reform. Yet some supporters, like Eick, believe that the Common Core may be a step in the right direction to revamping the nation’s underwhelming educational system. “If we are ranked lowly in math, why are we testing kids and not learning new ways to teach them? If we’re so low in science, why aren’t we learning different ways to teach it?” asked Eick. “This is why I think Common Core is a step in the right direction. Because it seeks to change what we teach in the hopes that it will change for the better. Education is half practice, half experimentation.” Florida’s full implementation of the Common Core occurred in the 2013-2014 school year. A total of 43 states have adopted Common Core standards, which includes nationwide curriculum guidelines for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers. According to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, these guidelines are an integral part of preparing more students for college and the world beyond. 13


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Silver Award: News Feature

Throughout his campaign for the midterm election, Scott tiptoed the Common Core, instead focusing on the increase per pupil spending during his first gubernatorial term. According to PolitiFact.com, Scott has an education budget of $18.9 billion for the 2014-2015 school year, resulting in just under $7,000 of per pupil spending. Even though this is a significant increase of $16.6 billion his first year in office, Scott’s per pupil spending still falls short of predecessor Charlie Crist’s budget of $18.7 billion, which allotted around $7,100 in per pupil spending for the 20072008 academic year. The numbers under both terms may seem large, but educators know otherwise. Although she receives teacher lead money at the beginning of every school year, Johnson says that she still uses part of her own paycheck to pay for materials in the classroom. “I got around $250 or $260 for supplies, but I usually spend more than that on supplies of my own personal money,” said Johnson. Among students and teachers, this need for additional spending comes as no surprise. Johnson believes that the money currently spent on standardized testing could be put to better use. “We’re putting too much stock into data and worrying about scores than we are in the actual education of the kids,” Johnson said. Eick, who will receive his degree from Flagler College next year, would like to see standardized testing eradicated across the board.

“The biggest change I would love to see happen is to not rely on standardized testing,” Eick said. “By infecting the entire system through a means of testing students in what seems to be a graduation pass or fail requirement, you’re only putting more stress on students than you are seeing their ability to achieve.” By getting rid of standardized testing, Eick hopes that more money will be devoted to focusing on other elements of student success. “As much as we don’t want to say it, funding is what makes the schools run efficiently,” Eick said. “And if a school cannot run efficiently, it is just broken.” *Name has been changed at the request of the Pedro Menendez teacher who was interviewed.

E m il y Topper, 2 1 , is a s en ior s t ud yin g c ommun ic a t ion wi th an e m phasis in jour nalism a n d a min or in c r ea t iv e w r it in g . S h e i s an o pinio n columnist for th e F la g ler Ga r g oyle, a n d s h e h as i n te r n e d f o r Or l ando Style Magazin e a n d N a r r ow M a g a zin e. Her f i r s t s h o r t s to r y, “ So m e thing Better,” wa s p ub lis h ed in T h e Wr it in g Dis o r de r i n 2 0 1 3 . She has also ser ved as t h e lea d f ic t ion ed it or f or F LARE : Th e Fl ag l e r R e v ie w, and the music d ir ec t or f or F la g ler Colleg e’s n o n - c o m m e r c i al radio station, WFCF- 8 8 . 5.

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Journalism Honorable Mention: News Feature

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Same-sex divorces left in dark after midterm elections B y J u s t i n K at z Sally Clark, whose name has been changed because of her ongoing divorce proceedings, never thought that her relationship of 10 years would fall apart only a year after having a civil union. She knew before moving to Florida that same-sex marriage was not accepted, but Clark and her partner were undeterred. After moving from Vermont to Florida, Clark, who was raised Catholic, attended services at a nearby church, but she and her partner never registered as a married couple. When a petition was started to support that marriage was between a man and a woman, it rubbed Clark the wrong way. “I want to say it was like a witch hunt,” Clark said. However, the “pointing the finger mentality” was too much for Clark’s partner to handle and caused her to deny her homosexuality. “If you’re denying that then you’re denying us,” Clark said. Eventually the two would

separate. However, since Florida did not recognize the couple as legally married, they had to return to Vermont if they wanted to dissolve their civil union. Clark insisted that if her partner wanted a divorce, her partner should go back to Vermont. “If you’re so sure, then you go,” Clark said. But neither Clark nor her partner truly understood what getting a divorce in Vermont required. According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. But while most couples wait less than a year from the time they file their petition, Clark has been waiting four years. Although Florida not recognizing her marriage is a part of the problem, Clark has many other issues to contend with in order to legally divorce her former partner. With Governor Rick Scott re-elected, it is unlikely the problems Clark faces will be resolved in the near future. 15


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Journalism Honorable Mention: News Feature

“In our exuberance to celebrate marriage equality,” said Rev. Ruth K. Jensen-Forbell, senior pastor at First Coast Metropolitan Community Church. “[People] don’t even think about the possibility of divorce.” After leaving the Roman Catholic Church, Clark found Rev. Forbell preaching at the branch of MCC, a national church that caters to the LGBT community, in St. Augustine. Forbell was legally married to her partner in Canada, and then several years later in New York. Although her personal relationship has lasted, she councils same-sex couples every month. But Forbell does not wait for something to go sour before she brings up the topic of divorce. “I talk to them about divorce when I am talking to them about getting married,” Rev. Forbell said. This foresight is required because even if a couple is legally married in one state, they can run into legal issues if they move elsewhere. “We have to do all these things to legally protect ourselves, which legally married people don’t have to do,” Rev. Forbell said. If a loved one is in an accident and is unable to speak, generally their closest relative is given the authority to speak for them. For heterosexual couples spouses are able to speak for each other. Since Florida does not recognize Rev. Forbell’s marriage, she carries a card with her at all times that, in the event of an emergency, gives her partner the power to speak for her. While this does solve the problem, the entire necessity leaves a sour taste in her mouth. “If something happened to her and I showed up as next of kin, I’d have to show something to prove it,” Rev. Forbell said. “I don’t think a heterosexual couple would even be asked.” This issue constantly sits in the back of Clark’s mind. She said if her partner’s family ever disavowed their relationship, Clark would be left in the dark if her 16

partner was hospitalized. Medical emergencies are only the start of the issues. One of the newer ramifications that couples run into is children. “People don’t think,” said Nancy Brodzki, a marital and family lawyer in Cape Coral, Florida. “They say everything is going to be fine.” D.M.T v. T.M.H was decided by the Florida Supreme Court in 2013. In the ruling Justice Barbara J. Pariente says the men who have one-night stands that result in pregnancies have more parental rights than same-sex couples in committed relationships. But realistically, if a same-sex couple gets divorced, only the biological mother is given inherent parental rights to the children. If a non-biological spouse wants to have rights, Brodzki said there are only two options. If a couple knows they want to have children together then they can file special documents with the clinic to deem both partners as the commissioning couple even though there is only one egg. This option was only recently decided by the Florida Supreme Court in D.M.T. v. T.M.H. in 2013. Although this may solve future problems, the issues stem from couples not considering the possibility of divorce from the start. This leaves only one other option open: adoption. Although this will give equal parental rights in the event of a divorce, there is a catch. Adoption can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000. Even if a couple is willing to pay the costs, they are still being penalized if they’re marriage is not recognized by the state. For a heterosexual couple, Brodzki said they would pay an estimated $2,500. Same-sex couples, however, are required to have a home study done by an independent agency. This process is done to ensure that the home is suitable for a child to live in. While this is done for same-sex couples, the home study (which can cost up to $1,000) is not done for heterosexual step-parents.


Journalism Honorable Mention: News Feature

However, the most common and draining issue to contend with is residency. “People go all over the world and they get married. They come back and the relationship falls apart,” said Brodzki. “But they can only get a divorce in the state they reside in, and Florida doesn’t recognize their marriage.” Clark could get a divorce in Vermont but since she is no longer a resident of Vermont, she would have to re-establish her residency. To do that would require her to live there for six months to a year. This is not an option for Clark because she already contends with health issues and is unable to cope with the emotional and physical distress involved with moving to another state. Clark has been talking to lawyers since 2004, and met up with her current one in Jacksonville several years ago. Her lawyer let her know from the outset that this process would take time. “I was hoping this year was going to be my year because so much was going on with the Supreme Court,” Clark said. “But for Florida, nothing has changed a bit as far as the mentality here.” Linda Anderson understands that mentality, specifically in St. Augustine, better than others. She moved to Florida after living in Connecticut for 40 years and quickly noticed the lack of LGBT presence in St. Augustine. “The queer community down here is just suppressed,” Anderson said. She eventually started a Facebook group called LGBT St. Augustine and so far the page has over 440 likes. However, many people are still hesitant to be in the public eye. “Very few people comment on my Facebook page because if you comment, your name is out there.” People have asked Anderson why there are not LGBT events in town. Although she will respond by asking for help setting an event up, many people are unwilling to help organize. Anderson believes that people are hesitant to voice their opinions because the LGBT

ANTHOLOGY

community is not afforded equal rights in St. Augustine. During this past midterm election, Anderson spoke to both of St. Augustine’s mayoral candidates about enacting a human rights ordinance in town. This would ensure individuals could not be discriminated against regardless of their gender identity. Incumbent Joe Boles invited Anderson to eat lunch with him and discuss the issues that the LGBT community faces in St. Augustine, however when Anderson invited people on her Facebook page to join Boles and her for lunch, no one was willing. Linda Anderson is the creator of the LGBT St. Augustine Facebook group. She says that when she originally talked to Nancy Shaver she did not feel Shaver was up to date on the problems the LGBT community faces in St. Augustine. While Anderson was being interviewed for this article at the Casa Monica, Shaver overheard the conversation. “What I admire about what Linda did was she took the opportunity in this election to get the issues up there because now there is a human rights ordinance that is being drafted,” says Shaver. Anderson also spoke with challenger Nancy Shaver when Shaver approached her while walking door-to-door. Anderson’s voice on LGBT issues ended up impressing Shaver. “We had a really frank and open discussion,” Shaver said. “[She] made me do my homework about something I wasn’t aware of.” Boles proposed a human rights ordinance several weeks before the Nov. 4 elections. Shaver, who won the mayoral race, said she is pushing to have the ordinance passed but nothing has come of it yet. Although Anderson is admittedly not a huge advocate for marriage in particular, she is a proponent for LGBT community having the exact same rights as heterosexuals, nothing more and nothing less. “I’ve never been a huge advocate for same-sex marriage, although I firmly believe it should be on a par with opposite-sex mar17


ANTHOLOGY

Journalism Honorable Mention: News Feature

riage,” said Anderson. “As for divorce, I’ve always said we have the right to get divorced too.” Gov. Scott remained quiet about the issue of same-sex marriage during his campaign. His spokesperson said that the issue is about constitutionality and it is the responsibility of the attorney general to handle cases involving Florida’s constitution, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat. Simultaneously, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed, this past September, to appeal the court ruling that the Florida ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. With Gov. Scott’s successful reelection and the Attorney General fighting the court’s ruling, there appears to be a Republican grasp on the state’s legislature. One that may require the U.S. Supreme Court to break. Although Rev. Forbell thinks Florida will eventually legalize same-sex marriage, therefore ending the issues that couples in divorce go through, she believes that marriage itself is changing. She often sees many couples who will live together but intentionally not get married. “Unless there is a deep seeded commitment that two people make to one and other, no legal document is going to do anything except cause trouble,” Rev. Forbell said. Forbell described one couple who have lived together for 45 years, have great grandchildren and only recent got married. Forbell asked them why they decided to do it and the couple said “we just thought we would.” She thinks the word marriage is one of the biggest points of contention for those opposed to same-sex marriages.

“The word [marriage] means nothing to me,” Rev. Forbell said. Because of this philosophy, she is constantly reminded by people that marriage is in the Bible. “[They] have no idea what [they’re] talking about,” Rev. Forbell said. “Marriages in the Bible are not marriages any of us want.” Legally, civil unions are different from marriages because a civil union won’t necessarily hold power outside the state it was performed. But the name given to the ceremony is a moot point for Rev. Forbell. “I’m fine with whatever you want to call it,” Rev. Forbell said. “Providing it allows every single right that heterosexual couples have when they are married to be the same locally and federally.” This is where Clark sees Florida failing. “I like Florida for a lot of reasons, but it needs to step up to the times,” Clark said. “If it [the constitution] says equality for all people, then let’s make it all people.” Clark has not lost hope that things will change in Florida eventually, but she admits the process is draining. Even if Florida does recognize same-sex marriage in the future, the problems are not entirely solved for Clark. She still must see her former partner in court. “When it happens, it’ll be cause for celebration,” Clark said. “But when we do go to court, it’ll bring us adversaries together again.” Since Clark took her partner’s name, it is a constant reminder of the past. “She is living on her own like it never happened because I took her name,” Clark said. “I’m still having to deal with this and I want to change. I want to make that name go away.”

Just in Katz is a mu ltime d ia jour n a lis t w h os e d r iv e t o g e t a s to r y i s base d around meeting a n d un d er s t a n d in g t h e p eop le w h o c o m pr i s e t he m . After gradu ating f r om F la g ler Colleg e in t h e s p r i n g o f 2 0 1 5 , he int e n ds to pursu e his p a s s ion b y w r it in g a t n ew s p a pe r s ac r o s s th e co unt r y. Bor n in New Yor k , h is f a v or it e p la c e t o g et a bi te to e at i s K at z ’s Deli in Manhatta n .

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OPINION Personal Essay Commentary


ANTHOLOGY

Opinion Gold Award: Personal Essay

Facing my childhood, leaving behind the bottle By Alexa Epitropoulos I stared into the darkness all night, waiting in a rental car outside a sterile, almost vacant building. Slumped over, restless, I couldn’t even guess what time of night it was, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep. It was hard to feel hopeful, but it was the first chance I had to be free. It was the first time there was a term I could use to describe my mother, an explanation for why she said what she did. It was also the first time there had ever seemed to be a solution. Less than 48 hours earlier, she had told me she would die. Now, at 10 years old, I was trying to help her in the only way I knew how: checking her into a rehabilitation center. When she checked herself out of the same rehabilitation center, I was sitting in the same car that I had been waiting in all night. My aunt was driving me north so I could stay with her family in South Carolina. But then there was a call. My mom was headed home and if I did not come home, she could charge my aunt with kidnapping. My aunt dropped me off at the gate in front of our house with my small suitcase I had packed in a hurry, excited to escape from the personal hell my mother’s alcoholism had created since my parents’ divorce. Now, I was forced to live in the same environment, with no chance of leaving and no chance of making my mom better or the person she had been. My mother was angry with me for trying to put her in rehab, but I was angrier. It was a consuming anger I buried deep, suppressed but not forgotten. I was mad at her for not being able to give me a normal childhood. I was angry with her for lying about drinking and 20

hiding her bottles. Most of all, I was angry that she had chosen to check out at a time when I needed her the most. It wasn’t the last time I would try to help my mom. Each time, it has been unproductive. My mom continues to drink and probably will never stop. Since 2004, I have filed multiple Marchman Acts, which allow family members to effectively commit loved ones if they pose a threat to themselves or others. She has been through a rehab program twice. Both times, she has started drinking again. Subsequent Marchman Acts have been denied, even though my mother continues to drink. Every time she walks out of another rehab program, every time she is denied another attempt, I can’t help but feel the way I did in the car. I am still fighting the same battle that started 10 years ago. For all of the struggles I’ve undergone with my mother, I find that it is difficult for me to completely grasp its impact on my life. Having an alcoholic parent forces you to be the responsible one. It also can alienate you from others, especially friends and family members who have never lived with an alcoholic. Why don’t you just tell her to stop drinking? Of all the questions I’ve been asked over the years, this has always been the most difficult to answer. My mom’s problem has never been that she hasn’t been told to stop drinking – for her child, for herself – but that she has never listened. Alcoholism is personal to me, more personal than I ever hoped it would be. I wish I could tell her to stop. But living with it for six years taught me that addiction is beyond family members’ control.


Opinion Gold Award: Personal Essay

My mom was often passed out on the couch in the living room when I returned home from school. Finding bottles of vodka hidden among cleaning supplies or in the closet became routine. In anger, I would pour out bottles of beer and liquor, only to be reprimanded for it later. She would drive home from parties and gatherings drunk, barely able to stumble out of the car. She would bring vodka to grocery stores and even theme parks, drinking it out of a spray bottle she hid in her purse. She would consistently lie to me, telling me that I only wanted to believe that she was drunk. As I became older, I made my own choices. I decided to move away from my mom, first to an aunt’s home and then, after a short time of living with my mom again, to my father’s home in Daytona Beach. Even though I might have escaped it momentarily, it was always a part of my life. After I transferred high schools and my mom’s health deteriorated, I was still acting like a parent, from taking away her car keys to visiting her in the hospital. The years of dealing with her alcoholism also took a toll on me. I faced depression and insecurity, which evolved into perfectionism and never feeling like what I did was good

ANTHOLOGY

enough. Alcoholism fed into emotional abuse. My mom would often make fun of me or put me down, calling me a loser and laughing at me when I voiced concerns. Even though I have moved away from my mom and distanced myself emotionally, I have never completely left behind my past. In many ways, I am still waiting, much like the girl in the car was. I have moved beyond it and had successes, but find myself anticipating a new development, for good or for bad. The anger, the frustration all exist, but have been buried and muted over time. The insecure core remains, but the exterior has remained intact. At 20 years old, I have matured and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. I have come to terms that I can never change my mom. But I also, more than ever, realize that her alcoholism has been a part of my growth and has impacted my life. Many have pointed out that my mother is not the same person as what the alcohol makes her become. It is difficult, if not impossible, however, to separate the two. For most of my life, I have known a person that has the capacity to be incredibly mean. I also know there is a side of her that cares about me. I am afraid to know which side is more dominant in the end.

Al e x a Epitropou los, 2 1 , is a Commun ic a t ion ma jor w it h an e m ph as i s in jo ur n alism and a min or in p olit ic a l s c ien c e. Sh e is wo r k i n g f u l l t im e a s D igital P rodu ce r a t t h e J a c k s on v ille Bus in es s J o u r n al , an d al so se r ves as co- edito r a t t h e F la g ler Colleg e Ga r g oy l e . A l e x a h as re ce iv ed multiple Mark of Exc ellen c e a w a r d s f r om t h e S o c i e ty o f Pr o fe ssional Jou r nalists , in c lud in g f or b es t f ea t ur e a n d be s t o n l i n e re p o r t ing. She is also t h e r ec ip ien t of t h e 2014 Gr a n d Awar d f o r Ant ho l ogy.

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ANTHOLOGY

Opinion Silver Award: Personal Essay

After Robin Williams’ death, stigma still surrounds mental illness B y G r a c i e S ta c k h o u s e I was 9 years old when my 7-year-old sister was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder. The diagnosis hit my family like a ton of bricks, and just like that, our lives were turned upside down. Struggling with depression, mania, tunnel vision, violent outbursts and self-harming thoughts, my little sister was facing a battle larger than life. People throw around the term bipolar casually without thinking about it’s meaning, or the lives impacted by it. “This weather is so bipolar.” “Stop being so bipolar.” Do they really know what this mental affliction entails? Have they seen their sibling, daughter, grandchild at war with their very being? When Robin Williams committed suicide, the world mourned together. This loss was unlike anything I had seen in a long time. Emotions poured out over social media, while ordinary people and celebrities alike joined together in a movement to spread awareness about depression and mental illness. Robin Williams was reported to have struggled with bipolar disorder, something I have grown all too familiar with. These situations are heartbreaking, and his death hit particularly close to home. When you have a loved one struggling with the same thing, it makes you ask “what if?” What if that had been my sister? What if that had been my friend? Your mind twists and turns like the sea in a storm. 22

Not too long after Williams’ death, Amanda Bynes returned to social media after being released from rehab. There had been rumors circulating over the last few years that Bynes also struggles from bipolar disorder. Recently, Bynes herself tweeted that she was diagnosed as bipolar and was seeing her doctors weekly. The difference between Williams and Bynes is that one was mourned, while the other was mocked. Bynes’ Twitter rants are re-Tweeted and quoted thousands of times; she is called crazy and delusional and made a public figure of mockery. But what if Bynes were to go in the same way Williams did? Would the mocking turn into mourning? Or would it just be shrugged off because “she was crazy anyway.” For over a decade, I’ve witnessed people judge my sister for behaviors that were deemed “crazy” or “irrational.” I’ve seen the dirty, judgmental looks that people give her when she has outbursts on her bad days. I’ve heard the whispers and snide comments made from other girls because she didn’t fit in. I’ve had peers come up to me and ask, “What is wrong with her?” My answer to them was simple: “What is wrong with you?” What makes it acceptable to mourn one person’s mental illness and mock another’s? It is time for society to start examining the way we treat those who may be struggling with mental illness. Instead of poking fun and shrugging it off as “crazy behavior,” we should show compassion and concern. It’s important to embrace them with


Opinion Silver Award: Personal Essay

love and hear their struggles, offer them encouragement and point them in the right direction to receive the help they need, not push them away with hate and judgment.

ANTHOLOGY

Coming from someone who grew up seeing this criticism firsthand, my opinion remains that mocking those who display signs of mental illness needs to end. It could save a life.

G r a cie Stackhou se, 2 1, is a Commun ic a t ion ma jor w ith tr ac k s i n Jo ur nal ism and P rodu ction . Sh e h a s c omp let ed in t er n s h i ps wi th Sm a l l Planet Pictures as a p r od uc t ion a s s is t a n t w or k in g o n th e f o u r par t d ocu mentar y “Ame r ic a : U n t old � a n d Sur f St a t ion a s a m e di a pro duction inter n writin g a r t ic les a n d p r od uc in g v id eo s f o r th e s to r e . She is working on produc in g a f ull-len g t h d oc umen t a r y, an d h o pe s t o co nt inue making doc umen t a r ies a n d d oin g f r eela n c e ph o to g r aph y aft e r gradu ation.

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ANTHOLOGY

Opinion Honorable Mention: Personal Essay

Bad hair life B y E m i ly T o p p e r I’ve been pulling out my hair for six years. Not twirling it around my finger. Not running my hands through it. Wrapping my fingers around it and pulling it out of my head, multiple strands at a time. I have trichotillomania: A hair-pulling disorder caused by stress triggers and a chemical imbalance in the brain. A disorder with no cure. I remember pulling my first hair the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I sat on the couch in my living room, working on a summer reading assignment. Slowly, cautiously, my hands crept up to my scalp and plucked a single hair, root and all. It was an effortless action that felt completely normal. I thought nothing of it as my hands continued to diligently work across the top of my head, the same way they have for so many days since—back then, I was still normal. By the middle of my sophomore year of high school, the disorder, also called “trich,” was starting to take over my life. My daily pulling had led to a very large bald spot at the top of my head; I wore hats to school to cover up the spots on the crown of my head, but my hands would still tug at the hair that reached my shoulders during a particularly hard question on a test or a boring lesson in class. At night, I would lie in bed, pulling out my hair in massive clumps at a time; sometimes willingly, sometimes without realizing it, but mostly because I didn’t think I had a choice. I was at war with myself. I remember instances from the two years that followed as though they are snapshots hanging from the walls in my room: A 24

hair-covered keyboard after a long night of homework; a hand covered in calluses from clenching the strands far too tightly; a bottle of hairspray that lived on my bathroom counter, my weapon of choice in keeping my greatest secret: an array of colorful, beautiful hats; piles of hair on the floor. So why not just stop? Why did I continue to pull for so long, aware of the destruction I was causing myself? Couldn’t I see, the way everyone else could, how pretty I would be if I just let my hair grow? Of course I could see that. I could see nothing else. But it was of no use. I stopped trying to explain to the people around me that I simply couldn’t stop, that I needed to pull my hair to get through the day the same way a drug addict needs a fix. We are all granted tunnel vision into the lives of those around us— everyone has it easier than we do. If someone doesn’t want to fix us, they want to be better than us. We are never simply enough, but falling from the great heights of the pedestals that we’re placed on. It was these relentless efforts of the people around me that were my main reason for getting a wig my senior year of high school. I would finally fit in; I would finally be normal. I shaved my head, donned a new safety net and expected everything to fall into place. For a while, that worked—the compliments I received on my hair, which everyone believed to be natural, were enough to make me believe that I had some worth. And maybe I did, to the people around me. I looked like they did, on the outside. But I wasn’t being true to myself. I hid my pulling from my friends and peers more than I ever had before. I kept my secret to myself, aside


Opinion Honorable Mention: Personal Essay

from those who were closest to me. But secrets are exhausting. It’s finally time for me to come clean. I still have trich; I still pull my hair out on a daily basis and wear a wig to cover the destruction of my own scalp. I’ve come to terms with this. I don’t know if I’ll ever defeat this disorder, but I’m not letting it consume me the way it once did. I’m not hiding the flawed parts of me anymore to gain approval from people who know nothing about me. I shouldn’t have to. When we use our tunnel vision to look into the lives of others, we don’t see the whole picture. We see only the highlights. But every single person has something in their life that they are ashamed of, that they feel they must

ANTHOLOGY

keep concealed from the rest of the world. The kicker is that the rest of the world doesn’t have to live with my disorder: I do. I’m ready to let go of my secret. Though it’s taken me six years longer than it should have, I’ve started to learn the importance of accepting yourself wholly, flaws and all. My hair does not define me, nor do the thoughts of small-minded people. I’ve realized through this process, through every hair and hat and wig that I could spend my whole life trying to be enough for other people or I can choose to be happy. Though it’s new and exciting and downright terrifying, I’m choosing to be happy. I’m choosing to like myself. I deserve to, I want to, I’m going to.

E m il y Topper, 2 1 , is a s en ior s t ud yin g c ommun ic a t ion wi th an e m phasis in jour nalism a n d a min or in c r ea t iv e w r it in g . S h e i s an o pinio n columnist for th e F la g ler Ga r g oyle, a n d s h e h as i n te r n e d f o r Or l ando Style Magazin e a n d N a r r ow M a g a zin e. Her f i r s t s h o r t s to r y, “ So m e thing Better,” wa s p ub lis h ed in T h e Wr it in g Dis o r de r i n 2 0 1 3 . She has also ser ved as t h e lea d f ic t ion ed it or f or F LARE : Th e Fl ag l e r R e v ie w, and the music d ir ec t or f or F la g ler Colleg e’s n o n - c o m m e r c i al radio station, WFCF- 8 8 . 5.

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ANTHOLOGY

Opinion Gold Award: Commentary

Fear to report rape rampant on college campuses By Alexa Epitropoulos Caitlin Rodgers*, then a student at Christopher Newport University, felt comfortable around the man that her friend brought to their sorority formal that night. When she was locked out of her dorm room, she had no reason not to trust him. “He was my friend’s really good friend. They trusted him. He was well known on campus for being a cool guy,” Rodgers said. “I thought everything would be fine.” When he persistently made advances toward her and ignored her when she said no, the situation quickly escalated. Rodgers found herself trapped in a room with someone nearly twice her size, who pushed her out of his room the following morning. Worse yet, Rodgers found little support in the aftermath of her rape—from her friends or her college. “My school is notorious for pushing this stuff under the rug,” Rodgers said. “I can’t tell you how many girls have told me that they reported it and nothing ever happened.” What happened to Rodgers is not limited to her or even her campus, though—it is found on college campuses across the United States. Women attending college are the most at risk group when it comes to rape and sexual assault—and they’re also the ones reporting it the least. One out of every five female college students has been sexually assaulted, according to a recent White House report. According to the same report, a meager 12 percent report rape and sexual assault to college administrations. And though two-thirds of rape victims know their attackers, in most cases, rapists remain faceless and nameless. 26

Students are often afraid to come forward and file an official report. That’s caused by the uneven track record college administrations have with handling sexual assault. When rape or sexual assault is reported, there is no guarantee that the school will take action. Many schools don’t have a designated policy for sexual assault or a victim’s bill of rights. Few rapists are arrested or held accountable. Only 10 to 25 percent of male college rapists are expelled, according to a 2010 Center for Public Integrity study. Rodgers was one of the many who decided against reporting her rape to the administration. She, like many others, was afraid. She was also abandoned by close friends when she needed them the most. She went through turning in a rape kit, being questioned by the police and purchasing Plan B, an emergency contraceptive agent, on her own. “I didn’t have support when I really needed it,” Rodgers said. “At my school, there wasn’t a help center if you were a victim. There’s no sort of victim education or anything related to that.” According to Ruby Hauder, the sexual assault victim coordinator at the Betty Griffin House, victims of sexual assault frequently experience more than just emotional trauma. “They think nobody will believe them. They think it’s their fault. They think other people will shun them, make fun of them,” Hauder said. “They’re concerned about what they’re going to see on social media. They’re feeling negative about themselves.” That is worsened by the fact that women who report rape and sexual assault are blamed and not taken seriously by law enforcement or college administrations.


Opinion Gold Award: Commentary

“We often leave accountability and responsibility out of our discussion and that’s something everyone can start doing,” Hauder said. Hauder’s point gets to the heart of why victims often don’t come forward. Rapists walk away with unblemished records and reputations, while rape victims are suspected of lying and alienated from friends, even family. We refuse to teach our sons about rape and, instead, tell our daughters to be careful of what they wear, how much they drink. Women who talk about their experiences openly are forced to contend with a culture that blames women and venerates their oppressors. Rapists are often described as “promising students,” while victims are grilled by law enforcement about what they did to bring it onto themselves.

ANTHOLOGY

In any other crime, the victim is likely to be empathized with. When it comes to sexual assault, the tone changes dramatically. College women decide against reporting rape not because they are afraid to expose a secret, but because it is often unclear if anything will come of it. For Rodgers, how her situation was handled is more painful than the sexual assault itself. No longer at the same school, she is now encouraging others to report and publicly talk about sexual assault and rape. “There is such a negative stigma on sexual assault,” Rodgers said. “It couldn’t be any less of a victim’s fault, but the victim is the first person that is blamed. That’s something that needs to change.” *Name has been changed to protect the identity of the victim.

Al e x a Epitropou los, 2 1 , is a Commun ic a t ion ma jor w it h an e m ph as i s in jo ur n alism and a min or in p olit ic a l s c ien c e. Sh e is wo r k i n g f u l l t im e a s D igital P rodu ce r a t t h e J a c k s on v ille Bus in es s J o u r n al , an d al so se r ves as co- edito r a t t h e F la g ler Colleg e Ga r g oy l e . A l e x a h as re ce iv ed multiple Mark of Exc ellen c e a w a r d s f r om t h e S o c i e ty o f Pr o fe ssional Jou r nalists , in c lud in g f or b es t f ea t ur e a n d be s t o n l i n e re p o r t ing. She is also t h e r ec ip ien t of t h e 2014 Gr a n d Awar d f o r Ant ho l ogy.

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ANTHOLOGY

Opinion Silver Award: Commentary

Pressure of Perfection: Overcoming Self-Harm and Stress B y M at t h e w G o o d m a n If you told the average college student that a 3.5 grade point average wasn’t good enough, they would probably call you insane. One of the biggest pressures that some students face, however, is the pressure to succeed that they place on themselves. For Madison Holleran, a beautiful, intelligent, talented cross country and track and field athlete at the University of Pennsylvania, that stress was too much. At the age of 19, Holleran jumped to her death after experiencing overwhelming stress over her 3.5 GPA in her first semester of college. I was deeply affected after hearing this story, having dealt with suicidal thoughts related to stress throughout high school and college. Recently, many at Flagler College, including myself, lost a dear friend in a similarly tragic manner. Many people will look at his passing and find it hard to believe or hard to understand, but I can relate all too well. After the stressful fall semester of my sophomore year, I saw my 3.1 GPA while sitting in an airport on my way home for winter break. I was completely ashamed. It’s not that it was a bad GPA in the scheme of things or that it was bad compared to other students, but it wasn’t good for me. It wasn’t up to my expectations. I was terrified to tell my parents. I stopped eating as much. I stayed up all night and rarely slept. I couldn’t function. I wanted to die. I returned from winter break exhausted. At a time that was supposed to be relaxing and spent with family, I was worrying and lying in bed. My cross country coach noticed how out of shape I was. When I revealed my frustrations with myself and my suicidal thoughts, he 28

immediately signed me up with the counseling center. I was, once again, embarrassed. I hid it from my friends, family members and teammates. I lied about where I was going and made up excuses about why I couldn’t hang out. It’s amazing that something I was so afraid of turned out to be an incredible safe haven. For me, it was that first step in telling someone that I was having issues. It could be classified as depression or just being depressed. Either way, suicidal thoughts don’t always just disappear. It’s not something to be ashamed of or feel like you are alone in dealing with either. According to a recent Institute of Mental Health study, more than six percent of college students reported seriously considering suicide, with one percent of students reporting a suicide attempt in the previous year. It concerns me that more people don’t utilize counseling services or don’t tell their friends. I see the stress of college get to my friends all the time. Sometimes I wonder if what they’re experiencing is overwhelming them or if they need the support I got at the counseling center. I wonder if Madison Holleran or my friend told anyone what they were thinking about doing. People aren’t always as observant. I realized when I had these thoughts that I needed to tell someone. Talking about it helps. Colleges and parents need to be more proactive about letting their students and children know that getting help is the healthy thing to do. It shouldn’t be embarrassing to try to get help, but for a while it was extremely embarrassing to me. The embarrassment often led me to lie about how I was feeling. It didn’t solve anything. Even when I was in counseling, I would


Opinion Silver Award: Commentary

tell them I had stopped harming myself or that I had stopped having terrible thoughts, but until I was completely honest, I never got any better. Pressure can be a great motivator, but it can also be destructive if you don’t appreciate your own capabilities and limitations. The most im-

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portant thing I learned in counseling is that I need to be honest with myself about the issues I’m experiencing and that I need to accept and even love myself for everything that I am. Some people have 4.0 GPAs, but nobody is a 4.0 person. We have to accept that about ourselves and seek help when it’s needed.

Mat t he w Goodman, 2 2, is a s en ior Commun ic a t ion maj o r an d C re a t ive Writing minor, w it h a p r ima r y in t er es t in s c r ee n wr i ti n g . H e w ro t e nu merou s ar ticles f or t h e F la g ler Colleg e Ga r g oy l e , as we l l as co m p e ted on the cross c oun t r y t ea m a ll f our yea r s . He pl an s to m o v e t o L o s Angeles to work in s c r een w r it in g a n d f ilm a f t er g r adu ati o n .

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Opinion Honorable Mention: Commentary

Why we still need feminism B y E m i ly T o p p e r “So are you like, a feminist or something?” The question hangs in the air, opinions forming as I hesitate to answer. I can’t exactly pinpoint when feminism became a dirty word, but today’s connotation is fueled by misconceptions and lack of education. Society enjoys painting a certain picture of the feminist: a bra-burning, unshaven woman who prides herself on her hatred of men. Let’s clear one thing up right now: That is not a feminist. The simple definition of a feminist is a person who, regardless of gender, believes that men and women should have equal rights. A woman who hates men is known as a misandrist; a man who hates women is a misogynist. While some may consider this to be a technicality, it should be said that it is extremely ignorant to apply false traits to an entire group of people. And that’s exactly what part of the problem is. So many people, men and women alike, know next to nothing about women’s history or the women’s movement. Feminism is given a bad name by those who are afraid to educate themselves and those who simply choose not to. Feminism dates back to the 19th century, when the first women’s rights meeting was held in Seneca Falls, NY. Those in attendance were seeking equality on social, political and economic platforms. Since then, women have advanced by leaps and bounds – though sometimes that is brought into question. In 2012, a female student at Steubenville High School in Steubenville, Ohio was raped by fellow students. The rape was recorded on multiple social media platforms and discussed over text messages. Two football players, Trent 30

Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were convicted—yet they were tried as juveniles, and both only received the minimum sentences for their crime. In the media coverage that surrounded the case, a CNN reporter claimed that it was “extremely difficult” to watch the sentencing of the boys who had “promising futures.” Despite the heinous act committed, the rapists were celebrated for their athleticism and the victim was put to shame both in the public eye and on social media. A girl who had been violated in so many ways was a disgrace to a community—and nation—that tells women that they are at fault for a crime against their own body. Although this rape case was prominent in the media, it is not the first of its kind. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), only three out of every 100 rapists will serve time for the crime. In fact, one out of every six American women has been a victim of rape. Still, the legitimacy of a rape case is always questioned. What was the victim wearing? Was she intoxicated? Was she leading on her attacker? Those questions are not the product of equality between men and women. Those questions come out of a society that has taught women to ask themselves, “Was it my fault? What did I do wrong?” Women will never be treated as equals as long as the crimes against them continue to go unpunished. And sadly, rape is only a small part of that. By now, everyone has at least heard about the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Under the ruling, companies with religious objections can choose against providing contraceptive cover-


Opinion Honorable Mention: Commentary

age to employees—despite still covering male vasectomies and Viagra. This case has become a battleground for women’s rights. Many who agree with the decision do not understand the dire effects that this can have on contraceptive coverage—despite the Supreme Court’s later statement that this ruling could apply to broader contraceptive coverage, and not just the ones that were discussed in the case’s decision. This is inequality at its prime. I don’t know what’s worse: The fact that companies under religious objections may now not have to cover any contraceptive costs, or that we’re still talking about this in 2014. Besides the fact that a company’s religious beliefs are now being forced on its female employees, religious “freedom” was achieved through denying thousands of women coverage that they may not be able to afford otherwise. Birth control is expensive. It’s also none of your business. Through all of this, it’s amazing that there are still women who have found the courage to share their stories, empower one another and fight for equality. Women today have role models like Texas senator Wendy Davis, who recently celebrated the anniversary of her senate filibuster last year and announced her candidacy for Governor of Texas. Women like Carol Bartz, the CEO of Yahoo, who taught women that they can have it all. Women like Nawal El Saadawi, the Egyptian doctor and novelist who fought for her gender despite government oppression. These role models are creating a spark that

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is igniting women across the nation—women who will remain silent no more. But these women aren’t enough. We need feminism. We need more than a total of 44 women in the United States Senate and more than 300 in the House of Representatives. We need more women to speak out about their injustices so that we can acknowledge the problem and fight for them. And most of all, we need to teach our nation that if we continue to degrade women by treating them as objects—and by judging them on their looks or outfits or interests—we are undermining the work that happened at that first women’s rights meeting in Seneca, NY. When people say, “I think men and women should be treated equal and all, but…,” I get worried. But what? But you’re afraid of standing with people who are trying to create change? In that “but,” you say it all. You say you see the problem, and that it’s not worth your time or energy. When you do that, you do a great disservice to women because you’re saying you’re afraid of equality. You’re saying that putting men and women on the same playing field isn’t worth it because it might cause a stir, because it might put you in the crossfire, because it might cause some confrontations. But it should do those things. It should do those things because it’s something that’s worth fighting for. It’s something that I will continue to fight for. Does that answer your question?

E m il y Topper, 2 1 , is a s en ior s t ud yin g c ommun ic a t ion wi th an e m phasis in jour nalism a n d a min or in c r ea t iv e w r it in g . S h e i s an o pinio n columnist for th e F la g ler Ga r g oyle, a n d s h e h as i n te r n e d f o r Or l ando Style Magazin e a n d N a r r ow M a g a zin e. Her f i r s t s h o r t s to r y, “ So m e thing Better,” wa s p ub lis h ed in T h e Wr it in g Dis o r de r i n 2 0 1 3 . She has also ser ved as t h e lea d f ic t ion ed it or f or F LARE : Th e Fl ag l e r R e v ie w, and the music d ir ec t or f or F la g ler Colleg e’s n o n - c o m m e r c i al radio station, WFCF- 8 8 . 5.

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PHOTOGRAPHY


Photography Gold Award

ANTHOLOGY

�Faces of Depression� by Heather Seidel

He at he r Seidel, 2 1 , is a s en ior Commun ic a t ion ma jor wi th a f o c u s i n Me d ia Produ ction and a min or in T h ea t r e. F r om J a c k s o n v i l l e to N e w Yo r k C ity, she has utiliz ed h er c r ea t iv it y in v id eo p r odu c ti o n , g r aph i c de sign and marketing as a c a t a lys t f or s oc ia l c h a n g e. I n th e f u tu r e , she p l ans to pu rsu e a c a r eer in c on t en t s t r a t eg y a n d c o n ti n u e wo r k i n g t o upl if t others.

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Photography Silver Award

”Faces of Feminism” by Gracie Stackhouse

G r a cie Stackhou se, 2 1, is a Commun ic a t ion ma jor w ith tr ac k s i n Jo ur nal ism and P rodu ction . Sh e h a s c omp let ed in t er n s h i ps wi th Sm a l l Planet Pictures as a p r od uc t ion a s s is t a n t w or k in g o n th e f o u r par t d ocu mentar y “Ame r ic a : U n t old ” a n d Sur f St a t ion a s a m e di a pro duction inter n writin g a r t ic les a n d p r od uc in g v id eo s f o r th e s to r e . She is working on produc in g a f ull-len g t h d oc umen t a r y, an d h o pe s t o co nt inue making doc umen t a r ies a n d d oin g f r eela n c e ph o to g r aph y aft e r gradu ation.

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Photography Honorable Mention

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�Open Our World� by Sterling Ader

St e rl ing Ader, 2 0 , is a jun ior ma jor in g in Bus in es s Ad m i n i s tr ati o n wi th a m ino r in H onorable En t r ep r en eur s h ip . He is a p a s s io n ate m u s i c i an and e n joys photograph y jus t a s muc h . F ollow in g g r a d u ati o n f r o m F l a gl e r College, he plan s t o b eg in h is c a r eer in b us in e s s i n th e S t. August ine area, and even t ua lly p ur s ue h is M BA .

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ANTHOLOGY

Photography Honorable Mention

”I’m Sorry” by Juan Cediel

Jua n Cediel, 1 9 , is a D oc umen t a r y Pr od uc t ion a n d J ou r n al i s m m aj o r. As a freshman, he hope s t o k eep imp r ov in g in t h e v id e o pr o du c ti o n side o f documentar y pr od uc t ion , a n d h e is w or k in g on g e tti n g his name out in the phot og r a p h y a n d d oc umen t a r y f iel d. H e h as am b it ions to some day w or k f or N a t ion a l Geog r a p h ic o r Vi c e .

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VIDEO


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Video/Multimedia Gold Award: Photo Essay

“Gone to Florida” by Justin Katz

To watch, go to: bit.ly/peteroneill Just in Katz is a mu ltime d ia jour n a lis t w h os e d r iv e t o g e t a s to r y i s base d around meeting a n d un d er s t a n d in g t h e p eop le w h o c o m pr i s e t he m . After gradu ating f r om F la g ler Colleg e in t h e s p r i n g o f 2 0 1 5 , he int e n ds to pursu e his p a s s ion b y w r it in g a t n ew s p a pe r s ac r o s s th e co unt r y. Bor n in New Yor k , h is f a v or it e p la c e t o g et a bi te to e at i s K at z ’s Deli in Manhatta n .

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Video/Multimedia Silver Award: Photo Essay

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“Midterm election results may hinder those in need� by Emily Topper, Adriana Danzilo and Allison Dickey

To watch, go to: bit.ly/midtermshinder E m il y Topper, 2 1 , is a s en ior s t ud yin g c ommun ic a t ion wi th an e m ph as i s i n j o u r n al i s m and a minor in creative w r it in g . A d r ia n a Da n zilo, 22, i s a S pan i s h - s pe ak i n g s e n i o r at F l a gl e r College stu dyin g Commun ic a t ion w it h a d oub le tr ac k i n Jo u r n al i s m an d M e di a Pr o d uction. Allison D ic k ey is a mult imed ia jour n a lis t s t u dy i n g C o m m u n i c ati o n an d Fi n e Ar t s. W hile she enjoys w r it in g , s h e is jus t a s p a s s ion ate abo u t ph o to g r aph y an d h o pe s t o use both in her futu re c a r eer.

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ANTHOLOGY

Video/Multimedia Honorable Mention: Photo Essay

“We Are Flagler: Bridget Schaaff� by Heather Seidel

To watch, go to: bit.ly/bridgetschaaff He at he r Seidel, 2 1 , is a s en ior Commun ic a t ion ma jor wi th a f o c u s i n Me d ia Produ ction and a min or in T h ea t r e. F r om J a c k s o n v i l l e to N e w Yo r k C ity, she has utiliz ed h er c r ea t iv it y in v id eo p r odu c ti o n , g r aph i c de sign and marketing as a c a t a lys t f or s oc ia l c h a n g e. I n th e f u tu r e , she p l ans to pu rsu e a c a r eer in c on t en t s t r a t eg y a n d c o n ti n u e wo r k i n g t o upl if t others.

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GRAND AWARD Video


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Grand Award: Feature

GRAND AWARD WINNER “Title IX Flagler� by Kathleen Quillian

This investigative package produced by Quillian uncovered how Title IX cases are handled on the Flagler College campus. The recent government and media censure of college sexual assaults sparked her curiosity for how the college handles sexual assault, as well as the number of cases filed. To watch, go to: bit.ly/titleixflagler

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Grand Award: Feature

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K at hl e en Q u illian, 2 1 , is a s en ior J our n a lis m a n d Doc u m e n tar y Pr o d uction major. Q u illia n is p r es id en t of t h e Soc iet y o f P r o f e s s i o n al Jo ur nal ists at Flagler Colleg e a n d is a ls o t h e c r ea t or an d e x e c u ti v e pro ducer of FCT V News c en t er, F la g ler ’s f ir s t n ew s c a s t e r. Q u i l l i an ’s t r ue p assion is stor ytell in g a n d p r ov id in g a v oic e t o t h o s e wh o o t he r w ise wou ld not be h ea r d . Q uillia n p la n s on mov in g bac k to At l ant a after gradu ation a n d c on t in uin g t o p r od uc e s h o r t do c u m e n tar y fil m s.

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Gargoyle Flagler College

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Gargoyle Anthology 2015  

The 2015 edition of the Flagler College Gargoyle's Anthology, the best of student journalism, opinion, photography and video.

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