APRIL 21, 2010
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VOLUME 101, ISSUE 12
Bull City Secret Game
Why are tattoos taking over NCCU’s campus?
Students share their personal experiences “In the 1st Person”
In the centerspread: Four stories from the North East Central Durham Voice.
NCCU hosted its first ever “Bull City Showdown”
In the fold
Campus Echo Audit mayhem goes to state BY CARLTON KOONCE ECHO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
After weeks of suspense and public scrutiny, the University has turned its internal review of the Historically Minority
Colleges and Universities Consortium’s finances over to the state auditor’s office for further investigation. The consortium, funded by the N.C. General Assembly and administered
by NCCU, was created to close the achievement gap between black and white students with a variety of supplemental education programs. One or more former
NCCU employees are suspected of embezzling up to $200,000 from the consortium. In a letter to the N.C. Central University campus, Chancellor Charlie Nelms
stated that the Office of the State Attorney General and the State Bureau of Investigation had been alerted that an “unauthorized, private bank account in the name of the Consortium”
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Second time around
MISS BLACK USA 2009 VISITS NCCU
Tweets, twits and twitter
had been uncovered during the administration’s internal audit. Nelms wrote in the letter that the University needed
SGA president lays out fall plans BY JAMESE SLADE ECHO STAFF REPORTER
BY ASHLEY ROQUE ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Smaller than a blog and more public than a text, Twitter is growing rapidly everywhere—even in the academic setting of N.C. Central University. In 140 words, “twitterers” can post anything from where they just had lunch to job openings at their company. Keeping up with technology in these fast-paced times is significant and since fall 2009, NCCU has been looking for ways to incorporate Twitter into the academic realm. “Twitter is a resource for students and staff to network, share information, and learn,” said David Kroll, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences. “It’s different from
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Shayna Rudd, crowned Miss Black USA 2009 in August, hugs Simyous Scarborough, 5, during an autograph signing for NCCU’s Women’s Center Benefit Reception on Saturday. Hailing from West Philadelphia, Rudd is an author, entrepreneur, and an educator with a BA in journalism from Howard University. She is the founder of Lady Diva Corp, a non-profit organization that empowers young African American women and provides them with educational opportunities. CARLTON KOONCE/Echo editor-in-chief
Will freshmen come back next year? BY JORDAN SUTTON AND WENDY WRIGHT ECHO STAFF REPORTERS
With one year under their belts, one question freshmen might ask themselves is, “Is NCCU the place for me?” As the 2009-2010 aca-
demic year comes to a close, many freshmen are reflecting on their experience with other students, faculty, and the NCCU campus. Some freshmen found other Eagles to be indifferent; many complained that freshmen should
“grow up.” “I met a lot of new people but I felt that many don’t go to class,” said Kenderick Moore, political science freshman. “A lot of them just stay in their rooms.” “Some students are not college material, because
some freshmen students aim for a D in their classes,” said Moore. Aleshia Hall, a nursing freshman, found many students to be “immature and rude.” In addition to lessthan- perfect Eagles, some freshmen found college
life difficult to adapt to. “I thought it was going to be a home-like experience, but it’s not,” said Hall. “Some of the staff and workers also have nasty attitudes at Central,” she
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Unveiling the face behind the name Alumni dedicate potrait of Mary Townes BY NINECIA SCOTT ECHO STAFF REPORTER
What students call the “Science Complex” is actually called the Mary Townes Science Complex. In honor of the late Mary M. Townes, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and biology professor, a portrait was created in her honor. At her memorial lecture held earlier this month, Kenneth Rodgers, director
of the N.C. Central University Art Museum, unveiled a portrait he painted of her. The portrait of Townes was commissioned by the class of 1962 and will hang in the atrium of the Townes Science Building. Townes arrived at NCCU in 1950 and became the director of the Academic Advising Program, chairwoman of the Department of Biology and Dean of the College of Arts and
Sciences. Townes was a prolific research scientist and published more than 60 scientific articles that brought substantial grants to NCCU. As a result of her accomplishments, she was honored with the N.C. Governor’s Award of Excellence, the National Association for Equal Opportunity Distinguished Alumna Citation, and the Dr. James E. Shepard Legacy Award.
The first Student Government Association president ever elected for two consecutive terms has made N.C. Central history. “When I first found out I won, I was excited,” said history junior Dwayne Johnson. As the year comes to an end, Johnson reflected on all he accomplished durDwayne ing the 2009-10 Johnson, SGA school year to help President make plans for the new year. This year, the SGA began the Eagle Wing Mentorship Program, which required everyone in the SGA to have two mentees and program members to have at least a 2.5 GPA. “Academics are first, just as our students,” said Johnson. “I’m close to all of my mentees. I am a friend and a big brother.” Johnson also got SGA together with SGAs from Duke and UNCChapel Hill to begin a tuition petition. Johnson was fighting to lower the cost of school tuitions. NCCU received 1,400 student signatures and 23,000 from North Carolina residents. “The school brought the petitions to state legislatures, who relate more to statistics and numbers,” said Johnson. Besides tuition, Johnson focused on campus appeal. “I e-mailed Chancellor Nelms and asked him where has the verdant green gone,” he said. According to Johnson, landscaping has vastly improved and now students have a place to study hard on the yard. Johnson created Study Hard on the Yard, a program that promotes student studying on campus. The program has brought together over 300 students this past year. With his proven track record, Johnson has been elected to serve next year as the SGA President once again. “Now the feeling is gone and there’s to work to be done.” Johnson’s campaign slogan, “iServe,” was used to promote his attitude toward leadership and service. For Johnson, the first item on the agenda is to work on the parking situation on campus. He plans on “putting pressure on the administration to get the parking deck open in the fall” when it is scheduled to be finished. Johnson wants campus police to distribute warning tickets, which are already given out at other colleges,
Kenneth Rodgers and class of ‘62 unveil Mary Townes portrait. JERRY ROGERS/Echo staff photographer
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
JOHNSON CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 including N.C. State. Another improvement that Johnson is concerned with is campus morale. “If students say that campus morale is dead, then it’s dead,” he said. The SGA is going to work closely with NCCU’s Student Activities Board in hopes of holding a forum to get fresh ideas from students. “The more people we have, the more we can advocate for the students,” Johnson said. He is also planning to work with University College and academic affairs to make sure that
they are focusing on accepting quality student over the quantity. Ceslie Covington, social work freshman with a sociology major, said she has a relationship with Johnson before she stepped foot on campus. “He was writing me back and forth about SGA before I even got here,” said Covington. A third-generation eagle, Johnson knows that NCCU’s history is important. “There is rich tradition and legacy at NCCU that a lot of students take for granted,” said Johnson.
Johnson is grateful to all students for giving him another go at being president. “I thank students, and it makes me feel good when they shout out my campaign slogan, ‘iServe’ as I pass by,” he said. Johnson said that though he is not perfect, he is the right leader for the SGA. “The success of SGA is not because of solely me it’s because I had a great staff,” he said. Johnson promised that he will do his best to do whatever students need or want him to do.
FRESHMEN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Holy Cross Catholic Church has stood at 1400 South Alston Avenue for 57 years. It was built for African American Catholics in Dur.ham and held its first mass in December 1939. CARLTON KOONCE/Echo editor-in-chief
The little church that moved Holy Cross Catholic Church preps for big day BY DIVINE MUNYENGETERWA ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Holy Cross Catholic Church will soon be known as “the little church that moved.” The brick and mortar edifice will journey from Alston Avenue to 1912 Fayetteville Street, next to the James E. Shepard House. According to Mike Blake, president of Blake Moving Company, the move is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24. The church is being lifted off its foundation and relocated to make way for N.C. Central University’s new nursing school building and additional parking at the
church’s current location. Holy Cross has been a fixture at 1400 South Alston Avenue since 1953. Its move to Fayetteville Street illustrates NCCU’s desire to hold onto the church’s rich history. Holy Cross is one of few African American Catholic churches in the Southeast. NC Catholics, the online magazine of the Catholic diocese of Raleigh, notes that in the early years many members and leaders of the Holy Cross parish would come from the student body of what was then called North Carolina College for Negroes. Holy Cross was estab-
lished in the community in 1939 to evangelize the black community Mass was held in makeshift venues until the church found a home on Alston Avenue. Throughout the years the number of members grew from one black family in 1939 to approximately 350 families today, according to NC Catholics. With the exception of 3.6 acres, the property surrounding the church was sold to the state to allow NCCU to expand. The Holy Cross congregation, was relocated to 2438 South Alston Avenue in 2007.
AUDIT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 to focus its resources on education and to leave the “forensic accounting to those expert in the field.” According to the Durham Herald-Sun, Nelms wrote in a March 29 letter to state officials that evidence pointing to “theft, embezzlement and/or misuse of state funds by a former NCCU employee, and possibly others” had been discovered and that “substantial funds may have been diverted into this Bank of America account.” The University froze the account upon its discovery and is not sure how much money may have been taken. Some NCCU students say they are concerned and confused over the situation. Business sophomore,
Devon Owens said that she had heard that money had been misplaced but that she had not heard many facts. “I heard it was affecting financial aid,” said Owens. “Somebody told me that a lot of people were going to have their grants cut by $2,000.” Owens said that she had “looked over” Nelms’s letter to the campus but said she didn’t read it because she knew there was an investigation into missing money. Student posts on Eagle’s Nest, the University’s “virtual water cooler” concerning the Consortium were mixed. Some posts had a strong reaction to the news while others took a “wait and see” approach. On Feb. 16 thayes2 wrote
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that Nelms was continuing “a long tradition of sweeping it under the rug.” “It’s a crime and all involved should be prosecuted and sent to prison,” thayes2 wrote. Some students posted threads that warned against Eagles jumping to conclusions. Others said they’re just keeping tabs on the situation. “The University should be more alert of all activities, little and big, that pertain to finances,” said Owens. “It’s a way to clean up its image.” “It doesn’t necessarily make people not to want to come here.” “Most high school students aren’t focusing on this,” she said.
said. But other freshmen disagree. They believe that their professors are great and quite friendly. “I felt that the teachers are nice and they are excellent in their profession,” said Ashley Grimes, political science major. Keith Cutler, geospace science freshman, said that N.C. Central University is all that he hoped it would be. “Most of the professors are candid,” said Cutler. “They tell you what you need to know to pass and they answer all questions.” “I am used to being around HBCUs and based on what I have seen and heard about black schools, it’s all I expected it to be,” said Missouri native Cutler. Cutler said he had his reasons for choosing NCCU and not another HBCU such as Howard University.
“NCCU was one of the only schools that offered my major,” said Cutler. “And I also have family here in North Carolina.” Some freshmen said they felt that academic improvements could be made. “I think that NCCU needs more academic programs to raise the standards of incoming freshman,” said Moore. “It will prevent a lot of slackers from coming on campus who are not serious about their academics.” Moore said leaving the library open for 24 hours would be a big help. Many freshmen said they were frustrated with campus activities and facilities. They believe there is not enough to keep them occupied in their free time. “NCCU is unorganized with the events and timing
because students are in class,” said Julia Brooks, mass communication freshman. “Also the cafeteria and takeout can supply healthier food choices,” said Brooks. She also said she was “excited about the law school and other programs that Central offers.” In the 2009-2010 school year, many students were upset that NCCU increased both the tuition and the required number of credit hours. “The school needs to reduce the amount of credit hours to transition to the next classification,” said Grimes. Grimes added that housing is a major issue on campus that should be addressed. “The dormitories can expand, so housing can be available to almost everyone,” she said.
TWITTER CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Facebook and Myspace because the people who use it are mostly above 25 and educated professionals,” said Kroll. On Mar 30. a panel of six NCCU faculty and staff members including one student discussed how Twitter is being used on campus. In NCCU’s Media Issues class students are using Twitter to practice professional communication in social media. After each presentation, students are required to “tweet” their comments on what was presented. “Students also must follow three professionals and their companies throughout the semester,” said Charmaine McKissick-Melton, associate professor of English and mass communications. “This form of communication allows for students to gain insight into a professional in the field and their company.” In the education build-
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ing, Chad Royal, assistant professor of education, uses Twitter to get information out to students in the quickest possible manner. “E-mails don’t get to students as fast as Twitter,” said Royal. “Students get the information right to their phone and can respond right away.” NCCU’s Orientation team uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to ease the transition of incoming freshmen into college life. “It continues a sense of community way after orientation is over,” said Brian Meritt, the associate director of orientation and the 1st Year Experience. Needless to say, students are enjoying the NCCU’s next step into the 21st century. “You can multi-task on a whole other level with Twitter,” said Jolanda Kindell, the mass communications senior who represented the student body on the Twitter panel.
Kindell has been using Twitter for over a year and is also in the Media Issues class. “It opens a new channel of communication,” she said. “It improves access to people that have information.” “It’s crowd sourcing in real time,” said Kindell. “You can tweet a question and in a matter of minutes have an answer from people all over the world.” During the panel meeting, Royal discussed the chancellor’s plea that cell phones be banned from classrooms. Since Twitter, Royal has taken a different stand. “Limiting cell phones is throwing the baby out with the bath water,” said Royal. “You just have to have perspective on how it’s being used in the classroom.” Times are changing and if you want to follow NCCU’s tweets sign up at twitter.com/NCCU.
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Tat, tat, tat it up
Going under the needle is a growing form of self-expression BY NAUNDI ARMOUR
Online program offers graduates resume help
ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Freedom of speech, selfexpression, and art are just a few of the ways that tattoos are viewed in society. Previously associated with bikers and sailors, you can’t help but to notice the tattoos printed on students while walking the campus of N.C. Central University. These days tattoos are more socially accepted, especially among college students. Some of the tattoos on campus have religious meaning to their owners while others have a focus on family and love. “I got a Chinese symbol that means “believe” on the back of my neck because it motivates me to believe in God, myself and life,” said mass communications junior Dioris Smith. “I have two tattoos. I have my initials on my wrists and my mom’s name on my forearm because I was bored and wanted to get a tattoo,” said Philip Sadler, mass communications sophomore. Many students that own tattoos said they are a part of them and important in expressing themselves. “Tattoos are a representation of my life, the lessons I’ve learned, and the people I’ve met,” said Roney Deas a psychology freshman. According to a 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of people between the ages of ages 18 to 25 have tattoos, and 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 to 40, have at least one tattoo. The art of tattooing one’s self can be costly. Depending on size and design, students can pay anywhere from $40$500 for a tattoo. “I stopped counting at about 11,” said Deas. Deas is the owner of numerous tattoos. Despite the popularity of tattoos, students should think carefully before going under the needle. “I thought about getting a tattoo, but if I wanted to change my mind the removal would be too expensive and painful,” said Steven Neal, mass communications junior.
BY DIVINE MUNYENGETERWA ECHO STAFF REPORTER
From top left to bottom right: junior James Fyre, junior Markeeta Floyd, junior Naundi Armour, and junior lsha Jackson. RODDRICK HOWELL/Echo staff photographer
There are several different removal procedures including laser removal and skin excision. Dermabrasion, sanding the skin to remove a tattoo, and salabrasion,a procedure where the tattoo is removed by salt or salt solution, can not only be painful and but expensive. “I know someone that has a tattoo and has regretted it since day one,” said Deanna Dixon, athletic training junior. “If I get one, I don’t want it to be something that I’ll regret later on down the road.” The American Society of Dermatological Surgery
stated in 2005, that of all of the people treated with laser and light therapy, only 6 percent have a tattoo removed. There are many things students should take into consideration when getting a tattoo. “Consider a shop’s health rating, the artists’ hourly rate, their prior work, their ability to freehand, and you might want them to be a little social too,” said Deas. Thinking about getting a job? Most employers have dress code and appearance policies, depending on the industry. “I put on a collar shirt, drew a line around the top
of it, and told the artist not to go any higher,” said Deas, who also has had his neck tattooed. According to Vault, a career aid service, over half of the employees that have tattoos or piercings opted to cover up while on the job. Forty percent of those who were surveyed have one or more tattoos. “Tattoos are about selfexpression,” said Lynne Jefferson, English professor whose 16 year old son has expressed his interest in getting a tattoo. “Just make sure they’re done in good taste and make sure they’re in an inconspicuous place,” said Jefferson.
In these hard economic times, how can seniors score jobs after they graduate? N.C. Central University’s Career Services has teamed up with OptimalResume.com to lend a hand in bringing a career management platform to students. “This program helps make marketable resumes by assisting with things such as formatting,” said Donna Hembrick, interim director at University Career Services. The program helps Career Services reach out to students, alumni and potential employers online. Once the resume is uploaded, staff at Career Services will critique it and give the user feedback. According to Hembrick students can save several versions of their resume and tailor each for specific job searches. “Once [the resume is] approved and published, employers can view it online through Eagletrak or the Career Services site.” On January 11, NCCU was chosen as the first-ever Optimal Resume “Client of the Week,” a program created by OptimalResume.com to highlight university partners. Part of that success, Hembrick notes in a letter to Kelly Giles, social media strategist. “We include optimal resume as a part of our dimensions of learning class, and resume building workshops,”she wrote. Students are walked through Optimal Resume step by step. University Career Service seeks to use Optimal Resume as a supplemental instruction tool for faculty and as a part of a pilot virtual workshop series to service approximately 8,300 students and alumni. The use of this technology as an instructional tool, will address the need to
enhance NCCU students’ oral communication skills by preparing students to communicate to succeed. Improvement of these skills are a part of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). According to Hembrick, the University Services Program’s successful inclass presentations and campus programming has resulted in an increase in requests of presentations on a wide variety of career development topics to include resume writing, interview preparation and mock interviews, and job search skills. Since the program’s initiation with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005, Optimal Resume has grown to service over 600 career centers to date. “We also have Optimal Interview, a virtual interview, where you sit in front of a computer and, with the aid of a webcam and microphone, answer a list of interview-styled questions,” said Hembrick. In Optimal students can choose from an array of questions, such as behavioral, pressure, or build their own. “Upon review, staff will provide feedback on this too, to the use,”she said. OptimalResume is not only applicable for college career centers, but also for high schools, workforce boards, outplacement, associations, libraries and more. Hembrick said that NCCU was awarded the North Carolina Career Development Association grant last fall to support the development of new careerrelated programs, research, or practices in North Carolina. With this year’s record enrollment of over 1,300 freshman, Hembrick anticipates the need for Optimal Resume will only grow. Check out https://nccu.optimalresume.com/, to build your resume from the ground up and to hit the work force with the right foot forward.
Financial aid gets overhaul by feds The new health bill strips student financial aid from commercial banks BY ALISHA BYRD ECHO STAFF REPORTER
The health care reform bill that was signed March 30 by President Obama had an unexpected surprise: in the future commercial banks will be cut out of the student loan business. In the bill, the Student Aid Fiscal Act eliminates the Federal Family Education Loan Program from colleges and universities, the program upon which commercial banks administered certain
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student loans. Because the federal government pays the banks fees to administer the program, the elimination of commercial banks from student lending could save taxpayers up to $68 billion. Starting July 1, 2010, schools will go through the William D. Ford Direct Lending Program to receive student loans. “The passing of the new health care bill will have minimal impact on students at NCCU because we are a
Direct Lending school,” said Cynthia Grant, assistant Financial Aid Director. At a Direct Loan school students already get their student loans directly from the government through federal programs such as Pell Grants. Federal direct loans are subsidized loans that have lower interest rates. Supporters of the bill argue that the changes will free up funds to increase the Pell Grant program. Direct loans are also more convenient.
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After signing the promissory note for a direct loan, funds can be released to the students account within 24 hours. Loans from the commercial banks require several steps between the bank, the school and the student before it can be dispersed. For students who already have a FFELP, the U.S Department of Education has begun to buy out their loans so that students can receive some of the same benefits as direct loan students.
“Even though I only receive direct loans, I think it’s a good idea because it’s going to eliminate the amount of debt students are going to be in after college,” said Tashyia Webb, criminal justice senior. Students should know that the best way to stay out of debt is to pay on their loans after they graduate and to know that the U.S Department of Education offers other options if they are not able to pay on their loans.
Scholarships are also offered to help reduce the amount of loan debt. The office of Scholarships and Student Aid will also be holding a workshop called “Bills, Bucks and Budgets” on April 28 that will help students with financial literacy and debt management. For more information about the Student Aid Fiscal Act you can visit the Scholarship and Student Aid Office located in the Student Affairs Complex or call 919530-8130.
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
Echo gives back
Getting things done
Echo teams up with Kiva.org to help others
Miss NCCU wants to make change happen BY TONDEA KING ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Martina is one of four individuals that Campus Echo microloans have helped. Courtesy of Kiva.org
BY BETHANY SNEED ECHO STAFF REPORTER
It began as a news story and ended up as an ongoing project at the Campus Echo. And now, through micro lender Kiva, Campus Echo staffers have loaned money to individuals in Peru, Cambodia and Kenya. Kiva is an organization that connects people through small loans to alleviate poverty. The microcredit organization uses local development groups to administer $100 to $3,000 loans to entrepreneurs in the Third World. In 2007, Echo staffers decided that the best way to cover a story about Kiva was to actually become a micro lender through the organization. And the project continues. Each year donations are collected to add to the lending pot. “It makes you feel good when you can brighten someone’s future who is a world away,” said Carlton Koonce, Echo editor-inchief. A goal of Kiva is to con-
nect people to create relationships beyond financial transactions and build a global community expressing support for one another. The arrangement begins with an interest-free micro loan to a specific entrepreneur selected by the lender off the Kiva Internet site. When the loan is repaid the lender can reclaim the funds or lend it out again. Since the first micro loan in 2007, Campus Echo staffers have added funds to the Kiva account and reloaned the two loans that have been repaid. In all, four entrepreneurs have been helped because of Echo donations. The first recipient was Jeremiah Miruka of Kenya. Miruka is a small business owner of a potato chip shop in Nairobi who wanted to add hardware to his shop. Mikura received $1,175 from the Campus Echo and 39 other micro lenders to support his efforts. He repaid the loan in eight months. Another entrepreneur who has paid back her
micro loan was Sreypheap Linh of Cambodia, who needed cash for a flat tire business she and her husband run in their front yard. A $300 loan was given to Linh by the Campus Echo and 10 other lenders was repaid within the year. In January the Campus Echo reissued two loans. One loan, along with 39 other lenders, loaned $1,000 to Martina of Huancayo, Peru to help her buy fertilizer for crops and medicine for cattle that she breeds and sells. And another loan, along with 40 other lenders, provided $4,700 to the Maravilla Group of Peru, a communal group of 17 retailers who sell everything from ice cream to shoes to books. Next year’s Campus Echo editor-in-chief, Ashley Griffin said she is excited to keep the project going and she plans to add more funds to the lending pot. “At this year’s staff picnic we will be collecting more donations to add to the funds we can lend out through Kiva.
Every year there is always one female on campus that has her dreams set on being Miss N.C. Central University. This year, that dream came true for Richalnds, NC native, Jennifer Langston, a psychology junior. Langston was elected Miss NCCU for the 2010-2011 school year and said she decided to run for the title because she wanted to be a part of change instead of talking about it. “I also decided to run for Miss NCCU because of the past queens such as Latoya Tate and her walking initiative,” stated Langston. The walking initiative pushed by Tate compelled students to walk more on campus to be healthier. Langston’s platform consists of 3 initiatives that she wants to focus on next year. These projects include Eagle Pride World Wide, House of Eagles, and Eagles of Honor. The Eagle Pride World Wide initiative will help increase recruitment for the University and requires Langston to travel and showcase events on campus for the community. The House of Eagles initiative will be a museum of artifacts featuring the campus’s history and the Eagles of Honor initiative will showcase a student of the month in each department. “I also want to help not just the incoming students but the students that are living offcampus as well,” said Langston. “For incoming students, I want to serve as a mentor for their first year experience,” she said. “For students that live off-campus, I will take the time and go to their place of residence such as Campus Crossing & the Verge and listen to their needs and concerns and have programs for them.” Langston participates in numerous campus activities
Miss NCCU Jennifer Langston says she doesn’t want to just talk about change. She wants to make it happen. RODDRICK HOWELL/Echo staff photographer
such as the Alpha Chi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., former president of the Spanish club, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, and the Nixon Thorpe Psychology club. Langston said she would also like to boost campus morale. “To boost campus morale I plan to be present on campus at all events because you can’t ask someone to do something if you’re not willing to do it yourself,” she said. “I will also bring more activities and events to campus.” Langston said she feels that the queens before her were her inspiration. “Former queens such as Sharonda Aronald, Chavery [McClanahan], and Chanel Raynor all have something
that represents each of them as a queen and I can take that one thing that they have, and use it during my reign,” said Langston. Not only were these women influential during her campaign but Langston also credits God, her family, Brandon Hicks, and Mrs. Pettway as well. “Jennifer is committed to serving the students,” stated Brandon Hicks, a political science sophomore. “I know that she will be a great queen.” Langston believes that Miss NCCU is a legacy of greatness and that the queen should be someone who embraces and loves her university while remaining positive. “After my reign, I want to be remembered as a great queen that was spiritual, kind, and an active female on campus,” she said.
RAs busier than most BY TAMEKA BALDWIN ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Trash is overflowing and neither roommate wants to take it out. The trash gets ignored for days. The problem festers. Soon the Rush Hall roommates are arguing over the matter. This is when the resident assistant Brittany Hunter, a business junior, has to stop what she was doing to help the roommates resolve their dispute. “I had to come in when both roommates were available around 10 p.m. and solve the trash dispute,” said
Hunter. According to Hunter, she spent about 25 minutes reviewing a written contract the students had signed at the beginning the semester. Still some students haven’t any idea of the demands placed on RAs. Michael Cuningham, finance junior, said he thought RAs were “pointless” — only needed when disputes, such as the trash conflict, arise. But this is just one example of the kind of problems that RAs have to help their residents resolve.
For free room and board and a $110 monthly stipend, each N.C. Central University RA is responsible for all the residents on their floor — and this could be up to 50 individuals. Residents come to them with their study problems. They want to discuss boyfriend or girlfriend problems. They come to them to ask where they can get community service hours. They want to talk about problems back home. It sometimes seems endless. According to some NCCU RAs, the demands of the job
are a lot greater than many students realize. Hunter said she has desk duty for about 14 hours each week and that meetings RAs are required to attend are often held late into the night. “People insist on asking questions that have already been answered because they came in late or were not paying attention,” she said. “Things like this drag the meeting on and it really agitates me, because we are in there even later when we could be studying.” RAs also have on-call responsibilities that require
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them to be accessible to residents at a moment’s notice. “We are required to constantly be on call,” said business sophomore Rashawn Linton, a RA in Baynes Hall. “So no matter what time of the night it is or what we may be doing, if we are called, we have to drop everything and assist the residents. One time I actually missed an online quiz, because I was called to assist a resident.” Linton summarized the RAs life like this: “Sometimes we just don’t get enough time to ourselves to take care of our own work.”
Linton, who has an “above average” GPA, said that she could be doing better if she did not have to attend to so many “other things”. But in the final analysis both Hunter and Linton see the demands of being an RA as a challenge they can and will accept. “The good outweighs the bad,” said Linton who added that being a RA has forced her to plan and organize better. “Being a RA motivates you to have a schedule,” said Hunter. “This lets you know what you will be doing and when.”
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
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Losers win big 18 NCCU students shed 169 pounds in eight weeks BY ASHLEY GRIFFIN
Partnership with Duke brings ROTC to NCCU
ECHO ASSISTANT EDITOR
After eight weeks of battling the bulge, N.C. Central University’s Greatest Loser has been found. The winning three-member team, which dubbed itself “The Mix,” lost a combined 66 pounds. Antwoin Hutcheson lost 32 pounds; Miquelle Mayo lost 20 pounds; and Shiree Williams lost 14 pounds. The winners walked off with their share of $1,000 prize donated by Sodexo, the food management service that operates W.G. Pearson Cafeteria. “The competition was an invigorating experience and it left me wanting more,” said Hutcheson, a criminal justice and child psychology junior. “There were some hard days, but I saw results and it left me wanting more.” Hutcheson had the largest individual weight loss percentage of any contestant. He lost almost 12 percent of his initial weight. The inspiration for NCCU’s Greatest Loser was the popular television show, “The Biggest Loser.” In all, 30 students qualified for the competition, but only 18 finished. The competition ran from Feb. 8 through April 12. The participants had to meet requirements including: a BMI greater than or equal to 30 percent, waist measurements greater than or equal to 35 inches for females, and greater than or equal to 40 inches for males. Once selected the teams underwent a rigorous five
BY AMARACHI ANAKARAONYE ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Antwoin Hutcheson, Miquelle Mayo and Shiree Williams of "The Mix" collect their award in Greatest Loser contest. ASHLEY GRIFFIN/Echo assistant editor
day training period that consisted of weekly nutrition classes, aerobics classes and circuit drills. On Wednesdays the teams attended 6 a.m. workout sessions. “The 6 a.m. workouts were hard at first, but it became easier in the end,” said business management freshman Shiree Williams. The winning team members said that much of their success came from working as a group. “Working out in groups was fun. If you couldn’t do it for yourself, you did it for your team,” said Miquelle Mayo, a criminal justice freshman. According to program coordinators Erica Dixon,
director of Campus Recreation and Wellness, she and Pamela Watson, a nutrition manager with FDY Sodexo, wanted to offer students a team-focused, but competitive, approach to losing weight that stressed the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. “I believe strongly that this challenge has given our students the tools and support to begin the process to making better choices and lifestyle changes,” said Dixon. “In making healthy lifestyle changes, there is a beginning, but there is no ending. It is a life-long commitment.” At the April 15 awards banquet, awards were given
Ernie’s back in town Former Echo editor keynotes convocation BY A SHLEY ROQUE ECHO STAFF REPORTER
At N.C.Central University’s 61st convocation, Ernie Suggs, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal Consititution, described the Campus Echo as an “incubator” that propelled him into a successful career in journalism. Suggs, a 1990 English graduate and Campus Echo editor-in-chief from 19871989, was the keynote speaker at NCCU’s April 9th annual Honors Convocation, an event that celebrates students’ academics, community service and creative achievements. Suggs described the day as one he will never forget. “To see all of my old professors, classmates, and fraternity brothers, who came all this way to hear me speak was definitely a highlight of my life,” he said. Suggs established his reputation early in his career with an in-depth series of articles in 1997 about HBCUs called “Fighting to Survive.” The stories ran in an 8 day series in the Durham Herald Sun which won him numerous awards including, Journalist of the Year by the N.C. Black Publishers Association. As an English undergraduate, Suggs was the sports editor at the Campus Echo his freshman and sophomore years and editor-in-chief his junior and senior years. “Working at the Echo was the most significant thing I did during my undergraduate years,” he said. Suggs said Echo reporters did not shy away from controversial news stories while he was editor-in-chief, but noted that
Leaders made here
Alumnus Ernie Suggs speaks at April 9 convocation WILLIE PACE/Echo staff photographer
NCCU administrators respected the students’ freedom of speech. After graduating, Suggs first worked with Gannett Westchester Newspapers in N.Y. for two years and then the Durham Herald Sun for five years. While at the Herald Sun, Suggs was assigned to cover NCCU. “I was able to give NCCU good coverage, frequently," said Suggs. “It’s important for journalists to cover everything and not simply the things that go wrong.” Suggs was awarded a Nieman Fellowship in 2008 by Harvard University, an award given to an accomplished journalist in mid-career. During the fellowship, Suggs studied at Harvard’s African and African American Studies Department.
He has since been named a trustee with the Nieman’s Foundation Board. Suggs was emphatic during his speech and his interview about NCCU students realizing that they can succeed anywhere, including an Ivy league school like Harvard. “At Harvard, there is this sense of entitlement that the students have,” he said. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” Suggs said AfricanAmerican students need to feel that sense of entitlement. “We have a sense of contentment, when we should be walking around knowing that we are entitled to good things, just as much as anyone else,” he said.
for other categories such as individual weight loss percentage and best week finish. Kevin Rome, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, spoke at the banquet and encouraged participants to continue to live a healthy lifestyle. Members of the “The Mix” said they all plan to continue to diet and exercise. Some 66 percent of all Americans are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of this percentage, African Americans take the lead. A National College Health Assessment study performed in 2008-09 found that 41 percent of NCCU’s students were either overweight or obese.
Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. Honor. Integrity. Personal courage. These seven core values are upheld by the Army Reserves Officers’ Training Corps. In 1982, Duke University and N.C. Central University initiated this partnership to provide opportunities for NCCU’s students to participate in Army ROTC. With Duke University serving as the host school and NCCU as the partner school, NCCU students learn basic military skills by registering in military science courses as electives. Many of their classes and events take place on the Duke campus with Duke Army ROTC cadets. “Although we are two separate schools, we function as a unit,” said Renita McCarter, senior nursing major and Army ROTC cadet. “Duke and NCCU Army ROTC cadets come together under a common cause and that cause is to be army officers.” Sergeant First Class William Stigler, Duke/ NCCU Army ROTC faculty member, expounded on the camaraderie between NCCU and Duke Army ROTC cadets. “Every activity per-
formed in class is cadet led, which develops their communication and leadership skills. We give them the guidelines to lead from the front rather than the rear.” Many Army ROTC cadets receive full-tuition scholarships to finance their education. Upon graduation, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army, and work as midlevel managers for four to eight years in a variety of career fields. NCCU’s Army ROTC cadets strive for excellence as they balance their responsibilities as students, cadets, and adults. “Balancing Army ROTC with my nursing requirements is like taking on a second major,” said McCarter. “However, participating in ROTC teaches participants leadership abilities on an everyday basis.” Within the disciplined Army ROTC curriculum of physical training at 6 a.m. twice a week and two hour labs once a week, these students excel beyond their expectations. “Since participating in Army ROTC, I have learned the importance of teamwork and having the courage to stand up for what you believe in,” said McCarter. “Army ROTC is a team building program that turns a willing student into an ambitious, driven leader.”
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
Profs not ROTFL at students text language Some colleges allowing opposite sex students to share a room BY M ATT K RUPNICK CONTRA COSTA TIMES (MCT)
College professors are anything but LOL at their students’ recent writing habits. Not only are instructors not laughing out loud — shortened to LOL in text messages and online chats — at the technology-oriented shorthand that has seeped into academic papers, many of them also sternly telling students to stop using the new language even in less formal writing The shorthand often consists of shortened variations of common words — “u”
instead of you, or “ur” for your. Text speak may be appropriate for a quick note to a friend, but professors are increasingly stymied by how casually students are using the terms. “Despite the fact that I happen to be perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to my (email) inbox directly from your phone keypad, ‘wut up ya I cnt make it 2 clss lol’ is insanely unprofessional,” reads the syllabus of Alejo Enriquez, a Cal State East Bay instructor. “Therefore, I am imposing a higher standard of gram-
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mar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon you and kindly request that all e-mails sent to me resemble any other letter to your teacher, supervisor, grandparents or parole officer.” Faculty members increasingly have expressed irritation about reading acronyms and abbreviations they often do not understand, said Sally Murphy, a Cal State East Bay professor and director of the university’s general-education program. One e-mail to a professor started with, “Yo, teach,” she said. “It has a real effect on the tone of professionalism,” said Murphy, who also has seen younger instructors use the shorthand. “We tell them very specifically how this is going to affect them in life. It’s kind of like wearing their jeans below their butt. They’re going to lose all credibility.” The introduction of such casual language into term papers is a sea change from the days when nearly all students addressed their instructors as “professor” or “doctor.” More faculty members ask students to call them by their first names, but many are drawing the line at texting shorthand or even
president at Cal State East Bay. “When we sit down to do something formal, it’s hard to switch to that way of thinking,” said Shahid Beig, who grew up in India speaking to teachers in the most formal tones. “We don’t even recognize it. I’m pretty sure that it has never happened to me, but I might have done it without knowing.” The phenomenon appears to be widespread. Instructors at Sonoma State, Holy Names and San Francisco State universities have grumbled about text-speak showing up in assignments, and the president of the statewide faculty senate for community colleges, Mission College professor Jane Patton, said she has heard the same complaints. College always has been a place for students to learn how to communicate appropriately, Patton said, and teaching them to can the tech-speak is merely the latest step in that education. “That’s a standard part of every curriculum, pointing out the standards of appropriateness,” she said. “In some ways, (text language) is a small modification to add to the list.” University of California-
Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg said he has not received assignments using the texting terms, but said he has had trouble getting used to the casual tone of e-mails he receives from students these days. “They don’t even resort to the niceties,” said Goldberg, director of the Berkeley Center for New Media. “They just jump right in as if they were texting me. I don’t want to sound like I’m some sort of Victorian schoolmarm, but it’s an adjustment.” Goldberg noted that although his 6-year-old child spells out complete words in text messages, he received a message from his 70-year-old mother — a retired reading teacher — that read, “luv 2 u.” Several professors said they are trying to emphasize the negative effects casual language will have on students’ job searches. Some, such as Diablo Valley College student Alicia Fambrini, are clear on that message. “I think it’s an error by people my age not to use formal language,” she said. “I’ve always followed the philosophy that it doesn’t take that much longer to add ‘y’ and ‘o’ to ‘u.’ I spell everything out.”
Hedge fund made billions betting on housing collapse BY MARISA TAYLOR MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS (MCT)
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emoticons — smiley faces made out of punctuation marks. Tech-speak has been moving through the educational pipeline toward colleges for a few years. A 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that twothirds of middle- and highschool students had accidentally used instant-messagingstyle words in their work, while a quarter admitted using emoticons in assignments. The breakdown in language skills is an odd phenomenon given how much time children and young adults spend in front of the computer, said Marcia Linn, who teaches about technology in education at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. “Writing has actually increased as an activity,” she said. “Standards are another issue. Maybe we haven’t quite thought it through well enough in an academic setting.” Many students communicate constantly via text and instant messaging, so it can be difficult to leave the tech lingo behind in class, said Mohammed Shahid Beig, a senior and student-body
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WASHINGTON — New York hedge fund manager John Paulson was one of the first to predict the collapse of the subprime mortgage market _ and to cash in on his knowledge. By late 2005, he already had concluded that the subprime loans underlying highyield bonds being sold worldwide would become worthless, even as some Wall Street firms were still ramping up
If your answer is yes, if you are enrolled as an undergraduate student at NCCU, if your age is between 18 and 30, and if the death took place at least one year ago, you are invited to share your experience. The meaning of your experience will assist the researcher in better understanding the needs of bereaved college students. Your participation in the study could involve up to three 90-minute recorded interviews. You will be paid compensated for your time at the completion of the study. If you are interested and want to discuss your participation, contact the Graduate Student Researcher from Capella University
their sale of related securities. “We determined ... that there was a complete mispricing of risk of mortgage securities,” Paulson testified at a congressional hearing in November 2008. As a result, his firm, Paulson & Co., made a $3.7 billion profit by betting against the housing market as it nose-dived in 2006 and 2007. On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed that $1 billion of those profits came
in an insider deal in which Goldman Sachs allegedly let the company select subprime securities for a complicated offshore deal and then bet on their failure. Paulson & Co., which was founded in 1994, manages funds that are open only to “qualified purchasers” _ individual investors with $5 million in assets to invest or institutions with at least $25 million to invest. In 2004, the company registered with the SEC as an investment adviser. The company was able to anticipate the losses because Paulson’s researchers looked at the underlying home
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loans, Paulson told Congress. Paulson realized they were composed of risky mortgages — some of which were made with 100 percent financing. Even worse, he testified, mortgages were given to borrowers who had a history of poor credit, had no verified income or whose appraisal was typically inflated. “It was that analysis that allowed us to buy protection on these securities, which resulted in large gains for our funds,” he said. SEC officials said Friday that Paulson was not charged in the Goldman case because the company did not mislead investors.
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
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Returning to Haiti on a long term mission Haitian-American nurse practitioner dedicates himself to earthquake victims BY MELISSA DRIBBEN THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (MCT)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As the plane began its descent into Port-au-Prince, Luc Bouquet looked out the window at the rusted rippled-tin roofs and pool-blue tarps below, a tattered quilt covering the city’s lumpy knees and ankles. At ground level, Bouquet knew there was no comfort for the millions of bereft Haitians living in tents, shacks and makeshift shelters. The 52-year-old HaitianAmerican nurse practitioner was returning from a weeklong visit with his family in Florida. He had been away from them more than two months, caring for victims of the earthquake. Helping to ease his people’s suffering had had a profound effect on him. He felt needed in Haiti. He felt at home here. And spiritually, he believed, he had been given a mission, to dedicate the rest of his life to serving his fellow Haitians. He was not a rich man, but with God’s help he planned to build an orphanage, a church and, in time, a nursing school. His wife of nearly 25 years, Phenide, and their three children were proud of his selfsacrifice, but he was also needed back home. Bouquet had to choose. And because he was not a man to do anything halfway, either path he followed would mean turning his back on people he loved. He had awoken this morning in a warm bed next to Phenide and would be sleeping this evening in a tent set on cinder blocks in a friend’s mosquito-infested yard, where scavenging dogs tear through trash after dark and roosters deliver their wakeup calls hours before dawn. The physical hardship, Bouquet says, doesn’t bother him. Compared with most Haitians, he is living in luxury. Still, he says, “It’s always hard the first day back. You’ve left your family. It’s kind of sad.” A friend has come to meet him. Bouquet climbs into the pickup truck and they begin the long, frustrating slog out of the airport, stuttering through traffic among honking drivers for whom the rules of the road are more conceptual than binding. A child jumps onto the side of
Luc Bouquet, 52, a nurse practitioner from Palm Bay, Florida, sees patients at St. Francois de Sales in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 17. DAVID SWANSON/Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)
the vehicle, clinging to the side-view mirror. He tilts his head and holds out one hand. “I don’t have any money,” Bouquet tells him in Creole. He does not want to encourage begging. This is why he wants to start a school, he says. “If you can move them away from Port-au-Prince when they’re young, you may have a chance to teach them.” The pickup crosses a bridge damaged during the earthquake. Bouquet doubts that it has been properly reinforced. “I don’t want to get stuck here,” he says nervously, but the structure holds. On the road toward Lilavois 38, a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, they pass scores of crumpled houses and shops untouched since the day now known simply as the dezas, the disaster. Broken columns dangle like stalactites from tilted roofs. But life has returned to the streets. Merchants seated under brightly colored umbrellas line both sides of the dusty streets, chiseling chunks off melting blocks of ice, arranging pyramids of tinned milk, soap and canned mackerel. On aluminum trays and worn straw mats, they lay out neat rows of okra and tomatoes and mangoes and avocados. At intersections, young men hawk cell phone
rechargers draped limply, like snakes, over their forearms. In the road outside a market, the pickup veers around a dead man. Someone has encircled his body with rocks to keep traffic from running over him. From the blood staining his polo shirt, Bouquet guesses he was a thief. Violence is on the rise. During February, 50 people were shot to death in the capital, the local newspaper reports, and 57 during the first two weeks of March. Along the route, Bouquet and his friend are passed by armored vehicles and buses carrying U.N. soldiers, SUVs emblazoned with aid-organization logos and truck after truck carrying debris out of the city. Teams of workers, their faces powdered with limestone, have been hired to put rubble into wheelbarrows and sweep the streets. Bouquet sniffs. "All they do is push the dirt around. They go as slowly as they can so they can get paid for more hours," he says. The cynicism seems at odds with his national pride. Bouquet credits God for delivering him from a brutal childhood of caustic poverty and pitiless neglect. He met Phenide, who is also a nurse,
when they were in their 20s, working with a youth group in church. In 1991, when their son, Ralph, was a toddler, they moved to the United States to escape the violence after a military coup. In Florida, the couple built an enviable life, established their careers and raised three high-achieving children. Ralph, a Harvard University graduate, is earning a master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania while he teaches at a Philadelphia high school with Teach for America. Jennica, 20, is a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University. Joan (pronounced Jo-ann), 17, is an A student. When the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, Bouquet was safe at his home in Palm Bay, Fla., a placid residential town of yes-sir manners and churchon-Sunday neighbors. Five days later, he was in Haiti, tending to babies with fractured skulls, men with infected wounds, women with broken limbs. In the weeks that followed, he found himself straddling his own shifting tectonic plates. On March 18, when he walked back in the door, Phenide was shocked. Her normally stocky husband had dropped 20 pounds. “And he was exhaust-
ed,” she said. Phenide said she prayed for her husband. “I don’t want to stop him, because he’s doing what he wants to do. What the Lord wants him to do. And he’s doing good work. But I miss him.” Only the lucky and the brave in Port-au-Prince are still living under a solid roof. With hundreds of aftershocks sending shivers through the city, nearly everyone seems to sleep outside in tents or shelters made of bedsheets tied to wooden poles. Bouquet, believing the house he owns in Delmas 33 was securely built, had stayed there with his deaf sister-inlaw, Esther, and his nephew, Emmanuel, until late February, when he awoke at 1 a.m. and watched the ceiling rumbling for 23 seconds. “I said: ‘That’s it. This isn’t safe.’” A friend who has a house in Lilavois and had sent his wife and children to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for at least the rest of the school year invited Bouquet to set up a tent on his property. In early March, he was joined by three members of the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team (DRT), who are building toilets and showers and a security wall on a site where Bouquet preaches twice a week, conducts a
walk-in clinic, and plans to set up an emergency tent city. “He’s a very wise man,” says Mark Cremeans, the 53-yearold director of the DRT, "and he’s going to do whatever he sets out to do.” Church members have shipped a container full of medicines, tents and emergency supplies, and are providing volunteers to work with Bouquet for the next few months. “I don’t know when our deadline is,” Cremeans says, wiping his forehead. Behind him, on an open concrete patio beneath a damaged roof, Bouquet is seeing dozens of patients. The medical emergency has already passed. Now those he sees merely suffer the symptoms of poverty that the earthquake has exacerbated — anemia, dehydration, late-stage cancer that has gone undetected, skin diseases, intestinal parasites. People have donated money to help victims of the earthquake, Cremeans explains, and “at some point, this will no longer be disaster relief. It will be a mission.” When that time comes, the group will have to withdraw. Long before the earthquake, literally hundreds of aid organizations with ties to U.S. churches had been working in Haiti. One of the issues world leaders discussed at a U.N. donors conference was the need for coordination among large groups and small nonprofits. Those who have spent years working with Haiti’s poor view the eagerness of newcomers with caution. “Everyone is well-intentioned, but many don’t know what they’re getting into in the end,” says Jan Weber, regional medical coordinator at an orphanage that has operated outside Port-auPrince for 22 years. “This whole country is so challenging. I witness every day how difficult it is to provide food and proper health care for these children. You have to find well-educated teachers and child care workers, and the money to pay good salaries so they don’t leave after two weeks. You have to guarantee a certain standard.” Bouquet insists he’s aware of the challenges. “You will see,” he says. “This is a step of the faith that I have in God.”
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From the NE Central Durham VOICE W
8 The news stories below are written by N.C. Central University students in Lisa Paulin’s advanced reporting courses, and by Campus Echo staff reporters.
The stories are published in the Northeast Central Durham Community VOICE alongside stories written by community journalism students at UNCChapel Hill and stories written
by middle and high school students from Northeast Central Durham. The VOICE – which can be seen in its entirety at www.durhamvoice.org – is the
Homeless in NE Central Durham Urban Ministries struggles to keep hope alive
Dwayne Thomas, a resident of Urban Ministries, waits outside the facility for a city bus. CHRIS HESS/NCCU staff photographer, Durham VOICE
BY ISHA JACKSON NCCU STAFF REPORTER, DURHAM VOICE
Off East Main Street in downtown Durham, stands Urban Ministries, a homeless shelter. Roderick Marshall, residential management personnel at Urban Ministries estimates that Durham has about 4,000-5,000 homeless people. About 200-300 are housed at the shelter at any given time. Most people have opinions about how one becomes homeless. “I mean anything can happen. You could have lost your job…now your mortgage is due, along with your bills now you get evicted and are homeless…that quick,” said Brittany Dixon, a Criminal Justice sophomore at N.C. Central University. “Most homeless are not there by choice,” said Leiah McKinzie, medical office administration major at Cleveland Community College. “I just feel that most of them get on drugs, try to ask their families for help, but by then they have been such a burden that their own family isn’t willing to take them in.” John Allen is a resident at Urban Ministries, a native of New York who moved to North Carolina for cheaper housing. He was willing to share some of his story. “I was working and got laid off. My unemployment ran out then got reinstated. I worked at all types of temporary jobs, but they let me go as well,” says Allen. “I really could not afford much of anything after that.” “I had my commercial driver’s license, but when I moved here I had to switch licenses … the medical review board failed my eye test, so I couldn’t drive.” Allen later developed an infection in his foot. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, there are three different levels of homelessness. There is the transitionally homeless
situation, which is a single episode of homelessness lasting an average of 58 days. Second, there is the episodically homeless situation, which lasts a total of 265 days. Last, there is the chronically homeless, which is an average of two episodes, lasting a total of 650 days. Urban Ministries provides 60 free days to stay in the shelter per calendar year which do not have to be consecutive. After the 60 days the homeless must join one of the programs offered. Programs range from recovery programs including rehabilitation, to a program called Journey Tech for students who are homeless and looking for work. The shelter provides three meals a day and depends on community help and donations. “The organization is nonprofit. The government doesn’t really help, but sometimes we receive grants,” said Marshall. “Obama’s stimulus package helped a lot.” Marshall points out the realities of the shelter, “Most [residents] are mentally ill and should be in mental institutions, but they cannot afford it so they end up here with no one to really help them with their illness,” said Marshall. “Sometimes they are just plain lazy.” Allen is embarrassed at his situation and is a little hesitant to answer all of the interview questions. “I don’t want to ask my family for help. They are all in New York, and I don’t feel like they can do anything to help,” says Allen. “I would rather do it myself.” Allen suggests the way people can help is to donate more blankets, washcloths and towels. “Maybe some computers so that we can look for jobs,” said Allen. “Yes, the library is across the street, but it’s so congested that you would have to wait two to three hours before you get to a computer.” Residents range from newborn babies to elderly
people, laid off mothers and veterans who all wait in line for their meals to be served. USA Today cites a 2009 study that veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population. The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness. “I think homelessness reflects horribly on our state. I mean most homeless are veterans and the army guarantees that they will be taken care of, but the longer they are out of the service, the less they get,” said Dixon. “Why defend your county if, your country will eventually leave you on the streets?” Marshall says, “There are plenty of homeless veterans … sometimes things happen and while waiting on their checks from the government. They get placed in shelters such as this one. I would say 50 percent of the homeless are veterans.” Urban Ministries does what it can to supply the homeless with food and shelter, but that may not be enough. “I guess they do all they can with the supplies, and I am thankful for that,” said Allen. Urban Ministries could use help from the Durham community and surrounding areas. There are always volunteer and donation opportunities to help. Think about it , John Allen is very similar to someone you know, a dad, an uncle, a good person put in a bad situation. To help the Northeast Central Durham homeless situation visit www.umdurham.org for more information on how to help Urban Ministries in its struggle to keep hope alive for the homeless.
product of collaboration between the UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and NCCU’s Department of English and Mass Communication.
The project’s many supporters include other UNC-Chapel Hill programs and departments, Durham city government and community organizations, the Z. Smith Reynolds
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Foundation, and the The Daily Tar Heel A full accounting of the “good souls” behind the Northeast Central Durham VOICE is provided by Jock
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Lauterer in the online edition. Lauterer is director of the Carolina Community Media Project in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-
Chapel Hill and the VOICE’s co-adviser. We hope you enjoy learning more about Northeast Central Durham through these stories. If you are interested in par-
ticipating in this project, contact Dr. Lisa Paulin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Bruce dePyssler at the Campus Echo or email@example.com.
Fresh and local Over 50 vendors bring goods to Durham market
Food bank serves community Durham Branch Food Bank has served Durham for 10 years BY CORLISS PAULIN NCCU STAFF REPORTER, DURHAM VOICE
Looking from the outside of the Durham Branch Food Bank no one would ever guess or realize how important this facility is to a lot of people. The Durham Branch Food Bank located at 708 Gilbert Street is a non-profit organization that has served the community for 10 years. Its job is to provide food to partner agencies, shelters, food pantries and after school programs for children. The Durham Branch Food Bank is operated in association with the Food Bank of North Central and Eastern North Carolina which started in 1980. Its main warehouse is located in Raleigh. According to the central and eastern food bank Web site, “The mission of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is to harness and supply resources so that no one goes hungry in central and eastern North Carolina.” The Durham branch supplies a variety of items like canned vegetables, fruits, rice, peanut butter, beverages, infant formula, paper products and hygiene items; along with other services to five counties that include Chatham, Granville, Orange, Person and Vance. Retail stores like Food Lion, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Wal-Mart and Target donate meat and dairy products that have not reached their expiration dates. The two Food Lion stores located on 2930 W. Main Street and 3808 Guess Rd. provide donations and other items to the food bank on a
daily basis. “We are very blessed to have stores like these that donate to the food bank,” said Anthony Reyeros, operations coordinator for the Durham Branch Food Bank. The Durham branch also picks up bread products with their two drivers every Tuesday from Bimbo Bakery which has locations in Morrisville and Raleigh. “The Bimbo Bakery delivers about three to six thousand pounds of food every Tuesday,” said Reyeros. But it was not always like this. “When the economy got worse, Bimbo Bakery tightened their belts and started giving fewer and fewer amounts of their products, and at one point in time the food bank could not even fill up the space allotted for bread products.” But that is not the case now. Sherrece Wilson and Dennis Cannon, volunteers for the food bank, were stacking loads of bread the day after the food bank’s Tuesday pick-up. Collecting the food donations is only half the job. The real work comes when partner agencies and non-profit organizations come to shop for groceries. Each agency or non-profit is paired with a shopping attendant that guides them through the process and shows them what products they are able to choose from. “The agencies are allowed to get whatever amount they need with no limit,” said Reyeros. Agencies such as Mt. Zion Christian Church, Urban Ministries of Durham Food Pantry, Asbury Temple
Volunteer Sherrece Wilson arranges the bread crates at the Durham Food Bank on Gilbert Street. CORLISS PAULING/NCCU staff reporter, Durham VOICE
United Methodist Church and Meals on Wheels of Durham schedule appointments throughout the month. Even though the food bank donates and gives out food, the branch still has to pay bills and operating costs. “Every Partner agency pays a flat rate of 18 cents a pound that goes towards the daily operation of the office building and the warehouse,” said Reyeros. But the Durham branch is also known for programs that are specifically dedicated to offering nutritional meals to young children that would not otherwise have them. Programs like Kid Café and Back Pack benefit children from low income families that can’t afford to feed them a healthy variety of foods. “The backpack program is aimed at reaching kids who don’t receive food outside of school especially during the weekend,” said Reyeros. Durham’s Eastway Elementary School, Burton Geo-Magnet School and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are all participating in the program. Linda Diskey, a volunteer for the Durham branch said, “I have been volunteering here for two years and it has been a great experience working here.” Over the past 10 years the Durham Food Bank has provided over 30 million pounds of food to shelters, food pantries, church ministries and more. It has been an asset to Durham and the surrounding communities. With one decade down, the Durham Food Bank looks forward to celebrating the next 10 years of serving the community.
Yard sale at Union Independent Spring Bazaar raises funds for school programs BY CARLTON KOONCE NCCU STAFF REPORTER, DURHAM VOICE
Tables full of hats and dishes, racks stuffed with business suits and blouses, and mats holding a seemingly endless variety of shoes awaited browsers of a Saturday morning yard sale held by Union Baptist Church in Northeast Central Durham. Church committees and members recently held their first Spring Bazaar yard sale inside the gym of Union Independent School to raise funds for the private kindergarten to second grade institution. About 20 volunteers including the church’s Samaritan Men Ministry, Senior Missionary Circle, Girl Scout troop and the Union Baptist Church Economic Ministry all chipped in their time and effort selling items for the fundraiser. “We still haven’t come up with a total because people are still calling with donations,” said Sharon Coleman of the Union Baptist Church Economic Ministry. “But our first spring bazaar was a success.” The UBC Economic Ministry is a church organization that holds workshops and financial empowerment seminars for church members and works with community sponsors to make sure their finances are in order. “We try to do one major fundraiser for the school each year,” said Coleman. “In 2008 the church had people donate spare
Fungai Bennett looks over clothes for sale at Union Baptist Church’s Spring Bazaar. CARLTON KOONCE/NCCU staff reporter, Durham VOICE
change that they had to raise money. Last year each ministry in the church raised $10,000 for the
school.” “However, we’re hoping to make the spring bazaar an annual
event,” said Coleman. Wendy Rountree, a professor at N.C. Central University, has been a member of Union Baptist Church since January 2009. She said that members and non-members make pledge donations to the school from time to time. Tables lined around the gymnasium and spaces carved out on the floor held the various items being sold. All of the items came from church members and supporters of UBC. Rountree worked the “knick-knack” table at the event. “Knick-knacks are objects that are primarily used in the house as decorations,” said Rountree. “A wide variety of items were sold at the indoor yard sale including shoes, children’s clothing and toys, women’s and men’s apparel, electronics, housewares, and baked goods.” Rountree said while working on this project she met staff members that worked hard and cared greatly about the school and its students. “Church members have a stack in the community because that is where the church is located,” she said. Jacqueline Alford was born in Durham and arrived at 8 a.m. to help sell glassware and silverware at the bazaar. She said she had been a member of UBC since 2006. Alford is proud to help the school. “It’s a great thing for the community,” said Alford. “It’s working out great for students, parents and
everyone involved.” Coleman agrees that UIS helps the neighborhood in great ways. “It’s a vision of hope providing opportunity for children in NECD that they wouldn’t normally have,” said Coleman. “Some of those children would not have this opportunity. It gives them a chance to excel,” she said. Fungai Bennett worked selling clothing apparel and said she has been a member of UBC for four years. “The church has been talking about the school for a long time,” said Bennett who is originally from Dayton, Ohio. “It feels awesome to give opportunities for these kids,” she said. “They’re doing great things over there.” Many of the volunteers at the spring bazaar echoed the same emotions about having UIS in the community. “I believe the church and school will continue to grow because each is meeting the needs of the community,” she said. “I believe that is one of the main purposes of churches and schools – to directly and positively impact the lives of people in the community.” Rountree said she enjoyed herself because she knew they were all working for a great cause by funding the school. “All proceeds go directly to the school,” said Coleman. “We look forward to working with the community and we thank them and members of Union Baptist Church for coming out with support.”
Pine Knot Farm of Hurdle Mills is a regular vendor at the DFM. MIKE DEWEESE-FRANK/NCCU Staff reporter, Durham VOICE
BY CARA OXENDINE NCCU STAFF REPORTER, DURHAM VOICE
The Durham Farmers’ Market offers the community access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as natural, hormone-free pastured meats, eggs, cut flowers and so much more. It aims to promote sustainable healthy lifestyles and is infusing a sense of community into this dis-invested area. While there are two grocery stores in NE Central Durham, Los Primos Supermarket and Lowe’s Foods; most residents don’t have cars so many shop at mini-marts and corner stores out of convenience, which has long-term health consequences. The farmers’ market offers Durham residents a source of fresh, locallygrown produce and products. The US Department of Agriculture Web site explains farmers markets benefit everyone, especially in many urban communities where fresh, nutritious foods are scarce. “Farmers’ markets help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, better food preparation as well as boosts the community’s economy.” The market offers live music and weekly cooking demos to encourage community participation. “When you buy locally fresh-picked produce you’re not losing the vitamins and nutrients that occur in shipping,” said Dianne Brinkley, owner of Brinkley Farm. According to the farmers’ market Web site, “Most food travels 1,500 miles before reaching the grocery story, a two-week trip,” which causes items to lose nutrients, flavor and freshness as well. Fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains are generally more expensive, but the health consequences of eating unhealthily cost more in the long-run. This is important because North Carolina has the sixth highest obesity rate in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . These statistics are even higher for African American and Hispanic communities, which are the two dominant races in NECD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food-poor communities also have a higher risk for diet-related diseases
like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer (breast, colon and prostate), high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke — which are all among the leading causes of death. According to an article in Time, “Can American’s Urban Food Desert Bloom?” disadvantaged urban communities like NECD are often referred to as ‘food deserts’ because they lack, or have limited access to healthy food options; usually due to transportation and financial restrictions. But farmers’ markets, food banks, community gardens, and school lunch programs are a few local ways communities can help end this urban health crisis. The farmers’ market began in 1998 in the parking lot at the old Durham Bulls stadium. It recently relocated in 2006, to the Pavilion at Durham Central Park. “We have almost doubled production and sales [since 2006],” said Paul Vail, co-owner of MoonDance soaps, regarding the new venue. Vail and his wife have been part of the farmers’ market since the start. “The new venue created an atmosphere where the community could gather, socialize and shop,” said Vail. But they want to increase foot-traffic, so he suggested putting fliers in mailboxes, on cars, in restaurants, and in businesses. He also hinted that transportation could be an issue with getting NECD residents to the market, since he’s never seen a bus on Foster Street. The N.C. Department of Transportation said the nearest stops were a few blocks away; one at the Durham Performing Arts Center and the other on Rigsby Avenue and Seminar Street – both at least a halfmile walk. Vail explained no one wants to tote bags this far and then ride a packed bus home with all their produce. Bus riders can be long, and often riders have to take more than one to get where they are going. On Saturday mornings, Foster Street has steady pedestrian traffic going to and from Durham Central Park — people walking through the Pavilion, mingling stand-by-stand with vendors, picking out vegetables, cheeses, and socializ-
ing with other shoppers and locals. Vendors have their own banners or signs displaying their farm and/or business name and a pricelist. Some even display pictures of their farm or the processes they go through to craft their product. “People like having fresh food, supporting the farmers and making sure the land stays as farmland,” said Dale Fluke, owner of Little Tree Farm, in the Duke Chronicle (2008). “We are going towards sustainable, organic farming by crop and animal rotation and minimizing or not using pesticides and herbicides. It’s another benefit our customers recognize.” At the farmers’ market people know where their food is coming from and who produced it; it also helps support small farmers by cutting out the middle-man, so more of the money goes directly in their pocket. The farmers’ market membership organization is 75 percent farmers and 25 percent crafters, and vendors vary with the seasons depending on the products they bring to market. The market is a produceronly market — so no resellers allowed. Vendors are not allowed to buy items to bring and sell at market. There are more than 50 vendors, all within 70 miles of the market, who bring an assortment of local products: fruit, vegetables, meats, eggs, cut flowers, potted plants, artisan cheese/breads, home baked pies, honey, handmade chocolates, preserves, local wines, hand made soaps, pottery, jewelry, artwork and more. “Our customers are like family and we enjoy seeing them every week,” said Dianne Brinkley, owner of Brinkley Farm, and the only part she doesn’t enjoy is waking up at 3 a.m. every Saturday. Her farm is over 40 years-old and has been a member of the farmers’ market since 2000. The farmers’ market offers Durham residents the opportunity to eat healthy, as well as helping change this ‘food desert’ into a sustainable grassland. It offers an abundance of fresh, healthy food to Durham residents every Saturday morning and it’s bringing together the community, as well as aiding in the effort to revive and rebuild NECD.
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
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JAZZY ON STAGE
Good manners returns to urban
BY THERESA GARRETT ECHO STAFF REPORTER
During its Centennial Year, N.C. Central University hosted the 20th annual NCCU Jazz Festival on April 15-17 at the B.N Duke Auditorium. Performances included Jazz greats Bobby Broom, Nnenna Freelon and Christian McBride & Inside Straight. JES’NEKA JONES/Echo staff photographer
Hit ‘em with the funny
Mass communication senior Quan “hits us with a flex” and shows comedic skills. DIANE VARNIE/Echo staff photographer
BY JAMESE SLADE ECHO STAFF REPORTER
Shequan “Quan Acapella” Wiggins has taken the stage and gained a buzz around North Carolina with his stand up comedy act that is leading to other great ventures. Wiggins, who started doing comedy in November of 2009, has always wanted to perform, but never thought he could do it.
“I was always the funny friend.” said Wiggins, mass communications senior. “I saw a guy online doing ten minutes of impersonations and I thought ‘I can do that,’” he said.“After that, I made my own set and did it in front of my friends.” After he gained some confidence, Wiggins moved on to Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, a restaurant that holds an open mic night. “The first time I went to Papa Mojo’s
I chickened out. The second time I was about to chicken out again, but instead, I went up there and did my thing,” said Wiggins. Wiggins soon moved on to Time Out Bar and Grill. The second time he went back, Wiggins got his first experience with a heckler. Wiggins had a rough start gaining fans. “During my comedy act the DJ cut the music off on me,” said Wiggins. “I was embarrassed, but I mainly began thinking about what I needed to do better to make it work.” Wiggins said it’s different being a known comedian. “Before I wanted to be funny, but now I have to be funny,” he said. “It’s weird to have people repeat my jokes back to me and come up to me and say, ‘Yo man you are so funny.’” Wiggins says he gets his jokes from life experiences and TV. “I love to do impersonations. My tough crowds usually break with them,” he said. Wiggins is booked for different venues in Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Clark Atlanta to open for Kevin Heart. He has blessed the stage of N.C. Central University’s Wild Out Wednesday. “Performing at NCCU’s Wild Out Wednesday was the scariest,” he said. “Once I got the first laugh I knew I was good from there on out.” Wiggins can be viewed or contacted on www.youtube.com/quanacapellatv or on twitter at @QuanAcapella.
Is chivalry dead? Are gentlemen a thing of the past? The answers to these questions may stump some while others may say “Yes, chivalry died a long time ago” and “who needs to be a gentleman.” Read slowly: Chivalry is not dead! It has been resurrected and made sexy again by 27-yearold Enitan O. Bereola II, author of “Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette Book for the Urban Sophisticate.” Sparked by Enitan’s last name, “bereolaesque” is a self made adjective, meaning highly appealing and pleasing to the human senses and mind. The self definition also means to captivate while also providing pleasure or delight— especially in appearance or manner. A contemporary, modern, and up-to-date book on etiquette, “Bereolaesque” is designed for “the urban sophisticate” or “anyone with class, taste, morals, and goals.” Wide arrays of topics are covered in the book including style, language, self-assessment, and how to treat women all with the “bereolaesque” touch. The idea for the book came about in 2006 after a mentor told Bereola that his personality was
marketable. Once the writing process began, Bereola realized there was a purpose for this project and that was that mending of men. Bereola took it open himself to rejuvenate the lost etiquette that comes along with being a gentleman. “Bereolaesque” was published through Author House in 2009 and has created a movement that is “something sexy.” This “bereolaesque” movement has a “huge diverse support group of people who are well rounded, balanced and not afraid to be who they are.” No one is perfect in a time when it is so easy to take on the identity of others men coming to “grips of who they are.” Ever since the release, the book has been getting a respond that some would say is well deserved. Up next for Bereola are books pertaining to ladies, tours, and more conversation around being a gentleman. My first challenge goes out to the men on campus, as I strongly urge them to read this book. I also challenge the women on campus to read this book as well. The book is available online and at select retail stores. If you want a daily dose of pleasantries follow Enitan Bereola on twitter @bereolaesque. You will thank me later.
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
Curtains closed The North Carolinians that can make a record feel “so good” are calling it quits with their fourth and final LP, “LeftBack.” Unfamiliar? Their name is Little Brother. Plenty were upset including myself - to see the album’s track list, only to learn that an ol’ hip-hop dream just couldn’t come true. No credits of 9th Wonder production were found. The least Phonte, Pooh and 9th could Diane have done Varnie is tied things up and close the curtains the correct way… as a trio. Little Brother formed at N.C. Central University in 1998 with members Phonte Coleman, Thomas “Rapper Big Pooh” Jones, and producer Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit. However, 9th left the group shortly before the recording of their 2007 album, “GetBack.” 9th even hinted that a Little Brother reunion wouldn’t be a bad idea. After witnessing the aftermath of rapper Baatin’s passing of Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village, 9th tweeted: “A Little Brother album doesn't sound like a bad idea these days man, people are leaving, you just don't know." I wonder what happened to that idea? Maybe a clash of 9th and Phonte egos? Or maybe it’s deeper than eyes can see. Little Brother attempted to add a 9th Wonder produced track, titled “Star,” as a “LeftBack” i-Tunes bonus, but 9th’s refusal sparked a feud on Twitter and exposed it all- in fact, too much for fans liking. If you want to learn more of what happened, watch Phonte’s online Vimeo video titled “Phonte speaks on Little Brother/9th Wonder.” Though 9th was “left back” on the final album, Phonte and Pooh held it down as the dynamic duo we heard on “GetBack.” A bulk of the “LeftBack” production went to fellow NC producer Khrysis, who produced “Table for Two,” “Revenge,” and current single and album opener, “Curtain Call.” “Tigallo for Dollo,” which is also produced by Khrysis, supplies a listening essence of chopped up, soulful sampling and drums, reminding us of the traditional sample style of 9th Wonder. As the curtain draws in and the Little Brother show comes to an end, please remember that the music will live on. I wouldn’t mind another Little Brother album, but I shall not fret because solo wise, the two are still a force to be reckoned with. Pooh will continue to do his thing on the mic. In fact, Pooh released a mixtape titled “The Purple Tape” early January of this year. In a recent interview with AllHipHop.com, Phonte stated that he will be working on an individual rap album sometime next year. On the flip side, you can find Phonte rocking a bowtie singing alongside his Dutch producer counterpart, Nicolay, making up the alternative R&B duo The Foreign Exchange. Support your own and buy Little Brother’s “LeftBack.” It’s about time you pay the record store a visit anyways.
Porgy and Bess NCCU unlikely host to historic opera 12345 1234 123 12 T R A S H
Erykah Badu New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) 4 out of 5 Universal Motown
The “Porgy and Bess” Opratorio combines African-American oratorio music with traditional opera which includes art, dance, drama and music to create performances with unique harmonious balances. NCCU alumna Elvira Green directed the fifth annual performance ensemble while Richard Banks, director of choral activities, directed the orchestra. This spring’s production was based on the novel Porgy written in 1927 by DuBose Heyward and his wife, Dorothy. See a complete story about Porgy and Bess at campusecho.com.
Introducing Thee... Q&A with local about hip-hop, record deal and inspirations Known to the hip-hop masses as “Thee Tom Hardy,” Thomas Hardison is a local artist whose musical influences are reflected in his style. Hardy discusses his aspirations for music and his recent project, “The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape Volume 1: Curse of thee Green Faceded.” Campus Echo: Where are you from? Tom Hardy: I was born and raised in the Bull City, Durham, North Carolina.
Campus Echo: How did you get your start in being a Hip Hop artist? Tom Hardy: When I was in high school I wrote a poem and performed it at a Slam poetry competition. Pretty soon poetry turned to hiphop.
Raymond v. Raymond 3 out of 5 LaFace
Campus Echo: What label are you signed to? Tom Hardy: In January 2009 Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit signed me to his label called The Academy. Campus Echo: Have you recorded any mixtapes since you decided to start rapping? Tom Hardy: The name of my mixtape is "The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape Volume 1: Curse of thee Green Faceded," and is the first release on The Academy label. 9th Wonder produced the majority of the mixtape and production also came from Thee Band Geeks, E. Jones & Fatin Horton. Featured artists include Freeway, Young Chris (Young Gunz), Murs, Tyler Woods and more. Campus Echo: What are you focused on right now—a new project, peforming, selling albums? Tom Hardy: Right now I'm focused on my new mixtape, "The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape Volume 2: Secret of Thee Green Magic," which will be released June 2010.
Erykah Badu’s fifth studio album “New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh),” was released on March 30th, selling 110,000 copies in its first week. Producers such as J Dilla, Questlove, James Poyser, Madlib, 9th Wonder, Sa-Ra, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Karriem participated in production on the album. Part two is packed with hazy yet relaxed songs about desire, longing, disloyalty and emotions. It is also the sequel to her “funkadelic” 2008 work, “New Amerykah Part One (The 4th World).” On part two, the lyrics tend to be clever yet jaunty. The lead single “Window Seat,” alerts listeners to the fear that people may have when they fall guilty to “groupthink” theory, stripping down one’s resistance of discovering liberty apart from what others may expect and want of you. “Turn Me Away (Get
Durham rapper discusses mixtape “The Hardy Boy Mystery Mixtape Volume 1: Curse of thee Green Faceded” TEDDY LAPERRE/Echo staff photographer
Campus Echo: Which musical artists influenced you the most? Tom Hardy: My favorite group of all time and my two favorite rappers are Andre 3000 & Big Boi of OutKast. Other influences are pioneers of Southern hip-hop such as UGK, Eightball, Little Brother, Kanye West and DJ Quik. Campus Echo: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would you work with? Tom Hardy: Andre 3000. I love the way he rhymes and also the way he produces. Campus Echo: How would you like your listeners to perceive your music?
Tom Hardy: I want them to enjoy my music and be able to listen to it in any situation. Whether they're riding in the car, studying, at a party, I want the music to be fun but also have a bit of seriousness. Campus Echo: What kind of advice would you give to up and coming artist? Tom Hardy: Don't get ahead of yourself. Always be humble and take criticism well. Even if you don't like what someone says about you or about your music, it’s their opinion and they have it for a reason. — Interviewer, Tondea King
The Grammy Award winning recording artist has done it again, continuing to secure his position in the ever so changing R&B music industry. Usher’s sixth studio album “Ray-mond v. Raymond” was released March 30, assuring fans that the R&B crooner is home. Produced by big names such as Jermaine Dupri, Polow da Don, and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the album debuted at number one, selling more than 329,000 copies in its first week. Popular seductive dance singles such as “Daddy’s Home” and “Little Freak”, which features Nicki Minaj, declares that the new album is filled with an
#TT(Trending Topic) #FTW #BlogWorthy #SMH #EpicFail Munny),” takes the medley of Sylvia Striplin’s “You Can’t Turn Me Away,” which some may know as the sample from the J.U.N.I.O.R. Mafia 1995 smash hit “Get Money.” This song could be pretty likeable and possibly a favorite on the album, but the production of the song kind of left question marks because it really doesn’t flow well with the other songs on the album. “Out of My Mind, Just in Time” is a 10 minute medley joyride that really makes the album, with its two-part, flipped beat story. It’s 1920 blues influence and jazz sound is unbelievable and makes Badu a good comparison to Billie Holiday— especially with Badu’s vocal for the icing. The tempos also change as she addresses various sentiments about a lost love as the tempos change. Bonus track “Jump Up in the Air (Stay There)” featuring Lil’ Wayne and Bilal is electro- funky song, addressing the battle of coming down from a natural high. The song sort of takes you on a hippie ride with a twist of Paraliment. Overall, Badu did it again—challenging fans to listen outside of the box. Every song on this album will have more than one interpretation after listening. — Belinda Dunn
abundance of pop tracks. In fact “OMG,” featuring will.i.am holds a techno vibe, which clearly shows Usher’s only battle is his record company and the point of relevance—due to the sudden change in music. Ushers fans were hoping for a comeback from his unsuccessful album, “Here I Stand.” Unfortunately, fans have finally come to the conclusion that he can never make a sound satisfying comeback after his “Confessions” album. With songs like “Mars vs. Venus” and “Making Love” the album is a mixture of love ballads and songs that are sure to put anyone “in the mood” for being with that special someone. One thing for sure is that fans that didn’t care for the mature, married Usher, they can surely appreciate the fact that he has his “swag” back with tracks filled with all types of successful R&B elements to make an album, which usually involves drama, love, and lots of sex. — Kierra Moore
Bull City Showdown N
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Photos and story by Corliss Pauling
Junior varsity cheerleaders gets the crowd into the game by showcasing new cheers.
NCCU students T.J. Granger and Rajah Rahiem enjoy the dance contest, one of many festivities offere at the Bull City Showdown: The Secret Game Revisited
Brian Norton rises above Nate Lee as he goes for the layup.
Top: Charles Burnette serves up tropical drinks for the crowd. Above : The white team makes a fastbreak to score a point.
Ebonie Simpson dances along the sidelines with a group of NCCU students.
s part of N.C. Central University’s spring fling celebration, NCCU and Duke University recreation departments held the first annual Bull City Showdown April 17. The all-day event, which was held on the NCCU campus, included students from both campuses. The basketball tournament, “A History Revisited,” was planned to commemorate the “Secret Game” between NCCU and Duke students in 1944. The original game was played between the men’s basketball team, at NCCU, then known as the N.C. College for Negroes, and a group of medical students from Duke. The game had to be played in private because of laws that forced segregation. Spring fling started with basketball tournaments in the LeRoy T. Walker Physical Education Complex and ended with an all-star game in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. Prizes such as Jimmy Johns gift cards and official Bull City Showdown t-shirts were given away to raffle ticket winners. Ebonie Simpson, sophomore Duke student, showed her school spirit by participating in the jig contest with other NCCU students. “The dance contest was a great way to get everyone involved and excited,” said Simpson. The event also had Reggie and Charles Burnette, vendors of Tropical Delights, mixing and serving fruity drinks outside McLendon gymnasium. “We usually are at every home football game and other events that are hosted throughout the year,” said Reggie. Duke and NCCU recreational departments were pleased with the turnout and hope they can continue having similar events between the two schools.
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY APRIL 21, 2010
HISTORY REVISITED NCCU rememebers “secret game” last saturday with tourney
Lady Eagle breaks out Freshman has record season on the court.
BY AARON SAUNDERS ECHO SPORTS EDITOR
Imagine a time when Negroes and whites were not allowed to play on the same court as each other because it violated the North Carolina state segregation laws. Like most Southern cities in the United States, in 1944 Durham was completely segregated. On March 12, 1944 legendary coach John McLendon and his varsity basketball team at the North Carolina College for Negroes played in an unsanctioned, spectatorless game versus Duke Medical School. The law prohibited blacks from shopping at any downtown department store nor live in the same neighborhood, or attend the same schools as whites. A s you can probably imagine, relationships between the two schools were all but nonexistent. At this time, the Duke Medical school team would be led by former collegiate basketball players and other medical students that played on a recreation league team. The Duke Medical Students came to North Carolina College for Negroes to face the varsity squad for the title of best team in Durham. Albeit, no one would ever officially know that this game took place. In recent years, the secret has been let out and the first racially integrated collegelevel game in the South, which NCCU won 88-44, has garnered more and more awareness across the basketball world. On Saturday, as part of the centennial celebrations of
BY AARON SAUNDERS ECHO SPORTS EDITOR
Students from both Duke and NCCU participated in an intramural all-star game Saturday in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. The game ended in a 47-45 defeat of the blue team by the white. AARON SAUNDERS/Echo sports editor
NCCU, the Campus Recreation department conducted the Inaugural Bull City Showdown, “A History Revisited,” which consisted of a day-long basketball tournament concluding with an all-star game in McDougaldMcLendon Gymnasium.
To this day many casual fans do not know that this game ever took place or that there was a college titled North Carolina College for Negroes. “Before today I had never heard of a secret game between us and Duke,” said public administration junior
Senait Selemun. This celebration is for Duke and NCCU students to mark one of the greatest moments in both schools’ history. Sadly, although Duke and NCCU are located 3.06 miles apart, we rarely cross paths.
When N.C. Central University freshman guard Joanna Miller decided to continue her education and basketball career 3,000 miles away from home, she was looking to stand out. “I expected to make a difference in the program,” said Miller. Among Miller’s accomplishments are AllIndependent Newcomer of the year, AllIndependent first team and NCCSIA All-State basketball team. Miller ended her freshman season with 496 points, more than any freshman in program history. Like any new college player, however, Miller struggled along the way. “She had a couple of games where she just didn’t have it but she wasn’t one to fall apart,” said head coach Joli Robinson. “She learned to push through because no one has perfect games.” Miller, who hails from Los Angeles, had a tough time adjusting to life in the South. “When I first got here I was thinking about the cold weather and snow. I still get homesick sometimes though,” said Miller. Miller rose to the test almost every time she faced such teams as Maryland, Wake Forest and Duke; each of which she scored more than 15
points. “I believe she looked forward to playing the big schools and she went out there and put no pressure on herself,” said Robinson. According to Miller, the best part of her season was toward the end because the team started to really come together and get better. The Lady Eagles finished with an 11-18 record, a one-game improvement from last year. Next year will see the Lady Eagles line-up get a boost with the return of the former Heritage Sports Radio Network player of year, Jori Nwachukwu. Nwachukwu returns to the squad after missing all of last season due to a knee injury. The Lady Eagles also will get help from the return of sophomore Chasidy Williams who was the team’s second leading scorer in the 08-09 season. “It’s going to be interesting for them to all play together; I believe that they will feed off each other,” said Robinson. As a sophomore, Miller said, “I need to improve in every aspect of the game and increase my knowledge of the game,” she said. Robinson noted that she expects Miller to “continue to work hard, improve every day and continue to be the humble person that she is.”
Assistant coaches: All work, no play BY
TEDDY LAPERRE ECHO SPORTS EDITOR
The head coach may be the face of a sports program, but the assistant coach is just as vital to the team’s success. Although these coaches work hard to get the best out of student-athletes on the field, they also do paperwork off the field to insure that the athletes will be eligible and prepared to play during the next game or event. Assistant track and field coach Tavius Walker’s responsibilities include filling out entries so all athletes are entered in a competition, completing a bus itinerary, compiling a travel list, recruiting, and attending daily practice and individual workouts. Walker explained that practice is only 20 percent
of his week, and that his off-the-field work resembles that of an office job. “I work 60 hours a week and about 14-16 hours a day,” said Walker. “I do a lot of administrative work. It is parallel to a corporate business.” Athletes work together with assistant coaches before games to work on strategy. If a player notices another team’s tactic during warm-ups before a game, he will bring it to the attention of the assistant coach and together they will help the head coach capitalize on what they see. The assistant coach also handles minor situations that can be managed before they get to the head coach. This could include showing up late for prac-
tice or having to leave practice early to study. The player can tell the assistant coach, who can give the player clearance and then explain the situation to the head coach. Another important function of an assistant coach is to be an extension of the head coach. Assistant women’s basketball coach Antonio Davis considers himself an “enforcer. “One of my main responsibilities as an assistant coach is to reinforce the procedures, rules and regulations of the head coach both on and off the field,” said Davis. Assistant coaches are also involved in the lives of the student-athletes off the field, helping players with issues in their personal lives.
Mass Communication junior Chavaria Williams explained that the coaches stay in touch with going on in their athletes’ lives, which helps create a tight bond. “The coaches love to know our personal issues,” Williams said. “They are very comfortable and understanding. It makes it feel like we are all a family.” Freshmen basketball player Joanna Miller explains how this playercoach relationship helped her when she moved from California. “I know the coach cares about what is going on in my life,” Miller said. “It makes me feel secure and comfortable. It helped me open up with others and helped me get through school and class.”
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Assistant track and field coach Tavius Walker organizes the team before practice. AARON SAUNDERS/Echo sports editor
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
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P rofessor, student debate math It is obvious that have a problem that needs fixing and I believe that we have taken the first steps toward solving the problem, which are awareness, and conversation.
The department appears ill-equipped to support students who are fulfilling their end of the learning agreement by seeking out help. An overdependence on Math XL as a teaching tool instead of a practice tool is a problem.
NCCU COORDINATOR FOR COLLEGE ALGEGRA AND TRIGONOMETRY
Math professor enters the debate Dear Editor: After reading the article in the Campus Echo entitled “Missing the math mark,” I felt compelled to respond. I am Dr. Richard Townsend, the coordinator for College Algebra and Trigonometry I and for Elementary Statistics in the Mathematics and Computer Science department here at NCCU. The basis for my response does not stem from a sense of defensiveness, but more from a desire to move forward. It is obvious that there is a problem that needs fixing and I believe that we have taken the first steps toward solving the problem, which are awareness, and conversation. Let me begin by stating that this problem is not unique to NCCU. During the fall of 2003, 4045 percent of the 400-500 students who took pre-calculus at San Jose State University, a large metropolitan university in California, earned Ds or Fs. Also, according to a 2008 report by the CUNY Council of Math Chairs, 90 percent of 200 University of New York students tested couldn't solve a simple algebra problem in their first class at a four-year college. I believe that our university community will be best served if we get past the “blame game” and begin to work together to meet the challenge ahead of us. A range of factors including student perceptions of attitudes toward mathematics and science, and academic backgrounds are well established as predictors of student achievement in mathematics and science education. Students' outside workload and characteristics of the way a specific class is taught may also play a role at some institutions. Learning is a mutual process. Both the instructor and the students have a responsibility in the learning process. As instructors we should be committed to providing the best instructions possible for our students and we should be continually seeking ways to motivate our students to want to learn mathematics. We
can do this by seeking ways to improve our methodology and delivery; and by seeking ways to help bridge any disconnect that may exist between the student and the instructor. Students should make every effort to do all the homework, study hard, and attend all classes. They should also ask questions, go to office hours and tutoring, pay attention, participate in class, take good notes, keep up, practice, review constantly, read the book, and make every effort to understand concepts and not just memorize. Administrators should provide greater opportunities for faculty development of mathematics for instructors and provide support for research in the area of teaching and learning on the college level. They should also provide more diverse training campus wide. Culturally based differences in methods and styles of teaching may affect communication in the classroom. And finally, let’s talk a minute about MathXL. MathXL does not take the place of the instructor, nor does it replace paper and pencil. It is no different than using a textbook. Students do not work out the problems on the computer. They couldn’t if they wanted to. They work out the problems using paper and pencil and then simply enter their solutions into MathXL. MathXL took top honors in the 2009 Awards of Excellence from Tech & Learning magazine. This awards program, now in its 27th year, recognizes both the "best of the best" and creative new offerings that help educators in the business of teaching, training, and managing with technology. This year’s panel of more than 30 educators from around the country screened the products and picked the Awards of Excellence winners. Evaluation criteria include quality and effectiveness, ease of use, creative use of technology and suitability for
use in an educational environment. It is my sincere hope that we can continue to have honest and sincere dialogue as we seek a solution to the challenge of improving student performance in our entry level mathematics courses. Dr. Richard Townsend Editor’s note: For a complete version of Professor Townsend’s letter, which in academic style includes complete references, please see the online version at campusecho.com
Student enters the debate Dear Editor: As a proactive student who takes responsibility for my learning, I am very disappointed in the tenor of the math department’s response to student failure rates. I was, until recently, one of many liberal arts majors advised to register for the Statistics class. It is billed as an introductory overview of statistics. However, within three weeks I found the class anything but introductory. My inability to keep up in the course was not due to lack of preparation, as Dr. Kwesi Aggrey asserts. In fact, I came to the class having successfully completed a math GRE prep course the prior summer. The course was heavy on quantitative analysis. I also had all As and Bs in prior algebra and trigonometry courses. I also have no problems with being an “aggressive learner”, as one stu-
dent put in the article. However, I do need to ask questions to learn. The way my statistics course was designed did not allow for questions or feedback from the professor. When I asked for assistance with homework problems I was told that the professor did not “do that.” I asked about tutoring and was told that while there are math tutors they are not familiar with statistics. I discussed my concerns with my professor, the math department chair, my department advisor and a counselor. The consensus was for me to just do the homework and try to pass. Yet, Dr. Alade Tokuta said that students are “not taking advantage of resources.” If such resources exist and I did not find them through the professor, department secretary or an advisor just how would a student take advantage of them? The classes are too large for orderly review of homework or questions and answers — important in a class that does not require any pre-existing subject knowledge. The department also appears ill-equipped to support students that are fulfilling their end of the learning agreement by seeking out help. An overdependence on Math XL as a teaching tool instead of a practice tool is also a problem. Math XL is not designed to communicate new information but to reinforce what has been learned in class. New concepts were too often relegated to self-directed learning via Math XL. That is not a good practice for lower level classes. Yet as much as the class depended upon Math XL to substitute for instruction the use of another technology — scientific calculators — was eschewed. A cursory overview with five minutes left in class was the entirety of my calculator training. We were also not allowed to store formulas, one of the main
functions of a scientific calculator. Memorizing complicated formulas was privileged over applying the concepts. To this day I never received an answer about what a standard deviation means and what it conveys about the data. This lack of contextualization, particularly in a class designed for liberal arts majors, made the class all the more difficult. Too often the administrative and faculty response to student failures, as evidenced in the math failure rates, are disproportionately attributed to the students. Sure, being proactive and responsible is key to student success and I do not doubt that many students fail due to their own behavior. However, classes are just systems. And systems can be designed to alienate even the most proactive student. As judged by my experience, that is part of the story of the math failure rates. Even if the opposite is true – that students are ill-prepared and are not equipped for the mathematical concepts — then the numbers suggest there is a need to be addressed. If almost half of all students enrolled in math classes are having the same problem then it is the University’s responsibility to address the fundamental weaknesses. Reducing every student who struggled with this class to a math illiterate is unfair and untrue. We are students who have sought out a college degree. We may come with varied skill sets but the function of the school is to meet us where we are and get us to where we want to be. I withdrew from class even though I badly needed the credit hours to graduate. With a tutor, a better designed course, accessible faculty and less blaming perhaps I could have had a better outcome. In the end, I know enough statistics to know that a 57 percent pass rate means that 43 percent, or almost half, of us are failing math and it is a statistical improbability that all the fault lies with the students. Tressie McMillan
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
Prissy vs. laid-back girls prissy girl and a laidback girl are two totally different people. Prissy girls are more time consuming than laid-back girls. However, they are alike in a few ways. A prissy girl’s nails have to be perfect. Her heels have to be clean and straight. Her skirt has to be neatly pressed. Her shirt has to be neatly Krystal tucked in. Johnson Her jewelry has to be neatly on her wrist and neck. Her room has to be tidy and neat. Her bed has to be re-made every time she gets out of it. Her perfume has to be sprayed downward then back up so she can smell “just right.” Her lip gloss has to be applied every twenty minutes, and it has to shine perfectly. She is the almighty prissy girl. But this girl will throw her hair into a pony tail. When it’s down, who cares? No heels for this chick; she sticks to the sneakers. Did someone say skirt or dress? Jeans and a tshirt is the way for this girl. A casual necklace for every out-
fit, but it’s not guaranteed. A clean room really doesn’t matter to her as long as she can see the floor. Making the bed is far from being important to this girl. She could care less about perfume, because a shower is enough to make her smell good. No lip gloss or make-up for her. Only chapstick for the naturally beautiful lady. She is the average laid-back girl. Both of these girls take the time to look presentable, but the prissy girl loves to take more time. Mirrors and makeup are a prissy girl’s best friends. Twenty hours out of the day, she is putting on make-up in the mirror or fixing her hair. A prissy girl will cry a river if her make-up gets smeared and she can’t fix it. It takes her an hour or longer to apply her make-up, and she doesn’t care who is waiting on her. A laid-back girl hates all of the make-up and lip gloss. She even hates the thought of it. She doesn’t feel she needs make-up to make her beautiful or has to look in the mirror thirty times a day to make who she is. She figures that if she looked fine five minutes ago
then there are no changes now. She can look in the mirror once or twice a day, shrug her shoulders, and go about her day. Her boyfriend stays on a tight dog leash, and gets treated as such. Can anyone guess who this is? Yes! It is her; the prissy girl. When a guy tries to talk to her, she blows him off all too easily. She may not even give him a chance to speak. When her hand goes up, it means, “Get away from me.” If a guy is lucky enough to be her boyfriend, he better hold on for dear life. Prissy girls act like their boyfriends don’t exist. He walks behind her while she walks with her friends. The laid-back girl shows more affection. She holds his hand, and everyone knows he is hers. She loves conversation with anybody; however, she will let you know when she doesn’t want to to hang out on another level. Her boyfriend always has a smile on his face and seldom complains about the things she does. A prissy girl's boyfriend always complains about her not spending time
with him and always hanging out with her friends. Getting dressed for the laidback girl is fairly easy. For class she will throw on a pair of fitted jeans, a t-shirt, and clean pair of sneakers. For a night out she may wear some leggings or a nice skirt and some flat boots (remember no heels). Some days she may feel like getting more cute than usual, and she may “spice up” her outfit that day. The prissy girl will take all of the time in the world to put on the simplest outfit. She is always late to the club because she has to lay out twenty different outfits just to pick out the first one she threw on the bed. It makes no sense how much time it can take an individual to get ready for the day. On average it should take any girl about an hour to get ready for the day. Two and three hours are just too much. I could never see myself getting ready for that long, because I would run out of things to do. Prissy girls and laid-back girls can be alike in some ways, but usually they are very, very different.
drawing by Rashaun Rucker
What was your most memorable moment at NCCU this year? “It was when renown Dr. Ben Carson came and spoke at the McDougal Gym.” — Deirdre Brooks
Tootles! hen I first stepped foot on N.C. Central University I hated it. Then again, I was a home body and hated the idea of leaving home period, even if it was just two hours away. I remember taking a tour of the campus with my parents, the rainy weather didn’t help either. I kept thinking, there's no way in Britney hell I’ll ever Rooks remember where anything is and all my friends are at home. The tour guide told us about chicken Wednesdays and showed us the Campus Echo, as if I’d ever have any interest in working for a newspaper, right? I was such a wimp; so afraid to try new things. But then I met a tall skinny man with a funny looking hat by the name of Mr. Huff. He was start-
ing a new summer program called the Aspiring Eagles. The program was meant to help incoming freshman get adjusted to college life over the summer before freshman year started. My parents strongly urged that I sign up, it would only be for two months. So I did. I cried only once, okay maybe twice because I wanted to go home but part of the rules were that we couldn’t go home during the two months. so I had no choice. That two months was exactly what I needed. It took me out of my small town comfort zone of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., brought me to a bigger city, with people I didn’t know and forced me to deal with it. We took trips to places like Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington D.C.. We went to a black wax museum, an aquarium, Six Flags, a street festival, visited churches, and learned who can and cannot hold their alcohol.
By the end of my two months I was proud of myself. I’d stayed the entire time and used the money I was awarded to buy a laptop, which is still kicking! The main thing I learned was that you will be afraid sometimes, but you just have to grit your teeth and do it, especially if you know that it will only benefit you in the end. For a long time I declared on a daily basis that there was no way I’d make it to graduation. I wanted so badly to quite, constantly thought about stopping but after taking the advice of friends and family I decided to stay and I’m so glad I did. Now I can look back on my college experience whenever I’m afraid of something and think ‘Well, I sure as hell didn’t expect to make it through that but I did, and I’ll make it through this too .’ I’m grateful to NCCU for my degree in Mass Com. It’s something no one can ever take
from me, thank you. Now down to the nitty gritty: Housing, please get it together! The juniors and seniors have every right to stay on campus if it better helps them focus. Don’t mess them up by forcing them away. If you don’t have enough room for everyone quite accepting more than you can handle. Eagle Landing, stop it with the fire drills, my God man! To the popo, more parking spaces or less tickets, one of the two. Eagle Card office, when students don’t use all their meals within a week they lose them. Why not tally up a total of how much each meal costs and whatever meals students don’t use at the end of the week, let those turn into flex dollars? Students could be using that money in the convenient store or at the Eagles Nest. Waste not want not. Other than that, I wish everyone the best of the best. Tootles!
“It would be going to the movies with my fellow RAs and finding out how fun the $1.50 movie theater can actually be with a selected few .” — Phillip Brown
“Getting the opportunity to meet the new people that I would have never got a chance to meet. This has been a great life changing experience.” — Kenisha Holloway — Sound Off by Uyi Idahor
The Campus Echo wishes everyone a long, happy, relaxing, beach-loving, shorts-wearing, cookout-having, pool-swimming, fireworks-setting off-ing, amusement-park-visiting summer and much more. See you next year!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
A CAMPUS ECHO SPECIAL FEATURE N
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person true stories from the lives of eight nccu students
Given everything, I blew it all
My near-death by Oldsmobile at 10
Homosexuality: a proud lifestyle, but not a choice
BY CHRIS HESS
BY ISHA JACKSON
BY CLINTON CENTRY
ECHO STAFF REPORTER
ECHO STAFF REPORTER
ECHO STAFF REPORTER
do not come from poverty. I come from an upper-middle class home in a nice neighborhood. My parents are still married and happy. I was never abused or molested. In fact, my family gatherings look like a picture from a Ralph Lauren catalog. I was handed every opportunity anyone could ask for. I was accepted into East Carolina University after graduating from Northern Durham High School in 2001. My parents were pleased to be able to pay for my education. I blew it. At age 18, I felt my purpose in life was to drink as much as possible, that partying trumped academic success.
lood gushed from my face as I climbed out of the Oldsmobile. My mouth filled with excruciating pain. All I could think was, “What the hell did she do to me?” It was a beautiful summer day; I had tricked my eldest brother Derrick into taking me to Shelby to visit my grandmother, who lived two minutes from my real destination. My eldest cousin, Kinbria, got behind the wheel of her mother’s Oldsmobile and drove around the block to find the three of us. “Stop being fast, get y’all ass in the car,” she said. Lasonya and I were 10, Leiah was 11.
guess I have always known I was a bit different. It was a feeling that developed within, a natural feeling that I grew to understand and deal with. I could not express my emotions with words, but I knew that I was attracted to the same sex. From as early as age seven, my experiences gave way to a curiosity that steadily progressed. It’s funny how an adolescent can come to this conclusion never having had a sexual encounter of any kind. This is why I challenge the assumption that homosexuality is a choice. In order for one to choose to be homosexual, an alternative has to be presented.
n See HESS Page 4
n See JACKSON Page 5
n See CENTRY Page 2
Stories written by students in Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, taught by Dr. Lisa Carl
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Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2006
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HOW JIHAD DECLARED WAR Briana Aguilar’s foster sister turned her family upside down ... even the FBI got involved BY BRIANA AGUILAR CONTRIBUTING WRITER
om, Dad we need to talk.’ In movies, this is usually the part where the daughter says, “I’m pregnant.” But this had nothing to do with pregnancy. I told my parents about my friend Jihad who was new to my high school. Jihad means “holy war” in Arabic, but to me, Jihad was just a girl in homeroom who I had become close friends with. Who knew that her name would become my reality? “I really think y’all should think about becoming foster parents for my friend, Jihad.” At first, my mom and dad laughed; once they realized that I was serious, they asked me why. My dad recognized her name from his job. He was vice president at the orphanage where she lived. Even though he was skeptical of her intentions, they agreed to it because they trusted my judgment. Jihad was born in Egypt. Her father is Egyptian, and her mother, an American, died trying to save Jihad’s sister from drowning. I knew my family would be able to bring life into her eyes again and give her the tools she needed to succeed. As the youngest, I was excited to have a sister my age to talk with about boys, clothes and school. One Friday night, my best friend Jessica and I went to Greensboro to meet our friends at a teen club called Confetti’s. Although Jessica and I loved our “us” time, we asked Jihad to come with us since she had no plans. Among the people we were meeting at the club were my boyfriend, Alex and his teammates, along with some of Jessica’s and my close friends. We danced until our clothes were sweaty and our feet were sore. After Confetti’s, we went to Cook Out for milkshakes and chicken strips, as was our ritual. Little did we know that Jihad had an open bottle of Grey Goose vodka in her purse. The Goose brought out a new confidence in Jihad. After being rejected by a guy, Akeen, Jihad threw a fit, cussing and pouting.
You know the saying: “You might have won the battle, but I’ll win the war. Well, Jihad declared war.
When we first noticed the bottle, it has halfway full. We reminded her that we were underage and were in Jessica’s mom’s car, so if we got pulled over, we’d be in serious trouble. We asked her kindly to put it away. But when we turned around, Jihad downed the bottle. By the time we got home, Jihad had passed out. I wanted to park and get in the house without waking my parents. But just as Jessica and I were getting out of her mom’s new Mercedes, Jihad puked. We tried to push Jihad out of the car so we could carry her into the house. This was a challenge. Jessica and I were 5’5” and 5’6”, 130 pounds. Jihad was 6’1” and a solid 195. Once I saw the porch light turn on, I knew it would be downhill from there. My mom came out and tried to help us pull Jihad out of the car before my dad woke up. My dad isn’t a talkative or confrontational guy. But when he’s angry, he taps into his Latino side and the dragon is unleashed. With my mom’s help, we slid Jihad out of the car. As her knees slammed into the concrete driveway, I heard the front door slam and looked up to see my angry yet curious, half-asleep dad. We brought my father up to speed and with his help, we were able to drag Jihad to the steps. She was still passed out. Once we got to the steps, we had to reposition ourselves. As soon as I bent down to lift her leg, I was blasted by a smelly burst of gas. We all tried to fight through frustration and delusional laughter. My dad counted off one, two, three, Jihad released another fart and my dad said, “She’s heavy as a whale. There she blows.” My dad always tells the corniest jokes to try and lighten the mood. We just couldn’t hold up dead weight any longer; Jihad fell. An hour later, we had gotten Jihad to the foyer floor
where my mom had made a pallet with comforters. Jihad wouldn’t stop dry heaving, and my mom was scared that Jihad had alcohol poisoning. She called my Aunt Pheyama, who worked in emergency room at Alamance Regional Hospital. If my mom had called the doctor or an ambulance, Jihad’s social worker would be notified, and she would be taken away. Mom stayed up with Jihad until morning. Although my parents were fed up, they wanted to know what had caused Jihad’s outrageous behavior. My parents never gave me beatings or grounded me; what they did was far worse. When my siblings and I got in trouble, my parents made us sit through five-hour lectures. The next morning Mom cooked breakfast and allowed us to discuss last night’s events. Jessica and I told Jihad how disregarding our feelings and putting us in possible danger with the cops made us feel she didn’t respect us. My mom and dad backed us up. Then the questions came. “Who bought you alcohol? Why would you drink the whole thing? Why did you drink in the first place?” Mom and Dad put Jihad on punishment and told her she had one more chance to get it together if she wanted to continue to be a part of our family. I was very angry with Jihad; she had not only embarrassed me in front of my friends, but she had disrespected Jessica and her belongings, along with my parents and me. That wasn’t the first time Jihad had disobeyed my parents, but after that night, things got worse. She wouldn’t clean her room, vacuum, or do the dishes on her day to do chores. My parents were finally fed up and a big argument led to my mom calling Jihad’s social worker and having her removed from our house. I felt so bad that I had put my family in this position. I
had let this girl talk me into asking my parents to become her foster family; in return, she turned our lives upside down. You know the saying: “You might have won the battle, but I’ll win the war.” Well, Jihad declared war. My father was well known and respected in Elon, N.C. She try to slander my dad’s name and mess up his credibility. She also told everyone at school my parents used the foster care check to take me shopping and never gave her any money. I was furious at this lie. Besides track, dance and cheering, I worked during my junior year, so my parents didn’t have to give me money. My mother used the foster care check to buy her clothes, decorate her room, give her lunch money, and pay for her cap, gown and class ring. My mom also was trying to reach her brother and sister so she could fly them down for her graduation. Sadly, people believed Jihad, even though I had grown up with these people and they were close to my parents. The chaos didn’t stop there. One day mom, dad and I were sitting in the kitchen planning my graduation party when two FBI agents came to the door. They told my parents they had been tapping our phones and watching our activity. It turned out that Jihad’s father was business partners with a well-known terrorist who had threatened the lives of many Americans. My parents had to go through screening and testing to make sure they had no affiliation with Jihad’s father. After that, Jihad’s dad called the house one last time –– not to talk to Jihad, but to thank my parents for watching over her. He knew how much of a handful she could be. I had brought not only Jihad into my family but the FBI as well. Jihad had made my childhood friends question my family’s motives. She also tried to steal my boyfriend by sending him
Mass communication junior Briana Aguilar holds a photograph of her and her former foster sister Jihad from high school. BRUCE
love notes, making up fake accounts with fake conversations between them and emailing them to me. It was a nightmare, and I had caused it. It made the beginning of my senior year hell, and I became very depressed. My mom grew up in a very religious family. She’s an ordained minister as well as a teacher, business owner and wedding planner. My father worked hard to make sure my mom could do her side projects and live the life she wanted. They raised us on love, forgiveness and faith. Although I didn’t want to forgive Jihad, I did. It took a
long time and I still struggle with it. Once we went to college, I visited Jihad at ECU. I invited her to Thanksgiving because I knew she had nowhere to go. Although she was happy to know she had a place to go, she declined. We stayed in touch on Facebook for a while, but eventually lost touch. I learned some valuable lessons from Jihad. Never judge a book by its cover. Although it might look shiny and neatly decorated, it’s not always what it seems. I also learned that we can’t always help people who don’t want help, and that only forgiveness will set you free.
Centry CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 I can only explain the way I am by saying that I was born this way, and this is natural to me. I have no desire to be anything else.
Mass communication junior Clinton Centry shows off his “Boyz” tattoo BRUCE
I would have to experience both, dislike being heterosexual, and then choose to be otherwise. In my case, this has never taken place. I have never engaged in any form of heterosexual sex, nor struggled with sexual identity. Even though I had girlfriends in high school, these relationships formed due to my desire to fit in rather than from attraction. I disclosed my sexuality to my mom when I was 22, and she was cool with it. Since then she has been excited to meet my boyfriends. My dad on the other hand I have not told, but I will in time. I do not think he would mind much, as he had two gay brothers, one of whom married his lover in the 1970s. The turning point for me occurred when I met John Moore. It was the typical boynext-door situation. He was popular and attractive. I was ecstatic the first day he knocked at my front door. When I answered, something happened to me — my
stomach flip-flopped, then my adrenaline surged. I could neither speak nor believe it. I lost my breath. Over the summer of 1990, I grew to care about him like a brother, if not more. I wanted to see him every day; when I did not, I was bothered. It was incomprehensible to me then that John was entitled to friendships outside of ours. I had all of these emotions for him and could not understand why, until Kevin Haskins came into the picture. When John was not hanging with me, he was with Kevin. I began to despise their bond, directing my anger toward John because of it. He was my best friend. This reaction made me realize my feelings for John were beginning to transcend the typical male friendship. One afternoon while John and I were walking through what was soon to be a subdivision, I found a uniquelooking rock that I coined our “friendship” rock. Another day when I sat
alone thinking about John and Kevin together, I hurled that rock with all my might at the rusted shed in the woods behind my home. With a loud bang, it was lost. I began to think the same of our friendship. Gradually, John began to distance himself from me. I was thinking it was because I had thrown the rock. I felt lost and desperate, thinking John no longer wanted to remain friends. That’s when I wrote the letter. I could have talked to him face-to-face, but I have always conveyed my thoughts better through writing. I poured my heart into that letter, acknowledging the person I was becoming when I told him I loved him. John read the letter and then passed it to a mutual friend, who showed our entire clique. I died a little when I realized that everyone knew. They said things like, “Some of the things you put in it…!” and, “That letter was deep.” They had never witnessed anything of that nature; of
course they all wanted something to gossip about. Everyone’s shock subsided after a few days, and John and I resumed being friends as if nothing had happened; we never discussed it. Though I have never quite recovered from the initial embarrassment, it was then that I began to understand my sexuality. Today I am comfortable and open with my sexuality, yet it is not everyone’s business to know that I live what is referred to as an “alternative” lifestyle. I can only explain the way I am by saying that I was born this way and this is natural to me. I have no desire to be anything else. I have endured negativity regarding the way I speak, walk, dress, etc., in the past but these reactions have only solidified the fact that I am different, that I am homosexual. I will not be deterred from spiritual and emotional happiness by a longing to conform to what is considered normal.
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2006
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LEAN ON ME A summer night turns sour fast when a childhood friend ends up in a coma BY JUSTIN CAMPBELL CONTRIBUTING WRITER
t was a summer night in June after I graduated from high school. I was cruising the five miles that made up Monroe,
N.C. Talk of a road trip to South Carolina had started with my friends Devonte (Te) and Keon (Ke). Keon and I met in the fifth grade, and we were good friends with Devonte by the seventh grade. We had always found ways to entertain ourselves without ever leaving Monroe. But on this night, a group of cheerleaders and attractive girls from school were having a sleepover, and they didn’t think it would be complete without us. What kind of men would we be to deny such a simple request? Our summer escapades usually ended with late nights of pizza and energy drinks at Devonte’s house. His parents had always considered me and Keon part of their family and didn’t mind us coming over at two or three in the morning. The prospect of leaving home for good in a few months must have awakened the inner adventurer in us all. Keon was going to N. C. Central University with me; Devonte was headed to North Carolina A&T University. Keon was hesitant to accompany us on our adventure. We called him Granddaddy Ke because he was always the first to go to sleep and was wise beyond his years. “JC, uh-uh, y’all do not need to go all the way to South Carolina for no party.” Devonte was still in church for Wednesday night Bible study, likely forced to go by his parents for something he did or forgot to do. Te, a creature of impulse, is always the first to laugh at a joke and the first to call you out. “Tell Keon to chill, bro. He need to come with us; it’s only two hours away and he know he want to go.”
English junior Justin Campbell displays a high school photo of him and his friends Keon and Devonte. BRUCE
Te still doesn’t remember our visits, but we were there for each other then, and we are there for each other now. A girl Te had told me about too many times was supposed to be at this party; she was probably the reason he was pushing so strongly to go. Keon’s advice made sense; it was after all a long ride and I would probably be the one stuck with driving, as I often was. I hadn’t been on the road long when Keon called. “Yeah, what you want, Ke?” “Are you driving? Pull over man, I got something to tell you.” “Stop playing,” I said. He was scaring me, and I don’t do scared at night very well. I pulled into a Chili’s parking lot.
“What’s up, Keon?” “Te just got in a wreck, man.” Silence. I had only been in the Chili’s parking lot for about 10 minutes, but it felt like 10 hours. Te had been coming home from church; what had happened wasn’t clear. All we knew was that his car was totaled and a hospital helicopter had had to carry him from the crash site. We all feared the worst. Was he okay? Why did he need a helicopter? At the hospital, his family and friends lined the waiting room hall. His mother was a shell of her usual bubbly self, shaking and pacing
with tears lining her eyes. Keon and I barely glanced at each other, neither wanting to meet the other’s line of sight, neither wanting to cry. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Ke rubbing his forehead with his finger and thumb. He was looking at his shoes; his other hand was in his pocket. I didn’t know what to think or say. I just stood there with the back of my head pressed against the wall. I crossed and uncrossed my legs. I put my hands in my pockets and took them out, wiping the sweat on the back of my jeans. No matter what I did, I was never
comfortable and neither was Ke. But we had to be strong, if not for ourselves then for his family. We didn’t get to see Te that night, but his mom and dad did. Te had come away from the accident outwardly unscathed, but he was in a coma that the doctor said could last from two months to a year. We spent the rest of our summer visiting Te and his family at the hospital, hoping each day might be the day he opened his eyes. June turned into August, and Keon and I feared we would be heading off to college without our best friend. Three days before the first day of classes, Ke and I went on our last visit to the hospital. In the waiting room, Te’s mom told us he had been moved. We didn’t think anything of it; we just followed her as she led the way. From just outside the door, I heard a familiar voice. Te had woken up. Te still doesn’t remember our visits, but we were there for each other then and we are there for each other now. Te recovered faster than his doctors thought possible and now attends A&T. All Te could remember of the accident was looking up from his phone into the headlights of an oncoming car. Police and eyewitnesses surmised that he had drifted into traffic and over-corrected his wheel trying to avoid it. Now more than ever, we realize the importance of taking advantage of any time we have together. After Easter break, we piled into Keon’s blue Cadillac for the two-hour trip from Monroe back to school. “Bro what if we could all get a place after we graduate? Work around the same area and have a spot together. That would be perfect,” said Te. Keon and I looked over the shoulders of our car seats at him. We all busted out laughing as Te’s serious look turned into a quirky grin. We have to make it through college first.
A DAUGHTER’S LOSS Tanikka was glad they’d had one last day mother-daughter day together BY TANIKKA THOMAS CONTRIBUTING WRITER
want you to grow up and be able to take care of yourself and not have to depend on anyone else
but you.” To a 7-year-old girl, those words were memorable. I never wanted to disappoint my mother. I always showed her my good report cards so she could congratulate me and take me out to dinner. Whenever she came around and I was playing basketball, I would try to pull out my best tricks. Growing up in Durham, you can’t help but notice the drug dealers, abusers and addicts on almost every corner. Because I didn’t have a strong male figure for most of my childhood, my mother was the only hope that I wouldn’t turn out like them. But she could not help what I saw with my own eyes. One Saturday morning, my mother and I were just getting up when we heard a commotion outside. As I looked behind her, I saw a man dragging his live-in girlfriend down the steps while she screamed for him to let her go. I was only 8 years old. When I was 10, my father called and told my mother he wanted me to meet my sister. I hadn’t known that I had a sister or even that my father had married another woman. When my father came to pick me up, my sister and his wife were in the car. I felt awkward about the situation and hated spending time with him; I felt he cared more about his other family than about us. Two years passed, and my mom had a new boyfriend. In the beginning, he was very cool and laid back, almost like the big brother I had never had because he was 28 when my mother was 41. We would play PlayStation together, watch movies and go to sporting events. I called him Poochie; I never knew his real name. One night while my mom and I
were sleeping, Poochie climbed through the window demanding money. I watched him hit my mother in the chest with a huge stick. From then on, things only got worse. I saw my mom get beat almost every day by a man she said she loved. I became very distant from everyone, especially my mother. I could not understand why she would stay with a man who hurt her so much. I would come home from school and go straight to my room. When my mother tried to make conversation with me, I would ignore her. I thought my doing this would make her leave him alone, and I could have her all to myself again. I was young and should have known that she would not leave the relationship until she was ready. When I got tired of seeing violence, I moved to the little town of St. Pauls, N.C. with my aunt and sister. St. Pauls and Durham were like day and night. In St. Pauls, I was always with my cousins. Plenty of love and family surrounded me and I never saw any violence. My mother visited me every weekend and brought me a gift every time. Each time, she told me how much she wanted me to move back in with her, but I knew she was still in a relationship with Poochie, so I always brushed off the conversation. On November 19, 1998, my birthday, I was mad at my mother because we had gotten into an argument. I wasn’t expecting her to visit or get me a present, which put me in a bad mood most of the day. That afternoon, a UPS man rang the doorbell. In his hands, he held a brand new PlayStation 2 and a card from my mother. I called her and apologized for everything. From then on, our relationship got better. To top things off, she told me she had broken up with Poochie and was trying to find another house. I was so happy for my mother that it brought me to tears. One weekend that summer, I was
When I was in 11th grade, my sister sat me down and we reminisced about all the good times we had with our mother and how we had to get over her death and live our lives happily because she would want us to.
supposed to spend the week with my father but I felt homesick for some reason. I called my mother to come get me and we headed to her house. She turned it into a “mom and daughter day” as she called it. We played the children’s game Candyland and she cooked me breakfast food. We talked about all kinds of stuff, from boys to the men in her life. I loved our little date. She told me that a man she had met was trying to get her to on a date with him but she was hesitant. I remember being scared for her to talk to men because of how badly Poochie had treated her in the past, but I remained optimistic about her finding someone and being happy. The week after our mom-anddaughter day, my mom came to pick up the car that my had sister bought for her birthday. She complained about a bad headache she had had the whole
Tanikka Thomas memorialized her mother, who died when she was in the 8th grade, with a tattoo. NEKA JONES/Echo staff photographer
day. My aunt gave her some medicine, and she took a nap before getting on the road for home. She went to work on Monday. It was our ritual to talk during her lunch break every other day. On Wednesday I called her desk but no one answered. I decided to call her back in 15 more minutes. Before the 15 minutes came around, a doctor from Duke Hospital called. He told my aunt that my mother had had a stroke and was in intensive care. I remember having all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts like she would be okay because she was Superwoman and could survive anything. I also wondered how I would make it without her. I cried the whole way to Duke. When we got to her room, she was hooked up to a life support machine. I knew that wasn’t good, and I got ready to say goodbye to my
mother and my best friend. My mother died just before I entered 8th grade. I had so many questions about life and my sexuality that I only felt comfortable discussing with my mother. In high school, I was quiet and distant; all I cared about was basketball. My grades were mediocre, and I had no thoughts of entering college unless it was on a basketball scholarship. When I was in 11th grade, my sister sat me down and we reminisced about all the good times we had with our mother and how we had to get over her death and live our lives happily because she would want us to. She convinced me to move to Elizabeth City. with her to finish high school and get on the right path to enter college. It was the best decision I ever made. I brought my grades up and decided to attend N.C. Central University and major in journalism.
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FROM BRAT TO FUNDRAISER A daughter tells how she was inspired to set up her own non-profit for cancer patients BY JASMINE MILLER CONTRIBUTING WRITER
ne day in Wal-Mart, a 15year-old girl asked her mother if she could get an $89 bracelet. For the first time in the girl’s life, her mother said, “No, you can’t get that today.” The girl was mad, confused and curious. She didn’t throw a fit or pout like a normal spoiled child; all she said was, “Are you serious? I know you’re joking, right?” When she realized that her mother was serious, the girl said, “Whatever. I’ll get it one day.” Later that day, the girl overheard her mother tell her best friend, “I felt bad today when I told Jazz she couldn’t get that bracelet. “I couldn’t get it because I needed my money for my medical bills.” What medical bills? After her mother got off the phone, she went into her mother’s bedroom and asked. The girl found out that her mother had breast cancer. She thought, “I’m getting an attitude because I can’t get a bracelet when my mother’s health is at risk. How could I be so selfish? She stared at her mother and cried. She thought of ways she could help her mother. She didn’t understand why her mother hadn’t told her sooner. Why did her mother, out of all people, have that terrible illness? How could such a bad thing could happen to such a great person? The girl didn’t know what to do. She decided to stop asking for things and to start giving. I was that selfish girl. I had never realized how it felt to give because I was always doing all the receiving. Back then, I didn’t realize how dangerous breast cancer was; nor was I aware of the expenses. I still wanted to get everything I
“I’m getting an attitude because I can’t get a bracelet when my mother’s health is at risk. How could I be so selfish?”
wanted. So instead of asking my mother for things, I got a job. In 11th grade, I worked at McDonald’s after school during the week and at Bald Head Island on the weekends. It wasn’t tiring. But it did limit my time with my friends. One day, I walked into my mother’s room before leaving for school one morning and witnessed all of her hair falling out at once. It was the most horrifying moment of my life. I stood there and cried. At that time, I didn’t know that this was a cry for help. I did know that I didn’t want to see anyone else go through what my mother went through. Although I knew I had no control over people’s health, I could do something to show that I cared. During my freshman year in college, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother looking at her medical bills and co-pay receipts. We calculated that three months of co-pays alone came to more than $7,000. And she was still $24,000 in debt. I wanted breast cancer victims to be stress-free about their co-pays when they go to the doctor because that stress could create more illness for them. I wanted to help breast cancer victims in similar situations with their medical bills. I had a vision of starting a nonprofit business to pay the co-pays for qualified breast cancer victims who struggle. I also would get active in the
Jasmine Miller holds a recent photograph of herself and her mother, the inspiration for her non-profit group FAITH to help cancer patients pay bills. BRUCE
community by supporting breast cancer walks and other fundraisers. On March 8, 2010, my non-profit
corporation became a reality. I chose the name “FAITH,” which stands for faith and integrity
through healing. I am now able to apply for grants and participate in fundraisers to strengthen my business. The purpose of my business is to touch the people who are in need but who don’t have the funds to get help. On May 3, I will visit the Duke and UNC Hospitals and other Triangle medical centers to promote FAITH while signing up people who may qualify for FAITH’s service. FAITH does not have many restrictions; the only individuals who may not receive help from FAITH are those who already receive unemployment or Medicare. FAITH is designed to help people in need who haven’t had much help. FAITH was set up to help breast cancer patients. But one day at church, I listened to a woman testify about living with HIV and I thought that breast cancer victims are not the only people in need. I wanted to help everyone in need. I am currently a mass communication junior at N.C. Central University with a concentration in broadcasting. I have already completed a goal that wasn’t meant to be completed until after graduation. I have changed my life for the better by dedicating my time and business to help people in need. I thank my mother for making me realize that I do not want to be a selfish person. It’s funny how something as little as my mother telling me I couldn’t get something in the store led me to dedicate my life to helping people. That one moment made me realize that I will never be selfish again. After I graduate I would like to become a filmmaker and donate 20 percent of the proceeds from every film to charities around the United States.
HESS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
At age 18, I felt my purpose in life was to drink as much as possible, that partying trumped academic success.
After botching his freshman year at East Carolina University, Chris Hess is redirecting his life at NCCU. Photo courtesy Chris Hess
There is a two-week period in my life that I don’t even remember. Time after time, I woke up in a pile of my own vomit. One morning I woke up missing half my front tooth. After two semesters of horseplay at East Carolina, I moved back home to Durham. In tow was a less-than-respectable GPA of 0.7. I had no direction, no meaning, no goals, no use for myself. My parents were not at all pleased. The people I surrounded myself with were drug addicts, drinkers, gang members — the usual suspects. I worked various jobs from a pizza delivery driver, to hotel bell-
man, earning a paycheck that I drank away the first chance I got. One afternoon, Sean, one of my best friends from high school, dropped in to the tire shop where I worked. He was on the verge of graduating from Duke University with a degree in bio-medical engineering. We had the usual b.s. conversation: “How are you?” “Not bad.” But what he said to me as he left may have saved my life. “I never thought you would be a grease monkey,” Sean muttered. At first, I was pissed, thinking, “Well fuck you too.” However, after letting his com-
ment marinate in my mind for a while, I decided he was right. I had too much talent to waste in mindless work. I thought, God dammit, I want to be famous. I want to be in textbooks, I want to change lives and I want my voice to be heard. I want to be a writer. If there is one talent I possess, it is the ability to speak, mixed with a humorous way of getting my point across. Anyone who has been in a class with me knows that from time to time, something inappropriate or at least mildly entertaining will come from my mouth. What job could I get where my voice is my tool? How can I make words my weapons?
Eureka! Mass communication! I started taking classes at Durham Technical Community College and earned a high enough GPA and enough credits to gain acceptance into N.C. Central University in the spring of 2009. I remember like it was yesterday Dr. Andrew Williams signing me up for those first classes here. He wasn’t technically my adviser, but classes were starting very soon and he gave me a hand. As I looked up at an award he’d gotten for a novel he had written, I remember feeling, this is where I should be: writers helping those who want to write. After my first semester, my GPA
was 3.0, which compared to a 0.7, seemed like the Nobel Prize. Then my past came back to haunt me. It was May, and I wanted to celebrate with friends. The same friends I ran with in my late teens and early twenties, the ones I had gotten nowhere with. After an evening at a bar, it was time to go home. I got behind the wheel of a car. I spent that night in Durham County Jail and ended up with a DWI charge. That was almost a year ago, and my GPA is rising. I now have a 3.6, which I am extremely proud of. I have professors who have touched my life and who care about my success. They help me fine-tune my craft. On April 16, I have to report back to Durham County Jail for seven days. I thought about lying to my professors, saying I had a family emergency. However, they have given me the respect and honor of helping me with my dreams, and they deserve to know the truth. I dream of being a journalist someday soon. Sometimes, journalists’ sources need to protect their identities and hide behind the cloak of anonymity. In writing about myself, there is no anonymity; I am my own source. Staring at three walls and bars will give me one last chance to put this journey into perspective. I will graduate with a 4.0. It’s not so much as a dream as an obsession. I seek that next A on every paper, every quiz, every homework assignment. When I graduate, I will call Sean and tell him, “Hey, I never thought I’d graduate with honors.” I hear some students here say jokingly, “I’m on the five-year plan.” I am on the ten-year plan. Where I’ll go, I just don’t know.
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2010
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I VERSI TY
A DADDY’S GIRL WISES UP Jacqueline Smith’s gained respect for her mother after her father’s DWI BY JACQUELINE SMITH CONTRIBUTING WRITER
hen I was a little girl, I thought my mom was a mean crazy lady who loved to yell and fuss. I felt sorry for my dad. They were always arguing and cussing at each other and I thought my dad had the worst wife ever. One time she got so mad at me for not cleaning my room that she threw my favorite toy against the wall and broke it. What made it so bad was that my dad had bought that toy for me. I was a daddy’s girl back then, so when I didn’t get my way or was being bratty, mom would tell me how ungrateful I was and that millions of kids around the world would kill to be in my position. My dad would smile and give me what I wanted. When I threatened to run away, she would tell me that there were dangerous people in the world who would try to beat or rape me. Dad just told me it would break his heart to lose me. I never understood my mother’s anger toward my father nor why my dad wanted to stay in a relationship where he was constantly fighting. As I got older, the naïveté of my youth dissipated and I saw things differently. No incident opened my eyes more than the night my dad got into an accident for driving drunk. On the evening of April 24, 2004, my dad, who had been out playing with his band, was supposed to be returning the band’s equipment to his friend’s house and then coming home. He didn’t come home that night.
Around 7 p.m. my mom got a phone call that my dad had been in a head-on collision. I had never been so afraid in my life. I kept praying that my dad was OK and that he would return home safely. I found out he was all right but that he had been drinking and the other person he hit had to be cut out of his vehicle; I was even more afraid for that person, and for the fate of my father. He was arrested for DWI and was detained for the night. I’d never seen my mother so strong. She was on the phone well into the night making arrangements and talking to people at the court-
You hear so many horror stories about drunk driving and you never realize that it could involve someone you love.
house. I gained new respect for my mother in those hours. The next morning when my dad came home, she didn’t yell or fuss. She expressed her gratitude that he was all right and went about her daily duties. This was unlike her. My parents didn’t really talk much. I think my dad was too ashamed and my mom was too angry and hurt.
I was just glad that my dad hadn’t died. You hear so many horror stories about drunk driving and you never realize that it could involve someone you love. I wasn’t around the summer my dad went to trial and was in jail, but when I came back for the following school year, things were different. My dad had lost his job, and my mom was the sole breadwinner.
I missed out on a lot of things that year class trips, school pictures and group outings because we didn’t have the money. I watched my mom struggle to provide for our family. When my dad failed as the head of the household, my mom picked up the slack. After all these years I can still see how that one mistake has impacted our family. I was barely able to complete my college education because my parents were denied a loan for me. Even the scholarships and loans I received barely put a dent in my out-of-state tuition. Even now, my mom is under investigation at her
Jacqueline Smith knows how alcohol abuse can disrupt family life. BRUCE
job and she could lose her job. My mom is in charge of security on a naval base in my hometown. Her superiors believe that this incident has affected her ability to perform her job. They feel the financial hardships we have endured, will somehow jeopardize the security of the naval base. Now that I’m of legal age to drink, I think twice about my actions. I don’t want to end up going to jail or worse. Even if I go out with friends who want to drink, I take it upon myself to be the most sober in the group. My relationships with my parents have changed a lot too. There is a chasm in my relationship with my dad, and it’s not because of his mistake, everyone makes mistakes. My dad and I aren’t as close because he continues to behave in the same destructive manner that got us into this mess. He still drinks (not that there is anything wrong with that) but even more irresponsibly than before. Sometimes he’ll drive with open containers in the seat next to him, or drive down the street intoxicated to buy cigarettes. It’s hard for me to take his constant apologies seriously when he continues to do the same things. My mom and I, however, are closer than ever. No longer do I see her as a noisy, crazy woman. Now I see a strong woman who has had to be both mother and father to me for six years. I see a woman who takes her job as a mother and a wife very seriously. I used to say that I’d never want to be like my mom. Now I think that if I could be half the woman she is, I would be lucky.
JACKSON CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The top of my mouth crumpled around my metal retainer and the bottom row of teeth were now gums disconnected from the bone.
Kinbria was older than me, old enough to drive. “Kinbria, where are we going?” “Do it matter? Y’all wasn’t doing nothing noways.” She was wrong. We had been doing something —— we were being healthy children in the safety of our neighborhood. Almost five minutes of riding, Lasonya informed me that we were going to my boyfriend’s house. I was thrilled. Exhausted from a water gun fight earlier in the day, I took a beauty nap to get ready for my “boo.” The car didn’t have seatbelts, so I lay my head on the window and got comfortable. My eyes opened a second before the crash. “I must be having a nightmare —-why are you screaming? STOP!!! You’re scaring me.” My eyes closed. Kinbria had swerved after going 65 mph on a 35 mph curve. The car violently flipped and ended face-up in a ditch. After about 25 minutes, I regained consciousness. “Somebody please get her out of the car. What the fuck y’all just standing there for? DO SOMETHING,” Kinbria was yelling. I pulled myself out of the vehicle and climbed out of the ditch with little help from Cleveland County EMS. I laid my head on the grass and murmured, “What did ever I do to you, Kinbria?” She ran to my aid and vomited the words, “Sorry” and “I love you,” but I wasn’t receptive.
The EMS personnel slung me violently onto an orange board, strapping me in so tight I could hardly breathe. On the way to the hospital, I screamed for the driver to slow down, afraid we might get into another accident. The paramedics cut off my new red and green scrunch bikini and Kinbria held my hand while they asked questions to see if I was sane. One of the paramedics asked if I knew the name of street I lived on. At the time, my street didn’t have a name. They were convinced that I was losing my memory. After about five minutes, that situation was resolved and the paramedic began to stick needles in my arm. I don’t know whether she was shaking from the turbulence of the vehicle or if she was just a new employee, but she stuck my arm so many times, I fainted from the pain. When we arrived at Cleveland County Hospital, my family was waiting. Everyone else involved in the accident were already taken care of and out of the emergency wing. Kinbria had suffered a bruise from the steering wheel, Leiah hurt her neck, and Lasonya fractured her nose. I had fractured my nose and jaw and lost one permanent tooth and two baby teeth. The top of my mouth crumpled around my metal retainer and the bottom row of teeth were now gums disconnected from the bone. I was drugged up on medicines that I didn’t know the names of. They put me in a
At 10 years old, Isha Jackson feared she’d be disfigured for life after a traumatic car accident. CORLISS PAULING/Echo staff photographer
cold room, naked and with a thin blanket. The doctor came in, told me his name, and pushed his hand in my mouth. “Now what I am going to do is put your gums back in place,” he said. It sounded to me like something on a SAW horror movie. When he invited my family into the room, the horror on my father’s face was unbearable. It the expression you’d wear if you saw your 75-yearold mom mauled by a pit bull. My brother Derrick looked even worse. My mother stroked my face and said they wanted someone else to do the operation, so I had to leave. The 45minute drive home was horri-
ble. Every bump or pothole sent twists of pain through my body. At home, my father carried my limp body to the bed. My mother blended up some spaghetti for my dinner. Puréed spaghetti would be my dinner for the next year. The next day we drove an hour to Asheville for my surgery. When we arrived, we spent an hour trying to locate the hospital. The surgery was like a dream — people dressed in all white with white masks on, like angels. A Whitney Houston song was playing in the distance. I closed my eyes; when I awoke, I was home. For the next couple of
years, I thought I was ugly and would be ugly for the rest of my life. I began to hate myself and others around me. I resented pretty people. I felt angry when I saw a pretty smile because my mouth looked so terrible. I contemplated suicide to take the ugliness away. I needed a way out of the negativity that had abducted my mind. So I started going to church with my father and mother more. I joined my church choir and usher board. Church taught me to be humble and love me for myself, just like God does. I developed a new respect for
myself, learned to love myself and feel good about being alive. My family became tighter than ever, give or take a few. Soon the scars healed, literally and figuratively. This accident was more than just me getting hurt and my family being sad. It was a turning point in my life that forced me to grow up. We aren’t going to live forever; I almost didn’t live to see 11. I’m in college now, have my own apartment, and am healthy. I just received a large settlement check and life is pretty good. So though I didn’t enjoy the actual experience, the outcome of the ordeal benefited my family and me in the end.
Campus Echo WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 20010