Issue 4 April 2016
College of Charlestonâ€™s student-run feature magazine
Making the Yard Editor-in-Chief COURTNEY EKER Managing Editor JUSTINE HALL Creative Director WESLEY VANCE News Editor SIGRID JOHANNES Sports Editor SAM OLEKSAK Feature Editor KATE POWER Satire & Opinion Editor CARSON SCHAFER Blog Editor CHELSEA ANDERSON Design Assistant JAQUAN LEONARD Contributors KATIE CARTER, KIM CORTELLESSA, JACK DALESSIO, KALEB DILL, BASTIEN FACHAN, KIMBERMARIE FAIRCLOTH, DUSTIN HACKER, BRADLEY HARRISON, SCOTT HARVIN, REAGAN HEMBREE, SYDNEY MOREANO, VIRAJ NAIK, LYDIA PEACOCK, NICK RODRIGUEZ, MARIANNA VICK, EMILY WARNER, MICHAEL WISER
C lass of 2016
CisternYard News is dedicated to engaging students with accurate and reliable news. We provide the most up to date content for the College of Charleston community online and in print, while striving to deliver a comprehensive and credible source of news by students, for students.
Located in the City Market
Building 174 at corner of S. Market St. & Church St.
GoldCreationsChas.com/graduation 843.972.3696 /GoldCreationsSC
@CisternYardNews For advertisement inquiries with the Yard, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 4 Issue 4 April 2016
Letter from the Editor
Inside the Yard
Itâ€™s not easy being green: The Office of Sustainability gets down to earth
Flying Disc Jocks: The Ultimate Athletes
10 The Yard explores the Avante-garde of Fashion Week
The art of being human
More than Mannequins
A tale of two cities: Life under I-26
Pedal for the Paycheck: The Scoop on Charleston Pedicabbers
and MMA: Not just bloody knuckles and black eyes
Donâ€™t Ruck with Rugby
Tales from The Meteor Boundaries: Locking diversity out of the College of Charleston
32 Martial Arts 36
Nourish yourself at Huriyali Gardens
The Swamp Fox: Charleston PD leis down the law
Letter from the Editor This past winter break, I spent two weeks backpacking in Guatemala. I met a variety of people from a variety of countries, none of whom had many good things to say about America. “I have no interest in ever going back,” said an elderly German man who last visited America when he was backpacking through the states in the ‘70s. “There’s just too much going on over there, I wouldn’t feel safe.” He talked about shootings, bigoted politicians and bloodthirsty police officers. I was left wondering, what does it mean to be an American? In a class discussion for an International Diplomacy Studies course I am taking this semester, the entire table laughed - albeit sarcastically - about how many times American multinational corporations have taken advantage of countries in Latin America. How many times have we used military force to implement a regime in a country that was better off before? We laugh because we are terrified. Wake up. People hate us. Travel abroad and you will quickly realize that people look at you differently the second you tell them your nationality. Dumb American. War-monger American. Greedy American. Overweight American. Gun-slinging, trigger happy American. And honestly, this reputation did not come from any one specific politician. We have been building up this image for a while now. Once a year, we celebrate Christopher Columbus. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.” Unfortunately, “... And slaughtered and enslaved countless indigenous people” is not as catchy. This problem is institutional, engrained in our holidays and customs. This feeling of entitlement and superiority is institutional. Fundamental changes need to be made in order to adapt to the problems of the 21st century. But for some reason, much of our reasoning still comes from a document that was signed in 1787. Some call it imperialism. Westernization. Democratization. But few call it what it is: American Privilege. Who are we, who have access to clean water, shelter, education and healthcare, to send cheerful missionaries that paint walls and sing Kumbaya? They know what their people need more than we do. You would be better off compiling the money you would spend on plane tickets, Chacos and backpacks from REI and sending it directly to the community in need. We are Americans; we are not superheroes. We are not better than anyone else just because we were born into different circumstances. We have to give the hero complex a rest and pay attention to the reputation we are building for ourselves. We are not perfect. We are not the envy of every other country in the world. We need to beat the idea that people want to be us out of our heads because it is just not true. Look at Cuba. Cuba, mind you, is not perfect either. But Cuba has a 99.8 percent literacy rate. Free education, free healthcare. Granted, Cuba fails in many other areas of national development. The Castro brothers are responsible for numerous human rights violations and the Cuban economy is in shambles today. But are we, in the United
States, faring much better? Donald Trump frequently assesses America’s problems in his own way. We need to “Make America Great Again.” But was America really great when it invaded Vietnam? When it invaded Iraq (and other major oil producing countries) and completely destabilized the region? Let us start with making America decent again. Let us go back to being caring and welcoming. Let us go back to the days when we could go to a movie theater and not feel eerie paranoia in the back of our minds about the potential for another random shooting. What does it mean to be an American? Freedom. Opportunity. Opportunity for change. Am I un-American? Un-patriotic? No. My expectations for this nation, the nation that we call the “greatest in the world,” are higher than what we are living right now. Right now, when we are considering building a giant wall to keep people from entering our country. A wall to keep people from the same liberties that we are granted every single day. For many of us college students, this is our first opportunity to vote in an election. While it may sound dreamy to “Make America Great Again,” I implore you to dig deeper into what that means. What would make you proud to be an American? We need to strive not to be better than everyone else, but better versions of ourselves.
Sincerely, Courtney Eker Editor-in-Chief
by JUSTINE HALL
Entertainment April 15 Miscellany Release Party Halsey Institute Galleries 5 - 7 p.m. Free
April 19 An Evening with David Sedaris Gaillard Center 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. gaillardcenter.com/buy-tickets/
Food April 16-17 Southern Ground Music and Food Festival MUSC Health Stadium All-day lineup charleston.southerngroundfestival.com/tickets/
April 15-17 Charleston Outdoor Fest James Island County Park ccprc.com/1542/Charleston-Outdoor-Fest/
April 16 Green and Lean 5k Run/Walk 8:30 a.m. Hampton Park $30 Race proceeds will benefit the mission of Keep Charleston Beautiful
April 20 Puppies & Pints Bay Street Biergarten 4 - 7 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to LowCountry Animal Rescue
April 21-24 The Lowcountry Strawberry Festival Boone Hall Plantation $10
The Office of Sustainability gets down to earth by NICK RODRIGUEZ
Do you ever wonder where the apple you are eating came from? Or what would happen if you tried to go a week without producing any waste? The Office of Sustainability Internship Program’s mission for students is to improve sustainability at the College, develop skills and gain experience as a student and as a professional. Over the last few years, the internship program has seen numerous successful projects that could not have happened without the Intern and Student Coordinator Ashlyn Hochschild. Hochschild arrived at the College of Charleston in 2011, when the program had only eight interns. Over the years, Hochschild has formulated a team of 30 interns who create and lead their own projects. The people working together in the Office of Sustainability are a tight knit group who believe in each other and their projects. Hochschild’s goal as the director of the internship program is not based on the number of interns she has or even the amount of projects that are completed throughout the year. Rather, her aim is to “get students prepared to be able to go out into the world and create change regardless of the field that they are in.” Of course Hochschild wants to see the success of the office’s projects, but what she focuses on is the growth and development of her interns. The positivity and support given to the interns who work under Hochschild is unprecedented. Everyone is treated equally, whether that person is a paid intern, an administrator or a volunteer. The atmosphere that Hochschild and other staff members have created is part of the reason why the Office of Sustainability has been so successful. When talking to Hochschild about the atmosphere she aims to construct, she said, “If you work on something and it is not successful, instead of looking at it like a failure, it is more of an opportunity. There is no failure or weakness, it’s just about your opportunity. We don’t say weakness, we say what is your strength and what is your opportunity for growth?” The familial atmosphere is not due only to Hochschild; there is also a set of special senior interns at the office who are just as responsible for the positive dynamic in the
office. These standout seniors have been a part of unique projects and have also been instrumental in building up the office. Those seniors include Olivia Cohen, Sarah Fox, Katie Doherty and Tess Dooley. Olivia Cohen, a double major in international studies and political science, is the leader of the Garden Apprentice Program. Cohen has been a part of the Office of Sustainability since her sophomore year and has always had an interest in sustainability. She first started as a communication intern. Cohen held that position for three semesters, until she recently moved to Urban Agriculture, which ties social justice to the garden. “Connecting people to their food is a really wonderful form of empowerment,” she said. “It is also a really good way in building community. When the apprentices are out in the garden, they are so happy and it’s such a great bonding experience for everybody.” Cohen is a senior who brings not only leadership to the office, but also experience to the program. The Garden Apprentice Program, like the other projects in the Office of Sustainability, has one or two chairs that lead the program and apprentices who help with the project. Volunteers also help with the different projects. The goal of the Garden Apprentice Program is “to explore theoretical and pragmatic applications of sustainable urban agriculture through workshops, field trips, seminar-style discussions and handson experience gained through volunteer opportunities and workdays in campus gardens.” Sarah Fox, a public health and communication double major, has paired up with her best friend Katie Doherty, a marine biology major, to be leaders of the Greek Chair Program. The program encourages people in fraternities and sororities to become more involved with sustainability. The Greek Chair Program’s applications are open to representatives from any organization and they can become a Greek Chair for a year. When a person becomes a Greek Chair they gain hands on experience with sustainable ideas and practices. Since beginning their work on the project in the past year, Doherty and Fox have seen a lot of progress. Similar to the Office of Sustainability, the Greek Chair Program
en has skyrocketed in growth. For instance, when Doherty and Fox first arrived, there were nine Greek Chairs. But today, because of the hard work both of them have put in, the program now has 35 chairs. Doherty and Fox have
worked hand in hand on this project and their teamwork throughout has showed over the last year. The Zero Waste Challenge, developed and introduced by Tess Dooley, is a challenge with the ultimate goal of creating the least of amount of waste as possible. Dooley applied through ESPC, the ECOllective Student Project Committee, to receive kits that would provide the necessary tools to complete the project. Dooley completed the Zero Waste Challenge over a two week period with ten other participants. In the first week the participants would, instead of throwing their trash away, keep it. The idea was to see how much trash was collected in addition to what kind of trash was collected. During the second week Dooley and her team went the whole week being zero waste-avoiding packaging from foods and water bottles among other things. In addition, Dooley would meet with the other participants and have engaging conversations about the challenges and successes that people were having during the challenge. Although there were details that seemed obvious to Dooley and her team, there were definitely some surprises. Dooley said, “I have a lot of the habits in place, it was just more of avoiding a couple things I haven’t figured out how to switch over [to] but there [were] definitely a couple [of challenges]. The hardest thing was avoiding straws so you have to prematurely ask people not to give you straws.” Dooley, who has spent countless hours at the Office of Sustainability, is one of many who believes in the program’s diversity. The Office of Sustainability is an environment that caters to its students and allows for the students to grow, not only as academics but also in the community. Hochschild wraps up what the Office of Sustainability stands for and what kind of organization it is when she says, “I think a lot of people measure the successes of a program but we measure it by the people who create those projects.”
Urban Agriculture ties social justice to the garden as part of the Garden Apprenticeship program. (Photo by Kaleb Dill)
by SAM OLEKSAK photos by MICHAEL WISER
isc etJesocks Flyinthge ulD timate athl
There is no activity more synonymous with the college experience than throwing a Frisbee around the quad. Some more gifted throwers take a step up from that, and make it competitive. The 1970s produced a lot of great things, like hacky sacks, video games and a competitive game of Frisbee. Although the word “Frisbee” is colloquial, the sport known as “Ultimate Frisbee” is actually known as “ultimate,” due to a bevy of trademarks by Wham-O Toys Incorporated. Blazing the trail for intercollegiate ultimate were Rutgers University and Princeton University on Nov. 6, 1972. Its growth as a sport has led to the point where, according to the Center for Disease Control, the number of Frisbees and flying discs sold during a year is more than the amount of baseballs, basketballs and footballs combined. The College of Charleston’s infatuation with the game officially began in 1999, when the co-ed ultimate team was founded. Today there are both a men’s and a women’s team; the men go by the name Palmetto Bums, and the women are named the Charleston Hobos. How to play: An ultimate field has the same dimensions as a football field, in that the field is 120 yards long and 40 yards wide. Yet, unlike football, the end zones are 25 yards deep. Each point begins with both seven-player teams lined up on their end zone line, and one player on the defensive team throwing it off to begin play. “Personally, I am listed as a handler, so I am one of the main throwers on the team,” said senior captain Ziv Agasi. “Other people are cutters who cut in, get the passes and then reset it to the handlers.” The offensive relationship is similar to that of a quarterback and wide receiver. Points are scored by passing a Frisbee to a teammate over the opposing team’s goal line. When they catch the disc in the field of play, players cannot run and must establish a pivot foot. Similar to basketball, if you drag or lift your foot it is considered a travelling violation. Therefore, a disc is like a pair of scissors; you should not carry them as you run. 8
“If the other team is playing man to man defense they will have one guy on you, called the mark, and he’s trying to force you to throw it to half of the field,” said senior captain Mike Miller. Basketball has a shot clock that limits the length of possessions, ultimate has a ten-second “stall count” that limits players in order to keep the game moving. This aids defenders, who are supposed to give “disc space” by remaining a disc’s length from the player in possession. Usually, the call is a contact foul. Players are not allowed to make contact with the opposition, therefore picks and screens are prohibited. “Disc space is rarely called, because you have to stand up and be a hardo,” Miller said. A player could be viewed as a ‘hardo’ for following the rules because ultimate does not have referees or umpires. Therefore, players are encouraged to practice good sportsmanship by calling their own fouls for the ‘spirit of the game.’ “Spirit of the game works unless there is a real hothead on the team - which happens more or less with every team,” Agasi said. “There are a couple of professional leagues that have referees to prevent any arguments from happening, but for the most part, spirit of the game and free calls is a really fun way to play.” Calling all Cougars: The College of Charleston men’s and women’s teams generally combine to have 30 members on the two USA Ultimate sanctioned rosters. USA Ultimate is the governing body of the game at the college and professional level. This year’s team features 10 seniors, including the three team captains Mike Miller, Ziv Agasi and Hunter Nadeau. “Ultimate is a lot different than other sports, it’s noncontact, but since the disc floats, it allows for plays in the air and big layouts,” Miller said. “It is spectator friendly, while easy to play, which is what draws a lot of people. You just need cleats and a ten dollar plastic Frisbee to play.” Given the high number of players who will graduate the yard
“Our community still has such a strong presence in Charleston. We have a great network of alumni that enrich the culture of being on the team and make every member feel a part of something bigger.” this spring, the team faces a membership crisis that has caused them to actively recruit new players before the end of this semester. “We are trying to recruit heavily. We have ten seniors graduating this spring. Numbers next year could be low, so we have been trying to encourage new people to come out,” Miller said. Agasi explained the shortage of players from a more strategic standpoint. “A lot of teams that are more competitive have set offensive and defensive lines, we don’t have the luxury of numbers to be able to do that,” Agasi said. Chris Richmond, Matt Hajek and Vincent James are the underclassmen the Bums are hoping will lead the charge for the future. However, uncertainty in membership next year could prove difficult for the team in such a competitive area of the country. “We have two of the top five teams in the country in UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Wilmington,” Agasi said. “Last year UNC Chapel Hill won the national title and UNC Wilmington made the semi-finals.” This advantage for larger schools stems from an emphasis on finding dedicated disc tossers. “They recruit from schools in the Boston area,” said Miller, who hails from Winchester, Massachusetts. “Boston has high school teams everywhere, up and down. So for us with only 35 percent guys and a large in-state population, we are at a disadvantage for who can feed into the sport.” With the recent move to play safer sports, ultimate is growing rapidly in high schools around the country. For those who cannot play ultimate through high school, there are leagues in the area that are available to the public. “The City of Charleston has a rec league which is really competitive,” Miller said. “It has people that have been playing anywhere from 15 to 30 years. They may not be the most athletic but they can throw the disc anywhere
on a dime and if you can do that, then that’s much more valuable.” The Bums’ Bond: “I’ve been playing for six years now,” Agasi said. “Just the camaraderie amongst the team draws you in. It’s a really fun and easy sport to learn and I’m in love.” The Bums’ bond is so strong that the alumni still have a major presence at the Chucktown Throwdown. Held in the first weekend of February, the Chucktown Throwdown is an annual men’s ultimate tournament. “It’s crazy the presence of the alumni that come down,” Miller said. “Usually we allow two teams for the ‘Bum Alum.’ There’s a huge group who look forward to coming down to catch up with old friends.” Charleston’s tournament also helps serve as a kick off to a busy spring circuit of tournaments. “It’s all about playing more and ramping it up because it all culminates at sectionals,” Miller said. “Then five out of the nine teams make regionals, and then one or two make nationals.” This plucky band of underdogs are entering an uncertain moment for their organization. Seniors are preparing for their final tournament run when they head to sectionals, hosted by ECU in Greenville, North Carolina on April 16-17. Regardless of how this year ends, the Bums are open to everyone. “Our community still has such a strong presence in Charleston,” Miller said. “We have a great network of alumni that enrich the culture of being on the team and make every member feel a part of something bigger.” So if you love running, jumping and launching things into the air, come on down to one of the practices. Both squads practice on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. at James Island County Park. Freshman Vincent James laying out for the disk
The Yard explores the
AVANT GARDE 10 years of fashion week in the holy city by KIM CORTELLESSA
Above photos by Michael Wiser Five nights of authentic, avant-garde fashion: the 10th anniversary of Charleston Fashion Week was nothing but impressive. There were a whopping 40 runway shows, a Rock the Runway Model Competition and Emerging Designer Competition. Tracy Reese, Creatures of the Wind and CADET were the featured designers this year. These three feature designers, the five epic nights and many talented emerging designers and models contributed to making this Fashion Week one that will never be forgotten. Charleston Fashion Week was started in 2007 by Ayoka Lucas, an innovative stylist who began her career in Atlanta styling local celebrities. Since then, CFW has broadened its boundaries and developed into the chic and complex event it is today. It attracts a large and diverse group of individuals who arrive with high expectations of breathtaking fashion. This year made history as Charleston Fashion Week had us on the edges of our seats for the monumental runway 10
shows featuring luxurious designers and brands. Show after show, the audience was stunned by the amazing pieces and designs worn by the models. Not only were the runway shows a success, but the event as a whole took over Charleston from March 15-19. The broad spectrum of local designers, including IBU, Gypsy 7 and many more, contributed to the spark of this yearsâ€™ Fashion Week. Each independent designer shared a special piece of themselves and their aesthetic through their collections, and clearly defined Charleston as a community. Thanks to Gosnell and Company Marketing and Events Management, Charleston Fashion Week ran smoothly. Rebecca Gosnell, owner of Gosnell and Company Marketing and Events was kind enough to share her opinions on Charleston Fashion Week 2016, and even hinted at what is in store for the future of Charleston Fashion Week.
C Y N : Did the 10th anniversary of CFW have as big of an impact as expected? Gosnell: “Yes, all the shows sold out and the press coverage extended well beyond Charleston.” CYN: How many years have you been running CFW? Gosnell: “I’ve been on board for 9 years.” CYN: How has CFW changed over the years that you have been involved? Gosnell: “They’ve been able to fill an important niche launching emerging designers. Now all the major modeling agencies and many national retailers come to Charleston looking for emerging talent.” CYN: Do you believe this year was a success? Why? Gosnell: “Charleston Fashion Week will plant Charleston as a major player in the world of fashion, just as the culinary scene has developed here.” CYN: How much of an impact do volunteers have on CFW? Gosnell: “There are over 350 volunteers from the labor force that make Charleston Fashion Week possible. The production could not happen without that support.” CYN: Did the 10th anniversary reach its goals in the sense of getting as much press, selling tickets, celebrating and runway shows? Gosnell: “Yes. All goals were met.” After looking at the significant impact Gosnell and Company Management and Marketing has had on Charleston Fashion Week, it is hard to say if the event would have made it this far without their support and hard work. Charleston Fashion Week is taken seriously and, moving forward, it has the potential to be in the ranks with New York Fashion Week; but it will always be different. Charleston Fashion Week is unique because unlike national Fashion Week’s that occur throughout the year, Charleston is a small, tight-knit city that always supports its peers. Charleston built its own Fashion Week from nothing, and in only ten years it has made incredible progress.
an eag R y sb
the art of being human by KATE POWER
is everything broken?
Many might answer ‘yes.’ It is difficult not to, when day after day the news is riddled with tragedies too terrible, too vast and too petrifying to comprehend. There are too many days when I catch myself asking no one in particular, “What is happening?” And there are too many days when I do not find any answers. On March 22, two suicide bombers kill over 20 people in Brussels Airport. Less than an hour later, an explosion on the metro raises the death toll to at least 34—more than 200 people wounded. On March 23, North Carolina passes a law making it legal to keep transgender people from bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates, and prohibiting municipalities from creating their own antidiscrimination policies. On March 25, Zarriel Trotter, a 13-year-old advocate against gun violence is shot in the back in Chicago. Trotter was not the intended target, he happened to be standing on the sidewalk when an argument between other youths broke out. On March 27, Easter Sunday, a suicide blasts kills at least 69 people in a Pakistan neighborhood park, injuring over 341 others. The Taliban claim the attack and admit its target—Christians. I could go on, but I will not. By the time this magazine is in your hands, more injustices will have inevitably occurred. To the untrained eye, these events have no concrete ties to one another, no cohesive roadmap. However, one thing they all have in common is that each tragedy stems from differences—different people, different races, different ideas. Because radical terrorist groups think different is inhuman. Because far-right lawmakers think different is dangerous. Because teenagers in Chicago think different is violent. Because of this, we are a divided world—divided geologically, divided ideologically and divided politically. The current human condition is calling us to action. We cannot fix the past. We cannot fix the people who are already broken, but we can keep more from breaking. In order to do this, we need to look outside the box: we need to look at education and we need to look at children. There is a point and we have reached it, and now we must take a step outside of ourselves and actually think about what is important for humans and for the planet on which we live. So, let’s think: What is it? What do we need? Something is missing and that something is humanity; benevolence; empathy. Humanity comes from a solid moral foundation. It comes from good judgement, and good judgement is not inherent. Good judgement must be taught. And it should be the school system’s job to teach it. But will monotonously teaching math and science and history necessarily foster this moral code that many seem to be missing? For a lot of students, school is a scary place, where if you do not make the high test scores, you do
not belong. A place where they tell you what classroom you should be in based on a number. A place that lives and breathes differences. What we need is for schools to be places where the future generations of our nation can safely talk about these differences so that they may begin to understand and eventually accept them for the beautiful and necessary and incredibly human things that they are. Differences are not violent and they are not dangerous. Differences are not a reason to kill 69 people in a park on Easter Sunday. The first step toward making schools comfortable and safe places for young people is to make them balanced, which brings me to my main point: schools need art. Founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy Dr. Linda Nathan said, “I believe that the arts can transform students’ lives in ways that are unprecedented and in ways that have the potential to change the very society
for schools who cannot afford to include all of these, dance gets cut first. And then theatre. Music and visual art are left, and schools are known to choose one or the other—visual art for elementary schools and music for high schools. There are National Core Arts Standards, yes, but they are more of a conceptual framework, a pleasant idea. It is up to individual states to choose how they allocate their arts funding within schools. Art brings people together. Art breeds humanity. The simple act of creating something is so empowering, so rewarding, and because of unequivocal art education funds, many students do not receive exposure to the arts at a young age, and then they live their lives unaware of what they are missing. I am not going to make the claim that if a terrorist received a more creatively driven education when he was a child, he would not grow up to kill people, but I will say that art teaches people how to
art brings people together. art breeds humanity. in which we live.” People need art. Humanity needs art. Art is the only thing that can transcend our socially constructed boundaries. Art does not discriminate by skin color, religion, or politics. Art erases differences. Art is everything that we are—the good and the bad. Unfortunately, around the world today, school systems are much more concerned with high test scores in core academic areas than they are with incorporating a balanced art education. Every student should have access to a balanced education—that means to core academic subjects as well as the arts. Funding is allocated to schools for art education in the following order: physical education, visual art, music, theatre, dance. And
be people. Writer Dylan Thomas said it best: “A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” This concept, I think, can be applied to all forms of art. And this is why more people need to be provided the means to access their creative powers the moment they enter the school system. We have the power to create and that is more than enough to save humanity. That is everything we need.
Don’t Ruck With Rugby College of Charleston’s Women’s Rugby team, affectionately referred to across the club rugby nation as ‘Sexiest Team in the South,’ is the most successful club team on campus, entering the 2015-2016 season as fifth in the nation. The accomplishments of this team do not rest solely on the strength and stamina of the players—though that is also something to speak of—but also on the cohesive qualities the women bring to the squad. Paige Bramblett, freshman flanker, joined the team seeking a sport that would be more physically challenging than high school softball, but in rugby she also found her “biggest support system.” “I hope to give back to the team as much as I can, since it has already done so much for me,” she said. The team is open to all who are up for the challenge, but not everyone is cut out for the savagery.
Rugby dates back to ancient times, with the Greeks and Romans each having their own breed of the game. Today rugby is easily associated with football, though the structure and gear offer much less protection for the players and a lot more brutality on the field. Each player makes an average of 20 to 40 tackles each match, and one in four players will sustain injury. More than half of player injuries occur during match play. “It’s a marathon. You are sprinting for 80 minutes straight while getting tackled,” Bramblett said. “I love how the sport pushes you, but my least favorite part is Sunday morning. It feels like a semi-truck ran over you, backed up on you and ran over you again.” Andi Holmes, senior hooker, appreciates the lack of sexism in rugby—one of the only sports with the same set of rules for men and women.
by MARIANNA VICK photos by KALEB DILL
“F*** patriarchy,” she said. “We all play the same game.” A match consists of two 40 minute halves, interrupted only for a 10 minute halftime. There are no timeouts or play reviews—just rugby. “It’s a violent sport, but the people aren’t,” said Holmes, who quoted the famous mantra, “‘Football is a gentleman sport played by hooligans and rugby is a hooligan sport played by gentlemen.’” So, what would make anyone want to sign up for a sport with unmatched brutality, fewer regulations than football, and full-force tackles despite absolutely no safety equipment? Simple-- the girls on the team. At the beginning of every season, the veterans take a few weeks to get to know the new players by assigning the rookies to a “family” based on personality and position. This cultivates lasting bonds that not only benefit players off the field, but the entire
“It’s a violent sport, but the people aren’t.” team on the field. Morgan Stephenson, senior scrum-half, stuck with the sport all four years after getting adopted into her “family.” “Everyone kinda has their roles,” she said. “We have to be able to be honest with each other, because at the end of the day, we’re sisters.” Stephenson’s position, essentially the quarterback, is responsible for setting the pace of the game. She makes the most passes and is the connective tissue between the forwards and the backs. But for her, the rugby-related bonds do not stop with just her teammates; it spreads to her opponents too. “The community is by far the best thing about the sport. There’s not a single team we have played who I haven’t made lasting friendships with,” she said. “You can be from any team, and it’s impossible not to have an emotional connection with each other because that time we spend on the field together is so important.” Holmes notes that even after a tough match, it is not uncommon for the two teams to go out for a beer together. “Between teams it’s really cool because there is no animosity,” said Holmes, “which I think is especially important for women who are raised to see each other as competition. So it’s nice to have that competition, but still have that camaraderie.” This supportive internal community is what drove the women’s rugby team to such success last season. They enter this year’s playoffs with expectations of doing the same. If not, at least we know they will be among friends.
From left, Paige Bramblett, Andi Holmes and Morgan Stephenson
by CARSON SCHAFER
Founded in 1936, The Meteor was the first student-run newspaper at the College.
As students of the College, we have the great fortune to be part of the school’s prestigious and lengthy legacy. As we walk around the Cistern, so do the ghosts of students, faculty, co-eds and invading northerners. Recordings picked up by ghost hunters have been useless, and time travel is, at present, a technological impossibility. What we do have is a rich history of student news going back eighty years to when the legendary Abel Banov founded the Meteor newspaper. Like CisternYard News, the Meteor was written and printed by and for the students. They were there when war was declared, when Student Government elected its first black president and when Joe Riley first ran for mayor. However, they also shed light on the day-to-day life of the average student. Opinions, weddings, feuds between fraternities and complaints about parking all made it into print. Reading the stories and emotions behind the stiff, unsmiling people in black and white photos reminds us that students are what students always have been: a bunch of boisterous, hormonal slackers. A Rat’s Life for Me Freshmen today are ridiculously coddled. We hold their hands through every step from application to first year experience, and we can’t even haze them. This was (hilariously) not so in the 1920s, when the upperclassmen 16
reigned high at the “Kangaroo Court.” Freshmen, or “rats,” were each summoned before the court to endure his or her own form of personal humiliation. Headlines from the Meteor in fall 1936 read “Rodents Renew Pledges to be Better Animals” and “Kangaroo Persecutors Giving College Rodents Rough Time.” Charges were often entirely bogus. The honorable court found rats guilty of “impersonating a hoodlum,” “attempting to think logically” and “trying to impersonate a lamb” (Lamb being the boy’s last name). The high judge of the court wanted to be sure every rat was tried, so the court was forced to stretch the law more than a little. The real fun was in the sentencing. A retrospective written in 1955 says that rats caught sitting on the Cistern had to carry their books in a dishpan, or wear an alarm clock around their necks. For other infractions, they had to wear silly signs, prance around the Cistern, clean gutters or shine shoes. The most elaborate punishment ever printed was for Alexander Washington Marshall, guilty of copying the names of too many great men from history. The poor rat was forced to wear a cocked hat and a sign reading “I am the Father of my Country,” while carrying a baby’s bottle and riding a broomstick named Bucephalus with a Gordian knot tied to it. Your first year doesn’t seem so rough now, does it? the yard
Antics through the Ages The Meteor archive reveals an enduring history of students doing what students do best: screwing around. Going to college was a privilege back in the day, right? You’d think they would take it pretty seriously. They didn’t. In October 1940, the front page was graced with a riveting account of a locker room towel fight between unruly lads George “Horse” Nash and Charlie Young. The veteran towel-tusslers struck and dodged in front of a frenzied audience until both sportsmen begrudgingly agreed to a draw. “Long was clad only in his underwear, Nash had on even less,” as stated in the article. No doubt the sport lives on quietly in dorm bathrooms and locker rooms, but maybe we are due for towel battle revival. The Thursday Thirsties Organization was formed the very next year with a tradition many of us unknowingly adhere to today. According to their founding legend, the club started when one student invited his friend for a beer during the day. “Naw, I’ve got class in a little while,” his friend replied. “Aw, come on,” he implored. So they both sat down and had a beer. Soon another friend of theirs came by and they invited him to come have a drink. “Naw, I’ve got class in a little while,” he replied, but, like his friend, he was easily convinced. Another weakwilled soul joined them - and then another - and the band of beer-drinkers grew until they decided they had to make it official. Shenanigans in the 1970s got a little more risqué. The Meteor was at the front lines of the great panty raid of 1973,
Photo by Katie Carter which started with one brave boy infiltrating the girls’ dorm, only to be ambushed in a stairwell and drenched with ice by the dormitory defenders. It ended with the girls making off with three jockstraps after smearing mayonnaise, egg, jam, frosting and acne medicine on the boys’ faces. Why panties, you ask? “Ahh,” the boys’ commander April 14
told the Meteor, “it’s to show the girls that up underneath all that wire and padding they’re all the same.” This brings us to our next point. The Delicate Sex After years of campaigning, women were finally allowed to enroll in the College in 1918, during World War II. President Harrison Randolph decided that if women were going to do all the men’s work in wartime, they may as well be educated. “And how intense was the resentment of the men when they saw their sanctuary being desecrated by women students!” wrote the 1928 staff of The Comet, the College’s yearbook, under the Co-Ed club’s photo. Still, the women held their own against the tide of outrage; by the late 1920s almost half of all student organizations had a woman at the helm. “All this we have accomplished in one decade,” the Comet boasted. You have to give them credit; it was a different time. With the admission of women came all the passion and intrigue that inevitably follow sexually repressed young people. Breakups, courtships, crushes, marriages and love triangles were all laid bare in the Meteor’s vicious gossip columns. One co-ed tried to hide her face when reporters caught her on a date with a Citadel cadet in 1940. Still, the news was printed. “Why be ashamed, Eleanor? We would!” During a low point for student news at the College, one especially creepy (and short-lived) 1950 column was titled “Old Dad Ogles Girls and Issues O.K. Verdict.” Aside from uncomfortable objectification, and one article announcing the shocking news that “Women Handle Mice” (in a biology class, no less), students at the College maintained a relatively progressive view on women. Meteor founder Banov himself called for girls to be allowed to attend Pep Supper, (the Greek Life event that still occurs every year) without a date. He said it was only fair, “now that the members of the gentle sex have been so thoroughly emancipated from the more binding foibles of the not so distant past.” Years later, a reporter bemoaned the lack of postgraduate jobs available to women. Men could be chemists, architects, doctors, teachers, lawyers and journalists; women made up less than five percent of any of these, but 75 percent of librarians, teachers, nurses, dental hygienists and “home economists” in 1949 were women. Student news is an ancient and noble tradition that we will dutifully carry on now and forever. Not only did they keep the student body up-to-date before the age of email or Twitter, but they preserved the voices of those students in time capsules of paper and ink. Now when we look back at our legacy as students of the College, we see ourselves reflected in the lives of students who drank, pranked, loved and toiled long before we were ever here. Additional research came from J.H. Easterby’s “History of the College of Charleston, founded 1770.” Special thanks to the Special Collections at the Addlestone Library for their aid in researching this article.
BOUNDARIES Locking diversity out of the College of Charleston
by CHELSEA ANDERSON, COURTNEY EKER, BRADLEY HARRISON, SIGRID JOHANNES, EMILY WARNER 1967: The first black students enroll at the College of Charleston. Diversity, as Google defines it, is “a range of different things, a mixture, an assortment, a mélange and a difference.” Enter human beings. This basic notion of diversity suddenly develops into something a little more serious and a little more deserving than Google’s “assortment.” As human beings, we naturally leverage our own culture as a standard upon which to judge others. This unhealthy practice inhibits empowerment and celebration of cultural diversity, and can potentially reach a level where people discriminate against what they do not know or understand. Cultural diversity is important—especially in the United States, particularly in South Carolina and even more so in Charleston. Our country was built upon a foundation that encompasses other nations’ barriers. We are a people simultaneously brought out of and raised up in adversity and despair, but we know what is just. America prides itself on its synthesis of rich, plentiful cultures that have, over the span of lifetimes, found a home here. History books and professors in faded lecture halls tell us what we, Americans possessing a strange calling to preserve the “home to all” sentiment that our parents and grandparents shared, want to hear. A study entitled “Population Distribution by Race/ Ethnicity,” compiled by the Kasier Family Foundation in 2014, reports that white Americans are the maintaining majority at 62 percent, succeeding Hispanics (18 percent), blacks (12 percent) Asians (6 percent), American Indian/Alaska Natives (1 percent), and those with two or more racial backgrounds (1 percent). The KFF’s 2014 study also reported the official racial breakdown in the Palmetto State: 66 percent of our population is white, while 27 percent is black, 5 is Hispanic and Asian and mixed racial backgrounds are at a draw for 1 percent. 18
Supporting—and celebrating—cultural diversity requires us, American citizens living in South Carolina enrolled as College of Charleston students, to recognize, understand and interact positively with cultures and behaviors different from our own. A quick search through the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Information Management reveals the numbers behind the College’s racial and ethnic Undergraduate enrollment. The College’s racial and ethnic composition is compared to those at public institutions such as Appalachian State, James Madison University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and private schools such as Elon and the University of Tampa. This study reports whites, at 80 percent, as the majority at the College followed by blacks at 7.2 percent, and Hispanics at 4.3 percent. This trend is equaled, occasionally in an even more drastic manner, in other schools. At App State in Boone, North Carolina, whites make up 85 percent of the student body, while only 4.3 percent are Hispanic, and blacks only represent 3.1 percent. The College of Charleston prides itself on its “educational excellence, student-focused community, and the history, traditions and environment of Charleston and the Lowcountry.” The College states that this student-focused community “embraces mutual respect, collaboration and diversity for the welfare of the individual and the institution.” Sociologists maintain that there is a significant distinction between prejudice, an attitude and discrimination, a behavior. People create prejudiced attitudes based off of stereotypical beliefs and therefore act in a discriminatory way. At the College, discussing these actions is often taboo, but their impact is still immense.
July 1, 2014: Glenn McConnell takes office as president of the College of Charleston. It is not comfortable to talk about prejudice and discrimination on campus, but that is exactly the point. When people become uncomfortable they begin to stir, and then shift positions, and then finally get up and move altogether. When people get up and move, that is when change happens, and that is why it is imperative to have a conversation about the College’s diversity crisis. Kat Roach is a senior at the College, the RA of the Spanish house and part of the Gospel Choir. Being Colombian, she is also a member of the Latino community, which makes her a minority in the thick of this diversity quagmire. It is something she has experienced, whether by being part of culturally based clubs and organizations, or through personal encounters. Since her sophomore year she has lived in the Spanish house, which is one of the College’s Bull Street Living Learning Communities (LLCs). The Spanish house allows students to be immersed in the language and culture. In order to get accepted into the house, students must write a cover letter in Spanish, get references and also have an interview in Spanish. Filled with only Spanish speakers, the house helped her grow culturally and academically. Along with the conversational growth that goes along with constantly speaking the language, members put on at least three Hispanic themed events and are also active in the Spanish Club. But in February the house faced a critical situation. With no warning, only a few days before housing applications were due, they got an email from Housing about the LLCs on Bull Street opening up to the general student population. “I emailed my department head, and he didn’t know anything about it either,” Roach explained. “It was out of the blue. The College didn’t think to ask, ‘Hey, what communities will this change affect?’” To combat this change, Roach volunteered to talk to the head of the Housing Department. Roach informed her of the programs, clubs and departments in which the students of the Spanish House are involved. “The head of Housing had no idea,” Roach said. “And I was insulted, because they had no idea and didn’t even think to ask before making their decision.” Thanks to efforts by Roach and Daniel Delgado Díaz, the chair of the Spanish house, they were able to fill all of Dr. John O. BelloOgunu Photo by Katie Carter
the rooms for the upcoming year and effectively save it. Delgado explained, “The Casa Hispana is one of the unique features on the College’s campus; students have even decided to come here because of its existence. It provides the rare opportunity to be immersed in new cultures and a new language without leaving Charleston.” Fortunately the Spanish house was saved, but three of the other four LLCs could not say the same. At an increasing rate, these kind of cultural hubs are being dissolved. The College of Charleston Gospel Choir is an ensemble class within the Music Department. Though its extensive bio has been taken down from the Music Department’s website, it is and has been a part of Charleston culture for many years. “Since I have been with the choir, we have sung at weddings, several churches, fancy restaurants and hotels downtown, at an antique show, at Accepted Students Weekend and also at Charleston Fashion Week,” member Jasmine Curbeam said. Their most recent performance was on February 14 when they put on their “Black History Concert.” In this show they paid homage to traditional Negro spirituals such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Trouble of the World” and “Down in my Soul.” Along with the Spanish house, Roach expressed concern about being part of another culturally themed organization that is facing adversity. The predominately black choir which she is a part of is being shut down. Graduate student Breton Weeks is the choir director, and has stopped being paid for his work. The only reason the choir still exists is because he is volunteering his time. Roach said, “So I’m here wanting to save my choir, trying to save my house, and I’m just thinking, ‘What’s happening?’” Lack of diversity on campus has been an issue throughout Roach’s college career. Last fall she wanted to create a support group for those culturally similar to her, those who have had kindred life experiences, but she ultimately found the task futile. “I attempted to start some sort of Latino sorority, but it was really hard to find people. I didn’t think it would be so difficult, because I knew there was a baby population of Latinos on campus, but in the end it never worked out.” Such support groups are important, because in the world of a minority, strength and encouragement comes from those having similar experiences. On a perfect campus, these shared experiences would all be positive, but by no means is the College of Charleston perfect. “At least once or twice a semester, when I tell someone I’m Colombian, they will ask if I’ve tried cocaine,”
Provost Brian McGee Photo by Reagan Hembree
r Ta ylo
no va n
“I didn’t know it was still Black History Month.” This is one of several remarks junior Donovan Taylor heard as he and other black students conducted a peaceful march downtown to draw attention to the death of Joyce Curnell, a black woman who died in Charleston County police custody. They gathered in Marion Square, under the gaze of John C. Calhoun’s statue. Onlookers flipped their middle fingers at the students as they passed. The BOUNDLESS campaign banners looked on silently: “Let’s talk about race today.” Black students have an undeniably different experience at the College than white students. Their time on campus is influenced by both the school’s ambition to create a more diverse, supportive environment and the persistent realities of prejudice. This atmosphere of latent discrimination manifests in many ways. Taylor saw it in the aftermath of the Mother Emanuel shooting. He described the frustration he felt as the memorials and tributes poured into the city from around the world. “As students of color, it was a moment where people of color were being attacked,” Taylor explained. Many students felt the gravity of this racial attack was ignored in the “holdinghands gatherings.” Taylor observed that “it was white people saying we’re strong, we’re better than that, but ignoring the fact that it was a race issue.” A few days later, he watched people go back to their routines as if nothing had changed. Calhoun Street hummed with activity once again. Flowers and cards piled up on the church steps. But for many white Charlestonians it was business as usual. For black students, “it changed everything,” Taylor said. “We felt unsafe.” At the College, a moment of silence at Georgestock showed respect for the nine victims. For a few seconds, the students were united. But the moment passed when the DJ shouted, “Let’s get back out on the dance floor.” Fragmented once again, white students flooded back to the center of the fun and black students remained still with heads bowed. Resolute, like rocks in a river. The Mother Emanuel tragedy has come to symbolize racism in its most naked, ugly form. Consequently, it can be easy to overlook the instances of racism that occur on our own campus. They are not publicized, but
tR oa c
April 4, 2015: Walter Scott is fatally shot in the back by a North Charleston police officer.
they are no less problematic. One black student, who wished to remain anonymous, told of a night when he attended a party with a friend and was thrown out because, as the host said, they already had too many black people. Once, the same student was walking down St. Philip Street when a car pulled up next to him. The white students inside rolled the windows down and began screaming the N-word. Perhaps they hoped that their behavior would make them Internet famous. They thrust a camera in the black student’s face, desperate to elicit a reaction. They did not get one. Lately, increased attention has been paid to the academic atmosphere for black students on campus. The College recently received criticism for the termination of ROAR Scholars, a comprehensive support program that serves first generation, low income and disabled students. About 150 students benefit from ROAR every year, many of them racial minorities. In September, Director Tom Holcomb explained that the program’s federal grant was not renewed by the Department of Education. Provost Brian McGee explained that the College of Charleston Foundation is being used to fund the program for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. “I was on the phone with the federal government myself” fighting for the grant’s renewal, McGee said, but to no avail. “ROAR Scholars was a great program and we’re very sorry to have lost it.” Despite the administration’s efforts to keep ROAR running, many black students believe that not enough has been done. “Yes, the grant ran out, and there’s nothing they could really do about that,” Taylor admitted, “but I feel like there’s lot of funds here at the College raised through things like the BOUNDLESS campaign.” Alumna and BSU advisor Marla Robertson spoke at a rally for ROAR about a month ago. She lamented the loss of a significant scholarship and mentorship tool, at a time when the College is making bold goals for increasing diversity. “If we bring them here but we have…no infrastructure to support them, then we will bring them in but we will not be able to retain them,” Robertson said. Taylor and other students echoed her concerns, accusing the College of playing a numbers game. In the springtime, tour groups are as certain as pollen. The photogenic college students gently guide the sweaty kids and inquisitive parents around campus,
Roach explained. “Another one I get all the time is, ‘Are there white people in your country?’ And I’m not saying it’s wrong to be curious about other cultures, but just have respect for them. A lot of times Americans feel like they have their culture, and then after that comes everyone else’s.” This is a sentiment perpetuated by the lack of diversity on campus. And to add to it, Americans often disregard the very cultures that have been integral parts in the building of this nation.
aT ru ss
pointing out the amenities that will hopefully make the College feel like a second home. Sadly, for black students, this second home can feel indifferent, even hostile. Programs like ROAR Scholars provided a refuge. They gave minority students a sense that they were valued as more than a number in a report. “You know that’s a place you can go and feel understood, and we don’t have a lot of places like this on campus,” Robertson remarked at the rally. Junior Jakarri Godbolt said that ROAR taught him that people outside of your own race can care about you. Senior Alexis Walters said she is tired of not mattering to the administration of the College. “We are important. We matter.”
June 17, 2015: White supremacist murders nine members of the Mother Emanuel AME church in downtown Charleston.
tT ay lo
For centuries, Greek Life has been a prominent part of the college experience. And for most undergraduates, Greek Life is the gateway to new, exciting opportunities - a guaranteed way to make the most of your four years away from home. Social bonding, parties and networking are all just a few of the many benefits that come along with immersing oneself in this tradition. And ultimately, it is through this extensive experience that some may discover their own identity. For most, that is what makes Greek Life so enticing. At the College, nearly a quarter of the campus believes in this narrative and partakes in Greek Life. This community is comprised of 26 nationally-affiliated chapters belonging to three governing councils – the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Panhellenic Council and two Greek honor societies - Order of Omega and Rho Lambda. When the term “Greek Life” comes to mind, events such as Pep Supper, Derby Days and Anchor Splash undoubtedly follow. Fitting of Charleston, decorated, multi-colored historical houses lining Wentworth and Coming are also common associations to Greek Life culture at the College. But many fail to realize that these houses mainly house only two of the three Greek councils on campus. With organizations taking residency in homes stretching blocks in the downtown
area, 97 Wentworth is left to the NPHC. But for the NPHC, this house is not home. “It is nice that we were able to get a house, but at the same time it’s not a house for all of our members,” admitted Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. member, Jaquan Leonard. In a house owned by the College, six fraternities and sororities are put under one roof. Fraternities and respective sororities share a designated room where business affairs can be conducted or a chapter meetings may be held. “We just feel like it’s a meeting place, like we can’t take real ownership of it. We can’t take real pride in it as the other houses do,” said Leonard. “You see the other houses decorated beautifully, with their organization’s sign, letters, colors. But [the NPHC house] belongs to us collectively, so essentially it doesn’t belong to any of us.” When considering Phi Mu member Megan Dunn and her chapter’s sorority house on campus, the story is very different. As with most Panhellenic organizations, her sorority house holds traditions from past years and members are welcomed to partake in chapter history, subsequently forging a close community with fellow sorority sisters. Seven girls currently reside in the Phi Mu house. In the NPHC house, there is no one. Unlike the members of Panhellenic Council and IFC, officers and chapter members are not permitted to actually reside in the NPHC house. For some, to group the NPHC together - to place all the predominately black Greek organizations in one establishment - may seem a reasonable set up. Since first being organized on college campuses, Greek organizations have always been racially segregated. Though, to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. member, Robert Taylor, “Black history is also Greek history when it comes to the black community.” Born out of the need to organize and serve their communities at a time of disenfranchisement and denied rights, black Greek organizations filled a void. Founded between 1906 and 1963, the “Divine 9” - Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta - were created to uplift communities through service, all while emphasizing the importance of education. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Zora Neale Hurston, and Phylicia Rashad are a few of the many members belonging to these Greek organizations that have been instrumental in civil rights movements, education and the arts. Today, NPHC has spread its roots from just historically black colleges and universities, to predominantly white institutions. Here at the College, the NPHC made their first appearance in the early 1970s, not many years after the first black student was admitted into the institution. Though numbers have grown and shrunk over the years, the NPHC’s presence on the campus has been consistent. Producing numerous events on campus from
Photos by Michael Wiser
environmental clean ups to town hall discussions, and having an active hand in local charities and projects, it would seem that NPHC stands as equals to their counterpart councils. They have proved to be a real council, with real organizations, having real impact on the campus and community. But NPHC Secretary and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc, member, Jalisa Truss, expressed that the campus may feel otherwise. “People don’t consider NPHC to be a council. We are on the same level. We’re doing real work and we’re really trying to make this campus better for - not just black people - but all people.” Little is known about the “stepping and dancing” Greeks at the College, and this level of ignorance only mirrors the issue of lack in housing. “Birds of a feather flock together” then rings true when all black Greek organizations are marginalized and placed under one roof. Many would suggest simply purchasing a house to solve the housing disparity. While an easy solution, several factors prevent the NPHC from going forth with this. First, there are not a large number of black students on campus, let alone within the black Greek system. According to Taylor, Panhellenic and IFC have more members at the College and therefore have more funds backing their organizations. This means that these particular councils will always have the privilege and opportunity to have a house, and chances are, will never have it taken away. At a school with nearly eight percent blacks, this is not the case for the NPHC. Many of the students cannot afford to live in pricey 17th century homes downtown. To expect students from lower economic backgrounds to establish a house is not logical. For a minority group to fund their own housing, Taylor projected that loans would have to be taken out, tuition would have to be increased or money would have to be taken from their already small chapter accounts. But as much as a trivial issue housing may seem, the controversy sheds light on other issues surrounding Greek Life traditions, and even bigger issues of diversity on the College campus. On campus, mixing of different backgrounds, is rare. As history would show, few blacks have attempted to join historically white Greek groups, and vice versa - for an underlying, unspoken sense of taboo swirls when races interact. Informal segregation has remained the norm on campuses far beyond the deep South. And the norm at most campuses is to ignore the issue. Colleges have conclusive data on many activities like athletics or fields of study, but they claim that Greek Life statistics are unknown. Essentially, lack of housing translates into the lack of black identity on the college campus.
July 10, 2015: The Confederate Flag is removed from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds. And then there’s President McConnell. President McConnell, who assumed his current position amidst bold protesting from minority and majority students alike in regard to his history with Confederate memorabilia and reenactments. President McConnell, who publicly supported Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol, while simultaneously stating that “the people of South Carolina are entitled to their complete history, the parts that give us pride as well as sadness.” President McConnell, who, upon taking office, has supposedly made it his mission to improve diversity on campus. President McConnell, who issued a public statement addressing diversity on campus during last February’s Black History Month, which called the College a “melting pot of various ideas and people” as well as “a diverse place.” As of March 2016, the College of Charleston Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Information Management reports that the College ranks in the bottom three South Carolinian colleges and universities in terms of underrepresented minority students with a mere 16.7 percent. 7.2 percent of that number are African Americans, the next highest percentage being hispanic students with 4.3. According to Dr. John O. Bello-Ogunu, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer in the Office of Institutional Diversity, the College is “not at a level we should be proud of” in terms of diversity, but “a level that is still a measurable success in respect to the last couple of years.” “It is unfortunately difficult to appreciate the level of success that has been achieved because the magnitude of the diversity and inclusion problem on our campus is huge,” Ogunu said. Ogunu admitted that McConnell’s stance on diversity since assuming his position as President has been observatory rather than interventionary. A little over a year ago, McConnell created a “Diversity Review Committee” made up of members of the faculty, staff and Board of Trustees. Since then, he has been waiting for the committee to “take a look at where we are with regards to diversity and to make recommendations to him as to their findings and where we should be headed,” Ogunu said. Ogunu had no information as to when the committee would be able to provide McConnell with a comprehensive analysis, but was told by the president himself that as soon as the committee presents its work, he will be able to provide “an institutional direction” as to where he wants the College to go as far as diversity is concerned. Until the yard
Racial Makeup of the College of Charleston 80.2% White
7.2% Black or African American
1.7% Asian 3.7% 2 or more races
Graphic by Wesley Vance
then, the committee has no definitive deadline. In Ogunu’s opinion, the unfortunate racist history of South Carolina, as well as the College specifically, are two of the main barriers the College faces in its attempts to diversify the student body. And while there has been progress in the past couple of years, citing the bigger percentage of minority students such as black, Asian Americans and Hispanic students, the pervasive sentiment of worthlessness and insecurity among those students has apparently seen no progress. People should be treated as such, not as statistics on a College of Charleston application brochure. Marla Robertson ‘01, Personal Services Budget Coordinator in the Budgeting and Payroll Services Department, has witnessed this firsthand. A graduate from the College, as well as the Staff Advisor for the Black Student Union, Robertson has watched the campus climate evolve from different sides of the perspective. On a visit to a local high school for its College Application Day, Robertson was assigned to help high school students fill out college applications. Robertson approached a black student who was sitting in the back of the room, inactive, and asked why she wasn’t filling out applications. Upon seeing Robertson’s College of Charleston uniform shirt, the girl responded, “I’m definitely not going to CofC, that school is for white people.” Shocked, Robertson informed the girl about her own experiences at the College, also being a black student. The girl - a high schooler - responded, “what, with that slave owner president?” Robertson called on the campus community to look at diversity as a concept that has seemingly become a buzzword - one that everyone likes to throw around but that no one seems to really understand. “Diversity pertains to a number, how many people in the room,” she said. “It does not address how many of those people are supported, or cared for, or appreciated.” In her opinion, the institution is working hard to improve the quantitative aspect of diversity, but doing little to challenge the overarching ideology of institutional racism that is palpable on campus. In other words, the College wants to keep increasing its numbers of minority students without implementing an infrastructure to support the “numbers” who are April 14
already here. “Increasing numbers of minority students, faculty and staff alone on any campus, especially any predominantly white campus, is not good enough,” Ogunu agreed. “And it should not be the only measure by which we [determine] the progress of our diversity climate.” Robertson agreed. “We don’t need to focus on just getting brown people here,” she said. “We need to be making sure that the brown people who are already here are extremely supported and extremely successful.” A common theme between Robertson and Ogunu’s prospective opinions is that there must be a larger financial commitment to supporting those students who have been marginalized on campus for being a minority. “Unless minority students and students from poor families see significant financial support,” Ogunu said, “their dreams to achieve a college education will remain mere dreams.” Robertson stressed that not only must the College dedicate scholarship funds to lower income students, but it must continue to support those students, financially and otherwise, throughout the entire four years that they spend at the College. Ogunu summed up his opinion of the campus diversity climate in three words: good, improving and progressive. Robertson’s three words were hopeful, stifling and unclear. Keeping true to Ogunu’s statement that “you can’t expect to obtain a different result by doing the same thing over and over again,” Robertson, Ogunu and other advocates of diversity and equality will continue to strive for change within the institution - contingent upon the results of President McConnell’s Diversity Review Committee. President McConnell, who, according to his secretary, could not fit in a 15 minute interview with The Yard into his busy schedule to talk about diversity, something he has long believed to be one of the most pressing issues that faces the College of Charleston campus today.
July 22, 2015: Joyce Curnell dies of dehydration in Charleston County Jail. The story of her death is not revealed until months later.
More than Mannequins by SYDNEY MOREANO One minute she is dyeing an old wedding dress blue for “The Secret Garden,” the next, she is sifting through boxes of lace to find the perfect collar for an outfit in the upcoming production “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.” Now, she is fixing a botched hem while her computer waits with her costume research in front of her. She is constantly surrounded by thread, fabric, needles, irons and people. It may sound like madness, but somehow Ellen Iroff makes it work. Iroff, the costume shop manager and a professor at the College, is in charge of every single aspect of clothing within the theater department - whether she is making it, finding it in the countless closets of clothing, or buying it new. Iroff’s costume shop is laid-back and enjoyable, alive with the buzz of student chatter and sewing machines. She has created a safe haven for theater students and other majors alike. It is a place where work does not really feel like work— it feels like fun. “It’s fun, it’s open,” senior Anna Todisco said. “You don’t really have to be embarrassed about anything. If you don’t understand something, if you do something wrong, you just have to be honest.” Mistakes come with the territory, since Iroff’s students are often sewing beginners. Her shop has a team of costume shop assistants, including Todisco, theater kids and total newbies. Iroff recognizes these differences and sees the bigger picture. “All the small [sewing] mistakes that you can see in the costume shop, where I look at it and I know that, you
photos by REAGAN HEMBREE know what, that line’s not really straight,” Iroff said. “But somebody sewed that line, and it’s the first thing they’ve sewn and been pleased with themselves about maybe all semester. So they take pride in that. And you know what? When I’m sitting 20 feet away, it doesn’t matter. You can’t see that.” The costume shop manager has been sewing since she was in diapers. It all started with her grandpa, who owned a clothing factory. It was not long before Iroff ditched the dolls and moved on to real muses, beginning by creating her own dance costumes and then working for her high school’s musical. The College of Charleston graduate reflects on her time here as the years that led her to costume design. “I didn’t realize that sewing was a career choice,” Iroff said. “I loved the sewing and creating and playing with characters. I was really into reading and playing dress up and make believe as a kid and now I get to play dress up, but with real actors who get to move around.” Iroff previously worked for the Spoleto Festival and designed costumes for Broadway stars at Flatrock Playhouse. And she passes her expertise to her students with a smile. Her experience is evident as she weaves her way through a crowd, fixing a pinning job here, rethreading a machine there - and all the while keeping a smile on her face. “She just really cares for it and she really wants to share her knowledge about it and wants other people to be as excited about it as she is,” junior theater major Leala Grindstaff said. A lifetime with a needle and thread has given the
“I love theater so much that I love watching other people fall in love with it.”
teacher the knowledge to take on so many newcomers, shows and work all at once. But juggling the tasks comes easy for Iroff, whose passion for her job and for theater keep her motivated. “I love theater so much that I love watching other people fall in love with it,” Iroff said. “I just really love doing theater and teaching theater and teaching people to love theater.” Iroff recognizes the uniqueness of her career path, where she rarely does the same task for more than 15 or 20 minutes. Iroff regards herself as a child in that way, jumping from machine to computer to student at a moment’s notice. The multiple switches between theater shows per semester makes her job anything but boring. “There aren’t many professions where you can have someone walk in and say ‘Okay, take your clothes off and put this on,’” Iroff said. “There’s something very intimate about sewing with people every day and fitting people every day.” The daily costuming with students gives Iroff a unique professor-student relationship, where students feel completely comfortable to speak their minds in her presence. “I feel like I get to do some really fun, interesting bonding with the students and getting to know their lives and what they think about things,” Iroff said. “Our modern thoughts really reflect back on plays. The great plays are the ones that resonate with so many different generations.” Such plays are more than just excellent performances;
the clothes on the actor’s backs are crucial to the success of show. Iroff explained that the best costume design is such that the audience does not notice the clothing because it seems natural, it seems like the clothing the characters should be wearing. She also stressed the specificity of her work, as each costume must reflect both the character and the moment. “Costume design is not about lots of people—it’s this one specific person at this one specific moment in [his or her] life,” Iroff said. “So, like, what does this woman say when she’s professing her love to this man? What does this woman wear when she is sobbing in her bed? Those kind of really specific moments…this one costume exists for this one person in this one time.” Iroff understands the vulnerability of a moment and the importance of the clothing worn during such vulnerability. She teaches this to aspiring costume designers, as she works to make their sketched dreams a reality while staying within the budget. The collaboration between the costume shop manager and the designers is crucial, as it is Iroff’s job to make the ideas presented to her into reality. Managing all the clothes, people, fabric and wardrobe for performances may seem like a lot, but one look at Iroff soothes all stressing: the costume shop is, and will continue to be, in good and passionate hands. Post interview, Iroff returns to collaborating with student designer Todisco in the lab. She is back to the students, the fabrics, the patterns and the happiness. She is back to what she loves.
This story is one of brokenness, of failed opportunity and of sadness. It is a vast, pertinent story, but one that is largely forgotten, invisible. This is the story of the homeless. Every homeless story is different, but recurring themes emerge if you pay attention: broken homes due to domestic violence, broken marriages as a result of alcohol or drug abuse, broken relationships recurring from mental illness, broken futures due to PTSD or chronic unemployment. These stories reveal to us the invisible underclass of Americansâ€”unsheltered, unemployed or uneducated men,
women and children who are homeless. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the homeless are the most difficult group of Americans to countâ€” even most illegal aliens have an address. However, agencies such as HUD, the national Department of Housing and Urban Development, have made it their mission to conduct annual PIT (Point-In-Time) counts of the homeless population. HUD works through local social service agencies such as the South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless in order to rationalize the problem in the most condensed terms
A Tale of Two Cities Life under I-26 by EMILY WARNER
Photo by Wesley Vance possible, and to understand just how serious the problem Street. It is located on land owned by the Department of Transportation, and while it is not illegal to be on that land, is. HUD also created the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition, it is illegal to pitch a tent and stay on the property longer or LHC, covering a seven county-wide area which includes than 48 hours. The PIT count also discovered that of the homeless Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. Last year’s PIT count reported a staggering 5,040 population, 1,781 were found in emergency shelters like homeless men, women and children in South Carolina One80Place. Search “One80Place” in any engine and you will access alone. Of these, 1,806 were living in unsheltered conditions such as cars, tents, abandoned buildings and other areas the clean, bold website which mirrors the shelter’s main building on Walnut Street, relatively close to Tent City. unsuitable for human habitation. I visited One80Place to interview Amy Wilson, the Tent City is a community of homeless people living shelter’s Vice President of Development. in makeshift shelters under the I-26 overpass on Meeting follow Dorian on Instagram at @dorianwarneck
Following the twenty-minute walk from campus, I arrived in front of the red-roofed, stylishly modern facility. After realizing that the entrance was locked, I wandered around the building for a few minutes. A man wearing an apron, evidently a worker at the facility’s community kitchen, appeared from the back entrance and scanned me in. Upon entering the building and looking around, I saw a room to the right where a group of homeless men and an employee sat, talking. I noticed the front desk behind which three women stood, busily discussing something. After checking in, I sat on a low wooden bench, observing. I saw the metallic letters on the wall next to a door, “Harold C. Schott Dormitory”, through which several empty bunk beds waited. A man entered, wearing stained jeans, a gray Hollister hoodie and an old backpack. He and one of the women at the front desk spoke for a moment in hushed voices, then he came and sat on the
go upstairs and wait— Wilson would be with me in a few minutes. At the top of the stairs, I noticed a silver frame housing rows of colorful keys. The small plaque inside the display explained the Keys for Hope project, put on by a group of students from Mount Pleasant: “Keys for Hope started from a simple idea—a $5 donation in exchange for a decorative key, symbolizing a better future for homeless men, women, and children—into tens of thousands of dollars that helped build this facility.” After introducing herself, Wilson led me to her office, where she shared that she has been an employee at One80Place for ten years. Wilson graduated from the College, where she earned both her undergraduate Sociology degree and her Masters in Public Administration. She explained that some of her responsibilities as manager of the development staff include focusing on federal grant programs, which One80Place receives through HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and
“I think we sometimes hear, ‘Oh, well that person says they want to live that way’ or ‘they’re content living that way’. That happens, maybe, but I think it’s far less frequent than what people think.” - Amy Wilson, VP of Development for One80Place bench next to mine. He sat with his head in his hands, looking down at the floor. One80Place is more than a shelter. Their self-description attests that One80Place is “more than a roof, more than a meal. A place to begin again.” Their mission: One80Place provides food, shelter and hope to end homelessness and hunger one person at a time, one family at a time. Shortly after, two more men entered, each wearing sweatpants, plaid shirts and baseball caps. Their faces were worn and weathered. They checked in at the front desk quickly and retreated through a door to the back hallway. One80Place contains a community kitchen, from which employees and volunteers serve around 185 lunches a day. As the only homeless organization in South Carolina with beds for female veterans, One80Place provides veterans with, among other things, three meals a day and financial support for rental assistance. The shelter also provides a health care clinic, legal services, personalized education and training plans. A woman entered. She had uncombed hair and wore a black brace on her abdomen. She came in hunched over, as if it pained her to walk. She carried a colorful child’s backpack over one arm and situated herself on one of the benches. One of the women at the front desk told me I could
Story by SAMUEL OLEKSAK Photos by MICHAEL WISER 2828
managing media relations, of which Wilson says “there’s been a lot of that lately.” On Feb. 4, Charleston issued an eviction notice with the intention of finding shelter for as many of the city’s homeless as possible. On March 21, the city of Charleston passed out fliers to the 43 remaining residents of Tent City, detailing the upcoming move-out process which began April 4 and continued for five days. If the residents do not have a place to go, the Post and Courier attests, the city will provide housing for up to 60 days at the county’s “warming shelter” in North Charleston, with transportation provided. I asked what she thought about Mayor Tecklenburg’s decision to relocate the homeless to the North Charleston area. “I mean, I think that, you know, nobody should live outside in an encampment,” she said. “I think we sometimes hear, ‘Oh, well that person says they want to live that way’ or ‘they’re content living that way.’ That happens, maybe, but I think it’s far less frequent than what people think.” Wilson explained that One80Place have met with Mayor Tecklenburg and his team for the past three months, and attests that he is “very committed and dedicated to, you know, making sure people living in that encampment have a place to go.” She added that the Mayor’s decision to
the yard The Yard
Homeless men, women and children in SC 35% unsheltered 31%
31% in emergency shelters
34% in transitional housing relocate the homeless to North Charleston is a temporary transitional housing measure, that it is not meant to be a long-term solution. Finally, I asked Wilson if she agreed with the notion that by donating tents, food, clothing and other items, organizations and charities are adding to the growth of homelessness instead of addressing its root problems. “Yes, that’s sort of our observation,” she said. “And one thing we noticed as Tent City grew, or as the encampment grew, the more people saw it, there were more people who wanted to help, but by helping they brought things, and more people led to more things, and it was just…ongoing.” Colin Kerr, the Director of Campus and Young Adult Ministry for the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, believes that donating to Tent City is a “right-intended compassion without a long term solution, transition, or plan.” Kerr put me in touch with Derek Snook, the founder and manager of In Every Story, a labor service agency located on Meeting Street. Snook grew up in Mount Pleasant with his parents, a minister and kindergarten teacher, and attended Furman University in Greenville to play Division 1 basketball. He told me that he “wanted to adventure and see the world.” And he did. “I worked at a school for orphans in Kenya, and I noticed the disconnect between the people that want to help and people they’re trying to help, and I noticed it was the same where I was from. These thoughts followed Snook as he made the decision to live his life as a homeless man. “It was something I wanted to do,” Snook said about his year at Star Gospel Mission, a transitional housing facility in downtown Charleston. “My challenge was I wanted to live a meaningful life but I didn’t know where to start. I was pretty confident it would be hard having a girlfriend and living at Star Gospel, and many friends and family members were not so happy and ecstatic about it and thought I wasn’t making the most of what was given to me. My friends were going to medical and law school and I felt like a loser living at a homeless shelter. Lots of people told me why I should avoid that challenge.”
I asked Snook if he considered his year living as a homeless man an experiment. Instead, Snook saw his experiences—living as a homeless man, taking up day labor jobs, living on $8 an hour, riding CARTA—as his purpose. Throughout our conversation, Snook kept referring to his life, and the lives of the homeless, as a “story.” “I would call it obedience, or purpose. Yeah, I mean, I would call it purpose and fate, I would say that, you know, each of us has a story, and that our life purpose is to engage in that relationship with the author of that story, and to take that where we think it’s leading us.” Snook incorporated his belief that everyone has an important, valuable story into his company at its founding. At IES, Snook said, “We have a story that we use; it’s based around three points. Every good story has challenges, good reasons to avoid challenges, good authors using challenges to make stories matter. We have that as a way to make people make better professional decisions.” There are several differences between IES and other temporary staffing agencies that set it apart: at IES, workers are paid weekly, not daily—a plan which Snook says fixes the problem of people blowing all their money in a night. Snook explained that “we invest financially, we invest by keeping the promise in temporary employment. People have a really bad taste in their mouth for staffing agencies, but we encourage customers to hire people, recruit people who want permanent jobs, celebrate that hire. We frame their picture and put it on our wall.” Unlike the recent Post and Courier article which refers to Charleston’s homeless as “swelling ranks of down-andout people” and compares Tent City to “the vast, filthy, pathetic tent cities in Buenos Aires, Manila and Mexico City,” Wilson and Snook believe in the homeless. Tecklenburg announced that Tent City will be cleared by April 9. According to local officials, Tecklenburg, along with homeless advocates, will help the remaining residents of the encampment to find permanent housing. “He has a good heart,” Snook said of Tecklenberg and his decisions. “He’s a good man. We’re helping employ some of those folks from Tent City, three or four of them, because of his efforts.” The homeless story is one of brokenness, failed opportunity and sadness, but people like Wilson and Snook, who believe in and hope for this invisible class of broken Americans, provide hope. At the end of the interview, Snook left me with a single thought: “Each of us gets to decide what our ideals are. Our actions are what will show the world what our ideals actually are.”
pedal for the paycheck
by SIGRID JOHANNES photos by MICHAEL WISER
pedicabbers sculpt their calves one tourist at a time
It is late enough for the streets to be empty. Wedged between two brick buildings near Market Street, a party is in full swing. Beneath the glow of light bulbs on a string, people are drinking and the volume of their chatter swells with laughter. We are outside on the curb and Dick Oyler turns to me and says, “I can make anywhere from zero to $500, on a good night.” Let me back up. Oyler works for Pedicab, one of the three pedalpowered taxi services in Charleston. With intrinsic motivation and calves of steel, Oyler and his coworkers transport up to three passengers at a time to almost any location on the peninsula. You can see them gathered on Market, or meandering down King in search of customers. The bike taxis are an integral part of Charleston’s landscape, both for tourists and residents. They play a key role in defining the street culture in an already small and congested downtown. Besides, they are just plain fun. The Management The three companies in Charleston are Bike Taxi, Rickshaw and Pedicab. Bike Taxi runs their vehicles at a rate of $5.00 per person per 10 minutes. They are in service seven days a week, with a shift that runs until 2:30 a.m. on the weekends. They also sell advertising space and offer wedding services. Pedicab and Rickshaw are two separate companies with the same owner. We reached out to their management for comment, but
received no response. We spoke with Bike Taxi’s owner, Nick Herron, although he would not label himself as such. “I’m basically just a rental company,” he explained. “Each rider is an independent contractor, so everybody has to have their own business license.” Outside, the afternoon sun is baking the asphalt, but within Herron’s small office the cool smell of concrete prevails. Charleston’s sidewalks swarm with elderly couples and elementary school groups in colorcoordinated shirts. The Bike Taxi workshop is equally colorful, with graffiti and murals on the walls. Old tires are piled up beneath a workbench. Inside Herron’s office, all available space is jammed with bits and bobs. The walls are covered with the posters of local business partners, and a wedding canopy bedecked with fake white flowers sits atop another precarious set of shelves. Although each rider is independent, Herron is accountable for the operation as a whole. “We did win Best Green Company for Best in Charleston...a couple years in a row,” he said with pride. Bike Taxi split from Rickshaw and Pedicab years ago, and has since made a name for itself as alternative, ecofriendly transportation. “Any time you can get a car off the road is good,” Herron said. Besides being greener, bike taxis are also convenient for residents of the peninsula. “We have a lot of people that live south of Broad that have used us for years,” Herron said. “There’s no point if you live on Tradd Street, and you want to wear heels to an event, for you to move your car. Because it’ll take you longer to park your car than it would to take a bike taxi and just get dropped off.” What does Herron look for in a rider? “You have to be selfmotivated. Because, you know, to make money, it’s an eight hour shift, and it is very easy to say ‘I’m tired, I’ve made $250 and I’m going to quit.’ But that doesn’t mean that the hotels are going to stop calling.” He also emphasized the core value of honesty. Without honesty and consistency among the riders, Bike Taxi’s reputation would wither. “People who tend to take our bikes, stick with our bikes because they like the rider. The rider is the relationship,” Herron elaborated. So who is Bike Taxi’s typical customer? “People who tend to like environmentally the yard
friendly, active things, to use the bathroom, and Will Smith the most common comments Pedica come to us. They just flock saw it and just hopped on.” Smith bbers hear 1. “Sorry we’re so to us.” Some peak times of asked the stunned rider if he could heavy, we just ate! ” 2. “Do you go to th year include the Festival of ride, and of course the rider told e College?” *most common fro Houses and Gardens, the him to hop in. But Smith insisted on m old ladies 3. “Do you ride to Mount Pleasant? Cooper River Bridge Run, pedaling himself. “Which is illegal. *for the record pe ople, the answer is a hard no the Spoleto Festival and But he did it, because it’s Will Smith,” 4. “You must be ab le to eat whatever you want.” Foster said. Other riders told off-theChristmas shopping season. Bike Taxi’s mission is record stories of excessively drunk admirable, but running customers, raucous wedding groups the business is not without and one particularly odd sexual liaison challenges. When asked if there was any red tape, Herron in the back of the bike. At the end of leaned back in his chair and chuckled, “Oh yes. This is the day, each rider goes home with a new story to tell. Charleston.” Five years ago, the city held a lottery and Customers go home praying they cleaned the seats. Bike Taxi bid for ten tags. That means the company is Partially due to the hiring practices and partially due only allowed to have seven bikes out, with an additional to their personalities, the riders form a close-knit group. three after 6:00 p.m. In total, Herron employs about 50 “They’re kind of rough at first just because you’re the riders. He also has a full-time mechanic to deal with the new guy,” Foster explained. But a few weeks into the job, copious maintenance issues. “These bikes get a lot of camaraderie kicks in. Nicknames are common: Crouton, hours on them.” Beav, Malibu, Queef, Crash and Pee Pad, to name a few. Logistical challenges aside, Bike Taxi is more than Oyler adopted a gravelly voice and said “ride or die,” a company to Nick Herron. As we were leaving the laughing as he explained the ridiculous antics that help workshop, he showed us a large mural that adorned the pass the hours on slow days. He described the worst back wall. It depicted a globe with multicolored riders possible customer as the “fake out,” the person who crisscrossing the canvas on bikes. “One of my riders asks lots of questions and walks away without using the made this, Bike Taxi World, and those are all our riders,” service. “The worst ride is the ride that doesn’t happen.” Herron pointed out with the pride of a parent looking at Pedicab and Rickshaw combined employ about 40 the artwork on the refrigerator. “It’s a community.” people. Pedicab alone has about 13 males and seven females. When asked if the experience for females was The Riders different, Oyler and Foster immediately agreed. “They get treated differently,” Foster explained. “Girls often “I’ll be wearing orange pants.” This is what Dick Oyler will make more money than most of the guys, they can told me to look out for. I have never met him before. I squeeze tips out of guys pretty easily.” Male customers have never talked to any of the Pedicabbers before. But will sometimes ask to have a female rider, but those sure enough, I spotted him striding down Calhoun with a requests are ignored. The male riders are also occasionally friend, pants and unstoppably buoyant hair aglow. Oyler subject to unwarranted attention. “You get butt touches,” and his friend Keaton “Crouton” Foster gave me a sense Foster said. “Well,” mused Oyler, “your butt is right in of the business from their perspective as Pedicab riders. their face…honk honk.” Landing a job with Pedicab is competitive. Most new From their mobile perches, Pedicabbers can hires know a guy who knows a guy, and outsiders are sometimes see things about Charleston that people rarely recruited without some sort of connection to the cannot—or will not. “I’m definitely more aware of how company. “If we don’t want people to work for us we’ll many people are just stuck on their phones constantly,” say there’s a waiting list they can get on,” joked Oyler. said Foster. “You learn a lot just watching people… Foster agreed that hiring is “mostly referral.” The work You’re a hidden camera.” Oyler agreed that the average itself is physically exhausting. Oyler quoted a gallon as a pedestrian is way too distracted. He added that “people comfortable amount of water to drink during a summer always freak out when there’s a fight. But I swear every day shift. Working out at the gym is almost impossible Friday or Saturday night on King Street, there are several due to fatigue. “My knees and ankles would be sore just altercations. We usually just park our bikes and watch.” As from [Pedicab],” explained Foster. “All your energy’s for their knowledge, Foster affirmed that “we definitely gone.” have an intimate relationship with the city. You do it for However, the job is not without perks. “I gave David six months, you know every street and you know all the Arquette a ride once,” laughed Foster. “I picked up him and neighborhoods. It makes Charleston a lot smaller to you.” his friend with two girls…they might have been escorts, Bike Taxi, Pedicab and Rickshaw all play an integral but you don’t have to write that.” The actor solicited part in keeping downtown Charleston on the move. The Foster for marijuana, paid him $40 for a five-minute companies keep more cars off the road, provide a unique ride and disappeared into the Charleston night. Oyler experience for visitors and employ dozens of people. excitedly jumped in with another story, “Will Smith was Being a rider is not easy, but well worth the effort. “You in town once and he hijacked a bike,” Oyler exclaimed. can make money, have fun and hang out with your “He saw it sitting outside I guess, someone went inside friends,” summed up Foster. “It’s not a job.” April 14
Martial Arts and MMA:
Not All Bloody Knuckles and Black Eyes
by KIMBERMARIE FAIRCLOTH Ronda Rousey, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women’s Bantamweight Champion, was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, depriving her of oxygen; she could not speak intelligibly until she was six. Holly Holm, daughter of a preacher and another former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, began her love of boxing during an Aerobics class, thus commencing her journey into a world of which her mother did not approve. Georges St. Pierre, retired UFC champion, learned Kyokushin Karate from his father at a young age because he was being bullied at school in his middleof-nowhere hometown.
photos by MICHAEL WISER Jon Jones, current UFC Light Heavyweight, began MMA and cage fighting to make ends meet once he found that he and his high school sweetheart had a daughter on the way. Every fighter has a story and every champion has a starting point. Upon hearing the words ‘Martial Arts,’ a standard response is usually an induced cringe with raised apprehensive eyebrows and visions of Bruce Lee’s bloodied body fighting (and winning) against multiple opponents. In today’s society, people now probably envision an octagonal cage encasing an advertisement-laden floor smeared with dried blood and two people trying to physically hurt, submit and
defeat one another. It has been considered savage, barbaric and reminiscent of a time when Roman emperors would pitch gladiator against gladiator. Time has passed, the sport prevails--but only in a society caught in a never-ending paradox of loving and hating violence. The question remains: why would people be so interested in such an intimidating spectacle? It is not all bloody knuckles and black eyes. What the general public has been exposed to is only the tip of the iceberg. For some, the reality of what happens when you become seduced by a centuries-old art form never even makes it past the stereotypes of what many think is just a brutish, anger-driven sport. In fact, many would be surprised to find that this so-called ‘sport’ is just as much of an art as dancing or painting—perhaps intensified by the discipline and exercise required of the human body... but an art form no less.
in the ring are the same as the ones wearing karategis in a dojo. Employing an analogy about fitness versus bodybuilding, Di Giovanni explained how those who look to adopt a fitter lifestyle do not necessarily look to become bodybuilders; the same applies to Martial Arts. The desire to become a professional fighter comprises a small portion of those who are interested in Martial Arts. For those who believe that there is no difference
What’s Your Story? John Di Giovanni, 52, is a personal trainer, editor of the local fitness magazine “Oblique” and adjunct professor at the College. He teaches Martial Arts and Tai Chi classes, which propagate from when he was a student learning the art himself. DiGiovanni found that by teaching others, he learned even more, helping him to fully utilize the lessons and lifestyles to which he was being exposed. “I got into Martial Arts later than most people,” Di Giovanni stated as he adjusted the navy-blue bandana layered underneath a worn baseball cap. “I was interested in the breathing aspect—I had trouble breathing when I was younger.” Of course, the physical component also attracted the instructor as Martial Arts is a pinnacle of fitness; it comprises “flexibility, endurance, power, strength [and] fluidness.” For Di Giovanni, who has earned his Black Belt in both Shaolin Kempo and Kung Fu, the objective of his class is not to just teach students how to fight—the mentality and psychology behind causing harm to someone only goes so far. Instead, the goal is improvement. Learning Martial Arts is not just physical. There is a mental, for some even spiritual, characteristic. This quality is derived from the harmony between mind and body: the movements, the breathing, the mentality should all be connected. Harmony between mind and body can be taught, but only achieved through practice - which is the ultimate challenge in Di Giovanni’s class: to learn, then practice, then improve. The student’s job is to become better than the person they were the day before—after all, everyone is their own most formidable opponent. Stereotypes are often started by those who are uneducated or unfamiliar about the subject, which explains the prevailing assumptions society has about those who learn martial arts. Especially with the rise in popularity of cagefighting; many think that the ones April 14
between the two, it is recommended that they witness an actual demonstration of a class. The techniques and methods will be the same—after all, cage-fighting is a conglomerate of different martial arts, which is why it is called MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). If you were to take a peek in Di Giovanni’s class, one would find a plethora of college students attempting to better their lifestyle in some shape or form--not one of them is cut from the exact same ilk, which sublimates the class from simply an instructional how-to to one of fellowship and introspection. The motive and vigor behind a student who only takes a class to learn how to fight and a student who takes it to learn Martial Arts, will be blatantly obvious. Where’s Your Starting Point? “It is hard for someone to walk through the front door,” Matt Robinson, owner of Charleston’s Krav Maga & MMA facility in West Ashley, explained only minutes after getting done with teaching class for the day. Krav Maga, a descendant fighting system of Israel’s defense units, emphasizes how to defend and protect oneself, even if in the worst case scenario. Robinson, whose gym is the only Fit to Fight training facility in the Lowcountry, has been a student of Martial Arts since he was a teen. He was a basketball player who fell in love with the looks of Martial Arts and the balance and coordination it took to learn it. Robinson’s 33
vast experience and knowledge can be summarized by a glance at his ranks: he has earned a Black Belt in Krav Maga, a 3rd degree black belt in Karate and a Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His story began as a young athlete hoping to perfect his coordination and become a better sportsman all around. He too had to walk through the front door; and now that he owns his own training facility, he can attest to the hardships and stereotypes that come with having a life dedicated to Martial Arts. As Robinson so eloquently put: “[People] fear the unknown, [they] think it is going to be some place they are going to get beat up…that is simply not the case.” Walking into a Martial Arts class takes tremendous courage; whether one walks into the class with the objective to defend oneself, get in shape or simply because the subject matter intrigues them, it takes guts. The perceptions that have been cast by movies, television and mainstream media today can cast an odious shadow over the art, one that usually showcases broken bones and ugly egos. At Robinson’s training center, however, their objective is to train “incredibly safe and incredibly smart”—it would be counterintuitive to learning and bringing in new students if every class required an injury or outright competition.
The best advice Robinson could give to those who are interested in learning Martial Arts is to have an open mind. “Some people come in with a preconceived notion of what they are capable of doing or what they think should be done,” he said. Everyone is a student because there is always room for improvement. If one cuts themselves off from learning something new because they falsely perceive they have learned all they can, then one will only succeed in never learning all that they could. This is where it becomes a mental trial instead of just physical. This is where it becomes about learning how to open up to new possibilities and methods, testing oneself even when one feels they have passed every test and dedication to putting in time to perfect what one has already learned. Do not fear Martial Arts because it is deemed by some as just a matter of beating someone up and dominating them...which it is not. There is a finesse to it, a drive to not just submit the opponent but to surrender to whatever preconceived notions that are holding one’s self back in the first place. Fears, egos, insecurities…no matter the background, race or gender, it all begins with stepping through the front door ready to conquer whatever challenges, be it physical or mental, that emerge. The key point
"A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle."” -Buddha
though is that one must take that first step through the front door to begin. A Different Form of Art Many people would be thoroughly surprised to find that those who pursue Martial Arts come from many different backgrounds. The prevalent stereotype that gets associated with it, and likewise MMA or even Boxing, is that they are male-centric sports filled with anger and abusive pasts— which is not always the case, and is currently becoming even more and more inaccurate. For example, Taylor Lynch, 18, a Studio Arts major at the College has studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for two years now.
than just a few beginning guards and mounts. The more she persevered and pressed to learn, the farther she got and the key to that was patience. “You have to be calm, do not get angry. The angrier you get, the worse you fight,” advised Lynch, as she described her experience sparring and learning. “You do not fight from anger…it is not an angry thing.” A profound statement contradicting the majority of stereotypes showered upon the art. Lynch’s passion for the subject seeped through her words in her penultimate statement about what she does: “I just like it. I enjoy it, the physical part of it. I love Art, and it is just like a physical form of Art.” Martial Arts mimics real life. Perhaps that is the secret to its seduction: its ability to empathize with every student that seeks to learn more. Everyone can relate to that relentless notion of wanting to do better, be better and feel better. Everyone can relate to being pushed down or beaten down, be it physically or metaphorically, by life or by people. Everyone has come to that proverbial fork in the road where they must choose between picking themselves up and carrying on or staying down and letting the metaphorical bully continue to win. Martial Arts is all of that; it is the commencement, the climax and the closure. It is breathing, it is patience, it is perseverance and it is acceptance. It is not biased to anyone, as long as they seek to take that first step to actively making their form, their mindset and their life better. It is more than bloody knuckles and black eyes; it is, quite literally, a way of life.
Her interest was ignited a long time ago when her brother and father became involved in Martial Arts; it was not until she set down her paintbrushes for a while that she began to explore a new type of art. Lynch did not get a lot of attention at first; many of her fellow students and teachers believed that she would be content with just learning a few basic moves to help her defend herself. However, her interest was far deeper
Nourish yourself at
The word Huriyali, translated from Hindi, is used to describe a lush green space - think rainforests or botanical gardens. The word evokes a sense of green vibrance. These concepts are what served as the primary inspiration for College of Charleston grads Tom McFall and Ruchi Mistry when they founded Huriyali Juices and Gardens just over two years ago. The mantra of Huriyali is to provide food that is not only good for you but that tastes good, too. “We are healthy but always
palatable,” Mistry explained. “We use a lot of herbs and different things in the juices to get that fresh taste so it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking mud,” added McFall. Though you don’t have to worry about anything on Huriyali’s menu tasting like mud. From the best acai bowls on the East Coast, to mouth watering veggie paninis and loaded avocado toast, you can order with confidence. A confidence that stems not just from knowing the food you get will please your palate, but that it will equally nourish
by JUSTINE HALL photos by REAGAN HEMBREE and WESLEY VANCE
[acai] (ah-sah-yee) your body. The pair focuses on fresh, natural and locally sourced ingredients. Their goal: providing Charleston with a healthy alternative to Southern comfort food favorites like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and all things fried. Huriyali aims to prove that food can taste great, look great and make you feel great. Walk into Huriyali Gardens on 401 Huger St., and you will instantly be transported into a lush tropical getaway. Wooden picnic tables line the back garden with expansive umbrellas casting cooling shadows over the space. The perimeter of the garden is canopied with flourishing green botanicals. The parsley and sage flowers grown mere feet from Huriyali’s kitchen are interspersed throughout the menu. McFall and Mistry want visitors to feel welcome, to feel like they are part of the family as soon as they enter Huriyali. This welcoming extends to dogs, too. “We are very dog friendly, they’re not welcome a lot of places [downtown],” Mistry said. McFall and Mistry aim to create a sense of community through the garden; they want it to be a space that is both open and fun. “We want it be a party…and a really non-exclusive place,” Mistry said. Much of the inspiration for Huiryali stems from the time McFall and Mistry spent together in India. After graduating from the College in 2012, Mistry planned to return home to Ahmedabad, India and McFall had a job lined up in New York. But, after spending the summer together in April 14
Charleston, McFall packed his bags and went to India with Mistry. While the food didn’t necessarily agree with McFall, he was constantly in “stomach turmoil,” he found the country’s food culture intriguing. Growing up in a gastronomically oriented family himself, McFall admired the dedication and passion Indians have for food. “The food culture there is so much more ingrained in everyday life… the average family cooks almost 17 hours a week at home, here I think it’s like six or something,” he said. In order to ease McFall’s stomach, Mistry’s mother would make fruit and vegetable juices to, as Mistry put it, “help sustain him.” After just under a year in India, McFall and Mistry planned what was supposed to be a quick three week trip back to Charleston. Three years later, the pair is still here. In India, McFall had been working as a management consultant and Mistry was working for an infrastructure business, but they weren’t entirely satisfied. Once they moved back to Charleston, the pair got to thinking. “After working for other people, both of us didn’t want to jump back into corporate structure jobs,” McFall explained. They instead questioned what they could provide for their community and, on a “shoestring budget,” Huriyali Juices was born. Inspired by the fresh juices Mistry’s mother made for McFall, the pair partnered with local farmers and began creating juices that they sold at six farmers markets including Marion Square. Spending 12 hours a day in a rental kitchen, Huriyali Juices began to grow. But the pair had always aspired to have their own “brick and mortar,” Mistry said. On Aug. 19, 2015, Huriyali Gardens opened its doors on Huger Street. Whether you choose to enjoy the ambiance of the shaded picnic tables surrounded by lush greenery, or pick up an acai bowl or smoothie on your way to the beach, Huriyali will not disappoint. As McFall puts it, “we make healthy food that tastes good and looks good.” What’s not to love about that?
“We just want you to love us again,” says Charleston PD by DUSTIN HACKER images by WESLEY VANCE There are changes coming to the city of Charleston. In the wake of a long year of police brutality and a tough year for their reputation as a whole, the Charleston Police Department is ready to make some changes to the way it treat its constituents. The shooting of Walter Scott, which occurred last April, and the death of Joyce Curnell, which took place in her jail cell because she was not given proper medical treatment, have caused a nationwide movement to end police brutality. The Charleston Police Department has heard the people and now it has acted. The Charleston Police Chief was quoted as saying, “We didn’t have the best year as a department, and we know that. But we have made some radical changes to our policies that will change our reputation for the better and we will soon be revered as heroes of the city.” The local police department has made countless changes and they are extremely proud to announce that all guns are required to have Hawaiian leis hanging off of them to remind targeted citizens that everything will turn out just fine. The police chief mentioned, “We tried out many different gun decorations with varying results, but the lei gun got by far the most overwhelmingly positive
response.” In reality, having a lei on the gun could quite possibly be the best thing an officer could have, considering they are still pointing a gun at the civilian. This next change has an interesting philosophy behind it. The officers are now being forced to wear hats that have giant scary shark faces on them when they pull over a person of color for a minor offense, which does not happen infrequently. They claim that the shark face will scare the driver into looking at the officer instead of getting distracted and attempting to flee the scene. What the department may not have considered is that it’ll scare the person even more and they’ll try to run away, ultimately resulting in the use of the Hawaiian lei gun. Additionally, for more minor offenses, police are trying to make the citizens of Charleston feel better about their wrongdoings. On parking tickets, officers are now writing inspirational messages to tell the citizen how close they were to not getting the ticket. For example: “We waited an extra 3.7 seconds after your meter expired, and since your license plate was the only part of your car outside of the designated parking space, we decided to write you this
that you were close to avoiding your ticket. However, here is your ticket for $75. - Charleston PD.” The Charleston Police Department is proud to enforce parking; they want to give as many tourists as possible a chance to park on King Street. The tourists just do not know that their parking spot could very likely turn into a fine if they are a little slow on the way back to their car. One of the newest practices which will surely throw college students for a loop is the stronger enforcement of the jaywalking law. In the coming days, cops will be putting up massive barricades on sidewalks to prevent jaywalking. Additionally, they will be installing large metal gates at intersections which will be locked until the walk sign turns on. While the police department has brushed off most allegations of having racially-driven practices, they are adamant that this new policy is completely colorblind: people of all colors jaywalk so people of all colors will be getting a ticket. Additionally, they say these changes to the city are part of an effort to make Charleston less dangerous, but really they just find it entertaining to enforce a law that is so insignificant. Sidenote: do not try to get past this one because cops will be waiting for you on the other side of the barricade if you try to jump over. Possibly the most interesting policy the Charleston Police Department is implementing is the ‘Buddy Policy.’
The police department has hired normal civilians to follow every officer around who is on duty. This is a precaution to have more people witness whatever happens at the scene of a crime. They say this will minimize the amount of inconsistent information that is reported after a confrontation takes place. What the police department has neglected to take into account is that they are the ones who have hired these civilians, so there may be a slight bias. But until that fact is mentioned to the police department, it will be the newest of many policies to help keep officers accountable for their actions. We will have to wait and see how all these new policies improve relations between the police department and civilians. “As residents of Charleston, we all know about the negative press that our police department has received over the last year or so. But we could not be more proud of them for the work they have done for our city and their valiant effort to make all citizens feel safe with these new policies they will be implementing,” one civilian said.
All works by the Swamp Fox are written purely as nonfiction, with only the most noble intentions in mind. (READ: This is satire.)
our campus roots. your branch for news. cisternyard.com @cisternyardnews