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VOLUME 116 ISSUE 43
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
Not officially associated with the University of Florida
Published by Campus Communications, Inc. of Gainesville, Florida
Rally addresses Gainesville gun violence prior to school year’s start ALACHUA COUNTY ADVOCATES FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION THROUGH EDUCATION, PROVIDES FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES
Midtown Apartments residents fear security breach, management denies allegations
By Rylan DiGiacomo-Rapp Alligator Staff Writer
Ethel Porras, a 38-year-old UF student adviser, fears sending her son to school in Gainesville. She feels overwhelmed ahead of her son’s first day of kindergarten at Stephen Foster Elementary this Fall, and the looming threat of violence only feeds her fear, she said. Thousands of Alachua County residents including students, parents and teachers filled Santa Fe’s gymnasium Saturday for Alachua County’s 23rd annual Stop the Violence Back to School Rally. Attendees learned how to prevent and spread awareness for gun violence while they collected back-to-school materials and reviewed vaccination information. “The whole explosion of school shootings recently is really, really scary, but I’m hoping events like this will help,” Porras said. The U.S has seen 384 mass shootings this year alone, 24 of which were school shoot-
SEE RALLY, PAGE 5
POLICE ARRESTED MAN FOR TRESPASSING AND ASSAULTING COMPLEX RESIDENT TUESDAY
By Mickenzie Hannon Alligator Staff Writer
nonprofit organization. About 9,000 teacher vacancies need to be filled statewide for the upcoming school year, according to the Florida Department of Education. In an effort to help fill some vacancies, Florida recently announced military veterans and their spouses could teach without a teacher’s degree. Alachua County Public Schools dealt with 265 resignations from teachers, counselors and media specialists over the 20212022 school year. While UF’s College of Education has seen a steady increase in annual enrollment, UF’s total elementary education majors dropped from 647 students in 2009 to only 248 in 2021. Abigail Darius, a 22-year-old former Alachua County Public School reading teacher, taught at Fort Clarke Middle School for the 2021-2022 Spring semester after she graduated last December. She studied elementary education, but
“You're sure to find a space that is perfect for sharing with your future roommates,” Midtown Apartments’ website reads. But residents’ group chats detail experiences with unwarranted guests: trespassers, squatters and homeless people. Alachua County Sheriff’s Office received 132 calls to the apartment site since May 2019, according to a report. Gainesville police arrested Troy Robinson, a 34-year-old Atlanta resident, for trespassing and assaulting a 19-year-old female resident and UF student at the complex, located at 104 NW 17th St. behind Social at Midtown, Tuesday. Robinson maintained he lived in the building despite management’s insistence he does not, according to the police report. Police found him with three pairs of long socks in his possession. Management requested he be trespassed upon finding out he was also occupying one vacant apartment after another, according to the report. He was being held at Alachua County jail on a bond of $200,000 as of Sunday. The Alligator was able to contact management after seven attempts via email and several calls to three different phone numbers. On-site management, who did not want to be named due to not receiving prior permission from supervisors, denied Robinson occupied vacant units. The manager maintained he resided in the victim’s apartment; his belongings were only found within that unit, they said. Carmen, a 22-year-old Midtown Apartments resident and UF astrophysics senior who requested to conceal her last name due to fear of retaliation, said she has seen propped doors, broken locks and missing door handles during her one year of residence. “If it ends up that one of your residents gets murdered because of it or severely hurt because of it, that blood is not only on the criminal’s hands,” she said. “It is also on the apartment complex’s hands.”
SEE TEACHER, PAGE 5
SEE MIDTOWN, PAGE 4
Photo by Meghan McGlone
Thousands of Alachua County residents including students, parents and teachers filled Santa Fe College’s gymnasium Saturday, July 30, 2022.
Thespians bear Alachua County, College of Education brunt of thinning face Florida’s teacher vacancies SG funds UF students voice concerns about teaching in state FLORIDA PLAYERS RECEIVED $500 OF BASE FUNDING FOR FALL; IT TYPICALLY RECEIVES $18,000
By Sandra McDonald Alligator Staff Writer
Jacqueline St. Pierre’s group did everything right, she said, but they still lost funding. St. Pierre and the other theater club leaders set alarms for 8:30 a.m., skipped class and refreshed SG’s website over and over to access the club funding request form the moment it opened. They drafted requests ahead of time and quickly pasted them into the application. They did everything right to bolster their chance of respectable funding. It didn’t work. UF’s Florida Players club typically receives $18,000 from SG per semester. This Fall, it will receive $500. But St. Pierre, this year’s Artistic Di-
SEE BUDGET, PAGE 4
SPORTS/SPECIAL/CUTOUT Sports analyst advises authenticity
Story description finish with comma, pg# Stephen A. Smith took to UF’s University Auditorium Wednesday. Find this story on pg. 12.
By Jackson Reyes Alligator Staff Writer
Alyssa Soejima knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was in first grade. The 21-year-old UF education sciences senior lived in Florida for most of her life, but amid rising statewide teacher vacancies, she opted to move to Nashville once she graduates in December. Factors like HB1557/SB1834 (commonly known together as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill) made teaching in Florida less appealing and hurt the classroom environment, she said.
“They can’t even wear rainbow. That’s just so absurd.”
- Alyssa Soejima, UF student
While she does not want to run away from the problems teachers face in Florida’s education system, she said she felt there was not much she could do to fix them. She’ll work as an English as a second language teacher for Teach for America, a
Residents raise voices for police responsibility
About 60 people protested outside City Hall Wednesday after one man lost eye to K-9, another arrested after his home was invaded, pg. 6
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Gainesville tattoo artists to host flash abortion fundraiser
All proceeds from Sunday’s 9-hour event will be donated to Florida Access Network, pg. 5
2 ALLIGATOR MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
More than enough
ainesville isn’t what it used to be. Campus isn’t quite as scenic once you’ve photographed protest after protest through its brick-lined pathways. The Swamp doesn’t sparkle quite as much when you discover all the ways the athletics department has failed its players. Lecture halls aren’t half as enthralling when you realize the person to your left was arrested for sexual assault. Gainesville isn’t what it used to be. It’s not an utopia. Every journalist at The Alligator eventually faces that reality. We trade our orange-and-blue-colored glasses for just blue-light glasses as we enter our dusty corner of the office and hunch over computer screens every week. It’s the price we pay to report the news — to put together a paper — and we’re (begrudgingly) happy to do it. The newsroom’s soda-spotted carpets, crumb-ridden couch and nerd-infested nooks somehow kept my eyes bright as the rest of the city dimmed. I never knew what curveball was coming my way: an essential editorial, a breaking-news story, a peeved PR person. But I did know who I’d see: the sports desk huddled together, talking about last night’s game; the managing editors recounting the weekend’s endeavors; the budding office romances; the lone freshman. The sights that used to perplex me became comforting. The dimly lit conference room — lined with bulletin boards overflowing with niche, archaic references I once desperately wished I understood — became adorned with my own arbitrary contributions. Generations of staffers to come will know about one former editor’s love for pickles, affinity for emo music and tendency to sage the office before every print night (hey, it worked). I hope those future journalists know the newsroom can
What I saw in the mirror
wo hours into my first day as Engagement Managing Editor, I locked our entire editorial staff out of our primary Twitter account, froze the account for six days and lost our verification check. I leaned into the joke all afternoon, but the second I got into my car, I let my head fall forward and hit the steering wheel as I sat in complete silence. There’s a certain shock to getting yourself ready for a prize fight, weeks of mental preparation and positive self-talk, only to hit the mat seconds after the opening bell. One partial day and I made the biggest social mistake in years. How in the world could I survive 15 weeks? When you show up to UF’s College of Journalism and Communications, everyone tells you The Alligator is a great place to cut your teeth and gain experience, and even more tell you the paper brings you your closest friends. You’re warned about how much you’ll learn about the news, Gainesville and your coworkers. No one prepares you for how much you’ll learn about yourself. Local journalism, especially on a student level, exists in a perpetual state of information, communication, deadlines, and pressure. A source won’t leave a writer alone. A court case set a new date for a hearing next week. UF just sent another press release about mask guidelines. Someone called in a tip. Newsletter needs to be made by the end of the night. You had an assignment due last night. Don’t drown. I know the cheeky, inspiring narrative is how pressure makes diamonds. If pressure forces carbon atoms together and solidifies them, I think it does the opposite to people; it strips you down until there’s nothing left but who you are, deepest inside, and shoves a mirror in your eyes. And, somewhere in all the split-second decisions and time on the clock, that mirror made its way to me. I learned I’m fine with being the butt of a joke if it makes a room more comfortable. I learned I handle tight deadlines
VOLUME 116 ISSUE 43
be a home to all; it witnessed me through multiple relationships, at least five hairstyles and a handful of wardrobe experimentations, so it’s basically a parental figure now. I hope they know what they’re part of. I hope they read about our journey to independence, our status as the largest student-run Julia Coin newsroom in the county and our @juliamcoin email@example.com ever-expanding quote bag (confidential, sorry). I hope they know the culture I’ve come to adore wasn’t always there. The unused stations I saw on my first day on staff slowly became occupied with every passing semester. Six people in the office and the rest on Zoom became a bustling newsroom with only a handful of remote employees. Print nights became my beacon. Friend groups grew. We returned to The Alligator I had only heard tales of from my first editor. Despite the comforting buzz, I always left the office exhausted after the presses started up every Sunday night. I wondered if I was doing a good job. I worried I was pushing the staff too much. I worried maybe I wasn’t pushing them enough. I never went straight to sleep. Sometimes, I didn’t sleep at all. But I was always ready to tackle the next week, the next story, the next phone call. As I close the office doors one last time, I’ll be forced to face this seemingly dystopian world. At least I’ll be armed with the lessons I’ve learned in this shabby basement. Gainesville, the country and this planet isn’t what it used to be, but it gave me The Alligator. That’s more than enough.
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far better than I expected. I learned I know how to take professional criticism as constructively as possible. I learned I know how to be constructive while being kind, and I learned I know when to put a person before their work. I learned when my mental cues mean I need to take a walk. Ryan Haley I learned I respond to stress with @ryan_dhaley attempts at humor and do so far firstname.lastname@example.org more often I can proudly admit. I learned I need to set better boundaries with my time. I learned the people around me usually owe more of my attention than I always give, and I learned exactly how poorly I can react when I neglect myself. I also learned, while I may beat myself up for them, I know how to move forward quickly from the inevitable mistakes I made. I give myself a second to rest my head against the steering wheel, but the world keeps turning. It always will. More than anything, I learned how much I love everyone in this newsroom. The passion, dedication and drive every writer, editor, audience team member, copy editor, photographer and graphic designer brought through our doors each and every week made this paper what it is this summer, something I’m forever proud of. The compassion, kindness and wisdom of every previous coworker, confidant and mentor made me who I am today, something I’m forever grateful for. There will never be enough words for what this paper and this family has meant to me. I can’t wait to see what I learn about myself next.
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MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022 ALLIGATOR 3
4 ALLIGATOR MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
Security breach MIDTOWN, from pg. 1 Carmen, who is originally from Orlando, related the security at Midtown Apartments to the death of Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old University of Central Florida student who was found dead in the woods near an apartment complex in Orlando last September. An investigation discovered Armando Caballero, a 27-year-old maintenance worker employed by Marcano’s apartment complex, illegally used a maintenance on-call key fob to enter her apartment and kill her after she denied his sexual advances, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. “Maintenance workers are not permitted into an apartment without being granted access via resident entered work order or unless otherwise noticed via written notice via the office staff,” Scott Manning, the senior vice president of CA Ventures Student Living operations — which helps oversee Midtown Apartments — wrote in an email. Florida lease laws require landlords to inform residents at least 12 hours before entry, according to a 2022 Florida statute. If management needs to enter a unit for an emergency without appropriate notice issued, Manning wrote, “All staff team and vendors must knock and announce themselves before entering in any unit.” Construction, which began when Midtown Apartments replaced the 100-year-old Hurley House Catholic Gator members used
in 2018, remains unfinished. Roger Development Group, the apartment’s previous owner, sold the 589-bed student housing complex to CA Ventures, according to a January press release. While the old management was more diligent about informing residents about inspections and maintenance entry, Carmen said, new management became more relaxed about issuing entry notices.
“The standard for that has gone down significantly. And it's something that worries me a lot.”
- Carmen, Midtown Apartments resident
Midtown Apartments employs S3, a security company, to conduct routine patrols during the hours the Midtown Apartments’ front office is closed — Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m., according to its website. The security contract also requires patrollers to control and walk the building several times, the on-site manager said. Latch, a digital lock system residents use to enter apartment corridors and units, was installed June 13. In the span of one month after its installation, Carmen returned to an unlocked apartment door twice. She said she still fears the ease of access non-residents have to the building and individual units. But, unless required by law, the former management’s rental agreement states, management is not liable for any loss, injury or damage to a person caused by criminal con-
Club budget cuts BUDGET, from pg. 1
rector and club leader, refuses to cancel the season, no matter what it takes. “We’re going to make theater — if it’s on top of the parking garage, if it’s in someone’s house, if it’s outside in a grassy knoll, if it has to be filmed instead,” she said St. Pierre asked SG in a July 11 email to explain the club’s low funding and said she was met with a vague response: there is no money left. There was about $800,000 to allocate among more than 300 SG-funded clubs for the Fall semester. The total funding for student clubs decreased about $200,000 from the last fiscal year and did not increase for the 2023-2024 budget. According to SG’s financial guidelines, available funds are set based on the average amount spent between all SG-funded organizations over the last five fiscal years. Club activities and events ground to a halt during campus’ pandemic-induced closure two years ago. This semester’s funding ran out before all but one of Florida Players’ requests were processed; the one request that got through was denied, but St. Pierre said she didn’t know why. In 2018, the Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative club, filed a lawsuit against UF’s Board of Trustees because
SG did not provide funding to invite conservative speakers to UF; YAF said it was a breach of the university’s commitment to the marketplace of ideas. They agreed upon a $66,000 settlement in 2019 and SG rewrote its budget procedures to ensure every club had equal access to funding. The cost of fulfilling this semester’s 1,600 funding requests for Fall would have been $2.9 million, according to an email from Budget & Appropriations Chairwoman Catherine Giordano and Student Body Treasurer Sierra Kantamneni. Florida Players must pay for actors’ scripts and the rights to put on its shows, which exceeds $500. The club is scrambling to come together and find solutions, she said.
“Art has always had a difficult relationship with money, because as creative people, we dream really big. And sometimes, budgets just don’t allow for that.”
- Jacqueline St. Pierre, Artistic Director, UF's Florida Players club
The club has used the Squitieri Studio Theatre for the last two years to practice and perform their upcoming plays, which will cost them $3,500 for one week at a reduced price due to their financial situation. Florida Players opened a GoFundMe, which has raised more
duct of other persons. “They're taking steps to not give us safety and security,” she said, “but they are taking steps to be quiet.” Manning advised residents to voice concerns to the office phone number, one that is not provided on the apartment’s website. The complex, Carmen said, has changed its phone numbers and emails several times. It has also ignored photos of homeless people sleeping in elevators and on lounge couches, Katelyn Gonzalez, a 24-year-old Midtown Apartments resident and UF mass communications law graduate student, said. Some residents have resorted to last-stitch security measures. Sticky notes line several doors to warn people to stay away or knock before entry. The day before Robsinson’s arrest, she heard someone rattle her door handle. She soon learned other female residents witnessed Robinson roam the hallway, knock on doors and claim he was locked out of his apartment. “With maintenance regularly entering units,” she said, “I fear I may have let the strange man into my own unit.” Management maintains it has not received resident complaints about squatting, but Gonzalez said she fears for her safety every time she goes to sleep or leaves her unit to walk her service dog. “We don't have any semblance of privacy or safety here,” she said.
than $7,000 to support the club for the upcoming semester. For now, the members must consider reserving a room in the Reitz Union or holding its plays outside, like the Cypress and Grove Brewing Company. Florida Players planned its Fall season in the Spring to show its stage renditions of “Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons” and “Push Up.” Show essentials, such as costumes, props and practice spaces, will suffer significantly due to the low funding, St. Pierre said. “That is nothing short of devastating for us,” St. Pierre said. The total SG budget for the next fiscal year is more than $23 million and awards $7.5 million to Rec Sports, $6.5 million to the Reitz Union, $6.5 million to SG, $1.9 million to Student Activities and Involvement and $720,000 to Sorority and Fraternity Life. The Activities and Service Fees pending budget for the next fiscal year, approved by SG Senate Tuesday, asks for a 3% increase in total funding, but there is no planned increase in the budget for club finances. “I think this just reflects poorly on our culture as a university because I know how much student involvement is essential to what we do as Gators,” St. Pierre said. The last Senate meeting of the Summer will be held in the Reitz Union Senate Chambers Tuesday at 7 p.m. @sn_mcdonald email@example.com
Isabella Douglas // Alligator Staff
Midtown Apartment residents said propped doors, like the one pictured above July 27, 2022 contribute to the security breaches seen in the complex recently.
UF receives $3 million for new civic center THE REQUEST CAME FROM A SECRETIVE OUTSIDE ORGANIZATION
By Lindsay Schindler Alligator Staff Writer
UF accepted a state grant after a secretive group requested funding for a new civic institution on behalf of the university. The Council on Public University Reform, a nonprofit organization established in 2021, requested UF be granted $3 million by the state to fund the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civil Education — a new undergraduate academic institution focused on civic education for students. Little is known about this organization, and it did not consult with UF prior to making the request in June. The group declined an interview but released a general statement saying it thinks the U.S. faces a crisis of civic literacy, which they hope the Hamilton Center will help combat. No outside organization will be involved in the civic institution’s development or its civic curricula, wrote John Stinneford, Edward Root Eminent Scholar Chair and professor of Law at UF, in his proposal for the center. “As UF emerges as a leader among the ‘public ivies,’ we have an opening to set a model for our peers,” he wrote. The institute will offer a major and minor of its own, separate from the preexisting political science major, Stinneford wrote. Courses will reflect those of Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, he wrote. Sample courses include “Federalists, Anti-Federalists and Enduring
Debate,” “The Trial of Galileo” and “Justice and Virtue.” UF has not detailed where the Hamilton Center will be located, and its opening will be determined by the timing of faculty hires. “It was surprising that UF wasn’t really involved in the [proposal of the] project,” Dr. Benjamin Smith, a UF political science professor, wrote in an email, “more so that neither our department nor the Graham Center were part of it.” UF accepted the government grant and began planning for the new institution in June; its development was not a part of UF’s 2023-2024 proposed budget, Cynthia Roldan, UF’s Interim director of strategic communications said. Civil discourse and debate among people of differing political opinions are needed now more than ever amid the nation’s deeply split political climate, Stinneford wrote. The university needs an intellectually diverse community who will both support and challenge one another, he said. The center will work with neighboring universities’ civic institutions — namely the Florida Institute of Politics at Florida State University and the Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom at Florida International University — to advance the missions of the institutes. “We look forward to collaborating in any way that advances the mission of the Institute of Politics,” said Dr. Hans Hassell, director of FSU’s Institute of Politics. UF plans to offer civics courses in the new institution as soon as Spring 2023. @lindsschindler firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022 ALLIGATOR 5
Oasis Tattoo Collective to host flash Teachers flee Florida TEACHER, fundraiser for reproductive rights from pg. 5
Several Gainesville tattoo artists will gather Sunday to raise money for the Florida Access Network By Averi Kremposky Alligator Staff Writer
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Maria Arjona responded in the one way she knows how: tattoos. Permanent art on your skin is the ultimate demonstration of bodily autonomy, the 29-year-old tattoo artist at Oasis Tattoo Collective said.
“When we’re born, we don’t really get to choose anything about ourselves, not even our name and the way our body looks. I think tattoos are one of the only things that allow you to take full control of yourself.”
- Maria Arjona, Oasis Tattoo Collective
Artists from tattoo studios around Gainesville will gather in the tattoo studio for a “Bans Off Our Bodies” flash fundraiser event Sunday noon to 9 p.m. The artists will donate all proceeds from the event to the Florida Access Network, a nonprofit organization and abortion fund. Customers will choose tattoos from a preset collection of designs. They are typically palm-sized or smaller, and in comparison to custom tattoos, flash tattoos aren’t cus-
tomizable. Arjona described them as “get it, or don’t.” Arjona said artists will see customers on a first-come, first-serve basis, and artists don’t know which designs they’ll pursue until the event starts. Some designs may take only 15 minutes, but others could take two hours. On March 5, Arjona and other Oasis artists hosted a similar event for a friend who was in a motorcycle accident. The artists raised around $3,000 for one person, and the event showed Arjona the ability of Gainesville’s tight-knit community to make an immense difference. After seeing Atlanta colleagues host similar symbolic flash tattoo fundraisers, Arjona was eager to bring the same concept to Gainesville. However, she didn’t expect the event to gain this much anticipation. Oasis’ flash tattoo events usually bring in sizable crowds. Now, with the help of other local artists, Arjona expects a staggering turnout. “I think the community is excited to see different artists from across the board coming together under one roof,” she said. “It shows we’re all here for the same reason and we all have the same goal.” Aubrey Brand, a tattooist at Anthem Tattoo Parlor, helped Arjona plan the event. Brand said she’s ex-
cited to see a progressive and loving community come together for the same cause. Though she’s at a different studio, Brand embraces the opportunity to unite with other artists who share her passion for using their work to impact the community. “Tattooing is about having autonomy over our own bodies, and this is such a great platform to do that — to show our community and give back,” Brand said. Oasis will also partner with local restaurants like Afternoon, Cry Baby’s and Boca Fiesta to host raffles during the event. “That was kind of crazy,” Arjona said, “seeing the amount of people who wanted to help. Everybody has a stance and that we all are coming together for one collective reason.” Arjona, Brand and other artists are determined to combine Gainesville’s camaraderie, activism and love for tattoos in one space. Even passerbys should be able to feel the community spirit, Arjona said. “Our thing is always about good vibes, that’s the Oasis motto,” she said. “If that’s not what you’re coming to bring to the event, then don’t show.” @averijkremposky email@example.com
RALLY, from pg. 1
ings, according to the National Gun Violence Archive and The Washington Post. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for children over the age of 1 in America, according to the CDC. Buchholz, Newberry, Gainesville and Eastside High Schools received numerous bomb threats throughout the past year, as did Oak View Middle School. Police arrested a Fort Clarke Middle student for bringing a loaded gun to campus in May. A downtown drive-by shooting killed a Gainesville man May 1. A recent home invasion resulted in a woman’s death. The rally’s “Getting to the Root of the Matter — Youth Violence” theme centered around finding and addressing the origin point of violence, Karl Anderson, the founder and president of People Against Violence Enterprises, said. The best policy for violence prevention is “see something, say something,” he said. Anderson believes encouraging nonviolence in children is the key to preventing violence in the future. Seven out of ten school shootings are committed by young adults under the age of 18, according to data from the Washington Post. “Parents are glad to hear an encouraging and advocating message of violence prevention,” he said. “We’re just letting them know that we support them in helping them with their children.” While UFPD’s safety protocols will not change in preparation for the new school year, it did announce it would hire two mental health counselors to accompany officers to respond to calls — potentially shootings — by the Fall se-
mester. The department will need to deem the scene safe before it deploys the clinicians, but they could help victims and witnesses address traumatic events. Anderson said a major part of every rally is having children pledge to turn in any guns or other weapons they find to authorities. Parents and other members of the community are also encouraged to take this pledge, he said. Anderson, through his parent and student violence prevention symposiums, serves as an adviser for an Alachua County student who made a bomb threat. He’s worked to transform
her short stint as a teacher was extremely taxing. She resigned to work toward her master’s degree in entrepreneurship. “Even if you’re not teaching, you still have to do lesson planning; you’re still grading papers, you’re still contacting parents, you’re going to meetings,” Darius said. Darius wished teachers would receive more support and respect. She stressed how crucial it is to rally behind teachers rather than view them as a babysitter for parents’ kids. New requirements to teach in Florida and COVID-19 have made it difficult to fill statewide teaching positions, ACPS spokesperson Jackie Johnson said. “There are a lot of controversial laws that have been put in place in the past couple of years related to education,” Johnson said. “So that creates a challenge.” It is a top priority for ACPS to increase teacher salaries, Johnson said. The school board has been able to increase salaries and receive more funding for education, she said. As of Sunday, 83 ACPS teacher jobs and five substitute teacher positions remained posted on ACPS’ website. Casey Shaha, a 22-year-old
the situation into a learning experience for good decision-making skills and strives to do the same with as many students as possible, he said. The rally featured activities that would amplify the message of nonviolence. It hosted Grammy Award-winning Christian rapper Thi’sl and the Infamous Diamonds, a Gainesville dance group. Attendees also took part in spontaneous activities like a dance battle for children and parents, he said. Thi’sl, 45, shared his personal story of growing up in St. Louis in an area prone to shootings. He spent his childhood without a parental figure and watched a friend die when he was just 15 — tragedies he said pushed him to turn his life around.
Photo by Meghan McGlone
A young boy smiles with his tote bag full of supplies given to him at the Stop the Violence Back to School Rally Saturday, July 30, 2022.
UF elementary education graduate, said she will move to California after graduate school because Florida’s salaries remained stagnant. The average teacher salary in Florida is $51,009 — which ranks 48th in the country — according to the National Education Association. The average teacher salary in California is $85,856, the third-highest mark in the nation. Teachers’ treatment also pushes candidates from the state, Shaha said, and especially Gainesville. She helped teach at Myra Terwilliger Elementary School and Meadowbrook Elementary School while she completed her undergraduate degree.
“It just seems like there’s a lack of attention to how much work teachers put in."
-Casey Shaha, UF student
The second-grade class she helped teach at Myra Terwilliger dealt with suspensions and a suicidal student, she said. The teacher she worked with struggled to witness the issues her students faced, Shaha said. She has since resigned. @JacksnReyes firstname.lastname@example.org
“I have a heart for trying to catch kids before they get to the places that I went through in life, places I’ve been,” he said. Violence perpetuates generational trauma, Thi’sl said. Not only does it affect victims, it also affects their loved ones, causing people to give up hope, he said. He believes this type of back-to-school rally will catalyze change because it spreads awareness and shows children they are valued. The rally also focused on providing Alachua County students and parents with useful backto-school resources. Aaron Shtid, a 15-year-old Gainesville High School freshman, looked forward to collecting a backpack passed out at the end of the rally. Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, a longstanding sponsor of the event, provided free backpacks filled with school supplies for the first 5,000 students to arrive — an exponential leap from the 100 offered at the first rally 23 years ago. Angelina Armstrong, a 31-year-old Alachua County parent, has continued to bring her family to the rally for years. Easy access to school resources gave her peace of mind, she said. “It helps a lot, especially with my youngest,” she said. “He has some trouble in school, so it helps to know where to go.” Skyler Burleigh attended the rally to collect supplies for the first time Saturday because her family has been struggling financially. The 15-year-old Santa Fe High freshman felt encouraged to see her community unite against violence, and she said it made her feel safer as she prepared to begin high school. “It makes me feel a lot better that these people are actually out here trying,” she said. @rylan_digirapp email@example.com
6 ALLIGATOR MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
Protestors pressure police advisory council for law enforcement accountability The demonstrators decried the treatment of Terrell Bradley and Dovico Miles by Gainesville police By Omar Ateyah & Rylan DiGiacomo-Rapp Alligator Staff Writers
Terrell Bradley stood on the steps of city hall, his injuries from a Gainesville Police Department K-9 attack freshly bandaged. He donned a black eye patch and a cast on one of his arms. The 30-year-old Gainesville resident lost an eye to a Gainesville Police Department K-9 after he fled from officers during a traffic stop July 10. Bradley attended the police advisory council meeting at City Hall Wednesday alongside about 60 demonstrators. He did not offer public comment, but after all of the demonstrators left the hall’s basement, he took a pause outside.
“I’m blessed. I can’t complain. I’m alive. I got another chance.”
- Terrell Bradley, Gainesville resident
Hours earlier, Monique Miles wiped away tears in front of City Hall as her mind took her back to July 19 — the day her daughter, D’halani Armstrong, died and police took Dovico Miles, her brother, to jail. Dovico Miles was taken into custody after defending himself during a deadly home invasion. The 44-year old Gainesville resident faces charges for tampering with evidence and possessing a weapon as a convicted felon after his home was invaded July 19. His niece died before he shot at one of the invaders as he fled his home, according to Miles’ arrest report. Monique Miles believes GPD saw nothing but a convicted felon when they arrested her brother, causing them to overlook the details of the incident. She said police searched the home and ruined many of her family’s belongings. Miles is many things, his sister said, but a felon is no longer who he is today. Miles’ criminal history dates back to the 1990s with convictions of theft, battery, weapon and drug possession. Police booked him in the Alachua County Jail
July 19 on a bond of $150,000. His release is a pressing matter, Monique Miles said. Had he not taken action, she believes she and her son may not have survived the event. Brittany Miles, a 35-year-old Gainesville resident and Miles’ other sister, felt GPD failed her brother. “What you came out here to do was investigate a murder,” she said, “not investigate a convicted felon who protected his home.” She said her brother and other convicted felons should be able to legally own and operate a firearm for self-defense. “There’s a lot of convicted felons in Gainesville,” she said. “What are they to do when their life is in jeopardy or if somebody else’s life is in jeopardy?” Rickylah Manuel, a 21-year-old Gainesville resident, attended the rally because she felt Miles’ actions were justified during the home invasion. “It’s not like he broke into somebody’s house and tried to steal from them,” Manuel said. “He was protecting his family.” In the wake of such frequent violence, she said it’s important to not allow cases like this to slide. “We need to stop all the violence,” she said. “People shouldn’t be losing their lives to nonsense.” Miles and Bradley serve as new symbols of a reinvigorated movement for police accountability in Gainesville. One by one, speakers, including relatives of both Bradley and Miles, expressed their dissatisfaction with the police department’s relationship with Gainesville’s Black community. Bruce Williams, a 63-year-old lifelong Gainesville resident among Wednesday’s group, bluntly assessed the city’s approach to racial equality after the meeting’s conclusion. “Gainesville is a racist town,” he said. “Stupid racist.” The Bradley incident sparked community action: a protest July 17 and a people’s investigation July 23. Family members and residents alike pressured the police to make the facts of Bradley’s encounter with law enforcement known. Andrew Milman, the officer who initiated Bradley’s traffic stop, found a gun, ammunition and marijuana in Bradley’s car after Bradley struck him to escape, according to the affidavit. The K-9 later found and attacked Bradley in nearby bushes. The affidavit did not mention Bradley’s injuries from the K-9 apprehension, but the dog was temporarily suspended, police chief Lonnie Scott announced July 22. Scott did not mention any repercussions for the K-9’s handler. Scott expressed regret for Bradley’s loss of an eye during the K-9 encounter and said police would carefully review video of the incident. The crowd demanded the footage be released, but Scott said he could not comment on the specifics of Bradley’s or Miles’ cases because they are both still under investigation. Attendees interrupted his speech, shouting for real answers.
“If we find inappropriate activity on those videos, we’ll take appropriate action.”
- Lonnie Scott, Gainesville Police Chief
He did not elaborate what the action would entail. Scott announced an extension of GPD’s investigation into the Bradley incident July 22, which could last up to 90 days. Danielle Chanzes, a co-organizer of the protest, said the community needs to demand change. “The police aren’t going to start treating communities right just because we ask them nicely,” Chanzes said. “If they’re not treating us right, we need to let them know who is in charge.”
Omar Ateyah // Alligator Staff
Terrell Bradley sits at a police advisory council meeting Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
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Films record evolving attitudes on abortion Films show how these opinions vary between people, countries and decades By Kyle Bumpers Avenue Staff Writer
Abortion rights became a focal point of national discussion June 24 following the overturn of the original Roe v. Wade decision. However, films have talked about the issue for decades, and the representation of the issue in media is more relevant than ever. Happening (2021)
A French-language film directed by Audrey Diwan, “Happening,” features a student named Anne in 1963 France who finds out she is pregnant and goes to extreme lengths to try and get an abortion. This was one of the most intimate films of this year and a necessary watch for anyone who cares about the topic. Diwan’s direction paired with Anamaria Vartolomei’s vulnerable performance as Anne created a film that showed me just how much women can be impacted by abortion, especially with a negative perception. Anne went through physical and emotional hardships and put her body through torture to abort her baby, all while her family and peers judged her every step of the way. She sought medical professionals for help and even took matters into her hands multiple times, trying to induce an abortion herself knowing she could face prison time. “Happening” accurately depicted the personal urgency of women who feel the need to save themselves from a dire decision, a powerful example of potential dangers of the criminalization of abortion. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
While “Happening” showed how people sought abortions in ‘60s France, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” showed how people in the United States might respond to unplanned pregnancy today. The film, directed by Eliza Hittman, centers around two teenage girls, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and Skylar (Talia Ryder), who travel from Pennsylvania to New York on an interstate journey for medical attention following an unplanned pregnancy. While Anne puts herself through physical torture in “Happening,” Autumn puts herself through uncomfortable social situations to
find someone who can help her, spending multiple nights in New York with no place to sleep. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” also succeeds because of its direction and acting. The film, a slow burn despite only a dayslong plot, uses many small details to portray the difficulties faced by Autumn and how she feels in those moments, as extended shots linger on her with an uncomfortable silence to highlight her persistent anxiety. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)
While the aforementioned films focus on the plight of two women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” revolves around the perspective of a university student, Otilia, with a pregnant roommate. The Romanian film’s unique point of view shows how the community around whoever seeks an abortion can be affected by the decision. As Otilia helps her roommate deal with the effects of her pregnancy and abortion, the viewer sees Otilia’s own relationship with her boyfriend become strained as a result of an increasingly packed schedule. However, in this film, the viewer doesn’t feel as emotionally impacted because Otilia isn’t the character going through the abortion, something I felt lessened the emotional impact as the roommate not going through the abortion remains slightly less sympathetic.
someone unexpectedly pregnant can rely on a positive support group. Juno’s parents and the child’s father never pressure Juno or make her feel uncomfortable or unwanted because of her situation, something the film shows can drastically change a teen pregnancy. Black Christmas (1974)
“Black Christmas,” released the year after the original Roe v. Wade decision, works as a landmark film contextualizing the original shift in attitudes. Jess, the protagonist, finds out she is pregnant and tells her boyfriend the day before an unknown killer begins to stalk her sorority house. The killer repeatedly asks about the baby, and Jess struggles with understanding who is behind the threatening phone calls and her roommates’ murders. The film freely uses the word abortion without fear of scrutiny,
a landmark approach for the ‘70s. The film provides a great sense for the overwhelming feeling some people go through when deciding what to do in the case of an unplanned pregnancy. Similar to her troubles to avoid the killer and unmask their identity, Jess struggles to understand who she can turn to in the wake of the recent discovery of her pregnancy. The duality of not knowing who is on her side during the slaughter spree or who will support her through her unwanted situation are the plot’s central themes. Persona (1966)
The Swedish film “Persona” details the story of a nurse, Alma, who cares for actress Elizabet. Elizabet suddenly stops speaking for personal reasons despite appearing healthy, and the two build a strong relationship and share secrets with each other. Each woman grapples with their own
experiences in regards to abortion. Alma, who had an abortion, regrets her decision, while Elizabet underwent a failed abortion and now resents her child. “Persona” is full of strong symbolism that links the characters together, while the writing shows how distinctly impactful their struggles are. The film opens with a child touching an image of a woman as the face fades in and out, seemingly representing an aborted child trying to understand his mother’s decision. These films show every woman’s experience is unique if she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. Elizabet recludes within herself once her operation fails, resentment simmering below the surface, while Alma’s talkative nature offers a stark contrast in their relationship. Whether they see the result they want, these films indicate that the women who persevere through these turbulent times do so because of their own resolve and support from the people around them. @BumpersKyle firstname.lastname@example.org
Many films making a statement on unplanned pregnancy detail the troubles people face while finding an abortion. “Juno,” instead, shows the struggles of a high school girl who becomes pregnant but forgoes an abortion when she sees a classmate protesting outside the abortion clinic. The classmate’s words about how the fetus has a heartbeat and can feel pain ring true in Juno’s ears as she decides to put the baby up for adoption once it’s born. The film’s light-hearted tone contains enough heart to keep the viewer emotionally invested while making Juno’s struggles easier to digest, as she gets uncomfortable stares and extra attention while at school. Many films have a grim outlook on unplanned pregnancy, but this film shows what can go right when
Keep up with the Avenue on Twitter. Tweet us @TheFloridaAve.
Emma Hayakawa // Alligator Staff
A timeline showing a number of movies with mentions of abortions and unplanned pregnancies across the years.
Florida football, men’s basketball enter critical new eras
This year marks the first time new coaches will helm both programs since 2015, pg. 11
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How to play
Complete the crossword puzzle by looking at the clues and unscrambling the answers. When the puzzle is complete, unscramble the circled letters to solve the BONUS. 2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
& Hoyt Designs. All Rights Reserved.
ANSWERS: 1A-Thrill 5A-Panic 6A-Inner 7A-Egress 1D-Taping 2D-Renting 3D-License 4D-Tigris B-Penicillin
Send comments to TCA - 160 N. Stetson, Chicago, Illinois 60601 or DLHoyt@HoytInteractiveMedia.com
solution on page 10
©2022 King Features Synd., Inc.
answer on page 10 Release Date: Monday, August 1, 2022 Release Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Los Puzzle Los Angeles Angeles Times Times Daily Daily Crossword Crossword Puzzle Edited Lewis Editedby byPatti Patti Varol Varol and and Joyce Joyce Nichols Nichols Lewis
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1. MEASUREMENTS: How many "Look, Ma, inches arenoincavities!"? a mile? 2.2.MOVIES: The movie "300" is based on which ASTRONOMY: What does the faacronym SETI mean to the scientific mous historical battle? community? 3. U.S. PRESIDENTS: How many presidents have 3. LANGUAGE: What does the Latserved more than two terms? in prefix “sub-” mean in English? 4.4. ANIMAL KINGDOM: How Who far can skunk's U.S. PRESIDENTS: wasa the spray president reach? only to serve two nonconsecutive terms? 5. GEOGRAPHY: What is the southernmost major city LITERATURE: on5.the continent of Africa?Which 20th-century movie star penned the autobiogra6. LANGUAGE: What isofa funambulist? phy “Me: Stories My Life”? HISTORY: was the first the 7.6.HISTORY: Who was What the first woman to complete National Monument proclaimed in the Boston Marathon (unofficially)? United States? 8.7.TELEVISION: What was theWhere name of the GEOGRAPHY: is cruise the ship on the sitcom "The Love Boat"? island of Luzon located? 9.8.GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: makehas up the MOVIES: WhichWhich sci-ficolors movie the tagline, “Reality five-ring Olympic symbol? is a thing of the past”? 10. FOOD & DRINK: Which plant produces cacao 9. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: What beans, are of usedthetoUnited make chocolate? was thewhich name States’ first nuclear-powered submarine? © 2022 What King Features Synd.,four Inc. rail10. GAMES: are the road properties in Monopoly? answers below Answers 1. 63,360 inches 2. Search for extraterrestrial intelligence 3. Below or insufficient 4. Grover Cleveland 5. Katharine Hepburn el periódico universitario 6. Devils Tower, 1906 7. The Philippines independiente mas grande 8. “The Matrix” deUSS estados 9. The Nautilus unidos. 10. Pennsylvania, Short Line, Reading and B&O
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1. What member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class 1. Tommie brotherofof Hank, hit of 2022 was knownAaron, as the "Father Instant Replay"? how many home runs in his seven-sea2.son Name the Boston Celtics star who was stabbed Major League Baseball career? 11 times at a nightclub in September 2000, but 2. Bill Chadwick, the NHL’s firststill U.S.-born referee laterseason. a broadstarted every game in theand 2000-01 caster for the New York Rangers, went 3.by What sports apparel and equipment company was what nickname? founded in Baltimore in 1996 Kevin Plank, a 3. The name for the by Albuquerque former University of Maryland player? Isotopes Minor Leaguefootball Baseball club by a fictional 4.was Tadejinspired Pogacar, winner of cycling'steam Tour defrom France comedy inwhat 2020 TV and 2021, hailsseries? from what country? 4. Jim Covert and Ed Sprinkle, two 5.members According toofthethe American Cornhole Association's Pro Football Hall of Fame of 2020,what spent entire of regulationsClass and standards, is their the diameter NFL frantheplaying hole in ancareers official with cornholewhat board? chise? 6. Joe two StanleyJapanese Cups (1996,martial 2001) as 5. Sakic Whatwon traditional a art player and one astranslated general manager with is literally as “the(2022) way of what franchise? theNHL sword”? Mayweather Jr.Draft, defeated 7. In6.theFloyd first round of the 1988 NBA the New what mixed martial arts superstar in a York Knicks selected Rod Strickland, star point 2017 boxing megafight in LasaVegas? guard what university? 7. from What Croatia-born basketball player won three © 2022 KingNBA Featureschampionships Synd., Inc. with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-98 answers below and was the 1996 NBA Sixth Man of the Year? SportsAnswers Quiz answers 1. 13. He hit eight of them in his 1962 rookie season. 2. The Big Whistle. 3. The Simpsons. 4. The Chicago Bears. 5. Kendo. 6. Conor McGregor. 7. Toni Kukoc. 5. 6 inches. 6. The Colorado Avalanche. 7. DePaul University.
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MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022 www.alligator.org/section/sports
Familiar territory: all eyes rest on Napier, Golden
ow are we doing, guys? We doing alright?” Former UF football head coach Jim McElwain — donning an alligator pin on the left lapel of his black suit jacket and a big, toothy smile — began a new period of Florida Gators football history with those words at his introductory press conference Dec. 6, 2014. McElwain, as it turned out, was soon not alright. The former Colorado State coach took over after Will Muschamp’s failed tenure and lasted less than three full seasons. His final farewell was a 42-7 drubbing at the hands of the rival Georgia Bulldogs. Five months and five days after McElwain’s introduction, UF welcomed yet another new face; Mike White — who sported a cleaner, even understated look — served as legendary men’s
Emma Hayakawa // Alligator Staff
Graphic of Billy Napier and Todd Golden. Photos by Samantha Harrison and Joseph Henry.
basketball coach Billy Donovan’s successor. White, to his credit, served at the helm of the men’s hoops program for seven seasons before his departure after the 2021-2022 season (although many fans likely would have wanted that run to end a season or two earlier). The last time UF brought a new football and men’s basketball coach in the same year, neither lived up to expectations. As the Fall semester looms, Gator nation finds itself at a similar watershed. Billy Napier. Todd Golden. Through one door, the two coaches could return Florida to glory. Through another, the “Gator Standard” could be plunged further into question. It is, without hyperbole, do-or-die time in Gainesville. The men’s basketball program saw a single Southeastern Conference championship in the past decade. Predating White, Donovan led the hoops squad to a 2014 conference title. The football program has been less fortunate; then-headcoach Dan Mullen’s tight loss to Alabama in the 2020 SEC Championship was the closest the Gators have come since Urban Mayer paced the sidelines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Less than one year later, Mullen was fired on the basis of a 6-7 season Four schools in the SEC have won more combined football and men’s hoops conference titles in the past decade than Florida. Gator nation prides itself on boasting elite programs in both sports -– UF is still the only school with national titles in both sports this century — but the report card from the past decade in the land of “It Just Means More,” might suggest otherwise. It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately atmosphere. Florida sits firmly outside the danger of losing its competitive credibility, for now. Both Napier and Golden appear successful, so far. Golden brought in elite transfer talent, while Napier arguably hit the recruiting trail harder in one offseason than his predecessor did in four years.
But the duo’s accolades from lowercaliber programs at their previous stops sound eerily similar to those of the illfated 2015 hires. McElwain came to UF after success at CSU, where he was named the 2014 Mountain West Conference coach of the year, and White arrived after a 27-9 season at Louisiana Carson Cashion Tech. @CarsonCashion Translating Napier’s success at Louccashion@alligator.org isiana-Lafayette and Golden’s at San Francisco to Gainesville will determine both coaches’ legacy and test whether or not they can prevent history from repeating itself. Early returns look promising, but the proof will come in the “W” column. Their performances will also likely determine the fate of UF athletic director Scott Stricklin, who took over for Jeremy Foley in 2016. After Mullen, his first big-fish hire, left the football program unceremoniously, and two other hires — former women's basketball coach Cam Newbauer and former soccer coach Tony Amato — left the university amid claims of abuse earlier this year, the ice under Stricklin is thin. The cloudy nature of the two programs doesn’t necessarily represent all of UF athletics. The men’s and women’s track and field teams currently reign as national champions, and women’s basketball head coach Kelly Rae Finley restored that program in just one season. Regardless, money talks. Football and men’s hoops traditionally turn the most profit for the university. A significant impact on UF’s athletic revenue would be more than enough cause for the university to part ways with Stricklin. While one semester will be inadequate in determining the two programs’ long-term outlook, this Fall is the beginning of a crossroads that fans and historians alike will look back on. It will be the beginning of a successful decade or the beginning of a Tennessee-esque downturn, or somewhere in the middle; either way, the seasons are guaranteed to be eventful. For now, all eyes rest upon the two venues that hug Gale Lemerand Drive.
Gators Gymnastics adds a transfer and fifth-year return to its 2023 lineup
Savannah Schoenherr announced her return for a fifth year three days after Rachel Baumann transferred to Florida By Brandon Hernandez Sports Writer
Gators gymnastics’ chemistry, helped with a string of fifth-year returns, will continue this Fall while incorporating former Bulldog and Florida legacy Rachel Baumann. Fifth-year Florida senior Savannah Schoenherr announced she will return for one more year via Twitter Wednesday. The announcement comes three days after Baumann announced her transfer from the University of Georgia to Gainesville for her final year of eligibility. Schoenherr, an all-around gymnast, set a collegiate-best 9.975 on vault against North Carolina State March 11, and she equaled that score on the uneven bars versus Arkansas Jan. 28. A Gators Gymnastics Heart and Soul Award honorable mention, Schoenherr’s return to UF keeps the continuity of the 2022 Southeastern Conference champions. She joins seniors Nya Reed and Trinity Thomas who also announced their returns earlier this summer. Baumann, the younger sister of former
Gators All-American Alyssa Baumann, transferred to Florida for her final year of eligibility. The move will make 2023 the sixth straight season a Baumann has been on UF’s roster.
“I am very blessed for the opportunity to pursue my dream graduate program… and get one more year to do the sport I love. Hope y'all are ready for another Baumann in the O’Dome.”
- Rachel Baumann, UF gymnast
The Texas native spent her undergraduate years in Athens, Georgia, competing for the Bulldogs. She led UGA with 12 performances on beam and 11 on vault and floor last season. She recorded a perfect 10.0 on floor at home against the Gators Jan. 21. The SEC Academic Honor Roll athlete joins Victoria Nguyen as the second Bulldogs transfer to join the Gators for the upcoming season.
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Emily Felts // Alligator Staff
UF gymnast Savannah Schoenherr announced she will return to the Gators' program for her fifth and final year of eligibility.
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12 ALLIGATOR MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2022
Stephen A. Smith encourages UF students to be authentic, competitive The ESPN personality spoke to over 300 UF students at ACCENT Speaker’s Bureau event Wednesday By Kyle Bumpers & Sandra McDonald
yielding commitment to staying true to his personality. Journalism department chair and professor Ted Spiker interviewed him before the guest fielded questions from the ACCENT Speakers Bureau event’s crowd Wednesday. While Smith said he doesn’t keep up much with Florida football — a statement followed by lighthearted boos from UF students — he still described his Mount Rushmore of Gators sports: Al Horford, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan. “Back in the day, it was always Florida,” Smith said. “That’s the standard.” He said the team needed to move in a different direction following last season’s disappointing outcome. Florida finished with a 6-7 overall record and lost at the hands of Central Florida 29-17 in the Gasparilla Bowl December 2021, a game Smith could
Alligator Staff Writers
Between his prediction for a second consecutive Golden State Warriors NBA championship and an 11-6 record for the Dallas Cowboys, Stephen A. Smith remained unapologetically himself in UF’s University Auditorium. The sports analyst said his success — like his spots on the ESPN shows: “First Take,” “NBA Countdown” and “SportsCenter” — stems from his authenticity and willingness to defend his takes. His viewers know to expect well-researched and well-defended arguments when he shares his opinions, he said. “You can trust Stephen A. to be Stephen A.,” he said. The secret to his popularity, Smith told more than 300 students, is an un-
not recall the name of. First-year Gators football head coach Billy Napier captured Smith’s interest, but he said the Southeastern Conference will be no easy competition for the newcomer. That pressure to perform, he said, carries over to UF students, as well. “Everyone you’re sitting next to is competition,” Smith said. He advised students to become indispensable to their bosses. Internships and real-world experiences, Smith said, can be even more important than education. Smith nodded to his own journey from living off a $15,000 salary at the beginning of his career to his current status as a multimillionaire. Valuable relationships with players and other television personalities, along with the trust of his audience, propelled him throughout his career. Students applauded after he de-
tailed his relationships with sports personality Skip Bayless and longtime Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson, whom Smith likened to brothers. He explained the ups and downs of both relationships and stressed the importance of perseverance. Smith, who was Summer’s first speaker after TikTok star Josh Richards postponed his $60,000 event last month indefinitely, was William Shaoul’s first speaker event at UF. The 18-year-old UF computer science freshman said Smith’s story teaches students to stay candid as they work toward success. “To do what you want to do, you have to work hard,” he said. Yingqun Zhu // Alligator Staff
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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith walks across the stage at the University Auditorium Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
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