The Signal Vol. 86 No. 28

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A professor alleges faculty are pressured to inflate failing students’ grades.

Professor to female student: “I don’t think computer science is right for you.”

The Human DJ beeps and bops on sidewalks of popular

New training technologies are godsent for today’s baseball players.







VOL. 86 | NO. 28

APRIL 23 - APRIL 30, 2019




Your data can say a lot about you Predictive analytics at the forefront of student analysis SIGNAL INVESTIGATIVE TEAM

Ada Wood, Kristen Rogers & Craig Schultz II


eorgia State is the No. 2 most innovative university in the nation. The university loves to share this metric, so much in fact that it adorns the walls of the HartsfieldJackson International Airport and is listed as the very first bullet point on the university’s about page. But what does “No. 2 most innovative” mean and how did Georgia State grow to such staggering stature? Predictive analytics is part of the answer to what propelled Georgia State to the top. Georgia State began using predictive analytics in 2012 to track students and maintain their paths to academic success. On a basic level, the university now collects and assesses hundreds of potential data points per student, carefully monitoring them in order to provide relevant and helpful advisement. The program has been hailed as a success for eliminating achievement gaps for black, Latino, first-generation and Pelleligible students. Georgia State now graduates more black students than any nonprofit university in the nation. But despite the attention this program has garnered in higher education circles nationwide, students have yet to see what data is actually being collected on them and how it’s being used. For the first time, The Signal is the only source with access to this information and the story behind the student perspective shared by the more than 50,000 enrolled at Georgia State – and it’s time that story is told. Iris Palmer, an expert in predictive analytics and ethical use from New America in Washington, D.C., can answer the basics about what predictive analytics is and the four main ways it’s used. The first use is enrollment management, which includes targeting recruitment and financial aid offers based on collected data. Adaptive technologies employ predictive analytics in the classroom by using courseware to personalize learning to each student. Predictive analytics is also used alongside facilities to determine the number of classrooms needed to fulfill demand or how to optimize water usage. But targeted advising is the facet Georgia State is known nationwide for pioneering. “That’s using the data and the performance of students to target different resources for them and advise them how to proceed through their college career,” Palmer said. Georgia State worked side-by-side with the data firm EAB to develop the models that are now used in the web platform Navigate for Georgia State’s GPS Advising initiative. This system works to monitor, alert and respond to potential threats to a student’s success. “I would even go so far as to say that Georgia State was really the one who helped EAB develop their targeted advising system,” Palmer said. Some students are concerned about the ethics behind the expansive data being tracked. In 2016, Palmer co-wrote a report that examined and compared examples of ethical and unethical uses of predictive analytics. Her finding? Georgia State was doing it right. But in that same report, Palmer discovered that Mount Saint Mary’s University conducted a freshman survey and used data from the survey to determine who was most likely to drop out. The catch was that MSMU then encouraged these students to drop out earlier to improve their retention rates. Georgia State, on the other hand, only uses the data to advise and guide students toward graduation – not away from it. One of the perils universities can slip into is basing their data too much on personal information, like race, ethnicity or economic background. By doing so, Georgia State could run the risk of perpetuating disadvantages that students may already face, since racial identity and a lack of resources already are tracked very closely. “If your predictive analytics will only tell you who is a minority student or who is low income, that’s not a helpful predictive model,” Palmer said. According to Georgia State’s Vice President for Student Success Tim Renick, Georgia State’s model is based entirely

on academic data, such as grades, GPA, courses and majors. Student demographics and academic performance before college, like high school grades or SAT/ACT scores, are never used. “As such, the analytics are based entirely on data that Georgia State always has collected about its students and indeed must collect about its students to be an accredited institution,” Renick said. “As a result, when we discussed the matter with our legal department, the determination was that there are no new legal issues posed by the data in GPS Advising.” Given this, there is no way for students to stop the university from collecting data on them since this data can be as rudimentary as one receiving a “B” in Chemistry.


When it comes down to it, what exactly can advisers and students do and see with predictive analytics? At Georgia State, the university uses a web platform called Navigate. Carol Cohen, assistant vice president for University Advisement, said that this program could be coming to students on a mobile platform as early as this summer semester, rolled out on the Perimeter campuses first.


Georgia State’s algorithms will predict at what rate it believes a student will successfully graduate on time. This metric combines all of a student’s academic data along with 800 potential “missed markers” that would identify at-risk behavior, like being a senior and not having completed a math credit. This risk score will be displayed as low (green), medium (yellow) or high (red) on the homepage for a student.


This web feature allows students to drag and drop courses into a four-year projection, focusing on when students should take certain courses. Students can then share this online planner with their adviser to receive feedback. This also helps the university recognize course demand, so they can know in advance whether to have more faculty to teach additional sections of courses.


The major explorer feature allows students to select a major and dive into the potential and most common careers they can get with their degree. The system shows what kind of skills, level of experience and coursework certain careers typically want. Real-time data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is updated daily to provide median wages and employment trends. This helps students to be more strategic in their college career so they can work toward earning a job post-graduation. Advisers can use the data from other features of Navigate to determine if they should guide you towards a different career.


Students will soon be able to “instant message” advisers in the Academic Planner to ask for assistance. Instead of digging through their student email account, students can log into one system, send a message and expect a response on the same system from an adviser – business hours applied. “Walk-ins have increased because students are busy,” Cohen said. “This will be a lifesaver for commuting students, as it will allow advisers to talk with students about things other than scheduling when they do come in for personal appointments.” Advisers will soon know students beyond their name, GPA and major since they can note their goals and what they like and don’t like so their adviser can get to know them on a more personal level. To ensure advisers have been reaching out to students, Navigate displays all email history between students and advisers – even when students don’t respond.


All of a students info and data is now in one place. Instead of going through multiple different screens on PAWS, students and their adviser can now see everything from their high school GPA and SAT scores to transfer credits and courses they

are currently enrolled in. Progress reports submitted by professors or teaching assistants are another feature. Other than grades, these reports track attendance, so if a student is having trouble in or withdrawing from a class, the adviser can have better insight into what went wrong.


All this being said, what do students know about predictive analytics at Georgia State? While not an exhaustive determination of student awareness, The Signal conducted a survey of 50 students, consisting of two simple “yes or no” questions. “Do you know what predictive analytics is?” The majority of students polled said “no,” though only by a slight margin; 58% responded “no” and 42% responded “yes.” “Did you know Georgia State is using predictive analytics to measure your risk level of not graduating?” This question showed a much larger divide among students; 86% of respondents said they weren’t aware of the practice, while only 14% answered “yes.” Students were given the option to leave a comment on their submission. These open-ended responses ranged from “seems sketchy” and “seems very concerning” to “exciting and efficient” and “seems cool and very useful.” Given the perceived benefits of the new Navigate system and the success metrics the university is advertising, it seems some students are still concerned about the process and unaware of what is offered to them. “We have had a couple of students ask questions of the sort that you are asking ... but they are comforted once they understand how the platform really works,” Renick said.

HOW TO GET YOUR DATA AS A GEORGIA STATE STUDENT Below is a QR code for a prefilled email. Scan the code, insert your name and address it to your adviser. Make sure to send it from your student email. Alternatively, you can call the advisement office and schedule an appointment and read the content in the email as a guideline for the information you are looking for.




Professor accuses GSU of forcing grade inflations Comms professor says they were told by leadership to fail fewer students KRISTEN ROGERS Staff Reporter


hey said they were told by their department to limit drops, withdrawals and fails (DWF) to 12% or less. This professor, who spoke to The Signal on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, is a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Communication. “Telling us not to give out Ds and Fs is a pressure to grade inflate,” they said. “Now you’re under pressure to give out grades people don’t deserve. And so the grades become meaningless.” This professor alleged that this forces them to pass more students than they typically would because professors have more control over fails than they do over drops and withdraws. They claimed these directives from university officials result in inflated grades. To corroborate their claims, the professor provided a document they said was distributed at a faculty meeting in April 2018. The document, which was reviewed by The Signal, displays grade distributions for each CAS department. At the cross section of the Department of Communication and DWF, the number 11.30% is circled. Scribbled on that document is a note the professor said was printed onto the document before being handed to them: “Keep below 12%.” However, when asked to comment on these allegations, the university said this practice isn’t used – according to College of Arts and Sciences Dean Sara Rosen, which is ostensibly in contradiction to the document obtained by The Signal. “While we have not sent reports on [DWF] rates to faculty in recent years, we do track data on student learning and student success at all times,” Rosen said. “As we work with departments and faculty on success rates, we never advocate for lowering of standards, but rather for use of teaching methods that increase student learning.” Rosen said that regardless of not having distributed the metric, DWF percentage is something that the CAS pays attention to and that by focusing on engaging students, the college can improve success rates. The professor said that in response to the instructions at this particular meeting, other faculty pushed back as well. However, according to the professor, pushback is sometimes met with retaliation – specifically from Rosen. “The implication is [that] the departments that do not play ball with the Dean’s office by keeping these metrics the way she wants them will be denied resources in the future,” the unnamed professor said. “It’s the Dean’s office that decides which department gets graduate student funding and how much.” According to the professor, for tenured professors, complaining about the metrics directives is not a fireable offense, but their departments may not hire replacements when faculty quit or retire, leading to heavier workloads for the remaining faculty. Additionally, faculty who are employed on contract with the university simply may not be renewed in the following year if they challenge the Dena’s requests. It’s an

effective termination of their employment with Georgia State. The professor believes the pressure stems from the university leadership’s desire to increase student retention metrics, which includes speed toward degree, degree completion and retention. It’s no secret Georgia State has had huge success in their academic metrics and promotes these statistics to validate it’s student success rates. “I think we need a leadership that is focused on the quality of the education and not just the metrics,” the professor said. “We need to prioritize the quality of the students’ education, the skill sets that they’re getting and not just how quickly they can finish.” This notion of improving metrics over the quality of education isn’t at all unique to this professor’s claims. In fact, some have argued this view has permeated through higher education across the U.S. One of these metrics is that Georgia State graduates more black students than any other institution in the U.S., something the professor commented on as well. “We can be a minority-serving institution and still aim for excellence. I do not like the message I’ve received subtly that because we’re a minority-serving institution, we need to have lower standards,” they said. “If anything, because we’re minority-serving we need to have higher standards because our students are going to encounter discrimination in the workplace.” The professor noted that Georgia State’s Senior Vice President for Student Success Tim Renick has been the most vocal about these success metrics. When asked to comment on the document, Renick said that any distribution of DWF metrics are not by his instruction, nor was he part of CAS’s decision to use them. But he did provide some insight into the university’s position on any allegations, including that Georgia State has worked toward equitable grading across different sections and professors across a particular course. This means that if a particular instructor assigns grades differently than others teaching the same course, “[It] is the responsibility of the department’s chair to look into the discrepancy and to determine whether the instructor is effectively teaching the material and grading by the same standards as are other instructors,” Renick said. Renick also stressed the importance of tracking DWF rates, claiming that the university is justified and that nothing malicious is occuring. “While some faculty members and students might think the monitoring of DWF rates is an attempt to inflate grades, there is no evidence that the tracking is being used in this way, nor is there evidence that grade inflation is occurring at Georgia State,” Renick said. “Moreover, there is good reason to track DWF rates to ensure effective instruction and fairness to students.” Are any other professors in the Department of Communication aware of the issue? The responses were mixed. Holley Wilkin, a professor of communications, said she hasn’t given the document much thought since the April meeting. Wilkin said she remembers the pushback the anonymous professor described, but she said she hasn’t felt

pressure to inflate her grades, nor does she see how DWF rates are even in her control. “It hasn’t affected how I approach my classes, or made me really think about changing,” Wilkin said. “I didn’t feel like I was being given a directive to suddenly inflate grades. Though I do kind of remember that the discussion was around that, that people felt like it might’ve been saying that.” Some professors do view the DWF percentage as within their control, though instead as something to reduce by strengthening teaching methods and conducting personal meetings with students. “If I think that students are struggling, it’s incumbent upon me to approach those students and try to help them as much as I think that I can,” Douglas Barthlow, a professor of journalism, said. Barthlow sees the DWF rate and the document’s instruction not as a pressure to grade inflate, but as a caution that instructors cannot be passive about students’ progress. Barthlow said the rate for the entire department is a “ridiculous figure” to refer to. “If the intent is to help students, then you don’t want to aggregate it on the departmental level. You want to get down to the individual course level and even the individual instructor level to find out what’s going on,” he said. Rasha Ramzy, a professor of communications, couldn’t recall receiving the document, but she doesn’t think faculty need an instruction to tell them that they hope students don’t drop, withdraw from or fail classes. “I think that’s generally because we want them to be successful students and to progress through their course of study to graduation,” Ramzy said. “So naturally, it would be something that we would hope isn’t very high.” Jane Robbins is an expert in grade ethics and has frequently covered the various types of grade inflation in higher education. She shared her view on the events described by the anonymous professor. To her, the idea of lumping DWF together – and not examining them by each letter – is counterintuitive to either combating or contributing to grade inflation. “It could be designed to say, ‘Let’s keep students here so that we keep tuition, but let’s make sure that they pass,’” Robbins said. Regardless, Robbins sees that this requires more detailed research and investigation and no conclusion can be drawn without looking into the various factors that play into grade inflation. Average GPA has remained very constant since 2010, according to Georgia State’s data system, IPORT – a point Renick used to support his assertion that grade inflation isn’t a problem at Georgia State. However, the Department of Communication has seen a general decline from 13.83% to 11.07% in DWF since 2010, although this percentage has moved up and down through this period. Furthermore, there has been a decline in the percent of students failing, showing that at the very least, the DWF rate isn’t entirely attributed to drops and withdrawals. In total, 1.57% fewer students are failing since 2010.





Can the university see what you do online? NEWS BRIEFS Wanting you to beware of malware through cybersecurity


BEN COLETTA Staff Reporter

Atlanta City Council opposes conversion therapy


veryday Georgia State students enjoy the free WiFi provided around campus. But, what information do you give the university access to by using their network, and under what circumstances can the university use this information? According to the Chief Information Security Officer Ren Flot, “Through networking and security tools, the university can obtain insight into various types of data related to wireless and wired device connections and device activities on university-provided systems.” Essentially, Georgia State can see what you do on their networks or with their devices – like the computers in libraries or classroom. Because of the high volume of students on university devices, the amount of data generated by all of these machines is even larger. Because of this, the university can’t devote time to digging through everyone’s browser history – you can breathe easy now. The university limits access to this information to specific investigations. “Access to this information is generally limited to the need to investigate incidents involving devices that could present a security threat to other campus computer users or university resources because the devices are negatively impacting network performance or displaying malicious activity that signals the devices may have been compromised,” Flot said. According to Flot, in order to more efficiently find security threats in massive heaps of data, the university employs a series of detection tools to decide if a device may be compromised or exhibiting “malicious behavior” on their networks or computers. “One example [of malicious behavior] might be something like a device trying to connect to a lot of other devices and push a file that is known malware,” Flot said. Once the university has determined a device is compromised, it will be barred from joining the network to protect data and other devices.

A report released by the UCLA School of Law found that 698,000 LGBTQ Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives. In Atlanta, the city council is taking a stance against this practice, the Marietta Daily Journal reports. In the April 15 meeting at City Hall, members passed a nonbinding resolution that urges the statewide government for the practice to be completely banned. ILLUSTRATION BY EVAN STAMPS | THE SIGNAL

The Mueller Report “If we see indications that a device is compromised, for the protection of others, we will prevent the device from connecting to the university network,” Flot said. The cybersecurity team will then launch an investigation into the device in question. All the information collected about the device’s activities on the network can then be accessed to determine what kind of threat it may pose and what the next steps are. If you are a benevolent student who is a victim of a common malware and you’ve been disconnected from the network as a result, Flot recommends going to the CATLab in the Aderhold Learning Center. The university is very serious when it comes to cybersecurity; that’s why Georgia State employs Flot and the cybersecurity team. There is a lot of valuable information that can be accessed through the university networks and devices, and

it’s Georgia State’s cybersecurity program that’s in charge of keeping it safe. As the size of the university has grown, so too has the number of people’s information potentially at risk on the network. And, during this time period the university has begun to become more and more reliant on technology, unfortunately, leading to an increase in investigations and incidents handled by Georgia State Cybersecurity. “The number of malicious incidents at the university, across higher education and across industries continues to go up as password and identity theft and cyber crime become increasing issues,” Flot said. But, again, rest easy at night knowing that the university is not combing through your late night browser activities. Unless, of course, you’ve got malware.

The digital divide at Georgia State

Does innovation make Georgia State tech-dependent? DEREK ESCRIBANO Staff Reporter


eorgia State makes no secret of its awards and rankings as one of the most innovative schools in the United States, and for good reason, too. We’ve heard it before: Georgia State is the No. 2 most innovative university in the U.S. With resources open to students from entire floors of the library having computers in place of books to a complete recording studio, Georgia State seems to deserve that ranking. According to the Pew Research Center, 98% of adults aged 18-26 own a smartphone, and 78% of adults aged 18-26 own a computer, so it was only logical for Georgia State to implement increasingly more technology into the classroom. In some cases, technology has completely replaced the classroom, as Georgia State has even gone to the extent of implementing fully-online classes. But has Georgia State delved too deep into the


world of technology? With many key resources required for classroom success located on iCollege, such as lecture slides and homework answers, those without internet at home are at a major disadvantage compared to their peers with internet. This concept isn’t specific to education. It’s called the “digital divide,” and it covers the concept of the gap between those with access to internet and tech and those without across the globe. So, how is the digital divide tackled on the university level? Georgia State tries to balance this by providing free internet for students on-campus, as well as a library that closes at 2 a.m. But tuition does not come cheap, and many students take up work in order to afford it. This could have some students off campus more often than not and without internet. Nathan Ho, a Georgia State freshman, believes that iCollege is a reliable, effective replacement to turning in hard-copies, and that technology at home is not required for students to succeed. “We can easily send in work from our phones

or computers, which we always have on hand,” Ho said. “Those of us who do not have access to technology have access to the library.” But not all students share Ho’s perspective. Chandler Yats, another student at Georgia State, described a case in which his entire schedule for one of his classes was turned on its head because iCollege was down. “Yeah, iCollege was down for a few days before we had to turn in a quiz. We had nothing to study with, and the quiz was pushed back a week,” Yats said. “My professor had to change our schedule, and we weren’t able to cover all of the material.” On the other hand, iCollege is assisting in cutting back on paper waste. According to The Green Schools Initiative, Americans use 31.5 million tons of printing and writing paper each year, but switching to electronic classrooms would reduce waste drastically. “Instead of handing in physical papers that we could forget to print or leave at home, we can send them in through our computers,” Ho said. While there are opinions on both ends of the spectrum, it is inevitable for Georgia State to move further into the realm of technology in pursuit of innovation.

President Donald Trump was under investigation for potential collusion with the Russian interference of the 2016 election and obstruction of justice by Robert Mueller. After Attorney General Bill Barr released a summary, the full report was awaited by millions of Americans and on April 18, they got it. The team behind the investigation and report stated that the evidence obtained “about the about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

GLOBAL Notre-Dame Cathedral catches fire

The first stone for the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, meaning “Our Lady” in French, was placed in 1163 but the construction wasn’t completed until 1345 – 182 years later. On Monday, April 15, the cathedral caught fire, burning much of it’s wooden roof, including the signifying spire. Prior to this, because buildings age, the structure was undergoing a $180 million renovation. Now, over $700 million has been raised to rebuild the historic architecture, something France’s President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to do.




GILEE resolution killed before votes cast An indefinite postponement for the 89th administration WILL SOLOMONS News Editor


near-decade-long student opposition to a controversial Georgia State program came to a head last Thursday at the final Student Government Association Universitywide Senate meeting of the year. Amid routine committee updates and teary-eyed goodbyes from departing seniors, a contentious piece of legislation sat waiting on the agenda’s old business: the GILEE resolution. The resolution, which would have called for Georgia State to withdraw itself and any funding from the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange program, was tabled indefinitely after heated debate on the Senate floor. It was an effective death for the legislation in this administration, though it will quite likely be introduced again this summer.


It all started in November 2018, when Sen. Hamza Rahman, now an incoming executive vice president for the 90th Administration, began his research into GILEE, a 501(c)(3) owned by the Georgia State University Foundation which has drawn controversy and ire from students for years. The program has been around at Georgia State since 1992, when it was created to prepare police and security personnel for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Student opposition to the program was first reported by The Signal in October 2010 when Unity Plaza protests broke out and 1,200-plus student signatures were delivered to Georgia State University President Mark Becker. The 2010 protests were formed due to the program’s affiliation with Israeli police. The Signal reported, “The [Progressive Student Alliance] is strongly opposed to GILEE and wants the organization immediately shut down because they believe that the Israeli police system works to enforce apartheid against the Palestinian community.” Students were denied the opportunity to speak to Becker, and no apparent change to the program ever occurred. Rahman hoped to change that with this legislation. After completing his initial research this past January, Rahman then approached the founder and director of GILEE, Robert Friedmann, for more information. “After speaking to him, I was more convinced that the program needed to end after he openly told me about cooperation with Egypt, a human rights violator,” Rahman said. The resolution lists other countries’ alleged human rights violations and controversial policing strategies, then questions GILEE’s affiliation with them. Some of those countries include Hungary, Uzbekistan, China and Israel. One of resolution’s clauses illustrates this, stating, “GILEE’s training partners include foreign law enforcement agencies that restrict civil liberties, violate human rights, and/or engage in bigotry, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and violent manifestations of homophobia.” Rahman and President-elect Jazmin Mejia wrote the legislation and introduced it to the Senate several weeks ago at the March 14 meeting. Sen. Danny Mai, head senator for the J. Mack Robinson College of Business caucus, almost immediately attempted to kill the legislation right then and there. His efforts failed, but the legislation was ultimately routed to an ad-hoc committee created to investigate and verify the legislation’s claims. That committee was headed by head senator of the School of Public Health Kiersten Nicholson, who then selected members of the Senate who she said held no bias toward or against the GILEE program. Those members were Sen. Chris Garcia, Sen. Danielle Ellington-Myles, Sen. Morgan Tomcho and Speaker of the Senate for the Clarkston campus Terry Fye. Over the span of two weeks, the committee held several hearings in which they interviewed key players on both sides of the debate. During their first meeting on April 3, the committee hosted both Rahman and Mejia, who both provided testimony on their understanding of their legislation and the GILEE program. They were also joined by attorney Edward Mitchell, who discussed what he believed were civil rights issues within the program. Mitchell is the executive director for the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The committee’s second meeting on April 10 included a presentation by Executive Director of GILEE Steve Heaton and Georgia State University Police Department Chief of Police

Sen. Jazmin Mejia, president-elect for the 90th Administration, speaks to the Senate in support of Sen. Hamza Rahman’s GILEE resolution, which she sponsored.

Joseph Spillane. Heaton told the committee GILEE was not a front-line officer training program and only specialized in training executive police leadership. In a letter to the editor published in The Signal’s April 9 issue, senior Zainab Khan wrote that Georgia State should support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that seeks to end financial and other ties between Israel and the United States. She alluded to the resolution and said that students who oppose GILEE have an opportunity to take “a step in the right direction by pushing for an end to the university’s partnership with a state that is systematically enacting a genocide against its indigenous Palestinian population.” In a letter to the editor of their own published in The Signal’s April 16 issue, Mejia and Rahman called out Friedmann for being bigoted based on comments he’d made in the past. Mejia and Rahman’s letter stated their resolution does not pertain to the BDS movement in any way and that it only calls for action to be taken against GILEE. “Let us be very clear. We oppose GILEE because of its collaboration with human rights violators, as well as its history of bigotry. We do not oppose GILEE because of the Boycott, Divest & Sanctions movement. Neither of us has advocated for BDS at Georgia State. For us, this is a matter of principle,” the letter stated. Friedmann declined to comment on the record about the GILEE resolution.


During the final University-wide Senate meeting, both university representatives and students packed the room to address the Senate and observe their vote on the legislation. GSU Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Russ Shulkes urged the student leaders to vote against the resolution because it would create a culture of anti-Semitism on campus. “I just want to say from the start, I didn’t want to be here. I’m sad that I have to convey this message,” Shulkes said. “[Jews in Atlanta have] come to associate their own lives with that program and they specifically have made that program a part of their Jewish identity and that is what at stake for us.” When Mitchell address the Senate, he said he was there to “share with [the Senate] some basic facts.” These included references to the aforementioned countries and how it was imperative the senators did not feel like they were being guilted into voting one way or another. He also said that this legislation is not an Israel versus Palestine issue. “I’m just here to share with you the information I gained over the past 3-plus years … Too many people on both sides of this issue make GILEE into an Israel-Palestine issue … This is nonsense. GILEE should be judged based on the merits of the program,” Mitchell said. Students who addressed the Senate included GSU Hillel and Students for Justice in Palestine members. Former SGA presidential candidate Ira Livnat, who himself was born in Israel, was among those lined up waiting to speak. He spoke in support of the legislation and said he hoped the legislation


wouldn’t divide the student body but rather would unify the campus against discrimination. “In theory this should be a piece of legislation that unites us all,” Livnat said. After the students spoke, the Senate moved into regular business. But after the routine committee updates concluded, the ad-hoc committee that had been tasked with investigating the legislation took the floor. The committee’s recommendation was clear: Because of apparent factual inaccuracies in the first and third clauses of the resolution, it should not be adopted by the Senate and should be further investigated in the 90th administration. The first clause called for Georgia State to withdraw its police department from the GILEE program. But Nicholson said her committee found GSUPD officers don’t train with the program, rendering that clause moot. “No Georgia State University police officer has undergone the training facilitated by the GILEE program in the past three budget cycles,” she said. “According to Chief Spillane, who has been with GSU for the last three budget cycles, he has delegated zero funding for GILEE in any of his budget cycles. He has not slated anyone to attend GILEE … nor has he funded GILEE in any way, shape or form.” Nicholson also said that the third clause of the resolution was irrelevant because it called for Georgia State to defund GILEE and redirect that funding to other GSUPD services. She said that according to Heaton, GILEE received funding only through private donations that are channeled through the Georgia State University Foundation, the entity that processes all donations to the university. “The GILEE program does not receive funding from Georgia State University,” Nicholson said. “The GILEE program is funded through private donations that are earmarked and designated solely for the GILEE program at the discretion of the donors.” Rahman vehemently disagreed with the committee’s recommendation, pointing to a dot-gov article he found that apparently disproved a committee finding. He then tried to introduce an amendment to the resolution that would remove the two questionable clauses and make the resolution more agreeable to the Senate. That vote ultimately failed. The struggle on both sides finally came to an end when Sen. Chris Garcia motioned to postpone the resolution indefinitely. His motion passed, effectively killing the motion until at least the 90th administration. It is important to note that Nicholson did not say that the Senate shouldn’t pursue any future legislation revolving around GILEE, but rather that the version presented was not sound due to the two clauses she said were moot. However, Nicholson said her committee did not have time to independently verify everyone’s testimony during committee hearings. With just two weeks to investigate the complex piece of legislation, the committee urged the Senate not to pursue it, leaving it up to the 90th administration to investigate and reintroduce the issue if they so choose.


Pounce chatting it up

State creates chatbot, but ignores failing tech infrastructure KENNETH LOCKETT III Staff Columnist


magine being able to set up an appointment with your advisor without having to pick up your phone, imagine getting a text telling you that you have a hold on your account or that you owe money. Okay well, maybe not that last one but you get the point. What once seemed like the wet dream of a procrastinating student may soon be a reality. But is this recent innovation step by the university neglecting several problems? If you’re a freshman, or possibly even a sophomore, you might be in a select group of students that were part of the Pounce Chatbot pilot. I’m one of those students so let me tell you, Pounce can be extremely annoying, but frankly, he’s saved me weeks of headache on several occasions. In the conversations, I’ve had with Jonna Lee, the Chatbot Project Research Associate, and Lindsey Fifield, the Chatbot Project Director, it has promise. For example, just last week,

I got texts from the system telling me that I had a hold on my account. Had I not gotten this text, I wouldn’t have emailed my advisor and gotten it sorted out before Monday’s registration start time. But this isn’t even the greatest possible extent of the chatbot, in addition to system notifications such as holds, it gives you announcements about events around campus and it tells you when the campus is closed for a holiday. It even gives you essential dates such as registration start dates and withdrawal ending dates. But that’s just what it can currently do. If you ever have set up an appointment with the University Library or the GSU Writing Studio you’d know that it’s as simple as clicking an open time slot, setting up the reservation or appointment and confirm. This is far easier on the students with busy schedules and the staff of the locations. Imagine being able to set those times with a quick text, and get those reminders onto your phone. Now further imagine that with other departments – financial aid, advisement. We can only dream, right? While the project is exceptionally innovative, there are

several broken systems across the university. Have you ever tried to have event promotions listed on every single campus Georgia State has? Have you even seen advertisement on multiple campuses? That’s because the systems are still separated, same school two systems. In addition to that, Student Government Association Senator Nigel Walton expressed concerns about the existing infrastructure at Georgia State. “Most of the technology on campus is outdated and slow, not to mention there are minimal printing locations on campus. They even removed the site in the Student Center,” Walton said. And he’s not wrong, printing in the library is at times a 30-minute wait. The university needs to address these issues before creating a new project, remember the GSU App? Exactly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing project but fundamentally Georgia State is seemingly ignoring the true technological need the university has. Georgia State needs to address the concerns of the growing university before seeking new and innovative projects.

The reality of STEM for minorities

An indirect attack on minority potential for success, questioned at every turn ITUNUOLUWA TALABI Staff Columnist


n college, professors and advisors take the place of parents. They advise you, caution you and give criticism that, as young adults, heavily influence our decisions. As college students, we would like to believe that we are resolute even in the age of social media but are still malleable and constructive criticism from authority figures forces a cross-examination within ourselves. While Georgia State is a diverse institution in terms of overall enrollment and is taking strides to diversify the STEM faculty, there is a clear distinction pertaining to the diversity of students within the STEM program or more accurately the lack thereof. Minority students are being discouraged by way of passive-aggressive suggestions from faculty. Omolola Solaru, a sophomore computer science major, spoke on how her male computer science professor said, “I don’t think computer science is right for you,” when showing some difficulties throughout the course. “This shows that some guys in the industry still have that mindset that girls are not as intelligent as they are. He doesn’t think that … I think he felt like he needed to discourage me … save me the trouble,” Solaru said. Whether a joke or not, moving forward in her courses Solaru felt uneasy. “I always wondered if the professor thought I was dumb for asking questions or felt like ‘what was the point?’” she said. Being an African-American female in STEM myself, I find this entire situation to be problematic. This highlights the fact that some male professors still have the mindset that both female and POC students cannot be successful in STEM programs. Likewise, proving that these situations cause students to question their own abilities. This incident was particularly taxing for Solaru as she began to doubt herself as not only a female in STEM but also as an African-American female in STEM. This can be dangerous in a world where this mentality is only

reaffirmed due to the fact that both of these groups are marginalized in many aspects. Lauren James, a sophomore computer science major, also voiced her opinions and has experienced something similar. James believes that the only way to combat these perceptions is to push past it. “It’s kind of sad because I feel like if you’re not a strongminded individual that is something that would make you change your mind,” James said.

in organizations such as Girls ++, to uplift females in computer science or fall by the wayside? As a known progressive generation, we have not progressed as much as earlier generations might argue. Rebecca Rizzo, a professor in Mathematics Department, validated the plight of females in STEM. “I’ve been through the same thing, and I’ve actually had many students come to my office and tell me that,” Rizzo said. In a society where both of these groups are arguably the most underrepresented, it is intimidating enough to face the world. I see these acts of discouragement as an attack on minorities in the sense that it is hindering potential for greatness. A classroom is deemed a safe place for all students regardless of race, gender or disability. However, this “safe place” is an actual battlefield for minorities, where the mentality of “survival of the fittest” takes precedent. Any signs of difficulty or hesitation warrants dismissal or being told: “STEM isn’t right for you.” How is a student supposed to grow if they constantly feel scrutinized and judged? How are minorities supposed to carry this weight when the faculty is feeding into this mindset? What all minorities have in common is that society sees us as incapable of success in almost all areas. This is an ideology that is deep-rooted in the foundations of American history and this is still affecting these same marginalized groups today. One may argue that there are one or two clubs to aid minorities in STEM on campus, but this alone is not much to the support that is needed within the actual administration. Your abilities are constantly questioned, consequently your identity. Humans subconsciously flock to areas where we see others that look like us. With this lack of representation, minorities can feel hopeless or be doubtful of our value. Thus, preventing the likelihood of minorities in the future from pursuing STEM programs. ILLUSTRATION BY AMBER KIRLEW | THE SIGNAL This state of hopelessness and lowered self-esteem can seriously alter success moving forward and becoming a So, what about the rest of students who cannot take on citizen in the real world where minorities need to be strong the pressures of the ‘stereotype threat’ with little to no in order to survive. Situations like that of Omolola and resources around campus to aid minority students? Will Lauren are testaments to the realities that minorities have they become students like James, becoming instruments to face in STEM.




letter from the editor How this changed my life

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Daniel Varitek executive editor (atlanta) Vacant executive editor (perimeter) Vacant

An unabashedly sentimental look at this year


vividly remember the moment she walked into the room. I could feel that something was coming — a question, or a proposition — and I wanted no part in it. “I don’t know what you’re planning, but I don’t want to do it,” I said. She relaxed and brushed off my unduly candid comment that I had so hastily delivered before even saying, “Hello.” “Okay, thanks for letting me know,” she replied. But in my mind, it was for good reason — Christina Maxouris wanted me to be the next editor-in-chief of The Signal, and I didn’t think I was ready for that. Of course, she thought differently. And of course, I eventually agreed, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this now. Thus began a year-long experience that is unlike any I’ve ever had. I still recall the summer of 2018, struggling to coordinate the repainting of our office for the first time in 10-plus years. Back then, a painted wall was my biggest challenge. If only I had known that threats of litigation, difficult ethical decisions and unbalanced budgets loomed ahead of me. The painted wall was only the start of a transformative year for The Signal. We completely redesigned our office space (twice) to better embody our work culture. We hit the ground running in Vol. 86 No. 1 with an investigation into Parker H. Petit, a prominent Georgia State donor. I still remember getting phone calls from New York asking for mailed copies of that issue. Then came the campus architecture issue, in which we used a drone to capture a two-page image of Downtown Atlanta on our front and back covers. (Hat tip to John Yeo for his help with this.) Shortly after, The Signal celebrated its 85th Anniversary. We pored

over university archives for weeks, investigating the transformation of Georgia State’s culture, student body and infrastructure. It was my first time truly understanding the magnitude and importance of The Signal at Georgia State, because our newspaper had literally been there for it all. We covered the contentious 2018 gubernatorial race late into the night of Nov. 6, and memorialized the election on our Election Day cover. Then, we finished the semester with an award-winning cover photo by Unique Rodriguez that captured the end of a Georgia State football era. In January we returned to campus with a fresh look. We turned heads with our annual Sex Issue in February and later released a major investigation into a potential constitutional violation by the Student Government Association. We made history on March 5 by releasing the first ever multi-cover issue of The Signal, one for each SGA presidential candidate. Then we made history again on April 9 by announcing our first all-female Panther of the Year class. And now we’re ending the year with this issue, adorned by a breathtaking cover by Evan Stamps. These pages you’re holding are the physical manifestation of the lessons we’ve learned, the people we’ve built relationships with and the successes we’ve shared this year. These pages are us. Here’s a quote by Michael Josephson I think perfectly encapsulates this year: “Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.” The truth of the matter is that I wouldn’t be on this journey without Christina, who invested in me and convinced me I could do it. I wouldn’t be here without Bryce McNeil, our adviser who guided me and answered

all of my questions — even if it was via text on a late Friday night. I wouldn’t be here without my partner, Jazmin Mejia, who supported me at every turn. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the twenty-something hypotheticals I posed to my mom, trying to ascertain what my junior year of college would look like — with or without The Signal. I wouldn’t be here without my editorial board, who put more into this newspaper than I could ever ask. They are my unwavering source of inspiration. And I wouldn’t be here were it not for the countless friends who have cheered us on every step of the way. I don’t have the space to name everyone here, but know that I will thank you in person (and maybe tear up a bit). They changed my life. And for that, I am indebted. I feel responsible for using these opportunities to invest back into our team and back into the Georgia State community. That’s the mindset I’m walking into next year — my last year at Georgia State — with. How can I best serve? And how can I best contribute to the future of our school and city? To my reader, perhaps we have not yet met. But this column — which is arguably the most sentimental I’ve been all year — is a look into my unending gratitude and respect for the work our staff does. If nothing else, I hope you take from this that I am proud of how far we’ve come. I have faith in where we’re going. And I’ve enjoyed the journey every step of the way. Until next year, Daniel Varitek Editor-in-Chief, ‘18 - ‘20

Editorial NEWS EDITOR Will Solomons





Digital DIGITAL EDITOR Vacant ASSOCIATE DIGITAL Editor Vacant VIDEO EDITOR Julian Pineda associate vIDEO EDITOR Jaye DePrince PODCAST EDITOR Caleb P. Smith




The Signal shall provide, in a fair and accurate manner, news of interest and significance to the Georgia State University community and serve as a forum for the expression of ideas of members of that community. Furthermore, The Signal shall provide an opportunity for students to pursue experience within a professional newspaper environment. The Signal shall also provide truthful and ethical advertising of interest to the Georgia State University community.


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Letters must be submitted to the Opinions Editors via e-mail and must include the text of the letter in the body of the message. Letters should be 200-400 words maximum. The Signal will allow longer letters, but only in rare circumstances. Letters must include the full name(s) of the writer(s) and include their year and major. If the writer is a faculty member, they must include their title and department. Letters will be fact-checked prior to publication. The writer may be obligated to make changes to the letter for publication. Letters will be edited for grammar, clarity, length, factual accuracy and adherence to The Signal’s policy. The Signal reserves the right to modify and/ or reject letters at the discretion of the editorial staff.


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Embracing the essence of color

Campus organization gives diversity a chance in the modeling industry While walking down the runway, the first and last models of each color had extra time for choreography at the top, middle Staff Reporter and end of the runway. However, all models had moments to make the runway their own and filled with their personality. Some models blew kisses at the crowd, some twerked and some even did tricks such as a nfinite Appeal is an on-campus organization that strives back handspring step-out. to break the barriers of the strict fashion industry – they Infinite Appeal made an effort to give their audience a true focus on and celebrate diversity. Last Monday, the Veteran’s experience with choreography and the songs chosen to go Memorial Hall was transformed into a runway as Infinite along with each color. Appeal hosted their 20th year anniversary fashion show. Hosts of the event, student Jalen Clark and alumni Jovan Organization president Shanell Jefferson described Infinite Paige kept the crowd engaged in between segments with short Appeal as “a bridgeway for people who are interested in comedic skits. modeling, styling, creative direction, anything like that. It’s a There were also two giveaways during the show. One was bridgeway for you to gain more experience with that and then from Atlanta Streetwear Market, and the other was from take it on outside of college.” Infinite Appeal’s executive board for the best runway walk The organization was founded at Georgia State by four from an audience women in 1999. At competition. a practice in Student The embracement of Center West the Friday natural hair was also before the show, evident throughout Jefferson described the show. The models Infinite Appeal’s showcased natural styles purpose as “[bridging]] for their hair type. Some the gap between Atlanta had beach waves, and streetwear designers, some had protective and give them more styles such as bantu of an opportunity to knots and afro puffs. showcase their work [on No model looked like the] Atlanta campus.” another. Male or female, Infinite Appeal is they all had different run by the six executive body types as well as board members, ethnic backgrounds. including the president, Embracing diversity vice president, executive was one of the focal producer, creative points of the 20th year director, female model anniversary show. coordinator and male The show closed model coordinator. The with some of Infinite institution also has a Appeal’s alumni, growing presence with including one of the local modeling agencies. founders, participating “When it comes in a celebratory runway to agencies around walk, along with the Atlanta, they know current executive board our name, they want members, fashion to come to our show, designers and hair and and they want to get to makeup stylists. know our models. That’s The future of Infinite what we’re working on, Appeal trying to make Infinite Infinite Appeal is an Appeal more of an expanding organization, agency, instead of just and encourages students a college organization,” to try out. Jefferson said. “We have three model Opportunity for calls per semester,” designers Jefferson said. “We post Infinite Appeal has it on Instagram and a strong relationship flyers are put out. For with Atlanta designers. the first model call, we Infinite Appeal commemorated 20 years at Georgia State with a fashion PHOTOS BY CHRIS GARCIA | THE SIGNAL The institution chooses don’t look for too much show dubbed “Spectrum,” a celebration of the diversity of color. local designers that skill because we have create collections for the show each year, including Bully Killer, Designers played with proportion, making lots of jackets the whole [first] semester to train them.” Vasche, ATL Finest, Jorsani by Jor, Antuh, Six Well, Zonin, and tops cropped and pairing those items with tailored pants, Model and stylist Ruth Mang explains that “Infinite Appeal Tyrone and Wilborn. making the models look taller. Some jackets and tops also had is a really good startup to any model’s career because it teaches “The way we select designers is based on off of our theme. ‘80s and ‘90s inspired shapes, including some oversized jackets, the basics and techniques.” Our theme [this year] is streetwear meets high fashion,” as well as some with strong shoulders. President Jefferson understands that societal pressures of Jefferson said. Embrace the rainbow what models should look like can act as a deterrent when it One of the designers for this year’s fashion show was Jordan The show was titled “Spectrum” and the opening walk comes to pursuing a modeling career. Thomas, the face of Jorsani by Jor, an Atlanta-based fashion featured all the models walking out on the runway together “I want [students] to know that if you feel as if you don’t company. Jordan has been designing for a year and sewing for to perform choreography and explain the theme. The event have what it takes to be a model, that isn’t true,” Jefferson said. six months. was broken into segments of the colors of the spectrum of the “Modeling is viewed when it comes to magazines in society “Jorsani possesses and displays moral virutals,” Thomas said. rainbow, and each color portrayed a message. that you have to be skinny, have a certain body time and a “We tap into our inner sexuality, we’re bold, we’re poppin’, we’re Blue represented fluidity, purple embraced female certain face structure, and that’s not necessarily the case. If you empowering. But also we’re not staring away from the idea of empowerment, and red displayed embracing one’s sexuality. have a little bit of confidence in yourself, you can be a model.”



being pro-sex. I make things for beautiful girls to be confident and powerful in.” She also shared her inspiration for her collection featured in the show. “When you think of X-Men, you think of [Mystique],” Thomas said “So, I wanted them to be like superheroes. I wanted the girls to be unstoppable, because blue is real icy. I did a lot of bodysuits so it would look like it’s their skin, like it’s their power suit.”. This passion was clear at the show. Popular fabrics that showed up multiple times over the course of the show included satin, velvet and a latex-like material. Recurring trends for men included vests and bomber jackets with colorful prints and embroidery. For women, sheer, sparkles, ruffles, ruching and patchwork were some trends to look forward to.



s Georgia State’s spring 2019 semester draws to a close, we highlight the most viral moments from the Atlanta campus – seen on Twitter pages near you.


SGA ELECTION The past SGA election received both the largest candidate pool in over 10 years and the largest amount of voters at almost double the amount from last year. The Signal received buzz because of a five-cover issue, with each candidate having their own cover. The Signal also released an article in which a student had come forward accusing that presidential candidate Anthony Jones had sent money over Venmo in an attempt to persuade their vote. Tai Stokes voted for the first time this past election. He thinks that the social controversy was distracting from the candidates. “The bulk of the election was centred moreso around drama than it was promoting the ideals of the candidates,” Stokes said. “There was more competition than synergy, and it was evident in the small (almost) factions created between the campaign candidates.”


Twitter and Instagram stories alike displayed a man riding a kayak in the Library Plaza fountain. The man under the life jacket, Will Donohue, said it was all a publicity stunt to raise awareness of Georgia State’s Touch the Earth, the University’s outdoor recreation service. “[We] were trying to find non conventional ways to get the word out on trips,” he said. “This led to us getting in the fountain.” Donohue said it wasn’t spontaneous and cleared with the University ahead of time, and to this day remains some of the best marketing TTE has done. “Everybody saw it,” Donohue said. “There was a few 100,000 views on the GA Followers insta page. A twitter video had I think over 500k views. There were reddit posts, etc..”

WAVE CHECK Georgia State was trending on Twitter for a recent event, durag day, put on by Building Leaders and Cultivating Knowledge. Students involved sported durags ,and met up in Unity Plaza and competed for the “best waves” in a school-wide “wave check.” Sierra Reece is in B.L.A.C.K. and was responsible for the event. She said she got the idea from seeing other people on social media doing it. “It was a big thing I saw on social media that HBCUs were doing and I was just like, we have a large enough black community at this school to make it a structured event, so we put it on made it a competition and then crowned someone ‘best waves at [Georgia State],’” she said. “We were proud of it. It’ll be an annual thing.”


In late February of this semester, GSUPD responded to the threat of an individual yielding a machete at University Lofts. After more information became available, the person in question was unveiled as a student on an unknown substance carrying a kitchen knife, instead of the previously believed machete. “Knife man” was taken to Grady for an evaluation and eventually Fulton County Jail. Chief of Police Joseph Spillane said that right now his case is being processed and the student needs to meet with the Dean of Students to decide if he will be expelled or suspended before moving forward with the case. “We don’t know what will happen in the criminal case because he fought with the officers and then once he got to jail, he fought with them too,” Spillane said. Spillane said they are likely to insist mandatory classes such as a drug safety or drug intervention class.

STUDENT JUMPS OFF UNIVERSITY HOUSING BALCONY The infamous parking lot of Piedmont North has seen media attention over the years involving drug deals and even the shooting of a student. The previous January brought more media attention to the parking lot after a student appeared to have jumped from the fifth floor balcony. The student was later determined to being under the influence of synthetic marijuana at the time. Althouh he recognized that she’s alive, Spillane said he has no updates on her condition. “In those types of situations, with someone suffering from a mental health crisis or suicide attempt, we usually don’t make further comment on it,” Spillane said. As for charges, Spillane said that GSUPD doesn’t usually charge students with possession of illegal substances after a mental episode.

TWITTER DO YOUR THING David Schiele was surprised to find that a sample reel of his sports reporting for Panther Report News had overnight become a viral sensation. “It honestly happened over night,” Schiele said. “I posted it on November 4th and by 2 p.m. the next day, I had 13,000 retweets.” Because of his overnight fame, Schiele landed a job in Knoxville. And while he is thankful, it wasn’t his intention for that many people to see it. “I wasn’t trying to go viral,” he said. “That happened by total accident.”




SweetWater 420 Fest makes Dad Rock cool again Find everyone from actual dads to sorority girls enjoying the music DANIELLA BOIK Staff Reporter


his past weekend, Atlanta hosted it’s 15th annual SweetWater 420 Fest – otherwise known as the mother of all jam band festivals. Every cultural group who loves and appreciates 20-minute-long guitar solos gathered in Centennial Olympic Park this past weekend to jam. Through the tornado warnings, the temperature dropping to almost 30 degrees and pouring rain, everyone of all different backgrounds still came together dancing like there’s no tomorrow. Leaflovers, fraternity brothers, deadheads and boho babes alike embraced their love for dad rock this weekend, which just like the resurgence of film cameras and vinyl is coming back because nostalgia just feels so good.


Twenty-year-old Valerie Sue Pablo may look like she’s dressed up for Coachella in her boho top and tribal pants for an Insta worthy picture, but she says she knows her jam bands better than the next guy. Up against the railing with her marijuana-inspired earrings, Pablo anxiously waited for Everyone Orchestra to perform on the Sweetwater Stage. “This is the best thing you’ll ever see hands down,” Pablo said. “Every time they play it’s with different people from other groups, like guys from Jane’s Addiction and Umphrey’s McGee are playing, but other times they’ve played with guys from Gov’t Mule or String Cheese.” With a mandolin player, saxophonist, keyboardist, drummer and a conductor sporting a shimmery purple tux with a matching top hat, Everyone Orchestra made standing out in the freezing rain worthwhile. “They use different instruments everytime and the whole thing is improvised,” Pablo said. “They never know what they’re going to play and it’s awesome everytime. Nobody else does something like this, I mean the conductor just warmed up the audience by doing freestyle and butterfly strokes.”


With his John Lennon glasses on, a drug rug and a rainbow tapestry used as a rain jacket, Sebastian Lara was ready to be taken into a trance by Big Something and Rebelution. “I got my lighter, and I’m ready to celebrate the holiday,” he said. With Rebelution taking the Sweetwater Stage with little peaks of sunlight after the storm, the park felt like a summer beach concert as they played Lazy Afternoon and the crowd swayed back n’ forth. “These guys can really play reggae, I mean the saxophone

dude killed it, and he even did it barefoot,” he said. “You wouldn’t even expect it though with the singer being a white guy named Eric.”


Cousins Scott and Greg Hoffman and their posse of Clemson brothers, all decked out in orange and white ponchos, are the frat boys of SweetWater 420 Fest. “Man this is nothing but good fun, a time to kick back and relax and drink Mango Kush and 420 strain beer,” Hoffman said. With a few of his brothers dozing off into the sounds of Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles and their eyes bloodshot from celebrating the holiday, Hoffman spoke on his passion for dad rock music. “New music sucks,” Hoffman said. “Pop music and all that stuff on the radio, it’s not like this.” “Jam band music is the coolest,” he said. “When they just guitar solo for 10 minutes straight it gives you such a moment of freeness and after that moment, the band brings you right back into the song and it’s f------ amazing!” As for the award for best performance so far, the guys all agreed Joe Russo’s Almost Dead was “pretty sweet dude.” “If someone’s got plans tonight other than seeing Widespread Panic they’re crazy,” Hoffman said.


It’s pretty easy to spot the real Deadheads even from miles away, and with swarms of them all throughout the park in their new balance shoes, vintage baseball caps and real Grateful Dead concert tees, Glen and his son were the perfect father and son duo of dads who rock. “Nothing will ever compare to the Allman Brothers,” he said. “But the Avett Brothers were so impressive and Billy Strings was phenomenal.” With their third time listening to live music at SweetWater 420 Fest, the father-son duo agreed that the younger generation is bringing in a new surge of dad rock music. “Everything goes in cycles, everything comes back,” Glen said. “The young people are really resurging real music, and it’s so heartwarming because it’s just getting bigger and bigger.” As for the sudden rise in ‘60s influenced jam band music, it’s simple: nostalgia feels good. “These newer bands like Moon Taxi that are playing tonight are pretty talented guys,” he said. “They already have a great name for themselves.” As for the award for the band with the best Grateful Dead spirit, local Atlanta band Frankly Scarlet, who’s a Grateful Dead cover band, wins in their opinion. “They played the 420 after-party show at Smith’s Olde Bar and after an already incredible night of music they were just the cherry on top,” he said.

Atlanta residents and local beer enthusiasts showed up for SweetWater’s annual 420 Fest. Artists Eric Rachmany and Chris Royal performed.





Swinging from the banisters of WRASFest Local band has fans hanging from the ceiling EUGENE RUBINCHIK Staff Reporter


eorgia State’s award-winning radio station Album 88 literally almost brought down the roof during their latest edition of WRASFest. A passionate concert attendee seen hanging from the ceiling banister during one of the final shows embodied all that the festival stood for: the emotional fulfillment of underground music. “I looked away for a second, and when I looked back towards the front I just saw a guy hanging from the ceiling,” Georgia State student Luis Villalobos said. Album 88 was sure able to put a big check next to “WRASFest” on April 19 after successful performances from artists Yukons, Grip, Twins, Pinkest, BKGD, Flwr Chyld and Jamee Cordelia at The Bakery in South Atlanta. Sticking to their role as mediums for connecting Atlantans with talented, local acts, Album 88 was able to share the variety of different sounds that make up the Atlanta music scene rainbow. “[Album 88] actually did an incredible job with getting all sorts of different artists for the show,” Flwr Chyld said. Flwr Chyld’s sound was the morning chirping of birds amidst a budding sunrise in a busy industrial center. Alongside guitarist Alex Hassell and bassist “Pluto” Shane, Flwr Chyld hypnotized the crowd with airy riffs behind occasional gritty percussion. Nai Br.XX soulfully closed off the performance leaving WRAS-ers feeling like they just left an Erykah Badu-led church service. “Sound quality is everything,” Flwr Chyld said. “Being able to have your instruments sound exactly as they should allows you to perform the music as it should be heard. Album 88 did an amazing job setting up the event, and The Bakery did an amazing job getting the audio set up. This was one of our best sounding shows.” Atlanta rapper Grip followed up Flwr Chyld’s performance, fusing the high-energy sound of Atlanta rap on top of a vintage Cali flow. Listeners received the artist well, throwing up waves of hands in support of the unique artist. Local Latinx expression band Yukons began setting up soon after, and WRAS goers began to fill in every gap in the crowd. Given the crowd density, the group’s rough and tumble demeanor, and the overall difficult nature to find air to breathe, Yukons set the room on fire. “I started hearing them sing in Spanish, and I really didn’t

Album 88’s annual WRASFest brought out beloved local artists like Grip, Flwr Chyld and Yukons. Students and Atlanta residents packed The Bakery and enjoyed the music.

expect it. It was awesome getting a chance to experience a performance like that,” Villalobos said. The preliminary acts demanded energy out of the attendees, but it seemed like everyone saved just enough energy for popular local group Pinkest. Dressed in casual office clothes, the group delivered quite a contrasting sound. Whatever could


be heard over the wind of the ensuing mosh pit was nothing less than garageband infamy in its rawest form. Pinkest’s set sent listeners home with the scent of teen spirit and the urge to cut the sleeves off of a jean jacket. Hopefully the same can be said about next year’s edition of Album 88’s prized event.

The Human DJ turns sidewalk into stage Berklee Music grad spends savings, moves to Atlanta to perform MORGAN D’AMICO Staff Reporter


pectators on Broad Street watched closely as Caleb Hensinger made his way to the center of the plaza. With him, he hauled a huge green dolley stacked high with his surprising array of instruments and equipment: a trumpet, keyboard, talkbox and speakers. All of these tools make up the unprecedented, one-man collaborative performance that earned him the title of The Human DJ. Quickly rising to become one of the most eye-catching street musicians in Atlanta, the lasting impressions of Hensinger’s funky, pop and jazz-infused sets spread through Atlanta, from the hipster corners of Little Five Points to ritzy gigs in Buckhead, even earning him the recognition of Jack Black who sat down to play with him. “The Human DJ makes me sound like a freakin’ party animal,” Hensinger said, preparing for his upcoming street set. The 26-year-old began his music career in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated from the Berklee College of Music. Between constant street performances and booking

clubs every weekend, Hensinger became a staple in Boston’s electronic-pop scene. In September 2018, the young musician uprooted and moved to Atlanta to pursue his passions, zealously following the path of street performance and production over a comfortable nine-to-five day job. “In Boston, I was actually doing really well. I by no means was struggling,” Hensinger explained. “I actually bought a house here for $30,000. It was a lot of money, it was all my savings, everything I had, but I did that because it was clear if I kept paying rent I would have to stop being a musician at some point.” Just after moving to Atlanta, the DJ’s life-changing risk caught the attention of American actor, comedian, YouTuber and musician Jack Black. In late February, Black posted a YouTube video collaborating with The Human DJ in Midtown, prompting the young artist to begin releasing his own music. “Jack Black saw me performing on the street, and it was that weekend after he’d seen me that I was like, ‘I need to release a track,’ because these people are going to come in droves,” Hensinger said. The song he released was the groovy single “All My Love,” published under The Human DJ. Although listed by his moniker, the track is described as featuring himself: Caleb Hensinger.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Hensinger said. “I realized later that it doesn’t matter, people know I’m The Human DJ now.” After finishing his daily performances, simultaneously incorporating a variety of instruments for hours on end, Hensinger returns to his home in East Point to perfect Top 40 remixes for tomorrow, learning the melodies on piano and trumpet as well as perfecting the lyrics using a talkbox. “The talkbox made it possible to be on a street corner and do covers of my favorite pop tunes and have a vocal lead,” Hensinger said. “It gives it a funky vibe.” He emerges onto the streets every morning, sunburnt from the long days before with a fresh lineup for today’s audience. As Hensinger’s fan base grows, The Human DJ remains loyal to the desires of his roving audience. “As artists and entrepreneurs, it’s our job to figure out how we can sell what we have and put it out … I practice a lot, I am always producing tracks and working,” the DJ said. “I work hard to make it so that it [my music] is for you, not for me. I give what I really believe is a nice soundtrack for everyday times.” To find out more about Hensinger’s music releases and local whereabouts, visit his YouTube channel, The Human DJ, or check out his Instagram, @thehumandj.




things you don’t want to miss

More events and info at








Atlanta’s redline exhibit

Open Mic

Latinx dance party

Inman Park Festival

Beer Fest Atlanta

Satanic potluck

Alumni-led workshop

April 23

April 24

April 25

April 26

April 27

April 29

April 30

Explore Atlanta’s secret history of segregation and discover the steps we are taking to undo the continued rippling effects of redlining in this exhibit put on by the Federal Reserve.

Come out to East Atlanta Village and experience the balls it takes to perform in front of a slightly tipsy crowd at Union EAV.

Mother Bar+Kitchen welcomes local latinx djs for a queer inclusive dance party. With food flowing and authentic cocktails, this will be an event not to miss.

Enjoy a fantastic lineup of events, music, activites, food and house tours at this year’s Inman Park Festival. Careful visiting this historic neighborhood, you might walk away with a new zip code.

Come out and witness the fruits of labor for lifelong artisans as they craft the delicious and refreshing drink varietals that we have come to take for granted at John Howell Park.

The spring potluck is here for the local Satanic Temple of Atlanta, and they’re inviting everyone to Historic Oakland Cemetery out to learn about what the local and national chapters have to offer.

Get real world experience for writing, producing, and executing your personal creative opus in film and acting from people who already have their foot in the door at Catapult Acting.

games 1


crossword 3































1. Alternative words 6. Library or Unity? 11. Hear clever quip, say 12. Glowing fragment 14. Similar to the Nile River 17. Or off 19. Fake movie scenes 20. “To - or not to -” 21. Go to this floor in 25 Park Place for Advisement 24. Found on r/ marijuanaenthusiasts 27. School with golden bears 28. Not Regal 29. Abode with shakes 31. A room may be this on 4/20 33. Objective case of “I” 34. Found on a phone or a restaurant menu 36. Hello, in 1-Across 38. Found in a barbershop or salon 43. Strange bulb in back of mouth 45. Pink drink, for short 47. Read before “Life,” or after “Go” 48. Downtown location with teachins and coffee












1. “- God,” celebrated this past Sunday 2. Sinistral, abbrev. 3. Rand who wrote “Atlas Shrugged”










4. “There’s - in team” 5. Major undeveloped property in Downtown 6. Found on the cover of The Signal’s first issue last semester 7. Small lion constellation, abbrev. 8. “Black-ish” network 9. Gender-neutral, singular pronoun 10. Astrological season that just ended 15. Original, abbrev. 18. Specialized or unique 20. Typical white girl 22. Org. responsible for approving 737 MAX 8 23. Don’t go chasing waterfalls group 25. Beast of a computer? 26. Sensitive phase in middle school 29. Tolkien dragon 30. Touch the Earth vessel spotted in plaza fountain 31. Student smoked this before jumping off balcony 32. Friend is sad, say 35. Poland, abbrev. 38. Take to court 39. Used up all your time, abbrev. 40. Weep aloud 41. Co. that originated Dungeons & Dragons 44. Cutting edge tech found in CMII 46. Third tone

Theme: This Year at Georgia State

This week, The Signal’s editorin-chief tried his hand at creating the crossword. We hope you enjoy the last crossword of the semester!



Impact-monitoring helmet technology is the new hardware worth investing in?


Associate Sports Editor & Associate News Editor


ootball is the most common sport for head injuries, and billions of dollars are poured into sports medicine to try and keep players safe, making concussion tech a profitable industry. Concussions were first a concern of the sport over a century ago, and head injuries have become a hot topic in sports in recent years, with Hollywood films, NFL athletes and lawsuits bringing attention to the issue. A $765 million dollar settlement was reached between the NFL and around 4,500 former players in 2013, and retirees with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and other mental ailments potentially caused by football. Today, football helmets are becoming more ingenuitive in design, geared toward maximizing performance and safety. Helmets with built-in impact detection systems now help monitor impacts by tracking and reporting the force that players take to the head. Most football programs in Georgia don’t use the hardware. The football programs at Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State all have opted out and focus on NCAA guidelines and coaching on proper techniques to prevent head injuries. Sensors in the helmet determine the force and direction of any impact to the helmet, then send the data to a handheld device called an Impact Response System, which alerts staff which players may need evaluation. With impact monitoring tech it is important to note the keyword: monitoring. These helmets don’t prevent or treat concussions, but they can inform coaches and doctors how hard players are getting hit and who athletic trainers should look at. Concussions occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull. Studies show that after suffering one concussion, the likeliness of a second or even third are amplified, and that higher rates of concussion can lead to a serious brain disorder called chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which slowly takes away a person’s ability to stand or walk. These studies also show that this is all the more likely for athletes, and especially football players.


Another factor to consider is that the helmet itself also plays a role in head injuries. The NFL releases a ranking of different helmet models, including designs that aren’t considered safe enough for the league and have been banned. The rules of the game have also changed to reduce concussions in football. Specifically, targeting rules have become stricter, resulting in immediate ejection for the duration of the game for the first offense. The NFL has implemented steep fines to protect players, such as a spearing and helmet-use fines that start at a minimum of $26,739 for the first offense and $53,482 for the second offense. Cost is also a concern with the new technology. Riddell is the country’s largest helmet manufacturer, and their InSite monitoring system costs $150 per unit for each player and $200 for the alert monitor for the training staff.


Here’s how many concussions the Panther football team had for the past four academic years: • 2015-16: 10 • 2016-17: 19 (1 of which was not caused by football) • 2017-18: 15 (3 of which were not caused by football) • 2018-19: 12 Bob Murphy, associate A.D. for sports medicine for Georgia State athletics, said that the football team doesn’t use the tech due to budget concerns, and because research hasn’t yet shown data that justifies the high cost. Additionally, he thinks there’s still a lack of “hard conclusions” in research. Force isn’t the only factor in head injuries and the force required to cause a concussion varies greatly between each player. “Primarily, we follow the NCAA recommendations – limiting head impacts as much as possible, teaching proper tackling techniques,” Murphy said. The Georgia State team also tries to use the safest helmets possible based on the NFL’s helmet ratings, which includes certain models that players are prohibited from wearing, according to Murphy. Currently, the players use a variety of Riddell and Schutz

models, all of which Murphy said are on the approved list. Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia both use the detection systems, while Kennesaw State University and Georgia Tech don’t. Georgia Tech instead uses ProTec, a helmet cover that helps diffuse the force of a blow to the head, according to Eric Avila, an associate athletic director for the Yellow Jackets. Whether the systems and the data they provide are worth the cost may depend on the size and budget of the football program itself. Georgia State’s football program has run a $4-5 million deficit every year for the past four years, so there simply isn’t excess money to spend. However estimates show that one-third of concussions still go unreported and undiagnosed. Often players may not want to miss games, seem vulnerable, hurt their draft stock or just don’t understand the signs of an actual concussion. In the documentary “Next Chance U”, star running back Isaiah Wright was a perfect example of this issue, denying his symptoms and pleading with his coach to let him back into the game after suffering a severe concussion. This new technology could eventually be worth the investment as a way to identify and diagnose injuries, but the full potential for the gadgets may still be untapped.

georgia state football concussions by the numbers 2015-16: 10 2016-17: 1* 2017-18: 15** 2018-19: 12

* 1 of which was not caused by football ** 3 of which were not caused by football




It’s halftime. Let’s get a beer?

Looking at the various ways colleges sell concessions JULIAN HARDEN Staff Reporter


esides watching the game itself and cheering for your favorite team, buying food at the concessions is one of the most traditional rituals done while at a sporting event. Prices vary from college-to-college which begs the question — where does the money go? First, it’s important to understand how concessions are licensed to the university and how the money is distributed. Many large athletic programs such as Georgia and bowl games like the Rose Bowl use contractors for concessions. Georgia State is not one of those programs, but it uses a contractor, Premier Events. Premier began to sell concessions for the Panthers in August 2018. During Georgia State’s season-opening football game, revenue from concessions was $81,120, and Premier kept the larger share of the revenue. Georgia State Athletics’ took home $24,406.33 from the commission it agreed to with Premier, a shade above 30% of the revenue. Only data from the Kennesaw State game shows the exact figure for what Georgia State’s commision was during the football season.

The most popular item sold at football games was beer. The beer at Georgia State Stadium cost an average of $6 a can. In the 2018 home game against Georgia Southern, beer sales were at its highest. Michelob Ultra and Bud Light combined for nearly $15,000 in sales. During the Coastal Carolina game, Georgia State’s fourth home match, Premier’s total revenue from concessions was $15,558. 30% of that figure is $4,667, which can be assumed what Georgia State Athletics brought in. The take-home for this game highlighted a season-low for both Premier and Georgia State. Premier Events also manages concessions for programs such as Kennesaw State and Atlanta United’s developmental team. Georgia’s contractor is Aramark, and Aramark has no other relationships with college athletic programs. Using a contractor at Georgia State is a stark contrast to Georgia Southern, a program similar in size, which enables its university’s auxiliary services department to manage concessions. Georgia Southern’s concessions sales in 2018 were very consistent with little change. Total revenue from Aug. 1, 2017July 31, 2018 at Georgia Southern athletic events was $394,882. “We, [Georgia Southern], self operate the concessions at all sporting events through campus dining,” Larry Manys, senior associate athletic director for external affairs at Georgia Southern, said. The athletic department itself does not collect any revenue

from the concessions managed by the auxiliary services. “I would say [concession sales] have been stable for the past few years,” Mays said. The University of Georgia’s athletic department uses contractor Aramark to serve concessions for all of their games during the year to create a profit for the school. Programs such as Mississippi State, Texas and UCLA have cut prices at concessions, drawing both reactions of excitement and curiosity. The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United have low prices, in attempt to get fans to spend more money on tickets and team gear inside the stadium. If smaller schools were to try to reduce concession prices the way schools like UCLA do, then it could be financially harmful to the school because the interest and revenue aren’t as high as bigger teams. The downside to allowing the university to handle concessions for Georgia Southern is that its athletic program misses out, unlike Georgia State with Premier as a contractor. Since Georgia Southern lets its university take home concession revenue they’ll likely bring in more than what Georgia State Athletics will receive from Premier once the 2018-19 athletic season is over. Concessions is a huge business for universities, but this does beg the question of whether using contractors for concessions is really worth it, especially for up and coming programs such as Georgia State.


ALCOHOL: $10,869.79




ALCOHOL: $30,526




* Each item represents $1000 earned




Esports go where the technology leads them How tech continues to push the new field forward ESPEN INDRISANO Staff Reporter


sports are rapidly developing. Unsurprisingly, technology has and will always play a critical role. From the consoles players compete on to the video games themselves, the industry is always in flux as technology advances. Lucas Bailey is the esports program coordinator at Georgia State and has been involved with the program since he was brought on as a consultant in 2017. “My very first system was [a Nintendo 64],” Bailey said. “Ironically, I have had less time to game since I got this job.” Inside the Creative Media Industries Institute, where the esports team gaming lab is located, rows of computer setups are laid out for the varsity teams and any Georgia State student who enjoys gaming. The world that exists inside the Creative Media Industries Institute looks much more sophisticated than the days of old, where consoles like the Nintendo 64 were seen as groundbreaking devices in the video game industry. The Georgia State esports team became university-sponsored in the fall semester of 2017. Praful Gade is a member of the SMITE team and has been competing since the program was founded. “For me, it started way back in the Gamecube era,” Gade said. “Eventually, I started playing [Call of Duty] on PS3 and when the people who I played PS3 with started playing PC, we switched over to a bunch of different games like League of Legends, SMITE and Paladins.” With five varsity teams competing in a wide range of video game competitions, one may think that you need an incredible amount of technology to keep things ticking. This is surprisingly not the case. On a basic level, there isn’t much technology needed to run esports teams. As Bailey describes, all you need is a computer and a game. “All it really takes is a pretty basic computer setup,” Bailey said. “Luckily most of the games that are esports have been structured so they are not that resource-intensive for a computer. You can play them on relatively low-end machines.” But the future holds a number of possibilities. Esports are directly influenced by the ever-changing technology field, which can bring players new games, platforms and softwares of all kinds.

In 2017, Georgia State’s esports team became a university-sponsored sport, allowing the already growing community of gamers to excel.

While the Georgia State esports team currently competes only on computers, Bailey said the program has looked into adding console-based esports. “For right now, we are PC only,” Bailey said. “There are a number of esports that are played on consoles and we have considered moving into console games.” Esports are unique to traditional sports in that they are a collection of games that bond together to share the title. As technology progresses, the games themselves will inevitably change as well. “Esports are a bunch of different games,” Bailey said. “So it really remains to be seen, particularly as hardware develops and new games get released, whether or not there will be a set lifespan. A given esport may fade out after 10-15 years.” Take League of Legends, for example. This year, it is celebrating its 10th anniversary, but as new consoles begin to come into


the frey, nobody can know for sure whether its popularity will withstand time. But the technological field goes so much deeper than our typical PCs and Playstations. Virtual reality will surely have a future role in esports. Bailey said he is interested in the possibilities VR could bring. “I think what will be really interesting to see is when VR esports take off,” he said. “The technology is developing, it is becoming cheaper all the time and games are now being developed specifically for VR systems. It is pretty much inevitable that somebody will come up with a competitive esport-oriented game for VR systems.” Gade shared a similar hope for virtual reality. “I would love to see VR in esports,” said Gade. “I think it would be really cool to actually play as a character in a first person view on a mainstage.”

Technology creates an arms race in baseball Positions are looking to data and tech to gain an advantage DANIEL RICHARDSON Staff Reporter


n the sport of baseball, like most sports, technology is steadily helping to make sure athletes are able to target specific areas of progression and get more direct results.


A USA Today article in January looked at the use of biofeedback vests, known as k-motion vests, normally used in golf to analyze the golfers swing, being used by the Philadelphia Phillies to track the movement of their team’s batters. The wearable tech is able to collect data of the way hitters respond to live-pitching and compare those results to those of the pro players. This data collection can help close the gap of information that pitchers have in comparison to hitters, thus leveling the playing field. “The goal of any hitting coach is to maximize player output,” Justin Stone, the biomedical hitting consultant of the Chicago Cubs, told K-Baseball. “K-Baseball allows me to objectively measure where player efficiencies and inefficiencies lie in real time and help us understand if the inefficiencies are actual swing errors or underlying physio issues.” This message contrasts usual batting data and watching videos

to focus on points of interest. “There’s people more into some of the measurables, what do you run the 60 in, what’s your [zone] velocity, what’s your exit velo’, the velocity of the ball coming off your bat,” Ryan Goldin, CEO, founder and program director of Goldin Athletic Training Association right outside of Atlanta, said. “They’ve always been there, but there’s never been quite the emphasis on it that there is today. People really go after those measurables, but you’ve got to do it in a safe way.”


Rapsodo 2.0, which incorporates radar technology, allows for the pitcher to measure the rotation of the pitch as it leaves their hand. The Rapsodo, which also measures exit speed of the ball, measures the spin axis – the direction of the pitch’s spin – and the spin velocity. This technology has granted baseball pitchers and coaches in the pro game with an unprecedented amount of control over the development of their craft. Players, now armed with more nuanced information, have the chance to take their games to a higher level of performance, in a way players of the past didn’t. “It used to be Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux would be your best pitchers. Those type guys would still be your best pitchers today, but now they may not get the same chance,” Goldin said. “Brian McCann is one of the best hitters in Atlanta history, but he may not get the same chance because he doesn’t run the fastest and he doesn’t hit the furthest.”

Teams now have the ability to employ cameras that allow pitchers and their coaches to “see any pitch from side, top, pitcher or catcher views, and track progress over time with historical and statistical analysis,” according to Rapsodo’s website.


Advancement in technology isn’t limited to the pitcher’s mound and batter’s box. Atlanta Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers has created a catcher’s mask that is designed to better protect catchers. The Force3 Defender mask utilizes shock suspension on the top and bottom of the mask that separate two portions of protection, which allows the mask to absorb the brunt force of a pitch much better. “At the catching position in particular you’re at the most risk of having a 100 mph ball hit you in the face,” Flowers told “With this mask, the term for testing masks is severity Index and our mask on average reduces that Severity Index by more than 50%. The easy analogy is that 100 mph fastball now feels like a 50 mph fastball.” As technology improves, pitching and creates a wellspring of data. That data is then applied to help hitters combat the upgrades in pitching. That means faster, more precise pitching is needed to combat the better hitting, which leaves catchers in need of increased protection. The integration of technology in baseball is creating an environment that allows for the natural progression of play, thus creating a more exciting, modern game.




Up-and-down women’s golf season comes to a halt Young players made strides and grew, but Panthers 10th at conference JERELL RUSHIN Sports Editor


he unpredictable Georgia State women’s golf team season ended with a 10th place finish at the Sun Belt Conference Championship last Wednesday. The Panthers finished in the top 33% in a tournament twice this spring. During the other three spring competitions, the Panthers finished in the bottom 38%. Sophomore Chloe Howard led the five Panthers that competed in the championship with a 25th place finish out of 55 golfers. Another sophomore, two freshman and one junior represented Georgia State in the conference tournament. Head coach Cathy Mant opted to mainly play the talented youth and live with the hit-or-miss results. Of the 10 tournaments, Georgia State’s lone senior, Jemima Gregson, played in just two of the 2018-19 tournaments. “I think they’re all going to continue to grow because they worked hard, they’re good kids and we can see some improvements in their games, although it didn’t manifest itself in the conference championship at all,” Mant said of the Panthers returning next season. Emma Berlin, a talented freshman from Sweden, shot 30-over in the Sun Belt Championship. It was her first 18 holes since the Amelia Island Challenge, which started the spring slate for Georgia State. Berlin caught mono, or infectious mononucleosis, and missed the entire spring except those two tournaments. Mant said Berlin’s third to last place finish in the conference tournament was “not her normal game.” Neither of Berlin’s spring performances compared to her impressive fall. In the fall, Berlin was one of the Panthers’ best finishers twice. She also finished second for Georgia State in the USA Intercollegiate to begin her college career in the fall. “I would say the first couple years, they’re dealing with change, like Emma right now,” Mant said. “We’ve really been working on pitching and short-game shots, so she can grow her game for not only playing for Georgia State but maybe in the future. Freshman Maria Blasco played in nine tournaments. After a tough fall, she finished in Georgia State’s top three in four of the final five tournaments. Ayala Alejandra, another freshman, played after Berlin went down with mono and was last for Georgia State in every tournament. “Most of the freshmen that come in, they can play, but they don’t have a good short game … So we spend our time working on that,” Mant said of most freshmen’s chipping, putting and pitching. “When you practice as much as these kids do on these aspects of the game and you make a change in teaching them new shots, they don’t have confidence in that for a while. So, we just have to deal with that as growing pains.”

Chloe Howard during her first round of action at Sun Belt Women’s Golf Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, on April 15.

The Panthers got to practice those areas in live competitions this year, including Howard, a 2018 All-Sun Belt Second Team selection. “Same thing with Chloe,” Mant said. “Chloe’s working on pitching and short-game shots. She didn’t have that. She hit the ball well but when she doesn’t hit it really well, she wasn’t able


to get it up and down [the hole]. They’re all learning and getting better in that area. That’s the exciting thing -- that because we’re young and developing some of these skills more, that by the time they graduate, Georgia State will be looking really good in all these tournaments.”

Men’s tennis ends identical to last season

No. 1 seed Panthers couldn’t finish the deal at Sun Belt title match CHRISTIAN CRITTENDEN Staff Reporter


fter winning back-to-back Sun Belt Conference regular season championships, the Georgia State men’s tennis team’s pursuit of a tournament title fell short again. The Panthers took on the second-seeded South Alabama Jaguars and ultimately lost 4-1 in the title match to them for the second straight year. Georgia State started the match off with a 1-0 advantage, but that would be the last point they earned before South Alabama took over and won the next four points on Sunday. Georgia State had the advantage in the doubles portion of the matches winnings two of the three from South Alabama behind strong performances from all three of its pairings, Giles Hussey/ Jack McFarlane, and Quentin Coulaud/Bailey Showers. All three sets were won 6-3. Hussey’s and Showers’ third sets were unfinished.

The two teams squared off in March, and Georgia State squeaked with a close 4-3 victory. The win gave the squad its first of two five-match winning streaks on the season, with the second streak beginning after a loss to Coastal Carolina. During the regular season matchup, Georgia State only won two of the doubles matches, but Hussey, Coulaud and Huynh were all able gain the points during the singles portions of play. The three did not do the same in the rematch. The Panthers finished their season 17-10, which was the fifth most wins in school history. They went 6-1 in conference, which won them the regular season championship title. Their road to the championship was relatively smooth, with a sweep of Appalachian State in the first round and a 4-2 defeat over Texas-Arlington in the semifinals. Georgia State dominated the doubles matches again and won points from Roberts Grinvalds, Coulaud and Showers. Andrei Duarte was leading 5-4 in the third set of his match, but they were unable to finish. Three players from this year’s team were selected to four all-conference honors. Hussey

and MacFarlane made First Team All-Conference in doubles. The duo won 12 matches on the season, which led the Sun Belt and went 8-3 from the number one position. Hussey was also named Second Team All-Conference in singles. He played from the number one position in the tournament for the Panthers, but during the season he went 5-2 from the number two position. Hussey has played his last match in a Georgia State uniform, but he has been one of the Panthers’ most consistent players over the past few seasons. Vazha Shubladze was named Second Team All-Conference and Newcomer of the Year. The sophomore played well in his first year, going 6-3 in the number three position. Head coach Jonathan Wolff has done a good job at recruiting and player development after previous coach Brett Ross left in 2017. The team has kept its same level of play, if not raised it, since Wolff took over full time for Ross. Ten of the 11 players from this year’s team will return, so the Panthers should be a contender to make another deep run during the 2020 Sun Belt tournament.







Greenville, South Carolina

APRIL 24 6 P.M.


GSU Baseball Complex


6 P.M.


2 P.M.


1 P.M.


7 P.M.



Robert E. Heck Softball Complex

6 P.M.


Robert E. Heck Softball Complex

1 P.M.



Robert E. Heck Softball Complex

1 P.M.


Statesboro, Georgia

7 P.M.

MAY 3 3:30 P.M.

MAY 5 San Marcos, Texas



MAY 4 San Marcos, Texas


Athens, Georgia


MAY 3 San Marcos, Texas

6 P.M.


APRIL 28 GSU Baseball Complex


Athens, Georgia

APRIL 26-27


APRIL 27 GSU Baseball Complex



Statesboro, Georgia

5 P.M.

Interested in design, photography or video? Apply at

MAY 4 1 P.M.


Statesboro, Georgia

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GO WEST THIS SUMMER AND GET AHEAD. Explore new topics, tackle your core courses, and maybe even fast-track your college career. Apply by May 15th.