MJP Journal

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The Newspaper of the 33rd Multicultural Journalism Workshop at The University of Alabama

Concussion controversy Page 8

Tuscaloosa City Schools shake things up Page 11

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The Multicultural Journalism Workshop at The University of Alabama is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country.

Table of Contents

In its 33rd year, this newspaper is often a time capsule of what is happening in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (and around the country) at the time and this year is no exception.

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Each year, the Department of Journalism at The University of Alabama has the pleasure of welcoming high school journalism students to our beautiful campus. Students apply to be part of the Multicultural Journalism Workshop and live at the University for 10 days. High schoolers enter our program with varying degrees of skills. Some have years of experience with their own school media, while others have never picked up a camera or written a news story.

Check Out Our Staff

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Zika Virus hits UA

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Hate Crimes on LGBT

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Tackling Concussions

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City Council Decisions

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Minorities in Sororities

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TCSS Rezoning

Page 12 Appreciation

View our broadcasts as well as other student work at mjw16.wix.com On the Cover

Photo by Natalie Turman

Meredith Cummings has over 20 years of experience in print, web and multimedia reporting. She is President of the Society of Professional Journalists Alabama Professional Chapter, Alabama Media Professionals and advisor for the Capstone Association of Black Journalists. She is a member of SPJ’s Journalism Education Committee and is lead organizer for TEDxTuscaloosa. Cummings currently writes for al.com where her blog won first place in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women contest. Cummings has worked at newspapers and websites in Alabama, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York and Florida. She supervises Editing and Digital production for UA’s Journalism Department in the WVUATV newsroom, a professional commercial TV station.


Students from five states came to Tuscaloosa and fanned out around the city to report on current issues. Every MJW class is different and this year’s class decided to tackle what they called unspoken barriers. You will see that thread running through many of the stories in these pages. We are so proud of what these students have accomplished in the short time they were here. Please enjoy these stories and the accompanying website at mjw16.wix.com.

Meredith Cummings Director






Taylor Armer is a journalism graduate student at The University of Alabama. Her primary research interest is black womens’ body images; she plans to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research methods to study this topic. Armer is also an editorial/research assistant to Dr. Ed Mullins in the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP), where she writes press releases and covers CCBP-sponsored events. She has years of experience working with the Multicultural Journalism Workshop as both a counselor and co-director. She enjoys the hands-on experience of teaching students the fundamentals of journalism, while also learning how to be a better educator. Armer aspires to earn her Ph.D. in communication studies, to teach budding journalists, and most importantly, to set up media literacy programs in inner-city schools. Yet she would say the only thing that matters about herself is that she is an avid, card-carrying member of the #Beyhive.

Counselor Alex Hauser is an upcoming senior at The University of Alabama majoring in visual journalism. She participated in the Multicultural Journalism Workshop in 2012 and has come back each year to help out, although this is her first time as a counselor. Hauser works as a graphic designer on campus and started her own photography and design firm with her fiancé, Warner House. When not working (which is rare) she can be found planning her wedding, watching Disney movies and playing with her dog, Buzz Lightyear.

Erin Stender, 18, recently graduated from Sparkman High School in Harvest, Alabama. For the past three years, Stender worked on her school publications (The Crimson Crier, www. crimsoncriernews.com and The Senator yearbook), and fell in love with journalism. Outside of work, Stender’s entire life revolves around her 3-year-old dachshund (Piper), Disney’s “Tangled” and “Harry Potter.” She plans to study journalism, graphic design and political science this fall at Belmont University in Nashville.

Demontae Wilson, 16, is a rising junior at Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He’s an outgoing and energetic person who likes to smile. He is a member of the BETA club and National Technical Honor Society. He is on the track team for Bryant High School. Wilson plans to attend The University of Alabama to major in journalism after high school. During his free time, he enjoys shopping and playing sports video games with his siblings.

Amaya McNealey, 16, lives in Northport, Alabama, and is a rising junior at Tuscaloosa County High School. She is a member of SGA, Key Club, fashion club and Interact. McNealey was also the recipient of four awards at the Alabama Scholastic Press Association state competition. Some of her hobbies include reading, writing and baking. She plans to pursue a degree in journalism and law and later become a public relations officer for the United Nations.

Gabi Jolly, 16, is a rising junior at Carson High School in China Grove, North Carolina. She commonly participates in theatre and tennis, and spends her free time either reading or socializing. She is an active member of Student Council, Leadership Team, and Interact. Jolly hopes to attend UA after high school. She loves both her dog, Bella, as well as grilled cheese.

Kylee Richard,16, is a journalist from Memphis, Tennessee, with big dreams and a big heart. Beyond advanced placement in school, Richard is involved in school and the community through various programs and clubs. Richard is a varsity debater in the Shelby County Debate League, and she has been debating a little over a year now. Her team recently qualified for nationals and debated in San Francisco. Richard was an intern with Arts2Life at Hattiloo theatre, and was the house manager for the production of Anansi the Spider in May. Richard is a writing tutor at the Soulsville Charter School, where she assists and motivates her peers through their work.

Tatyana Cooks, 17, is a rising senior at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She’s a member of her school’s marching band, playing flute for three years and now joining colorguard. She was always interested in being a pediatric respiratory therapist until she joined a TV Production class at TCTA her sophomore year. She started off reporting and doing audio producing for the school’s broadcast show, BCN-TV. She attended a broadcasting competition this spring as a producer and plans to attend again this fall and continue her TV class doing a senior project and completing the three-year technical program. She wants to attend college to major in respiratory therapy and minor in telecommunications and/or journalism.

4 Natalie Turman, 18, is a recent graduate of LaGrange High School in LaGrange, Ga. She held an internship at LaGrange Daily News. She also was editor of The Granger, the LaGrange High School yearbook. She also participated in FCCLA, color guard, SkillsUSA, and Phi Delta Chi service club. She writes for online websites Society19 and College Is My Life. Turman will attend The University of Alabama as a journalism major in the fall.

Earl Stoudemire, 16, is a rising senior at Clinton High School in Clinton, Mississippi. He is a participating member of the international thespian society, anchor club, gay-straight alliance, and cultural awareness society. He has been in band for six years now as a top saxophone player and enjoys being on the leadership team. His hobbies include traveling, walking, biking and eating pasta.This is his first journalism workshop, and he will work on the school newspaper, The Arrow Appeal, in August. He plans to attend The University of Alabama or The University of Southern Mississippi.

Jacqueline Johnson, 16, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She is a rising senior at Central High School. She participates in her school’s student council, dance team, her school choir, JROTC and tennis team. She also has a part-time job. Johnson attended Western Kentucky University Xposure journalism workshop in 2015. When Johnson graduates in fall 2017, she plans on attending college on a four-year scholarship and becoming an operating room specialist as her Army career.

Nick Macon, 16, is a rising senior at Tuscaloosa County High School. He participates in the mass media class at school and is a former football player. In his free time, he enjoys making YouTube videos, hunting and fishing. After graduation he plans to attend a four-year university and major in video production.

Shaniqua Scott, 18, is a rising senior at Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is a part of a praise dance team and she also sings with the choir. She is an active speaker for multiple activities and events around her community. She has been doing broadcasting with her school broadcast program, BCN-TV, for two years. She was interested in being a nurse before she found her passion for TV and technical/video camera work. Now she hopes to attend college and is interested in being a reporter or working with cameras for a news station.

Angelo Perry Jr., 15, is a rising sophomore at Collierville High School in Collierville, Tennessee. He is devoted to playing sports such as football and basketball, but is taking a liking to journalism. He hopes to challenge himself by joining the debate team, and hope in the future to become an attorney. He plans to attend college to major in English and then law school.

Natalie Clarice Fields is the 15-year-old daughter of Stanley and Nicole Fields, both educators. Natalie has been on the “A” honor roll since kindergarten. She was sophomore class president at Lee High school where she is in the Theatre Magnet program. She performed as a Trumbauer all-star cast member in “Postcards from Shakespeare,” as Mrs. Johnson in “A Raisin in the Sun,” and as an ensemble member in “Big Fish.” She directed a 10-minute play, participated in Lee’s magnet recruitment video and was part of the ProStart Culinary Competition Team from the Huntsville Center for Technology. This year she was inducted into the National Beta Club, FCCLA/FBLA and served as second vice president of the Gamma Service Sorority. She was chosen as Lee’s ambassador for the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Conference and as a student panelist on the school district’s Digital 1:1 committee. She is an active member in the youth ministry at the Fellowship of Faith Church. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, cooking, drawing and babysitting. After college, she plans to showcase her talents as a consumer products tester or a family and consumer science teacher.

5 UA student diagnosed with mosquito-spread virus By: Kylee Richard

A student at The University of Alabama tested positive for Zika, a virus spread by mosquitoes, on June 10. Experts urge caution and testing for Zika, advocate for the use of bug repellents, and encourage the community to remain calm. “I’m now aware that the virus is on campus,” said Shabreka Neal, office associate/program assistant in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at UA. “That just struck me.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all 691 of the cases of Zika in America were travelassociated, and later brought to the United States. However, some members of the UA community said they felt misinformed about this serious infection. “I think that information should be passed along to all of the students, that’s something we should know more about,” Neal said. “The virus itself and how it’s passed along.” The Zika Virus is spread by an infected Aedes species mosquito, handling of infected bodily fluids, or through intercourse with an infected individual. Claire Carpenter, a University student majoring in social work, has been taking biology summer classes over the summer and, because of those classes, has some basic insight about the virus. “Actually I’m in biology right now for the summer semester and we’ve sort of been talking about it,” Claire Carpenter said. “All I know is that it comes from a mosquito, which is the same kind of mosquito that carries West Nile virus.”

Carpenter also explained how since it’s a virus, “it stays in your body and it produces flu-like symptoms for seven days” and how when the infection enters the body it causes birth defects in pregnant women and women that plan to become pregnant. UA was notified June 10 that a student who recently studied abroad had tested positive for the Zika virus. “The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Students who recently returned or are currently on a study abroad program in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America

make a full recovery within a week,” Dorrill said. Dorrill also recommended, as precaution, “these students visit the Student Health Center or their healthcare provider to be tested if they are experiencing symptoms.” The Zika Virus can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Microcephaly occurs when a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth. This birth defect leads to a smaller sized head compared to the typical head size for babies, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are also cases – two out of the 691 cases in America – that proves that the Zika virus can lead to the ‘GuillainBarré Syndrome’. This syndrome is a disorder in which the “body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. GuillainBarré Syndrome also causes “varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs” and paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. If someone is tested for Zika or experience the symptoms pertained to the Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sickness, the Center for Disease Control and Information compiled by Kylee Richard Prevention urges that that individual must or South America were contacted Friday and alerted “get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, to the confirmed case,” said Shane Dorrill, interim take medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to director of broadcast media relations, in an email. “The reduce fever and pain, that person must not take aspirin most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs until conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms the dengue fever can be ruled out to reduce the risk of include muscle pain and headache.” bleeding, if one is taking medicine for another medical Dorrill also said that federal privacy laws prevent UA condition, that person should contact a doctor or other from commenting on the student’s condition. healthcare provider before taking additional medication.” “However, in the majority of Zika cases, individuals GEORGIA

Tuscaloosa reflects on Orlando massacre By Erin Stender They stood in the heat, in the wringing humidity — candles lit in remembrance, in mourning. And then the rainbow came. Tuscaloosa citizens and University of Alabama students gathered June 3 in two separate vigils to mourn the murder of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub that catered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patrons. The shooter, Omar Mateen, injured 53 others before being killed by police. “Obviously, it’s upsetting when 50 people die, but I was at Pride in Birmingham the night before with all my friends,” said UA graduate student Rachel LeComte, who attended the event at Government Plaza. “We were actually joking because there were only three protesters there and we were like, ‘Only three? Homophobia must be over.’ Then we woke up this morning and 50 people like us were dead.” According to the FBI, single-bias hate crime in 2014 accounted for 1,115 reported incidents related to sexual orientation and gender identity. In response to the Orlando massacre, communities throughout the nation held vigils for those killed. “I got up and I came downstairs, and my mom was like ‘Did you hear that there was a shooting in a gay bar?’ and I was shocked because all my friends had gone out to a gay bar last night,” LeComte said. “That could have easily been all my friends that someone who hated us decided to go after.” The Orlando shooting spree targeted not just the LGBT community, but because the club was hosting its ‘Latinx’ night, people of color were also disproportionately targeted. There are more single-bias hate crimes related to race than those related to sexual orientation and gender

identity and, community and its ideals alive. ...We woke up in 2014, “I’m here to honor the memory of those accounted for who lost their lives in a senseless act of this morning and 2,568 reported hatred and violence,” Brooks said, “and 50 people like us incidents. also sort of create a moment of resistance People who said and show that we’re not gonna let hatred were dead. they may have drive us back into fear.” seen a queerAndy Bearden attended both vigils, -Rachel LeComte friendly club as and said showing a bond of love a safe space are and community is important now left angry, right now. confused and “I just feel it’s very important frightened. in times like these that we show “It hits people on that as a community that we’ll never kind of level. Specifically, if you know people who be stopped, no matter what happens, died,” said Jo Mosier, a UA alumnus student who is that we love each other,” Bearden said. “Love transgender and Latinx. “It was extra hard on people is our common bond as human beings and no matter because it was during pride [week].” what they do, they can never stop us because love will But after Dylann Roof attacked and killed nine black always win in the end.” people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina and UA undergraduate Gevin Brown hopes significant Mateen’s rampage, it’s a concern for many: Are attacks change can come in the wake of the tragedy. on minority safe spaces on the rise? “Hopefully, we can finally get to the point where “I don’t know if it’s a trend, I hope not,” Mosier said. enough will be enough,” Brown said. “We’re gonna “There’s this domino effect. There’s been violence on make change for this and make it not about the right LGBT+ since before the Civil War.” have guns but the right to live and right to be free to who Tuscaloosa resident Adam Brooks also attended a you are in any place you wanna be.” Birmingham Pride event the night before the massacre. The FBI questioned Mateen on two separate occasions, “I was just in a club the night before, and it was sort of searching for possible ties to terrorism. That news has this moment of, ‘That could have been me if it had been spurred some, such as Bearden, to ask questions about here,’” Brooks said. “It hits home, and when you know guns in the United States. that it was 50 LGBT folks — LGBT of color — who “We just want common-sense gun reform,” Bearden lost their lives, and that these are communities that are said. “We want universal background checks. If you’re often at the intersections of the most vulnerable margins on a terrorist watch list, you shouldn’t be able to get of society. It feels like we do have to stand out, and we a gun ... I find that just absolutely insane. How many do have to show solidarity with the larger community.” people have to die before we do something about it?” Brooks stressed the importance of keeping the LGBT

Deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. 120 100


80 58

60 17



20 0


32 21

20 50




6 21



4 13



Sources: Mass Shooting Tracker, Los Angeles Times Information Compiled by Erin Stender


High school football ‘warrior mentality’ contributes to injuries By Gabi Jolly and Amaya McNealey

Donnie Lee (No. 85), UA wide reciever Robert Sutton/UA Athletics/Crimson Tide Photos

The glaring lights, the roar of the stadium, the cool turf beneath his cleats. For Jalon McMorris, it’s a feeling like no other. “When my adrenaline’s rushin’, I can’t feel nothin’,” said McMorris, a junior football player at Tuscaloosa County High School. McMorris, like most high school athletes, tends to ignore personal physical trauma for the sake of the game and loses sight of a bigger issue — his well-being. The “warrior mentality” is an athlete’s belief in the need to put the team before himself, even if the athlete is risking his personal health, said Tom Arenberg, author of the paper “Hit in the Head: Media Coverage of the Football Concussion Controversy.” This philosophy mocks weakness and forces players to demonstrate e x t r e m e strength. Donnie Lee a junior w i d e receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, said high school athletes are at risk for concussions because some coaches don’t have their best interests in mind. “The culture of being tough outweighs the concussion,” Lee said. Regardless of how strong a person is, researchers say no one is really immune to the effects of a concussion. “It’s that mental capacity and the potential for long-term damage that makes the concussion so different,” said Andy Billings, professor at The University of Alabama in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media. “And I think that’s

why they’re a lot more serious, especially because after athletes retire they still want to have their full mental capacity.” McMorris said players on his team, when faced with a choice between athletic success and self care, don’t voluntarily take action to protect their own physical, mental or emotional health. This mindset is clearly portrayed by football players at every level and contributes to one of the most dangerous injuries to exist: the concussion, which can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in some players, according the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. “Players lie all the time about injuries because they don’t want to be sat out or if they don’t want to not play because scouts or someone may be there,” said T.J. McMiller, a senior at Tuscaloosa County High School. That mentality encourages athletes to ignore injuries. In the U.S., 47 percent of football players will suffer a concussion, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention. Across the nation, players are colliding, constantly sustaining blows to the head that may seem insignificant at the time. These bumps can result in serious head trauma, leading to brain damage or even death. A player who has received a single concussion is twice as likely to receive another one, according to 2015 study in the journal Military Medicine. Generally, every high school football player experiences an injury during his or her career. However, injuries such as a torn meniscus in the knee, a broken collarbone, a torn rotator cuff and others can be repaired surgically, while concussions are inoperable. “It’s that mental capacity and the potential for longterm damage that makes the concussion so different,” Billings said. “A lot of things require surgery but we don’t have a surgery that can go in and alleviate issues of concussions.” Knowing these risks, players still continue to ignore rules meant to protect them and the seriousness of the condition, while instead focusing purely on success on the field. Football teaches strength and dedication, but many players take this mentality past the breaking point to where it could cause serious harm. Although victories may seem sweet enough to endure the pain of a head trauma, nothing can relieve the long-term consequences developed from accumulating CTE. “If they really love football they will – if you treat it like it’s just a game probably not – but if you really need this and it’s something you really love yourself, you’re gonna keep pushing through it,” McMorris said.


City Council addresses varied agenda Tuscaloosa Police Department partners with Carfax By Natalie Turman and Natalie Fields Car accident reports are now available for free online after the Tuscaloosa City Council unanimously approved a partnership with Carfax Tuesday. The agreement allows drivers to access crash reports within the city limits online for free. “Some people may be involved in an accident in Tuscaloosa and they may live in another city and don’t have time to drive to Tuscaloosa to try to pick up a report,” said Sgt. Brent Blankley, spokesperson from the Tuscaloosa City Police. “But if they can go online to a website and you get a copy of that report that saves them time, it’s convenient, and it saves them money.” The program allows for police officers to digitally upload their crash reports to Carfax. From there, drivers can access the reports online. The city will cover the cost of the reports, so it will be

free to customers. Tuscaloosa spokesperson Deidre Stalnaker said the amount has not been determined. It is also uncertain when this partnership will be put into motion. “Now you can get it in less time and you don’t have to leave your house,” said councilman, Kip Tyner. According to Carfax spokesman Chris Basso more than 3,400 law enforcement agencies across the country have adopted the program during the few years it has been available. “In general the idea is to make police crash reports readily available for consumers and other third parties who need them and to help save time and taxpayer money the police departments work with carfax to make their police reports available,” Basso said.

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Reappointment of DCH Board member raises questions pointment. She also said that Ragsdale was not representing the African-American community as well as he should. “You know when we put you on a board we want you to represent the The Tuscaloosa City Council approved, by a 4-1 vote, black community,” McKinstry said. “[You need to] open doors for ... Afthe reappointment of Herbert Ragsdale to the DCH Health rican-Americans. You’re the only person that’s an African-American Care Authority Board of Directors June 3. When we that sits on a Caucasian board. We’ve got expectations, you know.” This will be Ragsdale’s third, six-year term. put you on a McKinstry ultimately voted in favor of the reappointment and Councilman Harrison Taylor, who voted against the resaid that she was willing to give Ragsdale a second chance with appointment, said he felt that Ragsdale’s failure to do his job board we want you the expectation that he will work harder to represent the Afrirepresenting minorities as an African-American makes unworthy to represent the can-American community. She also stressed that “drastic imof continuing his term. provements” should be made by the end of his next term. Brad Fisher, spokesman for DCH, said the hospital recommends black community. Councilwoman Cynthia Almond said Ragsdale has reguappointees to the city council. larly attended meetings and pulled his weight while serv“The board asked the city council to reappoint Ragsdale,” said -Sonya ing on the board. Fisher, “So the board clearly thinks highly enough of him to ask for McKinstry “He has done a great job,” Almond said. “He comes to him to be reappointed.” meetings. He chairs a committee. So, I was in favor of his Although Taylor was the only council member to vote no, Councilwoman reappointment.” Sonya McKinstry said she still had some reservations about Ragsdale’s reapRagsdale will be up for reappointment in 2021. By Natalie Fields


UA Sororities make slow progress to include minorities By Jacqueline Johnson

As the school year approaches and sorority rush is about to begin, minority participation in greek life continues to tick upward. But some members of UA sororities say more progress must be made. It’s expected that various combinations of the greek alphabet separate one member from the next, but some members of The University of Alabama sororities hope that’s where the division stops. Shelby Norman, 21, a rising senior at the University of Alabama, and a member of the University’s Student Government Association’s (SGA) Division of Greek Life Affairs, expressed support for full integration of UA’s greek sororities even though she has been a member of the historically black Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority for years. ”You have to understand you can’t say, ‘Oh, they had theirs first, why don’t we have our own?’,” Norman said. “It was something that was created as a necessity, because individuals were not allowed [to be members]. I think that people try to make that argument but they don’t realize that it’s a different argument entirely.” Norman said. Norman, the Loganville, Georgia native, said that although her sorority was founded as a response to the traditionally white sororities, she was still inspired by the possibility of further improving the diversity of UA’s greek community. “I believe that there’s definitely more to be done,” she said. “You can never stop progressing, [and] that should be [why] things should keep moving and going forward each day.” Chandler Duncan, 21, a member of Pi Beta Phi, and also a rising senior at the University of Alabama, echoed Norman’s assessment of the University’s progress and added that her social circle has made her aware of this issue. “I have a lot of friends outside of greek life, so it makes me more attentive,” Duncan said. “I think [the University’s] doing a pretty good job at making it happen as quickly as they can, but there’s still a long way to go.“ According to a news release from UA, Fall 2015 ushered in 214 minority women, including 25 of those who self-identified as black, indicating an increase of nearly 13 percent from 2014. Duncan, a native of Fort Myers, Florida, summed up the need for inclusivity on campus as not only a University-wide standard, but a principle by which to live. “I think being a [part of] a diverse group of women makes us empowering to all people rather than just selected few,” Duncan said.


The University of Alabama holds its first integrated Greek sorority recruitment.


Melody Twilley, a black student twice attempts to join one of the all-white sororities. Twilley is denied a bid to any of the 15 houses and major media attention follows when she blames her race.

2001 Christina Houston, a bi-racial woman, pledges predominantly

white Gamma Phi Beta. She does not reveal the fact until after recruitment. She ultimately drops out.


Carla Ferguson accepts a bid to pledge Gamma Phi Beta becoming the first African-American woman to pledge a predominantly white sorority. She is the only minority who rushes that year out of 972 students.


The “Final Barrier” article is published in the University’s Crimson White. The story uses sorority sources about racial prejudice in sorority recruitment.

2015 2,442 women participate in sorority recruitment. Two hundred

and fourteen of those that accepts bids are minorities, an increase of almost 13 percent from 2014. The number of African-American students who received bids increases by 19 percent, to 25.


‘It made me upset going to another school that’s considered a rival.’ environment. Faculty and administrators should allow students an average of two school months to become Change just arrived at the Tuscaloosa City School comfortable in their new environment. Most importantly, this rezoning negatively affects System (TCSS). After eight years of seemingly endless controversy and too little concern for its students, the athletes. The atmosphere intensifies when Bryant and Northridge play against each other in any sport; their TCSS has finally decided to rezone. Many students like myself resent that our lives will rivalry is the one of the most fierce in the state of be disrupted in such a prominent manner. The rezoning Alabama. Now that they will be rezoning, most players affects racial diversity and the burden of overcrowding that were on Northridge’s football team last season won’t is all too uncertain. It upsets my friends and me that the be returning in the same uniform. Roughly 40 of the 60 players will move to a different system, and not the students, is being granted the power school for the 2016-2017 season. The hardest part for of choice over the school. Rezoning directly affects current high school students, athletes are tryouts for a new school team. Some players and not rising freshmen. I’ve spent two years at have grown a relationship with their coaches like I did Northridge High School making friends, and now this with my track coach. My coach knew he could always fall I will be enrolled at Paul W. Bryant High School. get the most out of me during practice every day. When I The school board should have listened to students and was only a freshman, Coach Jim Sparks awarded my hard gauged their opinions because we are the ones affected. work ethic by allowing me to run alongside the seniors on our team. For a freshman to run with seniors is rare We should have been given a choice in the matter. Moving approximately 500 students will be a difficult because most freshmen will run on the freshmen team, but process for all that are involved. Students must adjust for me to run on the varsity made me feel accomplished. During my indoor season as a sophomore, we finished to their new as state runner-up. It was an emotional day; it was the school’s first boys state runner-up trophy. During our track banquet at the end of the season, my coach and I had what would later be our final talk. “I want you to go over to Bryant and continue to be great no matter what uniform you will be in. I will miss coaching you. Show Tim Martin [Bryant’s track coach] what Northridge kind of athlete you are. I will see you at Central some of the meets. I love you,” he said. After he told me that I broke Bryant down and started to think about Choice Zone all the good times I had with him being my coach. The rezoning will separate our team as a whole, with seniors leaving and freshmen and sophomores staying behind. It made me upset going to another school that’s considered a rival to us. Going up against my old coach will be a hard time. There will be lots of emotional hugs when I see him during the upcoming track season. Source: Tuscaloosa City School System It will be a bumpy process. I hope I will be able Information compiled by Kylee Richard to get over the emotions from the rezoning. By Demontae Wilson

2016-2017 Rezoning Map


City schools face rezoning

By Shaniqua Scott and Tatyana Cooks

About 500 students in Tuscaloosa will be affected by the new zoning plan for the schools in the area. Students will transfer schools based less on location zoning and more on academic performance. Tuscaloosa City Schools Coordinator Of Public Relations, Lesley Bruinton, said the zoning plan covers, “curriculum, human resources and construction.” Bruinton listed a number of schools that will be affected by the rezoning plan: Central High, Bryant High, Northridge High, Woodland Forrest Elementary, Eastwood Middle and Southview Middle. Northridge’s total student population will be reduced by about 200 students. Paul W. Bryant will gain about 200 students and Central will gain about 100. High school students are more affected within this zoning change. Three students from Northridge who will make the transition to Paul W. Bryant for the 2016-2017 academic year, shared their perspectives about the change of location. Rising Sophomore Alexys Dubose had mixed emotions about the switch. “I think that it's good, but then again it's not good because for some people it's closer and more opportunities, but bad because so many students going to one school will be more crowded and more drama,” Dubose said. “It's hard because I'm in band so I learn so many new things, it's confusing.” Other students feel comfortable with the change. Similar to Dubose, Kyenna Hurns, a rising senior, attended Northridge and made the switch for the coming year to Bryant High School. Hurns had a positive reaction to the plan. She looked at the move as a fresh start. “I actually like the change. I feel as though Bryant has a better learning environment,” Hurns said. “At Bryant they actually reward you for your hard work and achievements by having fun days.” The zoning plan also impacted rising junior Erin Davis, who is leaving Northridge to attend Bryant. “It affects me a lot,” Davis said. “I’m leaving behind my friends and transferring my last years of school – feels dumb to me.”


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