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01.24.14

Vol. 61, I ssue 7

Top

NSU mourns passing of

Stories Inside

Dr. Murray By Danielle Kirsh

N

Employment Weekly is a weekly paper listing available jobs in the area. This may be useful for students looking for part-time employment. Photo was taken from a news stand in Norfolk Va. Photo by Ciara N. Simmons. See page 6

Gov. Terry McAuliffe delivers his first speech before the General Assembly at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown)

Political gifting subject to influence ill-informed By Danielle Kirsh

A quiet room is put in most libraries and is used for studying. Photo was taken at Indian River Library in Chesapeake Va. Photo by Ciara N. Simmons. See page 7

During his campaign, Terry McAuliffe campaigned to sign an executive order giving himself and his family a $100 gift cap because of the “Gift Gate” scandal during McDonnell’s term as governor. At an ethics forum on Dec. 4 in Richmond, state Delegate Bob Marshall insisted that it is going to be hard for McAuliffe to keep his gift limit of $100. The state currently requires all politicians to disclose all gifts that are more than $50. Marshall said that if McAuliffe was to go around the country during Hillary Clinton’s

anticipated presidential campaign, how could he not violate his own executive order? Because of McDonnell’s family gift scandal, where his daughter received $15,000 as a wedding gift from the head of Star Scientific, there is a lot of debate about what can be considered a gift. “You can’t stop [gift giving], but you can report it,” said Marshall. Marshall also said that some gifts are harder to track than others. He said if former president Bill Clinton received a golfing tip from a professional

who would otherwise charge, would it still be considered a gift? Washington Post reporter Rosalind Heldman said the ethics laws in Virginia are “vague” and “lack uniformity,” but that the tip from a professional golfer is considered a gift. Marshall said most gifts are hard to track, especially those that McAuliffe may receive if he goes around the country campaigning with Hillary Clinton. “The public needs information to understand influence,” said Marshall.

orfolk State University’s Director of Theater Dr. Clarence William Murray , Jr. passed away on Jan. 6, after serving the English and Foreign Languages and Theater departments for over 20 years. Dr. Murray was born in Catholic Hill, South Carolina on June 30, 1951. He attended public schools in Colleton County, and went on to study at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1972 and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in 1978. In 1988, Dr. Murray received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Dr. Murray is survived by his wife of 39 years, Mrs. Betty Abrams Murray, who is also a professor at NSU, his four children, his sister, in-laws and 17 nieces and nephews. Dr. Murray touched many lives outside of his family, especially those he worked with in the English department at NSU. Professor of English Dr. Annie Perkins said Dr. Murray “never met a stranger.” “He had a sense of humor that was infectious,” said Dr. Perkins, “and he was truly a gentleman and an artistic genius. His personal afflictions never interfered with his work. He was one of the most courageous people I knew.” See Passing of Dr. Murray, page 3

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


Spartan News

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01.24.14

BOV votes to NSU receives accreditation warning close nursing program from regional accreditation agency By Danielle Kirsh

By Danielle Kirsh

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. Photos from http://www.sacscoc.org/.

Norfolk State University was one of two Virginia institutions that received an accreditation warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS). SACS, the accreditation agency that oversees accreditation standards in the region, reviewed the university earlier in September after Dr. Tony Atwater was fired. NSU had a long list of compliance issues when SACS had their annual meeting on Dec. 10. Faculty qualifications, financial stability, and problems with the governing board were among the contributing factors to the ac-

creditation warning the university received. In September, NSU must submit a report to the SACS showing that it has fixed all the problems that the agency said needs to be fixed. The SACS will then vote in December on whether the university can have the warning taken away or if further action will be taken. According to the SACS website, an accreditation warning is the lesser of two sanctions an institution can receive. Any institution can be placed on warning if it doesn’t comply with any of the core requirements of the comprehensive standards set

forth by SACS. Likewise, any institution can be placed on a warning if they fail to make significant progress toward correcting their problems in a timely manner. The other institution that received an accreditation warning was the private, allmale school Hampden-Sydney College, who was cited for having an inadequate number of full-time faculties. The maximum time an institution can be placed on a warning is two years. NSU will be monitored for improvements in the areas that the SACS found to be in noncompliance with their standards.

Norfolk State University’s Board of Visitors unanimously voted on Dec. 13 to close the university’s two-year nursing program after years of below average test scores. The two-year program was eventually going to close, regardless of the test scores, because hospitals aren’t hiring nurses without a bachelor’s degree, Provost Sandra DeLoatch told the board members during the meeting. In March of last year, the Virginia Board of Nursing barred NSU from accepting any more students in to the two-year nursing program. NSU’s two-year nursing program has had problems in the past with students receiving low passing rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). A passing score on the

NCLEX is 80 percent, but NSU scored 76 percent in 2010, 48 percent in 2011 and 54 percent in 2012. NSU offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing that has higher passing rates on the NCLEX. The university plans to expand the bachelor’s degree program in the future. DeLoatch told the Virginian-Pilot that there are approximately 100 students enrolled in the two-year nursing program and that the university will close the program when the enrolled students are finished. The decision to close the program entirely will finalize once the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and NSU’s accreditation agency sign off.

NSU plans to close the university’s two-year nursing program after years of below average test scores. Photos from cset.nsu.edu/nursing.

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


01.24.14

Spartan News

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Numerous studies, clinics call hookah smoking “growing threat to public health” By Ciara N. Simmons

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic and the American Lung Association are just a few organizations that regard hookah smoking as a threat to the public’s health. The popularity of hookah smoking has grown significantly among young adults in the United States. Hookah bars, which remain largely unregulated, traditionally include booths with hookahs, or water pipes used to pass charcoal heated air through a tobacco mixture. The tobacco can be flavored or have additives that reduce the nicotine content, but the user is still receiving about the same amount of nicotine as he or she would with a cigarette. The CDC reports that 22 to 40 percent of college students

use hookahs. Many users report that hookah smoking makes the user feel “high;” others describe it as the “head rush” many cigarette smokers experienced after their first cigarette. Some hookah users, however, are one-time users who, despite how safe their experience was, are just not impressed with the practice. Senior biology preprofessional major Christian Ezeagwu said, “Honestly, I didn’t feel anything. I went with four friends, it lasted like 30 minutes and there were disposable tips for everyone.” According to the American Lung Association, many hookah smokers consider the practice less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, the social activity has been linked to diseases also caused

Interested in joining the Spartan Echo team? We meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Student Center, Rm. 344. ALL majors welcome!

by cigarette smoking such as lung and stomach cancer and reduced lung function. “Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes,” said a study by the Mayo Clinic. Aside from the possible nicotine dependency that could develop from long, frequent smoking sessions, the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and herpes is also possible due to the shared hookah mouthpieces or poor cleaning and upkeep. Generally, is hookah smoking a more health conscious alternative to cigarette smoking? Studies around the world say no.

The standard design of a hookah used in hookah bars. Photo was taken at Lazy Dayz Hookah Bar located in Norfolk Va. Photo by Ciara Simmons.

...passing of Dr. Murray ■Continued from front page Dr. Murray was known for helping to bring to life the Century Cycle plays of August Wilson. “He was a visionary,” said Dr. Perkins. He frequently involved school-age children in his plays and took his own students to Scotland and many other places to help progress their knowledge of the theater. Assistant Professor in the English and Foreign Languages department WaNelle Anderson said Dr. Murray was a “consonant professional.” “He loved everything about

the theater and loved to share theater with his students,” Anderson said, “we will miss him forever.” Dr. Murray had a specific plan for how he wanted the new theater to look when Brown Hall is renovated. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sandra DeLoatch said Dr. Murray’s plans for the theater would be honored when the renovations are complete and it will be a tribute to his accomplishments and his life at NSU. Dr. Murray’s life was celebrated on Jan. 16 in “A Cel-

ebration of Life” memorial service where theater students shared their favorite memories of Dr. Murray, acted out a scene from one of August Wilson’s plays and sang songs like “Good Vibrations” from the play “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.” Dr. Murray’s son, Dr. Clarence Murray III, wants students and faculty of NSU and those who loved Dr. Murray to move on and don’t dwell too long on the passing of his father. “Go on,” he said, “go on.”

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


Spartan Sports

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Spartans look to get healthy, cure road woes By Jason Gill

Assistant coach Dave Albaugh participates in team drills during practice. Photo by Jules Dean.

Duvall looks at the big picture, bright future By Jason Gill On the outside looking in, an 11-18 record might seem like a disappointing season. However, the women’s volleyball team has used a competitive non-conference schedule to strengthen the program and build toward a promising future. “I’m pleased with the season even though we would obviously like to do better record wise. I look at it as we take every opportunity we can to play the toughest competition we can find,” said

Interim Head Coach Brandon Duvall. “This past season, the north [division] was a lot tougher so we didn’t have as great a record in the north as last year. We were able to make it to the MEAC playoffs this season and last year we had the best conference record in the history of our school. I think that has a lot to do with the level of competition we play.” The lady Spartans struggled on the road finishing with a record of just 3-9. Coach Du-

vall attributes the road difficulties to the loss of vital senior leadership, as well as seven freshmen playing key minutes this season. “I try to talk to our team about not making excuses. I think the loss of the seniors the year before were huge. Players like Beatriz Ferreira and Nicole Kessner who’s our all-time career assists leader and one of the best leaders I have had a chance to coach, are invaluable. Charlotte Armstead could be

the best Spartans volleyball player and leader we’ve ever had. All those girls graduated,” said Duvall. With the cohesiveness of the team being its greatest strength, experience is the only thing holding the lady Spartans back from elevating their play to another level. Coach Duvall is looking for big improvement from soph-

See Bright future, page 5

At the midway point of the season, the men’s basketball team can be described as a group of wounded warriors just as much as a group of talented athletes. The Spartans reached the halfway mark with a record of 8-7, which is impressive considering the amount of players that have been sidelined. Sophomore Rashid Gaston, senior Zieyik Estime and senior Brandon Goode have all had a bout with injury of some sort that has either sidelined them, or limited their effectiveness on the court. Senior Pendarvis “Penny” Williams even had a case a food poisoning prior to their loss at home to Mount St. Mary’s. The biggest blow of all came when senior Jordan Weathers suffered a torn ACL and was declared out for the season. Weathers helped solidify the team’s bench play by providing instant offense, as well as lock-down defense. “It was a huge loss. We saw it the last few games especially. With him being our best defender, we could have used him to guard some of these guards we played recently. They were really quick and he does a

See Cure road woes, page 5

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


01.24.14

Cure road woes

■Continued from page 4

good job of keeping guys in front of him off the bounce. His value to this team has really showed recently,” said Interim Head Coach Robert Jones. The Spartans have been steady on their home floor with a record of 4-1. On the road however, the success has seemed harder to come by. In games on a neutral site, they are 3-1; however, in true road games they are just 1-5 including three straight losses to the University of Virginia, the University of Hawaii and Seattle University. “It’s always tough to win on the road. In a couple of those games there were a few plays that made the difference. Sometimes you don’t get all the calls on the road like you would at home. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce the way you want it to bounce,” said Jones. Overall the coaching staff is pleased with where the team is at and its direction going forward. Other than improved health, they point to communication on defense as their biggest area of concern heading into the second half of their schedule.

Bright future ■Continued from page 4

omores Jessica Johnson and Janay Frazier, as well as redshirt juniors Noelle Eagles and Kylee Thiim as he continues to recruit in preparation for next season.

Spartan Sports

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Back on track:

Track & Field program moves on after sanction By Jason Gill

The men’s track & field team gets loose before an intense practice. Photo by Jules Dean.

As the track & field season gets underway, the Spartans are ready to move past their academic issues and continue their success as defending MEAC champions. The program received a postseason ban for the 2013-14 season after the NCAA completed a review and found student’s scores were not up to NCAA standards. “I don’t agree with the decision because we were never placed on any type of bans before as far practice time or scholarship reductions and then they came down with the ham-

mer on us,” said men’s head coach Kenneth Giles. “It’s a lesson learned and now we know the right way we have to do things. Not that we weren’t doing the right thing before, but there were some mistakes that were made and now we know not to make those same mistakes again.” On the field of competition, the men’s track & field team handled business as usual in their first meet with three topfive finishes at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Coach O Invitational. Freshman Michael Smith and

sophomore Ryan Turner both placed in the top-five in the 60-meter hurdles. Smith won his preliminary heat and finished third overall with a time of 8.39 seconds. Turner finished second in his heat and fifth in the finals with a time of 8.57 seconds. Sophomore Kyle Green also impressed by winning his heat in the 200-meter with a time of 23.25 seconds, which was good for fifth overall. The future of the Spartan track & field program looks especially bright with the talent that was brought in prior to this season.

In the eyes of Coach Giles, the Spartans are competing against themselves at this point. “This recruiting class that we brought in this year is the best we’ve had since I’ve been here. We have kids here that could compete in any conference in the country. In my opinion we are our own worst enemy. If we do the things we are supposed to do, we’ll be just fine. Just look at our track record; we’ve won 15 of the last 16 track & field championships. We set the standard for which everyone else in the conference wants to be like,” said Giles.

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


Spartan Lifestyle

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New age addiction: social media

Free textbooks could come sooner than you think By Ciara N. Simmons

By Ciara N. Simmons Though it isn’t recognized as a medical condition, it’s so real it has an official title. Social Media Addiction Disorder (SMAD) is affecting more people than you might think. Could you have a social media addiction? Do you find yourself constantly looking at your phone checking for updates and new tweets? Do you have a feeling like you can’t pay attention because you’re craving to refresh your Instagram feed? Spotlight Communications reported that the average American spends 24 percent of their workday browsing the internet. 73 percent of participants in their study said they would be willing to give up alcohol just to keep internet access. Why is it so important? A study conducted by Harvard found that people are

compelled to share everything about themselves and their lives. Through experiments, Harvard researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure. So how do you know you’re addicted? If you feel you can’t pull yourself away from checking for the latest updates, then you may be addicted. However, getting it under control is a simple task— limit the amount of time you spend on social networks. Spotlight Communications even recommends setting a timer to alert you when it’s time to move on to a new task. For more tips on how to quell your social media addiction, visit SpotlightCommunications. net/2013/05/01/are-youaddicted-to-social-media/.

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Entering into a semester without having to worry about where you textbook funds will come from may not be so distant of a thought. It was reported by the U.S. government that college textbook prices rose 82 percent over the past decade. College board says that the annual cost of textbooks and materials are about $1,168. With college already being a large financial strain on many, as tuition rises yearly, a break in cost somewhere would be beneficial. That is where open educational resources (OER) can help. Lumen Learning, a company that makes OERbased courses, defines these resources as “openly licensed college and universitylevel educational materials which can be organized as courses.” Professors have been brought together to

select material that fits the needs of the students. Tidewater Community College (TCC) has just finished their first pilot program with the help of Lumen Learning. The course of study they chose to test was a two year Associates Degree in Business Administration. The program was named the ‘Z Degree’ program due to the zero textbook cost. The pilot included 16 courses and 400 students.

“We’ve heard nothing negative from students or from faculty,” said David DeMarte, vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at TCC. “What we tend to hear from students is they know we’re in pilot mode but they want this option in other courses. With this successful pilot so close to home, could we expect similar changes at Norfolk State in the near future?

Barnes and Nobles are the primary supplier of college textbooks in many universities. Photo was taken at Barnes and Nobles in Chesapeake Va. Photo by Ciara Simmons.

To intern or to work? That is the question By Ciara N. Simmons There are two things on almost every college student’s mind—education and the money to pay for it. Internships are a great way to gain practical knowledge for your career but most of them are unpaid. That leads to the question, should you intern or should you work? An internship will give you hands on experience in your desired field. They put you in situations you may go through in the working world and provide you with the know

how to perform. They also help you decide if what you want to do is really something you want to do after graduation by being able to do the job before you do the job. Another benefit is that internship are great networking tools and your internship could turn into a permanent position. Yes, you may be starting from the bottom, but that doesn’t have to be your final destination. Internships also look great on resumes. Potential employers

will see that you are serious about your career aspirations and that you have made investments above and beyond your education to prepare you for the work force. Although internships provide you with many positives within your career development, sometimes you just need to make money. Working has its benefits too. First things first, you get paid. That is most likely the number one reason many lean toward getting a job when an

internship is not required. A small paycheck can help you lessen student debt. A second benefit is “an opportunity to develop professional skills that employers will be expecting upon graduation,” according to Debbie Kaylor, director of the Boise State University Career Center. You learn how to network, solve problems and use context clues. Skills will be developed in order to communicate effectively and efficiently to future employers.

Most Spartans agree that completing an internship is more beneficial to their college experience. Graduating senior Jordan Crawford feels that now that he has completed an internship, it is very necessary. “It allows future employers to view you as a possible asset because you’ve gained professional experience, rather than a liability stabbing in the dark to take a chance on someone who’s only had inclass experience.”

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


01.24.14

Tough love

Spartan Lifestyle

Freshman tip of the month:

An advice column from a fellow Spartan

Effective study skills

By DeVanique Riley

By Ciara N. Simmons

Well, we stuffed our faces with holiday delicacies and celebrated the New Year, but now it’s time to get back to work. Freshmen: Some of you are guilty of too many ‘turn-ups’ starting your first semester of college. It’s time to turn off that party mode and put in that makeup work. Sophomores: You’ve almost completed your second year and you are going to become upperclassmen. Now that you’ve gotten this far, let’s make the second half count. Get out the freshman state of mind and embrace the upperclassmen mentality. Juniors: Finishing this semester mean you are looking into that last year. You’ve come this far, so don’t slack now Make that upcoming senior title look great. Seniors: I know getting out of here is your main priority, and I don’t blame you. I have a countdown down to the second on my phone. However, in the meantime finishing strong with extra studying isn’t such a bad thing to pass time and bring up grades. No matter where you are in your college career, end strong, but for now, get back to work!

We have been preparing to understand course materials and take tests since we first entered school. Many only take enough time to do a quick review before becoming preoccupied with a TV show or text message, if they study at all. With the hundreds of tips out there geared toward retaining knowledge, here are a few, taken from GetSchooled.com, that are easy to remember and effective. • Study in a quiet place. I know it seems obvious, but quiet means no TV, phone, social media or email, just you and the

• •

materials. You may go a bit crazy at first. You never knew just how quiet life can really be, but the adjustment is for the best. Study daily. Never wait until just before a test to cram everything in. Studying daily will help you understand the work, find questions to ask if necessary and most importantly retain knowledge. Take notes as you study. Sometimes repetition is the key. Quiz yourself. Make flash cards or use online quiz sites to make sure

the information isn’t just memorized but understood. • Take breaks. Every 30 minutes take a short break. This helps you not feel overwhelmed and helps you pay attention. You won’t constantly think about what you might be missing due to studying. Use these tips this coming semester and see the difference it makes. Remember that not everyone works the same. You may find certain things that work better for you, but first you have to try.

You are stronger than stress By Ciara N. Simmons At some point, each of us will deal with stress. Learning how to identify and work under stress are very important to overcoming stressors. Stress can build up and get triggered by anything from a forgotten homework assignment to a looming due date or exam. College is an especially stressful time because for many students, it’s their first time living on their own or spending a significant time away from their family and friends. There’s also added pressure from monetary worries and handling collegelevel school work. Being overwhelmed is often associated with stress. These feelings can lead to health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

Some people choose to turn to abusing harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs to help cope with these feelings. These “quick fix” aids may only relieve the symptoms for a moment before they return which can lead to excessive use and addiction. Dealing with stress can seem like a daunting task, but realistically isn’t all that difficult. The number one thing is to learn to identify it and the trigger. Once you know what makes you the most stressed, you can find ways to avoid it or lessen its impact. Exercise is another great way to relieve the feeling. The exertion of energy will not only help you work out some of the feelings, but the endorphins

released are known to be mood boosters. The Mayo Clinic also suggests some form of meditation on a daily basis or just finding a distraction. Brainstorming, journaling or an hour of television before revisiting the situation can help you see it in a new light which can then provide you with new options. Remember you are not alone. Talk to a friend or a counselor if necessary. Don’t let stress rule your life. NSU also offers free counseling services to students through the Counseling Center located in room 312 of the Student Services Building. They can be reached at 8238173 for further information about services they offer.

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editors Brittany Elmore Editor-inChief

DeVanique Riley Online/ Managing Editor

Danielle Kirsh News Editor

Ciara Simmons Lifestyle Editor

Jason Gill Sports Editor

Dante Hayden Multimedia Editor

Trenton Fouche’ Entertainment Editor

It’s not too late to get involved with the Echo! We meet every Tues and Thur in Rm. 344 at 12:30 pm. ALL majors welcome.

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


Spartan Entertainment

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star passes away Beyoncé tops billboard charts By Trenton Fouche’ James Avery, best known for his role as Uncle Phil on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” passed away on Dec. 31 at the 68. According to various sources, the actor succumbed to complications from open heart surgery in a Glendale California hospital. News broke suddenly as his former co-star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton, took to his verified Twitter account to share his condolences. “I’m deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.” Other co-stars from the popular sitcom expressed condolences as well. DJ Jazzy Jeff tweeted “RIP James Avery... Thank U for the talks, travel tips and the jazz cd’s. A great Friend and Even Better Person...You will be Missed!!” Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley Banks, tweeted “James was

my teacher my protector & the most magnificent actor. We’re feeling his loss very deeply. He’ll always be a part of me #JamesAvery.” Will Smith, the “Fresh Prince” himself, was reportedly shocked and devastated by the death of his former co-star. He expressed his appreciation for Avery via Twitter saying, “Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace.” James Avery was born in Pughsville, Suffolk County, Virginia. After graduating high school he served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Navy. Avery later moved to California where he got into acting and began writing poetry and television scripts. He appeared in nearly 50 films and over 100 television shows.

By Trenton Fouche’

This photo provided by NBC shows James Avery as Philip Banks from season 2 of the TV series, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Avery, 65, the bulky character actor who laid down the law as the Honorable Philip Banks has died. Avery’s publicist, Cynthia Snyder, told The Associated Press that Avery died Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/ NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

Casual gamers help boost console sales

After remaining relatively silent for the better part of last year, Beyoncé gave her fans an early Christmas gift. With no promotion from her record label, Beyoncé released her self-titled, fifth studio album on Dec. 13, 2013. The project was a surprise and was announced on the singer’s Facebook page hours before it hit iTunes, starting fan frenzy on social media. The album, which was distributed through Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records, has been dubbed a “visual album” by the singer, with each track accompanied by a music video. When asked why the album was released without a traditional build up the singer didn’t hold back, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak di-

rectly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans,” according to ABCNews.com. Despite no one anticipating the album, it has still managed to be highly successful, selling 828,773 in a single weekend, shattering the record of any album ever released on iTunes. Despite being hailed as a classic by her fans, critics have also weighed in on the album. Many have praised the singer’s growth as an artist and her desire to experiment with different sounds. The album features artists Jay Z, Drake, Pharrell, Timberland and Justin Timberlake.

By Trenton Fouche’ Video game fanatics came out in droves this holiday season for the release of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. The new consoles broke records as both systems sold at an unprecedented rate, selling over 2 million copies in their first two weeks of release. Perhaps the most intriguing statistic is that many of the sales have been from nontraditional gamers. With PlayStation 4 allowing players to stream gameplay on Facebook and Xbox One providing an HD camera that allows players to send and receive Skype calls, players are buying an experience that transcends gaming.

The releases of both consoles have helped rejuvenate a dwindling industry. Before the release of both systems, console sales had been on the decline. According to reports from 2008 to 2012, the market sales had dropped 32 percent. Nintendo’s latest console, Wii U, which launched last year, sales in the U.S. struggled. Some analysts feel that because the PS4 and Xbox One have been flying off shelves, some casual gamers may even give the Wii U a shot. With sales on the rise and new consoles dwarfing their predecessors, many believe the new consoles are thriv-

ing because of a new breed of gamer. Some say the billion-dollar smartphone and tablet industry has opened the floodgates and swept over every age bracket and demographic. It’s estimated that the gaming app, Candy Crush, was downloaded by 6.7 million users and was earning revenue of about $633,000 per day in the iOS app store alone. With video game sales flourishing, gamers can expect a new atmosphere. PS4 has already announced plans to release Uncharted 4 and MetalGear Solid V. Xbox will also be releasing a sequel to its iconic Halo series.

This file photo shows Beyonce at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Beyonce’s fifth self-titled album, released in surprise from late last week, is a collection of songs that highlights Beyonce’s evolution as a woman and artist. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, FIle)

SPARTAN ECHO| Norfolk State University 700 Park Avenue Norfolk, Virginia 23504|NEWSROOM: 757.823.8200 E-Mail: spartanecho@nsu.edu


61.7 Spartan Echo