The Eagle October 2018

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the EAGLE October 2018


Work hard, play hard? How the District's drinking culture is taking its toll on students


theEAGLE October 2018


Delivering American University’s news and views since 1925

MASTHEAD Editor-in-Chief Haley Samsel Managing Editor for Online Lydia Calitri Managing Editor for News Maria Carrasco Managing Editor for Life Emily Martin Managing Editor for Sports Kimberly Cataudella Managing Editor for Multimedia Sasha Jones Managing Editor for Opinion Nickolaus Mack Copy Editor Kris Schneider Business Manager Colin Wesselkamper Assistant Print Designer Sydney Rowell Assistant Online Editor Sofia Williamson-Garcia Assistant Opinion Editors Chris Whitbeck Sonikka Loganathan Assistant Copy Editor Devon Wiensch Photo Editor Taameen Mohammad

Graphic Design Editor Jennifer Croney Social Media Editors Elizabeth Jahn Grace Newton Maggie Bernauer Newsletter Editor Katya Kolluri Student Life Editor Anna Donohue Administration and Local News Editor Brianna Crummy Features Editor Julia Gagnon Arts and Entertainment Editor Dilpreet Raju Music Editor Daniella Ignacio Silver Screen Blog Editor Brandon Ermer Food and Fitness Editor Grace George Style Editor Emaan Khan Student Government Beat Reporters Dan Papscun Asher Weinstein

Index NEWS 3 Students say Care Network needs improvements; Diversity council prioritizes student voices 4 University data shows increase in diverse faculty hires 5 Political clubs gear up for midterm elections 6 Rise in alcohol transports reveals 'normalization' of binge drinking at AU, students say LIFE 8 How changes to AU Dining's policies will affect students 10 AU to offer master's program in music and education; 'Humanities Truck' hopes to tell stories of D.C. citizens 11 Professor's project will recreate world of Bach SPORTS 12 Swimmers launch group for LGBTQ+ student-athletes 13 Women's basketball coaches celebrate sixth year together 14 Column: Why AU volleyball continues to be unstoppable OPINION 15 Column: Freshman year is about finding community; Column: Construction will help university in the long run 16 Column: Eagles Elect removes barriers to voting; Staff Ed: Administration must take more proactive role in combating Washington's toxic drinking culture

Staff Writers Aneeta Mathur-Ashton Emily Lytle Ayelet Sheffey Sophie Austin Abbie Veitch Nazli Togrul Emily Seymour Willard West Jessily Crispyn Vincenza Belletti Kelsey Carolan Isabella Goodman Suzanne Harrison Miranda Baumann Evan Margiotta Mohamad Hashash Spencer Nusbaum Justin Wise Catherine Green Hayley Levine Amelia Nickell Delilah Harvey Peyton Bigora Ali Al Mutairi Andrew Klabnik Jacob Robbins Fatima Albannai Kelly McDonnell

Graphic Designers Sydney Felder Samad Arouna Photographers Maya Costanzo Isabel Begelman Matt Hurst Alejandro Irizarry Sami Pye Sophie Lampl Videographers Phoebe Jessup Giorgio Citarella Columnists Samantha McAllister Bobbie Armstrong Lauren Patetta Stephanie Mirah Braeden Waddell Steph Black Emma Greenberg Caeden Cloud Joseph Krassner Gabriela Fernandez Nicole Klokiw Riya Kohli




The Eagle, a student-run newspaper at American University, reports news involving the campus community and surrounding areas. The Eagle strives to be impartial in its reporting and believes firmly in its First Amendment rights.

CORRECTIONS The Eagle has a commitment to accuracy and clarity and will print corrections or clarifications. To report a mistake, email the editor-in-chief at

Follow us online Twitter: @theeagleonline Facebook: Instagram: @theeagleau To listen to the podcast that accompanies this issue, visit our website. COVER PHOTO: TAAMEEN MOHAMMAD / THE EAGLE



With Care Network, students, faculty can alert university to troubling behavior

Some students say reporting process could be improved by Emily Seymour Staff Writer

If a student is showing signs of distress or struggle, AU has a system called the Care Network in place for others to reporting troubling behavior. But some students who have used the system said they were left unsatisfied by the results. The Office of the Dean of Students facilitates the Care Network. The network is an online portal where faculty, staff and students can submit online reports if they recognize “behavior that interferes with university or university-sponsored activities such as classroom-related activities, studying, teaching” and more, according to the network’s website. “The reason that the Care Network was developed was that the University did not have a way of effectively understanding a concern for a student,” said Traci Callandrillo, the Assistant Vice President of Campus Life and Interim Dean of Students. The network, a collaboration across several university departments, began in the 2008-2009 academic year, receiving around 400 reports. This past academic year, the Dean of Students office received almost 3,400 reports through the network, Calandrillo said. “Mental health has been a part of the conversation

since the mid-’90s … and it is absolutely at the heart of what we do with the Care Network,” Callandrillo, who until recently served as director of the Counseling Center, said. However, since different departments like the health center and counseling center work with the Care Network, there are different confidentiality requirements for each case. That means those who submit a report may not receive any updates on the situation they reported, or they may receive only a small portion of the information. “We protect the person’s privacy while also trying to communicate with the person who submits the care report,” Callandrillo said. Two students, seniors Samantha Smith and Sarah Gelin, submitted reports on the same incident and found that they struggled with using the network. “I spent 30 minutes writing out all of the information but the page wouldn’t go through and then I did it again but then I never heard back until I emailed the Dean of Students and head of Public Safety,” Smith said, referring to the AU Police Department. She was told by the Dean of Students office that an investigation had been opened, but was never updated about the completion of the investigation or given any further information.

“It wasn't easy to find, it wasn't easy to submit and there was no follow-up,” Smith said. Gelin found it difficult to complete the report because of required boxes concerning information such as witnesses and date of incident, which she was confused by and did not have information for. “They should use a more blank template so that people who want to report concern about something potentially happening are able to,” Gelin said. Callandrillo said the University has made efforts to help educate people on use of the Care Network by changing the language on the report form on a yearly basis to ensure it is accurate and helpful. Anyone who submits a report with the Care Network now receives an automated response confirming receipt of the form, she said. In response to the complaints of Gelin and Smith, Callandrillo said they have reasonable concerns, but they ultimately comes from a lack of understanding of how the system works. “I can’t adjust their expectations but I can control the information they’re given so that they understand the process,” Callandrillo said.

President’s diversity council adds student advisory board this fall Since 2016, the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) has served to promote diversity and inclusion throughout campus by holding training sessions and meeting with students, faculty and staff members. Though the council has always included students, this year they have a bigger role: serving as representatives on the newly created Student Advisory Council. Created by the University’s previous president, Neil Kerwin, PCDI is charged with overseeing and reporting on the progress on various elements of AU’s diversity strategy known as the Inclusive Excellence Plan. The plan includes the implementation of the AUx curriculum, improving policies regarding discrimination and developing new diversity programs. “This plan will only be successful if all of us are invested in the plan and if all of us do our part,” AU’s vice president of campus life and inclusive excellence, Dr. Fanta Aw, said. Most students on campus are “doing their part,” Aw said, which is why the council found adding a Student Advisory Council to be necessary. “The change now from last year is that we are really trying to amplify the students’ voices and the students’ roles within the council,” Aw said. The addition of a student advisory group was popular among students, staff and faculty, Amanda Taylor, assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, said, earning almost 200 applications

for 15 student positions. “We were just overwhelmed at the passion of the students who applied and the multiplicities of perspectives they brought with them to the application,” Taylor said. “If we could have had 75 students on the council, it would have been easy.”


by Kelsey Carolan Staff Writer

“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we never fully arrive.” -Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence


The role of the Student Advisory Council will be similar to the role of the previous three student members in PCDI, which is to continue to advise faculty and staff members as they continue to move forward with the plan. “The students will really carry on multiple roles throughout the council,” Aw said. “One is to continue to get the pulse of the community and the issues and how we can problem solve that. In that process, they will also be able to be a sounding board to us as we advance the work of the plan so there’s lots of different ways that they will be engaged.”

Though the student council is selective and not all students can be formally involved, Aw said there are many ways they can be involved informally. “Every single person has an opportunity to get engaged with this plan,” Aw said. “Some is in the formal structure, but other [opportunities are] to get engaged by literally identifying an organization or club on campus that is doing interesting and important work.” Rafael Cestero, Student Government’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, is a new member of the Student Advisory Council. “I’m really hoping that this council will first of all be a space where people can express themselves openly about the issues that we face on this campus,” Cestero said. One of PCDI’s successes last year was the scheduling of listening sessions with students in residence halls and other spaces on campus, Cestero added. “In general, what PCDI did last year that was really good was making the conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion a main focus around the University,” Cestero said. Taylor and Aw said that PCDI will continue to focus on training, learning and development this year. “When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we never fully arrive,” Aw said. “There is a learning that goes on, and I think we are looking for people to learn in the process.”


theEAGLE October 2018

AU sees improvements in diverse faculty hires Some students say diversity efforts will not come fast enough to impact them by Emily Lytle Staff Writer

After students, staff and faculty led calls for more diverse faculty at AU, administrators say they are seeing improvements in hiring faculty of color at the University. But several students, particularly black students, say progress is not being made fast enough. Over the past two years, AU has hired more faculty of color than previous years, according to data from AU’s academic reference book. Part of the reason behind the hires, administrators say, is a greater sense of accountability that came with the new Inclusive Excellence plan, the University’s diversity and inclusion strategy unveiled in January. According to preliminary data for the 2018-2019 academic year, over one-third of the 70 new faculty members self-identified as Hispanic or non-White. “We’re pretty happy [with the data],” said Acting Dean of Academic Affairs and Vice Provost Lisa Leff. “We’re not done, but we feel like we’re moving in a good direction.” The University employed 901 faculty members in the 2017-2018 academic year, according to AU’s academic data reference book. About 19.5 percent of those faculty self-identified as Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian-American, American Indian or Native Alaskan or Multiracial. That’s a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year. When looking at faculty diversity in the school as a whole, the impact of hiring more diverse professors may seem less apparent since the increases are small, Leff said. But each year can help make a difference, she added. “From a student perspective, every year, half of your instructors are people who were hired in the last couple of years,” Leff said. This year the University hired 25 new faculty members as AUx advisor-instructors, and 14 self-identified as ethnically diverse, according to data from the Office of Undergraduate Education. AUx, which became mandatory this semester, is the first-year experience class meant to help students in their transition from high school to college. Assigned to 76 students or fewer, these first-year advisors have a greater opportunity to connect with their students, said Jessica Waters, the dean of undergraduate education and vice provost for academic student services. “This really was a multi-year effort to completely revamp the first-year experience,” Waters said. A campus climate survey taken in spring 2017, prior to a hate crime that targeted black women at AU, reported that only 34 percent of Black or African-American students felt that AU is committed to creating a sense of belonging. Leff said she recognized that the lack of racial and ethnic representation among faculty contributed to these results. “We know students of color do better when there are faculty of color,” Leff said. To make sure first-year students could establish mentorship relationships with their advisor-instructors, Waters said they made deliberate efforts to hire diverse candidates. “We wanted the most expert and the most diverse, and recognizing that those would probably be the same thing,” Waters said. “I have no role models”: Students say lack of faculty diversity has shaped their college experience For many students, the progress AU has made in diversifying its faculty is difficult to see. Isabella Dominique, a junior and the vice president of AU’s NAACP chapter, said she appreciated that the Inclusive Excellence plan included faculty diversity, but she still had some doubts. “It’s something that won’t ever impact me because I feel like they won’t get hired fast enough,” Dominique said. “At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if I never had another black professor.” Senior German Figueroa said the lack of representation has affected him personally. “It’s really sad that I see my professors are all white and the people that serve me are all black. It’s teaching me to internalize those things,” Figueroa said. “I associate smartness with whiteness and service with blackness.” Dominique pointed out the history of D.C. as the “Chocolate City” and the existence of “smart black people everywhere.” Despite this, Faith Gay, a junior in the School of International Service, said she has researched successful African-Americans in her field


to prove they exist. “It seems like that’s not reflected at AU,” Gay said. Both Leff and Waters acknowledged that students often seek faculty mentors who look like them. For some students of color, those mentors can be hard to find. “I have no role models [at AU],” Figueroa said. “I would like the future generation to have more role models.” Dominique said one of her best friends studying justice and law has a professor who is a black woman and a district judge. “She always tells us, ‘Oh my god, I want to be like her. I love her, she’s so amazing,’” Dominique said. “I feel like when kids see stuff like that, it’s like ‘my dreams are actually achievable.’” This is the first year that Dominique has had a black professor, and she said she sees the representation affecting her personally, too. “I feel safer in a way,” Dominique said. “If some kid said something really stupid, I’d know he’d be there to defend us.” University says they’re paying more attention to diversity in recruitment process The Office of Undergraduate Education was charged last year with leading the search for AUx advisors. Waters and her team partnered closely with the Office of Human Resources, which had been doing a pilot for diversity and recruitment. Human Resources led Waters and her team through a year-long training on diversity and inclusion before the search for faculty hires for the 2018-2019 academic year. First, Human Resources helped identify places to advertise the position and recruit candidates where they were likely to get more diverse individuals. This active recruitment is part of a University-wide practice called target of opportunity hiring, where the University bypasses normal search procedures to recruit and create new positions for professors. The process was designed to hire professors like Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, who founded The Antiracist Research and Policy Center last year. Before applications came in, the search committees also participated in a training on implicit bias. That training is now mandatory for all members of search committees, Leff said. For example, if a committee member argues that a candidate simply isn’t a good fit, a person designated as the diversity and equity chair should prompt that member to provide evidence. This awareness of implicit bias is also a prominent practice in hiring new professors, Leff said. Beyond resumes and interviews with search committees, candidates completed writing exercises, such as writing sample emails to students and colleagues, and taught a mock class to volunteer students, faculty and staff, who also gave feedback to the committees. Many of the University’s current and upcoming strategies to improve faculty diversity look similar to those that Waters and her team used in hiring the AUx advisorinstructors. “We really far exceeded expectations and I think we need to do that everywhere, all across campus in all the hiring we’re doing,” Waters said. Still, Dominique said that she’d like to see the University make greater progress in diversifying faculty — sooner rather than later. “That was one of the very few things I feel like black students actually asked for, was representation,” she said. “I feel like AU is very slow to ever make progress on genuine efforts to actually impact the black student experience.”


theEAGLE October 2018

How AU’s ‘most politically active campus’ is preparing for the midterms New and familiar political clubs gear up for election season by Julia Gagnon and Maria Carrasco

Features Editor and News Editor

With midterms on the horizon, AU’s politically active campus — ranked number one by the Princeton Review — is gearing up for election season through activism efforts by new and old political clubs. Groups on the right and left say they’re working hard to elect candidates who represent their views, as well as foster better conversations about policy and politics. Just under three months old, the Young Democratic Socialists club began the process of club recognition from AU’s Club Council this fall. Third-year students Verónica Del Valle and Eric Perless said they created the club as a space for leftists. The group has already phonebanked for Alexandria OcasioCortez, a candidate for New York’s 14th Congressional District who identifies as

a Democratic Socialist. “We have a large breadth of political organization on this campus. It’s AU, it’s what you expect,” Del Valle said. “But there was not one for leftists or democratic socialists or socialists or anything within the left of Democrats’ political sphere.” Angela Chen, the president of AU College Democrats, said her club has committed themselves to weekly phone banks for candidates, such as Sen. Bill Nelson and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum of Florida, as well as several campaign trips in Virginia. “Our focus for the time being is campaigning,” Chen said, adding that their goal is to “[make] as big of an impact on competitive campaigns as we can.” In the same vein, AU’s Voto Latino chapter phonebanked and campaigned for Ocasio-Cortez over the summer. The chapter’s president and founder, third-year student Rolando Cantú, said he created the chapter last year because

he wanted to support the Latinx community. “Right now we’re focusing on our elections, however, I do hope to also help with the community at AU so that means leadership positions, training young and Latinx freshmen,” Cantú said. “We want to create a Latinx community here at AU that basically is a mentorship.” Democracy Matters, a new non-partisan organization started in spring 2018 that was recognized by the University this fall, is hoping to get big money out of politics. “I think that campaign finance reform is the biggest issue of our time,” club president sophomore Ksenia Novikova said. “I think it is connected to literally every single political issue. Anything that anyone cares about, it has a connection and I think especially here in D.C., there should be a chapter.” Although AU’s campus is widely seen as liberal, AU College Republicans

have seen a hike in consistent members within the past two years, growing from about 20 to 100 members, according to the group’s president, Robert Wines. “Over the past two years, it’s gone through a major rebuilding process,” Wines said.“It’s been fantastic to see [the club] grow but we want to make sure that we build on this momentum and we keep going forward as a club.” Heading into the November elections, club leaders like Chen, the AU Dems president, have their eyes on set on the high stakes of the midterms. “The 2018 midterms are obviously so important,” Chen said. “A lot of these elections can shape policies that affect students at AU for the rest of our lives, issues like health care, issues that would heavily affect college students’ lives for now and for the future.” and

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theEAGLE October 2018

‘It’s about getting ‘effed up,’ but it’s also about working hard’ Rise in alcohol transports reflects “normalization” of binge drinking on campus and off, students and staff say by Abbie Veitch Staff Writer

She never thought this would be the way she started her freshman year. After a night of drinking in her residence hall, Rachel was transported to a local hospital after a resident assistant believed her health was at risk. After that night, Rachel was on the hook for a $400 ambulance bill and faced a mandatory meeting with the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center (HPAC). But the worst part, she said, was having to talk to her parents the next day. “I felt so bad that they worked so hard for me to go here and this is one of the first big things that happened,” Rachel said. “I had to tell them about me being transported before I could tell them about, like, a good test.” Rachel is far from alone. She is one of several students who spoke to The Eagle about their transport to local hospitals. All of the students requested anonymity and their names have been changed. After a significant rise in alcohol-related transports involving AU students, the University is grappling with how to promote safer drinking habits within what students and administrators say is AU’s and Washington’s “work hard, play hard” drinking culture. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the total number of alcohol and other drug-related transports almost doubled as compared to 2016-2017, rising from 34 to 64, according to data from Pritma “Mickey” Irizarry, the director of HPAC. Students like Rachel say alcohol abuse has been normalized at the University, creating a “subculture” of students who don’t take binge drinking seriously. “It’s become such a joke, which for me is super painful to see,” Rachel said. “The binge drinking is the saddest thing that I’ve seen at AU and that absolutely is at the core of … how frequently [transports] happen.” How AU’s transport process works An alcohol and other drug-related (AOD) transport occurs when a student is found to be so intoxicated that an AU residence life staff member or AUPD think it’s necessary for the student to be transported via ambulance to the hospital, according to Lisa Freeman, AU’s director of residence life and residential life education. If a student is transported for the first time, AU takes a “wellness” approach and does not document the incident as a conduct violation, according to administrators. Instead, the student must have an educational meeting with HPAC and, on some occasions, meet with the Dean of Students office for a follow-up investigation. “The most important thing is care and concern,” Freeman said. ”We want students to get the help that they need and not be worried about getting in trouble and more about being safe.” Michelle Espinosa, the associate dean of students, said that the procedure for dealing with students who had an AOD transport is almost the same with or without the conduct violation. But, she said, students are more openminded when they know there will not be a conduct violation going on their record. “A student who’s concerned about a conduct record is not going to be

open to discussing and learning what they can do differently next time because they’re going to be so worried and mad about the conduct record,” Espinosa said. Following the increase of transports last year, Irizarry created a new role within HPAC, titled the “coordinator for alcohol and other drug initiatives,” that was filled by Yoo-Jin Kang at the beginning of the fall semester. Previously, transport-related meetings were handled by a staff member with several other duties. Irizarry felt that it was necessary to have a member of HPAC’s team who specifically focused on educating students on alcohol and drug issues on campus. “We know the statistics at AU when it comes to alcohol and drug use,” Irizarry said. “We know that there’s a need for education, awareness, intervention and strategic planning.” Kang said one of her roles is to meet with students after their transports in a non-disciplinary setting. She discusses the events leading up to the transport to make sure there are no other underlying issues that the student is dealing with and also asks how they are coping after the incident. “We don’t want to put Band-Aids on it,” Kang said. “The reality of alcohol misuse is that it’s never just about the alcohol.” Students weigh in on “normalizing” of transports at AU Several students, whose names have been changed to protect their identity, described harrowing experiences during and after their transport experience. Many cited the high financial cost of calling an ambulance to take them to the hospital, which can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 depending on insurance, according to the D.C. Fire and EMS Department. Ryan, a sophomore who was transported last year, said that the bill cost his family $900 and he struggled to pay it off. Emily was a freshman at AU last year, but after a near-death experience and AOD transport from a club, her parents eventually pulled her out of school. She said that the space from alcohol has helped her to stay sober and realize she had become reliant on substance abuse. After taking shots at a D.C. club, Emily became unresponsive and foaming at the mouth outside on a sidewalk, she said. A fellow AU student, who she does not know, took care of her and called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, Emily had to be resuscitated and had an emergency stomach pump at the hospital. “At the time, I thought I was invincible, like nothing can hurt me, nothing can stop me, I’m going to be fine,” Emily said. “But after I was in a hospital and woke up with things in my arm [and] people around me concerned, I realized I’m not invincible. I’m human and you should treat your body the best you can.” Maya Krieger-DeWitt, a sophomore, became responsible for someone who lived on her floor who she only vaguely knew when she walked into a party. She saw the girl being carried out and said she had to stay up very late taking care of the girl and answering questions that she knew little information about. “I would never want to be in a situation where a stranger had to be responsible for me being alive, so I never pushed it remotely to that point,” Krieger-DeWitt said. “[Being transported] is not a solution, like ‘I’m going to drink so much because I’ll just be transported.’” Several students interviewed by The Eagle said that transports became normalized to the point of becoming jokes. Their classmates often referred to an ambulance as the “wonk bus” in reference to the AU shuttles that take students to and from the Tenleytown Metro.


theEAGLE October 2018

“A friend was like ‘my ride is here’ or ‘try to get transported tonight,’” Rachel said. “I kind of laugh along if it’s friends that I don’t know that well, but that’s not OK.” Harry Solomon, a former resident assistant who graduated last May, said any transports by ambulance on AU’s campus are immediately assumed to be alcohol-related. “What I found kind of upsetting is that the sight of the ambulance on campus, especially on the south side of campus, automatically triggered people to think it's for alcohol because no matter what time of day, the assumption is it's for alcohol.” Solomon said. Emily also found the way AU students described transports to be concerning. “The way that the AU community felt about transports very much normalized it to me, but after talking to friends outside of AU and my parents, I realized how uncommon and dangerous getting to that point actually is,” she said. Dissecting AU and the District’s alcohol culture Irizarry and Kang, the HPAC staff members, said there are several factors that play into the use of alcohol and drugs at AU. The University lacks several elements that play into college drinking culture, including large athletic programs and Greek life housing on campus, Irizarry said. AU also does not have a high male-to-female ratio, which often is associated with higher alcohol consumption, Irizarry said. However, according to Irizarry, factors that may increase the use of alcohol and drugs on campus are the University’s proximity to an urban environment and the presence of Greek life. Washington in particular has a reputation of binge drinking, with the highest rate of binge drinkers in the country. According to a 2017 study by the American Addiction Centers, 25.5 percent of D.C. adults say they’ve participated in binge drinking. Irizarry said there’s a normalization of drinking in the young professional culture of the District. There's an image of young professionals that a lot of AU students aspire to be, Irizarry said: attractive, successful and well traveled. Alcohol is a big component of that, she said. Since starting at AU, Kang has noticed the University’s “work hard, play hard” culture that is very much influenced by metropolitan D.C. culture. “D.C. super encourages that -- happy hours after work, young professional happy hours and a lot of companies have free beer and wine in the office if you’re going to internships,” Kang said. “It’s just part of the metropolitan lifestyle.” The stress students face at AU is also part of the equation, Kang said. “It’s about getting ‘effed up,’ but it’s also about working hard, and that sort of makes up for it,” Kang said when describing students’ attitudes about partying culture. “When you’re super stressed, you don’t think as clearly and so the types of coping mechanisms you might go to, you might not think about very holistically.” Kang said that white males are statistically the largest demographic of binge drinkers in the country. While there are more women than men at AU, it is a predominantly white university. This, as well as the way that the “American college experience” is portrayed in the media, can make it feel like high-risk drinking is what everyone does. “‘Oh, everyone throws up or blacks out when they drink.’ That’s not true, but it may feel like that’s what normal behavior is,” Kang said. Sophia, a sophomore who was transported at another university during her freshman year, said her transport experience was caused by exactly that mindset. “My mistake was thinking that having a normal college experience was blacking out and taking things to a level I normally wouldn’t have,” she said. Students are often surprised to hear statistics that the amount of drugs and alcohol students actually consume is considerably lower than what they think it is, Kang said. “Seeing an ambulance is a really loud visual and then people might then assume, ‘Oh that's normal,’ but in reality that might be the exception,” Kang said. Kang said that in the future, she and HPAC are working to address the underlying issues behind binge drinking and drug use, rather than seeing the issue as a “party problem.” “Alcohol use on our campus is including or excluding certain people and setting a certain cultural norm that that maybe we don't want to have,” Kang said.


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AU Dining implements changes to Dining Dollar policies, meal plans Campus dining office also facing ongoing issues with EagleBucks system by Grace George

Food and Fitness Editor

When students arrived on campus in August, they may have noticed a significant change to their campus dining options. Four major campus restaurants — the Megabytes Cafe, Mudbox, American Cafe and Asian Flavors — no longer accepted Dining Dollars, the currency included in AU meal plans that can only be spent at AU Dining locations. This is the first year since the introduction of Dining Dollars in 2011 that AU administrators have not allowed the cafe to accept Dining Dollars, said Tom Gera, who manages and owns the four dining locations. “It was unilateral, totally their decision,” Gera, who has operated Megabytes since 2003, said. “They have told us that ‘if you wanna leave you can leave, but we don’t want to give you Dining Dollars.’” At a Dining Advisory Board Meeting on Sept. 26, Ann Marie Powell, the director of AU’s OneCard and Dining Services, said Gera’s restaurants were never supposed to accept Dining Dollars in the first place. Due to contractual obligations with Aramark — the company that runs most of AU’s dining options, including the Terrace Dining Room and restaurants in the Tavern — and legal policies in place about on-campus vendors, the Megabytes Cafe and the American Cafe are considered third-party locations and are not part of AU’s dining program, Powell said. Independent vendors on campus, like Megabytes, should be regarded as off-campus vendors, Powell said. While “off-campus vendors” cannot take meal swipes or Dining Dollars, any vendor on campus that is associated with AU’s meal program and Aramark can. Gera has his own speculations for why his businesses were denied as Dining Dollars vendors. “I believe … they want to just give more money to Aramark and kick the small businesses and minorities out,” Gera said. “The Auxiliary Services, which are in charge of these [decisions] … want us to not be here.” Over 300 people signed an online petition to “Keep Megabytes on Campus” in early October to show support for Megabytes, what Allison Fernandez called “one of the only decent dining options on campus.” In response to Gera’s complaints, which The Eagle brought to Powell’s attention at the Sept. 26 meeting, Powell said they are not trying to harm Gera’s or anyone else’s businesses. “We are not trying to put anybody out of business,” Powell said. “Dining Dollars is coming from [an] Aramark program [and contract]. We aren’t trying to give them more money.” As the number of Dining Dollars options on campus has shrunk, the dollars’ ability to roll over has also been lost. Any extra Dining Dollars from previous semesters were added to EagleBucks this semester in an attempt at “correcting a wrong,” as Powell called it at the meeting, based on contractual terms. After this semester, however, they will no longer roll over from one academic

year to another. Multiple vendors cite issues with EagleBucks system The EagleBucks system is also facing challenges this semester. The currency can be used at approved off-campus locations, such as Domino’s Pizza or Panera Bread in Tenleytown. According to AU’s list of approved EagleBucks vendors, there are 24 on-campus vendors and 22 off-campus vendors that accept EagleBucks. The Eagle contacted the 19 listed off-campus vendors in September to ask if they accepted EagleBucks, prior to the addition of three more vendors. One vendor, Angelico’s Pizza, said they did not accept EagleBucks. Chipotle Mexican Grill in Tenleytown and Manny and Olga’s Pizza in Georgetown said that their EagleBucks machines were not in service. Four vendors did not answer phone calls about the matter. Blackboard, the third-party company that manages AU’s online educational tools, is also responsible for AU’s EagleBucks program, Powell told The Eagle via email. When the EagleBucks machines malfunction or break, restaurants typically work with Blackboard, not the AU dining office. In response to The Eagle’s findings, Powell contacted the merchants who said they were having issues with the EagleBucks program, she said in an Oct. 4 email. She said the owner of Angelico’s Pizza said their EagleBucks terminal was working and that an employee had been mistaken in telling The Eagle they did not accept EagleBucks. A manager at Tenleytown Chipotle said their EagleBucks machine was working but they have had recurring issues with their machine and network, Powell said. But Manny & Olga’s Pizza has “never had a sale,” Powell said. The IP address they provided for the EagleBucks program was incorrect, she added, and the owner is working to find out the correct IP address. The University’s website will be updated to remove them until they are fully operational, Powell said. “Each merchant is provided with instructions on how to contact the vendor with questions and support for their equipment,” Powell said in an email. Of the 22 off-campus vendors now listed on AU Dining’s website, three are outside of Tenleytown: Manny and Olga’s Pizza in Georgetown, Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street and Sweet Pea’s Soul on Georgia Avenue. “If we wouldn’t have outsourced, our EagleBucks wouldn’t go beyond Tenleytown,” Powell said at the Sept. 26 meeting. Dalerico Skinker, a service manager at Chipotle in Tenleytown, said in midSeptember that the location’s EagleBucks machine only worked for one week over the summer since he started working there six months ago. In the time that he has been a manager at Chipotle, Skinker said he has never spoken to a person at AU about the EagleBucks system because the machine belongs a third-party company. “I’m pretty sure every student has complained,” Skinker said. “If they haven’t done anything about it by now or haven’t even tried to find some type of way to compensate the pay for it, then I don’t think they really care at all. That’s just a personal opinion.” While AU’s dining services will not be a perfect fit for everyone, Powell said, the office continues to work with AU students. “Will we be able to meet everyone’s needs? Probably not,” Powell said at the Sept. 26 meeting. “But we need to try.” Powell cited new options in the East Campus POD as an example of the University’s work with students. The POD is meant to fill the gap that Whole Foods left while the dining office looks for a new supermarket to partner with. Lindsey Rickards, a marketing manager for Aramark at AU, has also worked with the AU OneCard and Dining Services office to implement more technology in an attempt to make lines move faster and create a more efficient dining experience for students. She said that the kiosks at Einstein’s take away one line and a new app, “Tapingo,” allows for students to avoid lines entirely. Since AU is nearing the end of their current two-year budget plan, the Dining Services office will seek student feedback in order to help them shape a new plan, Powell said at the meeting. They are working on a website that will allow students to give feedback on their experiences with AU dining options. Before this survey system is up and running, Powell encouraged students seeking to voice their concerns about dining services on and off campus to attend the AU Dining Advisory Board’s meetings. These meetings take place on the last Wednesday of every month in TDR. The board opens the floor to questions for Powell, Rickards, Purdie and other figures such as Assistant Director of Dining Services Keesha Ceran and Director of Operations Turq Daniels. “Student feedback will be crucial to how dining is formed during the next budget,” Powell said on Sept. 26. “Your voice should be the loudest on campus.”








Kelly McDonnell contributed to this report.



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AU launches five-year music and education program Staff Writer

At the beginning of the fall semester, small posters appeared on bulletin boards in the Katzen Arts Center. Their purpose: to advertise the new five-year degree music and education program offered through the Department of Performing Arts and the School of Education. Students in the program will graduate with a master’s degree in teaching and a bachelor’s degree in music, said music program director Nancy Snider, who crafted the new program alongside School of Education lecturer Carolyn Parker. “We don’t want to emulate the big state schools,” Snider said. “We had to ask what music education in the 21st century looks like, and more specifically, what should 21st century music education in a liberal arts setting like AU’s look like?” Parker said Snider has designed a “boutique” program that will prepare students to be music educators that fit the “diversity we see in schools today.” The new program launched this fall, and there is one student currently enrolled, according to Snider. Snider’s goal is to get at least three students enrolled per graduating class. Senior Daniel Sohn, a current student in the music program, said the degree is a welcome addition to the department. “I think it’s a great idea to have a music and education program,” Sohn said. “[It’s a] neat hybrid that will hopefully convince more students to join our program.” The five-year program allows students to focus on nontraditional forms of teaching music to low-income, at-risk kids. It’s an initiative Snider is calling “Reach to Teach,” though she hasn’t coined the title just yet. “I think this [program] will benefit K-12 students who haven’t had access to music education,” Parker said. “Most high-need schools tend to cut arts programs.” AU’s music program has already been partnering with music education programs such as Sitar Arts Center in Dupont Circle and S’Cool Sounds, which works with children in New York City and Nairobi. The new five-year program is a long-term initiative that will immerse AU students in music education service, Snider said. Sophomore music student Oliver Hunter has been volunteering with Sitar since his freshman year. He said working with Sitar Arts Center connected his education with his

service. “Sitar has been an incredible experience that has really ingrained core skills and values into me that will last a lifetime,” Hunter said. Snider said these internships are intrinsic to the program because they will provide students with the chance to build core skills and values needed to teach music to diverse students whose schools don’t have music programs. “My dream is that while students are getting their bachelor of arts in music, they have internships with these service programs,” Snider said. “When they get their master’s, they have a fellowship with D.C. public schools and can keep serving through their music.”


by Kelly McDonnell

We need to … keep our fingers on the pulse of the students of today. -Nancy Snider, Music Program Director


By interning throughout the program, AU students will receive teaching experience by sharing something they love, and kids in D.C. will earn music skills that they may not have received in school, Snider said. The program will create “total musicians” who can learn across borders and teach across borders, Snider said. Parker said this program “won’t just be for the marching band teacher,” but rather for the students who want to focus on education issues from a broader perspective. Students who will benefit most from the program are ones who are “interested in service [and] education policy” and who want to “give back” and “share joy,” Snider said. The complexity of liberal arts students have changed, Snider said, which is why she thinks the degree program will be beneficial. “We need to … keep our fingers on the pulse of the students of today,” Snider said.

Professor, alumna collaborate to debut ‘Humanities Truck’ Project aims to bring humanities to the public, tell oral histories of D.C. citizens by Kathryn Forth

Contributing Writer

sionally. It became abundantly clear that I had to use art in my professional career,” she said. Kerr said he approached Chemi Montes, one of the professors who heads the graphic design program, for a student to design the exterior of the truck. Montes recommended Thaw. “It’s like when you make pasta and the water starts boiling and you put the pasta in and bubbles start coming out. That’s Carly [Thaw]’s energy, there is no way you can cover that up,” Montes said. Thaw then submitted her portfolio and after an interview with Kerr, she was hired to work on the design of the truck. “We liked this idea of hearts and brains and circulation,” Kerr said. “It’s very subtle. You wouldn’t notice it from just looking at it, it doesn’t just immediately come out.” Kerr told Thaw that he wanted the design to be pattern-focused and “crowded.” She immediately thought of using a map design to create this effect. “I really love maps and I always have,” Thaw said. “The fact that that could potentially be incorporated was super exciting for me specifically.” The truck’s map incorporates Southeast and some of the less focused-on areas in D.C. It serves both as a captivating image, as well as a representation of circulation. The truck’s first project was on Sept. 9 at Adams Morgan Day, a popular festival in the District. There are many projects that Kerr and others envision for the future of the Humanities Truck. One such project, he said, includes using a digital projector to project older, historic photographs onto current landscapes in D.C. communities. “What we are really doing is engaging in a collaborative process of the creation and production of research and scholarship,” Kerr said.

Dan Kerr, an AU history professor, pointed to a pile of boxes in his office. The boxes contain the furniture for his pet project: a truck meant to tell the stories of all kinds of people in D.C. in an effort to extend the humanities to the public. Kerr hopes to reach many different communities in D.C. using his “Humanities Truck.” The furniture will help make the Humanities Truck an area of both “dwelling and mobility,” he said. Community members and the homeless can “hang out” in the truck’s furniture and around its pop-up tent, allowing for conversations and looking at how people are “engaging in the humanities in their everyday lives.” The Humanities Truck contains a built-in TV and an oral history studio as well as pop-up exhibit space. Using these features, Kerr, the director of the project, and other collaborators can take photographs in local communities and record oral histories of the residents and homeless population. Kerr first came up with the idea for the truck in January 2014. Much of Kerr’s inspiration for this truck came from his previous work with homeless people, as well as from the History Truck, a project with similar ambitions in Philadelphia. Kerr hopes his project will take that concept further. “It was, in some ways, a different project,” Kerr said. “And because it was run by one [master’s] student, it wasn’t really a very high-tech truck. It would go out and use some similar ideas of engaging local communities on local history.” Carly Thaw, a recent AU graduate, designed the exterior of the Humanities Truck. Thaw used her graphic design skills for the project after deciding to pursue graphic design her sophomore year. “As college went on, I had to start making choices about what path to take profes-


theEAGLE October 2018


Audio technology professor Braxton Boren hopes to "build a bridge to the past" by recreating the conditions in which Bach wrote his most famous compositions.

Professor uses grant to recreate the world of Bach Braxton Boren’s research combines acoustics, history and computer science by Delilah Harvey Staff Writer

“In My Feelings” or “Toccata and Fugue in D minor?” Most students will know the former, a recent hit by the best-selling rapper Drake, and only a select few will know the latter, a classic organ piece written by renowned composer Johann Sebastian Bach. That’s where Braxton Boren, an audio technology professor at AU, comes in. In a time of heavily mixed digital music, Boren wants more people to pay attention to Bach and the compositions he created centuries ago. Boren was recently awarded a $50,000 dollar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct a research project on “the sound” of Bach. In his research, Boren brings together fields such as acoustics, history, archaeology, architectural history and computer science to recreate Bach’s sound as the composer himself heard it. Although other influential composers like Beethoven or Mozart achieved greater fame in their lifetimes, Bach’s influence cannot be understated, according to Boren. “People like Beethoven were studying Bach,” Boren said. “They learned and were very influenced by him. I see him as a foundational figure and one that was very tied to a specific place and a specific space.” Bach spent the last 27 years of his life in Leipzig, Germany. While there, he composed pieces for two churches, although he liked the Thomaskirche — known in English as the St. Thomas Church — best, Boren said. A key element of Boren’s project includes studying in the St. Thomas Church in order to recreate how Bach heard his compositions as he wrote them. “Before people had a way to record sound, sound

was lost,” Boren said. “So if we can understand the acoustic system of the church, we can figure out more of what the sound would have been like even if it was hundreds of years in the past.” In order to do this, Boren and his team will start in a calibration stage. They will go to the church, take acoustic measurements in the space and build a computer model that is reverse engineered to give the same acoustic “response” as the church. The computer model will then become a tool that gives them a sense of what it would have sounded like to play music in the church, and investigate how that sound influenced Bach’s compositions. One element they will measure is the walls. Boren said that some plasters reflect sound more, causing sound to bounce off the walls and create certain sound effects, such as reverberation in a big cathedral. Other plasters absorb sound more, causing some sound to be lost upon impact. In this way, each aspect of the space, from the obvious to the seemingly insignificant, has an effect on sound. Boren’s interdisciplinary team includes historians, architectural historians, archaeologists and acousticians, as well as his colleague Rogerio Naressi in the AU audio technology department. Boren is also employing the assistance of one of his graduate students, Jack Anthony. Boren said he usually includes past research into his teachings, especially that of graduate level audio technology classes. However, this particular project will include current research and thus, will provide audio technology Anthony with hands-on experience. “It’s been a great pleasure to work for Professor Boren,” Anthony said. “I admire his ability to design a project that is rigorous and interdisciplinary in equal measure. Musicologists, historians, acousticians, architects, archaeologists and virtual reality engineers can

all glean something from his work.” The insights from the experts on his team will be especially important after the computational phase, when the project then turns its attention to the past. Boren said that by adapting an archaeological process — termed “acoustic archaeology” — and working with architectural historians, the computer model can be changed to reflect how differences in values, like sound absorption, would have sounded like to Bach. “We do all of that based on our best historical knowledge,” Boren said. “If we have historical details wrong, if we put in the wrong kind of floor or something like that, then we could get it wrong.” Boren will also use historical context to further explain changes of the sound in the church over time. When theology from Martin Luther changed a political affiliation, it caused the Lutherans to take over the city and expel the Catholics. They made changes to the architecture of a space for the purpose of speaking in the style of Lutheran sermons, Boren said. As a result, they also changed the acoustics for music, influencing Bach to compose music that influences consequent composers and Western music today. By the end of this project, Boren and his team hope to create a website where people can upload their recordings and apply a filter that would play what the audio would have sounded like in the St. Thomas Church during Bach’s life in the early to mid-1700s. Through his grant, Boren will show that there is no such thing as music on its own. Music is situated in the context of social, political, and historical factors. While some sound may be “lost,” Boren’s interdisciplinary research will allow for it to be found. “We are basically building a bridge to the past,” Boren said.




Senior Sam Fromkin, left, and junior Blaine Johnson, right, hope their creation of a group for LGBTQ+ athletes wil attract more students to commit to AU.

Swimmers seek to improve AU’s environment for LGBTQ+ athletes Students feel athletic department needs to “directly get involved” when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues by Mohamad Hashash Staff Writer

LGBTQ+ athletes, past and present, have had to hide their sexualities due to the stigma they may face both inside and outside of the locker room. Being a non-heterosexual athlete comes with several obstacles, including harassment and discrimination from teams and fans, being labeled as distractions and feeling like a distinct minority among teammates. Gender roles and societal norms play into the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ athletes, said Blaine Johnson, a junior on AU’s swimming and diving team and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. “Society, at times, paints this picture that to be an athlete or a jock as a male, you need to carry and present yourself in certain ways,” Johnson said. “A lot of times, society thinks that to be ‘macho,’ if you will, one needs to be very straight-acting. The way society tries to dictate how each gender should act carries over to how coaches, teammates, and fans act.” Research shows that those societal pressures take their toll on student-athletes. A 2012 study by the advocacy group Campus Pride found that LGBTQ+ student-athletes “generally experienced a more negative climate than their heterosexual peers, which adversely influenced their athletic identities and reports of academic success.” That’s part of the reason why Johnson and his team-

mate, senior Sam Fromkin, are working to bring Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to creating LGBTQ+ inclusive athletic environments, to AU. One of Johnson’s main goals is to come together with prominent members of AU’s athletic department to create policies for students who are “sexual minorities or gender minorities.” “There’s a lack of evident LGBTQ+ policy in our athletic department, and while they have been extremely welcoming, I think they could take it one step farther and create policies so that LGBTQ+ athletes know that they are welcome at American,” Johnson said. “Having those policies upfront and without people having to look too hard for them would just create a better atmosphere.” While acts of discrimination toward AU’s LGBTQ+ student-athletes may not be apparent at the surface level, they do exist, Fromkin said. “I know firsthand,” Fromkin said. “Oppression against the LGBTQ+ community will exist, so our goal is to foster positivity and support in all aspects, whether it's in the pool, in the classroom, or at home with teammates.” Fromkin would like Athlete Ally to address issues such as dating advice and how to make friends, which can be more challenging for LGBTQ+ members due to the discrimination they face. “Being a student-athlete is tough, so we want to be able to connect with people who are also athletes and part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally to find a

sense of community in the athletic department,” Fromkin said. While the Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers good resources for LGBTQ+ students, Johnson said, issues within the athletic department are referred to the CDI office instead of being handled internally. Athena Argyropoulos, AU’s senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, said AU’s athletic department is “very inclusive.” Argyropoulos, who has worked for the AU athletics administration team for over 11 years, is responsible for checking on student-athletes’ personal welfare, which includes looking after athletes’ day-to-day lives and ensuring that players and coaches receive equitable treatment, she said. “We work in conjunction with AU’s LGBTQ+ and minority services,” Argyropoulos said. “I make sure that all of our athletes feel comfortable and know that we have an open door policy here.” In the past, Argyropoulos said she has worked together with student-athletes and LGBTQ+ resources on campus in order to improve allyship and inclusion within AU athletics. She added that Johnson and Fromkin had approached her about forming a group for LGBTQ+ athletes and allies. Argyropoulos said she believes that reform surrounding LGBTQ+ athletes and their comfort embracing their identity needs to stem from coaching staffs and the NCAA as a whole. The NCAA holds Title IX training sessions with college athletic departments, mainly focused on sexual violence policy, and the University is compliant with NCAA, Patriot League and university rules, she said. Getting more involved directly with recruits would help LGBTQ+ students acclimate better to campus life, Fromkin said. He said there is “definitely” room for improvement that can come from within to better support these athletes, including a possible new position in the athletic department that would address diversity issues. “I feel that the presence of Athlete Ally on our campus will definitely attract more LGBTQ+ student athletes to commit to AU, especially if they are still trying to find their identity,” Fromkin said. “Even having a person who can talk to recruits and directly get involved with LGBTQ+ and diversity in general would make such a difference.” Though LGBTQ+ athletes at AU have begun to organize, there is not widespread representation of LGBTQ+ athletes in college athletics or major sports leagues. Minnesota United midfielder and D.C.-native Collin Martin publicly came out as gay in June, becoming Major League Soccer’s only gay player active in the league and second openly gay player in its history. Johnson said that Martin’s message is a positive one and shows that there has been progress in professional sports, though there’s still more work to be done. “It shows that we are slowly moving in the right direction and that athletics as a whole is starting to become more inclusive,” Johnson said. “I think that it shows to athletes at all different levels and of different ages that it's OK to be gay or be different in sports. You're still an athlete and you can still compete at a very high level, obviously in Martin’s case, at the professional level.”


theEAGLE October 2018

Playing the long game All-female women’s basketball coaching staff enters sixth year, possibly third championship-winning season together by Kimberly Cataudella

Managing Editor for Sports

Can eating chocolate bars and caramel and cheddar popcorn straight from a three-gallon tin every night translate to winning two Patriot League championship titles? For the women's basketball team coaching staff, which has been together for an uncommon six years, the answer is a hard yes. “Our whole first year, we ate popcorn and chocolate for dinner because we were here until 8 o’clock every night,” said Emily Stallings, one of the assistants for AU women’s basketball. “We’re probably still suffering some repercussions from that first year.” But the team is not suffering from a lack of tournament berths or coaching accolades. The Eagles’ three assistant coaches have worked with AU’s head coach, Megan Gebbia, since each of them were in college. She was their coach then, and she is their boss now. Despite having different coaching styles, they’ve managed to form tight relationships with one another and their recruits, so much so that players FaceTime the coaching staff on a regular basis. “They don’t call, they don’t text, they FaceTime,” said assistant coach Nikki Flores, cracking up alongside fellow assistant Tiffany Coll. “Indeya [Sanders] FaceTimed me last week and said, ‘Hey Coach Nikki, got scissors upstairs?’ Like, I’m already down on the court.” Gebbia and assistant coaches Coll, Flores and Stallings go way back. Flores played for Marist College when Gebbia was the associate head coach there from 2005 to 2008, and Stallings followed Flores at Marist from 2008 to 2012. Stallings played under Gebbia at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County from 1999 to 2003 when Gebbia was an assistant coach. “It was pretty easy to come up with the names of the people that we wanted to hire,” Gebbia said. “We didn’t ‘work together,’ but we kind of worked together in the sense of player-coach, so it was easy for me to see what they did in their careers after graduating, what they’ve accomplished, and also knowing the as players and getting to know their personalities [as a coach].” Now that the four are working together — marking their sixth year as a unit in August — the intimate knowledge goes both ways: Flores knows that

her boss has a sweet tooth, recalling how she ordered “the sweet potatoes that make your teeth fall out” when they went out for dinner following a day for recruiting in Louisville, Kentucky. Coll and Gebbia know that Flores’ mom passed on her love of shoes (specifically stiletto heels) to her daughter. Coll, who serves as the top, or first, assistant coach, works with the post players during practices, keeps track of fouls and timeouts during games and

illnesses and injuries. “I’ve been told it’s my calming presence,” Stallings said, joking that Flores is the one who gets the dislocated fingers, of which there have been quite a few. Gebbia noted that Stallings and Flores have the “all ears” personality types, while Coll “will tell you the truth, and she won’t sugarcoat it.” Gebbia wants Stallings and Flores to be more demanding of their players and practice putting their feet down more frequently. That’s

Photo courtesy of Nikki Flores

Current AU women's basketball head coach Megan Gebbia, center in white, stands for a team photo with one of her current assistants, Nikki Flores, to her immediate right, when Flores was a player at Marist College in 2008. heads compliance paperwork in the team’s upstairs office. Flores, AU’s second assistant coach, is the recruiting coordinator and works with combination guards. “Can I also say yelling?” she asked her colleagues while naming her responsibilities. They unanimously agreed. Stallings, the third assistant head coach, heads the wing players, who she calls “the big guards,” and acts as a liaison for academic personnel. She reluctantly considers herself “the team mom,” saying she’s the go-to coach for crying,

what head coaches have to do, Gebbia said, and all three assistants hope to someday be head coaches. Still, Gebbia sees value in her staff ’s differences. “I think we all balance each other out well,” Gebbia said. “If we had all Tiffs or all Nikki and Emilys, we wouldn't be in the situation we’re in with the winning because you have to have different things brought to the table.” The head coach sees Coll as being the closest to becoming a head coach out of the three, since Coll is her first assistant.

“If I had my druthers, I wouldn't label them,” Gebbia said. “If I had it my way, I would probably pay them all the same, maybe a little bit more for some more experience, but I don’t like the hierarchy of assistants.” The four have bought into superstitions in their years working together, such as the need to watch “Dateline” when they have to be in the office on a Friday night. Coll needs a specific pen on game days, and Flores has to write the name of each referee on the corner of the clipboard for Gebbia to see, even though she knows them all by heart. Gebbia consistently prays during the national anthem. When the team wins at Colgate University, a Patriot League opponent, everyone goes out for celebratory ice cream at Gilligan’s, which has been Flores’ hook up since she worked at Colgate for under a year. Stallings said the flavor of choice is “Raider’s Passion,” cake batter ice cream with crushed Oreo and red velvet cake. While the wins may not correlate to the ice cream shop, Gebbia said the team has yet to skip a visit, as they’ve won every game at Colgate – “even in our worst seasons.” The Food Network also has to be on in Flores and Coll’s shared hotel room when the team travels, as the two typically bunk together on the road. “I get concerned when I come in on game days and [Coll is] doing her hair and the Food Network isn’t on,” Flores said. Flores is the self-proclaimed (and staff-confirmed) foodie of the group, Yelp-ing and binge-watching “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” to find their onthe-road meals. The four agree that their favorite meal together thus far has been Gebbia’s cousin’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, Il Cielo, where the team shared their pre-NCAA Tournament meal in style. The worst meal: that popcorn and chocolate, every night for weeks. Gebbia credits their success to her staff ’s diversity on all fronts. “You always want to hire people like yourself, and you don’t have to do that to be successful, at least that’s the case for us,” Gebbia said. “I don’t see them as staff, I see them as friends. That’s probably bad, but it’s been working for us, and it works for me.”


theEAGLE October 2018


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Column: Is AU volleyball secretly the San Antonio Spurs? by Spencer Nusbaum Sports Columnist

If you were to personify sports teams as babysitters, there is a short list of teams with whom you’d trust to watch your baby. Let’s name this baby “W.” Anything you throw at the babysitter, you feel like they could handle. Even if the sitter is off their game, even if they’re dealing with injuries, or even if, say, their residency was fire-adjacent, you still feel like you could trust them to consistently bring home the W. These babysitters are your New England Patriots, your San Antonio Spurs and your UConn Huskies. On Sept. 30, American University volleyball proved it belonged on that list. Because if there’s a blueprint to beat AU, the Patriot League has yet to figure it out. American headed into the Sept. 30 game against Navy off eight days of rest, with an additional delay due to deal the previous day’s fire and subsequent power outages. As with all Patriot League matchups, the extenuating circumstances didn’t particularly matter for the Eagles. And that should absolutely terrify the rest of the Patriot League. Opposing teams have capitalized this season off of AU’s slow starts, a particular area of concern for head coach Barry Goldberg. The fire only exaggerated the difficulty for the Eagles heading into the first set. But a clean start by AU (and inversely so for Navy) set the tone of the game early, which was a nice change of pace for Goldberg. “I was concerned about our preparation,” Goldberg said. “On [Sept. 29], we didn’t practice, we didn’t play. We haven’t played in [eight] days, and they played on Friday night. It’s not easy to all of a sudden get right back into match mode, and I was really pleased with our team coming out in set one.” Navy also had the opportunity to take advantage of an uncharacteristically

pedestrian game from senior outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala. The reigning Patriot League MVP had 12 kills to go along with 11 errors, including six service errors. But, as was the theme for the Eagles, it didn’t particularly matter. Until proven otherwise, sophomore outside hitter Helena Elbaek is now the greatest volleyball player on the planet. Elbaek had 20 kills and recorded just one error, and she registered a number of momentum shifting plays. Elbaek was particularly strong at the end of AU’s crucial third set, registering the final kill of the closelycontested match. The game had all the makings of an upset. And yet, the Eagles gave off this stoic, Spurs-ian confidence, visibly resetting after every single point. The Eagles didn’t repeat their mistakes – Navy did. They simply played better fundamental volleyball. There was no Golden State Warriors apathetic vibe behind the win. It was very much the San Antonio Spurs, confidence justified behind two decades of success vibe. Goldberg knows that Navy is a formidable opponent and acknowledged their strengths as a team. “I’m sure they’ll be waiting for us in a few weeks to go back to them,” Goldberg said. “We’ll see how we fare against the other teams in the meantime – they’ve already played a couple of the good teams in our league, and they beat them.” But it’s clear that the Eagles are again favorites to repeat as Patriot League champions. AU never looked rattled against their strongest in-conference opponent. So if this was a high-obstacle game for Goldberg’s Eagles, the Patriot League should be shaking in anticipation. Spencer Nusbaum is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and a sports columnist for The Eagle.



College is about finding your tribe Allow yourself time to figure out your place in AU community most stressful yet most fun time of your life. I learned very early on that I had to throw out any expectations. College is supposed to be like a rollercoaster, at least in the beginning. One minute, you’re cool, calm and collected. The next, you wake up at 7:55 a.m. with 15 minutes to make it to your 8:10 class. In the end, though, college is the time to figure out who you are. It’s about by Emma Greenberg finding your tribe, or what everyone Staff Columnist calls these “lifelong friends.” So far, after a bit of a lonely WelMy reason for attending to AU is come Week — with the exception of my probably just about as stereotypical as roommate — I have managed to make one can get. I came here for the School a few good friends. While I am still of Communication, more specifically trying to fully determine what my pasthe journalism program. The school’s sions are, I think I am going to find my location in Washington was also certainly a factor. My experience so far here, potential tribe writing for The Eagle. Like everyone at The Eagle, I love though, has really surprised me. journalism. How’s that for a shared Coming in, I expected college to be interest? All of my friends and family like how my older peers described it: the

know that I often have an opinion on everything, so they were happy to hear of my current position as a staff columnist in the opinion section. However, the process of finding my tribe has not come without challenges. In college, the initial major difference is there aren’t any parents. It’s great because this means that I can keep whatever hours I want and not have to worry about a curfew. However, no parents also means no one is there to hold me accountable or to take care of me when I’m sick, which could really have come in handy during my first month of classes. Whether we acknowledged it before or not, our parents help keep us healthy and motivated. Now, I am responsible for handling my coursework, health, social life and community involvement. College is the most stressful and

greatest time of one’s life. I hope to meet those lifelong friends that everyone talks about, but I also hope that I don’t run out of dining dollars by the end of the week. My hopes and aspirations are kind of all over the place, just like everyone’s opinions about wonk jokes. But the one thing that is grounding me is that I have found a potential community on campus at The Eagle. It’s OK if that community changes with my changing interests. What is important is that every freshman, in their own way, allows themselves the space and time to be an active part of the vast community that is AU. Emma Greenberg is a freshman in the School of Communication and a staff columnist for The Eagle.

New campus construction projects are worthwhile for future ground steam lines. The message from the university has been straightforward. This is all part of a commitment to being environmentally friendly. This is all part of giving our science departments the facilities they deserve. This is all part of making American University its best version of itself. This construction won’t be ending anytime soon. The new steam heating by Samantha McAllister system is a two-year project. The Hall Staff Columnist of Science has an completion date of July 2020, according to David Dower, Quadding has become a little bit Assistant Vice President of Planning harder thanks to the chain link fence and and Project Management. Furthermore, machinery that seems to have taken over the heating system will continue to take AU’s campus. The library and Watkins out sections of the main quad as the buildings are obstructed and the area project goes on, making all those sunny behind Letts-Anderson as well as the days spent in a hammock more difficult. Asbury parking lot are blocked. The AU Students have not been shy in complaincampus, typically ranked as one of the ing about the effects of the construction most beautiful, is now under siege by on their daily lives, or about how current large construction equipment, ditches students may not particularly benefit and, yes, those mazes of fencing. from these projects. The process started last year, with For most students, especially those work on “The Beach” (the formerly grassy who do not have physical disabilities, the area beside the McKinley building) and construction is minor inconvenience. one side of the Letts-Anderson quad. Yes, it is unattractive. Yes, it is harder Now it has spread to other areas of camto get to the library. And yes, getting to pus, most notably right in front of Bender Watkins is a trip. At the end of the day, it Library. Piles of pipes and dirt now greet is just an inconvenience that the school students and visitors as they walk onto has done their best to address. No one the quad. likes to hear this cliché, but it could be Every student, faculty and staff memmuch worse. ber has been told why this is happening: This isn’t building for the sake of the new Hall of Science and new underbuilding — the time has come for these

improvements. The new steam pipe system is going to heat the campus more efficiently. All those cold winter nights when the showers in Letts just couldn’t seem to get warm will hopefully be a thing of the past. The system is also good for the planet, according to university officials. A 50 percent reduction in campus carbon usage, and a decrease in fossil fuel consumption are serious steps towards a greener campus. This is a project that needed to happen; we can all maneuver around the construction for two years. And the Hall of Science is no vanity project. Anyone who has been to Hurst or Beeghly Halls knows the demand is serious for updated science labs. If you think it isn’t necessary because AU is just “political science,” then here’s an update: science is the fastest growing undergraduate area of study at AU. The University has fallen behind in providing the necessary classroom space and updated facilities for science majors. It’s past time that the sciences were given an updated building, so that students and faculty alike can conduct their work into the emerging frontiers of the sciences. It is hard to deny that these are improvements for AU. Especially taking into account the University’s fall to 78 in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings this year, it is clear that the campus needs to improve for future generations of AU students. Students want

schools committed to the environment. Students want decent science classes and top-notch facilities. These are literally concrete steps to pushing AU to be a better campus. These are improvements from which not every student will benefit, though. The steam construction still has 11 months left and the Hall of Science has years. Many current students may just see the difficulty of campus construction, with no tangible benefit to them. It is easy to only look at how these projects make your life harder right now than look at how they will make someone else’s life easier in five or ten years. However, students should want better for the next class and next generation. Working for a better AU, at the level of student life, administration, or facilities should be a shared goal. Everyone can do something to make this a better place. The new steam pipe system and Hall of Science are real facility improvements, and the Hall of Science especially will improve the lives of future students. AU should be a better campus and university than it was for us; we can make sure it is. Samantha McAllister is a sophomore in the School of International Service and a columnist at The Eagle.


theEAGLE October 2018

AU wants students to vote in midterms this November University does its part to increase Generation Z voter participation

by Stephanie Mirah Staff Columnist

I remember the feeling the first time I voted. It was during the 2016 presidential election. I remember confidently walking into my Pennsylvania voting center, bubbling the ballot in by hand and feeding it through an electronic machine to ensure it counted. I remember being thanked for doing my civic duty. Despite being distraught in the days that followed, on Nov. 8, 2016, I remember feeling powerful. Why wouldn’t someone want that feeling of power? After I arrived at AU the following September, I was convinced that I found not just a few students, but an entire student body who cared deeply about all things politics, including voting. That’s

why when I heard about the Eagles Elect initiative that launched this September, “to help students, faculty, staff, and alumni register to vote, receive election reminders, and get absentee ballots,” I was confused. The idea of our University promoting voting appeared patronizing to me, especially because I assumed that everyone at AU would inevitably vote. The Princeton Review did not give us our title of “most politically active students” for us to turn around and not vote in the midterms in November. We all know that it’s good to vote because it induces needed change. My quick assumption was soon challenged, however, by my own life. When I arrived on campus this year, I will admit that I didn't know the necessary steps for applying for an absentee ballot or if I was even still eligible. After extensive research, multiple calls to my mom and purchasing a $0.75 envelope and stamp from the on-campus UPS store, I sent in the form to receive my absentee ballot. Through the entire process, I kept thinking that if I didn’t have a computer, if I didn’t have a voting-aware mother, if I didn’t have money to spare on printing,

an envelope and a stamp, I wouldn’t be able to vote. It is ignorant and privileged of me to overlook the numerous obstacles that keep people from voting each election. Not everyone is equally granted that powerful feeling from casting a ballot because we are not all provided with the same tools. Now, with Eagles Elect, we have an initiative assisting us in the registration process, and we should, therefore, feel obligated to perform our civic duty while remembering not all Americans have the same access to this right. While voting is good for our country, it is not always easy. The University recognizes this and is willing to help their students combat the obstacles. AU’s initiative is run through Democracy Works, whose mission is to “make voting a simple, seamless experience for all Americans so that no one misses an election.” By implementing Eagles Elect, American is announcing their active role in changing the statistic that only 50 percent of eligible 18-29-year-olds voted in the 2016 presidential election. This voting activism narrative is not an original idea. This summer, the Parkland students who were affected by a

tragic school shooting this past February traveled on a voting tour to encourage those in Generation Z to vote by holding registration events across the country. If so many people and institutions are working to make sure we vote, I believe that perhaps the power I felt voting for the first time is a force worth reckoning with, a force we can utilize for good. Now that we have been provided with an opportunity through Eagles Elect to ensure our vote counts, it is up to us to actually use the resource. I encourage everyone to follow Eagles Elect on Twitter to receive helpful tips on how to access TurboVote and other information regarding on-campus events. The University can promote and tweet endlessly about voting, but unless we choose to remain passionate and concerned, nothing will change. No initiative can require you to care. Let’s vote! Stephanie Mirah is a sophomore in the School of Communication and a columnist for The Eagle.

Staff Editorial

D.C.’s drinking culture is hurting too many students’ wellbeing AU must take more proactive role in addressing unsafe alcohol consumption Many factors entice students to come to American University. Chiefly among them, the university’s location in our nation’s capital allows for nearly unlimited access to a wide array of resources and opportunities. Additionally, students get to experience D.C. culture, noted for its vibrancy, but also for its “work hard, play hard” mentality. Recent data given to The Eagle by the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center (HPAC) and the forces us to consider the impact that this work hard, play hard mentality may be having upon students’ drinking habits. As The Eagle recently reported, D.C. has the highest rate of binge drinkers in the country. According to a 2017 study, 25.5 percent of D.C. adults say they’ve participated in binge drinking. Students themselves are not immune to this drinking culture, and it starts as early as Welcome Week. AU’s campus community, specifically underclassmen, is suffering from the effects of binge drinking as well as its correlation to issues of sexual assault and abuse.

Firstly, Welcome Week sets a precedent of unstructured free time and access to alcohol that new students can carry into the semester. Secondly, though the University understands an abstinence approach to alcohol does not work, students still fear conduct code violations and punishment to the point that they consume alcohol too quickly and in dangerous circumstances. Social life events in particular promote the over-consumption of alcohol. These include embassy events, Greek life and other off-campus parties. During Welcome Week, it is almost unofficial tradition for students, often women, to be picked up from the Letts-Anderson quad for off-campus events. Beyond Welcome Week, access to alcohol remains generally controlled by and accessible through off-campus vendors and social life events. While it is clear that minors are legally barred from consuming alcohol, there must be more positive representations of alcohol and its responsible consumption on campus. This can be accomplished by investing more heavily in counseling space for

those affected by alcohol and drug-related incidents as well as continued promotion of HPAC resources. While numerous university-sponsored events vie for students’ attention during Welcome Week, the amount of unstructured free time given to students during this time exceeds that of many other universities. Many students appreciate the time provided to get settled into their new home. Others, however, get caught up in the “fear of missing out” complex and lack the forthcoming skills of time management provided in AUx1 Core curriculum. There are resources in place to assist students should they overconsume, but there aren’t any spaces in which the University can exert its influence on consumption. After this timeframe has passed, students’ understanding of alcohol has already been shaped. This hamstrings AUx1’s curriculum and other university resources from having an effective impact. We cannot afford to continue to allow students to rely upon their DIY, experimental understanding of alcohol rather than an understanding shaped by

literature and professional guidance. The Eagle supports AU’s transition to a “damp” campus policy in 2016. We support the wellness approach to alcohol and other drugs incidents. But it has become clear that these policies must be accompanied by further institutional action, like HPAC’s new coordinator position for alcohol and other drug initiatives. The Eagle urges AU to assume a share of increased responsibility over the distribution of alcohol to students. Otherwise, this responsibility will remain in the hands of other entities who do not have the responsibility or capacity to protect students’ wellbeing. Being in Washington means taking a proactive stance to combat some of the negative effects of the work hard, play hard culture — the same culture that continues to hurt too many students during their first few weeks, and later years, at AU.

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