Page 1

The Northerner The Independent Student-Run Newspaper of NKU Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Ed. 51 Is. 10

SGA senator pushes for LGBTQ center on campus Emily Hodges Contributing writer Abby Gross, SGA senator and Student Rights Committee Chair, is campaigning for the creation of an LGBTQ center at NKU. Her efforts were pushed forward when SGA passed the resolution asking for a center April 1. Now this resolution will go to the Office of Student Affairs, work its way up to new Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Gitau, and ultimately be voted on by the NKU Board of Regents. In the midst of last week’s Student Government elections and classes, Gross continued pushing for an LGBTQ Center specifically in her resolution instead of a multicultural diversity center, based on students’ needs. A diversity center would be for African American, Latino and international students as well as the LGBTQ community. African American Affairs and Latino Student Affairs currently have offices. “But there’s nothing for the LGBTQ community,” Gross explained. Gross said this is a great time to bring a LGBTQ center to NKU for several reasons, including student requests, faculty and staff recommendations that students would benefit from it, a new university president and Gitau, who is coming from Southern Illinois University, where the university already has a LGBTQ Resource Center in place.

for plants

Professor with a PASSION Maggie Pund Staff writer

Hidden away in a corner of the first floor of NKU’s Science Center, unknown to most students, is a professor surrounded each day by about 40,000 preserved biological specimens. Many students might not know the herbarium director and many might not be aware of the work she does to keep the university from closing this place of preservation, which seems to be the current trend of universities across the country. Continuously working to preserve the pieces of a field in decline, Maggie Whitson has been fighting for a decade to support a continued interest in botany and to make sure the herbarium stays relevant to the university. In 2003, Whitson landed what she described as her dream job as a professor and employer of

Photo by Maggie Pund

Maggie Whitson (pictured) examined a viral culture in her microbiology class. Whitson also runs the campus herbarium.

the herbarium at NKU. Very unique to a university the size of NKU, the John W. Thieret Herbarium has been a part of NKU’s campus for 40 years. “[One of my goals] is to make sure the herbarium stays a relevant part of the university and not be phased out as has happened at so many other schools,” Whitson said. Botanists are currently fighting an uphill battle at universities. In order to protect this place full of “lasting contributions to science,” Whitson has been working for 10 years to help modernize and demonstrate the significance of this rare university resource. She describes plants as her “first love.” Plants seem to invade her life from all angles. After a while, it is easy to understand that she is truly always surrounded by plants and it is not by accident. Whitson is what her friends and coworkers might describe as a “plant nut”

or “tree geek.” Though, as she would say with a smile, that label is “most cool.” “There are not too many people out there that are crazy about trees and plants and botany,” said D.J. Scully, Campbell County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources and coworker of Whitson for about ten years. “It’s obvious from being around her that she loves what she does. That comes through when you talk to her and that comes through when she teaches.” It is also obvious when you walk into Whitson’s office. Carrying on the tradition of botanists around the world, Whitson decorated her office with a plant theme; this decor plasters the walls and doors inside and outside of her office. Next to the stacks of botany books on her shelves are samples of Costa Rican plants she fought with airport security to be allowed to bring into the United States.

Story continued on pg. 6, see GETTING GREEN

New interim athletic director announced Story in NEWS, pg. 4

Story continued on pg. 2, see LGBTQ CENTER

University police officially officers

Grant makes comedy sitcom happen Men’s baseball get much-needed win

News, pg. 3

Arts & Life, pg. 5

Sports, pg. 11

News |


northernerstaff EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Claire Higgins [] MANAGING EDITOR Stephen Wilder [] PRESENTATION EDITOR Emily Lindeau [] NEWS EDITOR Kevin Schultz [] ARTS & LIFE EDITOR Caitlin Centner [] COPY DESK CHIEF Mary-Kate Gnotek [] PHOTO EDITOR Kody Kahle [] WEB EDITOR Brendan Dickinson [] STAFF WRITERS Kyle Biggs Matt Popovich [] [] Brook Clifford []

Maggie Pund []

Nancy Curtis []

Alyson Schoenung []

Tara Derington []

Derek White []

Mac Payton [] BUSINESS MANAGER Kerissa Hicks [] ADVERTISING ASSISTANT Tyler Eubank [] ADVISER Michele Day []


APRIL 4, 2013

Entire content is copyright of The Northerner and may not be reprinted without prior consent. Views expressed do not represent those of the administration, faculty or student body. The Northerner is considered a designated public forum. Student editors have authority to make all content decisions without censorship or advance approval. The Northerner staff respects the right to a free and open dialogue as allowed under the First Amendment.

contactinformation The Northerner Founders Hall Rm 314 Highland Heights, KY 41099 Editor-in-Chief: (859) 5726128 Newsroom: (859) 572- 6677 or 5620

Advertising: (859) 572-5232 Fax: (859) 572-5772 Email: northerner@nku. edu Website:

Scott Eaton evaluations released, no new information in case Claire Higgins Editor-in-chief Three weeks after NKU athletic director Scott Eaton was unexpectedly fired for ethical misconduct, the university still has no new information to release to the public about the current investigation. The letter President Geoffrey Mearns sent to Eaton regarding his termination stated the director “failed to provide the university with truthful and complete information.” Also from the letter, obtained through the university by The Northerner, Mearns said the untruthfulness occurred during the “initial phase of the university’s investigation.” NKU did release personnel evaluations for Scott Eaton from 2009 until his termination, which provided no

information relating to ethical misconduct, but talked highly of the director who received average and above average scores from his supervisor. The university also released personnel evaluations for Chrissy Soards, who resigned from her position as associate director for compliance and student athletic services last week. Under supervision of Eaton since 2009, Soards’ evaluation scores were also average and above average and did not include information regarding Eaton’s termination. When asked about a connection between Eaton’s firing and Soards’ resignation, Mearns said he could not comment because of the ongoing investigation. In response to an open records request for information regarding Soards and Eaton, NKU legal counsel said the public’s interest in the disclosure of

LGBTQ Center continued from pg. 1 Other universities that have places similar to an LGBTQ center are Morehead State University, which Gross was encouraged to check out by someone in the LGBTQ community. Ohio State University ranked as one of the top 19 universities in the nation for LGBTQ friendliness in the 2010-2011 academic year, as reported in The Lantern, a student-run independent paper for the university. Students can also search for universities and colleges nationwide that are LGBTQ friendly by going to the LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index, the National Listing of LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities at Lisa Barresi, associate director of Counseling Services, told Gross that the need for a LGBTQ center increases every year. Jason Willis, Chief of University Police, told Gross that there have not been any hate crimes reported with LGBTQ students, “but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” LGBTQ students were significantly more likely to experience harassment when compared to their hetorosexual conterparts and were seven times as likely to indicate the harassment was based on their sexual identity, according to the e-book “State of Higher Education for LGBT People.” Furthermore, LGBTQ students are twice as likely to be targets of derogatory remarks, stared at and singled out than heterosexuals. LGBTQ students are also significantly less likely to feel comfortable in their campus, work or classroom than heterosexuals. Additionally, LGBTQ students of color were significantly less likely than LGBTQ students that were Caucasian to feel comfortable in their classrooms, according to “State of Higher Education.” Presently, Student Government Association members such as Gross have been told by the LGBTQ community that

non-exempt personnel file records and in the compliance functions of the Athletics Department outweigh their privacy rights. The investigation into the misconduct is still ongoing and there is not a set date for when it will be completed, according to Mearns. Requested records including email correspondence and universityissued cell phone records are still being compiled and will not be available before 11 a.m. on April 15, as stated in the responses received from NKU legal counsel. April 15 is also the day the new interim athletic director Michael Cusack is stepping into the new position. Mearns said the fact that Cusack starts on April 15 and records will not be available until the same day is a coincidence.

they tend to gather in Starbucks “because they don’t have a real location.” Providing a center for the LGBTQ community would give them this location. “Its main purpose is to provide support and be a resource for students, faculty and staff,” Gross said about the LGBTQ Center. Currently the support programs offered consist of Allied Zone, counseling services or Common Ground. “The Allied Zone campaign trains students, staff, administrators and faculty to be allies for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community on campus,” according to their website. Brandelyn Tosolt, assistant professor, serves as the Allied Zone Trainer for NKU. This means she helps anyone who wants to be trained as an Allied Zone member, Gross said. There are 192 supporting students, faculty and staff of Allied Zone that wish to see an LGBTQ center created. “So people in the LGBTQ community can go to them, if they’re having struggles or they’re recently coming out,” Gross said about Allied Zone. Gross believes that if this resolution passes, the LGBTQ center could be downstairs in the Student Success Center since “they’re still trying to figure out what to do with all those rooms.” If not, SU 324, which used to be the mailroom for Student Life, now only occupies a table where people have meetings. “But it’s for the administration to decide,” Gross added. “We are asking for a center and for them to provide the personnel to staff it,” Gross said about the specificity of an LGBTQ Center in her resolution.

Nancy Curtis Staff writer Recently at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting Leading Change, NKU was, for the sixth time, named one of the recipients of The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Community Service Honor Roll, which began in 2006, highlights the active roll colleges and universities play in community service and public engagement. “Receiving the honor this many times speaks that we don’t just do this [public engagement] as a fad, we do this as a commitment,” said Mark Neikirk, director of Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement. NKU applied for the honor using three key projects. One was professor Willie Elliott’s dualcredit philanthropy course at nearby Dixie Heights High School. In this project, students receiving both high school and college credit were given the task of awarding $2,000 to an agency that was in need.

The students themselves conducted interviews with various agencies, and once they decided on the agencies, the students presented the checks directly to the representatives from those agencies, explained Elliott. They ultimately awarded $1,000 to Green Dot, which teaches kids how to respond to violence, and $1,000 to the Brighton Center in Newport, Ky., which funded a summer camp for kids. “It really extends our reach into the community,” Elliott said. The second project highlighted was NKU’s tornado relief project. After devastating tornadoes tore through our region in March 2012, various campus partners collected food and personal items, raised money and even participated in cleanup for those affected by the storms. “This was a great collaboration that wasn’t for any credit, and proved great teamwork due to it being an unplanned and unexpected event,” Neikirk said. The final project was the Northern Kentucky Research Collaborative, which showed a partnership between NKU nursing students and local area hospitals. While

assisting others it also provided valuable “learn by doing” skills, Neikirk explained. This year’s recognition means a lot to the university and especially to individuals involved in the projects. “At this stage in my career it’s about what can I do for others, not just for me. Recognition just helps further the proof that Northern has always been committed to the community,” Elliot said. Neikirk sees not only the benefits to the community but the benefits to NKU as well. Recognition of the work and continued public engagement helps both student and faculty retention. The ability to help others can impact students deciding where to attend and faculty, like Elliott, who wish to assist the community and are interested in schools for their active public engagement. Neikirk is proud of this year’s projects and confident that in the years to come, NKU will vigorously continue their commitment to public engagement and be named to this honor roll yet again. “We’d do it even if there wasn’t an award,” Neikirk said.


| News

Service projects put NKU on honor roll

Photo courtesy of Scripps Howard Center A student cleared tornado debris in 2012. This project helped NKU make it on the honor roll.

University police now have officer title Mac Payton Staff writer

For the past year, NKU Police Sergeant John Gaffin has left his wife and daughter to go into work at 6 p.m. Gaffin said it’s hard, being a police officer and having to be away from his family, but he loves his work. On Feb. 22, Gaffin, who has been on the force for six years since graduating from NKU, along with Officer Ray Haley, discovered a warrant on a driver after the driver got into a fender bender near the entrance of the university. “The little things quickly turn into the big things,” Gaffin said. “All [of this] over a fender bender. You never know.” In the event of the worst happening, Frankfort lawmak-

ers have decided to change the definition of university police officers across the Commonwealth, so that they will receive the benefits they believe they deserve if something happens and they are injured or die in the line of duty. The only thing previously standing in the way of the officers getting these benefits was an argument of semantics. Previously they were defined as “safety and security officers.” NKU Police Chief Jason Willis said that this definition was inaccurate, as all of the officers on NKU’s force had gone through the police academy. Now, the law defines them as “police officers,” and their families are able to receive benefits if they are killed in the line of duty. This need for a change became apparent after Virginia

Tech officer Deriek Crouse was shot and killed during a traffic stop in December 2011 and his family was denied state benefits. State Representative Denny Butler (D—Jefferson county) said the lawmakers were made aware of the need by members of the University of Louisville police department. According to Butler, on all eight public university campuses in Kentucky, there are a total of 212 police officers. According to the campus police website, there are 16 trained officers on NKU’s police force. The bill passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Beshear on March 19.


News |


NKU has named former Wright State University athletic director Michael Cusack as the new interim athletic director. Cusack will step into the temporary position April 15, when he returns from a previously planned family trip. “He knows our institution, knows what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 25 years in athletics and knows that we have great potential to continue to do good things,” President Geoffrey Mearns said about the decision to bring Cusack to NKU. Cusack served as Wright State University’s athletic director from 1982-2008, where he transitioned the school from Division II to Division I and “led a period of dramatic growth and transition for Raider athletics,” Mearns said in an email to NKU students, faculty and staff. After retiring, Cusack continued to teach in Wright State’s graduate school, so he “kept his hand in it” and was admittedly nervous about accepting this position, Cusack said in a Monday afternoon press conference. “But now that I’ve met the folks here, now I’m excited ... I’m always excited anyway to do a challenge and this is a challenge,” he said. Compared to Wright State, NKU is similar in size and in athletic program success, yet Cusack said the “best years are still ahead,” which is what he said when first arriving at Wright State as well. Cusack will replace former athletic director Scott Eaton who was terminated March 18, for ethical misconduct. Current acting athletic director Gerard St. Amand will continue to serve until April 15, when Cusack returns. By that time, Mearns said a formal search committee for a new athletic director will be Photo by Kody Kahle set and the search will be underway. A decision will be made on the new director before the fall semester begins, according to Mearns. Michael Cusack (pictured), former athletic director for Wright State, accepted the interim athletic director position publicly April 1. He will take over for former director Scott Eaton who was fired March 18.

Pederson secures second term as SGA president

APRIL 4, 2013

Kevin Schultz News editor For the second year in a row, junior business and communication major Erik Pederson was elected president of Northern Kentucky University’s Student Government Association. Pederson, along with his now vice president-elect sophomore theatre major David Trump, beat out candidates John Jose and Clayton Castle by 61 votes and Chaz Edwards and Abby Gross by 191 votes. This year’s campaign was one of the most fun and exciting in a while, according to current SGA President Pederson who has served on SGA for the past three years. On top of the usual tactics such as chalking the NKU campus sidewalks with campaign messages, some of the candidates took advantage of the ever-growing world of social media and technology this year, creating videos to announce their platforms, publicizing the election via supporters’ Facebook statuses and creating sometimes highly comical political memes to draw in support. Before the announcement of the results on the evening of March 28, candidates and their supporters trickled up to the third floor of the Student Union where everyone gathered and waited anxiously. “I honestly don’t know what to say right now,” said sophomore undeclared major and presidential candidate John Jose as he waited, surrounded by a group of supporters. “So many hours of hard work have gone into this single day.” Presidential candidate and junior Chaz Edwards and his

running mate vice-presidential candidate and senior Abby Gross also awaited the results on the third floor, looking optimistic, surrounded by a swarm of supporters in their “Edwards and Gross” T-shirts. And then the results were announced. The crowd went wild with mixed reactions as the results were read at approximately 10:15 p.m. At the front of the crowd, Pederson jumped with excitement and threw his hands up in relief with several other members of the crowd nearby. “There aren’t words to describe how I feel. This is what I love,” Pederson said upon being re-elected. “The fact that everyone had faith in me to allow me to do this for a second year is amazing.” The other candidates such as Jose and his running-mate, sophomore journalism major, Clayton Castle appeared somewhat upset and stunned by the results, but were quick to congratulate the winners. Overall, Pederson and other campaigners and supporters in the crowd just seemed relieved that elections were finally over. “There are a lot of things to be excited about for the future,” Pederson said. “Just so many things to be excited about.” This will make for Pederson’s third year in a row with a presidential or vice presidential seat within NKU’s SGA, having served as the 2011-12 SGA Vice President. Pederson’s running-mate David Trump currently serves as SGA Secretary for Administrative Affairs. Both Pederson and Trump will take their newly won presidential and vice presidential seats at the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester. The proposed constitutional amendment referendum,

Photo by Kevin Schultz Erik Pederson (pictured) hugged a friend after learning he won the SGA presidential seat for the second year. also on this year’s ballot, passed by 792 votes. The passing of this amendment, according to the SGA website, means there will be another subcommittee within SGA created that is designed specifically to deal with student academic success. The amendment also established several definition changes. The official results for the spring 2013 SGA elections can be seen at

Jessica Kopena Contributing writer

Mac Payton Staff writer Two NKU students received a $40,000 Toyota Alumni Grant from the Governor’s School for the Arts to produce the pilot of “It Takes Two,” a situational comedy following the lives of two college students and the shenanigans they get into. The pilot is being directed by Terrance McCraney, a junior acting major, and was written by Charles Sykes, a junior theater major. The two co-founded Showtime Liaisons Entertainment, the production company behind “It Takes Two.” McCraney said that what makes this production unique is that the cast and crew is made up entirely of students. They’ve gotten theater students to act and electronic media and broadcasting students to work the cameras and lights and to edit it all together. Hector Diaz-Morales, EMB major and crew member, said, “I like how it’s going so far,” explaining that he thinks McCraney is doing a really good job pulling everything together and the actors seem to be coming together well. Garth Whitaker, theater major and production manager for “It Takes Two,” said that the show has been in the works


Photo courtesy of Terrance McCraney With a $40,000 grant, some students are filming a pilot for a new sitcom starring students. Some of the cast members for the show, “It Takes Two,” are pictured above. since last spring, when Whitaker, McCraney and Sykes, who are all good friends, were sitting around and came up with the idea. “It’s something that we had talked about for a while,” Whitaker said, saying that it all just came together when they started working on it. “This has been the most stressful yet rewarding experience of my life. There is so much to do.” “It Takes Two” is not all that Showtime Liaisons Entertainment is involved in though. They also have their own music

group, called the L7evens. Whitaker is involved as one of their rappers, as is Sykes. McCraney is both a singer and a songwriter for the group. The L7evens have one mixtape out right now, showcasing the talents of McCraney (performance alias of “Emmit Jay”) and Sykes (performance alias of “Cali Skyz”). The mixtape, entitled “Act I: The Voiceover” may be found online. For more information about Showtime Liaisons Entertainment and their works, visit their website.

Art continues to paint the walls of Steely Erin Pierce Contributing writer

April will feature the annual Social Justice Art/Writing Contest Exhibit, featuring work of NKU students in visual arts and more. NKU has had the privilege of holding many art exhibits in Steely Library’s Eva G. Farris Reading Room over the past few years. The current exhibit, “Positively Ninety,” as well as the “In Service to Our Nation” tribute exhibit last fall have drawn attention from NKU and the surrounding community. How these and other exhibits are selected is up to the Exhibition Space Committee, chaired by Michael Providenti. “We’ve had exhibits of paintings, graphic design and photographs. We’ve had displays of photographs that were made to illustrate sociology texts and works done to explore themes in literary texts,” Providenti said. Providenti, who is in charge of forwarding exhibit proposals to the committee, said that proposals have drawn in artists both on campus and those not affiliated with NKU. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind when meeting with the committee regarding proposals. “I try not to have a notion of what I want people to submit. I try to be open to whatever proposals come in and the committee as a whole makes a recommendation,” Providenti said. “Basically, the proposals need to demonstrate exhibit-worthy work, and the

exhibit needs to work in the space.” In a given school year, typically, three major exhibits are displayed in Steely Library, including the Social Justice Art/Writing Contest. This contest is usually featured from April to August and includes pieces from students in visual arts, theater and dance, and literature and language. Providenti said when it comes to this annual event, word of mouth plays a huge role in drawing attention from other artists and community members. “People who have been active in that have directed people to the committee or mentioned people to me to follow up with. The Social Justice exhibit is student work and its scope reaches across various departments,” Providenti said. “But this is an opportunity to see what other students are creating and find out what they have to say.” No single theme is favored with any exhibit, according to Provident and the committee. There should be something of interest to people (in an exhibit) at any given time. Providenti and the committee encourage proposal submissions at any time, but the Reading Room isn’t available instantly, as some planning is involved in the process. For people who would like to submit a short-term exhibit, they can contact Providenti directly at or send a proposal to


The Marketing Research Partnership Program started 10 years ago as a partnership between students and faculty at NKU. With the help of the MRPP program, former marketing major Mirsada Kadiric was able to launch her career in the field of marketing research by getting a co-op. After graduating and landing a job, she has recently received the Young Researcher of the Decade award. “It was a big surprise to me and while it doesn’t have a direct impact on my career, it is definitely a big deal to me personally,” Kadiric said. “It further validates my accomplishments in this industry.” Marketing professor Aron Levin was proud of Kadiric after receiving the award. “She is the perfect example of someone who comes here a student and has every opportunity, but doesn’t know quite what she wants to do,” he said. “Now I followed her through her career and she has just blossomed.” “She is getting to be one of the names in this town in market research,” Levin said. Kadiric became interested in marketing as an undergraduate student when taking two required marketing research courses as part of her major. “That’s initially what piqued my interest and then through the MRPP program and Dr. Levin’s mentorship, I was sure that this was the field for me from a professional standpoint,” Kadiric said. Levin feels that she has come a long way through the program. “I saw her shaped from a shy young woman from a part of the world I didn’t know anything about, and she blossomed into someone with confidence,” he said. In the MRPP program, she got a co-op with a local firm that led to a full-time position after she graduated from NKU with her marketing degree. Kadiric now works at Kao Brands Company in Cincinnati. Her favorite part of being a researcher is “being able to analyze data to support consumer behavior or identify an unmet need.”

Students receive $40,000 grant to film pilot for sitcom

| Arts & Life

Marketing grad one of the best in local young researchers

6 Arts & Life

Getting Green continued from pg. 1 B A C K G RO U N D With a “double whammy” botanical background from birth, Whitson was taught to understand the value of plants and botany from the start. She was raised by a botanist mother accustomed to quizzing her about local plants from a young age and a forester father adept at teaching her how to study the wild. Now she teaches her own classes for the Campbell County Cooperative Extension out in the wild like her father and in the classroom at NKU like her mother. At the Environmental Education Center, Whitson teaches groups about how to plant to attract pollinators to help the local environment in addition to helping people explore the biodiversity of the local area. As expected, she teaches biology and

botany related courses at NKU. “She is very passionate about what she does, and she does not really care about what other people think of her,” Diannea Wilson, an environmental science senior who recently worked with Whitson on a research project, said. “Botany is her life.” Although the major is now unavailable, Whitson studied botany and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida. She developed her interest in teaching while attending graduate school at Duke University. When searching for a job, Whitson carefully selected NKU from a short list of schools that she applied to for work. She wanted a school with a teaching emphasis as well as a herbarium. Now a part of the school for ten years, she considers NKU perfect. She plans to stay at the school to continue to grow and develop in the biology department

P E RSO N A L IT Y What you see with Whitson is what you get. Her love of botany is described by her coworkers as contagious. Her love for the subject and all it involves sucks people in. She is not the type of person to care if she is seen in unfashionable field gear, according to Wilson. She is there to do her job. She is the type of person that is always “botanically prepared.” With a plant press in the back of her car and with her wherever she goes, she is prepared to collect and preserve at a moment’s notice. “Her long hair, her fanny pack and her Harry Potter glasses, I mean she is the real deal,” Scully said. “[She is] kind of what you’d expect to see in a book describing a botanist.” Whitson does not make a point to limit herself only to things that are in style at the time. Just like botany and her fanny pack, when she finds something that works for her she sticks with it and does not look back.

APRIL 4, 2013

a cc o mpl i s hmen t s Her determination and dedication led to a discovery that placed a plant from the southwestern United States into a new genus. Before Whitson’s research, people assumed the physalis plant she found was a “slightly strange but otherwise unexciting physalis.” Supported by molecular, phylogenetic, morphological and chromosomal data, her work showed that the species was quite different, and she was given the honor to name a new genus. Similar to the plants she works to preserve and study every day in the herbarium, Whitson’s work is now preserved in scientific history. Physalis carpenteri (Solanaceae) was placed in a new, monotypic genus called Caliphyalis. Whitson’s name will always be associated with the discovery and new genus. Not every scientist receives such an honor in their career. Her discovery was first published in 2012 in a botany journal titled Rhodora. Since her find, she has also been visiting schools all around the midwestern United States to look for the plant that she named and discuss her findings with other universities. “You can’t just name a plant and not say anything,” Whitson said.

“Botany is out of style, and I could be teaching a lab full of human anatomy and physiology students in here if all the plants weren’t here,” Whitson said. “So we are very lucky to have this nice modern facility and active herbarium, and we have got a lot of support for the herbarium from the school.” One of the first things that comes to mind when people think about Whitson is her sheer intelligence and commitment to being a scholar, according to Scully. She is dedicated to finding answers and solving problems. “If she doesn’t know something, she will find out the answer,” Scully said. “She will go to all ends to make sure she can get the answer. That points to just how thorough she is and her commitment to her field.”

An ‘ Old - F a s h i o ned ’ In t e r e s t ? Although a once valued scientific study, botany majors are continually being eliminated as a major option at colleges around the country. Most schools are starting to only offer a botany concentration. Locally, only Miami University offers a botany major. The national trend is to merge the botany major with biology. The emphasis at most universities is to educate pre-med students, and those students would rather have a biology degree, according to Whitson. On a mission to gain support for botany and keep the herbarium relevant, her visits and interactions with universities around the country demonstrate her passion for preservation. With the economy down, budgets are tight and states are cutting money to schools. In response, schools have to find ways to tighten their belts. When the current herbarium curator retires at a small university these days, most schools do not hire someone else. Instead, all the work and research is put into storage and the space is used for something else. The trend nationally is that people tend to look at these collections as “crusty” and “very old-fashioned” and question why they are not using DNA to phase them out, according to Whitson. One of Whitson’s main goals at NKU is to keep that from happening. “I’d like us to stay relevant enough that sometime in the far future when I retire that [NKU is] going to be excited about hiring another botanist to replace me and run the herbarium.” Photos by Maggie Pund

Jake Free or Die Hard

| Arts & Life Special


Student takes his chances on stage as stand-up comSarah McIntosh Contibuting writer

Nerves begin to bubble in Jake Free’s stomach as they announce his name to come up on stage next. Once he reaches the stage and begins to speak into the microphone the nerves seem to ease, but it’s not until the laughs echo throughout the club that he feels truly comfortable. Free is a stand-up comedian who frequents the Go Bananas Comedy Club for open mic night. Comedy started in Free’s life when he was just 15, when his mom would drop him off at Go Bananas. His first performance was filled with nerves. “I didn’t really know what I was doing. I remember standing in the back of the room while the comic before me was on stage. I couldn’t listen to his jokes,” Free said. He pushed through it though and was able to deliver his first stand-up routine with quite a bit of success. His material comes from his real life and his experiences. “Jacob is the living embodiment of a Cohen Brothers movie. You want to root for him to succeed, but you’re also anticipating whatever horrible luck is bestowed on him,” Vincent Holiday, friend and fellow comedian said.

Holiday said Free is fearless both on and off stage; he’s not afraid of how people will judge him on stage. This fearlessness gave Free the nickname Jake Free or Die Hard. That fearlessness truly impressed another comedian Dave Webster who remembers meeting Free at an open mic night at Midway Cafe in Fort Thomas. “[His performance] was actually inspiring, because I was way older than him and was terrified to perform in front of that bunch of unruly folks,” Webster said. Webster couldn’t believe that a 16 year old had the guts to walk into a bar and do stand up in front of a drunk audience. The fact that a 16 year old was let into a bar was a second thought on Webster’s mind. “Jacob has had many funny experiences that he takes to the stage and tells with his own awkward, hilarious delivery. He is a fun guy on and off stage,” Webster said. While his parents would rather see Free in a “real job,” he sees himself using his comedy in his career. His real ambition is animation, particularly shorts where he can incorporate his jokes into the story. “I want to have another way to communicate my comedy to people,” Free said.

Jake Free (pictured) is making his name as a stand-up comic. He performs at Go Bananas’ open mic nights.

Illustration by Emily Lindeau, photo courtesy of Jake Free

Informatics faculty, staff show off in art show Mac Payton Staff writer

be a student art show someday. “We’re open to anything,” he said. “It would be interesting to do something with students.” Storm does anticipate a fourth show next fall. Last fall, according to Skaggs, the art show’s theme was “Enhancing Diversity.” Both times the show has been put up in spring and had an open theme, he said. Skaggs isn’t sure if the show in the fall will be open or will have a theme. “We [the artists] are going to need to sit down and talk about it. We’re so excited about this show, some are already asking, ‘What are we doing next?’ We’ve got a little bit of time, though. We’ve got until October.” The new show usually goes up toward the end of the semester, Skaggs said, and around the time of registration for the next semester. This way it gets the maximum amount of exposure, with students going into the advising office to figure out what classes they want to take.

Photo courtesy of David Thomson EMB professor David Thomson’s work (pictured) is featured in the art show.


Last Friday, faculty and staff from the College of Informatics gathered in the advising center in Griffin Hall for the opening of a gallery featuring the works of seven faculty and staff members. J. Michael Skaggs, a professor in the college, helped set the gallery up. He already has years of experience in setting up art galleries. Skaggs has worked with the art show since its inception in the spring of 2012. He said that he had wanted to do this since moving into his office in Griffin. “I was fantasizing about the empty wall space in the building, and how it could be used,” he said. The only issue with that; however, is that the artwork wouldn’t be secure, according to Skaggs. He said that the university would have had to install cameras and other safety

measures to ensure the artwork would not be stolen. Rees Storm, director of the advising center, said that’s the number one advantage of having the art show in the advising center: the center can be locked to block outside access after hours, when no one is in there. So when Associate Dean Scott Ragsdale approached Skaggs, it was a dream come true. He was able to use his gallery talents and ensure the artwork’s safety. In addition, the advising center has a new state-of-theart hanging system, so that nail holes don’t have to be repaired after every art show, which Storm said was just installed two weeks ago, on March 22. When Skaggs started to set the first art show up, it was only four artists. In the fall, for the second art show, only the same four participated. This time there are three new artists and Skaggs hopes that more people get involved in the future. Skaggs said that he’s not sure if there will

Arts & Life |


Autism hits home for NKU student Symposium, local programs teach the science behind the disorder Erin Pierce Contributing writer

APRIL 4, 2013

The Dorothy Westerman Hermann Autism Symposium was held in the Otto Budig Theater March 22, allowing many students to hear from professionals about diagnostic techniques, treatments and behaviors associated with autism. Drawing on how autism has affected her family, public relations major Dana Foster said that people won’t understand autism and its effects without actually having it or knowing someone who does. “My brother Jeffrey is three years older than me. My life hasn’t changed from him being autistic, but it surely has been blessed,” Foster said. “He makes me view things differently and helps me see the brighter side of things.” Many people living with autism may not enjoy the same things that others do, such as living on a college campus, but they perform many of the same activities each day. Professionals emphasize the importance of incorporating a “normal daily routine” into the lives of those with autism while also

providing outlets such as tutoring and mediation when necessary. According to Autism Speaks, autism affects 1 in 88 children and is five times more likely to occur in boys than girls. Foster and her family said that they are fortunate enough to live in a society where most are accepting of people with disorders like autism but some people are not aware of the facts and behavior behind it. “What bothers me the most is that some people think that it’s okay to make fun of mental disorders,” Foster said. “Small little comments about being retarded or jokes about riding the short bus are things that I hear often. But when you say those things, they do hear you and they do understand what you’re saying, and it does hurt them. We had a problem with my brother saying retard, and it’s not because any of us said it; it’s because others had said it around him.” One of the things that the Foster family has been extremely thankful for is the program available at Campbell County High School. Through his experience with the program, Jeffrey was able to get the individual atten-

tion he needed. “That program is very visible in that school, and they do a great job with it. They also had very great peer tutors that helped my brother too,” Foster said. “I definitely recommend sending students with autism to that school.” One of the peer tutors that worked closely with Jeffrey during their high school years said that Jeffrey’s upbeat outlook and cheerful smile would light up a room. “I loved working with the special education classes at Campbell County. No matter how rough my day was, I always left school with a smile and a warm heart because of them,” Alicia Visse, Campbell County graduate and current University of Louisville student, said. Having this program in Campbell County High School, Foster said, allowed Jeffrey the opportunity to find a job, socialize and more. “I know the last thing a parent wants to hear is that their child has a disorder, but I know my family has been truly blessed with him. He’s an amazing person, and he loves and cares for everyone he meets,” Foster said.

Photo courtesy of Dana Foster Dana Foster (L) and Jeffrey (R), her brother with autism, raise awareness for the disorder. The Foster family and friends are forming a team for the upcoming Autism Speaks Walk on May 18 at Coney Island. If you are interested in joining “Team Jeffrey,” contact Dana Foster at for more information.

Staff editorial

Brian Secrist Senior Accounting

Tiffani Thornton Freshman Undeclared business

“Yes they should...It should be more visible to make them feel more comfortable here.”

“There’s a lot of people who don’t feel welcome so they should they are a part of NKU and not separated.”

Jessie Harmon Senior Human Resources

“I don’t really think so. There’s plenty of lounges...they can hang out anywhere. But a support group makes sense.”

Ian Brewer Chase Law

“I don’t know how much it helps the issue. By adding a center you’re creating something separate from everyone else. But if they want one, then sure.”

Compiled by Mary-Kate Gnotek and Kody Kahle


All designers, photographers, writers, and copy editors.

apply to work for the northerner today:


now taking applications for fall 2013


The news of junior business and communication major Erik Pederson’s re-election as SGA’s 2013-14 president has made its way into conversations throughout campus. Whether through a side comment made when walking over the chalky remnants of his and the other candidate’s last minute campaign propaganda attempts or witnessing the plethora of congratulatory facebook statuses about his win, one things is for sure, Pederson’s victory has made itself present. But one thing that is not 100 percent present is the change that will accompany this win. While a decent number of resolutions have been passed thus far in the school year, the overall focus and outcomes from these “recommendations” have not necessarily seemed to be as student oriented or implemented as efficiently as in previous years. For example, resolutions passed last semester involving improvements of faculty and staff printing methods and the branding of NKU’s campus seem to have been a little unfocused and off base with students’ actual goals. This being said, strides made with initiatives such as the now up-and-running online syllabus bank have not gone unnoticed. Students across campus have been using the bank, which stemmed from an SGA resolution, to register for next semester’s classes. Pederson himself said, “I am very excited to show this to students and have even gotten responses from students who are talking about it and are curious about it.” With goals for the upcoming year such as easing the transition for the new VP of Student Affairs and the new VP of Academic Affairs falling toward the top of his list; however, it’s hard to determine if Pederson will “keep students first” as several of the candidates he beat out for his presidential position had promised, or if pushing initia-

tives for faculty or administrative recognition will take priority. Additionally, one must also consider the goals from last year’s elections, which Pederson said he would carry out this year, that have not been effectively achieved. These include making upper-division housing a reality, improving the student’s voice in Frankfort and, of course, improving the infamous NKU wireless and bandwidth. We see how that has gone. But there is some good news. As it pertains to this point in the school year, SGA is making a lot of the right kind of progress. Both Pederson and the rest of SGA seem to really be focused on studentbased initiatives. Various changes to the student meal experience have just been passed, to be implemented this fall, thanks to a recent SGA resolution. Additionally, SGA just held their first town hall meeting, which also stems from a recent resolution, in order to better hear student voices and implement the ideas they hear. A major point in the recent election dealt with the creation of a diversity and/or LGBTQ center on campus in order to better represent that student population. With a resolution just being passed last week supporting such a LGBTQ center, it seems like SGA has finally hit their progressive stride. Let’s just hope student-focused goals like this don’t fall to the wayside. When looking forward to the year ahead, it is evident that Pederson has endless opportunities. We at The Northerner are not critical and do not point out flaws without reason. As a student-based news organization it is simply our job to ensure that the voice of our audience is being heard. If Pederson does as he says he will, things will be fine. If not, it is our duty to call him out and represent the student voice. We do this not to make bitter any relationships between SGA and The Northerner, but to ensure that the person who won over the students’ vote is carrying out the goals he promised when asking the students to bestow upon him this incredibly important position in the first place.

Should NKU have a LGBTQ center on campus?


| Views

Second term gives president chance to improve


Sports |


Athletics app keeps fans updated Brook Clifford Staff writer

APRIL 4, 2013

NKU Athletics and Information Technology (IT) recently collaborated with the Center for Applied Informatics (CAI) to create a mobile application for the iOS and Android programs installed on cell phones. The app is called GoNorse and is free for any user who has an app store on their phone. A group from IT and about four students from the CAI came together to create the app, it is the same group of people who helped form the iNKU and N at NKU app. Athletics and IT formed the ideas for the project. Upon opening the app, there is a simple black and white screen that has links to sports, schedules, photos, virtual tours, fan feedback and a few other options for the user to choose from. The app was created to highlight the athletics program in its move to Division I, because not many Division I schools have a separate app for athletic programs, according to Kathy Bennett, director of research and development for IT. By clicking on most of the links on the home screen of the app, users will be redi-

rected to the website for NKU Athletics. “I think it’s great for its purpose now,” Brittany Booth, director of athletic marketing said. “We had to connect it to the website because you have to resubmit the entire application if you want to make any changes.” For example, if an athlete transferred schools and was no longer on NKU’s roster, NKU Athletics would have to go into that roster on the app and change it and resubmit the change to iOS or Android. By connecting it to the website, NKU Athletics can make changes onto the website that users will able to see on the app. On the other hand, the app will undergo changes since this is the first version of it and they didn’t get everything accomplished that they had hoped for, according to Booth. “I think it will absolutely help students,” Levi Rosenbaum, junior computer science major and CAI worker who helped create the app, said. “If a student is planning on going to a game, we have a feature that you are able to tour different fields virtually. You can find the roster, who the opponents are for games, etc. It’s useful.”

The new GoNorse mobile app for iPhones and Androids keeps fans updated with links to rosters, schedules and photos of NKU Athletics. The pictured images are screen shots from various pages in the app. The app is available in the iTunes and Android app stores for free.

Screen shots from GoNorse app

Women’s team loses 0-7, men win first doubles point of the year Dejoira Phillips Contributing writer


Photo by Kody Kahle Senior Holly Robinson hit the ball back to her opponent during the loss against Mercer, March 28, at the Joyce Yeager Complex. The women’s team is now 0-5 in the Atlantic Sun Conference and 0-12

Tennis The women’s and men’s tennis teams took on Mercer on March 28. Both matches resulted in losses with ending scores of 0-7 and 3-4, respectively. The next match was against Kennesaw State with final scores of 0-7 and 1-6; both losses. The men’s team is now ranked ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with 0-5 record and 2-13 overall. The women’s team is also ranked ninth in the A-Sun and is 0-12 overall. The teams will both play again on April 5, at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Baseball On March 28, the team took on USC Upstate and came out with a win, 5-3. The team played USC again on March 29 and 30, and lost, 4-5 and 1-4. On April 3, the Norse faced Ball State and left with a victory, 10-9. The team is ranked ninth in the A-Sun and has a record of 1-5 and 4-24 overall. The team plays next at home against East Tennessee State at 3 p.m. on April 5.

Softball The softball team faced Stetson on March 29 twice, the first game ended in a win for NKU with the final score as 3-1 and the second ended in a loss at 0-8. On March 30, the team played Stetson again and lost 1-2. On April 2, the team faced Morehead State twice and both ended in losses, 0-3 and 5-8 respectively. The team is ranked ninth in the conference with a record of 1-11 and 7-24 overall. Northern Kentucky plays again on April 6, at home against Jacksonville at 12 p.m.

Track and Field The women’s and men’s track team went to the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational on March 30, the women’s team finished seventh out of 12 teams and the men finished 11th out of 12. The teams will travel to Louisville for the Bellarmine Invitational on April 6.



NKU’s women’s and men’s tennis teams fell to Mercer March 28, at the Joyce Yeager Complex. The final score for the women’s match was 0-7 and the final score for the men’s match was 3-4. Both teams will play again on April 5, at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Women’s Match: Seniors Claire Spradlin and Holly Robinson won the first doubles match against Mercer’s Lisa Kylachkin and Kealee Heffener, ending with a score of 8-0. Mercer won two of the other double matches which gave them the lead score in the end. “I think we competed very well,” Robinson said. “Winning our first win in doubles this season.” Martha Romeo played hard in her singles match against Izzy Dennis of Mercer, with a score of 5-2. Mercer defeated NKU in the singles match. “The women came out strong and with a good mindset,” assistant coach Shawn Barone said. “We improved dramatically from Tuesday’s to Thursday’s match.”

Following the match against Mercer, the Norse lost to Kennesaw State 0-7 on March 30. NKU women’s tennis record is 0-5 in the Atlantic Sun Conference and 0-12 overall. Men’s Match: The men’s tennis team took over in the doubles match against Mercer, winning in second and third doubles, putting NKU in the lead. “I thought that the men played our best doubles of the year today,” Barone said. “If we continue playing doubles like that the rest of the year we will be in a lot of matches.” Seniors Guillaume Berman and Andre Correa won the first and fourth single matches, but were unable to pull through with a win, when Mercer began to catch up. “I do think that the men were ready for the match today,” Barone said. “We did a great job getting out of the gate early by getting that doubles point, but unfortunately we could not keep it up in singles.” The Norse also lost to Kennesaw State 1-6 on March 30. NKU men’s tennis record is 0-5 in the A-Sun conference and 3-13 overall.


| Sports

Tennis teams fall to Mercer at home

Arts & Life


students stay stylish in sweats Compiled by Tara Derington and Caitlin Centner

APRIL 4, 2013

The warm sun and brisk temperatures of spring take away the bulky attire of winter and create a sweatshirt-wearing community on campus. Whether it be changing of seasons or crunch time before the semes-

ter ends, students are sporting a variety of sweatshirts and hoodies. History major senior Rob Hengelbrok (left) donned a white sweatshirt with a Vineyard Vines vest paired with khakis and Sperrys, creating a comfortable, yet “fratastic” look. With only 22 days left of classes, fashion seems to be the last thing on students’ minds.

The Northerner - Print Edition April 4, 2013  
The Northerner - Print Edition April 4, 2013  

Interim atheltic director, lgbtq, eaton update, police bill, communitu service, sga presidential update, steely art, mirsada proffesor, stud...