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Black History Month celebration coverage inside




Black Lives Matter activist visits campus




By STEPHEN LANZI Campus Writer

Opal Tometi, co-creator of Black Lives Matter and popular activist, encouraged Auburn students to organize with one another on campus to implement change needed to solve issues of oppression in American society. Auburn’s Black Student Union hosted Tometi Tuesday evening in the Student Center Ballroom as part of its Black History Month event “Creating a Conversation in Color.” The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013, aims to end police brutality and systemic racism against black people. Tometi got choked up when she discussed the famous instances of police brutality in recent years, from Eric Garner and Philando Castile to Freddie Gray and Mike Brown, all cases of unarmed black men being killed by police officers. “I worry quite literally for the black folks in the U.S. who are literally being murdered in the street, on camera, millions can see the video, and yet we see time and time again, no justice,” Tometi said. Tometi said college students have a lot of resources at their fingertips — resources they should use to change the state of race relations in America. “I’m really, really nervous where this whole thing is headed,” Tometi said. “You look anywhere and we’re not necessarily seeing things get any better. I would say that they’re probably getting worse.” Tometi said the roots of her activist mindset can be traced to when her younger brother started to question his identity and feel shame about his race at a young age. “It sparked something in me in my teenage years,” Tometi said. “That got me thinking more critically about the world that we live in because what kind of a world are we living in if young children are beginning to doubt themselves and absorb messages of shame.” Tometi said people should reach out to those who are willing to listen but discouraged them from working with others who do not care about listening or doubt them. “To me, when people respond to Black Lives Matter by say-


Senior Jarette Maye and sophomore Monroe Clayton clasp hands on the Green Space.

Students tackle being black at a PWI By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

Jarette Maye, senior in psychology, wore his track and field uniform to class almost every day at the start of his freshman year. Students flocked to him to talk about sports and make connections. As a social experiment, he wore normal clothes to class one day to see what would happen. He walked to the seat he had sat in for the past few weeks and the girl he considered an acquaintance looked him in the eye. “This seat is taken,” he recalls her saying. “To be a human, to be a student, to be a student-athlete: Three entirely different things,” Maye said. “Auburn as a culture doesn’t always get that.” Maye is no longer on the track team but has found many — some would say too many — ways to stay busy. He serves as the vice president of Auburn’s NAACP chapter, the director of public relations for the Southern Poverty Law Center on campus and a member of the Black Student Union and Harold A. Franklin Society.

His schedule is packed but much less stressful than it was. Maye said he was working on campus for such long hours in 2017 that it became an issue. “In fall 2017, I went to sleep on a Sunday and woke up in the hospital on Thursday with no memory or recollection of anything,” Maye said. “My girlfriend was coming over that Monday morning for us to go to the gym, and she found me in my room choking on my tongue.” His girlfriend performed CPR, and he came back to life. He died again. She got his roommate, and they performed CPR together, and he came back to life. He died again. Paramedics came and shocked him three times and kept him sustained, he said. He was put in a medically induced coma and woke up four days later. “From what the doctors told me, I had a stress-induced cardiac death,” Maye said. “It was from me running around doing so much for other people and not looking out for myself. I thought doing things for other people was what I was called to do, so I never thought

» See WE ARE HERE, 2

» See TOMETI, 2


Following the footsteps of a fighter Auburn student returns to where family member lost life in Iwo Jima By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

On the morning of Feb. 19, 1945, American troops invaded the island of Iwo Jima. Cameron Hunt, a student working toward his second bachelor’s degree, had a family member on that island. Cameron’s great-great-granduncle, James Archie Howard, lost his life on Iwo Jima. Peggy Hunt, Cameron’s grandmother and Alabama’s

first woman police officer, told him stories about Archie when he was 10 years old. “From the first time she told me about Iwo Jima and the flag raising, I knew I was going to join the military,” Cameron said. He had always wanted to be a marine, but hearing about his past and the sacrifices his family had paid sealed the deal for him. With the anniversary of Iwo Jima approaching on Feb. 23, Cameron’s thoughts point to his uncle’s time in the service. He grew curious about

» See IWO JIMA, 2


Cameron Hunt, Auburn student in pre-vet, poses on the road to Mt. Suribachi.


SGA appoints new slate of executive officers By CHIP BROWNLEE Editor-in-chief

A new slate of Student Government Association executive officers has been selected, and the group met over the weekend for a retreat to set goals and prepare for the year ahead.

Newly elected SGA President Dane Block said he, along with Vice President Schyler Burney and Treasurer Dixon Simmons, spent the last few weeks interviewing potential candidates and narrowing down the pack. “We looked at experience and leadership roles in the sense of fresh

ideas and what people could bring to the table, some new faces, too,” Block said. “We wanted individuals with a vision and heart for all of Auburn through personal experience, through seeing them active on campus.” Block said they looked at platforms of those who were candidates

CAMPUS ‘Overcome that fear by showing courage’ Civil rights activist and visiting professor Bernard Lafayette on desegregating the South Page 4

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in this year’s elections, previous SGA experience and campus involvement. One of those individuals is Executive Vice President of Programs Patrick Starr, who ran against Block for SGA president. “Forty-eight percent of the student body believed in Patrick,” Block said. “To have his ideas and his mindset on

this is great.” Others, like Austin Chandler, held previous positions in SGA. Chandler was last year’s assistant vice president of auxiliary services and has been selected as this year’s executive vice president of initiatives.


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WE ARE HERE » From 1

about myself until I found myself in the hospital.” His girlfriend told him the people waiting for him in the hospital room were as diverse as he dreamed Auburn to be. Singing, praying, talking to him — they tried to wake him up. Maye said he didn’t want to stop leading nor could he. With Richard Spencer’s visit to campus and the White Student Union rearing its head, Maye felt there was much to be done and just attending classes was not going to work for him. Auburn’s demographics “are not representative of our state,” Maye said. He said he thought that white supremacist efforts on campus would hurt the recruitment of minorities, but the numbers have been stagnant for a long time anyway. In recent years, the number of black students as a proportion of Auburn’s total enrollment has even declined. This year, about 6 percent of Auburn’s total student enrollment is black, according to the Office of Institutional Research. There are 889 more white students on campus this year compared to last, but there are 24 fewer black students enrolled. “Auburn gets complacent,” said Monroe Clayton, sophomore in political science and director of community and equity for Auburn’s Black Student Union. “We are okay with


being good enough, but why wouldn’t you strive to be great? What Auburn has failed to do is go into some of the neighborhoods they should be going to.” Clayton said when the University looks over minority communities, they are robbing the country of future contributors to society. Maye said recruitment trips should have real students out in communities, telling young men and women they can make it at Auburn. “I feel like at one point Auburn was focusing on diversity numbers as far as international students, and what they didn’t realize was that they put a barrier and an imaginary conflict between domestic minorities and international minorities,” Maye said. “You see Auburn reaching out across seas, but they won’t reach out to folks in this state.” Maye wasn’t surprised by the recruiting efforts at Auburn. He was not looking for complete acceptance when he came in. “I was taught that no matter what world you are in when you are in the South, you are in a black and white world,” Maye said. Monroe said when he walks down the concourse, he finds himself hyper-aware of his race. He said he sees someone hand a white man a flyer. When he passes them, they usually don’t hand him the same flyer. He said he wonders if it’s because he is black. Maye said knowing what he did about living in a black and white world, he could not help but want what he saw

on the television screen or at football games — friendships with people that didn’t look like him and acceptance at his University. It didn’t happen, he said. Maye quoted James Baldwin, “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” He’s seen efforts to link the majority and the minority, but there are always complications, he said. Even though college is thought to be a time when horizons are broadened and ways of thinking are challenged, it’s not always that way. When some students get to campus, they find more like-minded individuals that can push them toward the extremes of their own beliefs — pushing minorities even further away from the majority. “Your crowd is going to look like you, but the majority is not going to come in the room even though your organization says they are inclusive of all,” Maye said. “They see black people and say, ‘That’s only for black people.’” BSU’s motto is “Unity through education.” Maye stressed that the motto has no color and the organization welcomes all. As an involved member of the Auburn community and campus, Maye said he wants students and professors to know they are here — know they were the start of the integration of Auburn. “We are students like everyone else, so treat us as such,” Maye said. “Not as examples or guinea pigs for your lectures or pawns for your sports, because we are more than that.”

TOMETI » From 1


LEFT: Archie Howard, U.S. Marine and Cameron Hunt’s great-great-granduncle posed for his military picture. RIGHT: Cameron Hunt, Auburn student and veteran, snaps a selfie on Iwo Jima where Archie Howard was killed in battle.

IWO JIMA » From 1

the battle his uncle fought in and his family history as a youg man. Peggy put him in contact with Archie’s younger brother, Ted Howard, who was in the U.S. Coast Guard. Ted sent photos, told him stories over the phone and Cameron’s passion grew. He graduated from Auburn High School and moved on to Auburn University where he received his first Bachelor’s degree. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right after and his first deployment was to Europe, but soon after he landed in Japan. Iwo Jima was the first island invaded by American troops and the Japanese fought for to defend the island because of it’s cultural importance. “Iwo Jima is in the middle of nowhere,” Hunt said. “It’s about 5 miles long and 2 and a half miles wide. It’s just a volcanic island in the middle of the ocean.” Having lost a family member in that battle, Hunt had dreamed of the day he would land on the island. The history he had read about and the stories he listened to Ted tell were just enough for him to yearn for a trip. Six trips were planned and every single one was tanked. One of the trips was canceled because the Japanese found remains from the battle. Cameron said the Japanese view Iwo Jima as an open grave because so many bodies were sealed off in caves and never recovered. Cameron said it was the same for many of the marines. His uncle’s wife was notified of his death through a telegram. Cameron pointed the photo of the telegram that Ted had sent him with wonder in his eyes. “I spent about a year in Japan,” Hunt said. “Every year, there is a handful of C1-30s that fly out there to do trips. It’s a pretty common trend that


“There are so many things that we are working on that he is knowledgeable on,” Block said. “He’ll bring a lot to the table.” Block, Burney and Simmons interviewed 11 candidates for the six executive positions, grading them with a “SWOT analysis” based on their strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities and threats. “We figured out what each individual would bring to the table and how they would gel well, all working together,” Block said. “If we have problems working, that’s not good for the students, that’s not good for the SGA and it’s not good for all of Auburn.” Four of the newly selected exec-

in the last few minutes, something happens and it gets canceled.” On July 25, 2017, Cameron caught a break and left for Iwo Jima. They landed on the small airstrip that is maintained by the Japanese forces and 75 soldiers took off toward Mt. Suribachi, the iconic scene of where approximately 40 soldiers ran up to plant the flag. Only about a half of a dozen raised a small flag where Cameron stood now. “We had enough time to make the length of the island, summit Mt. Suribachi, see where the flag was raised, making it down to the landing beached and then try to make it back to the bird before it was time to leave.” Cameron passed equipment of all type while walking up the dirt path toward the mountain. Tanks, anti-aircraft guns, landing vehicles, shrapnel and shell castings lie scattered below the soldiers as the hustle up the mountain. “It was an experience unlike any other,” Hunt said. “It is making my hair stand up just thinking about it right now.” Cameron said the journey up the mountain was extremely steep and a rough mission overall. He said battling the heat and the altitude took everything out of him. He thought about the soldiers fighting the battle of the land while under constant attack and was humbled. He believes most of the soldiers with him on the trip were there for the history — to honor the 5,900 soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Cameron said he had read, dreamed and thought about Iwo Jima his whole life and being there was inspirational in ways he couldn’t explain. “There’s one thing that really drives me crazy,” Hunt said. “It seems like people don’t appreciate history the way they should — all the sacrifices it took to get us where we are. It’s not just text in history book or a documentary on TV. They don’t really grasp what it took.”

utive officers — Starr, Mackenzie Yelton, Austin Chandler and Bailey Hand — come from assistant vice president roles in SGA while the rest held Student Senate seats last year. Block, Ally Arthur and Simmons were business senators, while Schyler Burney and Jordan Kramer were liberal arts senators. “I wanted to do something that’s tangible not just run on something that would get votes,” Block said. “We’re still meeting as a group together and figuring out what Auburn’s doing already and what we can do.” This year’s executive board is lacking any black representation. Block said the disparity was not intentional, but the executive officers are diverse in other ways. Three of the six appointees are women, and

ing all lives matter, yes I kind of roll my eyes, not because I can’t believe it’s happening, but because I am so frustrated and so disturbed that people would respond to me as if I’m saying black lives are superior to other folks,’” Tometi said. Tometi said Black Lives Matter was a movement created as a response to systematic oppression that began during the Regan, Clinton and Bush Sr. administrations. This oppression, according to Tometi, targeted low-income Americans and black people especially. “To be clear, Black Lives Matter is a human rights movement,” Tometi said. Tometi said the U.S. should do more to invest in community and divest from oppression. She said in her world, people would not get arrested for jumping turnstiles at subways because they could not afford it. “It is not your responsibility to convince people of your humanity,” Tometi said. The best way to transform the system is to organize, Tometi said. She said there’s no shortcut to organizing and it’s often difficult, so people have to learn the science and the art of organizing. “There’s this phrase that you got to be at the table, to have a seat at the table and it’s like sometimes it doesn’t hold so you might have to grab your seat at the table, or you might have to question the existence of the entire table itself, which is kind of where I’m at,” Tometi said. “Let’s flip the table over.”

Tometi said she’s seen oppression firsthand, growing up in Phoenix, Arizona. She said her dad even had to get rid of the family car because of such frequent racial profiling. Tometi studied history at the University of Arizona, where her research began. She said she studied the Holocaust and saw parallels to the modern-day treatment of immigrants. This motivated Tometi to start her activist work by providing aid to undocumented immigrants. “We know what’s right,” Tometi said. “We know we’re righteous. We know when the history or herstory books are written, we’re going to be on the right side of that so we just have to stay true to our convictions.” Tomteti’s three pillars — faith, joy and justice — are what BSU is focusing Black History Month on. BSU President John Blanding was “star-struck” as he was able to moderate the discussion with Tometi on stage in front of the 123 students who swiped their tiger cards at the doors. Tometi explained the meaning of the three pillars. She’s rooted in her Christian faith, which guides the work she does today. Joy is a person’s expression and the core of humanity, and justice is a way that people display their love. Tometi was asked about her thoughts on Black Panther, a recent movie praised for its portrayal of a black superhero. Tometi said she loved that the movie gave the message that it is okay to be proud to be black person. She loved the thought experiment of what a world would be like without colonization, she said.


Opal Tometi speaks at the Black Student Union’s Creating a Conversation in Color event on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

one officer, Kramer, executive vice president of outreach, is gay. “There’s more to diversity than what meets the eye,” Block said. “I realize that from what meets the eye we don’t meet that visual representation of what people are looking for. But I don’t want people to think that we don’t have that diverse mindset, diverse opinions at the table.” Block’s two most recent predecessors, Jacqueline Keck and Jesse Westerhouse, both made moves to fill their initial cabinets with at least one black member. “This is something that we constantly talk about,” Block said. “We are aware. It would be another story if this wasn’t picking at our hearts and our brains.” Block said he wasn’t aware of any

openly gay executive officers in recent years. “He (Kramer) is going to do an incredible job, just like everybody else on our executive team,” Block said. The new executive officers, selected last week and announced this weekend, will take office later this month on Feb. 25 when SGA transitions officially take place. Students chose Block in a runoff on Feb. 8. Since then, the top three officials have been working to select their top officers. “It was tough because you are so limited on time,” Block said. “We could take four weeks out of the year to go to the bottoms of every single corner on Auburn’s campus, but with the crew that we interviewed and with this exec team, I’m

very excited.” The candidates will need to be confirmed by the Student Senate. The top three elected SGA officials work together to select the executive officers. From there, the executive officers move on to select assistant vice presidents. Together, the executive officers and assistant vice presidents work to select the remainder of cabinet, a group of more than 70 people that implement SGA initiatives, programs and outreach campaigns. Block said he and his team will continue to seek out diverse perspectives and backgrounds for cabinet positions. “We’re not done yet,” Block said. “We have AVP applications coming out, and we do have the rest of cabinet to fill.”







Proposed school gun bill is a foolhardy thought By EDITORIAL BOARD Spring 2018

Another mass shooting last Wednesday put the nation back in mourning. It also placed lawmakers in a scramble to see who can find a Second Amendment friendly solution the fastest. State Rep. Will Ainsworth from Guntersville believes he’s found it. Ainsworth, a canditate for lieutenant governor this year, proposed arming certain teachers — creating a diligent army prepped and ready to take out a threat. He’s working on a bill that would allow teachers, coaches or other faculty who want to to arm themselves during school hours to do so. This idea is absurd. An active shooter situation is a horrible and chaotic event. The shooter often turns out to be someone known to the victims, whether a fellow classmate or colleague, adding to the mass confusion of the situation. In school shootings, teachers, coaches and faculty already have the tremendous responsibility of gathering their students, getting their rooms locked down and seeking a safe evacuation route. Active shooter training, such as programs offered at Auburn, provide lessons on barricading doors and working on evacuation plans. Only as a last result do they ever mention confronting the shooter. To switch the script and put a gun in the hands of teachers, giving them the task to find and take out a shooter, is an unreasonable and dangerously ardent plan of action. Ainsworth’s bill would provide training for these teachers to equip themselves to take out a shooter. Although spending on K-12 education is low and teachers aren’t provided with up-to-date textbooks or basic supplies like pencils, Alabama will somehow find the money to train a homeroom militia. Granted, if this plan was airtight and able to save children’s lives, then there’s no price tag that would be too much to pay. But the funding for training isn’t nearly the biggest flaw with this plan. Arming teachers would place an immense amount of trust with them. But, as mentioned before, the actor in an active shooter situation often turns out to be someone known to the victims. In 2010, a professor at University of Alabama in Huntsville opened fire on her colleagues, killing three and injuring


Representative Will Ainsworth is working on a bill to allow teachers to carry guns in school.

three more. Adding more guns to an equation does not guarantee they end up in the hands of a “good guy.” Further, adding more guns to the situation creates more confusion for law enforcement when they arrive on the scene. There’s no cheat sheet for who the shooter is and who is just a teacher trying their best in a situation. A law enforcement official responding to the situation needs to be able to quickly identify the shooter and remove them from the situation. Armed teachers roaming the halls needlessly complicates this objective and can have tragic circonsequences. Supporters of a bill with these measures may argue that teachers should be armed to deter a would-be school shooter, not necessarily to stop one. They hope a shooter will think twice about opening fire against students if they believe they’ll be met with a physics teacher who’s packing. This hope requires the mind of a school shooter to be rational, able to look at the risks involved with their despica-

ble action and determine whether it’s smart to carry it out. School shooters don’t think like this. Often, active shooters recognize they’re going to die or be arrested following their actions. Adding another deterrent by way of hastily arming the first adult who volunteers to carry a gun would not effectively prevent their crime. Even if a school never experiences an active shooter situation, guns still have no place in any learning environment. They can add volatility to heated situations and make students feel unsafe. Measures need to be taken to prevent a school shooting from happening in the first place. This means improving and funding the structures we have to deal with mental health problems and implementing common sense gun safety legislation. Believing this epidemic is one you can shoot your way out of is a flawed mentality and one that could lead to more deaths.



Job interviews: the good, the bad, the ugly

Congress, give me a number

By CHRISTIE SHIOVITZ Contributing Columnist

ence you’ve had has enhanced your knowledge, and then explain why it makes you excited to start this new position. Why should we hire you? This can be confused with the above because it’s another opportunity to touch on your strengths. However, it’s more important to show them your ability, willingness and why you’re a good fit for the job in an answer to this question. The Bad: What is your greatest strength? This question is considered less difficult because you can adapt your answer to whatever the position is looking for. Whether they need communication skills, leadership, anything of the sorts – there’s your answer. The Ugly: What is your greatest weakness? Who really wants to admit their greatest weakness to their potential future employer? The only reason for this question is to show your transparency, but other than that, it seems unnecessary. What previous experience do you have that relates to this job? This is one of the worst questions for college students. Many of us have little to no real experience, so we have to find ways to buff up what we do have. Also, the interviewer should have seen your resume and seen what you’ve done, so they kind of already know the answer. These questions have come up in interview after interview because they are timeless. That makes them predictable and easier to prepare for. As you apply to internships and jobs, keep in mind it’s important to be prepared (and maybe be yourself but not too much), and go in with confidence.

The interview process becomes much more familiar and much more real in college. We transition from interviews for part-time jobs at local stores and restaurants into interviews for fulltime careers. It is typical for anyone older and more experienced to offer tips and tricks, but they can be contradictory. I have been told, for example, to make sure to be myself but “not too much because you still want to be professional.” No matter how much advice someone gives you or how much it makes sense, it can be difficult to prepare for any unknown questions. However, some questions have survived the test of time and are still used frequently. How you prepare for them can make all the difference. So, here we have the good, the bad and the ugly. The Good: Do you have any questions for me? This is commonly asked after the interviewer gives a brief description and asks the interviewee some questions. It is important to have done research on the company and the job to have some wellcrafted questions that stand out. These questions should be thought provoking and show preparedness and interest in the position. Tell me about yourself. Not so much of a question as a command, but it can be expected in most interviews. This gives you the opportunity to tell the interviewer your strengths and relevant experience or accomplishments rather than give them your life story. I was told the formula for a good “tell me about yourself” answer is present + past + future. Mention things you are currently doing or The views expressed in columns do not necessarily are involved in and transition how the experi- reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.

By CAMILLE MORGAN Contributing Columnist

Republicans are in control of both houses of Congress, the executive branch and have nominated 24 federal judges in the past year. So, I’m going to need them, or anyone particularly in favor of their leadership, to give me a number. The number isn’t 20, which is how many children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. The number isn’t 96, which is how many Americans are killed on any average day by a gun. The number isn’t 13,000, which is how many people die every year due to gun homicides. The number isn’t 1,500, which the amount of mass shootings that have occurred since Sandy Hook in 2012. I’m looking for a number that merits actual congressional action. The ones listed don’t seem to be high enough to warrant more than thoughts and prayers. The Manchin-Toomey Bill proposed that background checks be required for all gun sales between private dealers including gun shows and websites that sell guns. It failed in 2013 after a successful lobbying effort that insisted the bill would establish a list to track all gun owners – a false claim. You may remember that there seemed to be traction on legislation banning bump stocks – an accessory that converts semi-automatic weapons into fully auto-


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The opinions of The Auburn Plainsman staff are restricted to these pages.

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This editorial is the majority opinion of the Editorial Board and is the official opinion of the newspaper. The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.

The views expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.















matic ones – after the Las Vegas shooting in October. It has not passed. These are only a few of a long list of many failed attempts. Total inaction by our government means accepting the current stats on gun deaths. Every single member of congress that is in favor of the current process to obtain a firearm is accepting 1,500 mass shootings a year. Fifteen-thousand people died from heroin in 2015, and that’s considered a crisis. Is 13,000 not high enough to warrant a background check at a gun show? Like the rest of our rights as Americans, the 2nd Amendment is not an invitation for unchecked behavior. Freedom of speech does not include yelling “fire” in a movie theater. My point is not to debunk every antigun reform myth one by one. I’m merely asking what is worthy of a single piece of legislation that signals that these numbers are no longer acceptable. We have a single party in control of the government. At any time, they can pass meaningful legislation to – at a minimum – attempt to decrease these numbers. The current minority party has been pleading to pass meaningful gun reform for decades. So what’s the number? How many parents have to drop their child off at school for the final time? This is not a rhetorical question.

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Black Girls Rock returns for second annual awards By HANNAH WHITE Campus Writer

Returning for the second year, Black Girls Rock, put on by the National Society of Black Engineers, will provide a platform honoring the many black women who serve as professors, professionals, staff and students at Auburn. “The purpose of Black Girls Rock is to recognize black women in the community for what they do,” said Taylor Hargrove, programs chair for the National Society of Black Engineers. Modeled after the B.E.T. awards, Black Girls Rock is a way to promote the accomplishments of black women on Auburn’s campus and in the surrounding community. “I definitely think there needs to be more events like that on campus where it’s planned out really well, gives people a chance to dress up and support their communities on Auburn’s campus,” said Carmen Stowe, senior in software engineering. While there are some new awards being introduced this

year, there are also a few awards that will be presented for the second year. The Shot Caller Celebrant Award, the Living Legend Award, the Community Change Agent award and the Social Humanitarian Award are all returning to Black Girls Rock. For this year, Black Girls Rock will be introducing the Young, Black and Talented award for the first time. This award will honor a student who expresses herself through the arts and uses her talents to help society. There will also be four appreciation awards presented at this year’s Black Girls Rock. The appreciation awards will go to the women on campus who work in the Foy Food Court, the Student Center and as custodial workers. “We don’t really recognize that they do a lot on campus for us, and without them, campus wouldn’t run smoothly,” Hargrove said. Members of NSBE think Black Girls Rock has the ability to grow into a bigger event, and they hope that each year

brings more campus participation and award opportunities. “Eventually we would like a scholarship to be associated with Black Girls Rock,” Hargrove said. Stowe, the coordinator of last year’s event, said she would love for the event become a part of Auburn’s traditions. In its first year, about 150 students, faculty and family members attended Black Girls Rock, and both Hargrove and Stowe hope to see this number continue to grow over the coming years. “Don’t think of it as an exclusive event but instead that we’re giving the Auburn community a window into a different subsection of the Auburn Family they haven’t seen before or interacted a lot with,” Stowe said. Additional information about the event and each individual award is available on Instagram under the account @auburnblackgirlsrock. The event will be held Sunday, March 25 at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.



Bernard Lafayette visits the memorial of Viola Liuzzo on Monday, Feb. 19.

‘Overcome that fear by showing courage’ Civil rights activist and visiting professor Bernard Lafayette on desegregating the South and the Selma voter registration movement By SAMANTHA STRUNK Campus Writer

Tampa, Florida, native Bernard Lafayette is a civil rights activist who found his voice – and his seat – as a student in Nashville when he began participating in the Nashville sit-in movement in 1960. Once the Nashville sit-ins ended, it was time to hit the road, and Lafayette joined the Freedom Riders. “I kept going back and forth to school for a semester or a year at a time, and then when the Freedom Rides came, I went and joined the Freedom Rides,” Lafayette said. When the Freedom Rides were over, he went back to school for a se-

mester or so, and then got involved in working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee full-time in Selma, Alabama. SNCC, an organization Lafayette helped found, was conceived in April 1960 when Ella Baker, a staff member for Martin Luther King Jr., prompted student sit-in groups from various cities to create a united independent student group. “We had completed desegregating the lunch counters in Nashville before the group was formed, but we brought together under the emblem of SNCC other student groups who were still involved in the sit-ins when the group was formed,” Lafayette said.

Lafayette took a break from college and opted to work with a voter registration project sponsored by SNCC. “SNCC people would go out and establish an office in various places to help people get registered to vote,” Lafayette said. “And those places were mainly in the rural areas of the South.” Lafayette’s first assignment with SNCC was to raise bond money for three SNCC employees: Dion Diamond, who had been arrested for “criminal anarchy” when he helped people register to vote in Louisiana, and Chuck McDew and Bob Zellner, who were both arrested when they visited Diamond. Lafayette went from Atlanta to

Chicago to raise money, and when the three were freed, he returned to Atlanta to find only one voter registration project left — Selma, Alabama. “When I got back to Atlanta for my assignment, all the assignments had been taken up. Except there was one that had an ‘X’ through it where two different teams of SNCC workers had gone down to Selma in Dallas County,” Lafayette said. “And they came back with the same report, that nothing could be done in Selma, Alabama, and they had the same reason: they said the white people in Dallas County were too mean and the black folks in Selma were too afraid.”



Meet BSU Pres. John Blanding By STEPHEN LANZI Campus Writer

The motto of the Black Student Union is “unity through education.” For some, those three words are just that, but for John Blanding, president of BSU, this has become a way of life. Blanding, a Birmingham native, originally came to Auburn to study international business, seeking a career in corporate law. However, his experiences at Auburn and with BSU have led to a new goal of higher education administration. As is the case for many high school students, Blanding had a period of adjustment when coming to college. Blanding attended Jefferson County International Baccalaureate, where he was able to personally know all of the 63 students he graduated with, which was not the case when he came to Auburn.

“When I got here, I was shocked to see 28,000 students on a campus,” Blanding said. “I can remember calling my mom saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know if I necessarily want to be here,’ just because I came here by myself. I didn’t know anybody, I just went to class, and then I went back home. My Auburn experience was not what it is now.” After not initially having a place to go to feel comfortable with people he could relate to, Blanding was able to find a balance between comfort and branching out through BSU. “BSU is really where I found my family, where I found my purpose here on campus, and from there, I was able to venture out into different organizations and meet new people,” Blanding said. Today, Blanding believes it’s important to have friend groups and spaces where you feel comfortable, but it is also important to branch out and experience new things to be-

come comfortable with being uncomfortable. Blanding joined BSU on a whim during the second semester of freshman year. He started as publicity chair before becoming executive vice president. He then was elected president and has been serving for the past year. Blanding said his involvement with BSU was a major factor in his recent decision to change career paths. “I decided I was more passionate about advocating for groups and being able to promote inclusion and diversity on different campuses,” Blanding said. “I think it’s kind of cool because I’ll be able to be like BSU president as a career.” He said growing up with both parents being educators, allocation of resources in areas like education inequality has been an issue that has always struck a nerve with him, which is where he wants to make his


Blanding, BSU president, sits in the organization’s cubicle.

impact. “I really want to uncover a way for us to remedy the achievment gap, for all kids to receive the same level of education, the same quality of education,” he said. Taffye Benson Clayton, associate provost and vice president for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, has become like a second mom for Blanding. She has been an example

for Blanding of how education parlays into diversity and inclusion. “We’re living in a globalized world,” Blanding said. “We’re in an age where people are different, and we have to learn to accept those differences in everyday life. In every aspect of our daily lives, we’re affected by diversity and inclusion.”

» See BSU 5


The Auburn Plainsman




Lafayette was undaunted. “So nothing could be accomplished, so they had put an ‘X’ through Selma, scratched it off the map, you know, we’re not going,” Lafayette said. “So I said, ‘Okay, I want to be director of a project.’ They said, ‘Well, you ought to take a look at it.’ I said, ‘No I’ll take it.’” Rather than rush to Selma, Lafayette researched the city in Tuskegee’s library. When he finished his research, he headed to Selma. Amelia Boynton, who has become known as the “matriarch of the voting rights movement,” offered Lafayette office space for SNCC, and the two became close friends. Lafayette, along with many others, began to mount a campaign focused on getting people registered to vote, and they were successful. “We had a hard time trying to get a mass meeting because people weren’t ready,” Lafayette said. “But we had to help them overcome that fear by showing courage, and they responded. So that was the beginning of the Selma voter registration campaign.” After his work in Selma, Lafayette traveled to Chicago to participate in the Chicago movement and from there was recruited by Martin Luther King, Jr. to join his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Lafayette joined King’s staff in 1967 as national programs director. In 1968, King appointed Lafayette as the national coordinator of his last project, the Poor People’s Campaign. Lafayette was with King five hours before the civil rights leader was shot and killed in April 1968. The 50-year anniversary of King’s death is coming up this year. Since the civil rights movement, Lafayette has served at many educational institutions and organizations, and he is now a visiting professor of global leadership and nonviolence at Auburn. He continued advocating for civil rights and nonviolence through a number of avenues and said that today, there is still plenty to be done in terms of progress. One area Lafayette believes still needs to be addressed is voter turnout. “We have to make sure that the people who are qualified to vote actually vote,” Lafayette said. “Because it’s one thing to get registered, and we need all the people

Blanding said one of the biggest lessons he’s learned is to not get mad about the way other people view the world. He said the key to any of these issues is education. “Not everybody knows what a micro-aggression is,” Blanding said. “Not everybody knows that something they say may perpetuate racism. It’s all about the way we were raised and the backgrounds and the groups we’ve dealt with.” Blanding does not think people should forget about color, but rather people should celebrate it, especially during Black History Month. “I definitely think that race plays a large role in the way that we think and the way that the world operates,” Blanding said. “It’s going to be something that’s difficult to ignore. It’s like running through a maze. Instead of trying to get around it, use it as a platform for something greater.” BSU’s theme for Black History Month is “Creating a Conversation in Color.” Black History Month is one of Blanding’s favorite times of the year. He sees the month as not only a way to observe the achievements of African-Americans but to also celebrate inclusion and diversity. BSU hosted Opal Tometi, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, as part of BSU’s many events during Black History Month. BSU is focusing the month on Tometi’s three pillars – faith, justice and joy. Blanding said he wants people to realize BSU is not just for black students. “Numbers are great,” Blanding said. “We would love to have increased retention for students of color, but at the end of the day, it’s about the quality of students that we have here. I think Auburn is taking great strides in that respect.” Blanding said the biggest change he has seen in his time with BSU is the expansion of the organization. He said he was amazed at a meeting last year when more white students were at a meeting than black students. “We consider BSU a safe space,” Blanding said. “So, any and everybody can come and tell their story. We may say we don’t agree with it, but we’re not going to invalidate your experience or your story.” As a senior, Blanding is in the final months of his time as BSU president. “I’m a crier,” Blanding said. “I cried when I transitioned [into office], I cried when our last vice president left, I cried when the old president left. So, I know I’m going to be a mess when I’m done.” Finishing out his term as president is a bittersweet thought for Blanding. He greatly appreciates the influence that BSU has made on his life and looks forward to trying to bring the BSU motto into his new career path.

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The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Monday, Feb. 19.

to get registered who qualify. Then, they must turn out to vote.” He cited Alabama’s latest Senate election as a win in terms of voter turnout. “When people decide they’re going to get out and vote for someone who represents them, then you can see a difference,” Lafayette said. Lafayette also mentioned the necessity to educate America’s youth on government operations. “Because a lot of people do not have an appreciation for how the government operates, all the different departments, what their responsibilities are, what their limitations are and what their duties should be,” Lafayette said. “So educating our young people as to how the system operates is very important because then they can participate in a very effective way and also make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us are representing us and not themselves.” In the spirit of a movement that defined his life, Lafayette emphasized nonviolence and education. He said it is a responsibility of citizens to closely examine violence in colleges, high schools and overall communities and see how people can address the issue.

“I think the way you do it is to institutionalize nonviolence in our educational systems,” Lafayette said. “And you teach people how to deal with conflict and be able to manage conflict without violence.” He said managing nonviolence with people who gravitate towards violence on account of other issues should be handled in a “very scientific way.” “We have ways, we have means, we have knowledge, so all we need is the nonviolence that Martin Luther King talked about,” Lafayette said. “How do you respond to the situations to prevent violence?” In 1975, Lafayette contributed to establishing a program called the Alternative to Violence Project, centered around teaching inmates how to handle conflict by using nonviolence training. The program was successful and is now implemented in 60 countries and 30 U.S. states. Examples like this are why Lafayette thinks the implementation of nonviolence education in schools is a reasonable goal that would produce favorable results. “You could learn how to deal with conflict with nonviolence just like you learn math and English and other things,” Lafayette said. “It’s a skill.”

community THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018




From slave to Auburn businesswoman

The only black person with a marked grave in Pine Hill Cemetery serves as a reminder of Auburn’s past By EDUARDO MEDINA Community Writer

At sunup, Pine Hill Cemetery opens its iron gates, and the faintly eroded marks of birth and death become visible from Auburn’s dawn. The oldest grave dates back to 1830, and the newest to 2010. About 40 yards away from the tombstones of mayors and Auburn University presidents, and between two great pine trees, lies the burial grounds of slaves. In the 1950s, over 1,100 graves were cataloged in Pine Hill. A ground penetrating radar on the area conducted by Auburn Heritage Association in 2010 proved slaves were also once buried there. Out of those, only one has a marked grave site, now situated under the shade of a tree. A 4-foot tall, chiseled slab of marble stands northward beside Hare Avenue. Swirling shades of grey cast a cloudy hue on the grave, and the inscribed name reads “Gatsy Rice.” She is the sole black person with a marked grave in Pine Hill. According to the 2010 book “Auburn Sweet Auburn: History, Stories, and Epitaphs of Pine Hill Cemetery,” Rice was from New Orleans and came to Auburn in the 1840s, where she was enslaved as a nurse in the Milton family’s house. After emancipation, Rice moved across the street from what is now Samford Hall. President of the Auburn Heritage Association Mary Norman coedited the book and spoke of Rice’s life in Auburn with detail. “She sewed military uniforms for cadets because all students were in the military prior to World War I at Auburn, so she became a seamstress and had her own business,” Norman said. According to Norman, a man was so impressed with Rice’s work ethic and courage, he had an elegant tombstone built for her grave years after she died. The tombstone towers above the pine-straw-covered ground to this day, and the admiration she earned shows in the emboldened font etched across the base, spelling out in large letters “Rice.” The poise and strength Rice possessed as a successful black woman in the South are reflected in the opaque tombstone with its firm rectangular build. The other graves at Pine Hill are equally maintained in part because the Auburn Heritage Association donated $30,000 for cleanup and $70,000 to put up a fence, which reduced vandalism. Auburn Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Richardson said she is also determined to keep the historic site well kept. “We’re in the process of doing some renovation projects there right now that we hope will encourage people to come and enjoy it because it’s a very pretty cemetery,” Richardson said. Landscape areas are being put up near the entrance, and the lighting is being upgraded so the cemetery becomes more distinguishable, Richardson said. To further encourage visitation, seating areas will be added near the flagpole, another a recent addition. Chamelea gardens that once blossomed when Rice was a resident of Auburn are being replanted, Richardson said. The refurbishing could draw more visitors to Pine Hill and allow people to appreciate the history preserved in the cemetery, not just to see the final resting places of famous city and University figures but also those of black residents who don’t have a building named after them or, in most cases, even a marker with their name on it. Auburn professor Kelly Kennington is a historian specializing in slavery and the antebellum American South. She teaches a class focusing on African-American history and spoke on the significance

of studying this harrowing time in America. Kennington has visited Pine Hill and upholds the importance of visiting such historical sites. “The larger implications like, ‘Why does this matter? What can this teach us about today?’ are what really get me interested in visiting historical sites,” Kennington said. A few graves at Pine Hill cemetery have inscribed how the person died, while others, such as Rice’s and some University presidents,’ have a plaque installed by the heritage association describing what the person did in Auburn. “When you visit a person’s gravesite, you get a deeper understanding of both that person’s story and why it matters,” Kennington said. A stroll through the cemetery showcases Auburn’s history and its development throughout time. Most of the graves are placed in the middle and southern end of the cemetery. The pines toward the west and east are planted firm like pillars, each shading the burial ground of slaves from the fervent Southern


sun. Crowning the cemetery up in the north side rests Rice. Roots from the giant pine trees reach the grave of Rice and encompass it like a guardrail at a museum. “Aged 63 years,” reads the mark placed at the center of Rice’s grave – not an unusual lifespan for the time. The surrounding graves in the cemetery tell similar stories. At sunset, the light-polluted darkness settles, and the quote fixated on the grave and memory of a former slave fades away into an Auburn night. “Gone to a bright home where grief cannot come,” the grave reads.




The entrance to the Pine Hill Cemetery on Feb. 20, 2018.



Ward 8 City Councilman Tommy Dawson outside his home on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 in Auburn, Ala.

Councilman calls for police in schools By KAILEY BETH SMITH Community Reporter

In the wake of a shooting at a South Florida high school that claimed the lives of 17 students, Auburn Ward 8 Councilman Tommy Dawson echoed the concerns of many communities across the United States on Tuesday night: we need to protect students. Voices across the nation have been crying out for more safety precautions since school shootings have become more commonplace in the U.S. in different ways. Some have called for school policy changes, increased regulations on firearms or informational training. Dawson, who worked for the Auburn Police Division for 26 years, including a threeyear stint as police chief, pro-

posed that the city looks into strategically placing officers in each of the schools in the Auburn public school system. At the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, the former police chief said that due to the size and need of the Auburn City Schools, he would suggest having one officer per elementary school, four to six in each of the middle schools and a minimum of six at Auburn High School. “Our children are our most precious commodity,” he said. “I cannot imagine what these parents are going through. I definitely don’t want that to happen here in Auburn, and I would feel guilty if I did not do all that I could do.” He cited his experience on the force as a driving factor

» See SCHOOLS , 7


Tim Chambliss talks about the Piccolo Jazz Lounge at The Hotel at Auburn University on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.

Jazz makes a home in Auburn Featuring a team of Auburn alumni, the Piccolo lounge at The Hotel at Auburn University has fostered a community of jazz fans in town By JESSICA JERNIGAN Community Writer

Nestled inside the Hotel at Auburn University is Piccolo, a bar and lounge area that hosts live jazz every Friday and Saturday night. Adam Keeshan, who graduated from Auburn University in 2006, started out as a bartender at The Hotel and now is the assistant manager of food and beverage and witnessed the growth of the jazz lounge firsthand. The hotel had a space that wasn’t generating any revenue, so it asked the interior design program at the University as one of their semester projects to come up with something

different. The jazz lounge was the winning concept. “The design was an authentic jazz lounge down to the art on the walls, to the lighting, the food, the drinks and, of course, the music,” Keeshan said. The lounge is not what most would associate with a city like Auburn and looks similar to something one might see in New York City, in part due to the vision the team at The Hotel and Hans van der Reijden, the managing director of the hotel operations, created. “Hans has this vision of that New York feel of literally a narrow skinny room that’s very intimate,” said Auburn alumnus Tim Chambliss, man-

aging partner of Modern Media Consulting and owner of Four Star Music. Chambliss has been a long time resident of Auburn working as the University’s gymnastics PA announcer and performing in his band, Kidd Blue, which he formed in 1985. While finding the praised performers that have come through the jazz lounge, Chambliss and his band have also performed with their music highly influenced by jazz sounds. “Jazz is truly an emotional art form, and with the last couple years being emotional with the state of affairs in our country, I think to some degree people come here and try to escape

» See JAZZ, 7

The Auburn Plainsman





Man killed in Thursday night shooting Feb. 15 The Auburn Police Division has identified the victim of a fatal Feb. 15 shooting. Cedric Jerome Parker, 30, from Auburn died last Thursday after succumbing to a single gunshot wound, police said in a release. Early results of the investigation point to Parker and the suspect or suspects, who haven’t been identified, having a previous conflict. The Auburn Police Division began investigating the shooting Thursday night in the 900 block of Old Mill Road. Police responded to a report of shots fired in the

area at about 10:18 p.m. on Feb. 15. When they arrived, police found a deceased 30-year-old male, who was later identified to be Parker. The investigation is being treated as a homicide. Police said early Friday the case didn’t appear to be random and involved two people who know each other. The APD, the Lee County Coroner’s Office and the Department of Forensic Science Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 334- 5013140 or at the tip line, 334246-1391.

Additional arrests made in trafficking of 13-year-old Feb. 18 On Monday, Auburn police arrested and charged city residents Laquinta Shamon Tarbert, 35, and Courtney Cortez Morgan, 31, with first-degree human trafficking in connection with the October kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl. Two men, Brian D. Askew and Corey B. Heard, were arrested in January with the kidnapping and rape of a young girl who ran away from the Lee County Youth Development Center in October. The 13-year-old girl left the facility and was picked

up by “several unknown males” in a vehicle, police said. They allegedly took her to a residence in Auburn, held her against her will and sexually assaulted her. According to a release from the Auburn Police Division, Tarbert and Morgan were developed as suspected accomplices in the case and the two were arrested at an Auburn residence. They were transported to the Lee County Detention Center where they are each being held on a $100,000 bond.

Tuskegee woman killed by car near Bent Creek


Auburn students jump at Surge trampoline park in Opelika, Ala., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

Surge Trampoline Park finds success in Opelika By PAUL BROCK Campus Writer

The first Surge Trampoline Park opened on Jan. 28 2017, in Opelika, and the franchise is now beginning to spread across the Southeast. “We just want to provide a fun and a safe place,” said Chase Higgens, the general manager for the Opelika Surge Park. “We want to be a spot where you can hang out and have fun.” The park features a variety of trampoline activities including dodgeball and basketball dunking. Higgins said that the most popular age range for Surge customers is 12-15, but all ages are welcome. “We’ve hosted plenty of sororities in the year that we’ve been open,” Higgins said. Surge hosts a college night every Thursday from 5-9 p.m. during the

school year where students who present a student ID can get an hour of access for $9.95. Organizations can also rent the park out. “The big benefit that we have is we’re the largest of the indoor entertainment or attraction places,” Higgins said. “If you’ve got a huge college group, you know, student group or a sorority, a fraternity, it’s not one of those things where our capacity is so low that you have to split the group up and do the activity all at different times. We have such a large facility that everyone can enjoy the activity all at the same time, so that’s what makes it such a good place for college groups.” Higgins said that Surge is in the process of creating a fitness class that uses the trampolines. Higgins also said they want to eventually add a “ninja warrior course” to the Opelika park like other Surge parks have. “Initially, when we drafted the plans

for this park, it was something we had added to the plans, but at the last minute, we decided not to put it here just yet,” said Higgins. “[The ninja warrior course] was going to be kind of something that we use as we build up a better base and got more comfortable in the community.” Higgens said that several of Surge’s employees are Auburn students. “Definitely an opportunity to do some easy work with a schedule that works around courses,” Higgins said. Surge is looking into selling season passes in the future, Higgens added. “We put a big emphasis on the cleanliness of our park,” Higgins said. “Beause we believe, you know, we’ve got all the attractions here to make it fun, but if we’re not making it clean and if we’re not revisiting our policies constantly, then it’s going to take a certain degree of the fun out of it.”

Feb. 19 Kalishani Lanet Maxwell, 41, of Tuskegee died Sunday morning after being hit by a car near the Bent Creek Road exit of Interstate 85 in Auburn. Auburn police, fire and EMS paramedics responded to a call of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle near exit 57 early Sunday morning, police said in a release. When officers arrived on the scene shortly after 12:40 a.m., they found an unresponsive woman lying in the road near the end of the exit 57 ramp, the Lee County Coroner’s Office said. Maxwell had no identification on her person, and on Wednesday the coroner’s office confirmed her identity. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Sunday that she died instantly from bluntforce impact injuries. Har-

ris pronounced Maxwell dead at 1:05 a.m. Police said a preliminary investigation indicated she was walking in the roadway when she was struck by the vehicle. No charges have been filed, and the Auburn Police Division is still investigating the incident, police said on Wednesday. The driver of the vehicle, a 19-year-old female from Tuskegee, did not sustain any injuries and remained on the scene. She was driving a 2012 Honda Accord, police said. Maxwell’s body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Medical Examiner’s Office in Montgomery for a postmortem investigation and identification. Police have asked that anyone with information regarding the accident call 334-501-3140 or the anon-


JAZZ » From 6

that through the improvisation and sound that jazz brings,” Chambliss said. “People might come here to hear something they are looking for within the music that they may need. You may find something in your soul that comes out through a horn or any of the instru-

ments.” Regulars have been loyal to the lounge that offers a refined and different night out that is separate from the usual downtown routine most may expect. The lounge is open to everyone, not just the guests at the hotel, but it draws them in Keeshan said. “Our clients vary from weekend to weekend and sea-

son to season, but it’s a great addition to their experience if they want to come and enjoy some amazing live talent,” Keeshan said. Performers come from the Southeast, but there are a lot of talented jazz musicians in Auburn that people may not know about. “There is just a wealth of talent that has gone unrecognized

for so long, and this is a great place to pull them in and showcase their talent,” Keeshan said. Certain artists draw their particular fans like Kenny “on the keys” Heard, Kenyon Carter and Grammy-nominated trumpeter Darren English. “It’s not the same people every weekend, and that’s what makes it so exciting and special,” Keeshan said.


A physics lab at Auburn High School on Thursday, May 31, 2017 in Auburn, Ala.

Vintage Doll House Look for a new find each week! 334-745-3221 • 900 columbus pkwy • opelika 36801 Open Everyday 10-7 • Sun 1-5

SCHOOLS » From 6

behind the need to institute a police presence at each of the schools within the Auburn system. He said that not only would it bring about a feeling of security, but officers could be role models for the students. In the elementary schools, he said, having an officer presence could inspire the students, improve officer relations and perhaps even prevent criminality in the student’s future.

In speaking with The Plainsman after the meeting’s adjournment, he noted each City Council meeting featured a security detail, something that most of the city’s schools lack. The Auburn City Schools operates as a K-12 program with more than 8,000 students in the 12 campuses throughout the city. There are nine elementary schools, four kindergarten through second-grade schools, four third grade through fifthgrade schools, one sixthgrade school, one middle

school, one junior high and one high school. Auburn University Campus Safety and Security offered two active shooter response training sessions for students this week at their building on Magnolia Avenue. The sessions were held with the purpose of making sure students were informed about what to look for in an active shooter situation, how to stay safe and how to act calmly but proactively in an emergency situation. Situational awareness and

education are some of the most important things to have in times of emergency, Dawson said. “If you’re thinking about it, you’ll know what to do,” he said. “It’s something we sit around and talk about too much. We need to actually get something done.” Dawson will soon begin pushing for evaluations of the current resources and to get officers in the schools sooner rather than later. The proposal will be brought before Police Chief Paul Register.








Anfernee McLemore (24) dunks during the second half. Auburn vs UAB on Saturday, Dec. 9 in Auburn, Ala.


Auburn looking to Chuma Okeke, Horace Spencer to step up following injury to McLemore By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor

Seconds before Auburn sophomore forward Anfernee McLemore horrifically hit the South Carolina hardwood, the fans donning garnet and black were as rambunctious as they come. Their Gamecocks, losers of six-straight at the time, were leading the No. 10 Auburn Tigers by 22 with just over a minute to play in the opening half. Carolina guard Wesley Myers attacked the lane with a floater, triggering McLemore to leap for the rebound. Gruesomely, the 6-foot-7, conference leader in shot blocks tripped on his teammate Desean Murray, terrifyingly dislocating McLemore’s ankle. In that moment, you could hear a pin drop in Colonial Life Arena. Murray, who was pleading with the official for an offensive foul under the hoop, didn’t even notice the injury next to him for a few seconds. Gamecocks and Tigers quickly turned their heads away -- some even had to run. The Auburn bench immediately huddled together, consoling one another. Bruce Pearl hurried to McLemore’s side, grabbing his hand and urging him to look his coach in the eyes. “I just got to go out there and hold his hand,” Pearl said after the loss. “I got to try and calm him down. I got to go there and have him not sit up and look at it. You got a potential for a shock there. I wanted him to see my face.” As McLemore was being carted out of the arena, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin rushed over to offer his own encouragement. “Anfernee just want u to know that I’m still thinking of u,” Martin tweeted after the game. “I’ve said plenty of (prayers) 4 u. Keep your faith God has your back.” Despite the first half filled with porous defense, lackluster

shot selection and McLemore’s demoralizing exit, the Tigers didn’t quit. At one point in the second half, Auburn cut it down to a 5-point South Carolina lead. The then-tenth-ranked Tigers couldn’t hold on however, suffering only their fourth loss of the season with as many games remaining. Less than 48 hours later, Pearl was able to evaluate McLemore’s surgery, which was originally expected to hold the Warwick, Georgia product out four to six months. The surgery was performed on McLemore’s ankle and fractured tibia, as well as the torn ligaments suffered. “The surgery went extremely well,” Pearl said Monday morning on the SEC coaches teleconference. “Prior to the surgery the doctors were talking about four to six months (until McLemore returns), and after the surgery we’re talking about four months. It went that well.” “Thank you Auburn Family for all the love and support! Doctors said I dislocated my ankle, fractured my tibia, and will need surgery for some torn ligaments,” McLemore tweeted. “Not to worry, I’ll be back in 4-6 months. War Eagle everybody.” Pearl now must search his remaining big men for McLemore’s replacement in the starting lineup. Junior Horace Spencer and freshman Chuma Okeke are the likely candidates, and Pearl said Monday that he will allow Spencer to decide which spot in the rotation he is more comfortable with. Spencer was forced to step up in McLemore’s absence in the second half, turning in six points and four rebounds in the final 20 minutes to lead Auburn’s comeback bid. Spencer said that his play, as well as him team’s, was fueled by the thought of his teammate. “I just saw my little brother go down and I had to pick it up because I don’t want him to see that we just gave up after he got hurt,” Spencer said. “I think we responded perfectly. Me, personally, I responded great. I feel like me getting that spark, even though I didn’t close the game the way I wanted to, it showed


my team that we’re still in the game and we still can come back. We should’ve come back and won.” One of the few upperclassmen on the roster, Spencer was tasked with lifting the team up after such a dispiriting incident as McLemore’s injury. “It was sad in the moment,” Spencer said. “A couple of guys broke out in tears, me being one of them, but I feel like me being a leader of the team, I had to show the guys what we had to do in the second half. We had to come back with a fire and a spark and we had to pick it up for Anfernee.” Spencer worked to ensure that the young players, especially those who would fill the void left by McLemore, like Okeke, didn’t hang their heads. “Chuma picked himself up,” Spencer said. “I didn’t tell Chuma anything after that happened because I was taking it hard myself, and to see how Chuma reacted after the fact, Chuma had a great second half, so I know he was mentally ready to play.” Auburn will try to push out distractions this Wednesday against Alabama, one of only three SEC squads to record a win against the Tigers this season. In January’s victory, the Crimson Tide inflicted most of their damage from the perimeter, opting to stay away from the McLemore-guarded paint. Spencer or Okeke will have to maintain that same defensive prowess for Auburn to avoid a season sweep against its bitter rival. One of the primary reasons for Auburn’s success this season has been consistency in the rotations, as Pearl has seemingly found his perfect nine-deep rotation. Now there’s only eight. Whichever rotation Pearl decides, Spencer echoed that the name and number coinciding with the staring center position is of little significance to a Tiger team playing in honor of their teammate. “Honestly, it really doesn’t matter who starts, who doesn’t start,” Spencer said. “I really don’t care about starting or not, I just want to win against Alabama and the next four games.”


Pearl confident in his Auburn career By WILL SCHUETTE Sports Writer


Mustapha Heron (5) shoots from the 3-point line during Auburn vs. Georgia on Feb. 10, 2018.

Tigers slide to No. 12, maintain SEC lead By ZACHARY PIKE Sports Writer

The road loss at South Carolina on Saturday cost the Tigers two spots in the AP poll, as Auburn dropped out of the top 10 to No. 12 this week. Auburn is currently 23-4 overall and 11-3 this season. It was a crazy week for the top 10

throughout college basketball, as seven teams in the top ten all lost at least one game. Ohio State and Cincinnati both lost two games last week. Auburn still maintains a two-game lead over the rest of the SEC with four games to play. Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Missouri all lost Saturday to keep Auburn two games ahead of Tennessee.

With Auburn’s victory over Tennessee earlier in the season, Auburn holds the tiebreaker over the Volunteers. Auburn hosts Alabama Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CST inside Auburn Arena. The game will air on the SEC Network. Auburn will end the week with a trip to Gainesville to take on Florida on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST on the SEC Network.

In the midst of coaching Auburn basketball to what could be its best season in program history, Bruce Pearl’s future on The Plains is in doubt. Since former assistant Chuck Person was arrested and later indicted on six federal corruption charges shortly before the season, Auburn has been at the front of the FBI probe consuming college basketball and it has left the university asking Pearl for answers. “We’ve complied enough to still be here,” Pearl said in a taped interview which appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday Saturday morning. “I wouldn’t be coaching here if there were greater problems.” Auburn is conducting an ongoing internal investigation into the men’s basketball program which President Steven Leath has found Pearl unwilling to fully cooperate with. Two of Pearl’s assistants, Jordan VerHulst and Frankie Sullivan, were put on paid administrative leave in November and players Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy have been ruled ineligible for this season by the NCAA. “We don’t know what’s true and what isn’t true,” Pearl said. “We know what’s alleged. The university has put itself under a very strong investigation to go through this process.” While Pearl’s Tigers currently hold a record of 23-4 and are in the mix to possibly claim a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, the head coach is optimistic he will remain at Auburn for years to come. “I own this job,” Pearl said. “I own Auburn basketball. It’s mine. I’d love to be able to have a legacy.”


The Auburn Plainsman



No. 10 Auburn wins All-American Intercollegiate Championship By PETER SANTO Sports Writer

Coming into the weekend ranked tenth in the GCAA coaches poll, the Auburn golf team cemented itself as one of the best teams in the country and took a big step toward its seventh straight NCAA Championship appearance with a 16-stroke win over No. 3 Baylor in the All-American Intercollegiate Championship in Humble, Texas. The Tigers carded an 11-under 277 in Sunday’s final round at the Golf Club of Houston and finished a tournament-record 42-under par. “The guys played great,” Auburn head coach Nick Clinard said. “They drove the ball well, and they putted well. We wanted to make a statement this weekend that we’re one of the best teams in the country, and we expect to compete at the highest level. And we did that.” Ben Schlottman, Auburn’s lone senior, led the Tigers with a third-place finish in just his second start of the season after shooting a pair of 67s on the weekend to finish at 12-under. The Advance, North Carolina, native is a former All-American and appears to be trending in the right direction as the spring season progresses. “Ben didn’t get a chance to play last fall, and being a former all-

American and SEC freshman of the year, he’s had his peaks and valleys in college,” Clinard said. “He’s swinging it as well as I’ve seen him swing the golf club, and he’s really matured as a human being. He’s worked hard, and it’s nice to see him playing well. I know the guys on the team were really happy for him.” Sophomore Jovan Rebula shot 69-65 on Friday and Saturday to claim the 36-hole lead, but a Sunday 71 left him in a share of fourth place with junior Trace Crowe and Baylor’s Garrett May at 11-under. Brandon Mancheno continued his stellar freshman season with his fourth top-10 finish. The Jacksonville, Florida, native led after 18 holes following a 7-under par 65 but shot just 1-under on the weekend to finish T7. “Brandon’s a really dynamic player,” Clinard said. “We had high expectations for him coming in. He’s really confident, he’s willing to learn. He’s very coachable, which is sometimes difficult for freshmen. He wants to be an elite player, and he’s willing to listen to us as coaches to help him become an elite player.” Freshman Wells Padgett finished 79th at 10-over and junior Ryan Knop finished T35 as an individual. Keenan Huskey of South Carolina won medalist honors at 15-under. While no Auburn player took home the individual title, the Tigers were a consistent presence at the top of the leaderboard as four players finished in the top seven. With all but one player

recording at least one top-20 finish this season, Clinard is confident his team has the depth necessary to compete for a national title. “We have a lot of depth,” Clinard said. “It speaks to the entire team, even the guys back home who aren’t playing as much as they want to, they’re still improving. They’re getting to be better players, and they’re pushing each other to compete. It pushes all of them to be better.” After missing match play by just one shot at last year’s NCAA Championships, the Tigers will look to get over that hump and challenge the nation’s best this season. “We just haven’t been able to put it all together in that one week and make match play,” Clinard said. “We’ve been knocking on the door. This team is a little bit better putters as a group. I think they are fearless, and that’s the best quality you can have as a player. We’re going to let them run, let them play. I always say let the horses go, and we’ve got the skill to do that.” Next up for the Tigers will be a home tournament as they will host the Tiger Intercollegiate at RTJ Grand National March 2-6. “It’s great to have a home event, just to play in front of your donors,” Clinard said. “It’s a chance for fans to come out and see you play. It’s a big advantage, you know the golf course, and we get a chance to play everybody. A tournament setting beats qualifying, tournaments are a little bit different.”


Ben Schlottman follows through on his swing during the first round of the Tiger Invitational golf tournament in Opelika, Ala., on Sunday, March 6, 2016.


No. 2 Auburn outlasts No. 3 Aggies By SPORTS STAFF The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team picked up its third-straight win over a Top 5 opponent, defeating Southeastern Conference rival and No. 3 Texas A&M, 11-7, Saturday afternoon at the Auburn University Equestrian Center. The win moved the Tigers to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in SEC competition. “This group has been performing so well as a team,” head coach Greg Williams said. “They worked so hard to pull out this win and never quit. This was a good win for us because it once again solidified that we are good enough to ride with anybody and we’re ready to go again next weekend.” It was a tight contest right to the end as Auburn held an 8-7 lead over TAMU with Reining remaining. Freshman Terri-June Granger and junior Blair McFarlin each picked up a tie to kick things off before freshman Deanna Green earned her first career win in the event, 66.5-65.5, to give the Tigers a 9-7 advantage. The next match proved a big one in many respects as senior Alexa Rivard had to top Aggie Madison Bohman’s 72.5. After a solid ride on Nash, the Suwanee, Ga., product was awarded a 73 to secure the team win and also earn Most Outstanding Performer for the event. In addition, the victory gave Rivard her 35th career win on the Plains, pushing her past Indy Roper’s 34 (2009-13) and into first place in the Auburn record book for career reining wins. “Every time I have walked out of the locker room, I would see Indy’s name at the top with 34,” Rivard said. “I have looked up to her forever because she is an amazing ride and amazing leader. I wanted that spot so much and it feels really good to finally get there.”

“We’re so proud of Alexa and it’s fun to see this happen for her,” Williams added. “Indy Roper was an Auburn great both in the arena and out of the arena and Indy really helped Alexa become the great leader that she is in both areas of the team. This really is special.” Junior Betsy Brown capped the discipline with a 71-70 victory over Ashton Dunkel, giving the team its 11th point. The win also gave Brown her team-leading sixth on the season. The two rivals battled to a 5-5 tie at intermission after great rides in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship. The Flat crew put together a 4-1 performance as a team over the Aggies. Junior Ashton Alexander earned MOP honors with an 8572 victory vs. Brianna Peddicord. Junior Caitlin Boyle picked up her team-leading ninth win in the event with 75 points, while classmate Hayley Iannotti got her seventh win of the season with a 59-50 victory. Freshman Taylor St. Jacques remained undefeated in Flat, topping Alex Desiderio, 74-69. Junior Lauren Diaz picked up a victory for Auburn in Horsemanship for her sixth win of the season. She bested Sarah Orsak, 73-72. The Aggies took the event with a 4-1 overall mark. In Equitation Over Fences, Auburn edged TAMU, 3-2, to help give the Reining corps the lead for the final event. Alexander secured the sweep in Hunt Seat MOPs, earning a meet-best 87 points in her win. St Jacques edged Desiderio once again with an 82-79 victory, while Boyle picked up 85 points for the W. Auburn remains home for its final SEC contest of the regular season, taking on No. 8 South Carolina. The Tigers and the Gamecocks will face off at 11 a.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Auburn University Equestrian Center.


The Feed the Family Fund is a meal assistance program created to assist students experiencing food insecurity. The funds will be loaded onto the recipients Tiger Card. Recipients will only be able to use the funds at campus dining venues. Applications for the Feed the Family Fund are open now and close Feb. 28. E-mail or call 334-844-1305 to apply. @AuburnStudents auburnstudents FILE PHOTO

Lauren Diaz competes during the SEC Equestrian Championship on Saturday, March 25, 2017.


The Auburn Plainsman


Undefeated starts

Pitching leading Tigers to strong starts on the diamond BASEBALL


Auburn earns walk-off victory to stay perfect By WILL SCHUETTE Sports Writer

Auburn’s makeshift lineup struggled to do anything at the plate throughout much of Tuesday night’s game against Georgia State, but it was able to take advantage of one last opportunity. After being kept in the game with five and 2/3 scoreless innings by their bullpen, the Tigers put together a final-inning rally that finished with a walk-off single by junior college transfer Brendan Venter to defeat Georgia State 3-2. “I thought at the end of the ballgame our approach really changed,” said Auburn head coach Butch Thompson. The Tigers went hitless in innings two through seven and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position until the final two hitters of the game. Connor Davis plated Will Holland with two outs in the ninth inning on an infield single off the first baseman’s glove, and Venter followed by reaching base for the fourth time in the game with his walk-off hit. “All game we were putting barrels on balls, and the rule of averages says a few of them are going to fall eventually,” Venter said. “It was a pretty cool feeling being able to get it done.” Venter would have been without a chance for late-game heroics if it were not for fresh-

man relief pitcher Cody Greenhill, who pitched the final three and 1/3 innings for the Tigers without surrendering a run or a hit. “I wanted Cody Greenhill to pitch at game time,” Thompson said. “That tells you the difference between college baseball sometimes and professional baseball how you would deem somebody as your closer. We would rather refer to him as a competitive moment guy, bring him in in the sixth and our little bull finds a way to finish a ballgame for us.” Auburn’s lineup looked a bit different than usual on Tuesday as regular starters Dylan Ingram, Jay Estes and Luke Jarvis all were missing from it. Outfielders Bowen McGuffin and Judd Ward both got their first starts of the season, and Estes and Jarvis entered the game later. “This is a personal thing that I’m trying to do is see everybody on our ballclub,” Thompson said. “Win, lose or draw, I don’t think I would have had any regret with it. I want, once we get to SEC play, for our players to make the lineup out. The only way I know how to do that is to give these players an opportunity to play.” Auburn moved to 4-0 on the young season, and its pitching staff has only allowed three runs over 36 innings. The Tigers will host Bryant over the weekend with first pitch set for 5 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Casey Mize will get the nod Friday night for Auburn.


The Tigers celebrate after their 3-2 walkoff win over Georgia State on Feb. 20, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.


Makayla Martin (29) tosses a pitch. Auburn vs. LSU at the SEC Tournament on Saturday, May 13.

Martin’s no-hitter caps perfect weekend for AU By HENRY ZIMMER Sports Writer

The No. 13 Auburn Tigers led off the last day of the Tiger Invitational with an 8-0 win over the Maryland Terrapins and capped with a 5-0 win over Georgia State to remain undefeated in 2018. Makayla Martin pitched the entire game, throwing her first career no-hitter. Martin dished out five strikeouts, losing the perfect game bid by walking a batter late in the top of the fourth. In 32 innings, Martin has yet to give up a run or lose a start, improving to 6-0 on the season. The walked batter is also only her third of the season. “I was feeling really good,” Martin said. “My stuff was really working today. I was confident with every pitch that I was throwing.” On the offensive side, the Tigers put up 10 runs on eight hits. Maryland had three errors on the day, assisting the Auburn scoring barrage. Two fielding errors led to a Kendall Veach single to third and the junior earning an RBI, putting the Tigers up 4-0. The Tigers (13-0) also successfully pulled off a double steal. KK Crocker was walked at the plate and was signaled to keep going. On her rounding first and taking second, a lapse in the defense allowed Victoria Draper to steal home. The five through eight hitters did the damage on offense as Casey McCrackin went

1-for-2 at the plate, scoring two. Courtney Shea also went 2-for-3 with her bat, upping her season batting average to a hefty .458. Another dominant pitching performance was on display in the second game of the day against Georgia State. Kaylee Carlson took the mound to start the game and pitched a perfect game until the top of the fifth. The single hit of the game – and single hit of the doubleheader – broke the perfect game bid, but the efforts of Carlson and Chardonnay Harris put up a combined shutout. Carlson dished out five strikeouts, while Harris struck out three. In the past four games, Auburn has only given up four hits with back-to-back shutouts Sunday. The Tigers had seven hits for 24 plate appearances. A deep fly ball by Shea started the scoring in the third. In the next inning, a double by Morgan Podany plated McCrackin. Four of the team’s five runs on the day came with two outs. Tannon Snow went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Shea went 1-for-3 against the Panthers but totaled two RBI in the game. The Tigers next head west in hopes of continuing their undefeated start to the season, facing California State University Northridge on Feb. 21 before participating in the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California, over the weekend. Auburn will take on Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Oregon State, San Jose State and Long Beach State in the tournament.


Sloppy Tigers falter late in loss to Crimson Tide By JOHN KOO Sports Writer

Just like the first game that was played at Auburn Arena, the Tigers’ second act of the season against the Alabama Crimson Tide was action-packed on both ends of the floor. There were 18 lead changes throughout the game, as both teams tried to manage momentum. Ultimately, behind Alabama’s exceptional free throw shooting, the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 70-60. Daisa Alexander scored 21 points for the Tigers, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers for the game and Unique Thompson contributed

15 points and four rebounds. Even though the Tigers out-shot the Crimson Tide, Alabama made 25 free throws in 28 attempts, while also getting 15 more rebounds. “That’s the game right there, rebounding and putting them on the free-throw line 28 times,” said Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. “There’s nothing else you can even look at on the stat sheet, except for freethrow attempts and offensive rebounds. We didn’t rebound, and we were out of rhythm all night offensively.” Auburn came out in the first quarter extremely efficient on defense, holding the Tide to just one first-quarter field goal.

However, Alabama started the second on a 13-0 run, extending a double-digit lead over the Tigers. The Tigers bounced back, causing a momentum shift with a 15-4 run of their own, leading the Crimson Tide 30-29 going into halftime. The third quarter was where most of the lead changes came from. Continued foul trouble plagued the Tigers, putting key players on the bench and giving Alabama easy points from the line. Alabama, extending their pressure, went on a 10-0 run late into the third quarter to take a 62-53 lead over the Tigers. The lead would be

too much to handle for the Tigers for the remainder of the game. The Crimson Tide had four players in double figures with Ashley Williams leading the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds, notching a double-double for the night. The Tigers have had an up-and-down stretch in the February with a 2-4 record for the month. Auburn is now 13-13 overall and 4-10 in the conference. Auburn will travel to Starkville, Mississippi to take on the SEC Champion Mississippi State Bulldogs inside Humphrey Coliseum in its last road game of the regular season on Thursday.


Public intox charge against former Tiger QB White dismissed By JAKE WRIGHT Sports Writer


Auburn quarterback Sean White (13) at Tiger Walk. Auburn vs. Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Auburn, Ala.

The public intoxication charge against former Auburn quarterback Sean White has been dismissed. Auburn municipal court judge James McLaughlin dismissed the charge against White. He was arrested on Sept. 17, 2017, after being suspended for the first two games of Auburn’s football season last fall. The day after his arrest, White was dismissed from the Auburn football team. White was ordered to pay court costs and complete 20 hours of community service. White

was originally set to appear in court on Nov. 30, but White gave for a written plea for the court to review. His court date was then set for Feb. 1. Neither White nor his lawyer appeared at the court date. White was arrested by Auburn Police on Ross Street and transferred to the Lee County Jail in September. The quarterback had recently returned from a two-game suspension, but the reason for the suspension wasn’t made clear to the public. “To see him leave how he left is kind of disap-

pointing,” Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis said. “It kind of hurt for us from a family standpoint and from a team standpoint. But I’m sure he’s going to get his head back on his shoulders. He’s going to get on the right track.” The junior quarterback started 16 games for Auburn over the past two seasons, including 10 contests last year as Auburn’s No.1 QB. White led the SEC in completion percentage and quarterback rating amid Auburn’s six-game winning streak in 2016. White’s next college destination is not yet known.

lifestyle THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2018




Acclaimed poet spreads message of inclusivity, progress By EMMA RYGIEL Lifestyle Writer

Acclaimed poet L. Lamar Wilson paid a visit to The Plains with a modern message of love, inclusivity and moving forward, all of which were artistically crafted into stanzas and spoken from the heart. Wilson took the podium Thursday as a part of The Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art’s “Third Thursday Poetry Series.” As the author of “Sacrilegion,” co-author of “Prime: Poetry and Conversation,” recipient of fellowships from UNC Chapel Hill and a professor for creative writing at the University of Alabama, Wilson is well versed in his field. Pulling from his own experiences, empathy for others and lessons he’s learned from wise mentors in his past, Wilson covers a wide array of social topics that can be found through unpacking words and images in his poems. With a doctorate in African-American and multi-ethnic poetics, Wilson works to be a voice for others and encourages a further understanding of one another. Along with pulling from his own life experiences, he combines his interests in literature, journalism and history to relay a new understanding of modern day topics to the reader. “I write often from a space of something that I have lived, but I am also a historian and a journalist, and I’m interested in the lives of others, particularly people whose stories don’t get told,” Wilson said. Serving as a champion in their absence, Wilson spreads stories of people with different life experiences to shed a light on our differences and spark a conversation on developing a greater understanding of one another. Revered as a true storyteller and visionary, Wilson places heart to paper to create poetry that not only makes you think but makes you feel. With the audience’s attention in the palm of his hand, Wilson left attendees at the reading with a meaningful message about human connection and how we can move forward to form new understandings of others’ struggles for future success. Taking inspiration from elder family mem-


Wilson took the podium Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, as a part of The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts “Third Thursday Poetry Series” in Auburn, Ala.

bers – some who have passed – Wilson is honoring their wisdom by bringing it into his own mindset to help present-day injustices. “I am trying to capture that wisdom that they gave me and also capture the wisdom that they have to give to this country because they have lived through the worst,” Wilson said. He utilizes his writing as a way to encourage further research and interest of the reader into the past. “I think they have much to teach us if we would listen to the stories that they gave me and that they’ve given others to tell,” Wilson said about his ancestors. His work also takes a stand against watching and elevates the idea of doing. Encouraging involvement through personal communication and not computers, Wilson highlights the pit-

falls of social media. He illustrates how it takes us away from truly understanding the person behind the profile and how, although it may help spread awareness of issues, it doesn’t always enact change. “We are clicking on the video, we’re sharing it and we’re thinking that we’re doing something, when in actuality we’re just pushing on the trauma, and we’re not really getting change,” Wilson said. He encouraged others to gain a thirst for knowledge and to have confidence in their own voice. When asked what advice he would give students, Wilson said, “Read, read.” He promotes the importance in educating oneself about the surrounding world and the ways of other writers.

“I contain many, many writers inside of me, and I pull from them at various times in my life,” Wilson said. “You cant just live in a vacuum that is your own head. You need to be reading other things.” Similar to the line in Auburn’s Creed, that reads, “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all,” Wilson believes personal connection can create a positive impact and progress stems from it. “Right now I’m really inspired by trying to find the joy in the world,” Wilson said. Relational and reactive through his voice as a writer, Wilson sets an example for paving the way through kindness, love for others and open communication.


Final lecturer to focus on public service in higher ed By CHIP BROWNLEE Editor-in-chief

On a small wooden desk covered by a thin pane of clear glass sits a purple heart, one of the most recognized American symbols of public service — a decoration awarded to service members wounded or killed in the line of combat. The medal, adorned with the face of America’s first president, belonged to Lt. Byron Yarbrough, whose family once owned Pebble Hill cottage, Auburn’s oldest remaining home, built in 1847, where the medal sits today. The Yarbroughs were known as some of the city’s most notable public servants. Walking on the streets today, it’s not hard to find a lifelong resident whose mother or father was delivered by Byron’s father, Dr. Cecil Yarbrough, once the University physician. To this day, the Yarbrough-Scott Home — which was eventually given to the University in 1985 — serves as a beacon of public service and community engagement, and Byron’s purple heart sits on that same desk in the office of Mark Wilson. Wilson oversees one of the College of Liberal Arts’ outreach programs and spends his time connecting students with the community and global impacts of their education and the University’s mission. In a referendum, students recently selected Wilson, the director of Auburn’s Caroline Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, as their choice to deliver this year’s Final Lecture, and Byron’s purple heart will be on Wilson’s mind as he delivers the academic year’s pinnacle speech — a speech he plans to focus on public service and public sacrifice. “It’s a story of service, and the University is at its best when it helps keep that story alive for another generation, when it helps keep these stories alive so we can all learn from them,” Wilson said. “You’re looking at the local or the particular and trying to understand the universal meaning of things.” The story of the purple heart and

the person to whom it was awarded is one of love and loss. Byron was a true Auburn man, a 1942 graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, as Auburn was known then. He later enlisted in the navy and was commissioned as a lieutenant. While aboard ship during World War II, he became infatuated with a young woman from Cordele, Georgia, by the name of Betty Jones. They wrote letters for months. Some were what you would expect of recent college graduate — SEC football and work — while others were more serious. He wrote of the war and the restrictions the military placed on what he could tell Betty. At the time, the Navy placed strict limits on what information Byron could include in his letters. The pair were to meet after the war, but he never made it home. The anniversary of his death at sea, Feb. 17, 1945, was just last week. He died aboard one of a dozen gunboats helping to prepare for the invasion of Iwo Jima, the anniversary of which is coming up on Feb. 23. The Caroline Draughon Center is preparing to publish the set of letters Byron and Betty exchanged and the series of letters Betty continued to send Byron until she was finally told of his death. “The written word and the written letter are something we don’t often see,” Wilson said. “It connects to this house and this place.” Byron’s story exemplifies to Wilson Auburn’s tradition of public service, a tradition both rooted in George Petrie’s Auburn Creed and derived from the University’s status as a land-grant school. Wilson will discuss how Auburn became a landgrant school and plans to impart the importance of the role to students during his Final Lecture. “Being a part of a rich tradition doesn’t mean anything unless you know it,” he said. “You can live in a tradition that has great meaning, but if you don’t realize it and have some consciousness about it, then it has no value.” His lecture will revolve around stories like Byron’s. Wilson said Auburn has a great


Mark Wilson sits in his office at Pebble Hill in Auburn, Ala. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.

reputation of students who say they would study at the University a second time if they could. That speaks well of the University, he said, but he wants to make sure that students leave the University knowing that one of a land-grant school’s most notable purposes is to engrain within students a love and a passion for community involvement. “One challenge for every university is us seeing ourselves as creating things for the private good,” Wilson said. “The students come to get a credential so that they can participate in the current economy.” While that’s true, it isn’t the sole purpose. “‘Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life,’” Wilson said, recalling a wellknown quote from civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Public universities have the distinct role of training their students to realize that their education isn’t just for themselves. It’s also for the communities they will live in and the world in which they will partici-


Lt. Byron Yarbrough poses in an undated photo.

pate, Wilson said. “If our education doesn’t make positive contributions to our communities so that the character of students is formed along with the marketability of their skills, then we haven’t done our job,” Wilson said.

Wilson will deliver the Final Lecture, a keynote speech sponsored by the Student Governmenet Association, later this semester. The commencement-style speech began in 2008 as an honor for respected faculty members.

The Auburn Plainsman




‘Black Panther’ is a must-see By CHRIS HEANEY Lifestyle Writer


The stage of Auburn University’s production of “Chicago” on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

Auburn Theatre’s ‘Chicago’ opens to a full house By JACK WEST Lifestyle Writer

A sold-out crowd waited under the glow of marquee lights inside the Telfair Peet Theatre on Thursday night. They were all waiting for that drawn out, plunger-muted trumpet note to open Auburn Theatre’s production of “Chicago.” The musical, which describes itself as “a wingding,” is set in prohibition-era Chicago, where the morals are loose and the gin is cold. Two murderous women, Velma Kelley, played by Meg McGuffin, and Roxie Hart, played by Hannah Kuykendall, have been thrown in jail. Their only hope comes in the form of Billy Flynn, played by Tyler Carter, the best lawyer in the city. The catch is that both women have to fight for the attention of Billy and for the heart of media. A guilty verdict means hanging, but a not-guilty one promises fame in Vaudeville. Roxie also has to deal with her poor husband Amos, played by Logan Pace, as he comes to terms with the fact that no one really cares about him. The show opens with a very bold statement: “Murder is a form of entertainment.” It then spends the next two hours proving that point. McGuffin and Kuykendall fight for the stage throughout the show, both showing the strong presence needed to fully portray these characters. Kuykendall has previous stage experience, but seeing as this is McGuffin’s first theater experience, her debut was more than impressive.

The entire cast showed off its sexy side when swinging to the live music, bringing to life the streets of Chicago and the cells of a prison. Readers who frequent Auburn Theatre performances will notice that silks have made an appearance in an Auburn production yet again. This time, with one of Roxie’s lovers entering from them, as well as having an entire sheet passed over the audience. One noticeable thing about this production of “Chicago” is how much interaction occurs between actors and the audience. Early in the show, multiple actors rushed to the stage from the back of the theater and front-row viewers were treated to a signed newspaper or a cupcake. The place this production falls short, though, is due in part to the very nature of “Chicago.” Designed as a show full of proactivity and sensuality, the dancing and music is intended to excite the audience in more than one way. While that is achieved often throughout the performance, there are more than a few instances where this breaks down, and, instead of being attractive, it is just plain awkward. All in all, the Auburn theater department has put together a beautiful version of the classic musical. The dialogue is witty, the actors are talented and the music is amazing. For those of you looking for some classy entertainment in the upcoming weeks, “Chicago” provides the perfect amount of drama, excitement and appeal for anyone as multiple showings will continue at the Auburn University Theatre until Feb. 24.

Movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe always cover real-life issues in a fantastical way. While “Spiderman: Homecoming” deals with the journey from adolescence into adulthood and Iron Man focuses on the struggle between the desire for power and the need to protect, none have specifically taken on the issue of racial disparity. “Black Panther” stands out not only because of this, but also because it is able to take on this issue in a nuanced way without beating the audience over the head with its lesson. The story follows T’Challa, played Chadwick Boseman, who doubles as the Black Panther, a masked super hero, and the new king of the nation of Wakanda. Thanks to the mysterious super-metal vibranium, the five tribes of Wakanda have thrived in technological advancement, but because of this, they chose to hide themselves away from the world in order to keep their semi-utopia away from the tainted ways of the outside world. T’Challa wants to keep things that way per his late father’s wish but is faced with opposing thoughts from those who would have his crown, members of his family and the main villain of the movie Erik Killmonger, portrayed brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan. The issue of race is what drives Killmonger, and the way the film handles each side of his argument is refreshing to see in a cinematic universe that has previously steered away from such divisive topics. The movie definitely shows its shared DNA with other Marvel films of late, but it sheds enough of the superhero movie tropes to allow it to stand out for the better. Every scene feels important, and the tight runtime sitting just over two hours makes sure to not overstay its welcome. The quasi-futuristic setting of fictional Wakanda artfully blends traditional African art, fashion and culture with the techno-fantasy elements found in the likes of “The Avengers.” While seeing a character wearing clothes that resemble those of the Maasi people of East Africa and traditional Ndebele Neck Rings discuss battle strategy aboard a flying hover-craft

would seem jarring in any other setting, “Black Panther” is able to weave these elements together seamlessly. Overall, the film is visually stunning. Whether it’s the dense mountain valleys of Africa, the technological wonder of Wakanda or the neon-lit streets of South Korea, the backdrops only add to the visual thrill of the action on screen. The score of the movie offers a constant juxtaposition between African tribal music and American hip hop beats, which offer an added level of potency to the opposing viewpoints and character attributes of the main characters. Musical cues help dictate the action of the film in a way that makes the audience take notice of what they are hearing instead of it just being background noise. The music of “Black Panther” is easily the best the MCU has to offer, both within the movie and in its soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar. Everyone in the cast does an extremely solid job, but that is expected from the movie’s starstudded roster. The supporting roles played by Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker are all well done, too, as each one of them add emotional weight to the story. However, it is the women of Wakanda that truly shine. Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright star as the leading ladies of the film, each playing a character important to T’Challa and each managing to steal the show out from under him. Nyong’o plays the smart and stealthy head spy of Wakanda, Nakia; Gurira plays the nononsense general of the Wakandan army, Okoye and Wright plays the little sister of T’challa who also designs and develops all Wakandan technology, Shuri. “Black Panther” is a superhero movie that has a lot more heart than those that came before it. When the credits rolled the audience was left with a fulfilled feeling, as one feels when eating at a four-star restaurant rather than a fast food place. There wasn’t just one flavor, there were many notes, each complementing the others to create something multi-layered and interesting rather than just filling. Black Panther is well worth the price of admission and cannot be recommended enough.


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RELEASE DATE– Thursday, February 22, 2018


Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle

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ACROSS 1 Word with rose or road 4 AMA part: Abbr. 9 __ Bornes: card game 14 Caen comrade 15 Thick-skinned herbivore 16 Big Apple stage honors 17 Longtime PBS news anchor 19 Open, in a way 20 Delon of cinéma 21 Exactas, e.g. 23 Site for a railroad signal 30 Part of __ 31 Hawk or eagle 32 Tic-toe link 35 “That was close!” 38 Buckwheat dish 39 Statistic including farmers and their neighbors 43 “25” album maker 44 Wedding invitation encl. 45 Yellowknife is its cap. 46 Mournful artwork 48 Abhor 51 Kielbasa 55 Anorak part 56 Really cool place to live? 59 Grouchy look 63 Primitive area, and what’s literally found in this puzzle’s circles 66 Ventricular outlet 67 Thar Desert country 68 JFK Library architect 69 180-degree river bend 70 __ Heights: Mideast region 71 Serpentine letter DOWN 1 Mexicali’s locale 2 Oscar winner Jannings 3 Joltin’ Joe 4 Bull-riding venues 5 Warning to a chatty theatergoer 6 Chivalrous title

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41 Rule governing intentional walks? 42 Open fields 47 “Ray Donovan” network, briefly 49 Ang Lee’s birthplace 50 Its main product was originally given the portmanteau name “Froffles”

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The Auburn Plainsman 02.22.18  
The Auburn Plainsman 02.22.18  

The Auburn Plainsman 02.22.18