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Fraternities self-impose hard liquor ban IFC bans hard liquor at events held on chapter premises By CHIP BROWNLEE Editor-in-chief

Starting next month, hard liquor will be banned at fraternity events held on chapter property — including date parties, band parties, rush

events and big brother nights — after a high number of alcohol-related medical calls and conduct cases. Auburn’s Interfraternity Council of Presidents, a panel made up of the presidents of IFC fraternities that serves as the group’s legislative branch,


recently voted to implement the ban, beginning May 5, 2018. IFC said the move would be a step toward a healthier fraternity community. “We feel that there are steps that other schools have taken and steps that we need-

ed to take to prevent a tragedy that has unfortunately plagued other universities,” said Gavin McGettigan, IFC president. “In our experience, we have observed issues with liquor consumption at parties on chapter premises, which led us to this solution.”

McGettigan said the IFC executive board, the council of presidents, Student Affairs and the office of student conduct have been working together on this initiative since the current IFC exec attended the Southeastern Interfraternity Conference in Atlanta in February. “I am proud of the IFC for

taking the lead on measures to ensure a safe environment in our Greek community,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Bobby Woodard. “That initiative is what makes Auburn students a valuable asset on campus and after they leave our campus.”



Police chief, superintendent address school security By SAM WILLOUGHBY Community Editor

Before the Auburn City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, Auburn City Schools Superintendent Karen DeLano and Auburn Police Chief Paul Register updated the council on their efforts to secure Auburn’s schools. Conversation about school safety has heightened around the country in recent months after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February. In March, Auburn High School students walked out of class as part of a nationwide series of student protests against gun violence. The school system and the Auburn Police Division have publically partnered together since the Parkland shooting to address school safety in the city, though DeLano and Register said the two have been working together for a while. “The conversations about the security of the schools did not just begin when we’ve seen some of these latest tragedies,” Register told the council. “We, for some time now, have been meeting prior to the school year, during the school year and at the end of the school year.” In March, ACS announced it had contracted with a private security firm, National School Safety and Security Services, to assess safety in the city’s schools. In addition to the private firm, Register said police have partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to do an assessment. “Auburn High School is the first school

» See SCHOOLS, 2


WRONG JANE Goodall tells life story while imploring change By LILY JACKSON

Jane Goodall, a worldrenowned scientist known for her 55year study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, speaks with her famous plush monkey, Mr. H, at the Dixon Conference Center in Auburn, Ala. on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Managing Editor

Jane Goodall crawled into bed as a child with her hands full of earthworms. Covered in the dirt the worms brought with them, she was told their release would be the best for their health. Goodall was born to love creatures. She shared her love at the Women’s Symposium and Luncheon hosted by The Women’s Philanthropy Board at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. She dreamed of Africa as a 10-year-old girl, only to be asked why she chose to dream of something so unattainable.


» See GOODALL, 2


Owners release info on Toomer’s Corner building redesign By SAM WILLOUGHBY Community Editor

Auburn residents now have a better idea of what Toomer’s Corner will look like in the near future. On Monday, Birmingham-based Retail Specialists LLC and Auburn-based The Thomas Building LLC released additional information about The Thomas Building’s redevelopment, which included a rendering. Named after the family that has owned the property for over a century, the three-story building, located at

the southeast corner of the intersection across the street from Toomer’s Drugs, will house a BBVA Compass Bank branch on the first two floors, three “game-day” apartments on the third and a rooftop patio area for “game-day activities,” according to a release from the companies. Totaling at around 17,800 square feet, 5,900 square feet of the space is allocated for the apartments on the top floor. “We will design The Thomas Building to blend into the neighborhood as a project in an area of Auburn that deserves an iconic look,” said Ronnie Herring of The Thomas Building LLC in the

release. “It is going to be an exceptional project.” The revamped building is expected to be open by early spring 2019, the companies said. Compass Bank moved its Auburn operations to South Gay Street last year while the building renovations were being planned. The bank’s branch will return to Toomer’s Corner when The Thomas Building reopens, occupying the only commercial space in the new building. Construction on the building, which the companies said includes asbestos remediation, has already begun.

CAMPUS Black Girls Rock acknowledges black women for dedication, success Ther five major honors included the Community Change and Social Humanitarian awards Pages 4

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A rendering of The Thomas Building's redevelopment, set to open in spring 2019.

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The decision to ban hard liquor comes after what IFC said has been an increase in IFC Judicial Court cases and transports to the hospital from fraternity events. IFC said the increase in cases and transports was at least partly because of the overconsumption of hard liquor on fraternity properties during scheduled events. The ban does not affect alcohol with less than 15 percent ABV. And well-run fraternity events held at third-party venues will still be allowed because that has not been identified as a cause for the increase in Judicial Board cases this year, McGettigan said. If caught with hard liquor at any fraternity event held at a chapter facility, an immediate cease-and-desist may be put on the fraternity along with a conduct case being submitted to the proper judicial authorities. “We also recognize that this is another rule that people need to follow,” McGettigan said. “But, it is our hope that we have exemplified self-governance in the truest form and that this step is one big enough to cause a lasting, positive change that preserves all that is good in our Greek community.” While Auburn has not had any high-profile issues with fraternities on campus, Greek communities across that country have been plagued over the last year with student deaths that were the result of the overconsumption of alcohol and hazing. At least four pledges died from drinking-related incidents at Penn State, LSU, Florida State and Texas State, and all of those schools later suspended Greek activities on their campuses. Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza, 19, died after drinking a large amount of alcohol and falling down a flight of stairs during his first night of pledging the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. His death resulted in criminal charges against some brothers of that fraternity, some of which have been thrown out by a judge. In November 2017, Florida State indefinitely suspended all Greek life on their campus after the death of a 20-year-old Pi Kappa Phi pledge who had attended a fraternity event and was later found unresponsive. Just a few weeks later, Indiana University and Texas State suspended Greek life events there. The ban at FSU came only weeks after several fraternities were suspended at LSU after 10 students were arrested and charged with the death of a freshman Phi Delta Theta pledge, who died of alcohol poisoning after a night of playing a drink-


Auburn University’s IFC office on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

ing game during his pledgeship in September. Some of those bans, including the one at Florida State, have since been partially lifted. Other universities have, like Auburn, moved to ban the consumption of hard liquor or all alcohol at fraternity events. In January, UCLA fraternities banned parties with alcohol and Lehigh University self-imposed a ban on hard liquor at all fraternity events. The new ban at Auburn is an effort to make sure nothing like that happens on The Plains and comes after former IFC President Duncan Asbury released an executive directive in fall 2017 that toughened rules regarding alcohol and safety requirements at fraternity events. “Like the Executive Directive released in fall 2017, many of the points in the liquor ban are reiterations of current chapter and IFC policy, but we felt it was necessary to eliminate

any confusion on the expectations of liquor at the fraternity events,” McGettigan said. Greek Life adviser Chris Lucas said the new rule is a “natural step” in the right direction to ensure student safety after IFC sought advice from both medical and law enforcement professionals, who said they saw a great risk to students overconsuming alcohol. “IFC is always looking for ways to help facilitate a safer and healthier fraternity experience for Auburn men,” Lucas said. “The step of removing hard-liquor from events at fraternity houses is a step in that direction and one that the IFC Executive Committee and Council of Presidents believe will result in a safer experience for fraternity members and guests at fraternity events.” The hard liquor ban includes the sale of hard liquor by third-party vendors at events on chapter premises.

SCHOOLS » From 1


Jane Goodall speaks to a crowd at the Dixon Conference Center in Auburn, Ala., on Monday, April 16, 2018.

GOODALL » From 1

Women didn’t do what she dreamed of doing in 1944, but her mother had a lot influence on her achievement. Goodall’s mother took her on holiday to a large farm and gave her the job of collecting eggs. She asked everyone at the farm, “How is the hole in the hen big enough for an egg to come out of?” No one satisfied her curiosity. “I crawled into an empty hen house and waited and waited and waited,” Goodall said. “Which was fine for me, but my poor family had no clue where I was.” The police had been called, and she had disappeared for a total of four hours. Goodall said she ran to her mother covered in straw. What she did next, was what made her the mother Goodall remembers so fondly. “She saw my shining eyes and sat down to hear the wonderful story of how a hen lays an egg,” Goodall said. It was the making of a little scientist, Goodall said, and other mothers might have tampered with such attributes. Her mother knew the curious young child would need to learn and grow. She figured out if learning came in the form of animals, Goodall was enthralled. Her heroes were Dr. Doolittle and the king of the jungle, Tarzan. When she was 8 years old, she had her friends convinced that she could understand the dog’s bark and the cat’s meow. With a straight face, Goodall looked into the faces of Auburn alumni and students and said, “Tarzan married the wrong Jane.” She did not grow up with the glow of a television screen or the vibrations of a cell phone. “My heroes were in books,” Goodall

said. “I learned by listening to my elders and reading books, books, books.” When she embarked on her journey to Cape Town, Africa, Goodall found an untamable love for the world around her. She saw the color of the British ocean change from a frigid gray to a crisp blue as they rounded the tip and headed for shore. Her mother followed her eventually, helping to foster withstanding relationships with the locals that have lasted the test of time. “She was known as a white witch doctor,” Goodall said. “Although she wasn’t a doctor or even a nurse, she spent time with people, and she cared about people.” After excelling in the field and breaking glass ceilings, the need for a degree haunted Goodall, and she returned to London for a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She returned to the forest where she felt the most at home in Africa after earning her degree, dropping everything to hit the pavement as an activist. She travels 300 days a year. In 1956, she brought together a group of scientists in Ohio. At the conference, she saw horrifying studies of depleting forests and the live animal trade. “The one that gave me nightmares for weeks was secretly filmed footage of chimpanzees — our closest-related relatives who can live 65 years or more — in five-by-five-foot cages,” Goodall said. “They were subjected to sometimes extremely painful medical procedures.” Goodall went to the conference planning to carry on with her life in the forests of Africa and left as an activist. Starting with a few black and white banners glued to cardboard, she spoke in the countries where the chimpanzees resided. While traveling, she simultaneously learned of the humanitarian atrocities

plaguing the villages just outside of the forests where her beloved chimpanzees lived. “As I am traveling around, spreading awareness and raising money, I was meeting so many young people who seemed to have little hope,” Goodall said. “Some of them were depressed. Some of them were angry. Some of them were apathetic.” Those students told her that she had compromised their future — compromised the health, hope and growth of the environment they were to grow up in. Goodall agreed. She said the human race has been stealing this planet rather than preparing it for future generations. She quoted a Native-American saying. “We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents, but borrowed it from our children.” Goodall said Scott Pruitt, director of the Environmental Protection Agency, has been leading the Agency away from policy and protection that has been in place for years. She said the environment is facing a list of setbacks. But, with all of the darkness, pollution, climate change and destruction, Goodall has hope. Next to her podium and every podium she ever speaks at sits Mr. H. He, a stuffed monkey, was gifted to Goodall from Gary Horn 32 years ago, who went blind in the United States Marine Corps. Despite his lack of sight, he wanted to be a magician. The stuffed creature is carried on every red-eye flight, to every meeting and presentation. It is a reminder of humanity’s indomitable spirit and dedication. “But it’s not only humans who have this indomitable spirit,” Goodall said. “There are other animals who have the same indomitable spirit and can overcome tremendous hardship.”

in the state of Alabama to have the Department of Homeland Security come and do a physical assessment of the school,” the chief said. DHS will return to Auburn to do a comprehensive review, Register said, and will provide police with feedback and virtual map tools to use in the school. DeLano told the council the school system plans on implementing what the groups recommend after they complete their assessments. Some Auburn High School parents have expressed concerns with the school’s architecture, which consists of large external shatterproof windows and floor-to-ceiling windows that serve as the interior walls of most classrooms. Ward 3 Councilwoman Beth Witten asked the superintendent if the school system planned to address altering the high school’s windows if the safety assessments recommended it. “I do think that there is that fear that they may come back with $5 million worth,” DeLano said. “I’m a little concerned about budget, but we certainly are planning to take action on what they tell us. We’ll have to prioritize.” Some Auburn’s schools, including Auburn Junior School, housed on Auburn High’s old campus, have an open plan, DeLano said. DeLano and ACS have consulted with archi-

tects to “tighten up” schools, she said. “Every time we build a new building, the first thing we talk about with the architects is, ‘How do we make it more secure?” DeLano said. DeLano did not get into specifics on safety procedures in the schools in the public setting, saying she was worried about releasing details that could be abused. Ward 8 Councilman Tommy Dawson, former Auburn police chief, has pushed for more officer presence in schools, and Register and DeLano said they will consider the measure after reviewing the safety assessments. Currently, there is not a full-time officer in every school, but there are more officers in Auburn schools than ever before, according to the police chief. Going forward, Register said he would like patrol officers to be more present at the schools. “Those areas that have a school in it, we’ve asked (patrol officers) to stop in, get out of the car, go in, speak with the faculty, do some walking around in the school there,” he said, noting the schools’ administrations would have notice ahead of time. Some, like the American Civil Liberties Union, have criticized aggressive police presence in schools, claiming it leads to an increase in arrests of students of color and students who have dis-

» See SCHOOLS, 7


Superintendant Karen Delano addresses the Auburn City Council about school security on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.







Auburn should stop penalizing interns By EDITORIAL BOARD Spring 2018

Internships are an excellent way to gain hands-on experience in a chosen field and add another level of learning to your higher education. They give students networking opportunities in certain professional fields by having a company connection and can even lead to full-time jobs after graduation. Because of the immense benefits of an internship, some majors at Auburn — and at other institutions around the nation — have required them as part of a major curriculum. Such a requirement can make sense, since many lessons are only able to be taught on the job. However, this requirement is unjust when bundled with an undue financial penalty. Because an internship can count toward three credit hours at Auburn, the student taking the internship — and possibly no other classes — is responsible to pay thousands in tuition costs. That cost is coupled with fees for student services and student activities for an institution at which they’re not currently present, nor using the full services of. This scenario plays out for a student fulfilling an internship requirement over the summer at a location outside of Auburn. Working only a University-mandated job away from services like the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, the student is re-

sponsible for the same costs they would incur from taking a class in Auburn, sitting with an instructor daily, producing materials needed to be graded by the instructor and enjoying the full benefits of being on campus. Essentially, charging students to work a job is a backward system that discourages taking on internships. It contributes to the already incredibly high costs of college education and can lead to issues with debt from student loans or serve to bar low-income students from such opportunities altogether. Even students who have scholarships face these obstacles because most scholarships do not cover the summer term, when internships commonly take place. Internships, while valuable experience, are often low paying jobs, if they’re paid at all. Universities charging students to undertake the already financially restrictive experience of an unpaid internship adds another barrier to a possible educational benefit. Even if the internship is paid, the money earned by the student is needed to cover living costs and is compensation for the work done by the student. It should not be owed to the University. Universities have defended charging the full tuition fees for a credit-counting internship by arguing that providing the adminis-


The Career Center can help place students in internships.

trative support for the internship requires costly faculty work, according to The Washington Post. But it is hard to imagine how overseeing an internship can warrant the same cost as a class held in Auburn, with an instructor present and consistent assignments. Auburn University should not charge the full tuition and fees of a three-credit-hour course for internships.

While some costs are justified for having administration set up and grade assignments and logging the course in the student’s transcripts, a small fee would be enough to cover these costs. Auburn students should continue to go out and seek internships and benefit from the first-hand experience they gain. They should not be penalized for or disincentivized from doing so.


Former SGA pres: I believe in Auburn and love it By JACQUELINE KECK Former SGA President

As graduation is fast approaching, I decided to take time to slow down and reflect on my four years at Auburn and on my year as SGA president. In doing so, I found myself overwhelmed with thankfulness for this place and its people for growing me into a woman that I had only dreamed of being. Through my role as SGA president, I had the opportunity to be exposed to all facets of campus and found one common denominator among all – the values so eloquently stated in our Creed. Auburn students unwaveringly display the characteristics that make us Auburn men and women and challenged me to exemplify our shared values in each and every encounter I had and situation I found myself in. Through my fellow students, I have experienced kindness, the human touch, the benefits of hard work and humility. As the challenges and weight of Auburn can be apparent and heavy, Auburn students do not allow these challenges to split the student body, but rather use these challenges to rally us as one to serve and work for the betterment of Auburn.

I have seen the bravery of Auburn students throughout my time. When challenges have faced our student body, Auburn students do not give up when faced with push back. I have seen countless students stand up for what they believe, and even when pressure and stress may turn up, Auburn students do not give up and will shake that pressure and stress to push through and persevere. They stray from the easy way to not act and take the hard way to stand firm. As students and young adults, our culture tells us to be quiet, but Auburn students have broken these chains and created a culture that values student leadership. Auburn students hold strongly to their convictions and want to see Auburn bettered. My role as SGA president has allowed me to serve the student body over this last year, and this service has fostered and cultivated a deep and passionate love for this University and all that it stands for. I am thankful for the administration, my executive team, my mentors, advisors and so many others that have poured into me. However, I am most thankful to the Auburn students for their belief in me. The student body is unique. I am confident that wheth-

er students become doctors, reverends, engineers, veterinarians, military leaders dealing with classified information or any other profession, that this student body will have the Auburn spirit engrained in the very person that they are and will represent and continue to love Auburn throughout the rest of their lives. My time as SGA president challenged me more than any other experience in my life. As I reflect on my time, I am thankful for the students that made it so special. I remember the nervous tremor I felt before callouts, followed by a sudden wave of happiness and relief that washed over me after a long-fought campaign as my name was called, surrounded by my closest friends and family. Thank you to you, the Auburn student body, for belief in me and for allowing me to share my heart with you. As I wait to put on my cap and gown in the next month, I can’t help but think the best way to summarize my feelings for Auburn comes from seven little words: I believe in Auburn and love it.

The views expressed in columns and letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.


Let grown men make their own decisions about hard liquor By DUBBY O’DOWD Auburn Junior

Earlier this week, The Plainsman shared an article regarding the Auburn Interfraternity Council of Presidents vote to ban hardliquor at fraternity-sponsored events held on chapter property. This includes date parties, band parties, rush events and big brother nights. The move is consistent with the direction the IFC has elected to move in recent years with regards to safety. The move is also a giant farce. In the article, the ban was described as selfimposed. This is technically true, because the presidents voted on it. However, this vote was almost certainly just ceremonial. Most likely, this “self-imposed” ban was “self-imposed” because those voting on it were told that they can either make this

choice themselves or the administrators involved with the IFC would make it so. This is largely conjecture, but it is conjecture based on a description of these votes from people with intimate knowledge of the process. The claim is that the decision was made on the basis of an increase in IFC Judicial Court cases and transports to the hospital from fraternity events. I cannot speak to the issue of hospital trips, but I have a deep suspicion that the increase is fictitious. However, I completely believe the increase in IFC court cases, but only because of the draconian rules that a fraternity must follow in order to have a social event. Ask the risk manager of any fraternity on campus, and he’ll show you a checklist of party requirements the length of your arm in size 12 font. The fun has been sucked out of the expe-

rience. The experience is now jumping through the series of hoops set up by IFC and those set up by the fraternity’s national organization, which are often contradictory. At this point you may be thinking, “What’s your point, guy? All you’ve done so far is complain.” Well let me tell you, friend. My point is that, whether it is intentional or unwitting, the IFC is making conditions such that fraternities at Auburn cannot continue to thrive or even survive. In their quest to cover themselves, IFC is ending its need to exist. By continuing to impose over-the-top rules intended to curb drinking at fraternities, the IFC is going to curb the number of men who pledge. People will not continue to pay for the fraternity experience if that experience is a series of rules, red tape and extreme punishment for minor rules infractions. Membership will


The Auburn Plainsman welcomes letters from students, as well as faculty, administrators, alumni and those not affiliated with the University.

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

Letters must be submitted before 4:30 p.m. on Monday for publication. Letters must include the author’s name, address and phone number for verification, though the name of the author may be withheld upon request. Submission may be edited for grammar and/or length. Please submit no more than 500 words.

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 and letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.















steadily decline, the money will dry up and the fraternity houses around campus will become empty monuments to a once thriving Auburn Greek Life. I’m not opposed to safety, and I recognize the need for some rules to be in place to protect both the fraternities and the University from liability. But we’ve long since passed the point of liability protection. We’re now approaching the point of padding the walls, mandating helmets and suggesting people wear life vests around “just in case.” IFC, if you want Auburn fraternities to exist in 15 years, chill out. Let the grown men in these fraternities make their own decisions and manage their own risk. Let the fraternity experience be fun again.

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Faculty creates program to reinforce healthy behaviors By NATALIE BECKERINK Campus Writer

An associate professor for the Nursing School, Linda Gibson-Young, along with a few other employees formed a new program in the Tallapoosa County region called TigerCHAT in order to help develop sustainable healthy behaviors in elementary-aged children. According to Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alabama holds the title of third most obese state in the nation. Simultaneously, diabetes rates in

Alabama have raised to 14.6 percent. Hypertension, a condition in which the force of blood against the artery wall is too high, rates have risen to a high of 40.4 percent. The Tallapoosa County poverty rate is 34 percent, which is almost double the national average. Considering all of these statistics, GibsonYoung went to work. TigerCHAT was formed as a 10 session, comprehensive school-based health education program for fifth and sixth graders at Radney Elementary School in Alexander City, Alabama. Gibson-Young went into more detail about a few of the goals she set for

the program. “This school-based, health-education program aims to establish healthy eating, physical activity and oral care behaviors that are sustainable through integration with the school curriculum,” Gibson-Young said. “The curriculum is designed to enhance knowledge, attitude, perceptions and establish health behaviors.” Another approach Gibson-Young took was how she chooses to teach the young children. Instead of lecturing them not to eat a certain food, instead she wants to focus on shifting

their habits. As an example, Gibson-Young said after eating pizza, they’ll know to go exercise. “This project has focused on empowering and engaging school-aged children in their own health behaviors and health outcomes specific to heart, lungs and mind,” GibsonYoung said. TigerCHAT is far from being completed, and, in fact, this is the beginning. GibsonYoung is currently working on a report for Russell Medical and will be presenting to the Foundation Board in the upcoming months.

Campus community responds to recent gun violence



The University of Texas at Austin, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. No context is ever needed with these school names. From elementary schools to college campuses, most know what occurred for those school names to live forever in the minds of Americans. Some argue Congress needs to make schools safer by enacting stricter gun regulations, while others argue any further regulations would be a direct violation of the Constitution. While those two voices are the loudest, there are many others in the mix. Gun violence and school shootings do not just affect those that have already witnessed one first hand, they could happen at a moment’s notice anywhere in the country.



Parking services hosts open house By ELIZABETH HURLEY Campus Reporter

Students worked their way through six different stations spread around Room 2222 in the Student Center Thursday, April 12 during the parking and transportation open house. “We’ve been trying to get a transportation demand management studying being done on the campus for the last 5-6 years, so we’ve finally got that now,” Director of Parking Services Don Andre said. “We’re having meetings with different stake holders, students, faculty and staff to discuss what they would like to see changed not only in parking but in transportation.” Auburn University has hired Kimley-Horn, a consulting firm, to look at the trans-

portation system at Auburn. The firm will look at everything from parking and Tiger Transits to bikes and crosswalks among many other things that fall into the transportation realm, Andre said. Jeffery Smith, the project manager for Auburn for Kimley-Horn, was also present at the open house. “I work with universities across the country,” Smith said. “We do this type of very specialized work in universities across the country.” The goal is for Kimley-Horn to create a comprehensive, outside look at Auburn’s transportation system as a whole and make improvement suggestions that are assessable options to implement. Before the open house

» See PARKING, 5

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Sierra Griffin (bottom left), Alyssa Leonard (top left), Mecy Calloway (bottom right) and Stefani Yates (top right) at Black Girls Rock on Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

Black Girls Rock awarded five major honors including, the Community Change Award, the Social Humanitarian Award, the Young Black and Talented Award, the Shot Caller Celebrant Award and the Living Legend Award Dresses of every color and fashion moved side to side as students and faculty moved their high-heeled feet with the beat of the music. Sandwiched between rows of tables in the Student Center Ballroom, the dancers pulled out their best moves for the second annual Black Girls Rock award show, which was hosted by the National Society of Black Engineers. Taylor Hargrove, sophomore in civil engineering, planned the event. Through raising money, organizing the performances and working out the minute details like a candy bar, Hargrove was able to make the event larger than last year’s. “The purpose of Black Girls Rock is to recognize all the black women in the community and to be able to inspire other black women and women, in general, to excel and be fearless in whatever they do,” Hargrove said. Njeri Bennett, senior in industrial engi-

neering and president of NSBE, said Hargrove went above and beyond in the planning process. The event went along with NSBE’s dedication to positively impacting the community through recognizing the double-underrepresented population of black women. Emcee Leona Smith, a 2011 Auburn graduate, started the event of with a quote from Viola Davis. “Dream big and dream fierce,” she said. A presentation lit up the hall from the front projector, showcasing the faces and accomplishments of inspiring black women like Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Ursala Burns and Octavia Spencer. Just as the faces on the screen represented change, Lindsey Lunsford, sustainable food systems resource specialist from Tuskegee University, was awarded the Community Change Award for her work with the Tuskeegee Leadership and Innovation program. Following Lunsford, Bri Thomas, junior in political science was awarded the Social Humanitarian Award. Thomas said the event exceeded her expectations. “I am awestruck,” Thomas said. “I never thought I would be getting an award for just being a good human. It feels really good to be recognized for things that you do for no recognition.” Performances from Beverly Ceasar, se-

nior in civil engineering; Aja Melton, junior in media studies; Devantia Jordan, senior in aerospace engineering; Bre Johnson, senior in international business; and Jamaya Jones, senior in industrial design, had the crowd focused on the stage, rather than their deserts. Intermissions of dancing, photo shoots and visits to the candy bar were sprinkled through the night. Along with the main awards being presented, an Instagram contest led to the selection of the best-dressed man and woman of the night. The Young Black and Talented Award was given to one of Auburn’s performing arts students, Teyonna Johnson, senior in musical theatre. She is from Troy and recently played in “Chicago.” She is currently performing in Auburn Theater’s “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play.” “I am so happy that this event is on Auburn’s campus because it is necessary and so appreciated,” Johnson said. Chelsey Holland, senior in healthcare administration, said she didn’t think of herself as a Shot Caller, but nonetheless, she was awarded the Shot Caller Celebrant Award. The award celebrates a black woman who founded a business at a young age, while continuously thinking about the community around her. Holland started the nonprofit event, Runway for Hope, that benefits the Children’s of Alabama Burn Unit. She has raised over $17,000 after starting the non-profit on behalf of her mother, who was burned in a car accident caused by a drunken driver. “I’ve spent hours, days and years preparing Runway for Hope a true platform,” Holland said, “one that cannot be destroyed or dismantled.” With a standing ovation and echoing screams from students and friends, the Living Legend Award was given to Cordelia Brown, senior lecturer in electrical and computer engineering. Brown is from Macon Country, graduated from Tuskegee University and went on to Vanderbilt University. She currently serves as the Christian Education Director, trustee and Sunday school teacher at Little Zion A.M.E Church in Fruman, Alabama. Auburn’s gospel choir moved to the sway of their words as the night closed out. “[Black women] are the backbone of the black community,” Bennett said. “Sometimes we are just doing what we are doing because we know that’s what we are supposed to do, but we don’t get a thank you.”

The Auburn Plainsman


GUNS » From 4

“Gun violence has no place in modern society,” said University President Steven Leath. “Students should feel safe in class, and we support those who are standing up to make their voices heard.” It can be natural to distance yourself from any type of shooting, especially a school shooting. But many forget that one happened just shy of 10 miles from Auburn University a few years ago. On April 6, 2011, Thomas Franklin May III shot multiple times into a van on Southern Union Community College’s campus in Opelika. His mother-in-law, Brenda Marshall Watson, was killed in the shooting. He also wounded his exwife Bethany Mitchell, her grandmother Maude Ethell Marshall and their 4-year-old daughter, according to OA News on May 21, 2014. May was found guilty on one count of capital murder and one count of attempted murder and is currently serving a life sentence without the chance for parole, according to OA News on May 21, 2014. Gun violence on a college campus isn’t far removed from Auburn, that’s why Interim Director of Campus Safety Chance Corbett has a plan. “We have an emergency operations plan for campus,” Corbett said. “An emergency operations plan covers everything the University does. Administration is in charge … [and] through our department, what we would typically do in an active shooter situation [is] send an immediate notification out to the campus as soon as we can.” After they send the notification as an AU Alert, they continue to update the campus safety website and social media pages with up-to-date information. The situation then becomes a police matter, and they will handle it from there. “We have plans for every building on campus — emergency plans,” Corbett said. “If you take Lowder Hall, for instance, we have a plan for that building that talks about fires, severe weather, active shooters and anything else we have a plan in every building. Employees are trained on those plans.” Corbett believes the plans in place are well thought out and the police can execute the plans swiftly should a situation arise. He is sure of this because he has trained with a number of the police officers, Corbett said. Campus safety offers active shooter training for students and faculty three times a semester, and students can request training for groups like organizations clubs, Corbett said. Active shooter training is one way students are getting involved to help stop and prepare for an active shooter situation. The March for Our Lives movement came about after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High

School shooting February. The movement has five main goals — fund gun violence research and gun violence prevention and intervention programs, eliminate absurd restrictions on ATF, universal background checks, high-capacity magazine ban and limit firing power on the streets. “Not one more,” The March for Our Lives movement mission statement reads. “We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of an assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.” Garnering support from approximately 800,000 at their march in Washington D.C. in March, the movement has continued to gain support throughout the country, according to reports from USA Today, The Washington Post and march organizers. While the March for Our Lives movement has been mostly focused on high school students, it does affect Auburn University students. The movement also organized a nation-wide walk out on March 14, where students across the U.S. walked out of their classes for 17 minutes, one minute for each student killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School. Auburn student Lecil Brothers, member of College Republicans at Auburn University, watched a high school participate in a walk out on that day. He was there as a part of a church group whose presence was requested to lead a prayer during the walk out. Brothers was in Huntsville, Alabama, when he watched the march. The most interesting thing to him, he said, was that they were marching more for the loss of life and being friends to others than gun control. “I thought it was very interesting that they focused on the lives instead of people asking for gun control,” Brothers said. “It was more of an acknowledgment that the real issue was not trying to push any sort of platform. It was more, we had a tragedy happen and so let’s mourn that instead of trying to use this for an opportunity to march for a political reason.” Brothers believes when the march is used in the way it was in the one he watched in Huntsville, it is a great outlet and way to mourn a tragedy. It’s good to show support for the victims and their families, but not to push any one position toward a politically motivated issue like gun control, Brothers said. Brothers situation is different than most Auburn students, as many did not get to see a walkout firsthand while they were off on their spring



Shari Unger kisses Melissa Goldsmith as Giulianna Cerbono lights candles at a memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday, February 18, 2018.

break. Auburn students, however, are still invested in it. “I think the March for Our Lives campaign is very important,” said Carsten Grove, president of the Auburn College Democrats. “I think that obviously, like a lot of people, that this problem has gone on unsolved for far too long, but it’s really refreshing to see such a large turnout, especially from kids.” The movement has an internal effect on college students, Grove said. It affects how safe students are, like the students at Auburn. There is just a lot of worry on all sides of the movement, from people worrying about if teachers will be armed to if a ban will be placed on weapons and citizens will be required to turn their weapons into the government, Grove said. He believes the March for Our Lives movement is important but can feed into that paranoia and worry. As for the march’s effect on Auburn’s campus, Brother’s doesn’t see much of an effect outside of the emotional impact it has on people in general. “It’s obviously a very emotional thing to see the students reacting the way that they do,” Brothers said. “I don’t know if it necessarily affects Auburn as a whole. I think there are people in Auburn that will see that and will get emotional because of it.” Grove sees an opportunity for Auburn to become involved with the March for Our Lives movement. “I think it would be nice for the campus to be more involved in it,” Grove said. “I’m not sure

what all could be done, but I feel like there is something that could be done. … It would be a very positive thing to help make change happen.” Grove would like to see more involvement in the movement from all sides of campus, from students and organizations to the administration. He believes the administration represents the students, and therefore, the students help to make up the administration. One has more legislative power, and the other has more public effect and influence, but together they can cause change, whatever that change may be. Brothers sees the march and the coinciding movement serving well in its role to give people a way to mourn the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other shootings. “The March for Our Lives is better off as a way to mourn and show support for victims and the families of victims than it is to try and promote a political agenda,” Brothers said. While Grove sees the movement as a great way to invoke change in America, many opponents to the movement say that the movement is made up of just kids, and kids can’t cause change. “I think something that a lot of people are saying on the opposing side is these are kids, they don’t enact policy,” Grove said. “But the big issue I have with that is that these people that say that were once kids who had very vocal opinions. It’s not really a matter of them thinking that kids don’t have an opinion. It’s a matter of them using anything they can to try and bring down an opposing opinion.”

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Cars fill parking spaces in Resident Overflow parking lot at Auburn University on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 in Auburn, Ala.


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PARKING » From 4

Thursday, Smith and his team from KimleyHorn got some data from Andre and the rest of parking services about transportation at Auburn. Then, they created different stations throughout the room at the open house to allow the Kimley-Horn team to get more data on everything from overall transportation impressions to specific problem areas from students and faculty. The first station was a “one word” table. Students and faculty alike wrote one word on a slip of paper that summarizes their current feelings about parking and transportation and one word of what they would like to see it be. “We are asking students, faculty and staff for information on their travel patterns,” Smith said. “We’re also asking them for some information about some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they see with how they move about campus.” Attendees used colored pens and markers to draw their path to campus every day on their corresponding map, one for students and another for faculty and staff. Attendees would take a numbered card and write a problem they see with transportation, anything from a need for a crosswalk to a broken street light, on the numbered card. Then attendees put a sticker corresponding to the number on the card on a map of the campus where the problem is located. “We’re getting people to give us their biggest wish,” Smith said. “If they could have

whatever they wanted, what would they have in regard to transportation.” At the final station, attendees were given $100, and they had to designate what department or category within parking services they would designate the funds to. Attendees could split the money or put it all into one category. “We’re going to get all sorts of feedback,” Andre said. “The study group will take all this data as well as some data we have given them already. They’ll go back and start digesting it and come back in about 6-8 weeks and give a presentation to the upper administration about what they have learned and what transportation needs to be done and what changes they can make.” Both the open house and the study as a whole have been in the works for several years, it just took a buy in from faculty and students to get it off the ground. The response from the Auburn community was overwhelming. There were a lot of students that came through the stations, Andre said. Students and faculty filled the room throughout the open house, not wasting any time to visit the food table where parking services provided free Chick-fil-A and pizza. “I think it is a great starting step for students to be involved in transportation and parking,” said Grant Johnson, SGA assistant vice president of facilities and senior in chemical engineering. “I think with what we are afforded, there are a lot of different options, but the resources just haven’t been there. By bringing in a contractor to look at it from a comprehensive view, I think it’s a very good thing.”

community THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018



Sunday drinks to start in morning



Council passes ‘brunch bill’ 6-3 By KAILEY BETH SMITH Community Reporter

Those Sunday morning mimosas and Bloody Marys could start flowing by the end of the month. In a 6-3 vote at its meeting on Tuesday, the Auburn City Council voted to adopt an amendment to the city’s alcohol ordinance, nicknamed the “brunch bill,” which allows restaurants and hotels to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The city’s previous laws required restaurants and other businesses that serve alcohol to be consumed on their premises wait until noon on Sundays. Starting April 29, the last Sunday of the month, they will be able to start the earlier sales. Liquor stores and other shops that sell alcohol will still have to wait until noon. The change stems from requests from the local business community. Robyn Bridges, vice president of the Auburn and Opelika Tourism Bureau, said that research shows that restaurants have the opportunity to generate $25,000 worth of annual revenue from the extension of those two hours on the weekend. “Multiply that times the number of restaurants that we have in the area,” Bridges said

on Monday. “It’s a big deal, and we hope it will be beneficial to business.” Council members Gene Dulaney, Ward 7; Verlinda White, Ward 1, and Tommy Dawson, Ward 8, all voted against the proposal Tuesday night. The same three voted against a request to the state Legislature for the ability to vote on the issue in January, with Dulaney saying it was an erosion of the holy day. Also in January, Opelika City Council rejected a similar request to the Legislature. Auburn is now the only city in the area to allow morning alcohol sales in restaurants. Patrons must wait until noon in Opelika and 12:30 p.m. in Columbus, Georgia. Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said that he had not heard any opposition to the bill and that he was confident that this change would be positive for the city. The state legislation allowing the council to set service times was sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn, who said that the change would be positive for the community, bringing economic stimulation to the city. “We welcome a large number of visitors each year, and the increase in revenue should help businesses and the City of Auburn,” Lovvorn said in March.


The entrance to the Donahue Ridge neighborhood on April 16, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

Planning Comm. tables North Donahue commercial project By SAM WILLOUGHBY Community Editor

At the Auburn Planning Commission meeting on April 12, developer Tom Hayley agreed to shelve his planned commercial development near the Donahue Ridge subdivision, at least for a few more months. The commission had previously tabled three items relating to the project at its meeting in March after nearby residents came out in droves to oppose the project, which would have included a 60,000-square-foot shopping center and 65,000 square feet of other commercial buildings. Though not as many North Donahue Drive-West Farmville Road neighbors attended Thursday night as in March, the ones who did were just as opposed. “I, like so many, won’t be shopping at those stores,” said area resident Jennifer Jackson. “I would rather have the stars above me and not have to have light pollu-

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tion. I sit in the driveway with my kids and look at the stars, and that won’t happen anymore because they’ll be too much light pollution. Yes, this is an emotional plea, but that’s all I’ve got.” Site plans presented in March included a loading dock for the shopping center that would be as close as a few dozen feet from some homeowners’ properties. At that meeting, commissioners chastised the developers for failing to communicate with neighbors. Hayley, who said he was at the meeting at City Council’s request, said at the meeting that he had talked to some neighbors since then. Site plans for the nearly 14-acre lot had not been altered before the April 12 meeting and an updated traffic study had not been completed, enough to give many commissioners pause on recommending approval for the full project. At the April 12 meeting, the commission voted 5-2 to recommend the rezoning of the lot to Limited Development Dis-

trict, a measure that was tabled at the March meeting, but few things can be built in LDD without prior approval from City Council. “I’m willing to get (neighbors) involved, take a deep breath, back up from this,” Hayley said. “I’m at the point of working with these guys and tabling it for several months.” The commission voted to table the remaining two items relating to the development — the planned development overlay and approval for the businesses — until its meeting on Aug. 9. Before then, Planning Commissioner Sarah Brown asked Hayley to reexamine issues neighbors had with the plan such as buffer-yards, drainage, safety and design. “I think you can do something really great here,” Brown said about the lot. “I’m just going to tell you, I had a dream about it. Put some silos out there, make it really cool and funky. … Make the people who are around there who are going to be using these places happy with what is there, and make it a quality aesthetic, high-end development.”

The Auburn Plainsman





Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller cuts the ribbon at the Opelika Dog Park grand opening on Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Opelika, Ala.

Opelika Dog Park holds grand opening By OLIVIA WILKES Community Writer

The several dozen canines in attendance at the Opelika Dog Park at Floral Park ribbon cutting on Saturday occasionally interrupted Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller’s brief speech with their barking as they were just ready to be let off their leashes and try out the new park. The dog park opened in March, but the grand opening was held Saturday morning. Fuller, accompanied by his wife, Laura Fuller, and their dog, Ellie, cut the ribbon. Fuller said there is still some work to do for the park, such as implementing a water system for the dogs.

“We want to put maybe some obstacle type courses for dogs to play on,” the mayor said, adding that he’s requested two fire hydrants from the fire chief “so the dogs will have something to mark.” The dog park is divided into two enclosures for small and large dogs. Volunteers from the Lee County Humane Society attended the grand opening with several adoptable dogs, and O Town Ice Cream handed out free scoops of ice cream and dog treats to the four-legged visitors. The mayor said people have mentioned the idea of a dog park over the years, and he understands the need himself as the Fullers have only a small yard for Ellie to play

in. The more they looked into the idea, the more interest they found in it, he said. “We have a leash law in Opelika, so this is a place where dogs can come and run free and exercise and socialize with other dogs,” Fuller said. The dogs attending the grand opening with their owners certainly seemed to appreciate the freedom as they ran and played together. “Obviously, we have a lot of dog lovers,” Fuller said. “This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and thank goodness we finally got it done.”



75-foot, 609-bed apartment complex in the works for West Glenn By CHIP BROWNLEE

Uncommon auburn


evolve auburn



Uncommon locations — renderings of which are shown here — recently opened in Oxford, Miss. (left), and Fort Collins, Colo. (right).

SCHOOLS » From 7

abilities for nonviolent crimes. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office came under fire for its response to the Parkland shooting after security footage showed a deputy standing outside the school while the gunman was inside shooting. Register said the officers in Auburn’s schools work well with students and school staff and have asked to be there. “We’re not taking a police officer and saying, ‘Hey, today you’re working in a school,’” the police chief said. “These are people that are highly trained, and first and foremost, they want to be at those schools.” DeLano said the number of officers in schools is limited partially by the school system’s budget but said she thinks every school in town is adequately covered by police if there was an emergency. Once DHS and National School Safety and Security Services complete their assessments, Register said the police division will update its staffing levels and procedures. In addition to the direct security

measures, DeLano said the school system is also attempting to address mental health concerns and harassment prevention. “You will notice that a lot of the incidents [school shootings] are caused by students,” DeLano said. “Making sure we know our kids and that our kids understand how to report is very important.” The superintendent said the school system’s policy of random drug testing has potentially stopped some students from harming others. ACS is also partnered with the East Alabama Mental Health Center to provide students and families with its services. On Tuesday, DeLano assured the council that ACS was working to improve not only safety but also the feeling of safety in schools. Whether these measures are effective in not only addressing potential security issues but also relieving the fears of parents like Amanda Vaughan, who told The Plainsman in February about her concerns about safety at Auburn High, remains to be seen. “We’re never satisfied that we’re doing enough,” Register said. “We always intend to do more.”

The addition of new student apartments in the downtown area isn’t stopping anytime soon. Another new apartment building touting 609 beds in 220 units is going through an administrative review process with the city and could be approved soon for construction. The building, dubbed “Uncommon Auburn” in city documents, is planned for West Glenn Avenue across from Evolve Auburn. Preliminary plans show the 316,661 square-foot building stretching 75 feet into the sky. Retail is slated to be included on the ground floor. CA Student Living, the same company that owns Evolve Auburn, is developing this new property. Other Uncommon locations recently opened in Oxford, Mississippi, and Athens, Georgia. In total, the building would have 10 floors, some of which would be underground. The basic site plans for the

mixed-use building were submitted to the City of Auburn’s Development Review Team on March 28, 2018. No architectural renderings were included in the proposal. The DRT is a group of city staff members from various departments that review and approve site plans. And because mixeduse developments are approved in the zone where the building is planned, it won’t need review by the City Council or the Planning Commission. The City Council recently approved a change to Auburn’s zoning ordinance that bumped the height limit in the downtown Urban Core College Edge Overlay District to 75 feet. Only a portion of the building is in the Urban Core. The large majority of the building is planned for the Urban Neighborhood-West District, where 75 feet was already the maximum height before last week’s vote. The development plans include 618 private parking spaces and 87 public spaces.








Conor Davis (24) bats during Auburn baseball vs. Missouri at Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala. on Friday, March 30, 2018.

Tigers bounce UAB as Alabama looms By WILL SAHLIE Sports Editor

With the offensive struggles Auburn has had lately, it will take all the help it can get. The Tigers entered their contest against UAB with a run scored in just 11 of their last 62 innings. The Blazers would help the Tigers’ cause early and often Tuesday night inside Plainsman Park. UAB starter Isaiah Gonzales-Montoya hit three batters and walked two others to gift Auburn three runs in the bottom of the first inning, as the Tigers cruised to a 12-2 victory over the Blazers, winning back-to-back games for the first time since March 27 and March 30. The Tigers tallied just one hit in the three-run inning: a twoout, two-run single by Conor Davis. “Offensively, it’s good to see,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “Conor Davis has sat there for a few days and continued to work hard. Jay Estes got two more carbon-copy doubles of what you think of on that swing he got going last year to lead us in doubles.” Elliott Anderson moved to 5-0 on the year with a career-high four innings of scoreless work out of the Auburn bullpen. An-

derson, whose ERA dropped to 3.37, struck out a career-high seven while holding the Blazers hitless. “I think it was the best outing of his career,” Thompson said. “I think that was his finest time. We challenged him pretty good after the first inning. For me, that was one of his finest moments since he has been at Auburn.” Auburn was held hitless after the first inning until the sixth, as UAB scored a pair of runs to close Auburn’s lead to 3-2. The sixth inning, however, was the difference maker as the Tigers scored three runs to put the game out of reach. Jay Estes recorded the biggest hit of the night for Auburn with a tworun double to score Davis and Dylan Ingram and give the Tigers some breathing room. Auburn senior Calvin Coker, who made his first-career start in 50 career appearances, went four innings and allowed two runs on five hits. The Kyle, Texas, native struck out one and walked one. “Calvin Coker got back out there,” Thompson said about Coker not pitching in the three-game series versus Mississippi State last weekend. “I think it was the first weekend since he has been an Auburn Tiger that he hasn’t pitched to at least one hitter. We got him out there, and I think that gets him back into the series, at some point, this weekend.”

Davis notched his first three-hit game of the season to go along with three RBIs. Estes finished with a pair of RBIs for the Tigers to give him 20 for the year. Freshman Edouard Julien picked up his team-leading 31st and 32nd RBIs with a run-scoring walk and RBI single. Brett Wright also recorded three RBIs with a three-run double in the eighth inning. “The past two games, doing what we’ve done at the plate, it’s big-time, especially getting ready and getting back into what we can do in the SEC,” Davis said. “Going into Tuscaloosa feeling like that is big for us.” Gonzales-Montoya (2-1) took the loss for UAB, which fell to 16-19 on the year. Brett Blackwood and Stephen Dobbs each recorded a hit and RBI for the Blazers. Former Auburn pitcher Kevin Davis struck out the side in the seventh inning while allowing one run. The Blazers hit five Auburn batters and tallied four errors in the ballgame. Auburn, which improved to 26-12 on the season, won its 22nd game of the season in 27 attempts at Plainsman Park. The Tigers also moved to 31-2 all-time vs. UAB.

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The Auburn Plainsman




Bria Johnson (2) Auburn Women’s Basketball vs. Savannah State on Sunday, December 11, 2016, in Auburn, Ala.

‘It’s so much bigger than me’

Auburn hoops senior Bria Johnson uses poetry to serve, inspire Auburn community By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor

When Bria Johnson walks on stage, equipped to deliver one of her signature spoken-word poems to her classmates, teammates or receptive young students, all prepared to absorb every stanza, spondee and sestet, she isn’t nervous. She’s in her comfort zone. Johnson, senior guard for Auburn women’s basketball, began her passion of poesy in high school, when a pair of rhymesters came to Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “These two poets came to my school during Arts Week,” Johnson said. “And they were on stage, and I was like, ‘I could do that.’ The way they made me feel is how I want to make other people feel. I was kind of a natural, you could say. I went to the national poetry convention in Chicago and was a quarterfinalist for the team in Baton Rouge. That’s when I realized this is something I could do.” However, when Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy recruited the former four-star prospect away from the Bayou to The Plains, Johnson thought her newfound talent would have to be short-lived. “When I got to Auburn, I was like, ‘I’m not going to do this anymore,’” Johnson said. “No one’s going to know what poetry is, no one’s going to know what spoken word is. It’s going to be dead once I leave high school. But once I got here, there were so many different opportunities to perform.” Johnson partnered with Auburn University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to perform for incoming freshman minority students. That satisfied her hunger for her poetry, and, with the aid of Williams-Flournoy and her teammates, Johnson began to cultivate a servant’s heart in her new home. The Auburn women’s basketball Tigers began to pile on the service projects. While activities like fundraisers to donate toys to kids were instilling a pure and humbling mentality in the team, Johnson sought to rise above. As more chances arose, Johnson realized that helping others was her calling in Auburn. That fixation speedily swelled, molding her into a four-year leader in the Auburn community. Near the conclusion of the 2017–18 season, Johnson was named to the SEC Community Service Team as recognition for her tremendous amount of giving on The Plains. Johnson served as the University’s SAAC Community Service Coordinator, as well as a participant in “Blessings in a Backpack,” a project partnered with the Jason Dufner foundation. Like the rest of the team, Johnson volunteered with the Boykin Daycare Center, in addition to the Our House foundation in Auburn. To add to her service history, the Louisianian volunteered with the Juvenile Justice Ministry and “Serve Day” with Auburn’s Church of the Highlands. “It stemmed from the team,” Johnson said of her desire to

serve the community. “Often, we would play with the kids at the Boykin Center, and I realized, ‘Wait a minute, this is actually something I really enjoy doing.’ I enjoy being here. I enjoy mentoring kids. “I think it’s a God thing, because you want to be a servant, and you want to lead in any way you possibly can. Once I realized that was something that gave me joy, I wanted to do it more.” And Johnson did it more and more as her Auburn years went on, but her time was also booked with dissimilar, more ostentatious responsibilities. “I don’t want to miss an opportunity to serve because I’m tired from practice, or I’m tired from tutoring, or we just had a game,” Johnson said. “But I’m not trying to be so busy that I don’t have time for myself. It’s a balance.” The No. 60 point guard in her high school class, according to ESPN, Johnson appeared in all but her senior season as a Tiger. Despite her final year being marred by an ACL injury, she played in 21 games in an Auburn uniform throughout her freshman through junior campaigns. And amidst the rigor of the double life all student athletes are tasked with, Johnson blossomed. “At the end of the day, people just want time,” she said. “It’s not like they want 24 hours. Most of that stuff I did was probably an hour out of my day. I’ve got an hour to give somebody. On off days, whenever I found time to go and serve, I would do it. We’re busy, but we’re never too busy to not go and serve.” To weed out Johnson’s most influential involvement, one would have to make the quick 20-mile trip from Auburn to Tuskegee, Alabama, where the senior was able to unbottle her teaching skills and explain poetry to the local students. According to federal figures, Tuskegee has a 27.6 percent poverty rate with a median household income of $26,896. Johnson identified that her teachings were needed there more than ever. “For them, especially minority students, they look for a way out,” Johnson said. “And for a lot of us growing up, we just needed someone to talk to. We just needed something to talk about. Once you’re able to put what you’re feeling onto paper and perform that for other people and realize that you’re not alone in what you’re going through, there are so many negative things that are eliminated from your life because you were able to vocalize how you were feeling.” Johnson said that while the Tuskegee students are skeptical at first, like most kids, it takes just a little encouragement and creativity from the senior to bring them out of their comfort zone. “We all sometimes feel like it’s corny to write poems,” Johnson said. “But when you look at it like rapping, all of a sudden I’ve got guys who are like, ‘Man, I could do that. Let me write a poem.’ It brings joy to my heart because I’ve got all these guys in the classroom like, ‘I wanna go next, I wanna go next.’ “Things like that make me feel like it’s so much bigger than


me. … There’s so many things you could be doing. You’re not alone in your situation. Once you’re on stage and you’re performing for your classmates, and they’re like, ‘Man, I feel the same way too.’ Now you’ve got a different kind of bond. It’s crazy what coming out of your comfort zone will do for you.” Like the effect of the pair of poets on a younger Johnson in Baton Rouge, the lessons crack the shell of otherwise unconvinced students. Some of the students, however, remain grounded in their ways even with Johnson’s patient instruction. When she asks the kids what’s stopping them from reaching their dreams, she often receives the discouraging answer of “my attitude.” Johnson, though, couldn’t closely relate to that, and she knew it. The senior said that too often, adults will try to teach kids in a one-dimensional facet, whiffing on other opportunities to mentor due to narrow mindedness. “I’m not one-dimensional,” Johnson said. “You’re not one-dimensional. So why would I try to reach out to you using that one dimension that I know?” To counter this, insert Johnson’s teammate, rising senior Emari Jones from Chicago. When Johnson began discussing the attitude issues, Jones immediately sprung up and offered to join her in Tuskegee. Jones claimed that because she struggled with defiance growing up, she related to this specific group of kids better than the 2017–18 SEC Community Service Team member. And that’s the idea. “This is her calling,” Johnson said. “When you’re able to bring people along with you to go minister and help these other kids, that’s what it’s all about. My teammates and my peers, everyone wants to help. “I look for opportunities because I can’t minister to everybody, I didn’t come up with the resources some other kids may have had. So, I get someone else like Emari who can say, ‘I struggle with this, let me talk to them.’” Once the right mentor steps in, the results are night and day. The students begin to form bonds with each other that were unimaginable beforehand. For Johnson, this is what she wants to see the most — the seeds planted by her gift sprouting students out of their normal lives. Because in the eyes of the baller, trailblazer and spoken-word artist, the vastness that lies outside a child’s comfort zone is necessary and bursting with potential. According to Bria Johnson, it’s where the future will be written. Maybe even in a poem. “That confidence takes you so many places — I’m able to talk to different people, I’m able to go before any man and say, ‘This is who I am, this is what I want to be,’ and not be afraid,” Johnson said. “Ultimately, that’s all we need — opportunities to be ourselves and be confident to say, ‘This is who I am, this is what I’m going to do and I’m going to change the world.’”

The Auburn Plainsman



The Tigers will return to action Friday night as they travel to Tuscaloosa to continue conference play at Alabama. Auburn defeated Alabama 5-2 on March 27 in the MAX Capital City Classic, however, the Crimson Tide swept a three-game series from the Tigers last season. “I hope it goes better than the last two times,” Auburn ace Casey Mize said about the

upcoming series at Alabama. “I just got to treat it like another SEC weekend. It’s a rivalry, and it is going to be pretty wild. “I think when it comes to Auburn versus Alabama, the numbers go out the window. It is just two teams competing. I think whoever has the most heart, and whoever executes the best is going to come out on top. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.” First pitch Friday night inside SewellThomas Stadium is set for 6 p.m. Mize (7-1, 2.00 ERA) will be on the mound for Auburn.



Flanigan hired as

AU assistant coach


Wes Flanigan ranks second in Auburn history with 573 career assists.

By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor


Elliott Anderson (14) moved to 5-0 on the year in Auburn’s win over UAB on Apr. 17, 2018.



Bruce Pearl has rounded out his staff with the addition of a familiar face. Former Auburn player Wes Flanigan (1993-97) is coming home to The Plains as an assistant coach for Auburn men’s basketball, Pearl announced Monday morning. “Auburn basketball is very fortunate to have been able to attract and welcome home a former great in three-time captain Wes Flanigan,” Pearl said. “I‘ve known Wes and admired his work for many years as a competitor. Known as a hard-working, tough-minded, passionate basketball coach and teacher, Wes will make our student-athletes better on and off the court.” Flanigan returns to Auburn from his most recent coaching stint at Little Rock, which lasted two seasons as head coach. With the Trojans, Flanigan led the team to program records in single-season, Sun Belt Conference and road wins. Most notably under Flanigan, Little Rock knocked off No. 5 seed Purdue in the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament after winning its conference title outright. On March 9, Little Rock athletic director

Chasse Conque relieved Flanigan of his head coaching duties, saying the school felt it needed “a change in leadership.” Flanigan compiled a 22-42 record as head coach of the Trojans, including a 7-22 season in 2017-18. Additional coaching stints for Flanigan include assistant roles for Northwest Mississippi State Community College, Nebraska, Mississippi State and UAB. “Returning to Auburn is a dream come true for me,” Flanigan said. “I’ve always wanted to come back to Auburn to coach basketball at some point. “I want to thank coach Pearl and the staff for giving me this opportunity.” As a Tiger, Flanigan led the SEC in assists (214) in 1996. He finished second in program history with 573 assists and fourth in free throws with 338. The 1992-93 Gatorade High School Player of the Year was named to the All-SEC freshman team in 1994 and the All-SEC team in 1996. “I’ve followed the program from afar over the years,” Flanigan said. “I know our program is at an all-time high and I am looking forward to helping this staff, these players and coach Pearl continue the success that they have already established. I’m happy to be a part of it.”


Tigers shuffling rotation for weekend series at Alabama By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor

Do you have extra food or home goods you don’t know what to do with after checking out for the summer? Donate your items to Check-Out for Charity! Register for an appointment April 16-27 with one of our community partners and we’ll pick it up for you! Drop off starts April 30. Look for the tents! For more information please visit or call 334-844-4477.

Auburn baseball will have a new starting rotation on the mound in the team’s upcoming series at Alabama, head coach Butch Thompson announced following the Tigers’ 12-2 win over UAB Tuesday night. Midseason Pitcher of the Year Casey Mize (7-1) will remain No. 25 Auburn’s Game 1 ace, however, Tanner Burns, the normal Sunday starter, will move to Saturday. The shift comes in light of recent struggles from sophomore righty Davis Daniel. In his three most recent mound appearances, the Montgomery product gave up 11 runs, skyrocketing his ERA to 5.35. “I don’t think that’s a knee-jerk,” Thompson said about moving Daniel to the bullpen after a Game 2 loss to Mississippi State. “I think that’s something we’ll probably be proactive with. That will involve talking with players, talking with coaches, but I don’t think that would be knee-jerk at this point.”

Over that three-game span (loss at Arkansas, loss at Samford, loss versus Mississippi State), the Auburn offense produced only seven runs, as the Tiger bats continue to scrape the bottom of SEC averages. Thompson added that Daniel will be available out of the bullpen. Since Daniel’s last outing, however, Auburn produced a rubber game win over the Bulldogs and a midweek blowout of UAB two days later. Thompson said Sunday’s pitcher is still being determined, but candidates will likely include Cody Greenhill and Andrew Mitchell, both of whom returned from illness and injury, respectively, April 3 in a win over Alabama A&M. In 25 innings of work this season, Greenhill touts a 2-1 record and has allowed only four earned runs, while Mitchell has given up only three behind a .239 opponent batting average. First pitch for the Tigers and Tide is set for 6 p.m. CST on Friday in Tuscaloosa.





Cody Greenhill pitches during Auburn baseball vs. Mississippi State on April 15, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

lifestyle THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018




Auburn alumnus forms indie band out of Nashville By MOLLY STEWART Lifestyle Writer

Thomas Harbin, an Auburn alumnus, has followed his dreams to Music City. His band, Mariela, played their first show in September of 2017 and has been thriving ever since. Harbin graduated from Auburn in 2013 with a double major in piano performance and Spanish. He now is a piano professor at Belmont University as well as a private studio teacher and a freelance musician. Harbin does everything from accompanying voice lessons and studio work to touring with Mariela and the occasional drum line gig on the crash symbols. Harbin spent seven years studying classical music in college. He had to put most of his musical ambitions on hold during this time period, so when he finally finished, he said he “needed to rediscover what it was about music that made me love it enough to get a bachelors and a masters degree in piano.” “Since moving to Nashville I’ve tried teaching, being a session player, touring with artists and playing a lot of jazz, but I’ve realized that my favorite part of music is the song itself,” Harbin said. “So, I started Mariela to start making songs that will hopefully be meaningful for other people in the way that so many songs have been meaningful to me.” Mariela is composed of four members, including Harbin (lead vocals, keys, rhythm guitar), Tommy Nixon (bass, producer), Jordan Morrison (drums) and Luke Gibson (lead guitar). Harbin decided to book and ask his friends to play with him and the rest was history. “It was really fun so we kept booking shows,” Harbin said. “Different friends filtered in and out and eventually, we settled into a rhythm with the same four guys. Tommy and I had written some music together and recorded some demos for a school project so it was natural for him to be the first choice as a bandmate.” Harbin described his band as sounding “like a heartfelt lyric-driven indie pop band with a mix of keys, synth textures, and singable guitar riffs.” Harbin said Mariela is influenced by bands like Bleachers, The Killers, St. Vincent and The National. The name Mariela was inspired by Harbin’s study abroad while he was at Auburn University. He spent the summer in San Sabastian, Spain, where he met the band’s namesake. “I met Mariela through a church I was working with,”

Harbin said. “When my housing situation fell through, Mariela offered to let me live with her and her husband Omar and their daughter Delfina.” The band’s frequent gigs are around Nashville, Birmingham and Atlanta areas. “Our favorite venue would definitely be a house show we played at an actual Pyramid in Atlanta,” Harbin said. “We are actually doing a live session with WEGL on April 27 and then headed up to Atlanta for a house show that night. After that, we are at 116 East Mobile in Florence, Alabama.” “Though we aren’t seeking fame and fortune, we’re going to push Mariela as far is it will go,” Harbin said. “We want to push ourselves to keep writing really honest, heartfelt music that helps us feel our own lives more deeply but is still fun to sing and dance to. We want the music to reach as far and wide as possible. So that will hopefully mean a lot of touring as the band continues to grow and gain traction. We really want to sing these songs together with as many people as possible. I really hope this involves getting connected with a new generation of the Auburn family.”





‘Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play’ is the right kind of strange By JACK WEST Lifestyle Writer

Last Thursday night, the Auburn Theatre Department opened “Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play” to a sold-out house. Written by Anne Washburn and directed by Chase Bringardner, “Mr. Burns” tells an unusual story that takes place over three acts and in three separate periods of time. Act One has a post-apocalyptic band of survivors retelling the plot and punchlines from episodes of “The Simpsons” for each other. Act Two takes place seven years later and takes that story-telling go a bit further. Now, instead of just retelling these episodes, the survivors have now formed a traveling theater company that performs not only “Simpsons” shows, but also adds in commercials and special effects. After a brief intermission, Act Three is set another 75 years later in a world bordering on completely unrecognizable. “The Simpsons” seems to have become a dominant cultural factor. All the audience sees is the climax of an episode told in a noticeably ancient Greek style, including grotesque masks of character, a narrating chorus and live music. This show is definitely not the average show most audience members would expect. It has elements that seem disconnected and unnecessary and some elements that seem to

be missing. That being said, strong performances across the whole cast were certainly present. The six opening survivors played by London Carlisle, Noel Dudley, Lauren Vedder, Cate Rasco, Jackson Whiting and Hudson Hubbard captured attention early and transitioned nicely into other roles later in the show. The two leads in the final act, Grant Lackey as Bart Simpson and Andy Gibson as Mr. Burns, closed the show and brilliantly portrayed two iconic characters, or what remains of them anyway. This show takes a soft look at the human fascination with story-telling. In a world where society has had to start over, the stories of today have become the myths and legends immortalized first by oral transmission and then on the stage. The best reaction following the final bow was, “They did a good job, whatever it was,” because they did. “Mr. Burns” is definitely a spectacle of strange storytelling and can easily leave audience members confused and discouraged. However, hesitate before labeling this show as merely weird or perverse because the strong cast behind it does a good job of humanizing it. “Mr. Burns, a Post Electric Play” runs April 12-22 at the Telfair Peet Theatre on campus. It is free for all students to attend and it’s worth seeing.



Best retail trends to try out this summer By EMMA RYGIEL Lifestyle Writer

Zara, Nordstrom and Topshop, the powerhouses of retail around the college aged-target market, are known for their allegiance to trends. For us shopaholics, this can be used to our advantage. Scrolling through any of these retailer’s websites or social media platforms, there are tons of sneak peeks into trends for the season and how people will be wearing them. A way to stay fashion forward but price conscious is by looking to these through the lens of inspiration instead of the incentive to buy. Then, after conducting some research, you can head back to your own closet, thrift stores or other affordable retailers and recreate some of the looks to add your own twist. To get started, here are a few trends these retailers are playing up this summer season: CROCHET KNITS Whether it’s a comfy sweater perfect for layering in the summer months or a small bag to carry around with you around town, crocheted knits are being pushed as the ultimate summer fabric. A trend that reminisces a bohemian style, crocheted knits, no matter the form, are perfect for the vacation months. It is being styled by retailers with not only beach apparel and light materials, but also with more practical prints and silhouettes such as trousers and


TRACK TOPS Contributing to the trend of “athleisure,” spin offs of the traditional tracksuit are making a come back. They are being advertised through these retailers with matching pants, jeans, skirts and more. Tracksuits are becoming the new cardigan this summer and are being displayed as an easy way to dress-down a look. BOLD BLAZERS Whether you’re starting a new job this summer or are in the mood to update your wardrobe, retailers are advertising ways to wear a blazer that won’t completely bore you. Although you can never go wrong with black, they are styling bright colored blazers as a twist to the traditional wardrobe staple. Worth the risk and easy to find, especially in a thrift store, bold blazers are making a comeback. Whether it be for better or worse, it at least provides another option for business formal attire. MIXED PRINTS A trend that can seem intimidating and difficult to pull off, mixed prints are, in fact, easier to pull off than they seem. Retailers are advertising simple ways to mix plaids with floral prints or patterns of similar styles but different color schemes. In other words, this trend is a thrifter’s dream. There is little room for error when interpreting this trend, and it is a fun way to mix and match things you may already own.

The Auburn Plainsman





Can clothing be a catalyst for change? By EMMA RYGIEL Lifestyle Writer


The owner of The Bean blows out candles celebrating the business’s third birthday on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

The Bean celebrates three years of coffee and cinnamon rolls By COURTNEY SCHELL Lifestyle Writer

As the spring 2018 semester comes to an end, The Bean, a coffee shop located on South Gay Street in the heart of Auburn, celebrated its third anniversary on Monday night. The smell of fresh pastries and brewed coffee filled the air as patrons, employees and the owner celebrated three years of business. Inside the coffee shop, Auburn students and residents were busy either typing away on their computers, deep in conversation with friends and classmates or enjoying one of The Bean’s famous homemade cinnamon rolls and wonder lattes. In the front room of the coffee shop, the room was buzzing with friendly conversation and the sounds of customers ordering their specialty drink and a fresh pastry. Every piece of furniture in the coffee shop has a retro ‘60s and ‘70s look with its own flare. The chairs and tables are mismatched but create a cohesive look. “The atmosphere at The Bean is completely different from all other coffee shops around,” said barista at The Bean, Ivy Smith. “The theme of our furniture, lighting and wall art is always the big talk for new customers, and we really try to get the family feel with every customer.” By the register, there were light blue, grey, yellow and orange balloons hanging, matching The Bean’s logo and theme. The chalkboard menus hang above the register, all having interesting fonts and colors that automatically catch the eye of the customer.

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The Bean also serves “fair trade coffee,” which means that each cup of coffee has an impact on farmers in impoverished countries and provides them with a fair wage. On top of that, the roasters they use are involved with charities and mission work. There were giveaways all throughout the night. Customers had the chance to win gift cards, T-shirts, cinnamon rolls and more. The line was long all night with people eager to order their delicious treats and coffees. When customers reached the register and placed their orders, they were met with a little bowl holding all different kinds of discounts and specials. For example, “25 percent off your order on April 16th.” At around 7 p.m., one of the owners stepped forward in front of the register and made an announcement to all of the guests. “Thank you so much for helping The Bean make it three years,” said co-owner, Ben Nichols. “We are going to sing happy birthday to The Bean, then I am going to let my sweetie [coowner Sydney Nichols] blow out the candles, and then y’all can enjoy free birthday cake for however long it lasts.” The owners and all of the workers at The Bean consistently had smiles on their faces when serving and talking with customers. “Working at The Bean is so fun,” Smith said. “It is like having a second family who really cares for you. My bosses, Mr. Ben and Mrs. Sydney, constantly check in on how the employees are and really make it an enjoyable place to work.”

Fashion’s influence is reaching much further than the silver racks this time. In the words of design John Galliano, “Fashion is above all an art of change.” What once served as filler for the bulky set of drawers sitting in the corner, now serves a much different roleone of influence and of communication. Through the various marches that are taking center stage in current news, women, children and men are using clothing as a suit of armor. It serves as a tool of empowerment, encouragement and entitlement. Clothing has become a way for people with like opinions to stand together. What we wear can unify us and spread a message. Faces in the public eye, such as celebrities and socialites, have jumped on this trend working to use this form of visual communication on their large social media and platforms of outreach. Although this trend seems to be present more than ever, this is no new feat. This strategy, coined as ‘fashion activism’ by designer Céline Seeman, has been around since the 1960’s. So why the sudden interest by the world of high fashion and powerhouse retailers? The simple answer is engagement. The major players in the fashion industry seem to have been faced with an opportunity to engage with their customers and not only connect with them, but spread their ideas and increase their influence. By creating products that serve a greater purpose, they are pleasing the customer and encouraging progress of the cause at hand through visual communication. Given recent shifts in customer wants and needs, this is no surprise. Alongside politics and platforms, interests in products that serve a great purpose is higher than ever. Authentic clothing that holds or communicates a story is more desirable. Online retailers like Amazon have also turned this consumer need back to meaning and away from mass manufacturing. Uniqueness is now criteria for most as the options for clothing is limitless. Therefore, this use of clothing is not only a successful tool, but a desired good. What this situation proposes is the perfect recipe for change. With the industry leaders on board and consumer needs adapting in the same direction, the happy marriage of the two has created the opportunity for a greater impact with a few stitches and fabric. Continuing to look forward, fashion has proven its limitless. It seems to be time to look to your wardrobe for help more than your phone in this time period of engagement and activism.


Print Deadline Noon three business days prior to publication

RELEASE DATE– Thursday, April 19, 2018

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle


10:00 A.M. Ceremony -Engineering -University College -Graduate Students in Engineering 2:00 P.M. Ceremony -Architecture, Design and Construction -Human Sciences -Nursing -Sciences and Mathematics -Graduate Students in these colleges/schools SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2018

1:00 P.M. Ceremony -Agriculture -Education -Forestry and Wildlife Sciences -Graduate Students in these colleges/schools 5:00 P.M. Ceremony -Business -Graduate Students in Business MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018

10:00 A.M. Ceremony -Liberal Arts -Graduate Students in Liberal Arts

Congratulations Class of 2018!

Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

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