Towsonâ€™s campus and community news source
February 6, 2018
OF THE PEOPLE
SGA updates student body on the progress of their administrationâ€™s initiatives pg. 7
Photo by Marcus Dieterle, Photo Illustration by Victoria Nicholson /The Towerlight
February 6, 2018
USTORE VALET LET US DO THE WORK Ustore Valet is a new way of selecting your textbooks. Now, instead of walking the aisles searching for those titles, we gather your books for you and you simply pay for them. It is as easy as that. HOW IT WORKS
First you will need to print your book list. You can do this at home or in the store. *Tip* if you do this at home it saves time in the store.
TIPS FOR USING VALET
• Print your book list at home • Have your book list ready to hand to the Valet
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The Ustore Valet uses your book list to pull your • Access your textbook list through peoplesoft books. The Valet will go over what they have chosen with you to make sure you • Order your textbooks online for home delivery approve the product to be purchased. • Order your textbooks online choose The last step is taking your books to pick up in store. a register and purchasing them.
February 6, 2018
Editor-in-Chief Marcus Dieterle Senior Editor Jordan Cope News Editor Bailey Hendricks Asst. News Editor Mary-Ellen Davis Assoc. Arts & Life Editor Kerry Ingram Asst. Arts & Life Editor McKenna Graham Sports Editor Karuga Koinange Asst. Sports Editors Michael Mills Billy Owens Senior Staff Writer Sarah Rowan
1 p.m., Cook Library, Room 404 A.
Jill Gattens Jessica Ricks Sarah Van Wie Keri Luise Rohan Mattu Muhammad Waheed Sophia Bates
Photo Editor Asst. Photo Editor Brendan Felch
Art Director Victoria Nicholson Webmaster
Want to get involved, meet new people, or develop a new passion? Join a student group! Learn aboutTowson’s 250+ organizations at this informational fair.
Open question and answer session about student fees at Towson University.
Marcus Dieterle Brittany Whitham
General Manager Mike Raymond
SPRING INVOLVEMENT FAIR
OPEN FORUM ON STUDENT FEES FOR FY19
David Fisher Simon Enagonio
In this workshop, users will learn how to create and grade assignments (including using the plagiarism feature), tests, discussion boards and other Blackboard resources.
Noon, University Union.
Staff Photographers Jordan Cope
Proofreaders Alex Best
Staff Writers Desmond Boyle
Senior Staff Photographer Alex Best
Have you been thinking about studying abroad? Attend our Study Abroad group advising session to learn about the next steps.
STUDY ABROAD GROUP ADVISING
2 p.m., Psychology Building, Study Abroad Office, PY 408.
AUTISM AWARENESS Volunteer in the “Sensory Safe Room,” or MEN’S BASKETBALL come out and watch Towson take on GAME Northeastern in its Autism Awareness MORE EVENTS CAN BE FOUND AT
2 p.m., SECU Arena.
Circulation Staff Shawn Halerz Dom Capparuccini Elssa Kenfack
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February 6, 2018
Indians to ditch Chief Wahoo logo The current DACA debacle JORDAN COPE Senior Editor @jordancope26
What do the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Redskins have in common? If you said they are the only two professional sports teams left with an insensitive logo stereotyping Native Americans, then you’re correct. The Cleveland Indians once fit that criteria, but decided as of last week to ditch their Chief Wahoo logo. The decision, which will go into effect in the 2019 season, will remove the red-faced caracicture from the team’s jerseys and hats. The organization had been aware of the controversy surrounding the logo, and began making a slow transition from the Chief Wahoo on their hats to an enscripted “C”
for Cleveland. They also removed signs outside of the ballpark, and took down an old scoreboard that contained the image as part of the transition process. However, the team didn’t always wear the hats with the letter “C” and always had the Chief Wahoo on its uniform sleeve. What brought about the total elimination of the logo, however, was the uproar it caused in the 2016 World Series when the Indians were in the public spotlight. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had taken note of the public’s displeasure, and began talking to team owner Paul Dolan about removing the logo completely. Although Dolan was reluctant, he agreed that burying the logo was best, and the rest, as they say, is history. - To read the rest of this column online, visit thetowerlight.com
Disney’s influence KAYLA HUNT Columnist
After recently watching the documentary "Mickey Mouse Monopoly," I've seen Disney in a different light, that is, I've grown to be fairly skeptical of them. One of the main highlights of this documentary that has stuck with me is the idea that Disney hides behind its innocence, because nobody ever thinks to question them. I never thought to question Disney myself, mainly because I never thought there was reason to. Before I watched this documentary, I was prepared to defend anything negative the film may say about Disney, because it was a big part of my childhood, and I was not necessarily thrilled with the idea of anyone trying to view it in a negative light. However, I think this goes to say that I was part of the oblivious who hid in the shadows of Disney's
so-called innocence. I was never aware that Disney had such a big influence on much of the media that we consume. Disney has a huge influence on children's imagination, and also in some ways shapes their beliefs, values and morals. For example, Disney can promote their product through ABC and any ABC affiliated stations, like ESPN. It is scary to realize that Disney continues to shape our beliefs into adulthood, which is because of the fact that they control so much of the media we interact with on a daily basis. Disney is able to cultivate what they want us to see, and what they want us to know. They have the ability and power to shape our worldview. This leads me to believe that Disney may not be as innocent as it portrays itself to be.
Congress making no strides to protect Dreamers RYAN KIRBY Columnist
It looks like we survived a whole year under the Trump administration and there was no shortage of news stories to discuss. In his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump spoke heavily about immigration, and with the impending funding deadline on Feb. 8, it is important to discuss one of the main issues both parties face: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This policy was originally an Executive Order by President Barack Obama to allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country if they had arrived as a minor. The policy has allowed 800,000 individuals (a.k.a. Dreamers) to stay in the U.S. without granting them legal status. In September 2017, Trump announced the DACA program would come to an end in March, leaving Dreamers under threat of deportation. Since September, Congress has done nothing to help Dreamers, and have left many in fear of deportation. After exactly one year, Trump was able to break one record; that is, being the first president to experience a government shutdown on his own watch when his party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. Republicans wanted to keep the government open, while Democrats wanted to keep the government funded, approve long-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and pass a clean Dreamer bill. Republicans used CHIP as a crude
bargaining tool to get Democratic votes to keep the government open, despite Republicans having left CHIP unfunded since Oct. 1. The government shutdown has received substantial coverage and analysis that has placed blame on both sides. Polling indicates that 56 percent of Americans blamed either Trump or Republicans in Congress, compared to 39 percent of Americans who blamed congressional Democrats. The government shutdown was essentially a showdown over where the two parties stand on immigration. On the face of it, the Democrats in Congress were dealt a bad hand and had to make the best of it. Being the minority party in Congress means your ability to pass legislation is limited to next to nothing, but they do have the power to delay legislation. Democrats are facing a tough election year in some red states, so I understand their risk aversion mentality and wanting to simply end the shutdown as soon as possible. However, I disagree with their choice to give in. As time had progressed in the shutdown, polling indicated that more Americans supported shutting the government down in order to get DACA legislation than before the shutdown. If Democrats had continued to hold out, I believe that Republicans would have begun to cave and give greater
concessions. This was our first real opportunity to force Republicans to pass policy that a vast majority of Americans supported. I believe that last aspect is incredibly important when discussing Dreamers. Polls show support for keeping Dreamers in the U.S. anywhere between 70 percent and 83 percent. Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans all agree that Dreamers should stay in the United States and Congress should pass legislation to fix the issue. When was the last time Americans agreed on something at such a high number? All Democrats wanted was to pass bipartisan legislation that is supported by a vast majority of the American public. Unfortunately, in the immigration showdown, Democrats blinked first after only three days. So, where do we stand and where do we go from here? As part of reopening the government Democrats were able to take CHIP as a bargaining tool away from the GOP and a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that we would discuss immigration reform. Where we go now is to look to providing true protections for Dreamers and urging our congressional representatives to stand up for our fellow Americans. As President of the College Democrats of Maryland, I am proud to stand with my fellow College Democrats and urge Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Ben Cardin to oppose any continuing resolution that doesn't include protections for Dreamers. I urge everyone to stand with Dreamers, who are our fellow Americans, to urge their representatives as well to oppose any continuing resolution that does not include a protections for Dreamers.
I urge everyone to stand with Dreamers, who are our fellow Americans, to urge their representatives as well to oppose any continuing resolution that does not include a protection for Dreamers. RYAN KIRBY Columnist
February 6, 2018
February 6, 2018
February 6, 2018
SGA evaluates progress of platform promises MARCUS DIETERLE Editor-in-Chief @marcusdieterle
The student body of Towson University elected the 97th administration of the Student Government Association in May 2017, but SGA President James Mileo and Vice President Breya Johnson will tell you that the issues they are addressing have existed at Towson long before their campaign last spring. In November 2015, a group of black student activists staged two sit-in style protests which became known as Occupy Towson. During those protests, the activists presented a list of 13 demands to then-SGA President Kurt Anderson and then-Towson University Interim President Timothy Chandler. Following negotiations between the activists and University administrators, Chandler signed a list of 12 diversity initiatives that the University would pursue. Johnson, who was among those young activists, said she “can literally see the effects of Occupy Towson here every single day.” “Even the article that [President Kim Schatzel] just put out saying how important diversity is, things like that didn’t happen three years ago,” Johnson said. “[TU administrators] felt when students are unhappy and when students can really pull up concrete evidence that they are being underserved, they knew what that was like. The fact that we’re really starting to see people try their best to not underserve groups of students and students as a whole, to me, is what I’m most proud of.” Yet some students still have reservations about the progress of the platform items that the current SGA administration campaigned on. Last spring, the Towson College Republicans and Towson College Democrats both endorsed the Legacy ticket which ran in opposition to the URTU ticket. The URTU ticket members now comprise the executive board of the current administration. Towson College Democrats President Ryan Kirby, who is also a Towerlight contributor, commended SGA leaders for their advocacy to create a diverse and inclusive campus. But Kirby also questioned whether this SGA administration has progressed beyond advocacy to “actual change.” “There are aspects they have lived
up to, such as continuing to advocate for diversity and inclusion,” Kirby said. “But a large part of their platform is advocacy and not actual change that they can accomplish, so it is hard to assess how much of their platform they have accomplished.” Junior Steven Pugh said that SGA leaders laid out a good platform during their campaign, but he hasn’t seen those promises come to fruition. “I feel like not much has actually changed just yet, but I feel like they are in the works of it,” Pugh said. “Good planning, wishful thinking, but not a lot has actually made a difference yet.” Pugh, who is majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics, said one of the issues that is most important to him is accessibility. “I have a couple of friends that have trouble getting around campus…. It’s just hard for them to get around from class to class on time,” he said. Kirby said SGA is not visible enough on campus. “Overall, we feel that the current SGA administration has been less noticeable on campus,” Kirby said. Mileo acknowledged that student forums “sort of took the back burner” during the fall semester, but he said SGA will host a student forum on Feb. 8 to discuss student fees. Mileo also hopes the State of the SGA, which he said will most likely occur in early to mid-March, will be more interactive this year and feature a live-streaming element where students can pose questions to their SGA leaders. Johnson and Mileo want to make it clear to students that they are accomplishing their platform promises. “The type of work that we do, we don’t look for changes right away,” Johnson said. “I think that’s one of those moments where you have to stand firm in your belief and you have to be committed to change over time and creating new models. So for me, if you look at our platform and you say you don’t see anything concrete, you’re not really looking.” SGA allocated $4,500 to the Food Insecurity Support Fund, which is led by Christina Olstad, assistant to the vice president for student affairs. “Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food,” said Stephanie Baker, a case manager and assistant director for conflict resolution in the Division of Student Affairs.
According to Baker, the Food Insecurity Support Fund deposits money to the OneCards of students who experience food insecurity to then use in dining halls on campus. Students, faculty and staff who experience food insecurity can also receive food from the FoodShare program which operates out of the Newman Center, Baker said. Last semester, SGA leaders participated in a Campus Safety Walk with TU administrators during which the students pointed out different areas of campus that are not accessible. In addition to improving the physical accessibility of Towson’s campus, SGA is working with the Counseling Center to expand mental health resources. Johnson said that as Towson’s student population grows and the demographic structure of that population changes, the number and types of counselors within the Counseling Center should also change to meet those needs. SGA is advocating in the University Senate for the passage of their trigger warning initiative. The initiative would require professors to notify students about any potentially traumatic material either in course syllabi or 48 hours prior to the class period in which that material will be used. This initiative is meant to allow students to prepare themselves for discussions surrounding that material, according to Mileo. “The idea behind this is that we’re no longer conflating trauma with discomfort, and that we’re treating potentially traumatic material with some sensitivity…. The difference between discomfort and trauma is that there is a physiological response to trauma which does not allow for students to learn,” Mileo said. “It disrupts the learning process, whereas discomfort enhances the learning process and encourages learning.” Mileo hopes that passing the trigger warning initiative through the University Senate could lead to other mental health changes such as increasing the number of counselors and institutionalizing the validity of mental health-related excused absences. “If we get [the trigger warning initiative] passed, it shows the faculty are acknowledging mental health on campus and that mental health affects education,” Mileo said. SGA Director of the Higher Education Initiative Tyra Fields has spearheaded the Expanding Intelligence Today
Courtesy of James Mileo
Student Government Association President James Mileo and Vice President Breya Johnson celebrate after their inauguration last year. program, or EXIT, which partners TU student volunteers with Baltimore City students to help them prepare for graduation and life after high school. EXIT has existed for three years, but this was the first academic year in which the program was institutionalized in SGA along with the creation of the SGA’s Department of Higher Education, according to Mileo. Johnson said that in pursuing this initiative, SGA has had to be careful not to have their good intentions inadvertently harm high school students. “You want to reduce harm at all costs, so you don’t want to just go into the city and go into these schools, you don’t want to go into this with any type of savior complex, and you also don’t want to go into something that you can’t sustain,” she said. Johnson said the three schools that are part of the EXIT program are enough right now because that’s all SGA can currently sustain without “reinforcing the disposability of these students that they already experience.” “I would rather really nurture those schools than to just try to expand just to say that we ‘helped’ a community because that’s not helpful, that’s harmful,” she said. SGA allocated $5,000 to a scholarship for undocumented students. Mileo said the amount of scholarship recipients and the amount of money awarded to each recipient will be determined by the community. “Something that’s been guiding all of our work is that we’re not going to come in and say what we think is best,” he said. “We’re going to have those conversations and dialogues with the students and give them what they want, not what we think is best.” On Feb. 5, Mileo met with the
University Senate to review their constitution with the aim of restructuring the University’s shared governance system and increasing the power of the student voice in University decisions. “A part of each administration’s duty is to lay the groundwork for the next administration,” Mileo said. “I’m trying to leave the next president with the most agency that any SGA president has had in the sense of being able to operate for the students.” The meeting did not occur in time for The Towerlight’s print deadline, but we will continue to update readers with any new information. The SGA website does not feature photos or office hours for any of the members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the association. The senators’ voting records are also absent from the website. However, Mileo said students can obtain contact information for any member at the front desk of the SGA office. Any student also has the right to audit the SGA’s budget. Students can find the SGA’s constitution, bylaws and financial policy for student organizations on the SGA website under “Mission and Structure.” Students can find other documents such as waivers, requests and information about Tiger Stripes packages for student groups on Involved@TU under “Campus Links.” Mileo and Johnson realize that change may not be occurring as quickly as some students may desire, but both leaders said they are committed to laying the foundation for systemic changes that future SGA administrations can continue. “We’re not looking to put BandAids on stuff,” Mileo said. “We’re looking to cure the disease.”
February 6, 2018
TU locks in bike share program Students protest
free speech policy GRAYSON TUMMINGS Contributing Writer
Zoe Huff/ The Towerlight
Managed by Parking and Transportation Services, TU’s collaboration with the SPIN company launched this semester. The bright orange bikes can be found campus-wide at TU’s designated docking stations. BAILEY HENDRICKS News Editor @imsimplybailey
Towson University Parking and Transportation Services is managing a new bike share program on campus, which will allow students and faculty to rent bikes for as low as 50 cents per 30-minute trip. Parking and Transportation Services is working with an app called SPIN on this new program. According to Director of Parking and Transportation Services Pam Mooney, the University has been looking at different bike share companies to partner with for about five years now. The University struggled in the past to find a bike share company that would be financially feasible. Most bike share programs would have required the University to purchase a bike rack, bikes, and locks, which Mooney said would have cost nearly $250 million. That’s why when the SPIN app launched in July of last year, the University decided to start talking to the company. SPIN is a rackless program, which means the University doesn’t need to purchase bike racks and locks because the SPIN bikes lock in a way that don’t require a rack. To lock a SPIN bike, the rider simply presses down on a lever which secures the bike’s wheels from moving. Because of this, the new program only has “minimal cost” to the University in order to advertise and market the new program, according to Mooney. Senior Nick Golden, who is a commuter, said he doesn’t think he will use the SPIN bikes. However, Golden does see bike share programs as a “valuable investment” that are seen in
bigger cities like New York and Philadelphia. He thinks Towson’s program could be a way to alleviate people’s parking stresses. “I’m not trying to say Towson’s a big city, but a lot of people complain about parking, and things like that already, so bringing your car is already enough of a hassle,” Golden said. “But if there’s a way to get around campus without having to bring your car, like SPIN bikes, I think that’s a really good idea.” In addition to the bike share program being convenient for students, the program was also launched with the thought of campus sustainability in mind. Christian Piñeiro, the Student Government Association’s director of civic engagement and a member of the Alternative Transportation Sub-Committee of Parking and Transportation Services and the Climate Committee of the Office of Sustainability, advocated for the new program. As a member of the committee, Piñeiro provided feedback on the bikes and test rode them when the SPIN company came to campus in October 2017. “In these [committee] meetings, my department and I worked to find solutions and ideas for sustainable methods on campus, with the bike share program becoming a new priority to advocate for at the start of Fall 2017,” Piñeiro said. Piñeiro indicated that the new bikeshare program will help Towson become a greener university. “This bike share program will benefit the Towson community as agents of reducing pollutants of cars and shuttles while also being one accessible method of incorporating mixed-use transportation development on campus,” Piñeiro said. “Living in a car-centric cam-
pus, and with the growing concerns over Towson parking, SPIN bike will offer students, staff and faculty a fast and efficient way to get around campus if one is running late or simply for leisure.” The Alternative Transportation Sub-Committee has been researching and preparing the campus for a bike share program for over a year. After drafting many resolutions, the sub-committee signed the final agreement this past December 2017, according to Piñeiro. “In the past year, new bike share companies have been established that aim to eliminate the need for fixed bike racks, and their costs, across campus,” he said. “Instead, this new approach incorporates a locking system on individual bikes and allows more flexibility where bikes can be obtained and left at the end of a ride.” Mooney described the bike share program as “Zipcar for bikes.” “Towson will not make any money from having SPIN on campus as this program is similar to that of Zipcar, in that Towson partners with the company to provide a service to the campus community,” Piñeiro said. Towson will distribute about 100 of SPIN’s bright orange GPS-enabled bikes throughout campus to start the program. Mooney indicated that the bikes will be distributed around campus in time for the start of the spring semester. The SPIN bikes will be threespeed bikes to help riders combat Towson’s hilly terrain, according to Mooney. To ride a SPIN bike, a person must first download the SPIN app in the app store. Next, the person will sign up for the program and make an account using their Towson email. - To read the rest of this article online, visit thetowerlight.com.
Members of Towson University’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian organization, protested Towson’s current free expression policy on Feb. 2 by asking students to sign a large “free speech ball” and their petition to change the policy. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, public universities such as Towson are legally bound to adhere to the United States Constitution in all of their policies and regulations, including those pertaining to the First Amendment. The members of YAL protested against Towson’s free expression policy on time, place and manner. The policy states that students or student groups who are planning expressive activity in a public area, such as Speaker’s Circle or Freedom Square, must contact and obtain permission from the Office of Campus Life. Towson does not permit group expressive activity in non-public areas, such as offices, lobbies and classrooms, however the University allows exceptions for areas that have been reserved. YAL members said the time, place and manner policy directly violates the Constitution and strips Towson community members of their First Amendment right to freedom of speech by placing limitations on when, where and how these expressive activities
can occur. “We’re here to promote the message of freedom of speech, individual liberty, and the rights of everyone,” said Alex Staudt, YAL’s director of free speech. “We’re trying to support civil discourse.” In previous reporting by The Towerlight, Vice President for Student Affairs Deb Moriarty explained that Towson’s time, place and manner policy is meant to create a safe environment for community members express themselves. “We’re not going to say yes or no to a speaker based on what we think they’re going to say,” Moriarty said. “If it’s a known speaker who has caused controversy, our main concern is campus safety.” Moriarty said that when students obtain permission from the administration, the University is better prepared to assess the amount of security needed for an event or where the event should take place to meet the needs of the size of the audience. She added that Towson is legally obligated to be content neutral and cannot regulate which Towson community members can speak based on those individuals’ beliefs. Still, YAL member Mitchell Oktavec is concerned about the possibility of the University restricting expression they do not agree with. - To read the rest of this article online, visit thetowerlight.com. - Mary-Ellen Davis and Marcus Dieterle contributed to this article.
Marcus Dieterle/ The Towerlight
Members of TU’s chapter of YAL asks students to sign a petition and “free speech ball” in protest of TU’s free speech policy.
February 6, 2018
National Guard partners with TU KERI LUISE Staff Writer
After maintaining a collaborative, informal partnership between their institutions for about a year, Towson University President Kim Schatzel and Maryland Adjutant General Linda Singh of the National Guard reaffirmed their partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding on Jan. 27. Schatzel and Singh signed the MOU at SECU Arena before Towson’s Military Appreciation Day men’s basketball game against Elon University. This agreement is intended for Towson and the National Guard to join forces in a range of activities focusing mainly on cyber security experiential learning and community outreach. “As an agent of change for the economy and the state of Maryland, it is my pleasure to sign this memorandum of understanding on behalf of Towson University,” Schatzel said. “We are looking forward to expanding our partnership with the Maryland Army National Guard to provide important opportunities for continuing education, cyber security training, experiential learning and
community outreach.” Towson hosts military appreciation athletic events throughout the academic year and is involved in the Maryland National Guard’s Partners in Education program. TU is also one of the first institutions in Maryland to have a Military and Veterans Center to help veterans on campus adjust to university life. “This is our first MOU in the state of Maryland and builds on our significant and longstanding partnership with Towson University,” Singh said. “This MOU will take both organizations to new heights as we focus on important programs of need like cyber security.” The MOU is targeted at education and training in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences and the Center for Professional Studies. Towson is one of 16 institutions in the U.S. to be recognized for NSA/SHA National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. “Towson University’s partnership with the Maryland National Guard strengthens Maryland’s cyber security infrastructure and creates opportunities for TU students and
guardsman,” Schatzel said. “We are proud to work alongside the Guard to support the region’s communities and economy as an anchor institution for Greater Baltimore.” According to the MOU, Towson is “a leading provider of professional and continuing education through customized training and certification courses, with an increasing focus on cyber security.” This recently reaffirmed partnership will “further expand TU’s capacity and recognition as a leader in cyber security and cyber defense education and training,” according to the document. Through confirming this partnership, TU and the Maryland National Guard are working to provide opportunities for students and Guard members, according to a press release. A new scholarship, the Major Robert Marchanti Scholarship, was also created to be awarded to a TU student-athlete. “We’ve been recognized nationally as a military-friendly institution,” Schatzel said. “It’s a source of great pride for us to be able to work with active duty members and veterans, and be able to support them in terms of their educational endeavors.”
Open Forum on Student Fees for FY19 Are you interested in learning about the process for determining proposed fee increases? Interested in learning about the mandatory fees all undergraduate and graduate students pay?
Join University and Student Government Leaders on Thursday, February 8th from 5 - 6 pm in Chesapeake III in the University Union.
This forum will provide an opportunity to share information on institutional needs to support student services for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Refreshments will be provided.
12 February 6, 2018
Arts & Life
TU grad takes on Everyman MEGHAN HUDSON Staff Writer
Towson University alumna Katharine Ariyan is stepping onto the stage of Everyman Theatre this spring for her role as Cathleen in “Long Day’s Journey into the Night.” Ariyan graduated from Towson in 2015 with a B.F.A in acting. After graduation she moved to Baltimore City with a group of friends, and joined the Oven Theatre Company. Since then, Ariyan has been involved in many productions throughout Baltimore including “Hamlet” and “Hairspray.” Ariyan praised Towson for its theatre program, and all it did to help her grow as an actress. “Towson has an outstanding theatre program,” Ariyan said. “They really are able to focus on the individual and help every single person become who they want to become, and it was a wonderful experience. It helps you keep an open mind when working with so many other people who may have their own opinions and thoughts on different aspects of your work. Something Towson did was help us learn how to be adaptable.” Something Ariyan’s work has taught her so far is how to keep evolving. Every theatre has their own aesthetic, and she often found herself changing to that aesthetic and learning from the new groups of people she worked with. Since her days in college, Ariyan has been auditioning for roles at Everyman theatre. Upon moving to New York City, Ariyan found out she had booked
Courtesy of everymantheatre.org
Ariyan previously starred in Everyman’s production of “M. Butterfly.” a part in Everyman’s production of “M. Butterfly.” She quickly found herself returning to Baltimore for the role of Renee, a role that later earned her critical praise. This spring, Ariyan is performing in her second production with Everyman Theatre, “Long Day’s Journey Into the Night.” In one emotional evening filled with “foggy, drink-laced demons,” the Tyrone family faces conflict when long-buried secrets become availed, and love doesn’t seem to be quite enough to protect them anymore. Cathleen, the role that Ariyan is portraying, is the family’s Irish summer maid. “[Cathleen] is kind of this misunderstood character because she doesn’t completely fit in,” Ariyan said. “But she is very intuitive.” The show’s script notes that Ariyan’s character is of Irish descent, with Everyman Theatre honing in on the region of Donegal, one of Ireland’s counties, as a more specific interpretation of the character’s accent. Ariyan has been working with Steve Satta, a professor of voice acting at Towson and dialect coach, in order to perfect her
character’s voice. According to Jared Early, the marketing and media relations manager for Everyman theatre, Ariyan’s dialect work has been quite a hit with audiences so far. “This play is really long so it’s been a big one to tackle,” Ariyan said. “We started by doing a table read and the next day we were blocking for the stage. It’s been quite the process but I’m excited about it.” “Long Day’s Journey Into the Night” will be running now through March 4 at Everyman Theatre in downtown Baltimore. Current full-time students are able to purchase tickets for $10 in B Location seating for all Sunday evening performances, subject to availability. Students must show a valid student ID when picking up tickets to receive a student discount. Ariyan wants current Towson acting students to know “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” “It’s important to just always work your hardest especially on projects you feel passionate about,” Ariyan said. “It’s a hard industry to work in but it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Courtesy of Jared Earley
Katharine Ariyan (right) stars as the character Cathleen alongside Deborah Hazlett (left) in Everyman Theatre’s spring production of “Long Day’s Journey Into the Night,” running now through March 4.
Meghan Hudson/ The Towerlight
“From the Inside Out: Building the Silhouette” is open now through March 17 in the Center of the Arts’ third-floor gallery.
Vintage gallery joins art, history MEGHAN HUDSON Staff Writer
Filled wall to wall with vintage dresses, advertisements, shoes and undergarments, the spring semester was kicked off with a unique, multi-departmental exhibit on Jan. 30, at the third floor Art Gallery in the Center of the Arts. The center’s newest exhibit, “From the Inside Out: Building the Silhouette,” is a gallery that was co-curated by Erin Lehman, the director of the Holtzman and Center for the Arts galleries, and Julie Potter, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts. Lehman said the pair had been working on this project for over a year and a half, having been inspired by Potter’s past gallery experiences. According to the exhibition’s notes, the collection consists of quilled petticoats, a pelisse, dresses, gowns, bodices, and a robe de style, all originating from between 1770 and 1920. The silhouette for many of these dresses remained fairly consistent: curvaceous with an especially tiny waist. Their figures were formed via corsets, bulky underwear, and bustles. Popular materials for many of these dresses were silk and chiffon. Chiffon was popular thanks to its elegant detailing and the way it appeared to flow perfectly down the body. Silk on the other hand, due to it breathability, served as an excellent material for staying cool when getting active. Women could dance freely and comfortably in these materials without worrying about overheating. One entire wall within the gallery was completely covered in vintage
advertisements, with one advertisement reading “There is a style of P.N Practical Front exactly suited to your figure!” Much like this advertisement, most were marketing the “perfect figure” that was longed for at the time. Some advertisers even included paper dolls which could be cut out and dressed to one’s own liking. The exhibit allowed students to take a walk through history, and get an idea of what they may have been wearing over a century ago. “This exhibit drew me in because the dresses look vintage yet refreshing,” said freshman Alex Tamayo. “The neutral color scheme and the fine detail -- it’s not often you get to see this type of fashion. It gives other students and I a connection to history that we can actually see and touch.” Despite the fashion being seemingly opposite to what one might see nowadays, Lehman argued that the past and present styles are actually more similar than they are different. “I don’t think anything [in the gallery] is that much different today,” Lehman said. “People are still trying to shape their bodies in a way that they find pleasing. It used to be that you shape the silhouette with exterior things like corsets and bustles and things like that, and now we shape it more from diet and exercise. It's always about trying to create a pleasing form.” According to both curators, the exhibit’s goal is to provide onlookers with insight into how society’s fashions have changed throughout the years, and the ways in which outward culture has evolved and yet stayed the same. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, now through March 17.
Arts & Life
February 6, 2018
Timberlake releases album TIMOTHY COFFMAN Columnist
Justin Timberlake, who took center stage Sunday night as the Super Bowl LII halftime show performer, has been one of the more interesting entertainers to come out of the woodwork since the turn of the century. He seemed to do the impossible by distancing himself from the boy band NSYNC, and became a fully-fledged solo artist with early hits like “Rock Your Body” and “Cry Me a River.” While he spent the mid-2000s making some of the greatest pop and R&B albums with “Justified” and “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” he began to move away from music to focus on other projects like acting in “The Social Network” and occasionally teaming up with Andy Samberg to create comedic tracks for The Lonely Island. In 2013, he wowed music lovers by having monumental success with “The 20/20 Experience” double album, which had a shocking level of proficient success. I think Justin Timberlake is an amazing talent, but many artists are not able to simply walk back into the spotlight after years of time off like he did in 2013. So how does his new album “Man of the Woods” hold up now that Justin has taken another five-year break from making new music? The album seems to be going in a few different directions compared to the pure R&B vibes of “The 20/20
Courtesy of billboard.com
Timberlake released his latest album, “Man of the Woods,” Friday, Feb. 2, which introduces a more rustic style to his classic J.T. sound. Experience.” Though the album’s first single “Filthy” certainly prepared fans for a different sound, most of the album doesn’t sound like that vein at all. There are moments of traditional R&B sounds, like on “Higher Higher,” but there is a focus more on the acoustic guitar sprinkled throughout this record. While the album title certainly hints at a more rustic approach, I didn’t think that J.T. would be able to pull it off, but it is rather refreshing to see a different approach to songwriting. What also sticks out are the songs that feature other artists that come in the middle of the record. “Morning Light” with Alicia Keys is a smooth song that is what we come to expect from a seasoned musical pro like Keys, and “Say Something” featuring Chris Stapleton went over much better than one would expect. The ballads on the
album, such as “Flannel” and the album-closer “Young Man,” are going to be standouts for many. Some of the songs contain spoken word segments at the beginning and end, which I feel can be a tad unnecessary, especially for an album which is already a bit lengthy. This is part of my overall feeling of the album being a bit disjointed. While not bad by any means, the album’s shifts can feel a bit jarring without a central theme to anchor it down. If you enjoyed “Filthy,” you may be disappointed with the rest of the album as a result. However, I feel that this gives the album a unique identity and shows us that J.T. is going to continue to grow as an artist even if he experiments in different genres. Overall, I feel that this album is a good representation of Justin Timberlake as a person, and the album is all the better for it.
Courtesy of harpersbazaar.com
Timberlake returned to the Superbowl stage after 14 years during Sunday night’s halftime show, with a performance including his most popular hits and a dedication to the late musician, Prince.
“Hostiles” captures cultural tensions LUKE PARKER Columnist
“Hostiles” is an enthralling and often disturbing portrait of the healing capabilities a collection of tiny actions can have, with time, on even the deepest of emotional wounds and the sharpest of racial divides. Running just over two hours, this film requires patience. The characters’ long journey towards Montana’s grasslands is methodically wrought out, while their journey towards redemption is methodically drawn out. Written for the screen and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), “Hostiles” is unyielding and brutal, and is a fine addition to the masterclass of modern westerns. Using the words of English-bred author D.H. Lawrence, the screen first defines the American soul as “hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” Given the basic concept of the narrative that will proceed and our basic understanding of the time period in which it is set, the assumption is that this soul belongs to the dominant, land-thieving, greedy white men. Yet, ironically, the scene that follows depicts a cruel slaughtering committed not by U.S. soldiers, but by a Comanche party. The attack leaves a father scalped, his two daughters and infant child shot, and his wife (Rosamund Pike), who managed to hide, broken. This shocking enactment is only the first in a series of conservatively lifelike conflicts. The screams of this woman’s horror are quickly drowned out by those of another; this time it is an Apache family on the brink of dissolution. Their maltreatment is steered by the cold and tired face of Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), who, as legend tells it, has taken more scalps than Sitting Bull himself. He is not timid about his numerous and belligerent hostilities towards Native Americans (“Is there a better way?” he responds after being questioned of his aggressive war tactics), but when orders come down from the president to escort the cancer-stricken Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) back to his homeland, the task begrudgingly falls upon him. Blocker initially refuses. In his eyes, Yellow Hawk is a murderous brute – no one would be surprised if this description was mirrored upon
the Captain. But after the pension for his upcoming retirement is threatened, he finally agrees, and with a surprisingly diverse squadron of hand-picked cavalrymen – including a black man and a young French private – Blocker sets out with Yellow Hawk and his family to the Valley of the Bears, the chief’s requested resting place. This trek from New Mexico to Montana provides a gorgeous variety of landscapes and eye-pandering skies, but also a number of harrowing obstacles; this land is unforgiving. It is also eventful, as the overarching journey is interrupted several times. They are first led to Mrs. Quaid (Pike), who they find in complete mental dismemberment, and who will accompany them for the duration of the film. Her recent devastations collaborate well with Blocker’s torn past, as a friendship of mutual respect and sympathy emerges. One scene, in which Mrs. Quaid offers the Captain shelter in her tent from a relentless storm, contains the intimacy of the grandest of love tales, without the romance. It is a truly heartwarming display. The caravan also has the vicious and surrounding Comanche, a murderous prisoner (Ben Foster) that needs transporting, and a sideshow of Wild West barriers to concern themselves over. All of this tension is amplified by the realistic approach Cooper sets out to achieve, given that these characters, who travel in empty meadows and open grasslands, are at all times completely exposed to a sudden and brutal death. Cooper excellently accelerates the danger factor found in his Western narratives; the calmest of times can be – and are – quickly replaced by moments of dire importance. However, perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the film is the gradual deflowering of Blocker’s character. Bale once again hones in as a head-sick individual, as we learn that the man notorious for his head count is also well-bred: being able to speak with Native Americans in their languages, and spending his spare time re-reading “Julius Caesar” in its original Latin text. It is obvious that his extended stay in this Western jungle and in the line of duty has made him bitter and has taught him that killing is the only way to live. --Read the rest of this article online at www.thetowerlight.com.
14 February 6, 2018
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Arts & Life
February 6, 2018
B’more band shoots for stardom DEB GREENGOLD Contributing Writer
Pop rock band Skyward Story emerged in 2017, ready to take on the music scene. The band consists of lead singer Aaron O’Conner, lead guitarist Scott Montgomery and drummer Brandon Millman, who is a Towson alum. The Baltimore natives are known for playing pop rock jams, ranging from songs by Panic! At The Disco to Hailee Steinfeld. According to O’Conner, the band came up with their name “during a very late drive through the Midwest while [they] were listening to the song ‘Guts” by All Time Low.’” “The first line in the song is ‘shooting for the stars,’ which struck as a very inspirational line,” O’Conner said. “We had always enjoyed the sound of the word ‘story’ and its implication somewhere in whatever the name was going to be, so when we eventually thought up the word ‘skyward,’ we figured that the two words sounded great together while also staying relevant to what we believe in: shooting for the stars.” Formerly known as 3PM, the band began with a punk rock aesthetic, drawing inspiration from bands such as Blink 182 and Yellowcard. They worked to build up a following, selling over 25,000 copies of their album, “Slow Me Down,” before eventually coming to a close. Millman and Montgomery, original members of 3PM, took to Twitter
to find a new vocalist. Once the duo came across O’Conner, Skyward Story was in the making. The group’s style and sound evolved to include a pop aesthetic, with their talent attracting the attention of Matt Squire, a multi-platinum music producer and writer in the industry who has worked with stars such as Ariana Grande and One Direction. Skyward Story has since put countless hours toward their work, and are proud of all they have accomplished in such little time. Montgomery looks at the group’s sense of teamwork as what has allowed for such success. “We will all usually have pieces of music that we will bring together, sort of like a puzzle,” Montgomery said. “We will then take pieces and work them together, attempting to make each part more interesting in the process. Then we will record demos to listen to and work on, until full songs are eventually finished.” In addition to performing covers, the band has their own original songs that can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. Their more recent songs, “Hey!” and “Smile,” can also be found on YouTube. As for 2018, Skyward Story hopes to continue their momentum and break through walls in the music business. The band has made an impact in the Baltimore area and hopes to provide more music for the area to listen to and experience as the year goes on. - Read the rest of this article online at www.thetowerlight.com.
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● Each row and each column must contain the numbers 1 through 4 (easy) or 1 through 6 (challenging) without repeating.
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February 6, 2018
tu drops two conference matchups KARUGA KOINANGE Sports Editor
Towson women’s basketball dropped two conference games over the weekend, falling to William & Mary Sunday at SECU Arena after falling to Drexel Friday at Daskalakis Athletic Center. Sunday’s 75-63 loss to the Tribe (15-7, 6-5 CAA) marked the Tigers’ (8-14, 3-8 CAA) fourth loss in their last five games. Towson got off to a quick start and jumped out to a 7-0 lead that was capped off by a three-pointer from junior guard Danielle Durjan. William & Mary answered Towson’s run with one of its own, however. The team outscored Towson 15-5 over a four-minute stretch, and took a 18-14 lead into the second quarter. Towson fought hard the rest of the way, but foul trouble prevented them
from regaining the lead. The team recorded double-digit steals with 14, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Tribe. Friday, Towson couldn’t cool off red-hot Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foe Drexel, as the team fell 78-53 at Daskalakis Athletic Center. The Dragons (18-5, 10-1 CAA) opened the game on an 11-2 run, and didn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the way. The Tigers couldn’t get anything going offensively, as they were held to just 30 percent shooting from the field. Despite entering halftime trailing by 20, Towson continued to battle. The team fought hard in the second half and played stifling defense, finishing the game with 13 steals. Head Coach Diane Richardson commended her team’s second half efforts. “We’ve had some up and down games where, for quarters, we look like
we’re not on the court,” Richardson said. “We battled today in every quarter, so that’s an improvement from what we’ve been doing in the last few games.” On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore Nukiya Mayo led the way for the Tigers. Mayo shot 52 percent
from the field, and notched her fourth 20-point game of the season. Mayo is averaging just over 12 points per game and stands as Towson’s second leading scorer behind senior forward Mary Cuevas, who averages nearly 14 points per game. “When Nakaya feels confident, she
plays a great game,” Richardson said. “Some days when she’s down, she’s not as confident. We have to kind of needle her a little bit, and it takes a little while to get her jump started, but she did well today.” - To read the rest of this article, visit thetowerlight.com
File photo by Mark Dragon/ The Towerlight
Redshirt senior guard Raine Bankston dribbles the ball up the court in a home game from last season.
I’M INTERESTED EVENTS.TOWSON.EDU
18 February 6, 2018
tu splits road games
Towson prepares for the CAA Championships next weekend
Tigers show inconsistency against conference foes
BILLY OWENS Asst. Sports Editor
Towson men’s and women’s swimming and diving squads finished their regular season with two separate invitationals this weekend. The swimmers competed at the Technotational hosted by Virginia Tech at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Virginia, while the divers competed at the Duke Dog Invite hosted by James Madison in Harrisonburg, Virginia. For the women at the Technotational, junior Zeynep Balto led the Tigers Friday by placing third out of 18 swimmers in the 500yard freestyle with a time of 5:00.67. Freshman Lauren Cavanaugh placed eighth in the 200-yard individual medley final. The next day, sophomore Maddi Mangum won the B final of the 100 fly with a time of 56.47 seconds, finishing ninth overall. Later, Mangum set another personal best by placing fifth in the 100 back final in 57.51 seconds. Junior Caroline Batista and sophomore Katie Larkin went on to finish first and second in the same event’s B final, respectively,
and ninth and 10th overall. The men’s best result at the Technotational was a 14th-overall finish by sophomore Tommy Whitman on Friday, who touched the wall in 22.29 seconds to give him a sixthplace finish in the B final. "We were really happy with how those people performed down there,” Head Coach Jake Shrum said. At the Duke Dog Invite for the women, juniors Emily Wilson and Victoria Zozzaro each finished with two top-10 finishes. On the 1-meter board, Wilson placed sixth with a score of 240.60 points, while Zozzaro placed ninth with a score of 233.75 points. On the 3-meter board, Zozzaro placed sixth with a score of 258.70 points, while Wilson placed eighth with a score of 254.60 points. "There was a lot going on coming into it, but they did a great job on focusing on themselves,” Shrum said. Up next for the Tigers is the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Swimming and Diving Championships at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, which runs from February 14-17. "There's a lot of people we’re super excited to see compete next week," Shrum said.
Solutions contain the numbers 1 through 4 (easy) or 1 through 6 (challenging) without repeating.
● The numbers within the heavily
outlined boxes, called cages, must combine using the given operation (in any order) to produce the target numbers in the top-left corners.
● Freebies: Fill in single-box cages with the number in the top-left corner. KenKen® is a registered trademark of Nextoy, LLC. ©2016 KenKen Puzzle LLC. All rights reserved. Dist. by Universal Uclick for UFS. www.kenken.com
for Puzzles on page 16
● Each row and each column must
File photo by Mark Dragon/ The Towerlight
Senior guard Eddie Keith II takes the ball up the court at SECU Arena in a game against Drexel.
KARUGA KOINANGE Sports Editor
Towson men’s basketball split a pair of close road games against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponents Delaware and James Madison this week. The Tigers (16-9, 6-6 CAA) kicked off the road trip with a tight 75-71 victory against the Blue Hens (1114, 4-8 CAA) at the Bob Carpenter Center Thursday night. Sophomore forward Justin Gorham got his first start of the season and made his presence felt. He finished the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping Towson edge out the tough win. Head Coach Pat Skerry spoke glowingly of Gorham as he transitions into a starting role. “He’s playing really well,” Skerry said. “Obviously, he’s good enough to be starting. He’s handled it well and we needed to make some changes. He had a great week last week. I think he’s maturing [and] developing as a leader. It’s not surprising. He’s talented [and] he’s going to be a terrific player.” Despite Gorham’s strong showing, the Tigers showed some weaknesses throughout the game. The Tigers played poorly in the first half, shoot-
ing an abysmal 28 percent from the field during the period. Towson bounced back in the second half, pouring in 52 points. However pulling off the impressive come-from-behind wins does not instill much confidence in Skerry. “We’ve had these inconsistent stretches,” Skerry said. “One half we’ll play great defense. [In the next half] we’ll play not good offense or not good defense. We’re still searching for longer stretches of consistency.” The lack of inconsistency came back to haunt Towson Saturday afternoon when the team fell 79-73 to James Madison (7-18, 3-9 CAA) at the Convocation Center. Towson looked sharp in the first half as sophomore guard Zane Martin contributed 18 points and recorded two steals. Following a comeback from an early nine-point deficit, the team took a 35-29 lead going into halftime. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn’t replicate their performance in the second half. Gorham hit a layup midway through the period to give the Tigers an 11-point advantage, but opposing redshirt junior guard Stuckey Mosley refused to let his team fold. Mosley racked up 26 points in the second half alone, and finished the game with 35. Gorham had another
impressive performance, grabbing 17 rebounds, but Mosley stole the show late in the game. The Tigers couldn’t stop Mosley from getting into the paint, and he hurt them from beyond the arc as well, nailing three three-pointers in the half. The Dukes surged in the final five minutes, outscoring the Tigers 21-10 to hold on for the win. Skerry looks at the team’s mental fortitude as a reason for the stretches of inconsistency. “This is the time of year we have to be a little bit sharper,” Skerry said. “I know we have ability, but it’s going to take more than that. It’s going to take starring in the role that we’ve given you and mentally preparing to win close ball games whether that means knocking down a clutch free throw or not having breakdowns defensively.” The Tigers look to stay composed in their next contest as, they finish their three-game road trip Thursday night with a visit to the Daskalakis Athletic Center to take on Drexel. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. “They’re arguably the hardest team in the league,” Skerry said. “They’ve played well. When you go on the road, offensively you’ve got to take care of the basketball. Our ability to guard for decent stretches has to be there also. That has to be our formula.”
February 6, 2018
raising USTORE the ATHLETE OF THE WEEK bar Zane Martin
MUHAMMAD WAHEED Staff Writer
Towson women's track and field team had an impressive ECAC qualifying time in the 200-meter run, a personal record and a personal best in the Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational hosted by Boston University Saturday, Feb. 3, at the BU Track and Tennis Center. Junior Arianna Waller set a personal record of 24.79 in the 200meter run, earning her a qualification for the 2018 ECAC Division I Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships. “Last year she did not compete during the indoor season at all, so it’s just good to have her out there,” Head Coach Mike Jackson said. “She has some ability. Her freshman year was a solid year where she scored in conference, so it’s just good to see her getting back into the groove. We’re really happy for her.” Senior Emily Johnson placed 17th with a time of 5:08.93 in the mile run, and won her heat. “She’s always been a tough competitor,” Jackson said. “She’s doing really well with our new coach and his new way of training. Henry Phelan is our new distance coach, and he’s starting to make positive impacts on our student-athletes, and Emily is one who is benefiting from having him around.” This meet was held at the same location for this year’s ECAC Division I Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will be held in early March. “I think it was great, because the majority of the student-athletes that came for this trip had never been there before,” Jackson said. “Many of them had personal best or season best performances, so I was really excited to see them perform.” Towson will be back in action Thursday in the Navy Multi Mix, and Friday in the Fasttrack National Invitational.
Men’s Basketball Sophomore guard Zane Martin racked up 15 points in a 75-71 victory over Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foe Delaware Thursday night, scoring 13 of those points in the second half. He went on to score 28 points in a 79-73 road loss to James Madison Saturday afternoon.
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20 February 6, 2018
more than just another game for the skerry family File photo by Abby Murphy/ The Towerlight
Head Coach Pat Skerry watches on as his team competes in the Autism Awareness game in the spring of 2014. Towson will compete in its sixth-annual Autism Awareness game on Saturday, Feb. 10, as the team hosts Northeastern at SECU Arena. Coaches on both teams will wear a puzzle piece pin on gameday as the Tigers begin a three-game home stand.
JORDAN COPE Senior Editor @jordancope26
Towson University men’s basketball Head Coach Pat Skerry and his wife Kristen leave church on Sundays with their two sons, Owen and Ryan, and head over to their local Target. Owen, the Skerrys’ youngest son, loves everything Disney, especially “Cars,” “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo,” and he can’t wait to get his hands on a new Disney DVD or toy. “He’ll tell you: ‘Get one. Just one,’” Pat said with a grin on his face. “[Target] is his store, that’s an exciting thing for him.” Owen is just like any other 8-yearold boy. He loves spending time with his family, being outside in his neighborhood around other children, and playing on his iPad. The only difference between Owen and his peers is that he was diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that affects one in 68 children in the United States each year. Owen received his diagnosis in
2011 at 18-months-old. Pat said he and his wife had noticed that Owen wasn’t meeting the growth development thresholds that their oldest son had, especially the ability to make eye contact with others. Pat said that although Owen struggles with being verbal, he has been excelling in music therapy, one of the many in-home programs that he has on a daily basis. Some of those other therapies include occupational, and speech therapy. “The song ‘Havana’ came on the radio, [Owen] knows all the words,” Pat said. “Certain songs will come on and he’ll sing the whole song. So [the words are] in there. That’s the whole thing about autism, we try to bring awareness to it, try to figure out ways to help us understand people on the spectrum. How do they learn, how do they become productive members of society, because they can, it’s just they learn in different ways.” When Owen isn’t at in-home therapy, he attends The Trellis School, an institution where all of the students are on the autism spectrum. Pat
said The Trellis School has been a godsend to the Skerry family because of its importance to Owen’s development. “One thing around here which means a lot to us is we have an unbelievable service for a child with autism in the greater Baltimore area,” Pat said. Pat’s personal connection to autism has inspired him to use his platform as a Division I NCAA men’s basketball coach to bring awareness to the topic. On Saturday, Feb. 10, Towson will host its sixth-annual autism awareness game. Coaches on both teams will be sporting a puzzle piece pin -- the official logo of autism awareness -- and Towson will be wearing blue jerseys -- the official color of autism awareness -- outlined with puzzle pieces along the trim. The game will extend beyond wearing the official gear, however. The game will also be inclusive to families who have a child on the autism spectrum. There will be sensory zones, quiet rooms and glu-
ten-free and dairy-free options for anyone who is on the spectrum that attends the game. Towson University President Kim Schatzel expressed the magnitude of the event for the entire campus community. “It’s certainly not just an athletics event, it’s not just a men’s basketball event, it’s a University-wide event,” she said. Pat’s work with bringing awareness to autism extends beyond the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and basketball, however. On Feb. 5, Towson hosted a diversity workshop focused on autism in the West Village Ballrooms with keynote speaker Anthony Ianni. Ianni was the first men’s basketball player with autism in NCAA history. Skerry will also be on the panel, along with other Towson University Athletics coaches who have children on the autism spectrum. Beyond the CAA, other NCAA coaches will be seen wearing the puzzle piece pin, too. Some of these coaches include Kentucky head
coach John Calipari and Kansas head coach Bill Self. “It’s been cool to see [other coaches] do that,” Pat said. “Does it raise money? I’m sure it does. People will see these rockstar coaches wearing the pin and probably go to the website and donates some money, but more importantly it raises awareness.” Ultimately, Pat wants to see two things happen with autism awareness in college basketball. The first being to make the autism awareness weekend an autism acceptance weekend, and second to “get an early season doubleheader, kind of like Coaches vs. Cancer.” And of course, when tip-off comes between Towson and Northeastern on Feb. 10, Owen will be behind the Towson sideline, cheering on his dad and the Tigers. “He’ll be in the same seat, he’s at all the games; he loves coming to the games,” Pat said. “I hope a lot of people come out, not just to see a win, but to be part of a positivity that’s inclusive.”
The Towerlight follows up with Towson's SGA platform on the work they have done while in office.