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THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2016 | VOLUME 132 ISSUE 30

THE UNIVERSITY DAILY KANSAN THE STUDENT VOICE SINCE 1904

Nick Herren remembered for loyalty and passion LARA KORTE @Lara_korte

Missy Minear/KANSAN

The Jayhawks meet in the middle of the court to celebrate a point in the first set against West Virginia on Oct. 20.

After volleyball’s continued success, KU Athletics looks to expand Horejsi TIFFANY LITTLER @tlitt33

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n the past few years, Kansas volleyball has achieved its greatest successes in program history, but KU Athletics has struggled to accomodate the attention that the program has garnered. This season, for the fifth consecutive year, the volleyball team earned the right to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. The 26-2 Kansas team made history during the regular season, winning the Big 12 conference for the first time in school history. The success has continued to draw fans to Horejsi Family Athletics Center. The biggest problem KU Athletics has seen is a shortage of tickets, as it has sold out every match for the past two seasons, according to Associate Athletics Director Jim Marchiony. The Jayhawks were announced as the fifth-overall seed during Sunday's NCAA Selection Show, the highest seed the Jayhawks have received in program history. The sustained success over the season has put the Jayhawks in a position to host tournament games, and potentially regional games. "I think we get a little bit ahead of the game there if we keep talking about top four seeds,” coach Ray Bechard said. “You have to win two in the first weekend to even worry about being a host." Prior to this, there was

speculation that the Big 12 outright champions could get the fourth seed. However, Big 12 rival and second-place finisher Texas was given the fourth seed. A top-four placement would have allowed Kansas to host the regional rounds: the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. "I know that our administration [was] doing all they can to make it happen if in fact we were a top-four seed," Bechard said. Hosting a big event such as the NCAA tournament comes with issues for Kansas. In order to host a regional round, the team’s arena must hold over 3,000. Horejsi Family Athletics Center currently holds just 1,300. The volleyball band takes up a section, which further cuts down the number of seats for fans.

You never take anything for granted. A fiveseed still could be a potential regional host.” Ray Bechard Volleyball Coach

To compare Horejsi to other volleyball teams in the Big 12, Texas’ Gregory Gymnasium holds 4,000. TCU’s Recreation Center holds 1,900. Baylor, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Iowa State all share their facilities with other athletic teams, each of which have capacities

INDEX NEWS........................................................2 OPINION...................................................4 ARTS & CULTURE...........................................9 SPORTS....................................................12

well over 10,000. If Kansas were to host the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA tournament, Athletics would face another big problem: a conflict with men's basketball. Kansas is set to face Nebraska at 2:15 p.m in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 10. The lack of a large volleyball venue, paired with a high demand to see the high-caliber team, has led to an important question. Should there be an expansion of Horejsi Family Athletics Center, or should the matches be moved to Allen Fieldhouse? In 2013, for example, all regular-season matches were held in Horejsi. However, when Kansas hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, the matches were moved to Allen Fieldhouse for Kansas to take on Wichita State and Creighton. But KU Athletics does not want to make this a permanent solution to the overcrowding problem. "We have not discussed moving to Allen Fieldhouse, because we love Horejsi. It provides a very intimate, rowdy atmosphere that benefits our volleyball team,” Marchiony said. "But we have talked about expanding Horejsi if we can. So we are looking at some plans. We are talking to donors. We want to expand it to at least 3,000 seats.” Hosting an NCAA tournament match is very different than a regular season match when it comes to the

fans. KU Athletics has to reserve 200 seats for each of the three visiting teams. This takes away 600 seats from loyal Kansas fans. “The fact that you have a season ticket for KU volleyball does not guarantee that you’ll be able to get in to see these NCAA matches,” Marchiony said. Although these matches are televised on ESPN3 and broadcast on radio, season-ticket holders could be disappointed to not to see the team live. Despite these circumstances, Bechard remains optimistic about the chance to host a regional round, but is focused on this weekend’s matches. “We’re limited as far as where we can go, but I know they’ve done all they can to try to make that happen and we’ll see,” Bechard said. “You never take anything for granted. A five-seed still could be a potential regional host, but we’re going to put all our time and energy to try to win two this weekend.” The first match of the NCAA tournament at Horejsi Family Athletics Center will begin Thursday at 4 p.m. between Northern Iowa and Creighton, both 2016 Kansas opponents. The Jayhawks will play Samford at 6:30 p.m. Winners of the Thursday matches will play on Friday at 6:30 p.m. for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. —Edited by Chandler Boese

KANSAN.COM

To those who knew him, Nick Herren was incredibly passionate, driven and, above all, a loyal friend. Herren, who died in a car accident Sunday afternoon, was a senior from Alma studying in the School of Business. During his four years at the University he gained the respect and love of his peers through his involvement with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, and the Naval ROTC. Herren was known not only for his dependability and leadership qualities, but also for his “infectious personality.” “If the world were ending around you, that man could make you smile and laugh,” said Joshua Gathright, a friend of Herren’s from ROTC. “The damn world could be on fire and he would make you smile. He could find a silver lining in anything.” Gathright said Herren had an unwavering positivity that transferred to all who met him. He remembered several incidents where a fellow ROTC member was about to drop out of the battalion, but Herren convinced them otherwise. “He would go out of his way to check in on them, check up on them, offer help and just make sure they were cared for," he said. "And as a result they stayed in the battalion." Herren was just a few months away from graduating, and had hoped to make a career for himself in the Marines, Gathright said. “He would have made a damn good Marine Corps officer too,” Gathright said. “He had that character and personality about him. And you knew if, God forbid, he was forced to go into a combat operation like Iraq or Afghanistan right now, you know he’d be in front leading the way.” Alex Cole got to know Herren when he first joined the same fraternity at the University in 2013. Although Cole has since transferred to Texas Tech University, he said he kept in touch with Herren and that he was “one of those people you’ll never forget.” “When you look back on his college career, all those people you met, there’s that select few you’ll never forget, you’ll always remember, and Nick was one of those people,” Cole said. “The impact he made on people's’ lives, wheth-

Contributed Photo

Charlie Richmond, a junior from Bridge City, Texas, who was in the Naval Battalion with Herren, remembers a similar event his freshman year. Richmond said at the time he had a family emergency late at night, and, having no one else to reach out to at 3 a.m., called Herren. “I called Nick, he woke up, and was over to my dorm within ten minutes,” Richmond said. “We talked for six or seven hours. That’s just the kind of guy he was.” On Sunday, after learning of the car accident, Gathwright said he quickly drove to the hospital and was joined by over 30 others who, upon learning of the news, had rushed to Herren’s side. A vigil to honor Herren will be held Thursday evening at 8 p.m. at the University Campanile. Richmond, who is organizing the event, expects more than 200 people to attend. He said he will remember Herren as someone who “lived and loved so fiercely.” “He was a guy who just loved getting down in the trenches and doing work, no matter what it was, and he always did it with a smile on his face,” Richmond said. “That’s who Nick was.”

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er he knew it or not, it's immense. He had such an infectious personality, an infectious smile that you couldn’t help fall in love with him any time you met him or hung out with him.” Perhaps part of Herren’s unforgettable personality was his tendency to “drop everything” to help a friend. Gathwright recalled an incident just a few weeks ago where he had to go to the hospital after a bike crash. Upon learning Gathwright had been injured, Herren immediately offered to come to the hospital. “And I didn’t even ask that," Gathwright said. "I said ‘hey I’m in the hospital, just letting you know,’ and he said ‘oh alright I’ll be there in a few.'”

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KANSAN.COM/NEWS | THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2016

How universities do, and don’t, inform the public about sexual misconduct cases CONNER MITCHELL @connermitchell0

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he University’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access received 273 reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence between May 2012 and Aug. 18, 2016, according to records obtained by the Kansan under the Kansas Open Records Act. The data provide the first complete number of incidents reported to the campus agency since it was established four years ago to investigate such cases. The University has refused to release on a routine basis information about incidents reported to IOA, preventing students from knowing how many assaults may have been committed, where and when. University officials say they would be violating federal student privacy laws by releasing the information. Several universities, however, including Connecticut and Yale, routinely provide that information to the public. Federal officials say there are no restrictions against providing such information, as long as it does not disclose personally identifiable information. The data provided to the Kansan list the reports related to the conduct of faculty, staff, student, visitor, non-KU and unknown respondents from both the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, as well as the length of each IOA investigation. There are no details on time, location, age or other details of the University’s investigation efforts. Various complaints against the University contend that the lack of detail and timely disclosure of the number of reports received prevents students from knowing where sexual assaults take place on campus when they aren’t reported to the police, creating potential safety hazards. Transparency at the University Sexual assault at the University was pushed into the national spotlight in 2014, after a Huffington Post article detailed a particularly lenient punishment for a male student who was found to have had “nonconsensual sex” with a female student. One week after the article was published, the University announced the creation of a Sexual Assault Task Force to examine the University's response to sexual assault on campus. In September of 2015, it announced the planned implementation of 22 changes recommended by the task force. Since the task force recommendations went into effect, the University has been sued under Title IX, the federal guideline for responding to reports of sexual violence, twice, and under the Kansas Consumer Act in a separate lawsuit saying the University misrepresents its on-campus housing as safe. Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations, said in an

Photo illustration by Missy Minear

email that there are a number of factors at play in releasing information detailing the magnitude of sexual harassment and sexual violence reports. “KU balances providing an accurate and clear picture of campus safety while also protecting those individuals involved by not disclosing identifiable information,” her statement said. “Beyond victims and those accused, privacy must also be considered for students and others who are witnesses or otherwise involved in the investigation.” Barcomb-Peterson said the University cannot present a data set or ongoing count of the reports the IOA receives, as it would be out of line with the Family and Educational Right to Privacy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of personally identifiable information. The Kansan asked Wednesday for the number of reports the IOA has received related to sexual assault and sexual harassment since the beginning of the school year, but the data were not readily available at press time. The story will be updated online if and when the data are provided to the Kansan. The University does detail sanctions for students who are found to have violated the Sexual Harassment Policy on the Student Affairs website, but does not provide dates or any context as to the violation committed. The sanctions detailed were ajudicated between May 2012 and Sept. 15, 2015 and do not include the current academic year. Barcomb-Peterson said the webpage would likely be updated before the end of the current semester. Breeze Richardson, communications director for the Board of Regents, said there is no policy for Kansas institutions that speaks to the safety information which must be made available for public consumption. Every year, Richardson said universities meet with the Regents Governance Committee to conduct a security audit of various aspects of campus safety, including sexual assault reports. She said the topic of the audit can be tailored to the most pressing business, such as preparing campus buildings for the impending changes to Kansas concealed carry laws. Richardson said the topics discussed are not made public due to security concerns.

“Because of the holistic nature of what is discussed, the information is simply too sensitive to release [to the public],” she said. “[Releasing information] gives too much information to potential wrongdoers.” The Jeanne Clery Act is the only stipulation that Regents universities are required to abide by in terms of releasing information specifically on sexual assault, Richardson said. Enacted in 1990, the federal law calls for universities to release blanket numbers each year in different categories such as criminal offenses, hate crimes, arrests and incidents of sexual violence. Federal guidelines on reporting sexual assault All colleges and universities that participate in federal student aid programs are required to release statistics yearly which detail campus crime rates and give context to campus safety. However, what is reported in the Clery Act does not account for all reported instances of crime that take place on campuses. According to the Department of Education's Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, institutions are only required to count and report crimes that fit the federal definitions outlined in the Clery Act, which does not include every report a campus office receives about a particular crime. In a statement to the Kansan, the Office for Civil Rights — the federal office tasked with promoting equal access to education through the enforcement of civil rights — said there is nothing within federal law requiring universities to detail the number of reports they receive in relation to sexual violence. “Title IX does not require schools to ‘file’ internal investigation reports directly with OCR, nor does OCR require a school to release statistics about its Title IX complaints or investigations, although OCR may request this information as part of an investigation as to whether a school responded appropriately to reports of sexual harassment or violence,” the statement said. In its 2016 Clery Report, detailing crimes from 2015, the University reported 11 rapes and 4 fondlings that happened on campus. Data provided to the Kansan sug-

gest a much higher level of reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence. According to that information, in 2015 alone, the IOA received 65 reports of sexual misconduct. How other universities report sexual assault The University of Connecticut, a public institution with an enrollment of around 31,000 people, releases a yearly report in addition to its required Clery report. The report details the number of sexual assaults, stalking incidents and intimate partner violence crimes reported to the university in addition to any subsequent disciplinary action. University of Connecticut Title IX coordinator Elizabeth Conklin said the Connecticut General Assembly enacted a law in 2014 requiring universities in the state to release a yearly report detailing specific reports of sexual assault reports. Conklin said Clery reporting consists of narrowly defined crimes, and a report detailing the number of reports a campus receives can give a clearer picture of a campus’ climate. “At UConn, we’ve been really in favor of transparency in terms of these numbers. We’re seeing dramatically increasing numbers of disclosures since we’ve started releasing the report, and I think that’s a good thing,” Conklin said. Yale University, a private institution, releases a report similar to Connecticut’s every six months, but without a legal mandate to do so. Yale’s Title IX coordinator could not be

THE KANSAN IS HIRING The Kansan is looking for motivated, creative individuals to produce and edit content for Kansan.com and the twice-weekly print edition. A background in journalism is not necessarily required, but is preferred for some positions. Digital Illustrator Page/Graphic designers Digital operations assistant (web design) News reporters Arts & Culture reporters Opinion columnists Sports writers Photographers Videographers Copy editors Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume and work samples to lkorte@kansan.com by WEDNESDAY, DEC. 7. For more information, visit Kansan.com

reached for comment; however, according to the Yale provost’s website, the report is released to promote transparency. “Through these reports, the University Title IX Coordinator hopes to inform the community about issues of sexual misconduct, raise awareness about the procedures used to investigate and address them, and engage the community in the University’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct,” the website says. In her experience, Conklin said, the more universities can talk about sexual violence and confront what is happening on campuses, the more prepared they can be to prevent incidents from happening. “Transparency to the university community about what you’re seeing is a good idea,” she said. “There’s no magic way or single way to do it. I think what we hear from our students, faculty and employees is they want to have a sense of what’s happening. I think that’s a good thing. If putting out information about the topic [of sexual violence] helps that, then I’m in favor."

— Edited by Chandler Boese

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Students express concerns regarding campus diversity MELISSA YUNK

Fall 2016 Enrollment by Race

@KansanNews

L

amisa Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-American from Chanute, has been at the University for four years. But in the last few weeks, she has felt a new level of fear. She said she does not want to be out after dark or go anywhere alone. “This is my campus, too. I should not feel uncomfortable walking to the library or home after class,” said Chowdhury, a senior studying environmental studies. Since the presidential election, as students of color have expressed fear about being harassed or attacked, the University community has taken a number of steps to promote safety and civility. These have included an escort program, facilitated conversations and a campus-wide communication from Provost Neeli Bendapudi. Students and officials say while these efforts are positive there are no quick solutions to overcoming existing prejudices to make students of color and minorities feel truly included.

I start to wonder if there is a reason people don’t want to sit next to me.” Zoya Khan Muslim Student Association president

Constanza Castro, Student Senate chair for the His-

Native American/Alaskan (0.06%)

Asian (4.20%)

Other (5.71%)

White (69.67%)

Black (4.10%)

Hispanic (6.51%)

Undocumented Alien (9.21%) Source: Office of Institutional Research & Planning

panic American Leadership Organization (HALO), said the University needs to create more spaces and forums for students with opposing views and backgrounds to talk about their beliefs and issues. She said students should not always hold the role of educator, and that it would be worthwhile to bring in faculty or faculty from other institutions that have dealt with similar issues. “For me personally, I think the environment is actually pretty hostile,” said Castro, who was born in Chile and raised in Missouri. “In that transition stage things are very shaky. There is a lot of talk right now about balancing freedom of speech and the safety of students. It

is something that needs to be openly discussed.” Zoya Khan, president of the Muslim Student Association, said her own experience as a woman who wears a hijab illustrates the lack of inclusion that occurs based on how people look and dress. “There have been times in class where I will sit in a row and the whole hall is filled but no one will sit in the seats next to me, or even in front of me,” Khan said. “I think ‘maybe that just happens’ but after it happens class after class I start to wonder if there is a reason people don’t want to sit next to me.” Khan said a lot of what Muslim students face are mircoagressions, not outright hostility. She said there

is worry the same type of racist slurs and fliers that have been distributed on other campuses could happen here. At the University, the increased levels of concern about safety have prompted several responses. International Student Services has been giving students the option to have someone escort them to and from class. As of Nov. 21, three students had used the service, said Charles Olcese, director of ISS. However, he said they were pleasantly surprised that around 700 students had volunteered to be escorts. At University housing, resident assistants hosted community conversations to

give their residents a chance to speak about their feelings following the presidential election and express any concerns they might have about the current climate at the University. Lorena de la O, an RA for Hashinger residence hall, said students expressed fear for themselves and for their friends, worried they might be targeted. Precious Porras, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said the University’s increasing diversity requires the campus to be a comfortable place for everyone. “With the growing diverse group on campus we need the inclusion to make it work,” Porras said. This year, non-interna-

tional domestic minorities make up 19 percent of students at the University, the highest ever percentage according to data from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. Both Porras and Olcese said the University is committed to listening and acting on students’ concerns. “Overall, I believe KU is on the right track but in terms of the election, and our nation in general, this is just the beginning,” Olcese said. “We will continue to support and listen to the students’ concerns in whatever ways we can.” — Edited by Missy Minear


opinion KANSAN.COM/OPINION | THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2016

FREE-FOR-ALL ›› WE HEAR FROM YOU

Is anyone actually on board with this Kanye 2020 thing? Senior regrets: not following volleyball as a freshman Changing the game of Secret Snowflake to Snowflake Sabotage Whoever wants gift cards instead of cash for Christmas needs therapy MR. 305 CHECKING IN FOR THE REMIX I’m “96% grinch” according to Buzzfeed In Dutch fairy tales do they have fairy clogmothers? From my POLS professor about a research paper: “Idk just don’t f*ck it up” If your profile picture is a man–yourself or any other–wearing a fedora, then I don’t want to talk to you.

Associated Press President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos shake hands at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. on Nov. 19.

McCarthy: DeVos a troubling choice

I love Mrs. E’s, and I don’t care who knows it. Sherlock’s next season needs to hurry the hell up @ people who wear cowboy boots on campus: pls stop. We don’t live in the country. Saw a dog begging for a bone. It reminded me of search for a job after graduation who wrote “congrats president-elect Trump” on the sidewalk leading to Watson i wanna fight Lauren Conrad strikes again. Coming back from Thanksgiving = cruising into 3 weeks of hell Netflix does television better than television does television I’d like to thank my body for only getting sick right when finals are coming up

KEVIN MCCARTHY @kevindmccarthy

A

s the Trump transition team continues to fill its cabinet with appointees, the media continues to scrutinize and speculate. While names like Stephen Bannon and Jeff Sessions have received more attention than others, I think there are some other appointments that are flying under the radar. Betsy DeVos, who Trump selected as his nominee for Secretary of Education last week, is one such person. Education is one issue that was not talked about very much in the general

NELLIE KASSEBAUM @nelliekudk

@KANSANNEWS /THEKANSAN KANSAN.NEWS @UNIVERSITY DAILYKANSAN

We can look at two examples in Detroit and New Orleans to find the answers. These two cities have the largest share of students in charter schools in the country.

A Trump presidency could result in more funding for voucher programs and charter schools.”

In the case of Detroit, the push for more charter schools has been a reaction to the failings of the public school system. Advocates, including Betsy DeVos, have claimed that charter schools offer better opportunities for students. But, according to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press, the $1 billion of

taxpayer money that has been funneled into charter schools is being grossly mismanaged. Wasteful spending, lack of government oversight and unethical practices by for-profit companies that run the schools are just a few of the charges detailed in the investigation. New Orleans’ voucher program has also had some issues. According to a report by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, the city has seen declines in academic performance since school vouchers were implemented. The study found that students that participated in the voucher program have seen an 8 to 16 percentile point drop in achievement on test scores. So what does all this mean? Well, I think the examples of Detroit and New Orleans offer a glimpse into what a nationwide “school choice” policy would look like. Per-

sonally, when I hear people say “school choice,” I think it is code for the privatization of schools. This is not the way we should be thinking about education. Education should be thought of as a public good that benefits all of society — not a business venture that can be used to make profits. Voucher systems and charter schools only exacerbate the problems that currently exist within our education system.

Kevin McCarthy is a senior from Lenexa studying political science, history and public policy. — Edited by Cody Schmitz

Kassebaum: So, you voted for Donald Trump

It’s so cold I don’t think the hike to the rec is even worth it. Better order Chinese instead

READ MORE AT KANSAN.COM

election. However, Trump did mention during his campaign that he favored a “school choice” policy agenda that would shift federal money toward vouchers. This policy preference is exemplified in the appointment of Betsy DeVos. In her home state of Michigan as well as other states, Ms. DeVos has spent millions to expand voucher programs. Additionally, she has a been fierce advocate for the expansion of charter schools. So, while many of the incoming Trump administration’s policies are unclear, its education policy is starting to become quite evident. A Trump presidency could result in more funding for voucher programs and charter schools. This is not too surprising, considering the Republican party has been advocating for these policies for a while. But how well do these programs work?

Let me start by saying this: I have always considered myself skilled at separating my opinion of people from their actions. I make a conscious effort to not judge people. In the weeks since Nov. 8, I am afraid that is no more. After learning some of my closest, dearest friends voted for Trump, I broke down. I was (and frankly, still am) disturbed. Yet, it seemed

shallow of me to end friendships over an election. But this election was more than just a vote. This was your support for a man who, in my eyes, did not deserve to be elected (or considered, for that matter) President of the United States. A vote for Trump was saying you are okay with those crude parts of him. As a candidate with virtually no political experience, you cannot fall back on and reason your vote through any historical decisions he’s made to better America. This was a new breed of candidate. I had friends upset at being called racist, homophobic, and bigoted because they voted for the man who promoted those beliefs. Many of my friends even recognized those traits in President-elect Trump, but disowned that

part of him. They used the simple word “but” to excuse away these ruinous qualities. They acknowledged these traits, and that they are bad, then went on to say, “but his economic policy,” or “but his stance on immigration,” which, thereby, was ignoring his biggest character flaws.

They used the simple word “but” to excuse away these ruinous qualities.”

When you voted, you voted for the whole person: their past, potential, morals and values. I thought about how close we were, how much my friends knew about me,

and how they knew my life could be greatly affected by a Trump presidency. I thought about those people who voted for Trump, and I can’t think beyond my deep, guttural feeling that their choice was just wrong. I know I cannot understand your vote. I know I cannot change your vote. I just hope someday you see it was wrong to endorse the terrible things Trump stands for. I don’t understand you, but I want to. I want to know why you thought Trump’s words and actions were okay. I want to know what made them presidential to you. I want to know. I especially want to understand those who recognize his disturbing past, politically and morally incorrect values, and archaic stance on many issues, yet

went out of their way to cast a vote for him. As far as our friendship goes, I’m trying to be a bigger person here, I really am. Unfortunately, my conscience does not operate as a democracy. I came across a quote by Atticus Finch, famed literary hero of To Kill A Mockingbird, who said “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” I cannot be silent about your vote. I stand by my disappointment.

Nellie Kassebaum is a sophomore from Burdick studying English.

— Edited by Lexanna Sims


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Aries (March 21-April 19) A professional opportunity beckons today and tomorrow. Tell friends you’ll see them later. Focus on action. Close out old business and replenish reserves. Sign contracts. Taurus (April 20-May 20) Plot (or make) your next escape over the next two days. Study, research and advance your investigation. Discover new flavors, concepts and ideas. Follow passion. Gemini (May 21-June 20) Talk with your partner about improvements that you’d like to make today and tomorrow. Revise the budget to suit new priorities. Invest in efficiency. Cancer (June 21-July 22) Accept a challenge. Don’t worry that you don’t know how. Work with a partner for the next few days. Refine the plan. Have faith. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) Focus on your work for the next few days. Take advantage of an opportunity to expand your career prospects. Exercise, eat well and rest. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Love guides you over the next two days. Things fall together. You can get what’s needed. Walk the walk. Creative collaboration delights. Honor each other. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) The next two days are good for making changes at home. Fantasize together. Listen to all considerations before committing resources. Do what you can yourself. Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) It’s a time of intense learning. You’re especially brilliant for the next few days. Write, edit and polish your message. Craft your creative expression. Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) Today and tomorrow are good for money. Tap new revenue. The action is behind the scenes. Others appreciate your efforts. Conclude a fortunate deal. Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Go what you want today and tomorrow. Take charge and make it happen. You’ve got confidence, luck and charisma on your side. Dress for success. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) Settle into contemplation today and tomorrow. Review and revise plans. Sort and organize. Savor a hot beverage by a fire, and schedule your dreams true. Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) Set meetings and schedule gatherings. Work together today and tomorrow. Keep appointments and pay debts. Get help building your dream. Enjoy fun with friends.

KANSAN.COM | THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2016

KU Theatre’s ‘R.U.R.’ aims to incorporate technology SAMANTHA SEXTON @Sambiscuit

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laywright and 1920s resident Karel Capek would probably be terrified if he could see how his production "R.U.R." will be played out by the University Theatre. University Theater aims to incorporate modern technology this Friday evening at its own production of the play. “Honestly, if he could see Siri, he would probably freak out and want to go back home immediately,” Blair Lawrence Yates, a graduate student and director of "R.U.R.," said. “This was a response, after all, to the overuse of technology after World War I.” The “Westworld-like” production was the first piece of literature to use the word “robot,” and was, in fact, the first science-fiction play, laying the groundwork for the iconic robot rebellion story, according to actor Taylor McTague. “The characters soon start to lose their humanity, getting so invested in technology that they lose

themselves within it,” Yates said. “Leaving the perfect opportunity for the robots to come in and take over.” Playing off the theme of overstimulation and an abundance of tech, Yates encourages audience members to bring their smartphones. They want the crowd to follow the Twitter accounts that will be live-tweeting throughout the performance, as well as interact with the various QR codes that will be available.

[R.U.R.] was a response ... to the overuse of technology after World War I.” Blair Lawrence Yates Director

“The robots will take audience members on a tour of the factory, which is the set, and each of us will have a little QR code on our costumes,” McTague said. “The codes lead to a website that we’ve designed that adds to the interaction.” McTague said that the performance won’t be

predictable and that playing a robot was challenging, given her preconceived ideas. “During the tours we have to interact with the audience and it’s been tough learning how to both talk like a robot but not sound like a robot at the same time,” McTague said. “We’re supposed to be real, sort of like in Westworld.” McTague said the challenges have been fun to work through. She’s excited to finally be able to premiere the production and see how everything comes together. “I was so excited when we did our first full runthrough,” McTague said. “Before we were separated into our groups to rehearse and after seeing how each piece plays off the other, I’m impressed with how it all works.” "R.U.R." offers something for everyone, according to Yates. Audience members of all ages should be able to enjoy the performance regardless of how interactive they want to be with the social media aspect. “Someone who isn’t interested in the traditional

Contributed Photo/KANSAN The poster for University Theatre’s “R.U.R.”

plays will have something new to pull them in but more traditional audience members won’t be pushed into interacting if they don’t want to,” Yates said. “While it adds to the experience and is a unique aspect I’m happy we’re doing, nobody will miss out if they choose not to participate.” "R.U.R." will premiere at 7:30 p.m. this Friday

evening in the William Inge Memorial Theater. It will show again at 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 3, Dec. 5, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. A 2:30 p.m. showing can be seen Sunday, Dec. 4.

— Edited by Christian Hardy

lowkey listens MYLAN JONES @thislanismylan

The end of the semester is upon us. With finals right around the corner, we must continue to press on. Why not add more music to your library as you hope to make it through last few days of the semester? Here’s another installment of Lowkey Listens.

Knowledge — LITT_ I first heard this rework on Knowledge’s Instagram where he added this to a video with the dancing blue Power Ranger. At first, I just thought the video was kinda funny. But as I watched it more and more, I found myself watching it for the music more than the actual video. A few days ago, he released the track in its entirety, along with a few other tracks on his new project called “WT.PRT10_.” The production on this track, combined with 21 Savage’s raps are an interesting combination. I would not say that I am a huge fan of 21, but I can say that his music does have me wanting to dance and/or vibe along. Knowledge uses this to his advantage; seeing as how he always seems to provide groovy beats on a lot of his work. The video he posted along with the music might be the reason that I feel the need to dance. Either way, this track has been on repeat for while and I see myself continually listening to it for a while longer.

Mac Demarco — Blue Boy Over the summer, I constantly saw artists I was interested in talking about Mac Demarco. From people like Tyler, the Creator to The Internet’s Steve Lacy. I eventually took it upon myself to listen to his music. This song was my introduction to his discography and I instantly knew I would like his other music. When it comes to rock, I tend to favor the surf-rock sound. It’s relaxing, but it can also incorporate some interesting stories within the music. Here, in “Blue Boy,” Demarco explains to the boy that insecurities should not continue to bring you down and that life is sometimes confusing but that is just the way it is. The song is short, but features beautiful production, simplicity, and great vocals.

Omarion — Touch Another song I was reminded of through Instagram. I listened to this song when it originally came out back in 2005 and hearing it now make me reminisce on 8-year-old me listening to music without regard for what it might be referring to. Still, this song was a jam back in the day. Even though it’s a very 2000s song, I can still find it appealing today. The Instagram video had Caleon Fox and Junebug dancing with this song playing in the background. Though the video may be to blame for this, I now feel the need to milly rock whenever I listen to this song. And watching the music video for this song makes me want to learn how to dance that much more. Omarion came through with a jam that will definitely live on for a long time.

Anonymuz - Neo Babylon I initially heard from this artist through YouTube. After seeing collaborations with the artist and hearing more and more of his music, I was excited to finally listen to his debut album “Vice City.” And to my surprise, the album exceeded my expectations. A part of Gaming Illuminaughty, Anonymuz brings a lot to the table with “Neo Babylon.” It is clear that there is a lot of energy here as Anon comes through with straight bars. The instrumental also makes the song sound like an intense final battle in some sort of anime, which also adds to the energy. “Vice City” dropped on Nov. 18, which is also my birthday, and Anonymuz was able to provide me with some heat to keep on repeat.

MF DOOM — One Beer MF DOOM is definitely one of my favorite artists at the moment. He’s able to float over dark, comical, and light overtones in both his lyrics and production. This track, produced by Madlib, showcases the best of DOOM. “Mm… Food” is an album where DOOM incorporates food into all of his songs, both in the titles as well as the lyrics. This track in particular, he raps about devouring his competition and how he will continue to make a name for himself instead of falling into the mainstream. Listening to DOOM only makes me want more music from him.


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Contributed Photo Violinist Katherine Okesson’s first major performance came at the White House over 20 years ago.

Music in Focus: Katherine Okesson’s long career as a violinist, from the White House to teaching in Kansas OMAR SANCHEZ @OhMySanchez

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ver 20 years ago, Katherine Okesson, a graduate teaching assistant in violin, was invited to a Christmas party in Washington D.C. to perform. The party had the typical decorations, each room having distinct holiday themes to match the festivities. English Springer Spaniel puppies could be spotted running around the parlors of the first floor. All this while Okesson's youth orchestra group was rehearsing before a room full of strangers. She had only been playing for two years — possibly not even that — and she was about to perform in the White House. Then, former President George H.W. Bush passed by. "The Bushes came around the corner, and we were in the midst of rehearsing," Okesson said. "They came up and talked to us. That was a moment that was really nice.” On that day, Okesson played her violin in the Blue Room of the White House. It was a part of the Southern Methodist

University conservatory group for the annual White House Christmas Party. At the time, she was based in Dallas, and Okesson recalls the night as one of the first times "the stars aligned" for her. After her White House performance, Okesson would go on to perform across the country for a variety of symphonies and chamber orchestras. She has appeared in several PBS specials and performed with or for the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer LeAnn Rimes and her personal idol, violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, to name a few. At a young age Okesson had music instilled in her through her upbringing. The middle of three children, Okesson and her family had to move constantly across the southwest region of the country because of her father's job as a petroleum geologist. But the whole family, including her mother Jan, would continue to hold what they called "noise nights" no matter where the next stop was. "Noise nights" were special, she said. They happened once or twice a week, and it was a chance

for the family to get together to play music in one form or another. "My mom played the piano, my dad was a drummer and so was my brother, and my sister played flute and the recorder," Okesson said. "All the time we had these get-togethers where we would play music together and improvise with each other, so music was always integral even when I was really little." Okesson split her time as a child mainly between cities in Texas and New Mexico. By the time she was in high school, Okesson grew an interest for the violin and began a mentorship with Dallas Symphony violinist Sasha Shtarkman-Adkins. As the years went by, Okesson even decided to graduate high school a year early to work with her mentor more in-depth. She said Shtarkman-Adkins played a big role in her growth both during and after high school. One of the key moments in their relationship came when it was time for the White House Christmas Party auditions. After initially telling Okesson she would not make it due to her rela-

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tive time playing the violin, Shtarkman-Adkins changed her mind after she heard Okesson insist that she would do whatever it takes to nail the audition.

would be a part of an upcoming concerto, it became a day she knew she would remember. This even before she knew then boyfriend Kevin would propose.

The two most important things in my life are my family and music, so for them both to culminate in such a way on such a pivotal day for me was incredible.” Katherine Okesson Violinist

"Immediately from then, she ramped up what I was doing (to prepare)," Okesson said. Years after getting the chance to perform in front of the president, Okesson would again have fate go her way while a part of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Illinois. "The night I got engaged to my husband, I played a concert with Itzhak Perlman," she said. Even before she picked up a violin, Okesson listened to the songs of Perlman's in order to get through times of stress. She was amazed by his technique, and when she heard her longtime idol

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"The two most important things in my life are my family and music, so for them both to culminate in such a way on such a pivotal day for me was incredible," she said. Now, Okesson and her husband reside in Manhattan, Kan., building their own family. Okesson teaches sections of chamber music in the music department while also getting her doctorate from the University. She also teaches violin and viola lessons for those around the Lawrence and Manhattan area. "She was already a very experienced teacher and musician, and a sought-after clinician and adjudica-

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tor," Véronique Mathieu, assistant professor of violin and Okesson's doctoral chair, said. "She has been a wonderful addition to our program." From her time learning from Shtarkman-Adkins to her own days of teaching, Okesson said the main thing she wants future violinists to know is to stay committed to the craft, even when there are periods of financial, emotional, and physical difficulty. "A lot of the students come up to me and they feel bad if they make a mistake," she said. "The thing that I’m trying to do is make sure they can define what problem they have, pick it apart and give them tools to fix any technical problems they may have and be able to identify those problems on their own. "One of the biggest things to know is that we’re human, and your value as a human, as a musician or an artist is not equal to the number of notes you get right."

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sports KANSAN.COM/SPORTS | THURSDAY, DEC. 1, 2016

KU volleyball expectations high as tournament begins JORDAN WOLF @JordanWolfKU

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ast season, the Kansas volleyball team ran the postseason tables and competed in the first Final Four in program history. Just under one year later, the team has its eyes set on another deep run, this time with higher expectations. The Jayhawks enter the tournament this year as the No. 5 overall seed. After a season spent consistently at the top of the national rankings, many now expect the team to continue or even exceed the success of the previous year. Despite the mounting pressure, head coach Ray Bechard stresses that the team is taking things one step at a time. “It’s got a little different feel to it from a sense that the team’s got a high expectation, but I think everybody involved with our program does,” Bechard said. “Our goal this week is to go 2-0 and not to worry about what lies ahead.” Kansas will start tournament play Thursday night, as it will take on Samford in one of the two first round matches hosted in Lawrence. Samford earned a spot in the postseason after taking home the Southern Conference Tournament

title. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 21-13 record, winning nine of its final 12 matches. The biggest threat for the Jayhawks comes from the Samford attack. Senior outside hitter Erin Bognar finished the season 10th in the nation with 542 total kills, and 17th with 4.48 kills per set. Containing her will be pivotal for Bechard’s team, as he acknowledged her prominent presence. “She’s a dynamic kid with a dynamic arm, and we’ll have to obviously pay close attention to her,” Bechard said.

The team’s got a high expectation, but I think everybody involved with our program does.” Ray Bechard Volleyball coach

Should Kansas defeat Samford, the Jayhawks will move on to play the winner of Northern Iowa and Creighton in the second round. The Jayhawks have defeated both teams already this season, in 3-0 and 3-2 decisions, respectively. Being heavily favored in the first-round matchup, it would be easy for the

Missy Minear/KANSAN Kansas huddles before a match against West Virginia on Oct. 20. The Jayhawks are the No. 5 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

team to be distracted by the two looming familiar opponents. However, the Jayhawks made it clear they are not overlooking the Bulldogs. “We just take it one game at a time,” junior setter Ainise Havili said. “Can’t play UNI or Creighton unless we beat (Samford) first, so we gotta take it how it is, and I think we’re doing a good job about that.”

When the Jayhawks were announced as the No. 5 seed, many fans criticized the decision to seed Texas one spot higher at No. 4, despite the Longhorns’ placing lower in the Big 12. But as the first games of the tournament approach, the players are making it clear that they are not affected. “The more we say it out loud, it sounds silly to say ‘well we’re five and they’re four, that’s not

fair,’ because we worked so hard to get the spot that we have, and I think we’re so lucky to be seeded so high in the tournament,” junior outside hitter Kelsie Payne said. “So we’re just gonna take it one game at a time, and hopefully work our way up to the top.” All first and second round matches will be played at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Due to anticipated high

attendance, fans are encouraged to arrive early. Students who wish to attend were required to enter a lottery as admission will be limited. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., but is subject to change as it will follow the Northern Iowa and Creighton match.

-Edited by Christian Hardy

KU improves from three BRIAN MINI

@brianminimum

After a blowout win against Siena, Kansas coach Bill Self said Kansas still didn’t have an identity. After the second straight game of lights-out threepoint shooting, this time against Long Beach State, it looks like Kansas might have something to hang its hat on. Coming into the game against Long Beach State, Kansas shot just 36 percent from three, a low percentage for a team ranked so high in the AP Poll. Kansas raised that percentage by shooting 54 percent from three in a 9161 rout of Long Beach State Tuesday night. It was only a matter of time before the Jayhawks snapped out of their threepoint slump, and it came courtesy of sophomore guard Lagerald Vick and junior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. After shooting 47 percent from deep last season Vick was off to a cold start. Hitting only 24 percent of his threes coming into the game, the Memphis native quickly returned to last year’s form. In his second consecutive start of the season, Vick followed up his 3-of-4 three point night with an even more impressive 4-of-4 from three and 9-for-9 from the field. “He’s not always going to shoot like that,” Self said about Vick. However, Self did say Vick is “going to end up being our best defender, he’s really improved a ton.” Mykhailiuk, another sharpshooter who’s turned his season around after start-

Missy Minear/KANSAN Junior forward Dwight Coleby celebrates in the first half against Long Beach State. The Jayhawks won 91-61 on Nov. 29.

ing just 2-of-8 from three, was also on top of his game. The junior hit four of his eight three-point attempts in what was an all-around strong shooting performance for Kansas. Since the 2010-11 season, the highest Kansas shot from three-point range was 70 percent last season against Texas and, for a while, it seemed like Kansas would top that. Midway through the second half, Kansas was shooting just over 70 percent until a few missed threes dropped the Jayhawks to their eventual total of 54 percent. Despite the hot shooting, Self wasn’t convinced this was a cure for other issues the Jayhawks have had. “You’re not going to win relying on three point shots all the time,” Self said. What makes the performance against the 49ers even more impressive is that it was mostly without help from the usual suspects, guards Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham. The two shot 3-of-7, but were overshadowed by the play of Vick and Mykhailiuk.

The driving ability of Mason, who had eight assists, and the passing of freshman guard Josh Jackson and Graham allowed for wide-open threes that Kansas cashed in on. “Attacking, trying to make plays for ourselves and others. It’s going to be that extra pass that’s going to be open because it’s hard to guard everything when you have four guards that can attack the basket,” Graham said. As for Vick’s perfect shooting night, that wasn’t something Long Beach State coach Dan Monson necessarily expected. “He’s not one that we were focused on,” Monson said about Vick. “He just opened the game up with his shooting.” Monson also mentioned that film on Kansas showed that Vick’s aggressiveness on the offensive boards is what they focused on, but his multidimensional skill set was the problem. With all the recognition the duo of Mason and Graham have, Tuesday night was a reminder that Vick and Mykhailiuk are waiting in the wings for their time to shine.

Baxter Schanze/KANSAN Junior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne celebrates the win over Northern Iowa.

Volleyball wins big in postseason awards JORDAN WOLF @JordanWolfKU

Kansas volleyball took home some serious hardware Monday afternoon, as several Jayhawks found themselves recipients of All-Big 12 honors. Coach Ray Bechard received the Coach of the Year award after leading the Jayhawks to their first ever Big 12 Championship. This is his second consecutive time winning the award, and the fourth in his career. Junior outside hitter Kelsie Payne was named Player of the Year. She ranked third in the Big 12 during conference play with 4.07 kills per set, and sixth with a .320 hitting percentage. Senior libero Cassie Wait is the Libero of the

Year after leading the conference with 5.11 digs per set. She was chosen by a unanimous selection. This season marks the first time a Jayhawk has ever won either the Player of the Year or the Libero of the Year award in Big 12 history. Junior setter Ainise Havili was named the Setter of the Year for the second consecutive season. She is the first player to receive multiple titles since the inception of the honors in 2012. She ranked fifth in the conference with 10.70 assists per set. Payne, Wait and Havili, all unanimous selections, are joined by junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon on the All-Big 12 First Team. Senior middle blocker Tayler Soucie,

who led the conference in blocks with 1.52 per set, was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team as well. Freshman outside hitter Jada Burse was named to the AllFreshman Team. While not ranking in the top 10 of any major statistical category, Burse’s role has grown in recent weeks after she began the season as a reserve. Kansas will start its postseason play Thursday as it hosts Samford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. — Edited by Cody Schmitz


DAY LIFE in the

INSIDE: Brae Ellis establishes his own legacy at KU, Drew Fennelly provides personality to LPD Twitter, Monica Restrepo draws on childhood for inpiration, and more.


DAY IN THE LIFE

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DREW FENNELLY

Meet the man behind the famous LPD Twitter account

By Lara Korte

@lara_korte

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n the evening of March 26, Drew Fennelly, like thousands of others in Lawrence, had his eyes on his phone. Villanova had just brutally kicked the Jayhawks out of the Elite Eight, and Fennelly wanted to take to social media to say something. He had a tweet written out, Fennelly said, when he paused. “I stared at it for a couple minutes before I sent it out, because I was like, ‘Am I going to get in trouble for putting this out?’,” he said. “Then I thought ‘Ah forget it. Send.’ And I sent it, and it immediately took off.” Fennelly isn’t just your average tweeter. In fact, he’s the voice behind @LawrenceKS_ PD, the Lawrence Police Department’s Twitter account, which has gained huge popularity in the past few months for its witty — sometimes snarky — posts. Officer Fennelly said the first one to go viral was his tweet about the Elite Eight loss. “Sorry, we can’t investigate Villanova ripping your heart out of your chest,” it read. “The crime occurred outside our jurisdiction. #RCJH.” The tweet currently

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REMINDER – We realize politics can make emotions run high, but being mad at a presidential candidate in a debate is NOT a reason to call 911.” – @LawrenceKS_PD

Kaila Trollope/KANSAN

has over 2,200 retweets. “It’s kind of surreal, because you never know when a tweet is going to go viral,” Fennelly said. “So it’s happened, gosh, three or four times, and each time it’s been one that I didn’t really expect to do that.” The account’s most popular tweet, at 30,000 retweets, is from the last presidential debate. “REMINDER - We realize politics can make emotions run high, but being mad at a presidential candidate in a debate is NOT a reason to call 911,” the tweet read. The tweet was so popular that it was featured on Jimmy Kimmel and BuzzFeed. Fennelly said, at the

time, he didn’t think the tweet was that funny. “I hadn’t tweeted anything. I knew the debate was that night, and I was like, ‘How can I connect the debate to the police department,’ and that’s what I came up with,” he said. Fennelly, a native of the southwest suburbs of Chicago, wasn’t always the man behind the screen. After attending the University for a few years, he joined the Lawrence Police Department (LPD) in 2009 as a patrol officer. In April 2014, he was assigned to the neighborhood resource office, which is now public affairs. It wasn’t long before he got the idea to start

an LPD Ttwitter account, Fennelly said. “I thought it was a need that the department had. I think, like any police agency, we were kind of looking for ways to reach out and better engage with our community, and I thought that Twitter would be a good way to do that,” Fennelly said. Sgt. Amy Rhoads, the police department’s public information officer, said she attributes the social media success largely to Fennelly. “He is so good at it, and he has so many ideas,” Rhoads said. “And he is a very big reason why our social media — Facebook and Twitter — has done so well.” While a simple tweet might not seem like

much, Rhoads said it’s part of a larger effort to improve the relationship between the Lawrence community and law enforcement. “One of the things that we talked about when we came in with neighborhood resource officers is how can we make a better impact between the department and the community and provide a better insight,” Rhoads said. “So we really thought that using our social media accounts would be a really good way of being a part of that conversation in the Lawrence community.” One way the department hopes to do this is through what’s been dubbed the #LPDTweetAlong.

During tweet-alongs, Officer Fennelly spends a weekend evening riding in a patrol car and livetweeting the events of the night. Followers get a glimpse inside the police work that officers do every week — the good, the bad and the very strange. “Two units across town are en route to find out why a man is walking around outside ... naked. That doesn’t count as a costume sir,” read a tweet from an Oct. 29 tweet-along. “I have a lot of fun with it,” Fennelly said. “And it’s a different view that’s maybe more similar to what the police officer gets than what the public gets.”


DAY IN THE LIFE

kansan.com

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Composing is my creative activity. I’m in constant contact with [the performers], sending them music and getting feedback, getting revisions and putting together the sheet music that they’ll use for the performances.” – Forrest Pierce

Miranda Anaya/KANSAN Forrest Pierce sits at his desk in his office to work on a piece of music. Pierce is an associate professor of music and composition at the University.

FORREST PIERCE

Seeks perfection through composing By Omar Sanchez @OhMySanchez

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eginning at around 5:30 a.m. on a typical weekday, Forrest Pierce gets himself ready to try to achieve something he has been long pursuing: that perfect piece of music that reflects the beauty of our world. “That’s the thing that challenges me and that’s what I’m after,” said Pierce, an associate professor of music composition. “The pursuit of it is really beautiful and satisfying, but everything that I craft and create is by its nature imperfect.” His contemporaries may say otherwise. “He has an ability to write music that is incredibly difficult, that

still comes across with a real sense of beauty,” said Michael Kirkendoll, an assistant professor of piano. “His music always seems to promote ideas of love and peace, which are really exciting aspects of his work.” Before Pierce sets out on his daily mission, first comes fulfilling the typical family duties. This includes making breakfast for his wife and 15-yearold son Aidan, then taking him to school before heading to campus. The New Orleans native also makes sure to warm up his vocals. In the morning he practices North Indian classical vocal style, just one of many cultural sounds he has learned in his 20plus year career. Pierce’s array of work

stretches across genres, countries and interests. After finishing school at the University of Puget Sound for his bachelor’s degree, the University of Minnesota for his master’s, and the University of Indiana for his doctorate, he has written work for ensembles and concert series that involve elements of contemporary, traditional, operatic, and choral music, among many others. His contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. Pierce received the Dean’s Prize in orchestral composition during his time at Indiana, the 2012 Barlow Prize in composition and the top honor at the 2012 Ortus International competition, to name a few. “Composing is my

creative activity,” Pierce said. “I’m in constant contact with [the performers], sending them music and getting feedback, getting revisions and putting together the sheet music that they’ll use for the performances.” By around 9 a.m. Pierce is in his office, the flexible and comfortable work space where he can start grading classwork, work on his upcoming composition or just prepare presentations and lessons for his classes. In order to be in prime position to get the best out of his work, Pierce also travels with his music. He said he often begins working on a piece in the office with his piano and drafting table. But, depending on the stage in the creation process, he will look to areas such as the mezzanine level of the DeBruce Center, the basement of the Anschutz Library or even a silent area of the Kansas Union to push it further. This relationship between space and music not only comes up when

he is writing. It’s also in his mind when he is still thinking of what to write next. Architecture, for instance, interests Pierce. He said he loves the idea of how people occupy and interact with the space around them — how they shape the areas they inhabit. In these buildings, people go through their academic, professional and private lives, and creating a representation of this journey recently came to the forefront of his work for the reopening of the Spencer Museum of Art on Oct. 15. The piece of work was a traveling concert entitled “Resonant Vessels.” The University Chamber Singers and Concert Choir traveled through architectural sites and natural scenery, with the museum as their final destination. The end-goal: fuse the art of architecture with the art of sound. “We knew that the spaces were going to be a part of the aesthetic goal of the composition,” said Mariana Farah, associate

director of choral activities, who worked with Pierce throughout the process. “It was truly a piece that celebrated our campus and our ensemble.” The text Pierce based the piece off of was from ancient Roman architect Vitruvius. Pierce said Vitruvius told of designing buildings to be one with art, such as music. When there was graded seating or a form of stair steps, that could be used to balance the theoretical and practical. Pierce used this when planting the ensemble across sites such as the Capitol Federal building, the Campanile and the museum itself. “We had a perfect day for the particular event. I think what was magical about it was a lot of the unexpected,” Farah said. “Perfect” may be a stretch for Pierce, but it won’t stop him from trying the next time around. “That’s the kind of challenge of composing that is at the core of what keeps me inspired and keeps me going,” Pierce said.


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DAY IN THE LIFE

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Challenging stasis through work By Hannah Coleman @KansanNews

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rofessor Nicole Hodges Persley needs to be an early bird if she wants to see her family before managing a trifecta of responsibilities for the day. She makes her daughter’s lunch, drops her off at school and then makes it to Starbucks with her husband every morning before heading to her office at the University. Hodges Persley said she’s never limited herself to any field: she’s made it her life’s work to flourish in every department she’s interested in. She is currently the acting chair of graduate studies in the Department of Theatre, teaching an African American Theater and Performance class, working on two books and preparing to direct Amri Baraka’s “Dutchman” at Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City, Mo. For Hodges Persley, managing all of her work is difficult, but that’s why it’s been so rewarding. “I tell undergrads to really seek out knowledge across campus, not just in your area of interest, so that you can find tools to build a life you want to live in,” Hodges Persley said. “I’ve never limited myself by a category or

a disciplinary focus. Everything is relative if you work to make connections. But, you do have to work. I tell my students that there is no magical unicorn that shows up with your perfect life at your door.” Hodges Persley’s drive to continuously learn and create stems from a fear of being stagnant. “I’ve learned that the moment I stop learning, I’m stagnant,” Hodges Persley said. “I have to keep learning.” The idea of being herself without answering to anyone has fueled her ambitions to be a part of the theater program. “Theater is a space that allowed me to be my full self without apology,” Hodges Persley said. “I think that everyone deserves to be who they are without having to validate themselves through someone else’s value judgement of their humanity. Using theater as a space to make openings for freedom has been exciting to me since I was in my first play in fifth grade.” Hodges Persley said being in a position to help students have a vision for themselves that is free of anxiety from judgement requires her to have patience, vision, organization, determination and inspiration.

Isabella Hampton, a student in Hodges Persley’s theater class, said Hodges Persley has positively impacted her theater experience, as well as her personal goals. “Her personality is the type that makes you feel a lot taller and stronger and more capable every time you leave a conversation with her,” Hampton said. “Nicole has helped me the most in really pushing me to understand that I have to write my own narrative, and she has given me a lot of resources to do so. I think that that’s probably what I appreciate about her the most is that she’s as much nurturing and kind and she is someone who motivates people to be better.” Her upcoming book, “Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance,” has allowed her to lecture globally on how hip-hop has affected the arts. She is also one of the founders of the Hiphop Archive at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Research Institute. “I find sharing knowledge rewarding,” Hodges Persley said. “I am inspired by colleagues and artists who are dedicated to creating new knowledge to make the world a better place. This interdisciplinary training has

Andrew Rosenthal/KANSAN Nicole Hodges Persley is an associate professor in the School of Art and acting chair for the Department of Theatre.

I tell undergrads to really seek out knowledge across campus, not just in your area of interest, so that you can find tools to build a life you want to live in.” – Nicole Hodges Persley

allowed me to contribute to multiple conversations in the academy. I am in a theater department by choice because this is a space where we improvise and devise to imagine new ways of being. I’ve been a professional in the performing arts since I was 19 years old and I am always excited to learn.” Because learning is such an exciting process

for Hodges Persley, it’s just as rewarding to see a student of hers enjoy that as well. “I love seeing a light bulb go [off] with a student who you can see doubts the validity of something you’re teaching,” Hodges Persley said. “Watching a student decide to happen to their lives instead of letting life happen to them. Watching students ‘lean

in’ is magical.” Hampton said she finds Hodges Persley’s teaching a way to help her do this. “To have such a motivative and dedicated professor that looks like me is extremely valuable,” Hampton said. “Visibility is important, and when I see her pave a road that I might choose to walk on in the future, I feel like I’m in the right hands.”


DAY IN THE LIFE

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Baxter Schanze/KANSAN Tim Schlosser stands under the athletic department’s motto in Wagnon Student-Athlete Center.

TIM SCHLOSSER KU Athletics ‘life coach’ By Chandler Boese @Chandler_Boese

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im Schlosser doesn’t call himself an athlete, despite having once been a silver medalist in the world tumbling championships — he calls himself a coach. “Even when I was an athlete myself, I would love to train, but what I really liked to do was help other people train,” he said. “So, I would love to learn how to spot. I was young and I had learned how to spot. I always wanted to be an assistant for the other sessions other than my own training session.” Schlosser got his first coaching job at the age of 16, coaching tumbling, then eventually transitioned into gymnastics. Now, he works in the University’s athletic department, but he would

classify himself as a “life coach.” “Even though I don’t coach a sport anymore, I feel like I still sort of coach,” he said. “I feel like I still have the same impact, in a way.” Officially, Schlosser is the assistant athletics director of student-athlete development and leadership. This entails meeting one-on-one with student athletes for much of his day to talk about pretty much anything, he said. “What’s great is that I’m not their coach, so I have no control over their playing time. I’m not their academic counselor, because I don’t choose their classes,” he said. “So it’s really both helping them transition in and then having someone that’s here to have their back.” Carrah Trimble, the senior director of stu-

dent-athlete development, has worked with Schlosser since he came to the University five years ago and she said he’s one of her favorite people in the whole world. “I’ve never met anyone else who always sees the good in people like he does,” she said. “He positively sheds his wisdom on whoever he’s talking to.” When he’s not talking to students, Schlosser teaches a leadership class, does team-building activities for teams that need them and serves on several committees. “I think coaching and teaching are very similar and I think, for me, the reason I like it so much is because when you can inspire and empower young people — any people — to do what they don’t even know is possible yet, it’s so ex-

Baxter Schanze/KANSAN Tim Schlosser is the assistant athletic director for student-athlete development and leadership.

citing,” he said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that? What a cool day!” When he meets with student athletes — which he says is his favorite part of the job — he tries to work with them on building leadership skills, like effective communication and conflict resolution. “Most of our student athletes will be athletes for a very short time, but they will be citizens of the world for their lifetime,” he said. “Our biggest payoff is when the call comes 20 years from now and we hear, ‘I’m really happy with what

I’m doing and I love my life.’” When it comes down to it, Schlosser said everything he does is about helping young people realize what that future might look like for them, or “realizing possibility,” as he puts it. It’s a philosophy that Schlosser would attribute back to his background in coaching. “Coaching has a big influence on how I look at the world. To me, a coach is someone who is there to inspire and open up possibilities that maybe the athletes don’t even realize are possible

yet,” he said. “I think it has to do with going back to making yourself open and vulnerable to your athletes — whether you’re life-coaching or regular coaching.” Trimble said that’s definitely something she’s seen him do since she started working with him. “He shows people that they’re amazing, that they can make a difference,” she said. “He has mobilized that belief in a lot of people.” — Edited by Missy Minear

Most of our student athletes will be athletes for a very short time, but they will be citizens of the world for their lifetime.” – Tim Schlosser


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kansan.com

BRAE ELLIS Brother of former Kansas basketball star establishes his own legacy

Baxter Schanze/KANSAN Brae Ellis is a sophomore communications student wanting to make his own legacy at the University as a sports broadcaster.

By Tanner Hassell @thassell17

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ampus has a special place in its heart for Kansas basketball players. The athletes are practically celebrities, with an avid fan base of students, alumni, the Lawrence community, the Kansas community and others all around the world. Brae Ellis came to the University to pursue a dream he said was inspired by his brother, Perry Ellis, and his time playing at the University. Perry Ellis was a beloved playmaker in the men’s basketball program from 2012 to 2016. While Perry Ellis has graduated and moved on, his younger brother is here, working toward his dream on his brother’s old stomping ground. “Being able to go to every KU game for the

last four years and watch Perry really changed my life,” he said. “That’s what made up my mind to go into broadcasting sports.” Brae said the community has made him feel more than welcome, even after his brother graduated from the University. “Perry playing here was the greatest thing ever. People basically treat me just like they treat him,” he said. “When you’re a basketball player here, people treat you like royalty and people basically treat me like royalty when I’m out in the community. Even with him not here I’ve felt welcome. I have plenty of people to talk to and go to for help. A lot of the resources he had, I have too. I still talk to some of the coaches, and I’m friends with the players. Before he left, he

told them to look out for me.” Fonda Ellis, Perry and Brae’s mother, said she never worried about him being at the University by himself. “I thought it was cool that Brae wanted to go there,” she said. “I never worried about him being accepted.” Brae said he wasn’t originally a Kansas fan, like his brother, but quickly came around after visiting for the first time. “Perry knew he wanted to come here back in middle school. He never even thought about anywhere else. I didn’t really like KU at first,” he said. “Once I first set foot in here I was sold. I bleed red and blue now.” Fonda said driving up from Wichita to watch Perry play was always a family experience, one that they all enjoyed and

now miss. “It was neat because we were just two and a half hours down the road. We always tried to have as many of us there as we could. It was fun for all of us to be together and watching him play,” she said. In pursuit of his dream, Brae came to the University this semester, after a year at Butler Community College, to study communications with a minor in journalism. Ellis said he is involved with a couple of shows, helping produce and even hosting his own sports segment. “I’d love to do college basketball broadcasting,” he said. “Right now I’m working on two shows, I’m on Good Morning KU and a show called Playmaker Central.” Brae said working on the shows has been great

experience, and a good first step into the world of sports broadcasting. “On Playmaker, I’m helping out with producing, since I just started. With Good Morning KU, though, I’m able to write my own script and host my own sports segment,” he said. “Getting the experience writing my scripts with my own personality has been a great experience. It’s also been a challenge, you have to be patient. So I’m just working and waiting for

my time. Hopefully I can work at a place like CBS Sports.” Fonda said she thinks sports broadcasting was a good fit for Brae. “I think it’s great. Brae is so outgoing, probably the most outgoing out of all of our kids,” she said. “I’m glad he can pursue something that he wants to do.” — Edited by Missy Minear

Perry playing here was the greatest thing ever. People basically treat me just like they treat him.” – Brae Ellis


DAY IN THE LIFE

kansan.com

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MONICA RESTREPO Draws on childhood for inspiration

By Courtney Bierman @courtbierman

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Andrea Ringgenberg/KANSAN Monica Restrepo, a senior textiles student, works on her textiles project. She’s inspired by her childhood memories and early life in Colombia.

s a child in Colombia, Monica Restrepo would watch her mother tailor men’s shirts in their backyard. Two decades later as a textiles student, Restrepo uses her work to recreate that same sense of softness and comfort. “There’s a very, very big therapeutic aspect to textiles, and to me that’s very important,” she said. Restrepo, now a senior in the Department of Visual Art, moved from Manizales in central Colombia to Overland Park 16 years ago. Although she said art has always been her passion, she didn’t become interested in textiles until starting school at the University. “When I started taking classes here, I fell in love with it and found that I could express myself easily through textiles,” she said. Most of Restrepo’s surface design work is inspired by things she associates with her childhood. Several yards of brightly colored cloth lay spread out on a table in her Chalmers Hall studio, a work in progress. The cloth is decorated with various

screen-printed oblong shapes in pink, blue and yellow, which Restrepo said remind her of birth-

between functional and decorative work: quilts are functional in that they can be wrapped

When I started taking classes here, I fell in love with it and found that I could express myself easily through textiles.” – Monica Restrepo

day parties and confetti. When she isn’t designing or screen-printing, Restrepo likes to dabble in weaving, dyeing and other media offered by the textiles department. She’s also working on a quilt to explore the line

around a body to provide warmth, but they’re usually beautiful enough to be displayed in some way. “A quilt is very functional,” Restrepo said. “It’s very detailed and artistic, and it actually

could convey some emotion, but it also has a really intentional purpose to it.” Restrepo said that the more time she spends on a piece, the more rewarding it is to see the finished product. “Everything has to be very time sensitive, so you have to be very patient, and you have to dedicate a lot of time to sewing and for things to actually look how you want them to look,” she said. After she graduates in May, Restrepo is interested in a job in surface design. A job in textiles or the fashion industry would allow her to design patterns for large swaths of cloth that get made into clothing or home goods. Mary Anne Jordan, the chair of the Department of Visual Art, said Restrepo is a hard worker, which is what it takes to succeed in the industry. “I think she’ll be ambitious and self-sufficient,” Jordan said. “People have to be ambitious when they’re seeking a career in textiles, and I think she will be.” — Edited by Missy Minear


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kansan.com

MERRILL EVANS

Finds rewarding career as CARE coordinator By Elle Clouse @elle_clouse

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errill Evans spends her days on the second floor of Watkins Health Center, helping students through her role as the University’s campus assistance, resources and education coordinator. According to Evans, her desire to work in the field of sexual assault prevention and education comes from a variety of influences. “My passion stems from a lot of my personal experiences, it also stems from things that are important to me as a woman, and as a feminist,” Evans said. When Evans steps foot into her office in the morning, she looks forward to having a new set of challenges and opportunities everyday. “A day in my life is actually pretty eventful,” Evans said. “A really busy day, I’ll see four or five students, doing some individualized counseling. I’ll have meetings on the hill. Oftentimes in the evenings we do presentations and trainings.” Evans is familiar with the University and Law-

rence, which have become the backdrop of her career in social work. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University, and was born and raised in Lawrence. One of the opportunities that Evans enjoys about her job is that she gets to be on the early end of helping a student through a traumatic experience. “I’ve also seen firsthand what happens when young women are sexually assaulted and they don’t get good care, what that looks like in their 30s and 40s and 50s,” Evans said. “So it’s also really exciting for me to think about being a part of that help and assistance in the beginning, versus 20, 30 years later.” Evans said that in the year that she’s been CARE Coordinator, she’s seen over 80 students; two males, a handful of students who identify as queer, and, the majority, cisgendered young women. “I think it can be very challenging to listen to students talk about being sexual assaulted all day, everyday. It’s a lit-

Ashley Hocking/KANSAN Merrill Evans is the Campus Assistance, Resource and Education (CARE) Coordinator. Evans coordinates support services for individuals impacted by sexual assault, sexual battery, partner/dating violence and stalking.

tle overwhelming, it can be a little emotional. It’s hard for me to hear a lot of stories about young men violating women,” Evans said. Outside of individual work with students, Evans works to create programs that bring about awareness. One program that Evans oversees is CARE Sisters, an advocacy program within the Greek community. Kathryn Everett, senior CARE Sister leader, said that Evans is a pleasure to work with and learn from. “She’s one of the greatest people I’ve met at KU. She’s super welcoming, and outgoing, and really excited about this program. Sometimes it’s hard with col-

lege students and people who are out of college, there can be a disconnect with the age gap, but she really relates to us,” Everett said. At the end of a day in the life of Evans, she said that she aims to be a factor in a movement that is necessary. “I want to be a part of the change,” Evans said. “This is an area I know, and know really well, so I think it’s something I can do pretty effectively.” — Edited by Missy Minear

My passion stems from a lot of my personal experiences, it also stems from things that are important to me as a woman, and as a feminist.”

– Merrill Evans


DAY IN THE LIFE

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LANDRI JAMES

First Nations Student Association president By Hailey Dixon @_Hailey_Dixon

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s Americans across the country watch the conflict unfold between Native Americans and law enforcement, one University student has taken it upon herself to step up and speak out for Native people’s rights. Senior Landri James is an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, but traces her lineage through many other tribes, as well. “I’m an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Mayetta, Kan.,” James said. “I am also Ponca and Kickapoo through my mother, Laverne Biggoose, and Menominee and Santee Sioux through my father, Lloyd James. My Potawatomi name is Mkites and it means ‘little black bear.’ I’m bear clan and I’m my mother’s first and only child, so my Potawatomi color is blue.” In her hometown of Lawrence, James’ native heritage set her apart from other students. “Growing up in Lawrence, I remember being the only native student in my class, grade and entire school, it seemed like,” James said. “I still have a humble handful

of stories that stick out to me over the years. But when I got older, I realized that I may have missed out on quite a lot of relationship building and maintaining with my non-native friends and their families. But I’m at peace with that.” However, James said she is proud of her Native American heritage. “I absolutely adore and am very thankful for my family and culture that have taught me so much more than anything you could ever learn in a classroom,” she said. James gained her associates degree through Haskell Indian Nations University and is continuing her education at the University. She is also the president of the University’s First Nations Student Association, which collected money and items to bring to the recent protests at Standing Rock Reservation. James, along with other University students, took the $4,111 in collected donations from the “Lawrence Stands with Standing Rock” march, which James helped coordinate, to Standing Rock in North Dakota earlier in the month of November. She, and other individuals, protested the Dakota Access Pipeline, which protesters say pos-

es a threat to the health and culture to the reservation. The issue resonates with James, who, as part of the Kickapoo reservation just north of Lawrence, said that they have never been able to drink the water. She said she thinks the protest of the pipeline has brought national attention to an important issue. “Everywhere there’s different landfills, different chemical waste plants that are placed just right by our reservations,” she said. “But there’s just so many different things. This is just so important because we gained so much support. It’s important because it could set a precedent for future opportunities to stop or to combat corporate greed and to encourage weaning our dependencies on fossil fuels.” When James arrived at the reservation, she said she thought that the camp looked like a powwow, with multitudes of people at the camps, all protesting the same pipeline for natives. “I just think it’s really beautiful that everybody is coming together for a common goal,” James said. “That non-natives are willing to endure those living conditions, for us and for the cause.” Trinity Carpenter, a senior from Richmond, is

Miranda Anaya/KANSAN Landri James is the president of the First Nations Student Association and recently visited Standing Rock Reservation.

I absolutely adore and am very thankful for my family and culture that have taught me so much more than anything you could ever learn in a classroom.” – Landri James

a fellow activist of James. Carpenter said that she and James formed a camaraderie and supported each other. “I feel like we did that initially [formed a bond],” Carpenter said. “We formed basically a protection at work to the best of our degree.” This is not Carpenter’s first, or last, trip to Standing Rock, she said. “This is my third trip up there, so I’ve got to see camp in a whole lot of different conditions,” Carpenter said. “When I

first went up there, it was impressive, it was beautiful, it was a collective action that I had never seen at such a collective scale. People were being fed collectively, people were helping collectively, there were no questions where you were or if you were contributing.” Returning to Lawrence, James said she continues to see an increase in Native Americans and native culture in the Lawrence area. “Haskell Indian Nations University, the four

tribes of Kansas, and the desirable education and diversity in Lawrence, Kan., seems to keep Native families around to raise their children,” James said. “It’s been amazing seeing the growth of the indigenous population in northeastern Kansas keep up with the growth of the major cities in this area, too. I think the only downside is that you meet, learn about and miss a lot of good people from other tribes that eventually move back home.”


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SHANE WILLIAMS Living his drumming dreams

By Hailey Dixon @_Hailey_Dixon

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tepping onto the stage, wearing his Jayhawk colors, Shane “The Hurrishane” Williams was jubilant. At 33-years-old, Williams was performing in front of his family and friends at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City, Mo. Williams, once a student at the University and a native of Overland Park, is now the lead drummer for country

singer Neal McCoy. Williams grew up playing drums at church, but these days he plays to a larger audience. Though it’s a very different environment than what he grew up playing in, Williams said he is thrilled to be back on the drums. During his time at the University, Williams played drums in the basketball band. He played at the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball National

Championship, where Kansas defeated Memphis 75-68. Later, Williams decided to move to Nashville, Tenn. Williams said that, at first, he did not have any goals or aspirations to move to Nashville to pursue a career in music. “I kind of went out on a whim, and I said, ‘you know, because I’m in the military, I have school money to go whenever I want,’” Williams said. “So I decided to hold off

Contributed Photo Shane “The Hurrishane” Williams, a native of Overland Park and former University student, is the lead drummer for country singer Neal McCoy.

on school and play in a band in Nashville.” That happened eight years ago. Williams has yet to return to school. “I’ve been here [in Nashville] ever since,” he said. “I love Nashville. It’s a fun town. It’s been difficult at times, but at the same time it’s been rewarding in a bunch of different ways.” Williams has been with McCoy for over two years. McCoy, the singer behind top hits such as “Wink,” “The Shake” and “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On,” has produced country hits since the 1990s, and has continued that success into 2016. “It’s probably one of the most coolest, most respectful, fun gigs that you could be on,” Williams said. “Neal is hands down one of the coolest bosses. And I’ve met a lot of country artists being with Neal, and even outside of Neal, and I can really only say good things about him. Even on his worst day, when he’s sick or tired, or he might be frustrated about something, he’s still super cool and very down to earth.” Williams said he thinks McCoy is very humble and unlike any other country artist, and he treats his fans kindly and interacts with them often. “The way he is on stage, that’s how he is with us,” Williams said. “We always crack jokes.” Williams said that even though being on the road often can be rough at times, McCoy is al-

kansan.com ways in high spirits and brings positivity to all the band members. McCoy said he thinks highly of Williams too. “Shane not only is a really good drummer, but he is a very upbeat, positive guy with a great outlook on life,” McCoy said.

grandma was there. Since then she’s passed on, but Mom wanted to come back and just be near the family, and that’s essentially how I got to Kansas.” Williams started playing the drums in church at age five and continued playing throughout his youth.

It’s probably one of the most coolest, most respectful, fun gigs that you could be on.” – Shane Williams

“That, to me, is as important as his drumming skills.” In addition, Les Martines, McCoy’s longtime manager, said he thinks that Williams is accomplished for his age. “Shane Williams is a very talented young drummer,” Martines said. “[He is] a great addition to Neal’s show. [He is] very well-versed in all of the latest innovations in music, gear and computer technology for musicians. [He is] also very good to travel with on the road in a tour bus. We are very glad to have him on the road with us.” Williams said he worked hard for many years to be able to play with McCoy, starting with his Kansas roots. “I actually moved to Kansas City when I was 16,” Williams said. “My mom is originally from Kansas City, and my

After graduating from Shawnee Mission High School, Williams joined the Navy and was later medically discharged. He then attended Johnson County Community College and transferred after one year to the University. When Williams is not on the road with McCoy, he said he still keeps up with Kansas basketball and tries to connect with fellow Jayhawks in Nashville to watch games whenever he can. “So if I am not at home watching it, I usually try and go out so I can scream at the TV when I need to, so I don’t disturb my neighbors,” Williams said.

—Edited by Cody Schmitz


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DAY IN THE LIFE

ERIC WELCH

Visiting professor guides students on archeological excavations in Israel By Samantha Sexton @Sambiscuit

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isiting assistant professor Eric Welch never thought that asking for a library card would end up sending him halfway around the world to archeological digs in Israel. “I wanted to come home during my last year at Penn State,” Welch said. “I sent an email to K-State and an email to KU about my situation and [asked] for library access so I could do my research and finish up my dissertation. K-State never answered the email.” After asking for library access in 2014, Welch was approached by John Younger, director of Jewish Studies at

the University. Excited to have an archeologist at arm’s length, Younger asked Welch if he would be interested in teaching the archeology of Israel. Originally from Manhattan, Welch said he developed a strong sense of wonder for the people who occupied the land before he did. Fascinated by the thought that he could pick up an arrowhead in his backyard and cement the idea that the lives and cultures of the indigenous peoples before him were real, Welch said he knew he wanted to study the people instead of the “stories and fairy tales.” “Part of it was the idea that the stories were actually real,” Welch said. “I grew up in church with all the Bible stories

Contributed Photo Visiting assistant professor Eric Welch spends his summers digging in Israel.

and background, and it blew my mind that I could find artifacts that showed there were actual people there.” The summer after his first year of his master’s program, Welch said he was so enthralled by the idea of discovering 3,000-year-old pottery that he and his then-fiancé packed up and took a trip to Israel just to volunteer with a dig. That was almost 11 years ago, and Welch says he’s tak-

This summer will be our fourth year with the Office of Study Abroad taking KU students to Jerusalem.”

– Eric Welch

en only one summer off from digging — for the birth of his daughter. “I guess that was worth it,” Welch said with a grin. After a decade of studying ancient Israel, all Welch wants to do now, he said, is share the experience with others. “This summer will be our fourth year with the Office of Study Abroad taking KU students to Jerusalem,” Welch said. “And the students do everything: It’s not like we’re going to push you out of the way if you discover something.” Students from every major each year are taken to Israel where they help excavate and document artifacts with other student from around the world. The “teaching digs” allow students to

gain hands-on experience with real results and what Welch describes as “invaluable experience.” Diona Southcott, a senior from Watertown, NY, studying anthropology, said the trip was one of the highlights of her time at the University, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Welch. “I came here specifically for archeology, and when I told my friends that, a couple of them told me about this really cool archeologist,” Southcott said. “I sat in on a couple of his classes, and after that I was hooked.” Southcott said Welch was able to get her scholarships that covered almost the entirety of her trip to Israel and that the experience was exactly

what she needed moving forward after graduation. “Witnessing the clash of cultures, meeting all the different types of people and archeologists and just being there was very exciting,” Southcott said. “Eric’s enthusiasm and encouragement has been helpful as well, and I wouldn’t feel so optimistic about my future if it weren’t for him basically telling me to shoot for the stars.” Welch said any student is welcome to join him over the summer and that if he could get just one student “crazy enough” to go with him, “it would be worth it.”

— Edited by Cody Schmitz


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