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Feb. 13, 2018 VOL.19 | #11

War in Paradise

Exploring the Boca campus’ history as a former U.S. air base that helped America win the second world war. PAGE 16


Cover image courtesy: Ariel photos from Google Earth, wartime photos and map courtesy of FAU Special Collections and University Archives.

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WANT TO JOIN THE UP? Email: Staff meetings every Friday at 2 p.m. Student Union, Room 214 WANT TO PLACE AN AD? For national/regional ads contact: Mike Anderson MediaMate, LLC. 1-888-897-7711 ext. 128 For local ads contact: Von January BV Media Solutions, LLC. 954-495-1150 PUBLISHER FAU Student Government The opinions expressed by the UP are not necessarily those of the student body, Student Government or FAU. ADDRESS 777 Glades Road Student Union, Room 214 Boca Raton, FL 33431 561.297.2960 PHOTO EDITOR Joshua Giron WEB EDITOR Richard Finkel BUSINESS MANAGER Ryan Lynch DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Benjamin Paley STAFF WRITER Nate Nkumbu

CONTRIBUTORS Carlos Lopez, Rachel Gavilan, Anthony Spataro, Kevin Carver, Violet Castano, Mackenzie Guiry ADVISERS Neil Santaniello, Ilene Prusher, Michael Koretzky

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Uncovering What’s Underground An extensive tunnel network — left over from the former U.S. air base — lies underneath the Boca campus.

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War in Paradise

Exploring the Boca campus’ history as a former U.S. air base that helped America win the second world war.

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In M Paul emory i of Her f na Ch i ather r and o iboga close st ne fri o “beau ends recal f her l he tifu life de l, happy” r to he dicated lping o Page thers.

Securing A Sanctuary Almost 50 years ago, the trees that make up “Narnia” were saved from the path of a local highway.

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Table of Contents

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Faculty and former students respond to the UP’s first print issue, an investigative look at FAU’s teaching evaluations. THIS LETTER is in response to an article published in University Press, dated January 16, 2018. Although the apparent intention of the article was to shine a light on the SPOT evaluation system, the manner in which the article was presented unfairly damaged the reputation of Dr. Reddy. The Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering faculty at Florida Atlantic University are disappointed with the article that used Dr. Reddy’s likeness, age, salary, accent, and even a disability to make a point regarding the usefulness of the SPOT evaluation system. Dr. Reddy is a past Distinguished Teacher of the Year, which is the most prestigious teaching award at FAU. Notably, the student body selects the winner. He is also a well- accomplished scholar and a highly respected professional engineer. Since its publication, the article has taken a toll on Dr. Reddy personally, which we believe to be extremely unfair to someone who has career-long contributions to FAU and to the civil engineering profession. Civil, Environmental & Geomatics Engineering Faculty, FAU 4 02.13.2017 University Press

I REALLY LIKED you extensive article about the FAU SPOT. I have been complaining about it after the eliminated the paper version. I believe that the only unbiased way to evaluate a teacher is by videotaping his/her classes. As per the validity of SPOT, the only way to give a more fair weight to an opinion is to know the quality of the person giving that opinion. In my experience, when the SPOT was dispensed via paper, the best students, who always come to class, filled the questionnaire more fairly that the worst performing students who seldom came to class. The comments of the latter ones were: fire him, he sucks! not a very constructive critique. My solution: program into the SPOT questionnaire the GPA of the student filling it, anonymously of course. If a Summa Cum Laude student complaints, his/her opinion should have more weight that a student with a GPA of D or C. Do yo agree? My experience at FAU is that the students can insult or defame a faculty without any consequences. But a faculty member can not make an innocent comment, even in private, without student making a scandal and demanding punishment to the teacher. So, the system, as it is, is biased in favor of the students. Alberto Haces, Ph.D. Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, FAU I WAS A STUDENT (undergraduate and graduate) of Dr. Dronnadula Reddy, and am deeply disappointed by your article humiliating an outstanding professor, whose contributions to FAU are immeasurable. Dr. Reddy’s teaching abilities were recognized by FAU students in 1989 when he was awarded the prestigious University-wide (selected by students) Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. I was able to find his acceptance speech in the FAU website (http:// ). Quoting Dr. Reddy’s speech, “The role of teaching is broader than that of providing information, control and entry into the elite. The professor should be a role model who is self-demanding and contributes positively to the intellectual and personal development of his or her students.” I took several undergraduate and graduate classes with Dr. Reddy, ranging from civil engineering

*The following letters have been left unedited.*

materials to structural steel design and finite element analysis, and believe Dr. Reddy taught the material at a good pace, interacted with the students to make sure we were understanding the material, gave thorough reviews before the exams, gave examples of realworld applications of the material, and encouraged critical thinking by interacting with students during the classes, and sharing anecdotes from his abundant career experience. He is a brilliant researcher that for more than 58 years has been at the forefront of concrete research and the advancement of material and structural engineering worldwide. Dr. Reddy is well respected among the world’s top concrete researchers, and a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, a status that recognizes outstanding contributions to the concrete industry. Among Dr. Reddy’s latest contributions to the concrete field is his research on the performance of the “Geopolymer Concrete”, which is a new type of concrete without cement. This highly innovative type of concrete will help make construction more sustainable by potentially reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, since production of cement releases large amounts of CO2. Dr. Reddy is not only a high-quality professor, but he is also a deeply caring person that worries about his students’ future, encourages them to pursue their best in research and scholarship, and has been a mentor to hundreds of students, including myself, throughout his teaching career in Universities in the United States, India, Canada and England. Dr. Reddy has made outstanding contributions to Florida Atlantic University and the South Florida community for the past 50+ years. He is internationally recognized and an important asset to FAU. Please review your article and sources, interview students and faculty members, and kindly consider acknowledging Dr. Reddy’s accomplishments and commitment to service in your next issue. May I suggest that you publish his “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” Award acceptance speech (attached), as it explains his real views on the importance of quality teaching as an essential element to make FAU a truly great center of learning. Fernando Martinez, E.I. Magna Cum Laude Civil Engineering Master of Science - Structural Engineering Structural Engineer Associate - Douglas Wood Associate, Miami, FL *Continued on the next page*

Letter from the Editor DEAR SIR/MADAM, This letter is to comment on the ‘IS THIS FAU’S WORST PROFESSOR?’ article published on January 15, 2018. As an alumnus of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), I can truly agree that the Student Perception of Teaching (SPOT) course evaluation is an inaccurate tool used to judge our professor’s performance here at FAU. As both a former student and teaching assistant, I noticed that because the SPOT evaluation is now accessed online, the students do not give this evaluation any importance. Usually, the students who perform poorly in the course, are the ones to rate the professor’s poorly. As you may not know, Dr. D.V. Reddy is one of the best professors at FAU. Unfortunately, the SPOT course evaluation of Spring 2017 did not reveal that. The students on RateMyProfessors agreed that: “Dr. Reddy's a good "chap". You need to understand his humor and the class is interesting. If you just roll your eyes, you wont enjoy the class. Very knowledgeable. He knows what's going on even if you think he doesn't. Overall, he's a great resource. Pick his brain as he loves to share what he knows.” Another student on RateMyProfessors agreed that he is a: “Good Professor”. Aside from teaching about concrete, he has published 350 plus papers, and taught 10 different courses. Dr. Reddy is knowledgeable in both Civil Engineering and Ocean Engineering, and a Professional Engineer in Florida, Alberta, Newfoundland in Canada, and the U.K., which sets him apart from most professors here at FAU. As a Master’s degree seeking student, I took the course Coastal Structures, which is at the graduate level in Spring 2016. In that course, I understood everything Dr. Reddy taught, and did not find his accent to be of any issue. The course was very interesting, and it was noticeable that he was very knowledgeable of the material; not to mention that he published textbooks related to the course. All in all, I knew for every one credit hour enrolled, a student must spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying and, of course, I passed with an A. To conclude, as a former student, teaching assistant, my Master’s Thesis advisor, Dr. Reddy does not hand out free A’s; you must earn your grade in his courses. Speaking from a teaching assistant point of view, many of the students want grades handed to them, simply because they paid for the course. A recipient of the Distinguished Teacher of the Year, to be questioned on an article as the ‘worst teacher’, is absurd! Sincerely, Stanley W. Merantus Former Teaching/Research Assistant Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatics Engineering

TWO WEEKS after taking over as editor, faculty members called my newspaper “yellow journalism” and “sensationalistic.” Surrounded by dozens of members attending the Jan. 29 Faculty Senate, I listened as they discussed the UP’s first print issue, written entirely by former EIC Joe Pye. An investigative look at the university’s teaching evaluations, the issue’s cover featured engineering professor Dronnadula Reddy with the headline, “Is This FAU’s Worst Professor?” Professors Kevin Wagner and Robert Zoeller said they supported the issue’s intention, but had a problem with the cover. Pye attended the meeting as well and defended his reporting against associate professor Meredith Mountford. “Are they training students to write for the National Enquirer? What adult allowed this to happen?” she asked. But here’s why there are flaws in her thinking. There aren’t any “adults” determining what I publish. The University Press has two faculty advisers, Neil Santaniello and Ilene Prusher. Both are there to *advise* only. Because the UP is entirely student-run, they can’t control what my staff writes, who they source, or what they report. Questioning if an adult “allowed” something implies the UP staff members aren’t adults and aren’t capable of making informed decisions on their own. And putting professor Reddy on the cover was informed by four months of investigative reporting. Pye first collected 6,500 teaching evaluations from summer 2016-17. Following this, he interviewed several FAU staff members and teaching evaluations experts. His main finding? Reddy had the worst scores for his spring 2017 Ocean Structures class out of a full year’s worth of evaluations. Mountford said that we came off “clickbaity,” adding that it wasn’t right to put him on the cover. But here’s the thing. Reddy is a public figure teaching at a university funded by taxpayer dollars. And when asked for an interview, he declined. We didn’t put Reddy on the cover so students would pick up the issue. We put him on the cover because his low scores embodied the problems with FAU’s teaching evaluations. How could an award-winning, tenured professor receive such low ratings? It might have been because students let personal biases against someone’s age, sex, ethnicity, and accent influence their evaluations, according to researchers Richard Freishtat and Philip B. Stark. So when Mountford claimed the UP is now



publishing “sensationalistic, yellow journalism,” I felt the need to point something out. Both of those tactics use shocking wording at the expense of the truth. And everything we published in that issue was factual. Looking at the numbers alone, Reddy was the “worst” professor in 2016-17. But as Pye consistently found, there are multiple shortcomings with the evaluations. That’s why we included the phrase, “we’re skeptical of these evaluations’ accuracy” next to the cover headline. While we’ve received negative feedback from both students and faculty, we’ve also heard from students who weren’t aware of the evaluations’ faults. When Pye set out to write this issue, that’s what he intended to do: shed light on a tool that isn’t as useful as FAU claims. And I wouldn’t have published that edition if I didn’t think it accomplished exactly that. 02.13.2017 University Press 5

News Briefs DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS VISIT FAU Nancy Pelosi and two other representatives discussed Trump’s recent tax plan. By Rachel Gavilan & Anthony Spataro


.S. HOUSE Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi stopped at the Boca campus Jan. 27 as part of her “Trump Tax” tour. The nationwide tour looks to convince people about the shortcomings Democrats see in the newly passed GOP tax bill. Pelosi appeared in the Student Union Majestic Palm Room along with Central Florida Representative Darren Soto and Broward/Miami-Dade Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. While the new administration promoted the tax plan as a catalyst of job growth, Pelosi called it an act of “theft” and said there will be long-term consequences for the middle class. “For Republicans, it’s about money,” Pelosi said. Former special assistant to President Obama, Seth Hanlon, broke down the three main problems they see in the bill: major cuts to vital health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, an added $1.5 trillion to the existing deficit, and the disparity between permanent tax cuts for wealthy corporations and temporary cuts for the middle class. The leaders then discussed the ethics of the tax changes. “It’s absolutely immoral and that’s the celebration they’re having: ‘I’ll throw you a few crumbs because I’m getting all this big bonanza at the top,’” Pelosi said. Sister Simone Campbell, 6 02.13.2017 University Press

director of Network, a Catholic advocacy group for social justice, worried that the administration is working against the common good. “We need your imagination to make a difference,” Campbell said to the room of students.

STUDENT GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS UNDERWAY Over 20 candidates are in the running. By Nate Nkumbu


HE NEW ELECTION SEASON for FAU’s Student Government kicked off Feb. 2 as potential candidates met for the first time to review election guidelines. Twenty-two students registered to run for the university-wide president and vice president seats, as well as the Boca, Davie, and Jupiter governor seats. During registration, SG Election Chair Douglas Speed went over the election’s rules and statutes. The Davie, Jupiter, and Boca campus governor meet and greets and debates were held Feb. 6-8. For coverage of the governor debates, check the UP website: The university-wide presidential debate will take place Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Live Oak Pavilion and will be livestreamed by Owl TV. Voting will begin on Feb. 2728. Contestations and official results will be released in March.

U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi participated in a Boca campus Town Hall hosted by the FAU College Democrats. Violet Castano | Staff Photographer

News Briefs


New technology that scans your car’s license plate will eliminate FAU’s old parking sticker system By Alexander Rodriguez


FTER 27 YEARS of parking decal stickers at FAU, Parking and Transportation announced the start of a new permit system: license plate recognition technology. In a panel discussion hosted Jan. 27 by Student Government, Parking and Transportation Office Manager Tracey Hardy told students they would use the new technology as early as April. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” Hardy said. The new parking technology will consist of two “recognition” cameras on top of the Parking and Transportation vehicles. As the vehicles drive by, they’ll scan each license plate on any car parked on FAU property. The cameras will be able to determine — with geofencing — which license plate belongs in student, residential, and faculty parking. If the cameras detect a car that doesn’t belong in its designated area, an e-citation will be issued to the owner through email. Hardy also elaborated on an extension of the threeweek temporary pass limit for rental or new cars. Students will now be able to register different plates within the system as many times as they need. With this move, FAU will join other state universities, like Florida State, to utilize the technology. Florida International University has used the system for about three years. For now, the decal stickers will remain until August 2018. The Office of Transportation and Parking will do a soft run starting in April and throughout the summer.

The camera has five sensors built in with a small camera built in the middle. As the new license plate recognition technology scans for license plates, it’ll take a picture of any vehicle that is illegally parked on FAU property. Alexander Rodriguez | News Editor

RECENT BUDGET DEEMED “UNCONSTITUTIONAL” Three campus senators challenge the University Wide Senate and its President Kyle MacDonald, who voted to pass the budget. By Benjamin Paley & Alexander Rodriguez


HE STUDENT GOVERNMENT Court justices heard from three Jupiter campus senators challenging the University-Wide Budget and Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget Jan. 5. Senators Shannon Bieniek, Nicholas Tyndall, and Cody Steed claim UBAC budgeted for a non-existent Student Government entity, which they said violates SG statutes. UBAC’s 2018-19 proposed budget would turn the Boca campus Program Board into a university-wide board and ultimately phase out the Davie and Jupiter campus’ board. The SG student-run program is responsible for organizing events on campus. “These statutes however, do not give the Senate or the UBAC any authority to budget for non-existent SG entities,” the senators wrote in their petition. “For these reasons, we ask that SGSSSB 1805 [UBAC’s budget] be declared unconstitutional.” The petition challenges student body Vice President Kyle MacDonald and the University Wide Senate, which voted Jan. 25 to approve the budget. As vice president, MacDonald is the president of the Senate. MacDonald maintains that UBAC isn’t creating a new SG program, it’s modifying Program Board’s existing “funding structure.” “The bill in question does not violate any University policy or State policies,” MacDonald wrote in his

response to the petition. “The petitioners voted no on the legislation and may not be happy with the passing of the legislation, however it does not mean that statutes are being violated.” The Student Court justices asked and answered four questions before voting on the petition. 1. Is the university-wide Program Board a new entity or just a structural adjustment? - A new entity 2. Does UBAC have the authority to modify a SG program? - No 3. Does UBAC have the ability to create a new SG entity? - No 4. Is the 2018-19 budget unconstitutional? - Yes After the justices stated their positions, the court voted 4-0 in favor of the Jupiter senators’ petition. UBAC’s budget will now head back to the SG Senate for rewrite and reconsideration. 02.13.2017 University Press 7

In Memory of Paulina Chiriboga Hope Dean | Features Editor Photos courtsey of Carlos Lopez, Paulina’s father

Her father and one of her closest friends recall her “beautiful, happy” life dedicated to helping others.

Paulina with her two Chihuahuas, Mio and Lola, and her American bulldog Oso in 2017. 8 02.13.2017 University Press


he Greek letters for Alpha Xi Delta stood proudly in the front of the Kaye Auditorium, along with two screens playing a slideshow filled with photographs. The place was “packed,” and several people stood up to share memories about sorority member Paulina Chiriboga — including her sorority sisters, her boyfriend, and her father, Carlos Lopez. “We’re celebrating her life, but her life had just begun. I was kind of still shocked that … the life of my daughter, just 21 years old, had ended,” Lopez said. The vigil in memory of Paulina was held Jan. 28, five days after her passing from a sudden brain hemorrhage. Born Oct. 5, 1996, Paulina always knew she wanted to be a doctor. When her grandmother gifted her with a medical play-kit when she was small, she played with it constantly, molding her love for the profession from a young age. “She always had her little stethoscope, she was always healing all her baby dolls and all the dogs. She always had the gift of medicine,” her father said. After attending Lantana Elementary and Lantana Middle in Palm Beach County, she was accepted into the nearby medical program at Park Vista High School, where she excelled academically and took college courses early. She was “always thirsty for knowledge,” and could read a book in two days, Lopez said. Peyton Kelly, one of her closest friends, said she was “very serious about her nursing,” and would stay in to study instead of going out some days. Her father agreed, saying, “She was a go-getter, just like her mother [Cristina]… She knew that if she wanted something, she had to get it. Everything that you want, you have to work for, you don’t wait until somebody hands it out to you.” After high school, Pauline applied to an assortment of colleges and was accepted into many, including the University of Alabama. Despite this, she chose FAU to stay close to her mom and to her home, Lopez said. She was about to graduate at 21 and was enrolled in classes in FAU’s medical program for the next semester. On top of her love for medicine, she had a passion for working with children and animals. She was involved in the advocacy organization Autism Speaks with her sorority and consistently visited pet stores and animal shelters. “If one of her friends was feeling kind of down, she would take them to a pet store near Boca and tell them, ‘Hey, pretend you’re buying a dog.’ She was using it as therapy and then the friends would forget about their problems and see things in a different perspective,” Lopez said. “I think she did a lot of self-improving just to help other

Paulina with her mother, Cristina Lopez, in 2003.

I think she did a lot of self-improving just to help other people. She made everybody be their best.” - Paulina's father, Carlos Lopez

Paulina with her mother and father during Mother’s Day in 2016 at John G’s restaurant in Manalapin, Florida. 02.13.2017 University Press 9

people. She made everybody be their best.” Her close friend, Kelly agreed: “If someone was upset, or one of us was having a bad day, she was always the one that was like, ‘Let’s go do something! Let’s go get out of the house! Let’s go have fun!’ … I think she impacted a lot of people in that way.” Kelly was with Paulina when she was rushed to the hospital and noted that she was never upset or scared during the process. “I think that it’s important for people to know that even though it was so tragic, Paulina always had such a positive attitude … Even when we were going to the hospital, she kept her positivity to the very last second … She was just accepting,” she said. “We knew something was going on, but she kept her sense of humor, which I thought was amazing. She wasn’t panicked … She was calm and she was OK.” Paulina’s father said her family is still trying to pick up the pieces, but the outpouring of love and support has helped. “Her sorority sisters, the whole university, they have supported us a great, great deal, and it has made us feel very special. Hopefully … that will ease some of the pain,” he said. Lopez received a letter following Paulina’s passing from President John Kelly stating that the university will set up a scholarship in her name. “Sounds like a cliche, but she was an awesome kid. She lived a beautiful, happy life, and she loved what she was doing … Her life was to help people. Her dreams were endless,” Lopez said. An excerpt from Kelly’s six-page essay about one of her closest friends spotlighted the positive impact she had on everyone around her: I will never forget watching “Sweet Home Alabama” that day. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you learn ... that when lightning strikes sand, beautiful glass is formed, you just have to dig it up to see. As silly as it may seem, I can’t help but relate this to what happened on that Friday ... Lightning is scary in some ways. It can hurt people and destroy things in a matter of seconds. Paulina had something unimaginably terrible happen to her in a matter of minutes … Paulina disappeared. Or that is how it seemed. This is incredibly untrue. Paulina did not disappear. Despite what happened to her, Paulina will always be here because she taught the people around her valuable lessons. Lessons of being positive, finding things to laugh about rather than to complain about, showing immense amounts of kindness towards others … The lightning has passed and now we see the beauty in the person she was.

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Paulina and her mother eating out in 2017.

” aulina did not disappear. Despite what P happened to her, Paulina will always be here because she taught the people around her valuable lessons. Lessons of being positive, finding things to laugh about rather than to complain about, showing immense amounts of kindness towards others.” - Peyton Kelly, one of Paulina's closest friends

Graffiti reads, “Can’t Funtion No More.”

The tunnels were built in 1942 as part of the Boca Raton Army Air Field, which installed radar tech in airplanes during World War II. See page 16 12 02.13.2017 University Press

UNCOVERING WHAT’S UNDERGROUND An extensive tunnel network — left

over from the former U.S. air base — lies underneath the Boca campus. Photos by the University Press Staff

A wooden frame holds together the deteriorating roof of the tunnel.

02.13.2017 University Press 13

Securing a Sanctuary Almost 50 years ago, the trees that make up “Narnia” were saved from the path of a local highway. Mackenzie Guiry | Contributing Writer


rom people setting up their hammocks to studying at one of the tables, the area dotted with trees outside Heritage Park Towers is bustling with students on a daily basis. What they may not know is that those trees were saved from destruction 47 years ago. The late John M. Freeman, a professor in the math department from 1964-2012, founded the area, nicknamed “Narnia,” as a sanctuary for different types of trees in 1971. His passion for the environment led to a largescale rescue effort, saving trees that were “due for destruction” as the Boca part of I-95 was constructed. But he didn’t accomplish it without help. From local students to dozens of Boca community organizations to the then-Florida governor, Freeman sought support from every level he could.

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Kevin Carver | Contributing Photographer FAU Student Government members, former university President Kenneth Williams, and college service organization Circle K International helped finance the effort, according to Financial Affairs senior Vice President Dennis Crudele. Real estate corporation Arvida and paving company Hardrives supplied machinery and labor, while the State of Florida contributed bulldozers and forestry experts. Then-Governor Reubin Askew provided materials as well. With their help, alongside FAU students, faculty, and alumni, Freeman transplanted hundreds of trees from the I-95 pathway and Highway A1A to the Boca campus. From magnolia and cypress trees to gumbo limbos and saw palmettos, the trees were placed throughout campus, with dozens planted in front of what would later be Heritage Park Towers. While the park is now commonly referred to as “Narnia,” it was originally called “The Forest” by students following the opening of HPT in 2004. Since the trees’ planting, FAU’s referred to the area

as “Heritage Park.” Larry Faerman, dean of students and associate vice president, said students didn’t start nicknaming it “Narnia” until about 2011. FAU tour guide Ana Isabel Escobar said, “People think sometimes that the film was created there. We just call it that because it creates the feeling of ‘Narnia.’” “We all say that it’s like a meeting point, everyone’s like, ‘Oh we meet at Narnia,’ and everyone knows where that is,” she continued. Over the years, FAU has removed dozens of trees from around campus, including Freeman’s sanctuary, that sustained damage from various hurricanes, most recently Hurricane Irma. Despite this, “Narnia” still stands in front of HPT and Indian River Towers. A year after Freeman’s passing, Crudele received approval from the FAU Board of Trustees to honor the professor and his preservation work by renaming the area, “The John M. Freeman Heritage Park.”

A plaque added in 2013 honors mathematics professsor John M. Freeman for his work creating the sanctuary. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

The area can be found between Indian River Towers and Heritage Park Towers near the entrance to the Breezeway. Kevin Carver | Contributing Photographer 02.13.2017 University Press 15

Exploring the Boca campus’ history as a former U.S. air base that helped America win the second world war. Katrina Scales | Managing Editor

War in Paradise

Image courtesy of Google Earth and FAU Special Collections and University Archives 16 02.13.2017 University Press


ore than 75 years ago, the sidewalks and parking lots of the Boca campus — now populated by college students — were once the stomping-ground for 16,000 WWII Army airmen. In 1941, the Axis powers were becoming a serious threat to the nation’s eastern coast. In response, the United States quickly began expanding its armed forces — mainly its air force. South Florida’s warm climate, flat terrain, and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean made the area ideal for aviation training. Boca Raton in particular was an isolated coastal town with only 723 residents, making it a perfect location for the government to move in. The Boca Raton Army Air Field opened in October 1942. Constructed on 5,860 acres of land, the base was built to train cadets to fly B-17 and B-29 bombers and develop a new military instrument that would eventually win the war. The U.S. Army Air Corps — now the U.S. Air Force — built 800 buildings on the airfield, intended for housing and classrooms. Only four are standing today after multiple hurricanes swept through the area and subsequent demolitions by FAU. When viewed from above, it becomes apparent that the campus was built on top of four huge runways. The Boca Raton Airport, which sits just west of the campus, was constructed atop the northeast/ southwest runway of the former military airfield. The old north/south runway is now Lot 5 behind the stadium and the northwest/ southeast runway cuts through the Student Union parking lot to the bottom corner of Lot 23. The FAU campus takes up just 1,000 acres of the original 5,680 that made up the Army base.

Temporary T-11 Building. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor .

The War Effort Comes to Boca

The Boca Raton Army Air Field occupied almost 10 square miles of land between Yamato and Palmetto Park Road and from Military Trail to Dixie Highway. It was a rural, concrete, and barbed wire base that operated for five pivotal years between 1942-47. Before the construction of the air base, much of the land was inhabited by Japanese farmers of the former Yamato colony. The U.S. government uprooted hundreds of families to build the base. In the book “Small Town Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Air Field During World War II”

Boca History Bites Some of the base’s more notable happenings.

DID YOU KNOW: May 8, 1942 - A German U-564 submarine attacked and sank an American tanker ship several miles off the coast of Boca Raton. Half of the 30 men on board died.

LOCAL LEGEND: June 1942 - German spies were discovered hiding out in a Boca Raton beach house belonging to snowbird, Dr. William Sanborn. Military police found a “telescope and signaling light apparatus” pointing out to sea. The Palm Beach Post resurfaced the mystery in 2014 after a source stated there wasn’t proof German spies came ashore.

PREJUDICE IN PARADISE - In the 1940s, the Jim Crow laws enforced segregation in the south and the military was no exception. On the air base, black men were assigned separately from white men in Squadron F on the northeast area of the base. In 1966, the Administration building and the Wimberly Library were among the first structures to arrive on the the new university grounds. You can even see the beginning of the modern-day Breezeway. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives 02.13.2017 University Press 17

by Sally J. Ling, then 16-year-old Nora Simmons recounted the day she and her family were evicted from their Yamato home. “The government took the land and moved our homes to Delray Beach. It was nothing but woods when we went there,” she said. Along with the land, the military took over the nearby Boca Raton Club — now the Boca Raton Resort & Club — to use as temporary housing for thousands of troops, cadets, and officers. In only four months, 800 “T-buildings” were erected beside a triangular-shaped airfield with four major runways, costing $12 million. From above, the placement of the buildings seem random. Some say it was due to minimal planning while others say it was a security measure against enemy air strikes, according to Ling. Beneath the base was a maze of tunnels that served as storage facilities and shelter for on-base personnel. Those tunnels still exist today, with entrances dotting the Boca campus. (See page 12)

The Sunshine State’s Secret Weapon

Imagine sitting in a classroom, studying the

mechanics of a top secret radio technology for hours at a time without taking notes or even speaking about the subject to fellow cadets. This was the reality for thousands of young men training at the Army Air Corps Technical School of Radar. In the early 1940s, radar technology — created to detect the location of objects like distant aircraft or submarines — was being perfected in a research facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called the Rad Lab. In order to test its effectiveness in a war zone, they needed to strap it aboard a military fighter plane. For that reason, radar devices were quietly relocated 1,500 miles down the coast to Boca Raton. The base became the only airborne radar training

facility during the war. Airplanes from all over the nation came to the base to have the washing machine-sized radar equipment installed. Not only did servicemen learn engineering and aerodynamic disciplines in the T-building classrooms, but they also conducted bombing runs over the nearby Atlantic ocean. Former radar cadet Robert Davey told the University Press in a 2008 interview about his time at the base learning and conducting classified radar experiments. “We were sneaky boogers back then. Radar was very hush-hush,” Davey said, who passed away several years ago. “... After I graduated, I became a radar navigator aboard C-47s and DC-3 bombers over the Philippines, New Guinea and Dutch East Indies. Half of our work was flying brass (top-ranking officials) to these places,” he said. “It was kind of a taxi service, and we were a kind of carrier squadron. I truly appreciated this time in my life.” Davey later learned that he was part of a select group who had been handpicked for their abilities to keep quiet, memorize what they learned, and perform a significant role with this “see-in-the-dark” radio wave technology that helped the Allies win World War II.

Standing the Test of Time

When the base opened in 1942, 800 boxy “L” and “H”-shaped buildings were built in fewer than four months with substandard lumber and concrete. They weren’t designed to survive past WWII. The temporary, or T, buildings consisted of classrooms, housing, and storage for top-secret equipment. On Sept. 17, 1947, a Category 4 hurricane ripped through the base. Less than one month later, another Category 4 wiped out more than half of the T-buildings and forced any remaining occupants on the base to evacuate the flooded land. Years later,

Lt. Col. Manuel Chavez USAF (R), taught cadets to fly at Boca Raton Army Airfield in 1943. Photo courtesy of MIT Museum. 18 02.13.2017 University Press

some of the H-shaped buildings around Spanish River were repurposed into houses/apartments. T-3, T-5, T-6, T-10, T-11, and T-30 weathered two more powerful hurricanes in 2005 — Wilma and Katrina — but the damage was significant. In 2002, then FAU president Anthony Catanese threatened to demolish the nine remaining T-buildings on campus. The Boca Raton Army Air Field Preservation Society was formed that same year with local author Ling as chairperson. The UP reached out to Ling for comment about the current state of the society’s preservation efforts but received no response as of publication time. In May 2006, FAU President Frank Brogan held a rededication ceremony in T-3, one of the largest intact structures, to celebrate its reopening as an office space. Not even two weeks after the ceremony, a freak lightning strike burned T-3 to the ground. The following year, three more buildings were demolished and T-6, T-10, and T-11 were given new roofs. T-30 was the last edifice to be demolished by the university in October 2011. The vine-covered, radioactive, medical waste-infested T-building was used to store hazardous chemicals like flammable fertilizers. Today, four of the 800 WWII-era barracks still stand today on the northeast side of campus by the El Rio Trail and Lot 30. Buildings T-5 and T-6 are used to store surplus furniture and as art studio spaces for students and instructors to create in solitude. Preservationists pushed to turn the T-5 building into a WWII memorabilia museum in the mid-2000s but the idea never came to fruition. FAU’s Army ROTC now resides in one section of T-11 as a recruitment office alongside the Small Business Development Center. T-10 used to be home to a large jazz music collection called “The Ivey.” Now it serves as a pottery workshop for graduate students. All four buildings stand a half mile from Innovation

Temporary T-5 Building. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

This class of cadets were in the pilot training program, circa 1943. Photo courtesy of the Boca Raton Historical Society Florida needed another university. FAU opened its doors in 1964 as Florida’s fifth public university and the first in the state’s southeast, offering only upper-division courses until 1984, when the university admitted its first lower-division undergraduate students. Almost 80 years later, the campus still contains small reminders of the central role Boca played in ensuring America’s continued freedom. From the tunnel entrances to the oddly shaped parking lots, remnants of the Boca Raton Army Air Field were left behind. Even though the students and their classes are vastly different, the sound of nearby planes taking off echoes the ground’s history.

Boca Raton Army Airfield - Provost Office. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives

Building Apartments toward the FAU Police Station.

Post-War Military Secrets

After the end of the war, the Air Field was shut down and the radar training program was moved to Illinois. But that didn’t mean the base was empty. During the later Cold War, the government pursued the development of biological weapons to use against the Soviet Union if they became combative. The base was closed but a small group of military personnel stayed behind to engineer a top secret fungal weapon called “stem rust of rye.”

From 1952-57, researchers planted wheat along the runways of the old air field that was sprayed with fungus spores. The idea was to dust chicken feathers with the fungus, load them into a container that would then explode over Russian wheat fields, thus, destroying the wheat grain, one of the country’s major exports.

FAU Moves In

By 1950, the base was unused and dilapidated. The second world war was over, the economy was flourishing, and Baby Boomers were pursuing higher education in record numbers.


- The Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum - Palm Beach County History Online - WLRN - The Palm Beach Post - “Small Town Big Secrets: Inside the Boca Raton Army Air Field During World War II” by Sally J. Ling - FAU Special Collections and University Archives - The UP’s 2008 special issue on the history of the air base 02.13.2017 University Press 19

Absent Ambassadors? FAU created an ambassador program to help enforce its tobacco-free initiative three years ago. But the program appears to have low visibility on campus. Alexander Rodriguez | News Editor Photos by Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

20 02.13.2017 University Press


his past January marked the third anniversary of FAU becoming a tobacco-free campus. Shortly after the change, the university implemented a Tobacco Free Ambassador Program. Its volunteer members help enforce the policy, but a group of regular smokers claim they have yet to meet one face-to-face. “I have the liberty to be free and smoke wherever I want,” senior art history major Jackson Gaspard said while blowing out a plume of smoke. “Since smoking is banned you might as well ban cars. The exhausts are similar to smoking.” Donald Torok, head of the program and College of Education associate dean, said the ambassadors are “not set up as the tobacco police.” “We are not trying to haul in the individuals that violate the program,” he said. “You don’t have a possy being sent out. We are not looking to create confrontation encounters.” The ambassador program was created a month after FAU campuses became “tobacco-free” Jan. 1, 2015. The prohibited products include — cigarettes, pipes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, snuff, cigars, chewing tobacco, and “any other form of

loose-leaf, smokeless tobacco.” Signs have also been placed around campus, including the Breezeway, informing students of the policy. A first offense will lead to a warning and a policy explanation from an ambassador. Following a second violation, the individual must attend two smoking/tobacco management classes within one semester. Administered by the Office of Health and Wellness Education, the classes’ attendance is required, or students will risk a third violation, says FAU’s website. And according to the policy, a third violation could lead to a suspension or expulsion. While ambassadors are encouraged to inform offenders FAU is tobacco free, they’re also expected to report the violations. The time, day, location, and who was involved — faculty, students, visitor, and/or staff — can be reported through an online form. Yet when asked how many people are ambassadors, Torok replied, “In reality all faculty, staff, and students at the university are in a position to report violators. Anyone can volunteer … You don’t have to be a tobacco-free ambassador to report these violators.” On top of attending a training session held by FAU police, members are asked to volunteer five to 10 hours a month. The application form asks interested members

“I have the liberty to be free and smoke wherever I want.” - senior art history major Jackson Gaspard 02.13.2017 University Press 21

to list their email, position at FAU, availability, and shirt size so that a training session can be scheduled. The University Press applied to be an ambassador Feb. 2, but as of publication time, has not received a response. Torok said he’s encountered several offenders and has warned them about the policy, adding that the number has “greatly reduced over time.” Despite this, a group of frequent smokers can be found on the southeast side of campus. When asked if she’s see an ambassador, senior psychology major Brenna Callahan said, “Not once and this is the area where the smokers come. Everyone knows that.” Sitting next to Gaspard, senior psychology major Melissa Goldstein laughed with her friends when she was told about the ambassador program. “You can’t truly enforce something if they are volunteers,” Goldstein said. “We are constantly aware of the harm,” junior geology major Angi Tetu said. “It’s not like we are using drugs. You can’t rescue the world.”

Florida Schools Tackle Tobacco

With the exception of Florida Polytechnic University and New College of Florida, all 12 of Florida’s public universities are tobacco-free. The following lists some of the state’s larger public, private, and community colleges that have also made the change.

2017: • • • •

Jacksonville University Indian River State College Santa Fe College Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University


• Lynn University • University of South Florida • Florida Gulf Coast University • University of West Florida • University of Tampa • St. Petersburg College 22 02.13.2017 University Press


• Florida Atlantic University • University of North Florida • Broward College


• Florida State University

2012: • • • •

University of Central Florida Nova Southeastern University Bethune-Cookman University Valencia College


• Florida International University • Miami-Dade College • University of Miami


• University of Florida

*Information courtesy of each school’s website.*


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