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VOL.20 | #3 | 10.11.2018

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SPECIAL DIVERSITY ISSUE

IS FAU REALLY AS

DIVERSE AS THEY SAY?

Beliefs • Pg. 4 Race • Pg. 9 Gender/Sexuality • Pg. 12 Age • Pg. 16 Disabilities • Pg. 18 Social Classes • Pg. 21

In honor of Global Diversity Awareness Month, the UP looked into whether FAU’s claim to fame of being the most diverse public Florida university holds up. Turns out, it does — and its student body is diverse in more ways than just race.

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

DIVERSITY AT FAU — IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, so the UP looked into whether FAU is really as diverse as the university says. BY HOPE DEAN

PHOTO BY VIOLET CASTANO

If there’s one thing FAU is known for besides head football coach Lane Kiffin, it’s the university’s claim of being Florida’s most diverse public university. Almost every year, it ranks on national lists for its ethnically diverse student body. Just recently, it ranked on the September U.S. News and World Report’s annual “Campus Diversity List.” The report placed FAU 29th out of 296 U.S. universities for its ethnic diversity. That’s why we decided to put this special issue together. In honor of Global Diversity Awareness Month, we

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wanted to figure out whether FAU has the stats to back up its claim to fame. And for the most part, it does. Because diversity is more than skin deep, we’ve broken it down into six themes — beliefs, race, gender/sexuality, age, disabilities, and class. For some stories, we dive into the numbers behind different groups on campus. For others, we feature student voices and experiences to see how they affect FAU, and how FAU affects them in turn.


TABLE OF CONTENTS VOL.20 | #3 | 10.11.2018

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UP STAFF

4

EDITOR IN CHIEF Kerri

Covington

MANAGING EDITOR Hope

Dean

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ivan

Benavides

JUNIOR DESIGNER Melanie NEWS EDITOR Cameren

Witherup

Boatner

SPORTS EDITOR Wajih

AlBaroudi

OPINION EDITOR Ross

Mellman

PHOTO EDITOR Violet

Castano

STAFF WRITER Sophie

Siegel Kristen Grau Alexander Rodriguez

COPY EDITOR A  suka

Takahashi

CONTRIBUTORS J  oey

Sena

ADVISERS N  eil

Santaniello Ilene Prusher Michael Koretzky

ON THE COVER College Republicans President Tyler Gidseg, Soka Gakkai Buddhist Division President Marisa Martinez, Lambda United President Alex Bruens, and Muslim Student Association President Asmaa Mohamed are all the leaders of diverse on-campus student organizations. Photos by Violet Castano

FINDING COMMON GROUND On-campus organizations give students the chance to embrace their religious and political beliefs while sharing different viewpoints. By Kristen Grau

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FAU IS THE MOST DIVERSE UNIVERSITY IN FLORIDA The university boasts about its ethnic diversity every year — and it has the statistics to back it up. By Cameren Boatner

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OUT AND PROUD AT FAU Various university programs and student organizations show FAU’s support of the LGBT community. Despite this, the university still has room for improvement.

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THE AGE GAP FAU is made up of students as young as 14 and as old as 80. By Alexander Rodriguez

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DIFFERENTLY ABLED Students with various physical or mental conditions share their experiences on campus. By Kerri Covington

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MAKING ENDS MEET FAU’s population largely consists of middle and lower income students. By Hope Dean

By Sophie Siegel

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FINDING COMMON GROUND On-campus organizations give students the chance to embrace their religious and political beliefs while sharing different viewpoints.

BY KRISTEN GRAU PHOTOS BY VIOLET CASTANO

T

HERE ARE OVER 500 STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS at FAU — with at least one dedicated to nearly every political and religious affiliation. The following clubs celebrate and provide an environment for students to share both. And although their ideas differ, they all have a mutual understanding: they’re open to anyone joining, regardless of their beliefs.

RELIGION CAMILA CABREJOS, PRESIDENT OF CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST

CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST FOUNDED IN: 2014 SYMBOL: CHRISTIAN CROSS NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 60 MEETING TIMES: TUESDAYS, 6:30 P.M. IN LIVE OAK B PRESIDENT: CAMILA CABREJOS

Campus Crusade for Christ is a Christian group at FAU rooted in volunteering and “connecting other people with Jesus,” President Camila Cabrejos said. The organization’s weekly Tuesday meetings are called “worship nights,” when members separate into small groups and discuss all things related to the Christian faith. They meet in Live Oak B near the Student Union and Parking Garage 1. Worship nights give students a chance to create “a strong sense of community and friendships,” Cabrejos said. The organization is an outreach ministry, which means they focus on providing aid to the surrounding community. Events include donating clothes to homeless

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shelters in Miami and cleaning up nearby beaches. The group is interdenominational, which means it’s open to all religions. Cabrejos said the club’s most popular event is “Food for Thought,” which involves tabling around campus and giving away pizza in exchange for students’ thoughts on faith. “Whenever someone is in need, we make an event for it,” Cabrejos said.

CHABAD JEWISH OWLS FOUNDED IN: 2005 SYMBOL: STAR OF DAVID NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 50 MEETING TIMES: FRIDAYS, 7 P.M. AT CHABAD STUDENT CENTER OFF CAMPUS PRESIDENT: BENTLEE BIRCHANSKY

Chabad Jewish Owls is designed to get students “more connected to the Jewish lifestyle and religion,” President


CATHOLIC NEWMAN CLUB FOUNDED IN: 2010 SYMBOL: CHRISTIAN CROSS NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 30-40 MEETING TIMES: EVERY OTHER THURSDAY, 7-9 P.M. IN STUDENT ACTIVITIES CENTER, ROOM 156 PRESIDENT: CHRISTOPHER JEFFREY

The Catholic Newman Club takes what you’d find at a Sunday morning church service and brings it right to campus. The group of 30-40 members meets every other Thursday for “Rise Night,” which is an “informal gathering for students revolving around the Catholic faith,” President Christopher Jeffrey said. Members meet in the Student Activities Center, which is found near the Student Union Outtakes along Diversity Way. The organization also invites missionaries from the local Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) to preach on Rise Nights. Afterward, there’s a discussion about the teachings. Other Rise Nights are dedicated to Bible studies. The club also goes on religious retreats to other universities, which help students “get deeper into faith,” Jeffrey said. On the Thursdays in between Rise Nights, there are men and women’s nights, which are held off-campus. These get-togethers can include mini-golf, scavenger hunts, or hockey games. “At [Catholic Newman Club], you meet people who care about you and your success,” Jeffrey said.

MUSLIM STUDENT ASSOCIATION FOUNDED IN: 2000 SYMBOL: STAR AND CRESCENT NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 60 MEETING TIMES: VARIES PRESIDENT: ASMAA MOHAMED

ASMAA MOHAMED, PRESIDENT OF MUSLIM STUDENT ASSOCIATION Bentlee Birchansky said. The group meets every Friday night at the Chabad Student Center for members of the Jewish faith a block away from campus. Nearly 50 members gather for its weekly 7 p.m. Shabbat dinner. The Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest on the seventh day of the week. Although the organization is largely Jewish, it welcomes students of all religions. The directors of the center, Rabbi Boruch and Rivka Liberow, are also available to Jewish students for counseling and support, Birchansky said. The club often partners with Hillel, another Jewish organization located on the Breezeway near the Wimberly Library, to host events like “The Big Babka Bake” where students share traditional Jewish pastries. The student organization also holds celebrations for holy day Yom Kippur and the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, among others. Students can “take away the opportunity to feel a part of a family,” Birchansky said.

The Muslim Student Association’s goal is to create a “safe haven” for students of any religion, President Asmaa Mohamed said. The organization holds bi-weekly “halaqas,” or Islamic discussions, from 6-8 p.m. on varying weekdays, as well as three general body meetings per semester. Although, their meeting places change. Mohamed said, “[The halaqas] put things back into focus.” The group’s members invest time into philanthropic work with both Islamic and general organizations. They’ve collectively raised hundreds of dollars for Fort Lauderdale homeless support groups, cancer walk Relay for Life, the Islamic Circle of North America, and more. Their annual events include Iftar (the first meal after Ramadan — over 200 people participated this year), Hijab-a-Thon (where the club hands out hijabs on the Breezeway), and Florida MSA Games (a club retreat with other chapters across Florida). Organization members hail from several different countries, creating a melting pot of different cultures all tied together by Islam. “We uplift,” Mohamad said. “We’re a family.”

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SOKA GAKKAI BUDDHIST DIVISION FOUNDED IN: 2017 SYMBOL: SOKA GAKKAI SYMBOL NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 25 MEETING TIMES: MONTHLY, 5:30-7 P.M. IN THE SUGAR PALM ROOM PRESIDENT: MARISA MARTINEZ

Soka Gakkai is Japanese for “value-creation society.” To president of FAU’s Soka Gakkai Buddhist Division, Marisa Martinez — it means “to find value in any situation.” Once a month, students are welcome to contribute to the discussion-based meetings held in the Student Union Sugar Palm Room. The club goes over concepts like peace, the environment, and freedom through a Buddhist lens. One of the organization’s goals is to swap a “culture of violence for a peace,” Martinez said. The club’s emphasis on peace led members to celebrate International Day of Peace this year on the Breezeway. They addressed their stances on peace, nuclear warfare, and poverty with students who passed by. Some Soka Gakkai members also participated in this year’s Miami Lions of Justice Festival, a cultural Buddhist festival that promotes peace through music, speakers, and films. The event was hosted by the larger International Soka Gakkai organization. Martinez added, “We believe [world peace] is a possibility … through transforming human spirit.”

MARISA MARTINEZ, PRESIDENT OF SOKA GAKKAI BUDDHIST DIVISION

POLITICS COLLEGE REPUBLICANS FOUNDED IN: 2015 SYMBOL: REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 30 MEETING TIMES: VARIES PRESIDENT: TYLER GIDSEG

College Republicans aims to “recruit and engage with like-minded people … and get people [politically] engaged and involved,” President Tyler Gidseg said. The organization offers members the chance to campaign and volunteer for their party’s candidates, which was the case for the Florida primaries in August. Their events range from debating with the College Democrats to hosting local politicians as speakers on campus. The club is designed to teach students, regardless of affiliation, about “the political process, liberty, conservative values, and a general overview of how government runs,” Gidseg said. General body meetings are monthly, and typically draw in 15-30 people, although the club hopes to add another date each month. The location varies. “You get to meet new people … and open your doors,” Gidseg said. “[College Republicans] is just a bunch of fun.”

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TYLER GIDSEG, PRESIDENT OF COLLEGE REPUBLICANS


COLLEGE DEMOCRATS FOUNDED IN: 1995 SYMBOL: DEMOCRATIC DONKEY NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 70 MEETING TIMES: EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY, 7-8 P.M. IN THE PALMETTO PALM ROOM PRESIDENT: MATTHEW TAUDIEN

MATTHEW TAUDIEN, PRESIDENT OF COLLEGE DEMOCRATS

College Democrats gives students a taste of the political life by placing them in the heat of real campaigns. Currently, the club’s focus is on supporting Democratic state governor candidates in the November midterm elections. “We give students hands-on experience how their political process works,” President Matthew Taudien said. “Politics affects us all.” The group routinely hosts talks from local and national politicians — including House Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Boca Raton Councilwoman Monica Moyette. “[By] knocking on doors, talking to people, and [participating in] Campus Blue Wave [a voter registration initiative], that’s how we plan to make a difference this election,” Taudien said. The club also wants to educate FAU students on issues like affordable health care and student debt. When the group isn’t out canvassing for various candidates, they’re usually bowling or playing laser tag, which the College Republicans occasionally join.

YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA FOUNDED IN: 2018 SYMBOL: ROSE NUMBER OF MEMBERS: 10 MEETING TIMES: EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY, 7 P.M. IN CULTURE AND SOCIETY, ROOM 130 PRESIDENT: SOPHIE SIEGEL

TESS MOODY, VICE PRESIDENT OF YOUNG DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA

Young Democratic Socialists of America strives to be a home for “progressives on campus who don’t identify with the Democratic party,” said Vice President Tess Moody. The central topics members will be addressing this year are community hunger, Broward school issues, and decriminalization of sex work, Moody added. As a ripe organization only founded this January, YDSA has yet to establish traditions — but the club recently hosted 19-year-old Elijah Manley, who is running for Broward County’s school board, as a guest speaker on campus. Events in the works include supply drives for Broward schools and more Q&A sessions with local political candidates. General body meetings are meant to be “conversational and collaborative,” Moody said. Board members frequently ask members what issues matter to them and then work from there. “YDSA is a place where people can come and make their voice heard,” Moody said. “At the end of the day, we want to make a difference.”

10.11.2018 UNIVERSITY PRESS 7


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FAU IS THE MOST

DIVERSE UNIVERSITY IN FLORIDA

The university boasts about its ethnic diversity every year — and it has the statistics to back it up.

BY CAMEREN BOATNER

10.11.2018 UNIVERSITY PRESS 9


E

VERY YEAR AT ORIENTATION, students hear President John Kelly brag about the diversity of FAU’s student body. Overall, he’s right. White students make up less than 50 percent of the student population. And FAU’s wide variety of minorities that make up the rest puts the university in the No.1 spot for diversity out of Florida’s 11 other public universities. The University Press looked at how other Florida schools’ student body match up to FAU in terms of racial statistics, and heard what different groups had to say about diversity on campus.

ASIAN STUDENT UNION (ASU)

“COMING HERE, IT WAS NICE TO SEE VARYING COLORS AND A LOT OF CLUBS THAT CELEBRATE THAT TOO.”

The ASU is a community for people to “learn and celebrate Asian traditions and hobbies,” said its events coordinator Anne Vo. The accounting major transferred from Massachusetts College and said she noticed FAU’s diverse student population immediately. “Coming here, it was nice to see varying colors and a lot of clubs that celebrate that too.” Despite this, she said that she’s still experienced discrimination from various students at the university. She added that it seems to only be from older students on campus though. Vo, who is Vietnamese, tried to keep to herself when an older white man wanted to discuss the Vietnam War with her, ASIAN asking, “Where are you ‘really’ from?” Vice President of ASU Sabrina Nguyen, who is also Vietnamese, said that despite feeling welcome at FAU, she’s noticed instances of racism like Vo. The vice president recently overheard a group of students in the Wimberly Library “making fun of Korean eyes.” The business management major said she came to FAU because of its diversity. She grew up in Naples, Florida where the population was predominantly white, and at school she said, “there were only one, maybe two other Asians, and those were my sisters.” The two ASU members said that being at FAU has been a welcome change for them. They both added that because the club accepts members regardless of race, they’ve found a family of people who want to learn more about their culture.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE (NAACP) The NAACP tries to get the word out to students about current issues affecting minorities like police brutality

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and midterm election votings, club President Alkeria Jackson said. Jackson is a health science major who, like Nguyen, chose FAU for its diverse student body. But she said that wasn’t initially the case with Boca Raton. “When you think about Boca, you think of rich elderly people, and me coming from a small town, I was afraid I wouldn’t see many people my color,” she said. “But I’m so glad I came because the diversity is huge here.” Jackson said that while she is the only black person at her job, she prefers it that way because she likes to work with people outside of her race. The same goes for FAU, she said.

ANNE VO STUDENT UNION, EVENTS COORDINATOR

“When you bring in people of different ethnicities, you get to experience different ideas and beliefs,” Jackson said.

CENTER FOR INCLUSION, DIVERSITY EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY (IDEAS) IDEAs highlights traditionally marginalized groups and provides programs to promote diversity and inclusiveness, its website states. Andrea Oliver, assistant vice president for Student Outreach and Diversity, leads the Center for IDEAs. Oliver has been at FAU for four years and said that she also picked FAU because of its diversity. She is of Puerto Rican descent and has five biracial children. “Selecting a diverse and inclusive institution to work for was important to us, and I am sure it is important for others as they select their next home,” Oliver said.


A STEP AHEAD FAU ranks ahead of Florida’s 11 other public universities as the most diverse school in the state. The following table has the percentages of each school’s racial groups. The boxes outlined in red represent percentages over 50, indicating a majority.

*Information courtesy of each university.* *Multiple schools did not provide statistics on various racial groups that make up their student body.* *The UP removed the nonresident alien, unknown, and international statistics because of their nonspecific nature. Several statistics for each group also weren’t provided.*

10.11.2018 UNIVERSITY PRESS 11


OUT AND PRO Various university programs and student organizations show FAU’s support of the LGBT community. Despite this, the university still has room for improvement. BY SOPHIE SIEGEL

W

HILE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE was only recently legalized in the U.S. in 2015, FAU has made its own strides in accepting the oncampus LGBT community. Several LGBT organizations have been established, ranging from the university’s peer mentoring program to its student organizations. FAU even has genderneutral restrooms scattered across campus and a “Lavender Graduation” to celebrate graduating LGBT students. However, both FAU LGBT community members and a national LGBT nonprofit agree that the university needs to improve on several of its policies. The University Press details how LGBT student leaders view the university, its various on-campus resources, and what it needs to work on to be fully inclusive of the LGBT population.

LAMBDA ALPHA LAMBDA Gabby Miernik, who uses the pronoun “she,” founded an on-campus gender-neutral Greek life organization earlier this year. She refers to it as a “diaternity” that’s inclusive of all genders. “My main reason for starting any Greek life organization at FAU was … that there was none that catered to the LGBT community,” Miernik said. “Diaternity means transcending boundaries.” Unlike a typical Greek organization, members use the term “siblings” instead of “brother” or “sisters.” The foundation of the word is a “more friendly term for noncis and non-binary people,” Miernik said. The organization president added that while FAU is “very welcoming” to the LGBT community, it’s “not perfect.” She said she believes that like much of U.S. society when it comes to inclusion, there’s room for FAU to better itself. She said that one such improvement would be creating gender-inclusive on-campus housing for transgender and non-binary students. Miernik is currently pushing for the initiative in Student Government, where she serves as a House representative. The group’s rush week, which was the first weekend of October, was inspired by other Greek groups,

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starting off with a “social mixer.” However, Miernik said they made sure to make it their own through education about discrimination against various genders/sexualities. “I have high hopes for the future,” Miernik said about her organization.

LAMBDA UNITED Lambda United President Alex Bruens, who uses the pronouns “they/them and he/him,” first got involved with the organization because they said it has been the only active LGBT club on campus for the last several years. Bruens said the purpose of this club is to destress, learn about the state of the LGBT community, and have fun while making friends. “Why not support our community, why not come out to the meetings, why not make friends? I think it’s a great club,” they said. “Lambda United is an open space for everybody, [regardless of] gender identity and sexual orientation. Anybody and everyone is welcome, whether they fall within the LGBT community or not.” Bruens thinks FAU is welcoming to LGBT youth, but like Miernik, said the university mirrors the rest of the country where “there [need to be] improvements for LGBT people, especially trans people.” Lambda United is pursuing the same housing goal for transgender and non-binary students that Miernik is lobbying for in SG. Bruens said the organization plans to kick up its involvement for the initiative in 2019.

LAMBDA UNITED PRESIDENT AL ALPHA LAMBDA PRESIDENT GA WHILE THEY BOTH VIEW FAU AS VERSITY COULD TAKE EXTRA ST THE ENTIRE LGBT COMMUNITY.


OUD

LEX BRUENS (LEFT) AND LAMBDA ABBY MIERNIK (RIGHT) SAID THAT S BEING LGBT-FRIENDLY, THE UNITEPS TO ENSURE IT’S INCLUSIVE OF

LGBTQ PEER MENTORING PROGRAM FAU established a peer mentoring program earlier this year for LGBT students in need of on-campus resources. Whitney Hagen, programs coordinator and licensed psychologist, is in charge of the program, which offers psychological services to LGBT students. Community members can take advantage of both one-on-one and group counseling, as well as a mentor/mentee system. The program revolves around “topics such as navigating the coming out process, getting additional information about sexual orientation and gender identity, making friends, and navigating dating experiences, as well as integrating gender and sexual identity with other identities and into other aspects of their lives,” Hagen said. The program also connects LGBT students to off-campus community resources and works closely with the FAU Women and Gender Equity Resource Center. Hagan added that “some students report feeling more confident about coming out in general as a result of the support they receive in the [program].”

LAVENDER GRADUATION FAU’s Lavender Graduation, like other universities in the U.S., honors LGBT students with a ceremony dedicated entirely to their community every semester. To participate in the graduation, students have to sign up through an online form. Bruens said that the graduation is a welcome change for students who didn’t attend inclusive high schools. “I think it’s an important event for queer people to celebrate our identity in a place that accepting,” Bruens said. “If I don’t have the opportunity to celebrate my identity in high school, that graduation gives me that opportunity.”

A WAYS TO GO Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to LGBT college students, releases an annual list of the most LGBT-friendly universities in the U.S. This past year, it gave FAU 3.5 out of 5 stars for its LGBT inclusivity, which is a C average. Out of eight categories, the organization listed FAU as needing to make significant improvements to four. These categories were also rated out of 5. The following four received a 3.5 rating or less: “policy inclusion,” housing, campus safety, and recruitment efforts. POLICY INCLUSION: 2.5 OUT OF 5

The U.S. Department of Education has civil rights laws in place that require universities receiving federal money to prohibit discrimination. To ensure they’re meeting these requirements, public universities have statements detailing their policies on discrimination. Campus Pride downgraded FAU in this category for two reasons. The first is that its anti-discrimination statement includes an anti-discrimination policy regarding sexual orientation, but not gender identity. The second is that students don’t have the option to selfidentify their sexual orientation or their gender identity. They can only identify as “male” or “female.” However, FAU scored well when it came to making it easy for students to change their name and gender identity on university documents, as well as providing health insurance coverage for employees’ same-sex partners. HOUSING: 3 OUT OF 5

FAU lost points for not having an LGBT living space or living learning community, gender-inclusive housing, and gender-inclusive showers. However, its LGBT roommate matching system, gender-inclusive restrooms in dormitories, and LGBT training for housing staff boosted its score to a passing 3. CAMPUS SAFETY: 3.5 OUT OF 5

Campus Pride listed FAU’s only flaw as needing to have active outreach to LGBT students and student organizations. It did well thanks to its active hate crime prevention training, procedure for reporting discrimination against LGBT community members, campus police training on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and support for LGBT victims of abuse. Despite this, the university only barely passed this category. RECRUITMENT EFFORTS: 3 OUT OF 5

The university has several improvements to make in this category, including LGBT-specific training for admission counselors, LGBT student scholarships, and participation in LGBT admission fairs. FAU received points though for having an LGBT peer mentoring program and Lavender Graduation.


ALMOST PERFECT Campus Pride’s other four categories, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, and counseling and health, were rated higher than the previous four, only needing slight changes to score a perfect 5/5. SUPPORT/INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENT: 4.5 OUT OF 5

The university scored points for having an LGBT resource center, staff in charge of LGBT support services, an LGBT advisory committee, a safe space, and a commitment to hiring “out” LGBT community members. The only thing the university is missing is an LGBT alumni group. ACADEMIC LIFE: 4.5 OUT OF 5

FAU did well in this category due to its inclusion of a specific LGBT courses, an LGBT studies program, recruitment of faculty for LGBT scholarships, and

faculty and staff training on sexual orientation and gender identity issues. All FAU lacks is an LGBT faculty and staff organization. STUDENT LIFE: 4 OUT OF 5

The university scored highly in this category thanks to its regular LGBT social and educational events, inclusive career services, and LGBT student organizations. However, it lost points because it doesn’t have an LGBT graduate student organization, and at the time of the report, an LGBT social fraternity or sorority didn’t exist.

PRIDE GUIDE 2: GENDER NEUTRAL RESTROOMS There are eight total buildings on the Boca campus that feature bathrooms for those who don’t wish to use the facilities that are separated by gender.

COUNSELING AND HEALTH: 4 OUT OF 5

Campus Pride reported that FAU performed favorably because of its “free, anonymous and accessible” HIV/ STI testing, LGBT health information and resources, trans-inclusive training for counseling staff, and LGBT counseling groups. Despite this, the university is missing a student health insurance policy that covers counseling for trans students and hormone replacement therapy.

PRIDE GUIDE 1: LGBT DEFINITIONS A rundown of some of the more common gender identities and sexual orientations that make up the LGBT community. Agender Someone with little or no connection to traditional gender norms Gender non-conforming Any gender expression that is non-traditional Intersex A term for someone born with both male and female sex organs, hormones, and chromosomes Genderqueer/Non-binary A term for someone who does not identify with the male/female gender binary Genderfluid A term for someone who identifies with both genders 14 UNIVERSITY PRESS 10.11.2018

Transgender A term for someone whose gender and biological sex do not align Cisgender A term for someone whose gender and biological sex align Asexual A term for someone who has little or no sexual attraction toward others Bisexual A term for someone who is attracted to both men and women Demisexual A term for someone who only experiences attraction with an emotional connection

Pansexual A term for someone who is attracted to people regardless of sex or gender Heterosexual A term for someone who is attracted to the opposite sex Gay Male term; someone who is attracted to the same gender Lesbian Female term; someone who is attracted to the same gender Queer Umbrella term for those who don’t identify as straight *Information courtesy of It’s Pronounced Metrosexual*


THE AGE

GAP FAU is made up of students as young as 14 and as old as 80.

BY ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ ILLUSTRATION BY JOEY SENA

B

ETWEEN TRANSFERS, recent high school graduates, FAU High School students, and older students starting or finishing their degrees, the age range at FAU is unique. Of the university’s 29,594 students, there are 9,722 who are 24 years or older, the average age at FAU. But the Boca campus also has 570 students between the ages of 14-18 thanks to its FAU High School program. And every year, FAU has students graduate who are as old as 81, the Sun Sentinel reported. While the age gap can be significant, students still find common ground no matter their age.

SHARED EXPERIENCES There’s one thing students old and young can agree on: college is a way to improve their situation. And

16 UNIVERSITY PRESS 10.11.2018

some believe the age gap at FAU is more important than people realize. “Having a diverse age range on a college campus increases the perspectives and experiences among its students,” 17-year-old sophmore Marissa Van Horn said. “It’s extremely valuable to have that range in lifestyle, it creates an environment in which people can learn from each other.” She added that she’s met students significantly older than her and that despite this, they had similar hobbies. “One particularly interesting conversation I had was with a man in my General Chemistry 2 lab. We found that both of us were Dungeon Masters,” Van Horn said. “It was very interesting to meet an older student who shares one of my greatest interests.” Multimedia journalism major Carlos Gomez, 55, said that despite his age, he understands the stress and

difficulties younger students will face after graduating. He added that he hates when people his age say “the younger generation has it easier than the older generation” because he thinks millennials have it just as difficult, if not more so. Kiona Kumpulainen, a 20-year-old junior communication major, has met several students around her mother’s age. “I treat them with the same respect as if they were someone my age,” Kumpulainen said. “I make them feel included in class and treat them as the fellow students they are.”

DOES AGE MATTER? Some students at FAU believe the age gap ends up being valuable in the long run.


“I believe that it is beneficial because each of us can bring something different to the table,” 27-year-old FAU math major Melecio Lara said. “I have noticed that [younger students] tend to speak differently from when I was at that age.” James Capp, FAU assistant provost for Academic Operations and Planning, said FAU values age differences in its student body. “FAU proactively recruits students from a variety of backgrounds who grew up in completely different circumstances and can share their unique insights with their peers,” Capp said. “The best classroom discussions occur as a result of hearing from new perspectives.” Sophomore biology major Sagan Potenza, 16, is an FAU High student. As part of the university program, he takes both high school and college classes on the Boca campus. Potenza said he thinks interacting with the different age groups is an opportunity to grow. “[The wide age range] allows a whole bunch of groups of people to come together and interact, and in a world that’s getting more divided every day,” he said. “I think

I can learn a lot from older students. They have much more experience than me in a ton of different situations.”

WHY FAU? There are several programs that attract older and younger students to the university, like FAU High. The dual-enrollment program allows high school students to enroll in college classes full time for free. Another program, LINK, offers priority admissions and advising for transfer students coming from Broward College, Palm Beach State College, and Indian River State College, according to Capp, which tends to attract older students. FAU also offers more than 30 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, which are traditionally pursued by older students. About a third of FAU enrollments are either fully or partially online, Capp said. Van Horn said, “Not everyone who wants to attend college has the opportunity to do so right out of high school, which is completely fine.”

MIDDLE OF THE PACK FAU FALLS IN THE MIDDLE OF SEVERAL STATE UNIVERSITIES WHEN IT COMES TO THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS OVER 24.

*Information courtesy of each university. Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, New College of Florida, the University of West Florida, the University of North Florida, and Florida Polytechnic University did not respond as of publication time.*

10.11.2018 UNIVERSITY PRESS 17


DIFFERENTLY ABLED • • • • •

Other disability – 510 students Learning Disability – 472 students Physical Impairment – 110 students Visual Impairment – 35 students Hearing Impairment – 27 students

To spotlight how diversity isn’t just about the color of one’s skin, the University Press spoke with three students registered with SAS. They share how FAU works to meet their needs, what diversity means to them, and whether or not they feel accepted at FAU.

“WE ARE NOT JUST STUDENTS WITH DIFFERENT ABILITIES”

Students with various physical or mental conditions share their experiences on campus. BY KERRI COVINGTON ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOEY SENA

18 UNIVERSITY PRESS 10.11.2018

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VERY SEMESTER, over 1,100 students work with an on-campus office to ensure their different needs are being met. These students are registered with the Student Accessibility Services office on each partner campus. The office provides accommodations to those with various impairments so that they can succeed academically and personally. As of 2016, there were 1,156 students registered with the office, according to its annual report. There are five categories students fall into, with an uneven number of students per impairment type:

Adam Sturm is a senior political science major at FAU, as well as a member of the Boca campus House of Representatives. He also has moderate to severe hearing loss, but you wouldn’t know that looking at him. When he was around 5 years old, he contracted a virus that left him with hearing loss in both ears. He’s been wearing hearing aids ever since. While he does have difficulty understanding people, he said that he’s lucky because hearing loss technology is consistently improving. When he’s not working on behalf of Student Government, he’s volunteering with his fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, which works alongside disabilities nonprofit Best Buddies. Sturm said that he thinks it’s important people who are differently abled step into leadership roles to show others they can succeed no matter what. At an on-campus event, a woman came up to him and thanked him for representing her in the student House. When he asked what she meant, she showed him her hearing aid. He said that moment really convinced him he was in the right place as a member of SG. He added that students shouldn’t be defined by their impairments. “We are not just students with different abilities … we are capable of being a part of the university, we’re not just that student in class,” Sturm said. He registered with SAS when he first arrived at FAU, and receives accomodations through them every semester, which he chose not to disclose. While he believes the office could improve its outreach through social media and Breezeway tabling, he said SAS does a great job of getting its students the help they need. As for his experience with acceptance, Sturm said FAU’s student body, faculty, and staff has been nothing but welcoming, especially SG. When he first joined, he said the House members made sure he could hear them by moving his seat to the front of the House Chambers. He believes FAU’s diverse population makes the school stand out over other public Florida universities, and that it’s something that should always be pursued.


“VERY SATISFIED” WITH FAU’S ACCESSIBILITY John Scurto is a business management major who has been attending FAU for three years. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, he’s been in a power wheelchair since he was 5 years old. He said SAS has helped him succeed academically since he registered with the office as a freshman. To make it easier for him to access his textbooks, the office offers a service where it converts textbooks into PDF files for those who have difficulty moving. SAS also has students from the general student body handle note taking for people like Scurto. He said that FAU is very wheelchair friendly, “unlike other schools in the state of Florida that are outdated and built a long time ago.” He added that he’s never had an issue with accessing a classroom or location on campus. If he could change one thing though, it would be the type of handicap spots on campus. “In the blue parking lots, it can be challenging to find a handicap spot during busy times. I use a wheelchair accessible van with a ramp that deploys from the side, so it is essential for me to have a handicap spot,” he said. “I think a great way to solve this issue would be to have parking spots that are designated only for vehicles that need a ramp for the disabled passenger to exit the vehicle.” Other than that, Scurto said he’s “very satisfied with the SAS office and the accessibility of FAU’s campus.”

EYEING UP EVENTS To celebrate SAS students and spread disability awareness, FAU will host five events this October across its three main campuses.

BOCA: WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 12-2 p.m. WHERE: Student Union, Grand Palm Room WHAT: The “Shine a Light on Abilities

Luncheon” will have motivational speakers and students performing various talents to promote awareness of FAU students with disabilities. There will be free food and drink, as well as interactive activities.

“THEY KNOW THAT I’M NOT JUST A NUMBER” Grant Baron is a freshman multimedia studies major. When he was around 3 years old, he was diagnosed with dysgraphia dyslexia, which is classified as both a physical and mental learning impairment. Baron said his condition makes it virtually impossible for him, or anyone else, to read his handwriting as his muscles quickly get worn out. He said he also processes things differently than most. Because of this, he receives test accommodations through SAS. For his written exams, he’s given extended time, as well as being allowed to type his responses on a computer. Baron added that the SAS office members have always treated him with kindness and respect. “I think SAS is doing a great job … I saw [my coordinator] outside of the office and she waved to me, kind of like that personal touch...they know that I’m not just a number.” Like Sturm, Baron said that he hasn’t faced any discrimination at FAU because of his condition. He agrees that FAU’s diverse campus helps play a role in that. “Everyone just seems supportive,” he said. “They understand that I just need extra time to get my thoughts out.”

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. WHERE: Wimberly Library lobby WHAT: Stop by the Wimberly Library to

participate in the 70273 Quilt Project. Created by Jeane Hewell-Chambers, this project remembers individuals with disabilities who were murdered during the Holocaust. Students are invited to help gather 70,273 blocks of white fabric that will be stitched together into quilts.

JUPITER: WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 18 from 9-11 a.m. WHERE: Student Resources Atrium WHAT: Stop by the Atrium to meet the Jupiter

SAS staff, as well as enjoy a free breakfast while promoting disability awareness.

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 18 from 2-4 p.m. WHERE: Student Resources, The Burrow WHAT: Students will be provided with various

materials (shells, stones, sand, etc) to create an art piece that showcase “all of the abilities within each student.”

DAVIE: WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 12-1:30 p.m. WHERE: Student Union, Room 105 WHAT: The Disability Awareness Luncheon will

be similar to the luncheon taking place on the Boca campus on Oct. 24. There will be interactive activities, as well as free food and drink. *Information courtesy of each campus’ SAS office.*

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MAKING ENDS

MEET FAU’s population largely consists of middle and lower income students. BY HOPE DEAN ILLUSTRATION BY JOEY SENA

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HILE Boca Raton is known for its wealthy residents, most of the FAU student body comes from a different background. The majority of FAU students are from middle class families. The average FAU student’s family makes about $75,400 per year, reported the New York Times. This is $14,000 above the U.S. median household income, according to Business Insider, but still within the middle class. Despite this, the university does have its extremes — a third of students come from families whose incomes put them in the top 20 percent of the economy, and another 10 percent come from the bottom 20. Kuntal Banerjee, an FAU economics professor, believes that “our university actually caters to middle and lower income families, working people, which is a positive thing.”

INCOME DIVIDE FAU is one of Florida’s 12 public universities, which contributes to the middle-class nature of its students — the “rich and famous” of Boca Raton don’t typically send their children to FAU, Banerjee said. They go to private

schools instead, where those from low income families also attend, but are covered by extensive scholarships that a richer school would have the funds to hand out, he added. Banerjee said the main divide he sees on campus is between college students who have to work to cover their bills and those who don’t. “The reason they are doing it is in most cases not because they want to earn an extra buck even though they’re doing well, but they probably need that job,” he said. When he taught at private Ivy League college Cornell, Banerjee said he didn’t see a single student who was working on the side. At FAU, however, he sees them all the time, especially the ones taking night classes. Night classes, as well as online classes, are one way that FAU caters to the working population. Many people work from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and can’t be “day-time scholars” like the typical college student, he said. “Students that work full time typically self-select to take night classes … but I can see how hard that is …” he said. “if you work from 5-9 in the day, do you think you can sit for three hours? I don’t think you can. It’s just not feasible.” Although, there are downsides to night classes as well. All of the time slots are three hours long, but only take place once a week, since many students live as far away as Miami and can’t come to campus very often. He added that despite this, night classes still give students a chance who otherwise wouldn’t have time to pursue their degree. Cornell didn’t even offer night classes, he said.

MONEY MATTERS FAU is home to Federal Work Study programs, where eligible students from lower income backgrounds are able to work part time on campus to help cover their tuition costs. Out of FAU’s 30,000 or so students, there were 320 students in the program in 2017-18, Assistant Vice President for Financial Aid Tracy Boulukos said. And the university’s Financial Aid office aids students in setting up tuition payment plans. In 2017, there were 36,289

10.11.2018 UNIVERSITY PRESS 21


visits to the Financial Aid office, while in 2018, there were 32,092 visits to the upstairs room in Student Services. FAU also gives out regular scholarships. For the 2017-18 school year, 31,171 grants or scholarships were awarded, with 16,110 students receiving at least one each. That’s over half of FAU’s student population. The scholarships and grants are given out based on data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The number of FAFSA applications saw a decline at FAU from 2014-17, and the number of students receiving need-based awards did as well. But this trend “significantly reversed” in the 2017-18 school year with the implementation of “prior-prior FAFSA,” which makes tax data required by FAFSA more accessible, Boulukos said. “Families that previously would consider themselves unable to complete the FAFSA early due to the lack of final tax data now are more likely to have the data needed to complete the FAFSA readily available,” she said. FAFSA data is also necessary to take out student loans. About 35 percent of undergrad students are taking out student loans this year, and 38 percent of grad students, she added.

UNIVERSITY SUPPORT Some programs make sure that students don’t have to pay tuition at all. One is the FAU Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program, which provides first-generation college students with full tuition and housing so they can graduate with little or no debt. FAU has 5,482 first-generation college students, according to university public records custodian Rachelle Hollingsworth. That’s about 1/6 of the school’s population. So FAU set up a program called RISE, or Reaching Individual Success and Empowerment in 2015. The program recruits first-generation students and has 150 members as of fall 2018. It helps its members find financial assistance, since most first-generation college students come from low-income households. First-generation college students face challenges that average students don’t, Director of First-Generation Student Success Ron Oliver said. “Research tells us that 25% [of] first-generation students drop-out within their first year of college; many within their first semester … They don’t have a support system at home that can help them navigate all of our processes or through the academic journey …” he said. “They oftentimes attended lower performing high schools that do not offer honors or advanced placement and, therefore, are not as academically prepared.” To help prevent that 25 percent from dropping out, RISE provides mentoring, academic support, and internships for its members. These students are more likely to get flagged by FAFSA for records verification, which can discourage them from going through with the process. They also typically work one to two jobs at a time, which means they don’t have as much time to study, Oliver added.

22 UNIVERSITY PRESS 10.11.2018

HOW FAU RANKS Overall, FAU’s tuition rate is cheaper than most, which is part of what draws students to the school, Banerjee said. Around 52 percent of FAU students graduate with debt, and the average is $23,504 per graduate. This is lower than the national average: 57 percent of students graduate with an average debt of $29,000, Boulukos said. Banerjee said that FAU’s pricings and programs that cater toward middle and lower-class populations are ultimately a case of supply and demand — the university shapes its services around its student body’s economic background. He added, “If you ask me whether or not it’s a conscious choice or whether we [do] that because the market needed us to, I don’t know that answer. But I think it’s a little bit of both.”

BANKROLL BREAKDOWN FAU’s median family income is near the bottom of the list when it comes to the rest of the state’s public colleges.

*Information courtesy of the New York Times. Data on Florida Polytechnic University. Florida State University, and the University of North Florida was not available as of publication time.*


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