IN THE DARK Records shed light on sexual misconduct at state universities
STORY BY NICOLE ARES HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU
Murray State University lecturer continues to teach four classes a semester after the university found he “inappropriately” touched, kissed and asked a student to be photographed nude and was accused of harassment by three other women. An Eastern Kentucky University professor quietly resigned after the university determined he sent more than 25 sexually explicit emails to a student in his class. He now teaches at a university 800 miles away. A Western Kentucky University assistant professor accused of misconduct resigned for the following year, ending the university’s investigation. WKU refuses to release information on six employees who were found to have violated the university sexual misconduct policy since 2013 because the employees resigned before “ﬁnal action.” Across the state, employees have been found in violation of misconduct policies for creating “hostile” environments, “inappropriately” touching students and having sexual relationships with students. In most cases, the public learns little about the allegations or the results of the university’s investigations. A review of more than 1,200 pages of records obtained through public records requests to seven Kentucky universities revealed 62 employees in violation of their universities’ sexual misconduct and discrimination policies since 2011. Fewer than half of the employees were terminated from their positions. Some resigned and moved on to other universities, which would be unlikely to know about the misconduct. Other employees received punishments ranging from warnings to sexual harassment training sessions and were allowed to remain in the classroom or on staff. These statistics do not include incidents at schools, such as WKU and Kentucky State University, that refused to release records related to sexual misconduct and discrimination altogether. All seven universities cited privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Title IX to withhold or redact the records. Deborah Wilkins, general counsel at WKU, said the decision to completely withhold records is intended to protect victims. “I have to weigh the person’s privacy interests against the public’s right to know,” Wilkins said. “I don’t see how disclosing that type of information is more important than having a system that works, that helps the victim and that gives them a place to conﬁdentially come forward with a complaint.” Critics say universities are protecting perpetrators by hiding sexual misconduct from other students and the public. “Was this employee telling the occasional off-color joke or was this employee pressuring students to submit to sex in exchange for grades?” questioned Frank LoMonte, director of the Student Press Law Center, who has more than 20 years of experience dealing with similar cases. “The public doesn’t need to know the accuser, but they certainly need to know how serious the behavior was,” he added. SEE STORY ON NEXT PAGE
NOVEMBER The Herald sent eight open records requests to:
The Herald asked for all “Title IX investigations into sexual misconduct allegations involving [university] employees in the last ﬁve years.” WKU and K-State refused to release the requested records.
DECEMBER The Herald received redacted employee sexual misconduct records from the ﬁve remaining schools.
JANUARY The Herald reviewed more than 1,200 pages of employee sexual misconduct records.
FEBRUARY The Herald began reaching out to professors who violated sexual misconduct policy.
MARCH The Herald sent more than 10 open records requests for employee personnel ﬁles. The Herald sent a records request for all documents related to the resignation of former WKU assistant philosophy professor Adrian Switzer. The Herald interviewed university officials, experts and attorneys about the cases.
APRIL The Herald continued to interview university officials, experts and attorneys about the cases. The Herald continued to reach out to professors who violated sexual misconduct policy. The Herald ﬁnalized interviews and reviewed documents.
DESIGN BY CRAIG OSTERTAG
Final issue of the Spring 2017 semester. The print edition of the College Heights Herald will return Aug. 22. Follow WKUHerald.com during summer.
MAY 4, 2017
Magee has made my life a living hell.” A student told the Office of Equal Opportunity about a lecturer at Murray State.
Repeat offenders not taken out of the classroom
cross the state at least 31 employees who were found to have violated sexual misconduct and discrimination policies since 2011 have kept their positions at Kentucky public universities. This includes Murray State University lecturer William Gross Magee, who was accused of sexual harassment by four students. The ﬁrst student submitted a complaint to the Office of Equal Opportunity after two semesters of “sexual and verbal harassment,” according to documents obtained from Murray State through an open records request. The student told the Office of Equal Opportunity that Magee offered her a drink from the tequila bottle lying in the backseat of his car after a ﬁeld trip. The student said he William then reached across the Gross seat, put his hand on her Magee knee and kissed her, she Murray State said in her complaint. Magee then told the woman he wanted to take nude pictures of her and he assured her they would be “tasteful,” she told the Office of Equal Opportunity. He invited her to follow him back to an address, which was redacted from the records. She drove in the opposite direction, the student said in her complaint. The next week after class, Magee approached the student and apologized for his behavior saying it was “unlike him,” she told officials. Magee later conﬁrmed to the Office of Equal Opportunity that he acted “inappropriately” on the ﬁeld trip. But the student said the encounters with Magee did not end there, according to her complaint to the Office of Equal Opportunity. The next semester, she took another class taught by Magee because she was already enrolled and it was paid for, she said in her complaint. Magee asked the woman to drinks and questioned her ongoing divorce, she told the Office of Equal Opportunity. “I feel ashamed at how much I have let this man harass me,” the woman said in her complaint. “I kept telling myself I could handle it and he continued doing it.” The student decided to come forward after “two young girls” in her class claimed Magee would offer them a better grade if they “ﬂashed him,” she told university officials. “Magee has made my life a living hell,” she told the Office of Equal Opportunity. This student was one of four who came forward with allegations against Magee since 2011, according to the Ofﬁce of Equal Opportunity documents. Three other female students claimed they had experienced similar verbal harassment by Magee and two of them claimed Magee propositioned them to “ﬂash him,” according to their complaints.
Magee admitted to acting “inappropriately” on the ﬁeld trip and that he made an advance on her, he told the Office of Equal Opportunity during a review process. “In every complaint there is some grain of truth, and a lot of misinformation and things taken the wrong way,” Magee said in his response ﬁled with the Office of Equal Opportunity. “I agree that I acted inappropriately with [name redacted]. However, at the time she showed no negative attitude about the issue, in fact in my opinion, offered some encouragement. For example, telling me I had great eyes, etc.” At the conclusion of his response to the Office of Equal Opportunity, Magee said: “I however vehemently deny that I sexually harassed her or any other student.” Overall, Murray State officials found Magee’s actions subjected the initial student to sexual harassment and created a hostile environment for all women. The university required Magee to undergo sexual harassment training sessions and issued a written warning as punishment. In the spring 2017 semester, Magee taught four classes and more than 60 students at Murray State University. Magee did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails from the Herald seeking comment.
Not the ﬁrst one, not the last one
niversities allowing policy violators to remain in the classroom is not limited to Murray State University. More than 300 miles across the state, a Northern Kentucky University professor kept his job after several accounts of sexual harassment spanning more than 10 years, according to documents obtained through an open records request. In both cases, NKU officials referred to the sexual harassment as “serious” and gave Dennis Miller, a philosophy lecturer, written warnings. In 2007, a female student approached Miller expressing concerns about her ﬁnal paper. The freshman student was having trouble understanding the material, and Miller agreed to meet after hours to “help her out,” she later told Steve Meier, who then served as associate for the dean of stuDennis dents. Miller However, little disNKU cussion of her ﬁnal paper occurred during the meeting, she told Meier. According to a university document detailing the complaint, Miller talked about his upcoming book and put his hand on her knee twice during the discussion. After smoking cigarettes and talking for half an hour, Miller walked with the student across campus to her car, brushed her hair into place and kissed her cheek, she told Meier. The student submitted a complaint because she wanted someone to speak with professor Miller about the situa-
tion so he didn’t have similar encounters with other students, she said in her complaint to the university. When Meier confronted Miller about the allegations, Miller admitted everything in the report was accurate, according to a document detailing their meeting. At the time, Meier “strongly” advised Miller to keep his distance from students, according to a document detailing their meeting. In 2015, Miller made another student “uncomfortable” with “inappropriate” text messages, touching and kissing her on the cheek, according to a university document detailing the complaint. Miller conﬁrmed the claims were accurate to university officials, according to a document detailing their meeting. Katherine Frank, who then served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, advised Miller to “evaluate carefully correspondence with all students,” according to an email from Frank to Miller. Miller apologized for his actions, agreed to stop contact with the student and said he would be more conscious about interactions with students, he told university officials. NKU was not the only school where Miller was the subject of misconduct complaints. While working as a lecturer at NKU, he was also working as a bus driver for the Campbell County School District. Students in the Campbell County School District ﬁled three complaints against Miller saying he made inappropriate comments on the job, according to documents obtained by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The most recent incident occurred in 2015 with comments about pornography and other obscenities, which led to a two-day suspension, according to documents obtained by the Enquirer. Miller was ﬁred from the school district when the former interim superintendent Donald Pace learned about the NKU accusations in June 2016. He worked for the Campbell County School District for 22 years. “He was automatically dismissed and is no longer an employee here,” Pace, who died in September 2016, told the Enquirer at the time. “When we discovered what was happening at NKU, that gave an indication of a continual pattern and we can’t have that around our boys and girls.” Miller told The Enquirer he was going to retire anyway when he was informed of the dismissal. He also told The Enquirer the school district was “just protecting itself from public perception.” “I really have done nothing wrong here,” Miller told The Enquirer in June 2016. “It’s not surprising to me what they have done, but they are quick to throw bus drivers under the bus anytime there is a complaint instead of really getting our side.” Miller continued teaching at NKU for the remainder of the spring 2016 semester, but his contract was not renewed for the 2016-2017 year. He worked at NKU for 27 years. The Herald attempted to contact Miller with multiple phone calls, but he did not respond before publication.
STORY CONTINUES TO PAGE 3
MAY 4, 2017
Offenders move on to work at other universities
f employees’ positions are terminated or they resign or retire after a violation, their case is often not made public and they are able to work at other universities At least eight of the 62 employees who violated university policy are working at other schools scattered across the country, according to the records the Herald was able to obtain. Heavily redacted records from Eastern Kentucky University revealed a sexual harassment complaint against assistant professor Nicholas Santangelo submitted in 2012. The student said Santangelo sent sexually explicit emails to her and she found the conNicholas Santangelo duct “unwelcome and unwanted,” she told the Equal Opportunity EKU Office. According to the report, the online conversations began in late February “with jokes about professors teaching for sex and money.” In early May 2012, the student and Santangelo were engaging in a sexually explicit email chain. Santangelo sent 17 emails of “sexual nature” to the student and she sent 11 back on May 1, 2012, according to the Equal Opportunity Office report. The student said she willingly engaged in the conversations at ﬁrst, according to the complaint. However, the conversations became sexually explicit to the point where “she could no longer disengage,” she told the Equal Opportunity Office. When the woman ﬁled a complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office reviewed the emails between Santangelo and the woman and seized the hard drives of his current and recently replaced laptop computers. After a thorough investigation, the Equal Opportunity Office concluded that Santangelo behaved “inappropriately” and violated the school’s sexual harassment and nondiscrimination policy. Santangelo sent more than 25 sexually explicit emails to the student from his EKU email and private Gmail
accounts, the Equal Opportunity Office found in its review. When the investigation concluded in July, the Equal Opportunity Office recommended “appropriate” disciplinary action be taken to prevent any future recurrence—but did not recommend his termination. Santangelo, a tenured professor at EKU, resigned from the university and began teaching at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, the following year. Howard Greenberg, an attorney representing Santangelo, said Santangelo’s decision to teach at Hofstra University predated the Equal Opportunity Office investigation. Greenberg said Santangelo, who is originally from Long Island, was looking to relocate his family closer to his former home. Greenberg said in an email the heavily redacted documents obtained by the Herald should be “private and conﬁdential.” “Any implication in your reporting that Dr. Santangelo was censured in any way as a result of the investigation would be improper,” Greenberg said in an email on Wednesday, May 3.
Universities refuse to release investigation records
y concealing serious sexual misconduct violations from the public, universities can handle the cases in private, allowing professors or other employees to continue working at the school, or allowing them to resign and move on to work at other universities. Universities protect this information by heavily redacting public documents on those cases. Other universities, like WKU and Kentucky State University, generally refuse to release the documents at all. At WKU, six employees have violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy since 2013, according to Andrea Anderson, Title IX coordinator. The university says because the employees resigned before “ﬁnal action” was taken, it does not have to release the records. A separate records request disclosed emails discussing former assistant professor of philosophy Adrian Switzer’s resignation for the following
year after allegations of misconduct in 2012. The details of the allegations against Switzer are unclear because WKU generally refuses to release information detailing the incident. A chain of emails Adrian discussing Switzer’s Switzer resignation shows the university allowed him WKU to continue teaching for the remainder of the school year if he agreed to limit student contact and submit a resignation letter for the following year. “Your involvement with students must be limited to class time and to office hours: there is to be no social or extracurricular student engagement,” former Potter College of Arts and Letters Dean David Lee wrote in an email to Switzer on September 17, 2012. If the university received “credible evidence” Switzer was not limiting student contact, WKU would “fully and aggressively” investigate the incident, Lee said in an email to Switzer. After ﬁnishing the remainder of the school year at WKU, Switzer was hired by the University of Missouri-Kansas City as an associate teaching professor in fall 2014. During an interview last month, Lee, who currently serves as provost, said concerns against Switzer developed and they were not ignored. The university decided action needed to be taken, but Switzer’s decision to resign was his own, Lee said. In evaluating its action in these kind of cases, Lee said the university examines the magnitude of the offense and decides if a resignation is sufficient. “If it clearly rises to the level of a very serious violation and a very clear exercise of very poor judgment, then a resignation might be something that you would ask for,” Lee said. The university must also decide if an immediate resignation is necessary, depending on how “egregious” the situation seems to be, Lee explained. Lee said the case may not have been handled the same way today. “This was ﬁve years ago and the climate is somewhat different now,” he said. “There are different expectations around the handling of these matters.” Switzer did not respond to multiple attempts by the Herald to reach him by phone and email.
STORY CONTINUES TO PAGE 4
LEVELS OF REDACTION These documents from NKU, Murray State and UK were obtained through open records requests to Kentucky public universities.
MAY 4, 2017
Universities withhold records to ‘protect victims’
n an opinion piece submitted to the Herald, WKU President Gary Ransdell said the university is withholding sexual misconduct and discrimination records to protect the safety and privacy of the victims. “Only the victim has the right to choose to make a crime against him or her public,” Ransdell wrote. WKU denied the Herald’s request to inspect records of university sexual misconduct policy violations, citing various exceptions to the Kentucky Open Records Act. Among the exceptions was a provision that allows records that are “preliminary in nature” to be withheld — meaning the investigation hasn’t ofﬁcially concluded. These records include the investigations of six employees who have violated WKU’s discrimination and sexual misconduct policy since 2013 and have resigned. Attorney Jon Fleischaker, who was instrumental in the creation of the Kentucky Open Records Act, said WKU calling the records “preliminary” is inaccurate. “Once it’s done, it’s done,” said Fleis-
chaker, who has consulted for the Herald on Kentucky open records laws. “Since the initial complaint resulted in the resignation of a university employee, those records are no longer preliminary.” The Kentucky Attorney General’s Ofﬁce found WKU in violation of the Open Records Act in January and ordered the university to turn over the records to the Herald. WKU then sued the Herald in February to appeal the ruling— the school’s only option other than releasing the records.
Universities withhold records to ‘protect image’
oMonte of the Student Press Law Center believes there is an incentive for universities to conceal the fact that many harassment complaints go unpunished in order to protect their images. Public universities are now relying on student retention and outside donations more than ever, according to a Center of Budget and Policy Priorities report. In Kentucky, per-student funding for universities is down by more than 30 percent since the start of the Great Re-
cession. Additionally, Kentucky is one of 12 states to cut per-student funding consecutively in 2015 and 2016, according to the report. Because of higher education cuts across the nation, the funding market has gotten more competitive and colleges are more image-conscious, LoMonte said. “There is almost nothing more damaging to recruitment than having the public believe you are a college where the professors sexually harass the students,” he said. LoMonte, who has more than 20 years experience dealing with similar cases, believes there is a public interest in knowing how cases of serious sexual misconduct cases are handled. “The proper solution is to redact the names and any personal identiﬁers” of victims, he said. “In a normal investigation, that should be very much possible to do. Just give the public the facts.” Instead, many universities refuse to release sexual misconduct records or heavily redact the records to the point where the severity of the misconduct is unidentiﬁable, leaving the public in the dark. “We don’t let government agencies decide that certain records are conﬁdential because they’re afraid of the conclusions the public is going to jump to,” LoMonte said. “The public needs to know if serious wrongdoings are being adequately punished.”
STEPS OF A HYPOTHETICAL TITLE IX INVESTIGATION *This information was obtained from an interview with WKU Title IX Coordinator Andrea Anderson in February.
A student submits a complaint to the Title IX office at WKU.
Title IX conducts a “thorough” investigation of the complaint including, but not limited to, interviews with students, witnesses and colleagues.
Title IX officials decide if there is a policy violation or not.
If Title IX officials feel there is a policy violation, they will “hypothetically” say to the employee: “Things don’t look good.” “You know what the accusations are, you admit you did wrong.” “You admit to the things we are basing this policy violation on.”
The employee may choose to resign or retire.
This leaves the investigation “open” or “unconcluded” and ends the it.
The Title IX office can only ensure they no longer work for WKU.
Title IX does not have the ability to keep them from getting future employment.
At WKU, their personnel ﬁle is marked “ineligible for rehire.”
If a future employer calls and asks why, Human Resources cannot explain why.
MAY 4, 2017 > WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY > VOLUME 92, ISSUE 53
Farewell to Ransdell
President Gary and his wife stop to talk employees, students and faculty as their retirement party draws to a close on Tuesday at the Alumni Center. SILAS WALKER/HERALD
Ransdell retirement party celebrates achievements BY REBEKAH ALVEY HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Augenstein Alumni Center Tuesday afternoon to honor and thank President Gary Ransdell and his wife Julie Ransdell one more time for their 20 years of leadership at WKU. The Alumni Association hosted the reception to celebrate the Ransdells’ achievements before their retirement this summer. The Alumni Association offers a celebration to every faculty member upon his or her retirement. Ginny Hensley, director of alumni engagement and relations, said this celebration was made a little more special because of all the work Ransdell has done for WKU and the community. Provost David Lee, President of the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education Robert King and senior Ellen Linder all made remarks at the reception on Ransdell’s impact and the legacy he will be leaving at WKU. Lee said Ransdell had brought an exciting vision of what is possible for WKU. One of his initiatives was expanding WKU to be a leading university; King said Ransdell has lived up to the name “Leading University with International Reach.” “He transformed an almost deserted hillside into a college campus,” Lee said. King said the biggest impact Ransdell has had was giving the university a confidence in its ability to produce superb graduates and compete on an international level.
After working with Ransdell for nine years, King said he is undoubtedly going to miss him. King, who works with all Kentucky university presidents, explained that despite competing interests on other campuses, Ransdell has been successful at balancing doing what is best for the university and the state. King said when he thinks of the Ransdells, the words “destination” and “destiny” come to mind. He explained while most people see the presidency at WKU as a stepping stone, the Ransdells were where they genuinely wanted to be and have had an extraordinary love for the university. When they arrived, he said, there was a vision for the destiny of the university which has now been achieved. Lee said Julie and Gary Ransdell had become high profile public leaders who give people a personal connection. Linder, who serves as the Spirit Master chair, spoke about how Ransdell has been active in student life. In her remarks Linder said Ransdell found time to make relationships with students, listen to their problems and make changes to solve them. She also recalled how Julie Ransdell, through her assistance with Spirit Masters, has encouraged Linder to see the beauty and potential in everyone. Linder also recalled a time when Ransdell spoke with the Spirit Masters during a retreat. She explained how he motivated them with the phrase “be all in.” “He was all in for making WKU a better place for us,” Linder said. Linder said her graduation
President Gary Ransdell embraces graduating senior Ellen Linder at his retirement party on Tuesday in the Alumni Center. SILAS WALKER/HERALD would be bittersweet, especially knowing Ransdell is leaving as well. At the end of the event, the Ransdells were presented with the first of many volumes of memories and notes written by faculty, staff and students. President Ransdell’s official last day will be July 1. Ransdell said he still has a to-do list and is checking things off every day with no intention to rest until his final hour. Ransdell emphasized the importance of having a transition in the presidency that is healthy, positive and fun. He said it is important to understand that next semester will be Caboni’s presidency and leadership, and he will have the support of the Ransdells. King said he has met Caboni and will be working with him to become oriented. He said it is im-
portant he begins his presidency in a fundamentally healthy and positive environment. Lee said Caboni would be bringing his own vision to WKU, but there is a lot of momentum from Ransdell Caboni can channel. Ransdell spoke about the events of the past year, which he said have been fun but also emotional with so many lasts. Ransdell said he wants all of the students to be all in and control their destiny. “This is about you,” Ransdell said, echoing his statement at the Board of Regents meeting 20 years ago after being selected as WKU’s ninth president.
Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and email@example.com.
MAY 4, 2017
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
A2 Popeyes to leave college campuses, to be replaced BY MONICA KAST HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU Popeyes will no longer have a location at WKU beginning next semester, according to Aramark employees. According to a sign posted at the Pearce-Ford Tower Food Court, “Popeyes will be leaving the WKU campus at the end of the spring semester.” The sign also states “the decision was made by Popeyes, not the University, and is occurring at other Universities served by Popeyes.” Karen Cutler, vice president of corporate communications at Aramark, confirmed Popeyes would be leaving campus in an email. “I can tell you that Popeye’s did not renew their contract at WKU,” Cutler wrote. “We have been told that they are shifting their focus to their traditional retail stores instead of campus locations.” Cutler also said WKU was working to find a new restaurant to fill
the space in Pearce-Ford Tower Food Court. Lousiville sophomore Ali Tilford said she used to go to the Pearce-Ford Tower Food Court regularly when she lived in PFT. Tilford said she felt the options for food at the bottom of the Hill were “diminishing,” pointing out that JuiceBlendz closed last year and was replaced with Freshens. “I was already upset about Juice Blendz closing,” Tilford said. “Now there’s going to be nothing at the bottom of the Hill worth eating.” Tilford said she used to frequently eat at both Juice Blendz and Popeyes because of the options they had for students on meal plans and the proximity to PFT. Tilford said she would like to see something like Chick-fil-A or Starbucks at the bottom of the Hill, but noted those were “probably expensive options” for the university. Cutler was unable to say how the new restaurant would be decided, or when it would open.
find a $25 gift card to
A student walks past Popeye’s on Wednesday May 3. The restaurant will be closing down its only Bowling Green location at the end of the semester. BROOK JOYNER/HERALD
Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at (270) 745-0655 or monica. firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the sign posted at Pearce-Ford Tower Food Court, “the new restaurant will be opening fall 2017.”
AG files response to WKU motion in records lawsuit BY JACOB DICK
argues WKU’s motion is wrongly comparing the two cases and is an example of how the university wishes to hide any allegation from the public. “Each and every file dealing with such allegations is unique, and a university must justify its withholding of each and every document in these files under the Open Records Act,” Beshear wrote in the response. “Indeed, the University’s Motion to Stay exemplifies how the University is trying to shield every allegation of sexual assault and harassment from public scrutiny and, ultimately, accountability for how the University handles such matters.” Beshear filed a motion to intervene in WKU’s lawsuit against the Herald and the Kernel in late March. The hearing scheduled for May 15, in Warren Circuit Court, will be the first hearing in the case.
Look for me at the pillars of a living campus legend
Herald Black Box 2017
The Office of the Attorney General has issued an opposition response to WKU’s motion for a stay of its lawsuit against the College Heights Herald, University of Kentucky’s student paper the Kentucky Kernel and Attorney General Andy Beshear. WKU’s motion to be heard before a Warren County judge on May 15 would ask for a stay in the case until the lawsuit between UK and Beshear is decided. WKU’s motion claims the stay should be granted because “the UK case is identical to the case at hand,” and answers questions about Title IX sexual misconduct records and the powers of the Attorney General. “Issuing a stay of this case would save time, reduce parties’ litigation expenses, and promote judicial economy and efficient resolution of the issues,” the WKU’s lawyer Thomas Kerrick wrote in the motion. The response from Beshear’s office
Reporter Jacob Dick can be reached at 270-745-6011 and jacob.dick@ wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ jdickjournalism.
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Community members hold candles at the Bowling Green Massacre Remembrance Gathering Feb. 3. Organizer Justin Swindle, 27, said it all began as a joke with friends. “It somehow got super popular,” Swindle said, ”so we tried to make it matter by collecting donations.” Donations were given to the International Center of Kentucky. ABBY POTTER/HERALD
A protestor points to the word “Fascist” on his sign while a Trump supporter fakes tears in response from inside a restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue. Demonstrators shouted and pressed signs against this window while those inside sipped champagne and watched. This continued until a woman got up and closed the blinds.
The band and orchestra perform music for “Suor Angelica” on March 29 at Van Meter. The operas were a co-production between the music and theatre departments, who come together each spring for either an opera or a musical. BROOK
The infamous Hollywood sign located in Los Angeles, California can be seen by hiking the Aileen Getty Ridge Trail which is an all-around four-mile hike on Mt. Lee in the Santa Montica Mtns. The Hollywood sign has been standing since 1973 and is an American cultural icon as well as a landmark for tourists. EVAN MATTINGLY/HERALD
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MAY 4, 2017 > WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
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Semester draws nigh, don’t fret yet BY KALYN JOHNSON HERALD.OPINION@WKU.EDU
ILLUSTRATION BY EMILY VOGLER
Awarding Achievement A
Join the Herald on the red carpet for the Marsupial awards
nother chapter of life slowly comes to a close here on the Hill. As the semester slowly begins to wrap up, a strange mixture of panic and delight can be felt. If you listen closely to the wind you can hear the faint whispers of those who came before us offering words of encouragement. “You can do it,” the voices say. “I believe in you,” they utter on the winds. “You probably shouldn’t take so many shots before your final in the morning,” they say with a tinge of concern in their voice. Per Herald tradition, our last paper of the spring semester means it’s time for us to look back at this semester on the Hill and celebrate our favorite moments. Join us, friends, on the red carpet as we hand out the Marsupial Awards. Leaving WKU is never easy, or inexpensive, and no one knows that more than President Gary Ransdell. The Bon voyage award goes to Ransdell in the hopes he enjoys his newfound position as president and CEO of Semester at Sea. He’s steered WKU through some harsh waters and, like any good captain, is electing to jump overboard before we hit another rough patch. We give the Student Government Association the Talkin’ bout my reparations award for attempting to start a needed conversation about hurdles faced by black students in higher education, only to not know what the conversation would later come to entail.
The entire city of Bowling Green receives the Stayin Alive award for surviving the notorious #BowlingGreenMassacre. The massacre was a true testament to the strength of the people of Bowling Green, and a testament to how surreal everything is now. We will never, never forget. The Board of Regents is the proud recipient of the See no president, speak no president, hear no president award for doing a completely closed door search for WKU’s next president. Heaven forbid we actually want to know who our president is going to be before we wake up the next day with a new one. For getting into a fight with members of Pi Kappa Alpha, we give members of the WKU football team the Flag on the play award. On the bright side, this probably won’t hinder your chances of getting drafted in the future. Tim Caboni is the proud recipient of the New kid on the block award for becoming WKU’s president-elect. We can’t wait to see how much money the university will spend on bow ties for every incoming student. Maybe they’ll even start to become fashionable again. To Aramark Food Service we give the A fee by any other name would smell as sweet award for putting an extra $75 onto our student bills for the students choosing to not opt into meal plans by a company that serves correctional facilities. Members of the Bowling Green
Fairness Campaign get the Pass me the megaphone award for continuing to fight the good fight and get Bowling Green city government to adopt a fairness ordinance. The university administration deservedly wins the Successive suers award. Between the Herald, the Kernel, the attorney general and the Kentucky Retirement System, we think you’ve earned it. Hope no one minds the fees you all rack up for legal representation, who knows what else that money could be going towards. To the Ford Explorer that crash landed onto the steps of Cravens Library, we hope you’ve had your moment of wreck-ignition. We bestow to you the Not-all-terrain award. Also, we hope your book wasn’t too overdue. We give the students, faculty and staff of WKU the Blindsided award for the round of budget cuts which are likely coming after finals week. What, you thought that $6 million budget shortfall for this year was the biggest of our worries? To Deborah Wilkins, we give the award for diligently . Everyone can expect their award in three to five business days, overnight shipping costs extra and gift wrapping is not available. See you all next semester.
We’ve got a little under 200 hours of the academic year left. This is the time where the professor’s hand picked by Satan tell you the final is cumulative, no extra credit is available and meeting with them will do nothing to get you that minimum grade. The world is burning, but everything is fine. You’ve drank 12 cups of coffee in the past 48 hours, but everything is fine. Everything is truly fine. This isn’t the time to shut down yet, no. We don’t shut down until the last scantron is colored in, the last essay is submitted on Blackboard, the last meeting is ended with professors and the last of our print allocation is spent. We keep trunking and pushing forward because that’s what Hilltoppers do. After winning any football game, I hear students say, “Tops on Top!”, and we are on top; you are on top. Hilltoppers make a plan for how they’ll do better the next semester. The equivalent of letting those grades that are on the cusp of pass fail take a back seat, which will then lead to your grade’s demise. Don’t let your negative emotions stand in the way of your academic success. Keep in mind, we’re at the point where the professors hand picked by the Lord himself begin to assign extra credit assignments and tell us there is a curve–praise the Lord there is a curve! We’re at the point where we all still have a chance to pull out of that class with the minimum grade to pass. C’s get degrees, right? So shoot for a B and maybe you’ll get an A with the curve. The point is, we’re almost there. Rejoice in the fact that we’ve all made it this far. To give up this late is to throw away everything you’ve worked toward up to this point. Climb the hill one more time, bubble in one more scantron, then raise a glass to the end of the semester, you deserve it.
Keeping meals proportionate, healthy tips for eating out BY KELLY BURGESS HERALD.OPINION@WKU.EDU Have you ever gone to a restaurant, ordered something that sounded appetizing, and had something totally unexpected placed in front of you on the table? This is the story of my life, and it is almost comical now. I remember the first time I went to Zaxby’s–I was young and not very hungry at the time, so I decided to order a salad–you know, something light. I had never made a less accurate assumption–I unknowingly ordered a mountain of food that could have fed three of me, and I was overwhelmed! Surely I am not the only one this has happened to. Some restaurants pride themselves on “generous” helpings, and “heaping” portions of items “smothered” in sauces and toppings.
Although it may sound tasty at first, these menu items may, however, be detrimental to our health. What is a serving in the first place? A serving is the recommended amount of a food that a person should consume in one setting. The recommended serving size for meat and fish is 3 ounces, which is about the size of a deck of cards. To put that into perspective, at O’Charley’s, the small servings of grilled salmon or sirloin steak are both 6 ounces. That is double the recommended serving size, but would you notice that when they brought out your dinner plate? For most vegetables, the recommended serving is 1/2 cup, or about how much would fit in a cupped hand. I don’t know about you, but if I ordered mashed potatoes and green beans as my “sides” at a restaurant, I would probably be a little surprised
if an amount this small was on my plate. Most restaurants will surely offer a more generous “portion” than that. Portion distortion is something that many people may not even be aware of; after all, didn’t your mom always tell you to clean your plate? Why does it matter that sometimes we get more than what we bargain for when eating out? Enlarged portion sizes could be the cause of consuming more calories than you expect, especially if eating out is part of your normal routine. What then are we to do? There are a few smart tips to making the most of your restaurant experience without compromising your health. One thing I like to do if I am ordering a meal larger than what I would like to eat in one sitting is to cut my food in half or divide it on my plate
before I even begin eating. I set the extra aside, and plan to ask for a box to take it home for lunch the next day. Another healthy strategy is to ask for dressing, sauces and “add-ons” on the side so that you can control the portions. For example, a “loaded” baked potato may come with much more butter and sour cream than you would normally use, so you can modify your intake by adding these toppings yourself. One of the most simple but often forgotten techniques is to listen to your body when it tells you it feels full. Remember that you don’t have to eat everything all at once, even if your mom encouraged it when you were young. There are so many ways to enjoy fun meals out and stay healthy too. Just remember to keep your food proPORTIONate!
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MAY 4, 2017
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1. In what town does the movie take place? (a) Sunnydale (b) Hill Valley (c) Miller's Grove 2. What food chain is seen at the beginning of the film? (a) Burger King (b) McDonalds (c) White Castle 3. What is the name of Marty's band? (a) The Rippers (b) The Slackers (c) The Pinheads 4. At what time does lightning strike the clock tower? (a) 10:18 (b) 10:04 (c) 10:47 5. In 1955, when Marty enters the coffee shop, what song is playing on the jukebox? (a) Ballad of Davy Crockett (b) Mr Sandman (c) Johnny B Goode 6. What type of stories does George McFly write? (a) Westerns (b) Science Fiction (c) Horror 7. What is Doc's address in 1955? (a) 1560 Maple St (b) 1460 Hilldale Ave (c) 1640 Riverdale Dr 8. What does the license plate on the Delorean say? (a) Outatime (b) Timetravel (c) Drbrown 9. What is Doc's dog's name? (a) Newton (b) Einstein (c) Galileo 10. What was young George McFly's favorite TV show? (a) Space and Beyond (b) Other Worlds (c) Science Fiction Theater
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Solution 1.b 2.a 3.c 4.b 5.a
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6.b 7.c 8.a 9.b 10.c
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MAY 4, 2017
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
WKU gears up for total solar eclipse, cancels classes BY JAMIE WILLIAMS HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU
On August 21, a total solar eclipse will occur in Kentucky and across the nation, and WKU’s Eclipse Committee is already making plans for the rare event. “The Great American Eclipse” will be visible from Bowling Green from around noon to 3 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21. WKU will be hosting eclipse events for its students, faculty and staff as well as for K-12 students across Southern Kentucky. “Charley Pride [director of Student Activities] is making sure this is the best beginning of semester party that WKU has ever seen,” said Richard Gelderman, who is a member of WKU’s Eclipse Committee. The solar eclipse happens to land on what is scheduled to be the first day of classes for WKU’s fall semester. To allow all WKU students to witness the eclipse, all classes before 4 p.m. on that day will be canceled. The totality of the eclipse is expected at
1:27 p.m., at which point Bowling Green will experience 48 seconds of totality. To celebrate the event, the WKU Eclipse Committee is planning a party for students along with Student Activities. The party will take place on South Lawn and will include food, music and other festivities. Students, faculty and staff with a WKU ID will also receive a free pair of solar viewer glasses, which allows the user to look at the sun safely during the partial phases of the eclipse. Jeff Younglove, co-chair of WKU’s Eclipse Committee, said campus would also be hosting K-12 students from areas of the state that will not experience totality during the eclipse. These students will be gathered in the football stadium and will do various science activities during the partial phases of the eclipse until it is time for totality. Younglove said there would also be a paid VIP event for individuals who want a special experience. Younglove and Gelderman estimate approximately 10,000 to 20,000 WKU students, faculty and staff will view the
event on campus along with around 10,000 K-12 students. WKU’s Eclipse Committee has been planning events for the past two years, and are now in its final stages leading up to the event. Younglove said that by the end of May, things would be in good shape and more event announcements will be officially made. The Hardin Planetarium also has plans leading up to the eclipse, including two new shows. “Into the Shadow of the Disappearing Sun” will run from May 2 to July 2, with shows every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. and every Sunday at 2 p.m. The show, which is free to the public, talks about the importance of the eclipse and how it occurs. The show also informs the audience how and where to best view the eclipse. According to Celeste Holliman, one of the planetarium’s presenters, a total solar eclipse like the one in August has not happened in Kentucky since 1869 and has not occurred in Bowling Green since the 1400s.
Gelderman said he hopes everyone takes advantage of this rare event to witness what will likely be their first total eclipse. Gelderman, who has worked in astronomy for 40 years, only saw his first total solar eclipse in Indonesia last year. He said it was indescribable to someone who hasn’t seen it themselves. “No matter what you’ve heard, no matter who you’ve talked to…nothing that I will tell you, nothing that anyone will have ever shown you will prepare you for how incredibly beautiful it is,” Gelderman said. Gelderman added that even if you don’t know anything about astronomy, you can still appreciate the solar eclipse. He also said he hopes everyone who gets to view the eclipse realizes just how special it is. “It’s not a science thing; it is a human thing,” Gelderman said.
Reporter Jamie Williams can be reached at 270-745-6011 and jamie. email@example.com.
A review of voices: fight for fairness BY EMMA AUSTIN HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU
Just over three months ago, a reading of the fairness ordinance was on the agenda of a Bowling Green City Commission meeting for the first time. On Feb. 21, citizens filled the usually vacant folding chairs in City Hall, waiting to witness the results of the proposal. As the words of the ordinance were read aloud before the commissioners, chants demanding fairness could be heard from the overflow of supporters standing in the streets below the windows. Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash moved to approve the ordinance. Mayor Bruce Wilkerson paused for a moment, glancing at the commissioners beside him, before announcing the motion would not move forward for lack of a second. Patti Minter, an active member of the Bowling Green Fairness coalition, was sitting in a row near the front of the room next to WKU Student Government Association President Jay Todd Richey. Both had been prepared to speak at the podium in favor of the ordinance. When Minter realized the proposal wouldn’t even be up for discussion, she said she felt chills through her body as voices behind her started chanting “shame, shame,” reflecting the anger and disappointment of supporters. “To walk outside and see that chanting crowd and the raw emotion on their faces, I’ll never forget it,” Minter said. “It was one of the most powerful moments of my life as an activist for human rights. I’ll never forget that.” American citizens are legally protected against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A fairness ordinance would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list in Bowling Green and protect city’s LGBT residents from discrimination, specifically in employment, housing and public accommodations. Some argue such discrimination against the LGBT community does not exist in Bowling Green, thus making the ordinance unnecessary. “It makes sense you’re not going to have massive waves of people coming forward to talk about their experiences with discrimination when they are still in a legally vulnerable position,” WKU senior James Line said. “We don’t have cases because you can’t file a lawsuit—because it’s completely legal.” According to research by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, which is dedicated to research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, economic vulnerability of LGBT individuals in Kentucky are significantly higher than that of non-LGBT individuals. While 31 percent of non-LGBT Kentuckians have an annual income less than $24,000, 38 percent of
LGBT Kentuckians have an income below $24,000. Without the ordinance, discrimination based on perceived sexuality is also legal. Last May, a firefighter filed a lawsuit against the Bowling Green Fire Department on allegations of religious discrimination and sexual harassment, including derogatory comments based on his “failure to conform to gender norms,” according to the complaint. “The city commissioners would have had the chance to listen to [a case of discrimination] at the last commission meeting if they hadn’t shut the meeting down and ran out the back door,” Line said, referring to a Bowling Green resident who had come to the meeting prepared to speak about discrimination he had experienced in a hostile work environment because of his identity. During the 2016 November election, three city commissioner candidates openly supported passing a fairness ordinance during their campaign, and were endorsed by the Bowling Green Fairness Coalition: Ryan Fulkerson, Nate Morguelan and Andrew Manley. None of them were elected. Three incumbents and one former commissioner claimed the four seats, including Joe Denning, Sue Parrigin, Rick Williams and Brian “Slim” Nash, the former commissioner. Members of the Bowling Green community have been fighting to have an ordinance passed since 1999, when the Human Rights Commission first proposed the ordiance— the same year it was passed in Louisville, Lexington and Henderson. As they would for the following 16 years, the city commissioners virtually ignored the call for fairness. Despite a lack of response from the commissioners, supporters continued to urge passing the ordinance and to show up at the bimonthly city meetings to speak in favor since 2012. When the motion failed to receive a second on Feb. 21, Nash put the ordinance on the schedule for a work session at the next meeting, giving citizens a chance to speak about it without needing a second for discussion. At the work session on March 7, more than 50 people showed up to speak in support of the ordinance. Speakers urged the commissioners to pass the ordinance, sharing personal experiences as well as stories of friends and family members who had dealt with discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Franklin Wood, an employee at Forest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green, spoke against the proposed ordinance. “One of my concerns is that were these laws are passed at a state or local level, they put rights of religious freedom and conscience into crosshairs,” Wood said, mentioning a business owner who was fined for refusing to bake a wedding
Community members listen as Grayson Hunt, of BG Fairness and the Black Lives Matter coalition, speak to the City Commissioners about a fairness ordinance on March 7 at City Hall. SHABAN ATHUMAN/HERALD cake for a lesbian couple. “This proposed ordinance before you tonight is called the fairness law, but is it really fair…? Would this be fair to the people of Bowling Green, to the residents here, who operate businesses according to their religious convictions?” Wood asked, finishing his statement by urging the commissioners to vote against the ordinance. Community member Lisa Goldy said she was there “to speak for those who do not have a voice” in favor of the ordinance. She spoke of violence she has witnessed against LGBTQ youth in schools, which she compared to patterns of violence faced by other marginalized groups over time. She also cited research showing heightened substance abuse and suicide attempts within the LGBTQ population. “What is the thing to do?” Goldy asked, answering herself: “Include sexual orientation as a protected status on discrimination policies and statements. It needs to be explicit. It needs to be visible, and it needs to be consistently enforced.” According to the Williams Institute, only 23 percent of Kentucky’s workforce is covered by local laws protecting LGBT workers from discrimination. However, 84 percent of Kentucky residents support employment nondiscrimination protections. Seventy-eight percent believe LGBT residents experience discrimination in the state. Currently, eight cities in Kentucky have a fairness ordinance in place. Bowling Green is the largest city in Kentucky without an ordinance. In a statement to WBKO, Commissioner Sue Parrigin expressed her belief the decision should be made at the state level. Minter said she believes this defense as well as the few others she has heard are straw man arguments and provide a way to “duck the real issue.” Minter said the eight cities with an ordinance saw only positive effects of putting the ordinance into place. “It’s not just about hav-
ing a law in the books,” said Line, who has spoken twice at meetings in favor of the ordinance. “It’s about establishing a culture of acceptance in Bowling Green and taking a very significant step toward saying discrimination is not okay. Because Bowling Green has not taken that step yet, a lot of people feel this city is not welcoming to them.” Line said he believes the commissioners may justify their opposition to the ordinance by saying support comes mainly from WKU students. “I think this is something that’s very rooted in the community,” Line said. “It’s a really broad, diverse movement. Students are a part of that, but they’re not the driving force.” In response to Parrigin, Minter said the local level is a very appropriate place to put forth the ordinance. “When you’re the ninth city to do something, you’re hardly on the leading edge,” Minter said. “You’re playing catch up.” Following the commissioners’ failure to pass the fairness ordinance in February, members of Bowling Green Fairness continued to show up to meetings to speak during public comment in support of the ordinance, as they had for years. On March 21, Sue Parrigin made a motion to move the public comment portion to the end of the city commission meetings. Nash spoke against the motion, saying moving the public comment section creates an inconsistent start time to those public comments, inconveniencing those who wish to speak. “The goal of the public comment section, and what I believe should be the goal of the city commission is to receive feedback from the citizens,” he said, adding that creating an inconsistent start time to public comment could potentially further drive down voter participation. Nash said he saw the motion as a way of trying to reduce the number of people who show up to speak. “I think that those that speak before the city commission in the public comment section are often the margin-
alized people who are in our community,” he said. “They have an opportunity to stand at that podium and make their argument, whether that’s the first time or the fifteenth time or the hundredth time that they make that—that’s the beautiful thing about American is that they can do so.” Commissioner Williams said he thought the commissioners should prioritize the business of the city and fulfilling their duty as the voice of the city, and taking care of other business before public comment would do so. After further discussion, the motion passed, with only one vote against, which came from Nash. Despite the new regulation, Bowling Green Fairness advocates continue to show up to speak at the meetings to urge the commissioners to pass the ordinance. Though Nash said it’s too early to tell if the time change affected the number of speakers able to show up, he does not believe anything will deter the supporters from continuing to speak out. Looking forward, Nash said he plans to continue to meet with individuals and groups who he thinks can help influence the decision of the commissioners voting against the ordinance, including business owners and religious groups. “My hope over the next several months, or as long as it takes, is to meet with members of the business community, members of the faith community, to talk in detail about what the ordinance says and what their real objection to the ordinance is,” Nash said. Though the ordinance is not currently on the city commission’s agenda, Nash said he is continuing to work to see its eventual passage. “It’s going to be a long ride here in Bowling Green,” Line said. “I’m fully confident that most people in the city are supportive; it’s just a matter of getting the political leadership to catch up.”
Reporter Emma Austin can be reached at (270) 745-2655 and emma.austin177@topper. wku.edu.
MAY 4, 2017
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
Program introduces new styles of teaching BY REBEKAH ALVEY HERALD.NEWS@WKU.EDU Teaching, scholarship and service learning is the focus of the Center for Faculty Development, which recently changed its name to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning to reflect this focus. The center, created in 2013, offers professional development to faculty at WKU. Executive Director Jerry Daday said the majority of the program focused on teaching, but put an emphasis on innovative teaching styles. Daday said the previous name didn’t reflect the program and implied that the training only applied to faculty members; “Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning” reflected greater inclusivity, he said. CITL works to introduce new styles and methods of teaching to WKU. Daday said while the most used method of teaching is lecture, there are many other and more effective ways, including micro activities that apply to lectures, working with case studies, Think Pair Share activities, writing assignments, activities like Kahoot and flipped classrooms. As explained in a previous Herald article, a flipped classroom is where students listen to a pre-recorded lecture at home and engage in activities reflecting the content in class.
Daday said there is nothing wrong with the standard lecture; however, flipped classrooms create a more active learning environment, a goal close to CITL. Beckie Stobaugh, associate professor of education, will be joining the CITL team as a faculty teaching fellow in July, but has already worked with CFD. Stobaugh said some of the methods get students moving and discussing with peers, which facilitates learning. Daday said these different methods of learning links new and old information and helps students with retention. Through new techniques, Stobaugh said, teachers can immediately know if students are learning. She said passive teaching methods don’t indicate if students are processing the information. The online game Kahoot, for example, immediately lets teachers know if students understand the information and what misconceptions or problems they may have. Daday said these new styles would also be more beneficial to students as they go into their careers. He said a lot of jobs WKU graduates will be working in have not been created yet. With new industries being created all the time, Daday said these interactive ways of learning would help students prepare for new things being thrown at them and be able to adapt. Another benefit these teaching
styles have are the similarity to K-12 learning, which Stobaugh said can make the transition into college easier for some students. Along with the program’s name change, instructional designers and technologists previously in the Office of Distance Learning will become a part of CITL. Daday said these designers help professors come up with lesson plans, essay questions and tests. Senior instructional designer Juliana Ortolani said they are doing the same job as before, just with expanded opportunities. They used to be a part of the distance learning department, but since that will no longer be on campus, they are merging with CITL. Ortolani said it would be beneficial to be a part of one unit, so faculty only need to go to one place. While they previously worked in web and on-demand course design, Ortolani said they are expanding to face-to-face course design and are working to integrate technology.
Ortolani said she is looking forward to the new center and a chance to be innovative. Stobaugh said there are dynamic professors already performing a lot of these methods, and CITL connects these professors with others to showcase great teaching and allow them to learn from each other. “We are promoting good practices that are already happening,” Stobaugh said. Daday explained that the job of CITL has not changed; they are now just bringing in new support and a name that is a better reflection. Some of these practices have already been put in place in classrooms. After evaluating or observing these classes, Stobaugh said she could already see a difference. “You don’t see heads on desks or technology out,” Stobaugh said.
Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and rebekah. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“I think there is something powerful about being black. Growing up I was teased about being lighter skinned; I am biracial and mixed with black. I was never considered by blacks to be black nor considered by whites to be white. My mother taught me to be comfortable no matter who I am, never let anyone define me; just let how I live and the things I do define me, not the color of my skin,” Louisville senior Indygo Ray, 21, said.
“You have to have fun, and I have fun with my skin. When you were made fun of a lot, you start to become comfortable with it; especially when that is all people talked about,” Cincinnati senior Adeleke Ademuyewo, 21, said.
“A lot of my self love comes from my faith in God. Understanding He made me perfect in height, color and more. My dark skin is who I am. This is me, and I’ve fallen in love with that. I don’t have to be ideal to anyone in society. I just have to love who I am,” Louisville senior Shantel Pettway, 22, said.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY EBONY COX
olorism within the African-American community has been prevalent over the years. Bias and prejudice against darker skin blacks has altered the way some see beauty. Darker skin blacks are degraded by being seen as unattractive, while someone who is lighter is beautiful. “When I was young, I defended my skin from the teases of family and friends, ” Louisville senior Shantel Pettway said. “Wondering, what if I was lighter? Confused by, ‘you’re pretty for a dark skin girl comments.’” “It wasn’t easy - actually, I battled with my self image until I was 21. I turned 22 Feb 5.,” Pettway said. Constantly being looked down upon based on skin pigmentation can cause a person to lose confidence based on what and how others react to them. The “Different Shades of Melanin” portrait series was meant to display and shed light on the beauty and uniqueness of African American’s skin tones. The fact that even through all the negativity that has been thrown our way, we should embrace the beauty and longevity of our skin. “Growing up I would always hear boys say how they rather be with someone of lighter skin complexion because they were beautiful, while degrading those of darker complexion, ” Lexington junior Kelsey Briscoe said. “Once in my life I used to let those low life boys get the best of me, but today I stand tall and proud of the skin I’m in. I couldn’t imagine being anything different. My melanin gives me that extra push to achieve great things in my life. I am authentic and beautiful and society could never convince me otherwise, ” Briscoe said. “I couldn’t be more comfortable in any other skin than the one that I’m in. I love my melanin,” Allensville junior Zach Stovall, 20, said.
MAY 4, 2017 > WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
English Professor Mary Ellen Miller has been with WKU for 54 years and is now in transitional retirement. She is continuing to teach but is using her newly found free time to write a book of poetry. Miller said she intends to continue teaching as long as she can or “as long as they’ll have me.” BROOK JOYNER/HERALD
Half a Century
WKU’s longest serving professor reflects on her career BY BRYSON KELTNER HERALD.FEATURES@WKU.EDU In Cherry Hall room 130, piles of books of different sizes and colors cover the floor; some sit strategically in cabinets, and the rest lie sideways like dominoes on the many shelves lining one wall. Alongside the remaining clutter including three cans of hairspray, a mirror, pictures of family and students, vases, a coffeepot, a Hillary Clinton-adorned clock, a thermometer that reads 70 degrees and a rack of purses is Mary Ellen Miller, facing the window overlooking College Heights Boulevard and chuckling. For over 50 years, Cherry Hall has been her home on the Hill, where she’s graded poems, read American literature essays and met with students to discuss their lives. “My life?” she said. “You want to know about my life? That’s a biggie.” Mary Ellen recently received a new honor: WKU’s first University Poet Laureate, a title created specifically for her. Only a select few colleagues
have known about the title until the university officially bestowed it on Miller earlier this week. Rob Hale, the English department head, shares his excitement. “I feel very fortunate to get to work with her,” he said. Hale has an ongoing banter-match with Mary Ellen. Recently at a senior awards ceremony, he called her a terrible person, but then smiled and shared a kind word before he read one of her poems to begin the celebration. “Professor Miller has such a dry, quick wit, and I relish opportunities to banter with her,” Hale said. “Of course, she works diligently to improve the life and work of students and colleagues, but she does so with a sense of fun.” In addition to her new title, Mary Ellen Miller holds the title of oldest professor at WKU–although she often dodges the question of her age. She has served as a faculty regent, published several works of poetry, co-founded the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, helped establish a writing contest in honor of her late husband, wrote and produced a film and gained the admiration from many WKU students for half a century. She’s been
teaching for 54 years, and although she will be lightening her course load to focus on her writing, she has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Mary Ellen grew up on a farm in Willard, a small community located in Carter County in northeastern Kentucky. She recalls helping her family raise tobacco and corn as cash crops but also growing a garden that provided just about every vegetable her family consumed. As a young girl, she was only allowed to plant tobacco plants by hand, but she said it made her feel important to help the family prosper. Her mother was a community activist, and her father was a Methodist preacher. She thoroughly learned about the Bible and religion. Although she says she had not always gone to church, she taught her children about the Bible. “I just thought they were good stories, and I certainly thought they should know? Know something about the major religion in their culture,” she said. In doing so, she made her mother proud. She recalls one night when her children were staying with her mother when they were young.
Just as her mother would do for Mary Ellen when she was a child, she put the children to bed with a story expecting them to request Goldilocks and the three bears or Little Red Ridinghood. Instead the children replied, “Noah’s ark with all of those animals, or Jacob with his colorful coat!” “She was thunderstruck,” Mary Ellen said. “She didn’t know that you could teach children about religion without taking them to church.” The next morning, her mother was cooking breakfast when she asked Mary Ellen, “How did the children know those Bible stories?” “I taught them, mother, just like you taught me,” Mary Ellen said. “I swear, she had to turn her face away. She didn’t want me to see the grin that passed over her and the absolute delight. But I saw. I thought I did one thing that thrilled my mother, and I wasn’t even thinking about it when I did it.” Although she may not have completely stuck to her parents’ religious roots, Mary Ellen was proud to teach them to her kids, and she still keeps a green Gideon
SEE MILLER PROFILE PAGE B2
MAY 4, 2017
B2 MILLER PROFILE Continued from b1 Bible among the stacks of books cluttering her office. After leaving her parents, she went to Berea College, where she graduated with an English degree and took intensive German classes. So much was her love for German that she became a teacher’s aide in one of her German classes. After class had dismissed one day, one student stayed behind after the others had gone. He asked Mary Ellen to lunch and took her to the cafeteria. That student was a young Jim Wayne Miller, described as “brilliant” by Mary Ellen, and was on his way to becoming one of Kentucky’s most well-known writers. They married in 1958. Mary Ellen describes the beginning of her married life as difficult but fulfilling. She taught high school in Indiana for a while but moved into her first apartment with Jim in Elizabethtown. “It wasn’t exactly elegant or plush, but it was comfortable,” she said. They began teaching at Fort Knox and Jim remained to teach there while Mary Ellen took classes at the
University of Kentucky to receive her Master’s degree. She taught at Vanderbilt for three years while Jim received his Doctorate before moving to WKU in 1963. They both began teaching on the Hill while Mary Ellen continued to take classes for a Doctorate at Vanderbilt. She did all of her doctorate coursework but never received her degree because she didn’t do a dissertation. She said being a mother came first. Mary Ellen had three children. Her oldest is James, but Mary Ellen calls him Jim, after his father. He was born in 1962. James became a musician and now lived with Mary Ellen. She said although he practices often, he is always there to help her. “I never have to lift anything heavier than my purse,” she said. “He does the yard work and cleans the gutters and stuff like that. His girlfriend also cooks and helps with laundry. I don’t know what I’d do without them.” Her other son, Frederick, was born in 1963. He has an art degree from Murray State University, and he is now an artist, photographer and filmmaker. “He does just about everything,” Mary Ellen said. Fredrick and his wife
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
Mary Ellen Miller keeps a photo of her and President Gary Ransdell from when she was on the Board of Regents in her office in Cherry Hall. BROOK JOYNER/HERALD currently live in Louisville. Mary Ellen’s daughter Ruth was born in 1966. She is also an artist, and she went to school mostly in California. Ruth did her doctorate work at the University of Sana Barbara. “She finished it all except the dissertation,” Mary Ellen said. “So she takes after me, I guess.”
She’s a college teacher as well. On any given day, Mary Ellen would wake up, make the kids breakfast and get ready. She would come to school with Jim, and they would have coffee with friends at the Faculty House. Then, they went about their
SEE MILLER PROFILE PAGE B3
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Where you belong.
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
MAY 4, 2017
Continued from b2
daily teaching schedules. She picked up the kids and Jim would start working on whatever he was writing. Mary Ellen would then go into the kitchen and cook dinner. She’d do the laundry. She’d bathe each kid and told them stories to put them to bed. The next day, she would repeat the same routine. A friend asked her, how she did all of that while going to school. She replied that it was necessary. “I had four children to raise,” she said. The woman asked, “I thought you had three children.” Mary Ellen replied, “I was counting their father. Her husband Jim passed away 20 years ago. “Jim was a terrific man,” she said. “I loved him with all my heart. He was very talented and brilliant man, but a good housekeeper, he was not. He didn’t really grow up. It was hard. It was tough, but I wouldn’t take anything for having done it.” Mary Ellen’s current days begin early. She gets to her office at about 6:30 in the morning because she loves the early morning hours. She’s not required to be at school every day, but she is there on her non-class days to get other work done. “We have so many things to do in the line outside of teaching,” she said. “I take home as little work as
possible. I try to take two days a week to write poetry, but I rarely get two full days to do that. I read my journals. I read new books I’m interested in. I go out for dinner quite a bit with friends.” Since Mary Ellen has been teaching at WKU for over half a century, she has seen more changes within the university than anyone. She said it was most interesting to be part of it during the 1960’s because she could see the college transforming as civil reforms began to arise. “Things were just beginning to roll,” Mary Ellen said. “They didn’t always have a good atmosphere to do it in, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to do it. So I guess the 60’s stick out in my mind as a really passionate time.” Aside from that, Miller pointed out the university has “become a lot more liberal.” “We have a lot more social organizations. We have a lot more activism on behalf of minorities – ethnic, international, gay and beyond. That’s one of the most positive changes I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” Since Miller has been successful in teaching all of these years, she has developed an unwavering teaching philosophy. “I prefer to teach with respect for what students already know – what they have acquired. I understand that some of them are better-prepared from their high schools. I un-
derstand that some of them are just downright brainier. But my philosophy is to treat them with respect, and I know they’ll treat me with respect. “I also know when to bend a little bit and when to give a little extra attention to some things. I like to feel at home with them and I kind of think of them as my own children. I like to remember myself at that age, and remember some of the hardships I know they go through – not just financial, but family problems and deaths and so on.” Linsay Edelen, a senior from Elizabethtown, took Mary Ellen’s intermediate poetry writing and introduction to creative writing courses. She said Mary Ellen not only helped her become a much better writer, but she helped her feel better about herself. “For me, Mary Ellen Miller was always about helping me improve and encouraging me, even when I didn’t feel like I measured up to those around me,” Edelen said. She recalls writing a one-act play in Mary Ellen’s class. She performed it and several other students’ works as Mary Ellen watched with a subtle smile and raised pen. “For some reason, she always thought I should be an actress,” she said. “But she made me feel good about being me.” Miller also shared the one thing she hopes to establish in all of her classes. She wants to encourage students to read a lot.
“Read only good stuff and read a lot of it,” she said. “You’ll never be lonely if you read good literature. You’ll always have something to do.” She scribbles on a yellow legal pad as she speaks about her current work. She’s compiling a collection of her poetry for a book. When asked when she’s expecting to release the book, she replied, “Last year. I don’t know. I’m not as far along on it as I’d like to be.” Mary Ellen has no regrets regarding doing what she could do with what she had. “I had a good brain; we all do,” she said. “I had good English teachers, and I loved to read, and my parents encouraged me to read. We would have gone without food to have books in the house. So I can’t regret that.” She said she could have been kinder in some circumstances. “Some people would probably say, ‘Good God, aren’t you ashamed of such and such?’” she said, but she is neither ashamed nor regretful. She described herself as having “sticktoitiveness.” “I’m pretty good at hanging in when I need to and still going on with what I have to do,” she said. “You simply don’t give up until you absolutely have to.”
Reporter Bryson Keltner can be reached at 270-745-6011 and philip. email@example.com.
Calendar friday, may 12 The Graduate School Location: E.A. Diddle Arena Time: 5 p.m.
saturday, may 13 Senior Graduation Location: E.A. Diddle Arena
Potter College of Arts & Letters
Gordon Ford College of Business
College of Health and Human Services
6:00 pm College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Ogden College of Science and Engineering
Special prosecutor to take football assault case BY JACOB DICK
HERALD.FEATURES@WKU.EDU The Office of the Attorney General will select a special prosecutor to handle the case involving WKU football players assaulting an alumnus at a fraternity house. Terry Sebastian, communications director for the Office of Attorney General, said the state Special Prosecution Division will handle the case after Warren County Commonwealth Attorney Chris Cohron asked to be recused. “We’ve taken the case,” Sebastian said. “The attorney general’s office reviews the case and makes the decision to prosecute the case.” The division assists local prosecutors in complex situations and can take over cases when a prosecutor recuses themselves.
The case has been investigated since early March when Bowling Green Police were called to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on Center Street in response to a fight.
me at all,” Armfield said. “I had my hands up; I was talking nicely with them, and they just attacked me. Even when I was on my hands and knees begging them to stop, they
I had my hands up; I was talking nicely with them, and they just attacked me.” WKU alumnus Jerald Armfield WKU alumnus Jerald Armfield said he was attacked by at least 10 men who were alleged WKU football team members. “I didn’t deserve how they attacked
kept kicking me.” Armfield drove himself to the Medical Center at Bowling Green after the incident where doctors treated cuts on his head and eye and told him he
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probably suffered a concussion. He said he has been to his eye doctor in Nashville for continued hazy vision and flashes in his left eye. Cohron sent a letter to the Special Prosecution Division on April 13, with a name of a suspect involved in the incident. Sebastian said the name has been redacted as no indictments have been issued. A timeline on when indictments will be announced or when a first hearing might occur is unavailable at this time. In Cohron’s letter he called the case an “unindicted investigation” that is “pending presentation to the Warren County Grand Jury.”
Jacob Dick can be reached at 270745-6011 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jdickjournalism.
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
MAY 4, 2017
Marketplace supports community, builds relationships
Vendors pack up after the Farmhouse Finds Barn Sale, in Glasgow, an antique and craft sale which drew an estimated 1500 people, on Saturday April 29. Jennifer Bailey, who organized the show, saod “A few years ago I got some friends together, and we went to one in Tennesee...while I was there walking around, I thought, ‘I can do this’. ” GRACE PRITCHETT/HERALD
BY MICHELLE HANKS HERALD.FEATURES@WKU.EDU After driving miles down curvy, single lane roads, passing large fields of green with small houses and herds of cattle, one will arrive at a large wooden barn filled with shoppers holding bags with their new purchases. FarmHouse Finds is a marketplace located at Brad Bailey’s Farm in Glasgow. The event has only been going on for two years now. Along with 50 to 60 vendors selling their items, the event also had live music and food.
Jennifer Bailey, co-owner of the farm with her husband, Brad Bailey, said she wanted to start a barn sale of her own after seeing how popular they are in Tennessee. “I was at one, and I thought, ‘I can do this,’” Bailey said. “And that’s how it got started.” Bailey has put in a lot of work to put the event together. She said she went about finding the vendors by going to various shows and picking up business cards, spreading the news by word of mouth, contacting people through email, looking at websites with vendors listed and ad-
vertising on Facebook. One thing Bailey said she likes the most about barn sales is the opportunity small, local and regional vendors get to sell their work. “I believe in supporting local people and not commercial people,” Bailey said. Bailey has brought to her farm a wide variety of vendors ranging from people who have been making and selling their products for a living, to those who recently started as a way to stay busy. Theresa Smith, owner of Time Worn Interiors, lives and Glendale and sells small, handmade items like signs and jewelry out of vintage materials. She has been selling and making for 16 years because she said it satisfies her creativity. “It’s fulfilling,” Smith said. “It just kind of fills your heart with joy and it’s self-satisfying. When you’re punching a clock for somebody else, you’re not doing yourself any good, you know? You’re just working for the other man.” Curtis Hayes, from Cave City, is another vendor who came out for Farmhouse Finds. He and his wife, Diane, own Sticks and Stone. Curtis makes a variety of small wooden products from bird feeders to dog bowl holders while his wife makes lightweight concrete pot holders for plants. Hayes said he started their business three years ago as a way to transition to retirement after running a data fiber optic company. “I do it more just for enjoyment for myself,” Hayes said. “I mean, I
worked hard for 35 years, so now I’m now I’m working for fun instead of having to get up and scream and holler at bunch of men all the time.” For the guest, some of them experienced their first barn sale. Bowling Green resident Alvin Farmer said he enjoyed getting an opportunity to be outside for the day. “I just like the atmosphere and just being in the country is enjoyable,” Farmer said. “It’s peaceful.” Trudy Boyd, another shopper from Glasgow said she liked Farmhouse finds for its setup. “This is different,” Boyd said. “It’s unique being in the barn like this.” Boyd, like many of the shoppers, likes to shop locally because she said it helps keep the mom and pop stores going. “People need to go to buy and then give them a chance,” Boyd said. “ It’s kind of hard because when you have like the big Walmarts and stuff, it’s hard for them to compete.” Though marketplaces like Farmhouse Finds are based on a common goal by vendors and consumers to support the local economy, vendors also get to build relationships with their customers and collaborate with other vendors. “You’re with a lot of like-minded people,” Smith said. “You’re like with a lot of people that are really creative, and you enjoy bouncing things off of each other.”
Reporter Michelle Hanks can be reached at 270-745-6288 and email@example.com.
Event raises awareness for mental health issues BY OLIVIA MOHR HERALD.FEATURES@WKU.EDU On a windy day at WKU, Housing and Residence Life (HRL) hosted an event that consisted of tables set up with mental health resources, “Hope Floats” made of ice cream and soda and t-shirts for students to tie-dye. Hope on the Hill took place on Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. At Hope on the Hill, mental health resources included brochures on topics like depression, anxiety and procrastination. Posters set up at different tables included information on the difference between stress and anxiety, the effects of addiction to alcohol and smoking on the body and other topics. Students received handouts so they could fill out a self-care plan for themselves. One table offered free buttons and “Hope Bags” filled with goodies. After students circled the Downing Student Union courtyard and went to the different tables, they got free t-shirts to tie-dye. Blair Jensen, assistant director for HRL, chaired a planning committee to put the event together. The committee brainstormed ideas and discussed what they wanted students to gain from the event. From there, they formed an idea for Hope on the Hill. Jensen said the committee wanted to raise awareness of campus resources and mental health issues and help “shatter the stigma” through Hope on the Hill. “I hope that it will increase students’ awareness of campus resources,” she said. “I hope that it will increase their ability to recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and then make referrals to those various campus resources, and I think kind of a more abstract thing
is that we’re hoping to kind of shatter some of the stigma tied to mental illness and create a space where students can talk about it openly.” Jensen said she feels as though a negative stigma is still associated with mental health issues; feelings surrounding mental health issues are becoming more positive. “I think that, depending on where people are coming from, that perhaps their families have a negative perspective on therapy or counseling see it as a sign of weakness, and sometimes those feelings get perpetuated, so I think that there can be a negative stigma, but I do feel like it’s definitely becoming more positive, that people are becoming more open and more willing to talk about things, and that’s a good thing,” Jensen said. Kellsei Tate, assistant hall director for Minton Hall, said she had personal experience with the effects of the negative stigma associated with mental health issues. “I just feel that throughout my life, I’ve been in contact with individuals who have struggled with their mental health, and they’ve suffered in silence, and it’s led to suicide for quite a few family members, so for me it’s something very personal and I feel like it’s something that needs to be talked about because the more you talk about something, the less it can affect you in a negative way,” she said. Tate said she feels struggling is part of life and she wants to spread the attitude, “it’s okay to not be okay.” She said if people listen with the negative stigma associated to mental health issues, they feel they can’t talk about anything and “they just fall farther and farther into a dark place, and it just doesn’t lead anywhere healthy.”
Students make tie-dye shirts during Hope on the Hill, a mental illness awareness program, at the Downing Student Union Courtyard on Monday April 1st. The program informed students what mental illness is and how it can affect people by having fun events such as making tie dye t-shirts and serving rainbow-colored ice cream floats. The goal of the program was to break the stigma associated with mental illness. MICHELLE HANKS/HERALD
“It could lead to unhealthy coping strategies and essentially it could lead to suicide, so we’re trying to get people away from that,” she said. Tate said she hopes Hope on the Hill creates a conversation about mental health issues. “I hope it helps start a conversation,” she said. “A lot of times, these topics are harder to talk about, so people feel obligated to stay silent, so I’m just hoping it starts a conversation about how to tell signs in friends and how to seek help if needed.” Dan Rosner, a coordinator for HRL, said he feels there is a lack of understanding of mental health issues. “I think that there are some people that don’t necessarily understand what it’s like for anybody, whether they’re a student or anybody else
that’s experiencing these [issues],” he said. “It’s very hard to grasp what it’s like to be working through some of these challenges, so I think that there’s a huge lack of understanding, and I think for students that are personally experiencing it, sometimes it can be embarrassment or shame or any of those types of feelings, or even sometimes helplessness of ‘how do I overcome this?’” Rosner said he believes mental health needs to be addressed. “I think that mental health as much as physical health and those types of things – they all need to be taken care of,” he said.
Reporter Olivia Mohr can be reached at 270-745-6288 and olivia. firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR GRADUATING SENIORS
WE’LL MISS YOU
NICOLE ARES ANDREW CRITCHELOW JACOB DICK ANN MARIE DISALVO AMBER FOWLER ANN LUNDY GAMES RYAN GENTRY LAURA LEIGH HALTER
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COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
MAY 4, 2017
WKU Track & Field heads to Kentucky Relays BY JEREMY CHISENHALL
HERALD.SPORTS@WKU.EDU WKU is looking to continue a successful season on the track with an in-state trip to Lexington for the Kentucky Relays this weekend. Ten Hilltoppers: Stuart Nichols, Sandra Akachukwu, Peli Alzola, Jadzia Beasley, Jenessa Jackson, Getter Lemberg, Morgan McIntyre, Kaila Smith, Ariel Terrell and Khadijah Valentine, will take the trip to Lexington. Other Hilltoppers were supposed to go to the Ole Miss Open, but a decision was made to rest some competitors before the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships next Thursday. Valentine is looking to continue her success from last week in Louisville, where she won titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. She also helped WKU take third place in the in the 4x100 meter relay. The rest of the 4x100 team, Alzola, Terrell and Beasley will be there as well, looking to build on their 45.19 time from last week.
Smith will want to continue her success after winning a title in the 400 meter dash last week, as she ran a time of 1:00.44. Smith will also look to build on her sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. McIntyre is also looking to build on her great performance from last week, where she took yet another top-three finish in the pole vault, reaching 3.73 meters in the pole vault, and finishing third. Jackson will also be looking to continue not only her success from last week but the success she has sustained all year. She continued that success by posting top-five finishes in both the shot put and the hammer throw in Louisville. With the C-USA Championships coming up next Thursday, most of the team is off this week. That includes the highly-touted 4x100 meter men’s team, consisting of Ventavius Sears, Emmanuel Dasor, Julius Morris and Eli Minor, who have taken home multiple 4x100 meter relay titles this year. Sears and Desmond Mobley will also be resting up in
Ashland junior Morgan McIntyre competes in the pole vault during the Topper Relays on April 7 at the Charles M. Rueter Track and Field Complex. KATHRYN ZIESIG/HERALD preparation for field events, such as the long jump and triple jump, both of which they have excelled in this season. This will be the final meet of the regular season for
WKU, as they’ll be onto the conference championships from May 11-14, potentially followed by the NCAA East Preliminaries from the 25-27 and the NCAA Championships in June.
Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 859-7600198 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ JSChisenhall.
CONGRATULATIONS 2017 Library Student Assistant Graduates!
Gantulga Bayarmaa Nandini Bezawada Brendan Bird Curtis Edge Kole Feinauer Theresa Ford Kearstin Forte Mary Anne Fox Megan Houchens Olivia Jacobs Carrie Jacoby Sai Kanaparthi Anna LaMure Tabitha Lauzon
Yuzheng Liang Thomas Machine Aseem Maredia Michael Nelson Akshay Nuguri Viviana Quiroz Keylee Rainwaters Kanyawee Skulsillapakorn Alexis Smith Adithya Somaraju Khaing Thazin Yan Wang Yilin Wang
Where Knowledge Unfolds
Congratulations to the May and August Graduates from Ogden College of Science & Engineering Dr. Cheryl L. Stevens, Dean MASTER OF ARTS Mathematics Erin Bird Lindsey N. Brown Adam E. Crabtree Betsy C. Gray Michael Z. Kerner John C. Langley Elizabeth A. Pace Cassidy R. Williams MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION Biology for Teacher Leaders Heidi C. Smith MASTER OF SCIENCE Agriculture Elizabeth A. Blessinger Kenneth R. Johnson Nicholas K. Porter Paige A. Smith Anthony B. Trimboli Biology Kevin C. Bryan Aiste Dobrovolskaite Mark Garewal Laura C. Jones Emily M. McIntire Jesse E. Nugent Meghan B. Parsley Mitchell L. Schooler Amelia L. Smith Andrea S. Tanny Marino Qianna Xu Chemistry Ali Abdulrheem John R. Bertram Nicholas A. Blumenberg Sara C. Botero Carrizosa Kathryn E. Dudley Elnaz Jalali Haleh Jeddi Aubrey N. Penn Nathan C. Puckett Adam C. Smith Danming Wei Computer Science Saad Z. Ahmad Muhammad Ali Abhishek Bose Sandeep K. Duggi Gary W. Hutchinson, Jr. Trung D. Huynh Amani Liaqat Chaitanya Lolla Yi Pan Jing Peng Lokesh Reddy Pulluru Adithya P. Somaraju Sai N. Somesula Gayathri Suresh Avinash Theppala Hareen Uppalapati Khurram Waris Engineering Technology Management Reza Agha Khanlou Naif F. Albaiji Nasim H. Amiri Chirag Ayappa Ravishankar Fakir S. Bokhari Blake Cvengros Robert M. Deal Qinchuan Du
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COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
MAY 4, 2017
WKU junior forward Justin Johnson (23) struggles for the ball under the basket against MTSU junior guard Edward Simpson and other MTSU players during their game on February 16. MTSU won the game with a score of 78-52. KELSEA HOBBS/
best of sports WKU infielder Brittany Vaughn (5) collides with University of Alabama at Birmingham catcher Olivia Black (44) during the Lady Toppers’ 7-3 win on April 1 at the WKU Softball Complex. NICK HUEY/HERALD
Lady Toppers forward Ivy Brown (23) and Marshall University forward Talequia Hamilton (0) fight for a rebound during the Lady Toppers’ 73-57 win over Marshall University on Jan. 21 at E.A. Diddle arena. SHABAN ATHUMAN/HERALD
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WKU forward Ben Lawson (14) blocks University of Texas at El Paso center Kelvin Jones (54) shot during the Hilltoppers 65-62 win over UTEP Jan. 26 in Diddle Arena. SHABAN ATHUMAN/HERALD
LAWSON Continued from SPORTS “There was a lot of schools in Canada, and that was the initial look because nobody knew about Ben Law-
COLLEGE HEIGHTS HERALD
MAY 4, 2017
son from Hitchin,” Lawson said. “And then I got with a recruiting agency, and they found me a lot of schools like the College of Charleston and Pepperdine. Then it just started becoming a real clash because I was trying to do
the national team because I’m very patriotic, and I want to be a part of that.” During his recruitment, Lawson had a national team tournament that ended on a Friday, leaving him only two days to visit schools. “This was my only visit,” he said of WKU. “It could have been very different if I had more time and visited other places, but me and my mom just fell in love with this place as soon as we saw it.” Once Lawson made his 4,000-mile journey from England to Bowling Green, he fell in love with WKU immediately. “I stepped on campus, and it was absolutely beautiful,” Lawson said. “We met the people of Bowling Green, and they were just tremendous. Everyone was so welcoming.” WKU has been a good fit for Lawson. Lawson ended his career as a Hilltopper as the fourth leading shot blocker in school history with 185 blocks and joined WKU great Jeremy Evans as the only two Hilltoppers to have three seasons of at least 50 blocks. In his time on the Hill, he shot .575 percent from the field.
And while Lawson was able to have an impact on the court in his four years at WKU, the relationships are what he says he will cherish the most. “I did meet my girlfriend here, so I can’t say that that’s a bad thing,” he said. “I have had the honor of having probably over 40 teammates, so I have made so many friendships over the years that it’s invaluable.” Lawson said he plans to continue his basketball career now that his time as a Hilltopper has come to an end. Only time will tell where the game of basketball will take the talented, humble young man Bowling Green has come to know as “Big Ben” Lawson. “Hopefully it can be in the NBA, but overseas is just going to be back over the pond there to my family, and that would be a nice little adjustment for me,” he said. “We are trying to get as many NBA workouts and maybe a summer league team in there, so I’m excited for it.”
Reporter Matthew Stewart can be reached at 859-797-3140 and matthew. firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter at @MES_WKU22.
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» See the “Best of Sports” photos on B6.
WKU bests EKU, will travel to Marshall
WKU forward Ben Lawson (14) and University of Texas at El Paso center Kelvin Jones (54) fight for rebounding position during the Hilltoppers 65-62 win over UTEP Jan. 26 in Diddle Arena. SHABAN ATHUMAN/HERALD
BY TYLER MANSFIELD HERALD.SPORTS@WKU.EDU
Retracing the steps of Ben Lawson’s trip over the pond to WKU BY MATTHEW STEWART HERALD.SPORTS@WKU.EDU
Many college students attend an institution in their home state. There are some that will go out of state to obtain a higher education. Some students will even leave their country to go to college. In the world of college athletics, there is an increasing number of foreign athletes in the United States. WKU has been home to one of these athletes for the past four years in former basketball player Ben Lawson. Hailing from Hitchin, England, Lawson’s athletic career began at an early age. “[My parents] definitely pushed me to be in sports,” Lawson said. “I did everything from gymnastics, to tennis, to soccer and rugby, and rugby soon emerged to be my favorite sport. It even took over some of the other ones eventually, and that became my prime focus for a long time.” Lawson, who stands at 7 feet 1 inch now, was tall even at a young age which provided advantages in the game of rugby. “When I was really young, I was really good because I was bigger than everybody. I’d like to say, when I was around 14, I think I had a good feel for the game,” he said. By the time he was 16, Lawson had stood at 6 feet 6 inches. “The positions I played in rugby, the
average height was around 6-foot, 6-1 and I got to about 6-6 and [the coaches] were like, ‘this is about the time where you’re going to have to move to the big uglies, the nasty packs where they turn your ears inside out,’” Lawson said. “I kind of decided that I didn’t want to do that. I had been playing basketball with my friends a little bit, and they pushed me to play, so I went with it.” In England, the decision to go with the sport of basketball made perfect sense for Lawson. “The last two years of high school you can go to specialized schools, and there was a sports one, and initially I was looking at it for rugby, but I got to the point where I was like ‘let’s just give the basketball a go,’” said Lawson. “The coach there was really helpful. I had never really understood if I had the opportunity to come to America. I never really acknowledged that was even a possibility. At the start I was rough. I couldn’t even shoot the basketball because in England you just don’t know how. It was rough; he had to teach me the form of my shot and everything, so I was lucky that I had played all my other sports because I got all the footwork from tennis or soccer. It probably gave me a lot of dexterity to my game.” After attending school at Oaklands College and working on his game, Lawson was given the opportunity to try out for the Great Britain national
basketball team. “Toward the end of my first year, I had the tryouts, and it was a rough one. Everyone there had been playing for a couple of years, but they saw my potential. They saw the size. They saw I could shoot the ball by that point a little bit. They were actually in need of a four man that was a stretch four. I was really lucky that that’s what they were looking for, and they thought I fit the position,” Lawson said. By the age of 18, Lawson was 6 feet 11 inches and was not done growing. His size and potential to excel in the game of basketball opened new doors for him as an athlete with the opportunity grow as a player and possibly have the game take him to new levels. “That first time when they accepted me into the national team, it gave me that confidence that I could actually do something with this. In the long run, I think that’s probably what made me make my decision because I could see other people on the team that were looking at going. I kept thinking that if I keep working as hard as I am, why can’t I be one of those guys?” Lawson said. Lawson played for Great Britain’s national team three times in the FIBA European Championship, playing in the 2013 under-18 tournament and the 2014 and 2015 under-20 championships.
SEE LAWSON PAGE B7
After being swept at Louisiana Tech last weekend, the WKU baseball team snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday evening with a 14-3, offensive-powered win over Eastern Kentucky University at Nick Denes Field. In their final midweek game of the season, the Hilltoppers (14-32 overall, 4-17 Conference USA) used 13 hits and showed all-around consistency to take the second game of the year against the Colonels, who beat WKU 16-15 in a 10-inning contest back on March 8 in Richmond. Hunter Wood went 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI to lead the Toppers while Kaleb Duckworth finished with a two-hit, four RBI performance. Bailey Sutton relieved starter Evan Acosta on the mound and allowed two hits and a run with a pair of strikeouts in 3.1 innings to record the win. WKU struck first on Tyler Robertson’s RBI single in the second inning. Duckworth reached on a walk and soon advanced to third before Robertson’s hit scored him to make it 1-0 early. EKU responded with a pair of runs on three hits in the ensuing frame to take a 2-1 lead over the Hilltoppers. Matt Olive and Brenden Overton both led off with singles while Cornell Nixon singled and then advanced to second on a WKU error. That same error plated Olive and Overton. The Hilltoppers regained their advantage courtesy of a two-run, two-hit fourth. Wood singled to first base before Duckworth being hit by a pitch to begin the frame. Robertson soon flew out to left to score Wood while Wyatt Featherston doubled down the right field line to plate Kevin Lambert, who reached on a walk, making it 3-2. Wood’s RBI single and Duckworth’s two-run home run in the fifth highlighted a three-run set for WKU. Colie Currie doubled and Wood plated him with his hit into left before Duckworth’s shot over the left field wall on his birthday increased the Hilltoppers’ lead to 6-2. Western went on to score three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to take a 12-3 advantage. Robertson had scored on a balk before Currie tallied an RBI double and Thomas Peter singled to center to plate Currie. WKU added to its lead in the eighth on a solo shot over the left field wall from Grayson Ivey – the first of his career. An RBI groundout by Currie later in the inning put the Hilltoppers up 14-3 and Eastern away for good. The Hilltoppers now get set to return to C-USA play, as they travel to Huntington, West Virginia for a threegame series at Marshall, beginning Friday at 1 p.m. Marshall (21-23, 9-12 C-USA) currently sits at eighth in the league standings and welcomes WKU into Huntington after suffering a series defeat at Old Dominion last weekend. ODU outscored the Herd 30-6 throughout the first two games of the slate before MU avoided the sweep with a 2-1 victory in the finale. The Thundering Herd are led by Sam Finfer, who is batting .325 while starting – and playing – in each game this season. Finfer has recorded 54 hits on the year with 43 RBI and 14 home runs. Following Friday’s meeting, the two sides will square off Saturday at noon before concluding the series at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Reporter Tyler Mansfield can be reached at (270) 935-0007 and tyler. email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CallMeMansfield.
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