Emory recently ranked No. 10 on a list of the top 20 medium-sized colleges and universities contributing alumni to Teach For America (TFA), an AmeriCorps program that works toward closing the achievement gap by recruiting and training recent college graduates, primarily from elite institutions, to teach in low-income communities for two years. Emory has been ranked on this list every year since it was first published seven years ago.

While the Wheel recognizes the urgency of addressing educational inequality in the United States, supports TFA’s attention to the problem and is glad to see Emory graduates engaging with communities in need, we also acknowledge the validity of many common criticisms against TFA. For example, we question whether Institute, TFA’s intense five-week summer training program, can effectively prepare rookie teachers to teach in high need schools.

Additionally, because Corps members only commit to teach for two years, they often stop teaching as soon as they begin to mature as educators. It takes time for teachers to develop the relationships with students and co-workers that are necessary to positively impact the communities they serve. We doubt that the constant coming and going of teachers is beneficial in the long term to these communities.

In addition to potentially taking teaching positions from veteran teachers, we see TFA as unintentionally belittling the work of professional educators by implying that anyone can teach by virtue of having attended an elite college or university. Furthermore, many prospective applicants perceive TFA as a back-up plan or “break” before pre-professional or graduate school.

However, we acknowledge that TFA does not necessarily see its mission as creating life-long educators, but instead seeks to build a movement of professionals in a number of fields committed to closing the achievement gap. TFA’s constant teacher turnover, therefore, is not necessarily a failure on their part to accomplish their goals. Nevertheless, we question whether their mission is best for our education system.

We also recognize that Corps members are required to meet state certification requirements, and many have the option of completing a master’s degree by the end of their teaching commitment. We see state certification requirements as enforcing a standard among TFA teachers, and we believe the opportunities for earning a master’s degree will attract more Corps members who are interested in careers in education.

While the benefits and shortcomings of TFA are often debated in the media, it seems that TFA is here to stay and will continue to heavily recruit Emory students. For a school that consistently contributes significant numbers of students to TFA, we feel that Emory does not have enough resources for students to gain experience in education. In light of the announcement of the termination of the Educational Studies department in 2012 and the ending of the Jumpstart program last spring, Emory has significantly limited opportunities in recent years for its students to learn and work in education.

By allowing TFA to recruit on campus without providing students avenues to gain educational experience, Emory is sending its students inconsistent, mixed messages. Instead, we would like to see more volunteer opportunities in education that provide volunteers with significant training and consistent contact with the communities they serve, both of which are especially crucial when working in education. We feel that Jumpstart previously served this purpose, and its termination is a loss for Emory.

We see a parallel between the end of Jumpstart at Emory and some of the flaws with TFA. While Jumpstart Corps members each spent 200 to 300 hours in a preschool classroom over the course of a year (adding up to almost 15,000 hours), Emory ended the program due to a low number of students involved (about 50). In our opinion, this explanation fails to take into account the impact Jumpstart had in the communities it served.

Similarly, we see many students pursuing TFA in order to advance their professional careers in fields outside of education by using the program to enhance their resume. Once again, this attitude towards service puts the interests of the applicant above that of their students. We strongly encourage prospective Corps members to think seriously about their reasons for applying. If they do not have their potential students’ best interests in mind, they should not apply to TFA.

That being said, good intentions still may not be enough. Without adequate skill, preparation and determination, the most well-intentioned Corps member can still do harm in the classroom. We cannot emphasize enough the profound impact, for better or for worse, a teacher can have on their students. ​

With two deadlines already passed and three more to come before the end of January, many Emory students have already applied or are preparing to apply to TFA. We encourage prospective Corps members to reflect honestly on their ability to teach effectively in addition to taking their strengths and weaknesses into account when indicating subject and location preferences. We also advise students to think twice about pursuing TFA if they cannot see education as a part of their future in some way.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the editorial board of the Wheel.

editorial

Anonymous social app Yik Yak has been receiving a lot of attention on university campuses, including Emory’s. Responses range from the actual contributions posted to the app to the backlash by students regarding the stereotypes and problematic discourse used in posts targeting ethnic groups and individual students. We at The Emory Wheel find some posts on Yik Yak blatantly racist and cruel.

For readers who aren’t familiar with Yik Yak, the app is a way for users to post anonymous messages that can only be viewed by users within a small geographic area, such as those on a college campus. Users can comment on posts and up-vote or down-vote posts.

We do not necessarily blame the app itself — cyberbullying was not the intention of the creators. However, we are ashamed that some members of our community find it appropriate to post racist and sexist comments towards groups at Emory, and at times, target individual people by name under the veil of anonymity. We do not​ want to harp on the obvious, but these posts do truly hurt people, and it’s appalling that some of our own students are perpetuating egregious generalizations, stereotypes and the use of violent language.

While we realize that many of these posts are written in the spirit of fun and jokes, it’s important to contextualize the posts within the history of oppression and verbal cruelty at Emory and in the United States. Do we want to be a part of a community that represents a culture of harm? Should we continue a history of marginalization and oppression? Those who are posting such negative content to Yik Yak are participating in and advocating for a culture of insensitivity, as opposed to creating a culture of inclusivity and community-building. These actions are apparent forms of microaggression and what we say, even anonymously, represents our community as a whole. Many Emory students are using this app simply as a means to insult and harm people and entire populations, and as a community, we can do better than that.

Though some universities, such as Norwich University, have blocked access to Yik Yak, we understand the inevitability of the app’s usage on student phones and do not believe that it is inherently harmful. Anonymity on the internet can often be used for good, as an outlet for some who do not feel comfortable speaking out loud or to admonish harmful behavior without risking backlash. In an ideal society, this culture of insensitivity and blatant marginalization would not exist, but for now, Yik Yak users can actively protest against intolerant posts on the app. We encourage Emory students who participate actively or passively with the app to down-vote racist, sexist and overall harmful posts and to stand up to these anonymous posters. Additionally, since there have been some productive posts about our community, we encourage users to continue to post positive comments.

It’s important to have an outlet where we can use internet anonymity as a positive tool, where students can stand up to others without any reprisal or repercussions. We hope members of the Emory community who recognize these micro and macro aggressions do not passively stand by and allow such behavior to continue. We hope those members of our community who are participating in intolerance and harm will change their mindsets and ideologies. We hope everyone increases awareness on the harms that such comments and actions lead to and, ultimately, treat people as they deserve to be treated — as human beings.​

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

editorial

Autumn is drawing near, and the Student Programming Council (SPC) marked the change of season with a “Welcome to Wonderland”-themed Homecoming Week, based on Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, Alice in Wonderland. Daily themes were punny and featured attractions like tasty food and costumed characters. On the whole, we at the Wheel feel that the week was a success.

The week began with the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” event in Asbury Circle, which felt like a Wonderful Wednesday that had lost its way. Asbury Circle was filled with music, food trucks and a plethora of students. SPC relied more on a word-of-mouth and the successful “Weeks of Welcome” initiative, providing very little material advertising. While this means of promoting an event could be effective for those who spend most of their time on campus (first-year students), it failed to catch the attention of students who might not be directly exposed to it. However, the event was held later in the afternoon, which, we believe, gave students who might otherwise have been occupied to attend the event.

Tuesday heralded the “Queen of Darts,” a Jackson Pollock-style collaborative art project, and “Alice’s Coffee House,” which featured free Blue Donkey iced coffee. Alice’s Coffee House was supposed to be held in the Woodruff Health Sciences quad, but was ultimately moved to Asbury Circle on the day of the event. We recognize that the event was intended to include more graduate students, but we feel that the last-minute change of venue defeated this purpose. Again, we feel that these events could have been better advertised, and we encourage SPC to place more emphasis on events during the week, rather than just on the weekend concerts.

We sincerely appreciate that Thursday’s comedy show, presented by Brent Morin, was not hosted in Glenn Memorial Auditorium, as it has been in the past several years. Although Harland Cinema is a somewhat smaller venue, we feel that it is more conducive to such a performance and avoided the problems of ​difficult acoustics and potential offensive jokes in a religious space that previous comedians have encountered while performing in the church. Morin’s comedy was hilariously self-deprecating, and we like that he tailored his jokes to Emory students. We also appreciate that SPC has consistently chosen up-and-coming comedians, which affords students the opportunity to experience new forms and styles of performance.

Friday’s event was the Homecoming Ball, featuring a performance by EDM DJ trio Cash Cash. The Friday Homecoming concert is intended to liven up Emory’s campus with a little music and dancing, and this year’s show was no exception. Although Cash Cash’s performance was, in terms of musical quality, unremarkable, we feel that they struck the intended atmosphere for the event. However, we take issue with certain elements of the duo’s visual performance, some of which included drawn images of naked women. We feel that such a display was crass and unnecessary, especially within a community where many members strive to break down the over-sexualized barriers needed to achieve gender equality.

The weekend drew to a close on Saturday with the Homecoming Parade and a performance by 90s alt-rock band Sugar Ray. Although turnout for the parade was small, those in attendance appeared to be enjoying themselves. We congratulate SPC for selecting an artist that drew on nostalgia from both current students and alumni. The atmosphere on McDonough was warm and sunny, and we feel that afternoon concerts such as this one are a great way to bring the entire Emory community together.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

This week, President Barack Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and announced the U.S. government’s plan to contribute to the ongoing effort to contain the Ebola virus in West Africa, which has been rapidly spreading and has claimed the lives of more than 2,400 people to date.

The plan entails sending 3,000 troops to the areas most affected by the virus, committing $175 million to increase the number of health care workers and centers in the areas, training hundreds of health care providers, providing medical supply kits and investing an additional $88 million to fund CDC relief workers, supplies and to develop the experimental drug ZMapp, as well as other vaccine candidates.

“This is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security. It’s a potential threat to global security, if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic,” Obama said.

The announcement marks the first active effort by the U.S. government to directly involve itself in the crisis.

We at the Wheel believe that aid from the U.S. is a necessary step in building health care infrastructures in the African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal, but we feel that this step should have been taken months ago, when the outbreak was first identified and first escalated. The nine-month delay in action calls into question the U.S.’ motivation in providing this aid. Is this a legitimate response to a genuine feeling of moral obligation, or is this an attempt to expand the country’s political capital and prestige? We urge all parties involved to approach this monumental task with the best of intentions ​and with respect for the people and cultures encountered, and to focus on rebuilding the African health care infrastructure in a way that is sustainable and self-sufficient.

This outbreak, which is the largest Ebola outbreak in history, has been deemed a humanitarian crisis by the World Health Organization and is nowhere near close to being over. It has been projected to infect hundreds of thousands people if the world does not take immediate action. Recently, Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American Ebola patient to be treated at Emory University Hospital, criticized the “painfully slow and ineffective” response of the U.S. and even insinuated that international medical communities only seemed to care about the outbreak after he and Nancy Writebol, the second American Ebola patient at Emory, were infected.

Here in the U.S., and specifically at Emory, we are very privileged to have access to sophisticated medical technology that enables us to adequately treat the virus. It is amazing that our hospital has a specialized isolation unit with the appropriate equipment to treat Ebola.

However, the doctors responsible for treating American Ebola patients at Emory Hospital have repeatedly said that any hospital in the country with tertiary care capabilities should be able to treat the virus. The problem is that many African health care facilities do not have even the most basic medical equipment to monitor the virus, let alone to successfully treat any patients. We urge Emory Hospital to extend its efforts to the world and help patients, in addition to American health care workers, have access to treatment and a potential cure.

While it seems as though we are not yet in danger of being infected here in the U.S., the Ebola outbreak is a global problem that requires a global response. In the 21st century, there are no contained regional crises; in the era of globalization, the whole world must recognize that what afflicts some will morally, economically, politically or otherwise, affect others far beyond the borders of any given situation. We are all interconnected, global citizens, and while this crisis may seem far away, its implications are near. Time has run out, and we must act effectively.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

 

In an effort to manage safety hazards and underage drinking so common in Emory’s fraternities, the University has begun a campaign to reinforce a number of the housing regulations that have typically been ignored in fraternity and sorority residences. The most notable of these regulations is a ban on “activities (e.g. drinking games) and paraphernalia (i.e. funnels, beer pong tables and ice slides) that promote the rapid and unsafe consumption of alcohol” and drinking in common areas of the house outside of registered parties. To better enforce these policies, the University has instated a system of walkthroughs in fraternity and sorority lodges. Last year, these walkthroughs were conducted on the more popular party nights of the week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – but the walkthroughs are now being conducted every night of the week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

As in the past, drinking in the common area of a Greek residence is prohibited for people of any age, except on the occasion of a party that has been registered with the University. Previous regulations dictated that partygoers could bring up to six beers to a party, which would be given in to a “beer check staffed by two substance-free initiated active chapter members.” People of legal age could obtain a wristband for beer by providing proper identification and swiping their Emory Card at the door. Greek organizations were also required to create and enforce a guest list for each party. This year, every student attending a registered party will be required to swipe their Emory Card before entering, enabling the host organization to create an after-the-fact “guest list” of who attended the party. There is no restriction on who may enter a party, a rule that the University believes fits better with its image of the Emory community. Partygoers who wish to drink will still be required to verify their age.

​In recent years, the University has had an obvious focus on bringing stronger regulations to Greek Life parties and social events, especially in the light of recent hazing scandals and reports of sexual assaults near fraternity houses. Some angry members of Greek Life might accuse the University of an encroachment on the personal freedoms of their community spaces and a general Scrooge-like attitude of fun-hating, but the true purpose of these policies, and the University’s renewed effort to reinforce them, is to reduce instances where sexual assaults, hazing and dangerous underage drinking can happen Greek residences. Emory has a responsibility to regulate its campus, especially when incidences of all three issues have become increasingly prevalent over the past few years. However, members of Emory’s Greek community, especially fraternities, have expressed dissatisfaction with the University’s new walkthrough policy – indeed, with many of the University’s regulations – as they feel it violates their sense of ownership towards their fraternity houses.

The problem with this attitude is that no fraternity owns its house. In fact, the University owns all the fraternity houses, and residents are required to sign a contract agreeing to the University’s housing policies. In return, residents live in beautiful houses with the other members of their organization. Fraternity houses are, by this logic, no more than glorified residence halls, and Greek Life members choose to live in those houses — and under the University’s policies — instead of living off-campus. Accordingly, we at the Wheel believe that it is fair and reasonable for the University to expect Greek Life residents to play by its rules and to take the measures necessary to enforce these rules. Greek Life does not acquire exemption from the rules of other residence halls just from its status as a community-oriented house, and the University does not owe Greek Life these privileges — especially as it mainly functions as a social organization on this campus.

However, we do not believe that Emory’s policy of walkthroughs – be they every night or only on weekends – is an effective deterrent to unregistered partying and underage drinking. Undocumented festivities continue in spite of the walkthroughs and students continue to require emergency medical attention as a result of excessive drug and alcohol consumption. Instead, the walkthroughs have been seen as an affront to fraternities’ ability to regulate their own houses and even Greek Life in general, prompting them to find loopholes in, or even deliberately ignore, the University’s policies.

As a further negative consequence of Emory’s redoubled enforcement efforts, we believe an increasing number of parties will be held at off-campus residences, where residents are not required to abide by University rules and where, to a much greater extent than in fraternity houses, anything goes. In some cases, transferring Emory’s social life off-campus may be even more dangerous for underage drinking and may increase the likelihood of drunk driving.

We interpret the relationship between the Emory administration and the Greek community as one between a parent and its child. The child is granted certain privileges but, in return, the parent requires that the child follow certain rules and behave in a certain way. Greek Life wants the ability to regulate and provide its own security but has demonstrated (as evidenced by alcohol-related emergencies on campus ​and sexual assaults in fraternities) that it is incapable of doing so. Simply put, Emory fraternities have not proved themselves worthy of the University’s trust and should not be entitled to freedom from walkthroughs.

Ultimately, we believe that the walkthroughs are a just attempt by the University to regulate what it perceives as a safety concern, but we at the Wheel believe that further cooperation and understanding between the University and the Greek community can resolve this issue to the satisfaction of both parties. The University should make greater efforts to connect with fraternities and sororities so that Greek Life feels its perspectives are being validated. However, Greek organizations must understand that the privileges they enjoy come with certain expectations, and that they cannot be granted the responsibility of self-rule until these expectations have been met and its culture has been changed into one that is safer for all. We believe that, by working together, Emory and its Greek community can achieve the kind of security the University requires while still having all the fun that Greeks desire.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

 

Until recently, the “no means no” policy, which states that​ in order to be legally culpable for not obtaining sexual consent, the partner must explicitly say “no” or imply “no” through actions and resistance, has been the national standard of consent for sexual relations on college campuses. The recent passage of Senate Bill 967 in California, however, is causing a national conversation on the definition, and the redefinition, of sexual consent.

Senate Bill 967, or the “Yes Means Yes” bill, requires all California college campuses that receive state funds for financial assistance to adopt certain sexual assault policies and protocols that include an “affirmative consent standard.” The bill defines “affirmative consent” as “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” and states that the “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”

California is the first state to respond in this manner to the White House’s Task Force initiatives to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

We at The Emory Wheel applaud this bill as a good first step towards college sexual assault prevention, especially as it creates a legislative precedent that other governing bodies can follow. However, we believe that there also needs to be a change in American cultural attitudes towards sexual interaction in order to change an alarming pattern of sexual assault cases across the nation. Legislative action may be helpful in pushing for a more open-minded approach towards sexual assault cases, but a more expansive cultural change is needed to see more productive results.

Critics of this California bill believe that it oversteps state boundaries by micromanaging sexual encounters. However, we believe the government has a duty to protect citizens who experience crime — and sexual assault is certainly a crime. The California bill aims at a more proactive formulation of the language of consent. We at the Wheel think that reforming sexual language and language of consent can be one of many factors that produce cultural change, and that protecting people from sexual assault should be valued more highly than the bill’s overstepping into personal encounters.

Although California is the first state to create a statewide initiative to change the language of consent, many universities, including Emory, have already begun to develop similar standards on a smaller scale.

Emory University defines consent in its Codes of Conduct in a similar way to the “yes means yes” law: Sexual consent is “clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement between participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive, and is given by clear actions or words. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity or lack of active resistance alone. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent. In some situations, an individual may be deemed incapable of consenting to sexual activity because of circumstances or the behavior of another, or due to their age.”

We at the Wheel applaud Emory for defining consent in the vein of the California bill. We acknowledge that Emory is developing thoughtful initiatives to create campus-wide awareness of sexual assault, sexual assault prevention and guidelines for sexual interactions. Creating Emory, an Orientation program that began with the Class of 2017, includes a session on sexual assault.

This session has been further developed to provide extensive attention towards sexual assault prevention and awareness of proper responses for incidents of sexual assault. We believe that Creating Emory, along with Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) that trained over 400 students in the first week of school and the Respect Program, is putting Emory on the right track to properly prevent incidents of sexual assault.

We hope Emory continues its awareness initiatives, but we at the Wheel believe that Emory needs to provide more transparency around the consequences of sexual misconduct and assault. The lack of clear or possible repercussions for sexual misconduct raises the question of how Emory’s policy on sexual misconduct is being enforced. We believe clearer consequences for sexual misconduct can act as a deterrent for those who would commit sexual assault and may increase Emory’s progress towards being a safer campus.

We applaud Emory for the ​attention and progress it has made regarding sexual assault prevention and acknowledge that we have a long way to go. We appreciate the work of the former director of the Respect Program Lauren Bernstein (LB), who played a big role in beginning the dialogue on sexual assault. We hope that Emory continues to progress and makes consequences of sexual misconduct clearer.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

Over this past weekend, dozens of nude photographs of an estimated 100 celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst, among others, were leaked to the anonymous online message boards Reddit and 4chan. We at The Emory Wheel strongly condemn such behavior and recognize hacking and leaking private photos for what it is: an orchestrated violation of individuals’ privacy. We believe such theft is encouraged by society’s commodification of sexuality, particularly women’s sexuality, in which individuals are objectified and open to a system of public transaction and viewing. Additionally, we find this particular case of exploitation a manifestation of a culture that does not value consent, or frankly, a society that is complicit with treating human beings as objects.

The leaked photographs were originally believed to be obtained as a result of hackers breaching Apple’s iCloud system. On Tuesday, Apple released a media advisory rejecting these claims, stating that the hackers gained access to the photographs by hacking into the technology systems of those particular victims. Apple concluded the report by advising users “to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification” to protect against such an attack on their private property.

While we acknowledge the importance of taking the necessary steps to ensure one’s online property is protected, we believe that the grave issue at hand is not only the act of violating privacy but also the act of exploiting human bodies. Individuals should not have to focus on creating complex passwords and enabling two-step verifications to protect their private property. Instead, society should fundamentally alter its attitudes towards sexuality and privacy, which in turn would substantially reduce the individual and public desire for such photographs.

Contemporary society functions such that the commodification of sexuality and sexual acts is both an expected and acceptable behavior. Individuals may feel motivated to hack and leak the private photos of others because they are aware that society may reward them for their behavior – whether the rewards are financial with excessive payments to be earned, or whether they are social with large likes to be gained.

Every individual in society is subject to commodification, but the way in which women tend to be objectified more frequently and more severely in comparison to men illustrates the power inequalities of sexual dynamics. As a society, we are unsurprised by the fact that the focus of the leaked nude photographs are on women. We are not surprised because we have unfortunately grown accustomed to such commonplace treatment towards women. Similar to how Sofia Vergara was placed on a pedestal for viewers to observe her during the 2014 Emmy Awards, the hacking and leaking of private property reinforces how women are subject to objectification by society on a daily basis through a variety of mediums​, from advertisements that solely feature a woman’s leg or other disembodied parts to the sometimes vile things our Emory community members may say on Yik Yak as well as unacceptable themes of some college parties, such as those held by Greek organizations. Many studies have shown that cultural objectification can lead to serious consequences, including a study that correlated objectification in relationships to increased instances of sexual coercion.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Monday that it “is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter.” This situation is not merely being treated as another leaked nude photograph scandal, but rather is viewed as a criminal act in which there will be repercussions. These acts should be viewed as sex crimes, reinforcing the urgency of the situation existing in our society, where commodification and objectification are ever so prevalent.

We at the Wheel encourage all individuals to continue working to change a culture that over-objectifies and to ensure that the commodification of sexuality and sexual acts is vigorously condemned and subject to consequences.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

Headlines this summer were filled with disaster: extremism of all kinds in the Middle East, a humanitarian crisis at our southern border and violence on our own streets. But at the start of a new school year, it’s important to remember that not all is wrong in the world. In fact, students are returning this fall to a prestigious university that has enjoyed a number of successes while classes were out.

One of these victories was a bright light in otherwise bleak news coverage of the developing Ebola virus crisis. Emory University Hospital made headlines for its successful treatment of two American aid workers, Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were infected with Ebola while working in Liberia. They began treatment at the hospital at the start of this month and were discharged on August 21, having made full recoveries. Although Brantly and Writebol were not “cured,” per se, their release represents a significant step forward in understanding the Ebola virus and how to stop its spread.

In athletics news, Emory Athletic Director Tim Downes was named Under Armour Division III Athletic Director of the Year in June 2014. The award spans seven divisions of collegiate athletics and is eligible to all athletic directors in the U.S., Canada and Mexico who are members of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Criteria include “service as an [Athletic Director] for a minimum of five academic years” and “the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.”

Additionally, this month, Emory University was included in the Campus Pride Index’s “Top 50 List of LGBT-Friendly Colleges & Universities.” Emory received an overall score of five out of five stars and also ranked five stars in six out of eight criteria, including the areas of student life, campus safety and institutional commitment. The ranking is well-deserved recognition for the University’s Office of LGBT Life and serves to emphasize that Emory is an institution where tolerance and acceptance of others is highly valued and remains a top priority.

Furthermore, Emory recently added two talented and well-qualified individuals to important administrative positions — who also increase the representation of women and the black community in its administration. In May, the University appointed two new deans: Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life the Rev. Bridgette Young Ross and Dean of the Goizueta Business School Erika Hayes James. Dean James’ appointment marks the first time that a black woman is leading one of the nation’s top 25 MBA programs.

In conjunction with its efforts to promote racial and sexual tolerance and acceptance, Emory has revamped its efforts to prevent sexual violence on campus. For the first time this year, all orientation leaders have been Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA) trained as part of their Residence Life and Orientation training in conjunction with Creating Emory, an initiative to promote dialogue around tolerance, sexual assault and diversity.

We at the Wheel are excited by Emory’s tremendous successes and are proud to attend a university that works so hard to foster a community of acceptance and accomplishment. Although there is still a long way to go before social inequalities have been addressed on all fronts, we are pleased to know that Emory is a leader in this fight. To that end, we encourage incoming and returning students alike to take advantage of the countless opportunities at Emory, not only to succeed individually, but to positively impact the community.

Emory is a community driven by zealous inquiry, and it is our privilege to study at a university that works tirelessly to foster such an atmosphere. We encourage students to pursue curiosity and to let their passions shine, especially using the amazing resources found in Emory’s libraries, which saw a great deal of renovation and improvement this summer. The Pitts Theology Library was completed, and the work began on the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) on the 10th floor of Woodruff Library. These and other libraries at Emory are home to an impressive and constantly expanding collection of research materials on a variety of subjects. Additionally, they are staffed by passionate faculty who are eager to work with students willing to take the leap.

At the start of a new school year, we urge students to take the leap to be intellectually engaged. General Education Requirements (GERs) are an excellent opportunity for students to take classes outside of their specific major or minor area of study and to expand the horizons of their knowledge. More importantly – and we really cannot say this enough – take advantage of every opportunity afforded by this incredible university. The world may at times be seen as a daunting and perhaps dark place, but, at Emory, we are guided by our passions and desires for knowledge.

Beyond the Emory campus, we wish to draw students’ attention to Atlanta itself. The city is the cultural center of the southeast and is a truly international city that fuses the southern texture of life to a rich cosmopolitan spirit. More traditional cultural institutions — the Woodruff Arts Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Carter Library — exist alongside vibrant centers of ‘alternative’ culture, such as Little Five Points and East Atlanta. Furthermore, Atlanta houses numerous enclaves of art, culture, dining and entertainment that reward the dedicated urban explorer.

To new Emory students, the Wheel would like to welcome you home. To returning Emory students, we welcome you back. We are looking forward to another year!

The above editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

Editorial Board WB

This past Wednesday, Emory College released the last of five strategic reports which discussed plans for establishing new initiatives announced in tandem with the September 2012 department changes. These “new directions” included focuses on Digital Studies and New Media, China Studies and Neuroscience.

The most recent report on Digital Studies and New Media discussed Emory’s Journalism program, which will close at the end of this semester due to the September 2012 department changes. The report suggests that the College retain many of its journalism courses given their emphasis on new media. The report mentioned discussions about incorporating such courses into the Film and Media Studies department.

Unfortunately, because this report was released four months past the expected deadline, it was not published in time to provide “timely advice” to College Dean Robin Forman, as the report itself mentions. Consequently, the decisions about journalism courses for next year have been “random” and “disconnected,” eliminating many of the courses that the committee recommended to keep. The report states the committee chair met with Forman last summer to inform him of the recommendations that the report would make.

We at the Wheel understand the necessity of a long-term focus for the University; it is important that Emory plans initiatives that will take decades to implement in order to create thoughtful and eminent academics. However, as students that are often only at the University for four years, we will be unable to experience the full impact of initiatives like Digital Studies or China Studies. Instead, we feel acutely the dearth of the departments and programs that will be officially ending this semester, which include the Journalism program and the Visual Arts department.

We believe that the presence of the Journalism program that will remain after this semester is insufficient for a well-rounded new media or digital studies education. Additionally, while we appreciate the continued presence and emphasis of visual arts on campus with the new Integrated Visual Arts Co-Major announced by Emory’s Center for Creativity and Arts (CCA), this presence is a shadow of what the Visual Arts department offered. We do not believe that the reinstitution of these programs is feasible, but we hope that the University will infuse the remains of these disciplines with more strength and power.

We regret the lost vigor of these disciplines that we will feel during the remainder of our time at Emory, but we have hope that the University will develop the new initiatives to serve its community in the years to come.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

Editorial Board WB

Almost 75 percent of college student respondents in a 2011 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) study of students diagnosed with mental health issues said they experienced a mental health crisis while in school. Yet the stigma surrounding mental health issues is one of the biggest barriers to accessing mental health care.

Emory offers a vast number of resources, including the Emory Counseling Center, the Student Helpline, which can be reached at 404-727-4357 and is active seven days a week from 8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., and websites on the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) page, such as “Emory Cares 4 U,” which lists numerous resources to learn more about mental illnesses as well as necessary phone numbers to utilize in times of immediate crisis.

Despite the availability of these resources, many students with mental illnesses are still reluctant to seek help. We believe that this is due in part to the discourse surrounding mental issues – calling our friends “insane” for doing something abnormal, or joking about suicide – as well as the lack of conversation surrounding mental illnesses on campus relative to the amount of student experiencing these illness.

We recognize and applaud the work of student groups such as Active Minds, the Emory Helpline and the Rollins School of Public Health’s Emory Mental Health Initiative (EMHI) that aim to facilitate this conversation, and we also encourage the student body to collectively take part. Campaigns such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) #IWillListen, in which people promise to lend an ear to anyone who needs it, can help create more open dialogue.

We also encourage students to be more cognizant of the language they use in daily conversation, taking into account that the casual, perhaps thoughtless use of phrases such as “I’m going to kill myself” or “You’re so bipolar” can undermine and trivialize the struggles of those experiencing mental illnesses.

We at the Wheel would also like to encourage the University to continue making a greater commitment to support those with mental illnesses. As the prices of pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants rise, we recognize that more students may seek help from Emory Counseling Services, much of which is funded through the Mental Health and Counseling Fee attached to the Student Activity Fee (SAF).

While we understand the need to balance funding for multiple purposes, we encourage the University to re-evaluate the way in which this money is allocated to ensure that the money appropriated to mental health programs is being spent in the most efficient manner, especially regarding the responsiveness and efficacy of its counseling services. The University also plays an important role in creating a campus culture that fosters broader engagement on issues of mental health and actively promotes treatment and care.

For example, to make an initial appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services, a student has to call or make an appointment in-person with the Counseling Center rather than being able to use the online Patient Portal. This could potentially deter students who are already hesitant to attend counseling services for the first time from seeking important treatment.

Additionally, students may not be able to see a certain therapist for an extended amount of time due to insurance constraints. We urge the Counseling Center to inform students of these restrictions prior to seeking treatment in order to allow potential clients to make an informed decision. We hope that students are able to connect with the therapists at the Counseling Center with the amount of time allotted.

Furthermore, we hope the University is looking to identify any areas for improvement within the Counseling Center, which holds a profound importance on a college campus, where students may be dealing with mental health conditions.

As we move forward, we hope that the issue of mental illnesses continues to receive more attention from both the University and the entire student body, so we can collectively better serve students who are experiencing mental disabilities or who may feel stigmatized by their mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses can impact anyone at anytime and should be treated with the respect and seriousness that they deserve.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

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