editorial

Emory Dining held the grand opening this week for Eagle Convenience and Subs, a new convenience store and deli. Located on the bottom floor of the Dobbs University Center (DUC) in a space that was formerly the Faculty Dining Room, Eagle Convenience offers an assortment of microwaveable food, snacks, candy, medicine, supplies and even Boar’s Head subs — all available until midnight seven days a week.

While only food can be purchased with Dooley Dollars, other items can be purchased with Eagle Dollars, cash or credit.

The new convenience store is an excellent addition to campus dining options. The DUC is centrally located on campus and accessible to most students, even those who have reduced or no meal plans yet spend much of their time on campus.

We appreciate the variety of healthy food options available, the selection of foods that require little preparation or cooking, the selection of pharmaceutical products and the friendly staff. And, as a student organization that works late hours two nights a week, the Wheel is especially grateful for a close and inexpensive option that is open until midnight.

Emory Dining has undergone a significant number of changes over the last couple of years, including new eateries like Highland Bakery at Goizueta Business School and Peet’s Coffee at Woodruff Library, as well as improvements to existing establishments, such as a more health-conscious Dobbs Market, an updated Zaya menu and local options and a small-scale convenience store in Cox Hall. These improvements demonstrate a commitment to reacting to student voices about their own dining needs. We have observed students’ needs being met with astounding immediacy.

The Student Activity & Academic Center (SAAC) located at Clairmont Campus recently introduced breakfast options, and restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and DBA Barbecue were rapidly replaced in Cox Hall after student feedback signified a desired change. Moreover, Eagle Convenience itself was announced at the beginning of this school year and opened just after fall break, a considerable turnaround.

These changes are the result of an effort led by Senior Director of the University Food Service Administration Dave Furhman, who has integrated Dining administrators and staff and student opinion through the student-run Food Advisory Committee Emory (FACE). In addition to co-chairs and permanent members, FACE invites ​any student to attend meetings and input suggestions for campus dining. In the past, FACE has conducted surveys and marketed itself well to determine student preferences on the various dining options at Emory.

Furhman ​spends substantial time in the DUC and Cox, observing and directly engaging with students for feedback about Emory’s food. He has visited other universities to assess potential improvements to Emory and regularly communicates with the Student Government Association (SGA); at a recent meeting, he informed members about the end of the 10-year Sodexo contract in the spring and the process by which the University will assess whether to renew it or to consider other food service providers. During the meeting, Furhman said if there are any students whose opinions have not been heard by the time the decision has been made, it will have been a failure on the part of himself and FACE.

Furhman’s consistent and outstanding commitment to Emory students and their dining habits should be recognized and lauded, as should FACE’s and its members for responding quickly and diligently to student suggestions. There seems to be a genuine concern about students when it comes to FACE. In particular, FACE’s Co-Chairs Goizueta Business School senior Karoline Porcello and College junior Molly Talman deserve recognition for facilitating the execution of these suggestions.

It is evident that Furhman and FACE take the needs of students to be of paramount importance in their decision calculus, sometimes even superseding financial considerations. We have noticed that Furhman’s approach to food at Emory is very practical — he recognizes how important food is to a college student’s lifestyle and the requisite convenience to accommodate busy schedules. FACE is also particularly good at identifying spaces on campus that could be used more efficiently and executing this, such as in the small space occupied by the Cox convenience store and in repurposing the Faculty Dining Room. Emory Dining and Emory Sustainability’s commitment to sustainability initiatives, such as expanding the Farmers Market and shifting to locally sourced food, is also commendable.

FACE has produced concrete and highly successful results. We believe that FACE is the model that other University student committees should follow, including open access to all students and a focus on gaining exposure so that students are kept in the loop. The fact that some other committees require applications seems bureaucratic, exclusive and unnecessary — the criterion should simply be student interest. Moreover, the activities of other committees are inexplicably kept under wraps or not marketed adequately.

Student Health Services is one such area that we believe would greatly benefit from following FACE’s model. Students from many divisions have voiced various concerns about the location and quality of service of health services that have yet to be met let alone acknowledged. The Division of Campus Life has a number of existing student committees whose efforts are more or less opaque to non-participating students. Even the Emory academic community has precedent for committees, such as the Commission on Liberal Arts (CoLA), that lack the expediency and commitment to student opinion that FACE advances.

Given its accomplishments as a relatively new initiative, it is clear that the FACE model has substantial merits, and other areas of the University should follow FACE’s and Furhman’s model. As students and beneficiaries of FACE’s efforts, we truly believe other committees can have a similar impact on students if they take note of the catalogue of Emory Dining’s improvements.

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

 

Early in the morning of Sunday, Oct. 5, multiple swastikas were spray painted onto the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity house, a Jewish fraternity. In no uncertain terms, a hate crime was committed on Emory’s campus against members of the Emory community. This event left us saddened, outraged and deeply disturbed. The University administration’s timely and appropriate response and the broader Emory community’s overwhelming expressions of support for the people affected ​were extremely encouraging and worthy of high praise.

We both hope and expect that the administration and community will respond equivalently to hate crimes against any group committed on Emory’s campus or against any members of the Emory community in the future.

The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit work suastika, which referred to objects associated with well-being. Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Taoists all use the symbol in their religious practices, as did ancient Celtic and Greek peoples. The swastika originally represented eternity, prosperity and good luck. However, since the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1930s, the swastika has symbolized, in the Western world at least, hatred, violent oppression and genocide, especially towards Jews, Roma, gay or queer people and the mentally or physically handicapped, the primary targets of Nazi oppression and extermination efforts. The swastika represents actions and an ideology that should abhor any person who believes that every individual, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identification, gender expression or any other aspect of their identity, possesses an innate right to life, liberty and free expression of their identity.

It is because of this symbolism that the act of spray-painting swastikas onto a Jewish fraternity’s house is a hate crime, rather than a mere incident of graffiti. This event is not just a single, isolated act; the swastikas represent so much more than the misguided actions of a single vandal. They represent both the six million Jews, 1.5 million Roma and over 10 million others, including political dissidents, homosexuals, transgender individuals and mentally or physically handicapped people, whom the Nazis exterminated during the Holocaust and the hatred and intolerance for these groups that still exists today. For this reason, the events that occurred at the AEPi house on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 5 deserve to be understood as a hate crime and condemned unequivocally and immediately.

We were heartened to see that Emory’s administration and community responded in exactly this way. Before the day was over, University President James Wagner sent an email to the entire Emory community, denouncing the “abhorrent act” as “a flagrant emblem of anti-Semitism” and “an attack against everything for which Emory stands.” That same day, the Student Government Association (SGA) sent an email calling on members of the Emory community to “wear blue on Monday in support of Emory’s Jewish community and the rights of all people to live freely and safely.” Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies quickly organized a “Teach-In Against Hate,” held on the steps of the Administration building on Wednesday afternoon. The incident has received attention in the national press, from the national AEPi organization and is currently the subject of an FBI Civil Rights investigation. Additionally, countless individual members of the Emory community has shown their support for AEPi, including the many students who wore blue the Monday after the event occurred and numerous individuals and organizations that reached out to AEPi to offer their support. This response was widespread and immediate, and delivered a message of unambiguous condemnation of the act and support for the victims. We believe that this reaction to the hate crime was both timely and appropriate.

However, some members have asked why the administration and community have not responded with comparable magnitude and immediacy to previous hate crimes committed on campus against members of the Emory community, particularly in regards to instances of sexual assault and racism. One theory is that, unlike other victims of hate crimes, the members of AEPi are largely white and male who, despite their history of oppression, are a protected and influential group at Emory. Those espousing this view are not denying that this event was a hate crime and that the response was laudable – they are simply asking why previous hate crimes have not elicited a comparable response.

We hope that Emory responded so well to this incident because the University has learned from past failures to address discrimination, and it is important that Emory responds with equal strength and urgency to any future hate crimes that occur on campus, against any members of the Emory community.

Emory’s administration and community should respond with comparable outrage, support and immediacy to any future acts of intolerance and sexual assault that may occur within our community. Sexual assault is a violent hate crime. A sexual assault is not an isolated act without larger significance or implication. In addition to the pain that it causes to the individual, sexual assault represents a physical vandalization of someone’s body, an individual’s loss of autonomy and creates a culture of fear, shame and sexual objectification. For this reason, sexual assault is a hate crime. The changes made to Orientation this semester – where every first year student participated in very frank discussions about the nature of sexual assault and how to respond to it during Creating Emory – demonstrate that the University is committed to preventing sexual assault against members of the community. However, we both hope and expect that the administration and community will immediately respond with support and outrage every time this violent crime occurs against a member of our community. When the Emory community is alerted of a sexual assault through an email or police report, we ​should treat it like a hate crime. President Wagner or the Emory administration should send out an email or message condemning the act. Student groups should call on the Emory community to show its support the next day in solidarity. Groups should organize teach-ins on the quad.

This is just one example of how Emory should respond to hate crimes in the future. The University should respond similarly — with support, outrage and immediacy — to any other acts of intolerance or acts that make any community feel unwelcome, be it verbal, physical or symbolic. The Emory community should continue its efforts to become aware of and condemn the daily microaggressions — the small, sometimes unintentional acts of bias, stereotypes or intolerance — against a number of different communities on campus.

The spray-painting of swastikas on the AEPi house was repugnant, and the Emory community should be heavily praised for its response. Let this response serve as the benchmark of appropriateness and timeliness for the University whenever it responds to a hate crime in the future. Let us contribute to ending hate and fear for all communities at Emory.

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

editorial

The Emory University 2013-2014 Commission on the Liberal Arts (CoLA) recently submitted its final report to Emory University Provost Claire E. Sterk, marking the end of the year-long process that addressed the state of Emory’s liberal arts community. Through forums, lunches, a survey and other methods of engagement, the final report deliberated on and made a series of recommendations on how best to further the liberal arts on campus and in the culture of Emory. However, we at the Wheel find that, while the report offers several positive, specific and engaging recommendations for improving the state of the liberal arts on campus, many of the suggestions offered by CoLA are often too vague and do not go far enough.

Suggestions such as a reevaluation of the academic calendar or the creation of interdisciplinary “synthesis seminars” are valuable to the community and worthy of consideration. Reevaluating the academic calendar is a concrete, bold step that could meaningfully impact a student’s academic experience, where they could potentially participate in courses of variable length (other than a semester) that would make different disciplines and topics more accessible. Additionally, with its potential interdisciplinary, communal learning structure, CoLA’s “synthesis seminars” could reach the foundation of what we feel liberal arts aims to achieve.

CoLA’s emphasis on faculty-student mentorship is also essential — the impact a single faculty member can have on a student as an educator or mentor is invaluable. CoLA gives appropriate attention to this matter because Emory’s current advisor system is deeply flawed. Students are often paired with faculty advisors in departments in which they have no interest, and partially as a result, many students do not feel they can take advantage of the system. By more closely assessing the coordination and avenues in which faculty and students can develop closer relationships, CoLA accurately prioritizes areas for improvement within the University.

However, absent from the report is a personal investigation or exploration of the role of the liberal arts by CoLA, even though the report rightly encourages the Emory community to discuss that question further. After its intensive discussions and engagements, CoLA should have participated in its own exploration of its vision of Emory’s liberal arts definitions and values, applying this vision to specific disciplines and academic departments.

But they are generic suggestions that might be offered to any school concerned with its liberal arts and do not offer concrete suggestions to create the “leading residential liberal arts research university” that is envisioned by CoLA. CoLA’s suggestions do not necessarily cater to the specific environment of our University.

We hope the University decides to implement many of these engaging, concrete recommendations, but Emory should also take CoLA’s advice and engage further in a discussion about the state of liberal arts at the College, and what the term “liberal arts” means to Emory.

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

At Monday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting, Sophomore Legislator Max Zoberman introduced a resolution ​that would urge the University to discontinue supporting the anonymous gossip app Yik Yak on its wi-fi networks.

After the introduction of the resolution, a number of posts on Yik Yak arose personally attacking Zoberman and his authorship of the resolution. The next morning, College senior and Speaker of the Legislature Luke Buschon sent an all-Emory email elaborating on the resolution and inviting the community to an open-forum discussion about the issue on Oct. 6.

A resolution is different from a bill; for this resolution, its passage would be a symbolic stance rather than an actionable affirmation.

We applaud Zoberman ​for using his platform as an elected official to represent the student body and address a pervasive issue within the Emory community. However, the resolution misses its mark with the problem at hand and presents several causes for opposition.

Personal posts against Zoberman appeared on the app following Monday’s SGA meeting, and recent racist, sexist and homophobic postings have focused attention on Yik Yak as a forum where hate speech may occur.

However, the idea of banning an entire platform of speech is misguided. As discussed in our Sept. 26 staff editorial, “Yik Yak Perpetuates Culture of Intolerance,” the issue lies with the culture of insensitivity manifested through the app, not with the medium in which it is expressed. ​Getting rid of Yik Yak will not eliminate discriminatory speech on our campus, and other anonymous forums may come up to replace its potential removal.

From a pragmatic standpoint, students with data plans can still access the app, so a call for a ban would only be futile and purely symbolic. As a liberal arts university committed to open discussion, Emory should not delve into the business of censoring forms of expression on its campus, however trivial the expression may often be. Additionally, engaging in a potential “whack-a-mole” strategy of removing anonymous social apps is not an effective policy.

If the University were to ban Yik Yak, where do we draw the line for what is or is not allowed? Twitter, Facebook and countless other social media sites, like the anonymous Reddit and 4chan, also provide similar examples of hateful and incendiary language, yet they still exist on the wireless network.

A fair portion of what occurs on Yik Yak is considered cyberbullying and, despite the anonymity of the app, hate speech is not always protected. While the intent to reduce cyberbullying is noble, Zoberman and other members of SGA should focus on the attitudes apparently existing on campus that propel these aggressive, discriminatory posts on the app, not on banning the app itself. Actively addressing the issues present, through open forums that could be similar to the one SGA is proposing, would be more beneficial rather than asking the University to stifle negative comments.

SGA deserves applause for the outreach that has occurred in the days following the proposed resolution. In addition to the public announcement of the public forum, SGA legislators all across campus have reached out over social media for genuine feedback from the students they represent in order to make a more informed decision.

Open discussion and expression is a necessary part of any sort of community framework, and we are glad to see this discussion take place. We urge students with opinions about this resolution to attend the open forum and the SGA meeting to make their voices heard — non-anonymously.

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.

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