The Dobbs University Center (DUC). Photo by Jason Oh.
By Sonam Vashi
The University has concluded its conduct procedures for two bias incidents, according to a statement from Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair. The full statement is at the bottom of this article.
The students responsible for the Oct. 5 bias incident, which involved swastikas spray painted onto the walls of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), a historically Jewish fraternity, “have received sanctions appropriate to their respective levels of involvement and culpability,” according to the statement. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating the incident, according to the statement.
For the Oct. 21 bias incident at an intramural flag football game between AEPi and another team, the University could not identify the spectators responsible for inappropriate language, including reported ethnic or racial slurs, but has “facilitated educational and community-building programming” that will lead to a follow-up game, according to the statement. In the follow-up game, the two teams will co-mingle so that the “formerly opposing players become teammates,” according to the statement.
During the Oct. 21 bias incident, a student yelled “go back to India” to the opposing team, according to Intramural Coordinator Ricky Talman.
Emory will not release more specific information on either incident at this time, citing the Federal Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects educational records of individual students, according to Senior Associate Dean and Director of Campus Life External Relations Andy Wilson.
Director of Student Conduct Marlon Gibson can assign sanctions “up to and including expulsion from Emory,” according to Wilson in an email to the Wheel.
The conduct process involves informing students of their due process rights during initial informal meetings with conduct officers, who are non-faculty employees trained by the Office of Student Conduct, according to the Office’s website. At the informal meeting, the student and conduct officer would discuss the alleged Conduct Code violations, and the student could either accept responsibility for the violation or choose not to, according to Wilson.
If the student chooses not to accept responsibility, they can proceed to a formal hearing with one conduct officer or a panel of faculty, staff and students, Wilson wrote. The panel would meet with the student, decide the student’s level of responsibility and then make recommendations to Gibson, who would communicate his decision and explain the appeal process, according to Wilson.
“We denounce all acts of bias as attacks against everything for which Emory stands,” Nair wrote in the statement. “We intend to move forward together in solidarity and as a community, continuing to learn, grow and flourish.”
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
— By Sonam Vashi, Executive Editor
This article was updated on Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:45 p.m. to add information about FERPA, the possible sanctions and the conduct process.
Statement from Nair:
December 12, 2014
Campus Life Update on Bias Incidents
Ajay Nair, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life
In response to a bias incident that occurred earlier this semester, President James W. Wagner, in a letter to the university community, stated emphatically, “Emory University will not tolerate such acts. Instead we must together pledge Emory University’s continuing commitment to raise awareness and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination.”
I want to take this opportunity to update our community regarding Emory’s actions in addressing this and one other incident that occurred during fall semester.
On October 5, our community learned of offensive vandalism targeting the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity house, a historically Jewish fraternity at Emory. On October 21, in a separate incident, we learned that, during an intramural flag football game in which AEPi participated, some spectators reportedly directed ethnic and/or racial slurs at the opposing team.
The Emory community demonstrated great solidarity in response to each of these acts of bias. For instance, a number of students, staff, and faculty engaged in thoughtful dialogue about the vandalism by participating in a teach-in on the quadrangle and in a student forum.
In another example, students on the two flag football teams are planning a follow-up match in which they will comingle the teams so that formerly opposing players become teammates in the new game. Clearly, our community is responding with empathy and creativity to the aforementioned acts of bias.
The FBI continues to investigate the offensive vandalism incident. On a parallel track, Emory has followed its conduct procedures, which have now concluded. The students responsible for this act of bias have received sanctions appropriate to their respective levels of involvement and culpability. Emory’s policies, which align with federal law, preclude the release of more-specific information.
The administration also investigated the flag football incident but was unable to identify the spectators responsible for the inappropriate language. Since then, the administration has worked with both football teams to facilitate educational and community-building programming that contributed to the teams planning a follow-up game.
The university will continue to respond decisively to acts of bias and will hold accountable those responsible. If you experience and/or witness an act of bias involving students, please report it as outlined in Emory’s Bias Incident Reporting process. James Francois, director of the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, and Scott Rausch, director of the Office of Residence Life, lead the Bias Incident Response Team, a group of university administrators who enact the response protocol.
We denounce all acts of bias as attacks against everything for which Emory stands. We intend to move forward together in solidarity and as a community, continuing to learn, grow and flourish.
Senior Electra Korn runs at the Panther Indoor Icebreaker last Friday. Korn finished third in the 60-meter dash and a second 200-meter dash among non-Division I athletes at the meet. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Zak Hudak
The Emory Eagles track and field teams faced off with 24 other teams in their first competition of the season last Friday. Scored differently than Division I teams, the women’s team returned with a first-place finish at the Panther Indoor Icebreaker, while the men’s team secured a fifth-place slot out of 24 teams.
Despite the Eagles’ strong finishes, this meet was most about allowing athletes to measure their progress, Head Coach John Curtin said.
“The score is secondary this time of year, he said. “We were getting each of the kids an opportunity to find out where they are with their training. The distance kids had the cross country season to measure themselves, but this was the first time many of our kids competed.”
The women’s team, which ended the meet with 86 points, was led by junior distance runner Julie Williamson. With a time of 2:18.43, her 800-meter dash is the fastest ran by a D III woman this season, according to Curtin.
In his first-ever collegiate meet, freshman Phillip Greenfield notched a seventh-place finish in the 60-yard dash and a 13th-place finish in the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 7.16 and 23.36 seconds, respectively. He and all other Emory athletes were scored against other non-Division I athletes.
For the women, senior Elaina Kim cleared 3.2 meters in the pole vault, notching the team’s sole first-place at the meet. Senior Electra Korn paced the Eagles with a third-place 7.96 second finish in the 60-meter dash and a second-place 25.58 second 200-meter dash. Junior Julie Williamson took second in the 800-meter dash, earning a time of 2:18.43, while sophomore Kelsey Abbott ran a low 11s 3,000-meter race, sophomore Mackenzie Levy secured a 5:23.40 mile and junior Alexandra Aiello triple jumped 10.16 meters.
On the men’s side, senior thrower James Bassen managed a distance of 14.69 meters in the weight throw, and junior Jacob Seigel completed 12.28 meters in the shot put. Sophomore Jake Schlessinger took third-place in the 3,000-meter race, finishing in 9:08.45. Junior Dametris Osbourne managed fifth in the high jump, clearing 1.70 meters, while junior Spencer Koh pole vaulted a career-high 4.10 meters.
“I was totally blown away by some of what we saw.” — Head Coach John Curtin
Freshmen from both teams showed promise for the future of Emory track and field. Freshman jumper Charlie Hu led the Eagles with a third-place 12.80 meter triple jump and a fifth-place 6.04 meter long jump.
Other top freshmen performers for the men were Benjamin Rogin in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.63 seconds, Zach Lamb in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.86 seconds, Max Brown in the mile with a time of 4:24.50 and Charles King, who ran a 1:59.02 800-meter race.
For the freshmen women, Erica Goldman took sixth with a 59.98 second 400-meter dash, Caitlin Cheeseboro took third with a time of 9.77 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, Valerie Linck made eighth-place with a 1.40 meter high jump, Zoe Fowler took fourth with a 11.56 meter weight throw and Kora Dreffs took fifth with a 10.21-meter shot put throw.
“[The first meet] is an anxious time, and we have so many freshmen and young kids,” Curtin said. “It was really fun for us to see what they did when they were asked to toe the line.”
While the Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.)-hosted Panther Indoor Ice Breaker was held at the Birmingham Crossplex, one of the nicest indoor facilities in the country, the indoor track and field season can be difficult to train for. Being without their own indoor track, the Eagles practice on the outdoor Woodruff Physical Education (WoodPEC) track as often as possible. When the weather does not permit, as it did not with the snow storms last year, the teams improvise.
“I don’t see it as a hindrance in a big way,” Curtain said. “We run parking lot towers. We’ll get on the indoor running track.”
Training is made all the more difficult when athletes return home to cold areas for winter break.
“I’ve had a kid run intervals in a mall early in the morning or run hallways in hotels,” Curtin said. “They might shovel off [snow in] one lane of their high school track.”
Measuring up against D-I opponents was important for the Eagles, as the University Athletic Association (UAA) is one of the strongest D-III conferences in the country.
“The UAA is possibly the best distance running conference in the country,” Curtin said. “It’s not as deep in track and field [as in cross country], but still high-level performance. At the top of every category, there is a national caliber athlete.”
The Eagles will return to action after break on Jan. 10, 2015 with the Orange and Purple Classic at Clemson University (S.C.), a meet which Curtin feels confident going into after last Friday.
“I was totally blown away by some of what we saw,” he said.
— By Zak Hudak, Sports Editor
Last week, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) lifted its month-long, self-imposed suspension on social activities in fraternity houses and released its working action plan to combat sexual assault on Emory’s campus. According to a Nov. 3 statement by the IFC, the organization wanted to “produce tangible and proactive steps mending the flaws in our social culture at Emory” and to “reevaluate how we address the intolerable issues of sexual violence, substance abuse and discrimination” before lifting the ban.
IFC delivered, and the result, after a month of deliberation, is a “living document” that offers short- and long-term solutions within three categories: sexual violence prevention, social event management and communication within and without the Greek community. Although the plan is now being offered up for public feedback online, implementation of short-term goals, such as a test of the new “Safe Walks” program — which will offer escorts and medical assistance to those who need it — are required to be completed by January 15. Long-term projects, including a revised IFC mission statement, are required to be completed by fall 2015. The much of the language in the action plan is clear and unambiguous, and we at the Wheel appreciate that the IFC established a concrete timeline for the completion of its goals.
With respect to the issue of sexual violence prevention, much of the IFC’s plan consists of education and outreach to the Greek community, such as a requirement for each chapter to host a semesterly seminar on either substance abuse or sexual assault prevention, where the chapter will be subject to social probation if less than 75 percent of its members attend. Under the plan, executive chapter members are also required to participate “The Talk,” a program on sexual health education, and a bystander intervention training program will be added to Greek new member training.
When organizing social events, fraternities will be required to hire a licensed bartender or have trained members on hand to tend the already required “beer check.” The action plan provides concise definitions of different types of parties and mandates that, when fraternities co-sponsor an event with other organizations, the partner organization will be required to provide sober risk managers in addition to those provided by the fraternity. In the long term, the plan also asks the University to develop further alcohol education programming for first-year students that will be more engaging than AlcoholEdu, which is currently the only mandatory alcohol education program for incoming students.
We feel that the tasks outlined in the IFC’s plan are important first steps towards solving the problems of substance abuse and sexual violence on Emory’s campus, and IFC deserves recognition for the work it has done in compiling these steps. However, this plan needs to do more to solve problems of sexual violence on our campus. IFC’s plan focuses on issues often related to sexual violence, such as event management and substance abuse, but as this action plan moves into its public feedback phase, we urge IFC and the community to amend the plan to focus more on sexual violence itself. Raising awareness of substance abuse is important in promoting public health and safety, but sexual violence is a multi-faceted issue. Instead of allowing chapters to choose a semesterly seminar on sexual violence or substance abuse, IFC should ask that the seminar solely focus on sexual violence, or have two seminars to focus on each issue. We fear that the root causes of sexual assault, which we do not attach to substance abuse, will be looked over, and instead many events will opt to discuss substance abuse and not engage the Greek community on the issue of sexual violence. We also fear that through these discussions substance abuse will be directly tied to sexual assault – a notion we must try to combat. Additionally, “The Talk” focuses on the importance of sexual health and communication, but we hope that its meetings will discuss sexual violence specifically, and succeed in raising awareness and education on sexual assault on campus.
Furthermore, the plan does not address the male-dominated nature of the space in which fraternity parties are held, an element that can create an unbalanced power dynamic or pressure to engage in sexual activity. The plan rightfully and thoughtfully recommends more collaboration with other student organizations and the creation of the Safe Walks program, which could help students who have lost their friends return to their dorms safely. However, we again recommend the creation of a neutral social event space on campus — without accessible bedrooms upstairs — in order to help combat this uneven power dynamic.
Finally, while the action plan has created positive first steps, IFC should not have lifted its social ban before its action plan was properly communicated or before its short-term goals had been implemented. IFC put this ban into place in response to a sexual assault reported on Nov. 2 and in response to other reported sexual assaults in fraternity houses. While it has already worked to change some procedures in chapters, IFC should not have lifted its ban until fraternity houses were made tangibly safer spaces. In a campus-wide email that was mistakenly sent to many junk email inboxes, IFC President Brian Diener explained that “the prohibition on social life is no longer necessary, as these problems were never going to be solved over the course of a few weeks.” While IFC has certainly worked to create tangible steps, the ban should not have ended for one last weekend of social events. Instead, IFC and the Emory community should have continued to reflect on these problems and returned to school in the spring with thoughts of how to make our school safer for everyone. IFC should have allowed for student responses to its proposal to ensure satisfaction prior to doing so.
As the plan moves into its feedback phase, we hope the Emory community will speak its mind and help IFC work towards improving the state of safety on Eagle Row. IFC should make more effort to promote both awareness of the ban’s end, its action plan and its feedback form and process over social media and other methods. We urge campus organizations that deal in the areas of gender equality and sexual violence – including Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA), Feminists in Action (FIA), the Respect Program and others – to offer their guidance, and we call on IFC to work enthusiastically with them.
The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.
By Sonam Vashi
Emory students overwhelmingly rejected a referendum that proposed raising the Student Activities Fee (SAF) from $89 to $110 per semester after two days of online voting. More than 4,000 students voted, making this the highest turnout of any University-wide election in history, according to Elections Board Chair and College junior Reuben Lack.
The referendum failed with 79 percent of students (3,216 students) voting against the proposed increase. This means the SAF, which is included as part of tuition for all students, will still increase in fall 2015 to just $92 as a result of the automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA) to which the SAF is subject.
The turnout of 4,068 students voting is almost 800 votes larger than the previous record for voting turnout (3,323 votes) for last year’s Student Government Association (SGA) presidential race.
The (SAF) was last raised in a referendum on Feb. 16, 2006, where students approved a $30, or 21.1 percent, increase.
“There’s no way to know for sure, but I speculate the issue at hand, as well as the fact the referendum was just one question as opposed to a long list of candidates, contributed to the high turnout,” Lack wrote in an email to the Wheel. “It is remarkable, considering that almost all SGA proposals put to the body in Emory history are approved. A 79 [percent] rejection is unheard of, if not unprecedented.”
The referendum proposed a three-part increase to the SAF. First, it included the already scheduled SAF increase for the 2015-2016 school year from $89 to $92, as per the University’s cost of living adjustment (CoLA), which accounts for the effects of inflation on prices.
Second, the referendum proposed an additional three dollar increase in order to adjust for the true projected effects of inflation based on average inflation indexes from the past few years, according to SGA President and College junior Jon Darby and SGA Vice President for Finance and College senior Patrick O’Leary, who co-authored the bill.
Finally, the referendum proposed a $15 increase to enact a number of SGA initiatives, such as “student experience equity programs … to enable full participation in academic and extracurricular activities regardless of socioeconomic status, enhanced programming and creation of a Meeting and Event Facilitation Fund,” according to the bill.
“All the benefits we advertised for using a $110 Student Activity Fee can’t happen with a $92 fee. It’s just a reality.” — SGA President Jon Darby
College sophomore Hebing Wang wrote that she voted no on the referendum because she felt that many students already have trouble affording Emory’s tuition, which increased last year by 2.3 percent.
“I feel like our school has more than enough money to fund [the SAF] instead of asking us for more,” she wrote in a message to the Wheel. “It gets millions upon millions in donation and savings. So I don’t think it needs any more money from us.”
The referendum resulted from the SGA Legislature passing Bill 48s108, which proposed the increase. In order for the bill to take effect, a majority of students must vote ‘yes’ in a referendum, and the University Board of Trustees must approve the increase.
“We may have set our sights a little bit too high,” O’Leary said of the referendum’s failure. “$110 is a pretty decent increase. We could have gone for a smaller dollar amount, and it may have survived.”
O’Leary added that the student body didn’t seem very informed about the referendum, which may also have contributed to its failure.
“Most of the sentiments I saw cropping up among the student body were things like ‘SGA doesn’t do anything for us,’” O’Leary said, noting that SGA’s budget comprises less than one percent of the SAF, and that much of the rest goes toward funding student organizations. “We really do make our best effort to fund every student organization on campus, which sometimes comes at the cost of our budget and ourselves.”
Darby said he expected the referendum to fail as time went on but was surprised by the level of turnout and the size of the failure margin.
“I think money is a touchy subject,” he said. “Tuition goes up every year, and the fees we pay go up every year. Higher education’s become more expensive, and I think the idea of paying more, even if you get a lot of value from that fee, isn’t very attractive to people.”
Darby emphasized that Emory students would receive value from an increased fee, given the activities fees for Emory’s peer institutions like Washington University at St. Louis and Vanderbilt University, both of which have fees greater than $200.
“Emory University pays one of the lowest student activity fees among universities of our kind,” Darby said. “Our fee’s very low, and, for better or for worse, I think we need to get what we pay for, definitely.”
O’Leary noted that the lack of specificity of the SGA initiatives to be funded by the $15 increase may have contributed to the referendum’s failure.
“If any increase is going to happen, then students are really going to have to see a tangible cost-benefit analysis,” O’Leary said. “Anything that’s going to be put out about it needs to be concrete and detailed, showing exactly how [the money] is going to be used.”
O’Leary added that SGA was unable to detail specific programs for the extra $15 because of a compressed timeline, where the referendum had to be held before January, when the Board of Regents would meet to approve the increase. He added that if SGA were to do this again, they would start advertising well in advance to reach more students.
Darby added that he believes students judged that the benefits SGA promised from the fee were not worth the cost of the SAF increase. He said this may in part be because students do not currently trust their elected representatives to spend money responsibly, and this is due to the nature of the way the SAF is split among the University.
The SAF is split based on the Fee Split, which allots a certain fixed percentage of the fee to each divisional council of the University. Last fall, SGA amended the Fee Split to eliminate fixed percentages of the SAF for University-wide organizations, which include the Outdoor Emory Organization (OEO), the Student Programming Council (SPC), Club Sports and the Media Council.
Darby added that these organizations receive fixed percentages of the SAF without being required to submit a budget.
“I think accountability on the front end through budgeting is really necessary moving forward,” Darby said. “I think the fee split is fundamentally flawed.”
Darby said that the SGA programs proposed by the $15 increase are not going to happen now that the referendum has failed.
“All the benefits we advertised for using a $110 Student Activity Fee can’t happen with a $92 fee; it’s just a reality,” he said. “We don’t expect we’ll be able to make anything we promised under the $110 fee happen with any fee lower than that.”
O’Leary concurred, adding that the SAF increase would have relieved financial pressure on student organizations.
“The wallet of student organizations at Emory University is pretty strained right now,” O’Leary said. “We’re having some organizations get very, very close on their accounts. We definitely need to see something happen. If it’s just the [three dollar] CoLA increase, then that’s just going to have to be it for now.”
“I feel like our school has more than enough money to fund [the SAF] instead of asking us for more.” — College sophomore Hebing Wang
Based on the results of the referendum, Darby said he and the rest of SGA will be disseminating surveys to ascertain why students voted no.
“I have my own ideas, and sometimes my ideas don’t align with the student body, as we’ve seen in this referendum, but I think I’m obligated to be responsive to student concerns, by nature of being an elected representative,” Darby said.
College senior Harlan Cutshall, who is the vice president of programming for the Emory International Relations Association (EIRA), wrote that he was disappointed in the referendum’s failure.
“We receive significant funding from College Council, but are still forced to cover a large portion of our expenses independently, including conference fees for our traveling Model UN team,” Cutshall wrote in an email to the Wheel. “We were hoping that additional funds generated by an SAF increase would help not only our organization but hundreds of others across campus to help shrink this deficit, even if to a small degree. I’m upset that the referendum failed…”
Darby said that, regardless of the outcome, he felt it was encouraging to see this level of turnout.
“In the past, our turnout has been disappointing, to say the least,” he said. “I hope that in the future, we see at least this number of people voting.”
— By Sonam Vashi, Executive Editor, and Rupsha Basu, News Editor
By Sonam Vashi
Assistant News Editor
After one month of quiet on Eagle Row, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) unanimously voted to end its self-imposed suspension of social activities in fraternity houses Tuesday night (Dec. 2) and created a working action plan with several short- and long-term steps to address issues surrounding sexual assault.
The suspension was implemented on Nov. 3 in response to a Nov. 2 report of a sexual assault and other past reports of sexual assaults at Emory fraternity houses. According to its Nov. 3 statement, the IFC said it would lift the social ban “once we have produced tangible and proactive steps mending the flaws in our social culture at Emory,” and that the pause would be used to “reevaluate how we address the intolerable issues of sexual violence, substance abuse and discrimination” on Emory’s campus.
The resulting action plan is a “living document” and creates steps addressing sexual violence, event management and communications surrounding fraternity life, according to the document. The plan includes steps like requiring registered bartenders or Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS)-certified fraternity brothers to serve alcohol at fraternity parties, creating a Safe Walks program and requiring party themes to be approved by the Office for Sorority and Fraternity Life (OSFL). Find the latest version of the action plan here.
After the creation of this report, IFC will now enter a public feedback stage of the process to solicit comments from community members, other Greek councils and other non-Greek student groups, according to IFC President and Goizueta Business School senior Brian Diener. Students and community members can provide feedback to the plan online here.
According to Diener, the IFC took a step back to focus on how to amend the problems facing Greek Life during the ban.
“We started the ban. . . after a history of no response, and we said we would lift it when we were comfortable on the progress we made,” Diener said. “You’re not going to fix sexual assault or substance abuse in a couple of weeks. They’re public health issues. But I think we were comfortable with where the plan is at right now.”
The end of the social ban was only communicated to each of the chapter presidents, IFC presidents and the administration. Diener said that IFC is working to send out an all-Emory students email about the end of the social ban, similar to how its beginning was announced through an all-Emory email from Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair.
Diener said that IFC did not want to extend the ban for an unnecessarily long time.
“We never had a set timeline,” Diener said. “Our goals were always to feel ready and comfortable with the plan, and I think that’s where we’re at right now. . . This was IFC focusing on our own issues, and we wanted to make sure that we were focusing on those issues first, and then we would talk to the public.”
The plan “holds IFC members accountable for their actions to accomplish these goals, but also serves to help [IFC] communicate our progress to the broader Emory community,” according to the document.
The ban suspended all registered parties in fraternity houses, although off-campus events, educational events like November’s “Salon” at the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, some brotherhood events and some recruitment events were allowed, according to Diener, who also said that there were no violations of the ban other than two excepted semi-formals, which were approved by IFC. Because the suspension has now been lifted, fraternities are now able to host official parties.
In the introduction of the action plan, the document states that, as part of IFC’s “duty to provide a safe and supportive environment for [its] members and guests, [IFC believes] the proposals in this document will improve [its] community and foster lasting relationships that offer real impact.”
Diener said the formulation of the action plan was a positive process.
“I think it’s created a lot of awareness in the community and created a lot of interesting conversations in the community,” Diener said, noting that each of the 11 fraternity chapters wrote a statement on how it would individually respond to sexual assaults at fraternity houses.
The 13-page document outlines existing policies, short-term goals and long-term goals for the three areas of sexual violence prevention, event management and communications and programming. The document states that IFC aims to complete the short-term goals upon the transition to the new executive board in January 2015, and long-term goals by fall 2015.
In the area of sexual violence prevention, the document points out several existing procedures and programs in place to “confront the root causes of sexual and relationship violence head on,” such as Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and Sigma Delta Tau sorority’s “Safe, Smart Dating” and the Office of Health Promotion’s (OHP) Greek Initiative conversation partnership, according to the document.
The document also notes that eight of the 11 fraternity chapters include Sexual Assault Peer Advocate (SAPA) training in their new member education experience, although the plan does not include SAPA training for all incoming members of IFC chapters.
Short-term solutions include the creation of an IFC Liaison to OHP that would “update and communicate relevant programming to IFC members; coordinate ‘The Talk’ with chapter executive boards; help chapters plan their semesterly education programming and consult with outside perspective on actions IFC can take” in regards to policies, according to the document.
Additionally, The Talk, a Respect program initiative for Greek life that allows small groups to initiate discussion about expectations relating to communication and intimacy, will be required of all chapter executive boards and the IFC executive board, according to the document.
For long term goals, the IFC plan aims to require each chapter to host one event a semester to address either sexual violence or substance abuse with at least a 75 percent attendance rate required. If this attendance is not met, the chapter will face social probation, according to the document.
Another change will be made to the Greek 101 New Member Training Program, with IFC partnering with OHP to utilize OHP’s new Active Bystander Skills training, according to the document.
The long-term projects for event management calls for either a licensed third-party bartender to work an event or a TIPS-trained and identified brother who is responsible for handling the proscribed beer check station, according to the document.
“I think that’s important because it takes the onus off of individuals and creates a third party for handling the situation,” Diener said. “For trained members, IFC is going to be very strict on people going through the training process.”
Additionally, the Safe Walks program, a new initiative created by College seniors Oliver Paprin and Cara Ortiz beginning next semester, will provide a pair of trained students to walk students home who are uncomfortable walking from Eagle Row across campus to their rooms on Friday and Saturday nights, according to the document. This programs draws on existing initiatives from other schools, according to Diener.
Building on the past two years’ worth of changing risk management policies, including the Sorority-Fraternity Life Review Board, nightly walkthroughs of fraternity houses and the recent implementation of card readers at registered parties, the IFC plan wants to clarify definitions of events at houses.
For example, a guest list party is open to anyone on the guest list, a mixer is restricted to members of the two organizations mixing and a date party has one predetermined guest per sponsoring member, according to the document.
Other changes include an increase in communication about guest expectations, medical amnesty for organizations and a requirement of risk managers from non-IFC organizations co-hosting events in the house, according to the document.
Additionally, IFC calls for the University to provide an alcohol education program that extends beyond the current AlcoholEdu for first-year students and an increase in communication between House directors and chapter leadership.
The final area of recommendations and changes deal with a lack of communication between IFC members and the community at large, noting they have been “unsuccessful in maintaining relationships with other groups and student organizations on campus.”
As an existing step, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life created a system for reviewing and sanctioning party themes within Greek life, according to Diener. This change came after feminist groups at Emory have previously criticized potentially or overtly sexist fraternity party themes over the past few years.
Before January’s changeover in the IFC executive board, they hope to require new recruits for fraternities to attend a panel in their residence hall to hear expectations of the Greek community, an email introducing first-year men to IFC’s history and expectations and an expansion of messaging through social media, small-scale programming and a strengthened partnership with the Office of Residence Life.
For the long term, IFC aims to draft a new mission statement that better aligns with new programs and efforts to closely align IFC values with the values of the community.
Additionally, IFC Vice President of Housing and College senior Nicholas Sommariva, who assisted in compiling the report, was happy that the document incorporated a lot of ideas from a lot of people.
“We tried our best in writing this living document to encompass everything and everyone while still being comprehensive and practical,” Sommariva said. (Sommariva is a former editor at the Wheel.)
When asked why the ban was lifted before the end of the semester, Sommariva said that there was much discussion about the timing of the cessation of the ban.
“A lot of conversations were had about when to end it, how to end it, is it right to end it, etcetera,” Sommariva said. “We didn’t feel that waiting to get feedback was necessary because the plan could never be a catch-all, end-all.”
Sommariva added that he thought keeping the ban in place solely to get feedback from others wasn’t going to help anything, because he thought the community had taken the time to step back, reflect and learn and that the work isn’t done nor will IFC not continue to work with anyone on the plan.
College senior Anusha Ravi said she thought the document was impressive, had great ideas and did a good job of incorporating other groups that already exist on campus, but she said the work is not done.
“This is a longer conversation; it’s not going to end with this plan,” said Ravi, who is also the vice president of facilitator training for SAPA and Co-President of Feminists in Action. “This is a really good start, but the issue merits more time.”
As for moving forward, Diener said that IFC plans to meet with other student groups and has created an online form where people can submit feedback anonymously.
“Our ban was different than a lot of schools’ bans,” Diener said. “It was appropriate during this time to take a step back and reflect and establish our way forward, producing something tangible.”
— By Sonam Vashi, Executive Editor and Stephen Fowler, Asst. News Editor
"Black Lives Matter" Protest
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"Black Lives Matter" Protest: Wednesday, Dec. 3 | Photo by Jason Oh, Staff Photographer
By Annie McGrew
Asst. News Editor
After a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and, less than two weeks later, a grand jury did not indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo on charges related to the death of Eric Garner, Emory students and community members protested throughout campus, joining protests around the nation as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests occurred on Wednesday night (Dec. 3) and Thursday (Dec. 4) at noon, with protesters carrying signs and chalking outside of the Dobbs University Center (DUC) and on Asbury Circle.
Chalk outlines of bodies covered parts of campus as students split into groups and traced fellow students’ bodies in chalk, recreating the look of a crime scene in which a black innocent had been killed. Written phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” were scatted throughout the pavement, zigzagging around the bodies. Students wrote names of their friends and loved ones inside the chalk outlines, representing the killing of black people throughout the nation.
During the protest Wednesday night, students marched throughout campus, beginning in Asbury Circle and moving through the Robert W. Woodruff Library and Woodruff Circle. At one point in the night, protesters blocked off traffic on Clifton Road, holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “It Is Our Duty to Fight for Freedom” and chanting, “Turn up, don’t turn down, we do this for Mike Brown;” “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” “Black lives matter,” “No justice no peace” and ”I want to live.”
The protests’ organizers included College sophomore Lolade Oshin, College junior Casidy Campbell, College sophomore Janay Devillasee, College sophomore Sophen Joseph, College sophomore Jasmyn Mackell and College junior Malika Anderson.
First and foremost, Oshin wrote that she wants this protest to make black students at Emory know that they are important and that they matter.
“[This protest] is about us — Black people, the oppressed, Black Emory,” she wrote. “I hope that WE can all feel important here. I hope that WE can all face the hard truth that we are no different from Michael Brown or Eric Garner. So within Black Emory and our wonderful supporters, I hope this protest impacted us all positively. For everyone else, well, I don’t really care.”
After the success of Wednesday night’s protest, its organizers staged a “die-in” outside of the Candler School of Theology. According to their Facebook page, the purpose of the die-in was for protesters to participate in the physical act of laying their bodies on the ground in solidarity with Brown, Garner and other black victims of police brutality.
The die-in began at noon and, by 12:40, there were around 200 protesters there. From the ground, unified chants rang out: “I can’t breathe,” “black lives matter,” “your silence will not protect you.” Later: “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” “I am not three-fifths, I am not a fraction,” “the people, united, shall never be defeated” and “we will not forget you Kendrick Johnson,” referring to a Georgia high school student whose body was found rolled up in a wrestling mat on Jan. 11, 2013.
According to a 2012 study done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an antiracist grassroots activist organization, an officer kills a black man every 28 hours.
The six student organizers came together through a Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies class titled Black Feminist Thought, taught by Professor Rizvana Bradley. According to Oshin, when the decision not to indict Pantaleo came out, groups of students were disgusted, and they decided something had to be done quickly.
Coordinating though Facebook and text message, the protest Wednesday night was organized with little time around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Oshin.
Oshin wrote in an email to the Wheel that the purpose of the protest was to acknowledge the fact that “we will no longer stand for this.”
Joseph, another of the protest’s organizers, felt that this protest had been a long time coming. She said that something had to be done because of the long list of cases piling up, the Garner decision being the tipping point.
Joseph also highlighted the importance of this protest taking place at Emory, a place she said she has found to be difficult to be a part of as an African American.
“Emory is a really oppressive place to be,” she said. “It’s really hard to be here and to be Black because if anything you are written into non-existence … We don’t exist here to the white community and … its hard to exist in a space where you feel you are not wanted.”
College sophomore Ashley Graham was moved that the Emory community could come together in support of the Black Lives Matter protest. “I am so proud of Emory right now.” Graham said. “This is really an act of mobilizing, and I am so thankful that we could come together as a community whether you’re black, you’re white, you’re Asian, you’re Hispanic, whatever you are — that people come together and realize that this is an important cause.”
Another organizer, Campbell, also said she felt the solidarity among all the different communities at Emory during the protest.
“I was really proud of all of us coming together for this cause. It was a long time coming, [and] I feel like we really needed to let out our emotions that have been building up for so long, especially in the face of injustice that has happened recently,” Campbell said.
Campbell also said she was happy that the protest received respect from the University and the police officers.
“I’m definitely glad that we were able to do this,” Campbell said. “We really did shut everything down so that people can know that black lives matter.”
Of the die-in on Thursday, College senior and Woodruff Hall Resident Advisor (RA) Vincent Vartabedian said he thought it was great Emory students were gathering to make a statement.
“It’s really uncharacteristic of Emory, actually,” he said.
During the die-in, Candler School of Theology Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics Jan Love addressed the crowd.
“This is what grief looks like,” Love said. “Jesus was acquainted with grief. This is what sorrow looks like. Jesus was well-acquainted with sorrow. This is what rage looks like. Jesus was acquainted with rage.”
Senior Lecturer in African American Studies Department Nathan McCall wrote of the protest that “it was so refreshing to see Emory students joining the growing chorus of people around the country who recognize that there is something terribly wrong with our justice system, and it needs to be fixed now.”
He was also in disbelief of the lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case.
“If the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson leaves room for debate, the same cannot be said of the choking of Eric Garner in New York,” he wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I’ve watched the video replay of Eric Garner’s death, over and over. It’s mind boggling to think that a grand jury could not see what is so readily apparent.”
McCall also noted that in less than two weeks, two juries have returned verdicts failing to indict white officers for killing black men. He said it almost feels like we’ve gone back in time.
“It’s like Birmingham in 1955,” he said. “I was watching a demonstration on TV and I saw someone waving a sign that captures the sense of frustration many of us feel. It said ‘I am sick of having to protest for the right to live.’ For me, as for many blacks, it feels like our tax dollars are being used to help finance our oppression.”
The protest on Wednesday night reflected similar frustration many students say they are feeling.
Of the protest, College freshman Ashley Brown said she’s learned the importance of joining the movement instead of staying on the sidelines.
“If you see something like this going on, I feel like it is your job to join in because it’s not just a show, you know, it’s not just a performance,” she said.
College freshman Zoe Ravina, another protester, felt the sense of unity at the protest.
“[The protest] was really beautiful and amazing,” she said.
Assistant News Editor Lydia O’Neal contributed reporting.
— By Annie McGrew, Assistant News Editor
Sophomore right side hitter Sarah Maher attempts a spike. Maher put up 21 kils and 14 digs in the Eagles’ NCAA National Championship loss against Hope College (Mich.) yesterday. She and the Eagles finished the season with an overall record of 39-4. Courtesy of Emory Athletics.
By Zak Hudak
The Emory volleyball team ended a season for the books yesterday afternoon with a nail-biting, five-set National Championship loss to Hope College (Mich.). The contest was the Eagles’ first National Championship Match appearance since 2008.
En route to the final match, the Eagles topped both Williams College (Mass.) and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 3-1 in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals and semifinals, respectfully.
“Going into these past two matches, we definitely expected to win,” sophomore right side hitter Sarah Maher said of the Eagle’s quarter and semifinal triumphs. “We knew they were not going to be easy matches by any means, but we were confident that we were prepared for them.”
The Hope match marked the 39-4 overall Eagles’ first loss since Oct. 18 and their seventh five set-long contest of the season.
The Eagles started the match strongly, holding the Hope Flying Dutch to a .154 attack percentage in the first set. A kill from senior All-Tournament Team member Leah Jacobs, brought the set to a 21-25 Emory win.
Despite being tied 18-18 and 19-19 in the second and third sets, the Flying Dutch pulled through for 25-21 and 25-22 wins, respectfully.
The fourth set looked like it would be the end for the Eagles, the Flying Dutch enjoying 10-5 and then 17-10 leads, but a wild Emory rally, in which Jacobs and Maher knocked out two and three kills respectfully, the Eagles again tied the score at 19-19. After a gut-wrenching moment of a 24-24 score, sophomore middle hitter Jessica Holler and a Hope hitting error gave the Eagles a 26-24 victory.
In the fifth deciding set, Hope held Emory to a .000 attack percentage, while boasting one of .467. After a 7-0 deficit, the Eagles battled the score to 10-7, but the Flying Dutch rallied to finish the set 15-8.
“I don’t think we’ve met a team that fought as hard as we did and that’s really what we came up against [with Hope],” senior outside hitter Leah Jacobs said in a post-game NCAA press conference uploaded by host Christopher Newport College (Va.). “It was just two of the best teams in the country fighting for whatever they can get.”
Overall, the Flying Dutch outhit the Eagles, topping their .195 attack percentage with one of .238 and making them only the second team to do so this season.
Without senior middle Cat McGrath, who caught the norovirus and was unable to play in the match, on the court, Maher took the offensive helm for the Eagles, bringing in a career-high 21 kills and career-tying 14 digs. Meanwhile Jacobs and Holler each provided the Eagles with 16 kills. Junior setter Sydney Miles, also a member of the All-Tournament team, put up a season-high 58 assists.
On defense, the Eagle’s held down the front, notching 98 digs, 30 of which were boasted by senior libero Kate Bowman, to Hope’s 87.
The match marked the last of a successful last season for seniors Jacobs, McGrath, Bowman and setter Olivia Volarich.
“As disappointed as I am about losing the match, I’m more disappointed that Cat [McGrath] didn’t get to play in her last match as a senior,” Head Coach Jenny McDowell said during the post-game press conference.
Although disappointed in the finish, McDowell could have not been more proud of her Eagles.
“I told them, I’ve never been so proud if a group,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve never had so much fun coaching a team, because they’ve been through more than I could even list for you guys.”
Both the season and the careers of four seniors have come to as climatic and admirable an end as could have been imagined.
“I know every team goes through things, but it’s just been an honor and a privilege to coach this group,” McDowell said.
— By Zak Hudak, Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lavoie | Flickr
By Edmund Xu
There is no mistaking it: earlier this month, the Democratic Party and its candidates were electorally annihilated all over the country, up and down the ballot. The nation saw a red tsunami sweep through most of the country, from the Governor’s mansion in deep blue Massachusetts, through red Kansas and its unpopular incumbents, all the way to purple Alaska and its competitive Senate seat.
The GOP captured the Senate by gaining an impressive eight seats (possibly nine, pending a run-off in Louisiana) and is one member short of matching their post-World War II record high in the House of Representatives of 246 seats out of 435. On the state level, it didn’t matter if a state was normally red or blue. If a race was seriously contested, the Republican almost always won. That is how the Republican Party won control or continue to hold the Governor’s office in blue states such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Maryland, as well as state legislatures in states such as Nevada and Pennsylvania. Beginning with next year, the GOP dominance in the U.S. Congress and statehouses will have reached dizzying heights.
But politics never rests. It is now time to look forward to 2016. The question everyone is asking is: how can the Republican Party win during presidential turnout levels? Based on the results of the elections earlier this month, it may seem that Republicans have an overwhelming mandate to govern and are certain to clinch 2016. It’s not that simple.
One important result of this year’s results that has barely been discussed by the media is the overwhelming victory of progressive ballot initiatives across the country. “Personhood” amendments, which would have defined an unborn child as a “living person” in relevant wrongful death and criminal statutes (and effectively criminalize abortion), failed in two states that elected Republican senators this year — North Dakota and Colorado. Four other red states — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota — passed minimum wage increases. Additionally, Alaska and Oregon passed measures allowing for the recreational use of marijuana, Washington state voted to expand background checks on gun purchases and California voters chose to water down the state’s tough-on-crime laws. Across the country, voters chose to increase taxes to pay for expanding public transit infrastructure, from San Francisco to Arlington, from Detroit to even in Atlanta. These were all issues championed by unions, progressive activists, environmentalists and allied groups of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, Republicans were mute on issues like same-sex marriage and gun control.
Voters chose the Republican Party to govern the country out of the dysfunction we’ve experienced for the past few years. I believe that unless the GOP acts on this mandate appropriately, 2014 will be a short-term victory the same way 2010 was a short-term victory for them before Obama was spectacularly re-elected into office two years later. The GOP’s prospects two years from now will be very dim unless they can prove that they can govern smartly, reject dogmatism and dramatically hew to the political center.
First of all, the math shows that 2016 will be a difficult year for Republicans. This year, only 36.4 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote, the lowest in 70 years. With the excitement of a presidential election at the top of the ticket, turnout in 2016 will be far higher. Younger voters and racial minorities, a demographic that has always leaned Democratic, will turn out in greater numbers. Voting suppression efforts underway in Republican-led states, such as creating stringent voter ID requirements or closing urban voting precincts, have the practical effect of making the voting process confusing and difficult for enough to dissuade people from going to the polls. The impact of these laws lie squarely on the shoulders of racial minority groups and college students who do not have the proper ID or the means to get one, or the time to waste waiting in line to vote.
Whether or not this practice is legal, it is at best a short-term victory for the Republican Party. The Democrats will soon get their act together and make sure their base understands the Byzantine process in order to get a ballot in these states. In the meantime, the long-term effect is that voters will never forget which party tried to stop them from voting.
Additionally, the GOP faces in 2016 what Republican Chris Ladd calls the “blue wall.” This wall consists of states that have voted for a Democratic candidate in every election since 1992, plus Nevada, New Mexico and New Hampshire. These states collectively control 257 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, and no Republican can realistically hope to win them in 2016. Democrats have such a lock here that every single Democrat won their respective Senate races in “blue wall” states this Republican wave year. Any Democrat starts out with only 13 electoral votes left to victory.
The 2016 math for the U.S. Senate races is even worse for the Republicans, if that’s even possible. Senate races are up every six years, so 2016’s class of senators are the same who survived the Democratic wipeout in 2010. If a Democrat could win that year, then they are virtually invincible in a presidential election year. The only remotely competitive Democratic-held seat is in Colorado. On the other hand, Republican victories in blue states in 2010 are coming around to bite them: GOP-held seats in eight seats are potentially competitive. More could become competitive if Republican incumbents choose to retire in states like Arizona or Kentucky. On the surface, it looks like the incoming Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has only been given a two-year loan in his new office.
In the aftermath of the election this year, NBC and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) interviewed the electorate to capture an understanding of what America’s expectations and priorities for the new Congress are. The top five most important issues were student loans, infrastructure spending, raising the minimum wage, funding to fight Ebola and climate change and reducing carbon emissions.
What I see in the 2014 Republican wave election is a mandate from the voters for the Republicans to govern maturely and responsibly, for the issues they care about. Instead, I see Republicans interpreting the election results as a mandate to push through controversial and radical conservative policies that do not sit well with the majority of America. So what are the priorities of the new Republican congress? First of all, I am afraid that they will continue wasting congressional resources on sham hearings where they screech and whine about the made-up ‘scandals.’ Additionally, I fear that no executive appointment that President Obama makes will pass the Senate, leaving our government increasingly crippled. We do not have a Surgeon General, for example, to lead America’s efforts in fighting Ebola because the Republicans refuse to allow a vote on Obama’s nominee. Obstruction is the game here.
In terms of their productive efforts, I believe that one of the first bills to be passed will be a repeal of Obamacare. This is a pointless exercise because Obama will surely veto any blanket repeal. Problematically for the GOP, this proposal is third-to-last place in terms of support among all of the policies that NBC/WSJ interviewed McConnell about.
Republicans will no doubt continue to try any method of thwarting Obama’s executive action on immigration. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has already threatened to turn back any Obama appointment for Attorney General over this issue, leaving the country without its top attorney and legal advisor. Opposition to this executive action will not be popular among Hispanics, whom the Republicans critically need in order to expand their tent.
Republicans have also continued to foolishly deny the science behind climate change. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is slated to chair the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee in the next Congress. Inhofe is one of the Senate’s most vocal virulent climate change deniers and a champion of the environmental disaster known as fracking.
Indeed, congressional Republicans’ plans for the next two years consist of more of the same: obstruction, negativity and continued intransigence. But in order to win the White House and maintain their grip on the U.S. Senate in 2016, Republicans must reshape their agenda to reflect a positive and productive outlook. They must be specific in their policy points and avoid the tempting short-term rewards that come from endlessly pursuing a policy based solely around opposition to the President.
This year’s electorate presented the Republican Party with a chance to lead. They must take this mandate and pursue a path forward by making tough decisions, tackling challenging questions and providing real solutions for real problems. Wealth inequality is skyrocketing and the middle class is being economically squeezed. Students are finding that the decision of whether or not to go to college is a question between lifelong debt or unemployment. Beyond our borders, we are facing a crisis of trust among our allies and rising anti-American sentiment among others. And the world must work together to solve the problem of climate change and rising seas if we are to share our beautiful planet with our grandchildren.
Instead, the Republicans have eschewed compromise in order to pursue Benghazi. Don’t they know that Obama can no longer be their scapegoat? They are in the leadership now, and voters will assess their performance come 2016.
The conservative base may like it when the Republicans antagonize Obama. But America would like it if they did what we voted for them to do: get things done.
Edmund Xu is a College senior from Los Altos, California.
Latin interest sorority Lambda Theta Alpha (pictured) revealed its six new members at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 19, | Photo by Mark Igbinadolor, Staff
By Stephen Fowler
Asst. News Editor
Eight men clad in black-and-gold masks stand in a straight, disciplined line. It’s a chilly November night, but over 100 people are huddled in a semicircle around Tarbutton Hall. One man dances out of line to cheers from the crowd, then an anxious silence envelops the plaza as he waits to take off his mask.
“My name is Kevin … Pierre … Satterfield … Jr.,” he yells. “I’m a senior studying political science and economics… I’m from Charlotte (‘Queeeeeeen City’) North Carolina.”
One by one, the rest of the men reveal themselves to the community, sharing their newly-given line names, or intimate nicknames acquired during the pledging process, their hometown and majors. These are the men of the Mu Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha — the fraternity that returned to Emory’s campus after a three year hiatus due to hazing violations — who are ready to wear their letters with pride.
Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, commonly known as the Alphas, were unveiled in a probate, or a display of fraternal history, brotherhood, dancing and discipline. Led by a constant swaying of head nods from alumni and students alike, the new Alphas made their way through a roll-call of fellow National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) organizations in attendance, performed highly elaborate and synchronous dance routines and recited facts about the ideals and history of the fraternity with an high level of discipline and precision.
The Alphas are one of the six NPHC fraternities and sororities on Emory’s campus.
To the uninitiated, the new member process that NPHC and Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) organizations go through may seem unusual — one observer at the Alpha Phi Alpha probate likened it to a mixture between a boot camp and Bar Mitzvah — but the processes are steeped in history and tradition unique to each organization.
Arthur Doctor, assistant director of Sorority and Fraternity Life and the primary advisor to the MGC and NPHC, said that each organization has a different terminology for the process, whether it be a probate, new member presentation or reveal.
Doctor said that in 1990, to combat hazing, the organizations of the NPHC banned public pledging as a form of new membership admission and instead focused on an underground secret membership intake process that culminates in members revealing themselves to campus as a new person who has pledged to uphold the ideas and values of their respective organizations.
While the specifics of the respective new member processes largely remain secret, new members spend their time “online,” or undergoing the new member process outside of the public eye, learning about the ideals and histories of their organizations, growing closer with the rest of their pledge line and performing several song and dance routines at their reveals.
Additionally, most of the NPHC organizations are required to be affiliated with an alumni chapter that provides mentorship, the chapter advisor and an emphasis on lifelong dedication and service to the organization.
MGC fraternities Xi Kappa and Sigma Beta Rho, MGC sorority Delta Phi Lambda and NPHC sorority Zeta Phi Beta all held their new member presentations in the past two weeks as well.
In regards to the new member process and the NPHC and MGC groups on campus, Doctor encourages Emory students who may not be familiar with the organizations to reach out and get to know more about them and what they do.
“Most of the service and philanthropic endeavors these groups take on are every week, they’re in the communities and very hands on,” Doctor said. “That’s stuff I think a lot of people don’t see, and if they did, there would be a lot more understanding about the NPHC and MGC groups.”
Doctor added that the new member process is an opportunity for those who go through it to become more aware of themselves and grow into a newer, better person.
Satterfield echoed Doctor’s sentiment and said the new member process is unique because it forces you to really think about your strengths and weaknesses as a way to build yourself during the process.
“The process allows you to think of yourself in the context of a brotherhood,” Satterfield said.
Additionally, Satterfield said that skills learned through the new member process transcends the fraternity.
“The entire process is so applicable because I’ve been able to take away so much and translate it into different environments as well,” he said. “In my current role as a member of the STEER Team in the Office of Student Leadership and Service, I’m constantly reminded of what I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown both as a person and professional.”
Satterfield said that the moment he and his fraternity brothers were able to reveal themselves to the community was the biggest sigh of relief he has ever had.
“During our new member process, I had to pretend as if I wasn’t undergoing one of the most challenging and time-consuming moments in my life,” Satterfield said. “I had to carry on with my classes, extracurriculars and leadership positions as if I had everything under control.”
Satterfield pointed to the fact that the several-month process was made less challenging by his fraternity brothers to be able to undertake together.
“[My brothers were] also why I was able to finish,” Satterfield said. “I had seven other individuals who supported me when I didn’t have the energy or courage to juggle it all.”
For Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing senior and President of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority (LTA) Analy Varajas-Gonzalez, their intake process is an exciting time for all involved. LTA is an MGC that was founded at Emory in 2003.
At the LTA new member presentation on Nov. 19, the six new members of the sorority recited history of the sorority, poems about their older sisters in the sorority and revealed their identities to a packed crowd in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Administration Building Auditorium.
In between different parts of the presentation, cries of “I see you Ace! I see you Tail!” echod from members of Emory’s NPHC and MGC communities, sister chapters from other schools and a number of curious onlookers there to learn more about what was taking place.
Varajas-Gonzalez said the decision to undergo the new member process for LTA is something to be cherished and is just the beginning for the creation of lifelong bonds among all sisters.
“Although we are Latina-based, we are not Latina-exclusive,” Varajas-Gonzalez said. ”Lambda Theta Alpha prides itself in its philanthropy and strong bonds among sisters.”
For Satterfield, his decision to become a member of Alpha Phi Alpha will not be over once he walks across the stage as he graduates in May. What he learned along the way is something more.
“This process has shaped my life in ways that extend beyond my time at Emory and I’m so excited to continue this lifelong journey as a man of Alpha Phi Alpha,” he said.
— By Stephen Fowler, Asst. News Editor
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
By Rupsha Basu
A new project will repurpose sewage water to fuel air conditioning and heating at Emory by spring 2015.
The project, called the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF), is currently under construction on Peavine Creek Road near the baseball field and behind Beta Theta Pi fraternity. It will consist of an indoor greenhouse facility as well as an outdoor facility between the fraternity house and the baseball field.
WRF is the first of its kind in the nation to use hydroponic technology to treat waste water, according to Brent Zern, environmental engineer for the Division of Campus Services. Hydroponic technology is a water-based method of growing plants that uses mineral solutions rather than soil, Zern said.
WRF’s function is to conserve water and save utility water costs, Zern said. He added that this is especially necessary given that Atlanta is undergoing heavy droughts — a “water crisis.”
The project began three years ago with feasibility studies from an economic and engineering perspective, Zern said.
As soon as the Board of Trustees gave the greenlight, construction began last winter and will conclude in either January or February of 2015. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility in April, Zern said.
According to Zern, large plants in the greenhouse will have a substantial root system which undergoes a ecologically-based, biological treatment.
“The magic happens in the root system,” Zern said.
The roots are submerged in aerobic and anaerobic chambers — or large concrete vaults — that are home to 2,000-3,000 unique microorganisms that are able to break down waste, according to an Oct. 22 post on the University’s sustainability initiatives website.
Liquid waste from one of the three underground waste lines at Emory will be recycled and circulated through these chambers and treated with the microorganisms. The water first gets circulated through the indoor chambers and then the outdoor facility, which has different, climate-specific plants.
“Waste water is moved through the chambers, and these organisms eat the waste,” Zern said. “When it comes out, it’s a very clean water product.” He added, however, that this recycled water is never meant to be drinkable.
The WRF can treat 400,000 gallons of water per day, which amounts to 146 million gallons per year, Zern said. He added that the facility will not produce to capacity at all times and will produce a projected average of 300,000 gallons of reusable water per day.
Emory currently has a chiller plant and a steam plant that converts clean water from the county to air conditioning and heating for every building. According to Zern, the WRF would do away with the need to purchase drinkable water from the county and instead use recycled waste water.
The amount of water treated will also be seasonally dependent. During hotter months, the water will be repurposed for the chiller plant, and during cooler months, it will be repurposed for the steam plant, Zern said. The Office of Sustainability Initiatives will also pursue the possibility of reusing the water for plumbing in Raoul Hall.
According to Zern, Vice President of Campus Services Matthew Early does not want to reveal the monetary specifics of how much Emory is saving by converting to this sustainable alternative.
However, Zern said that currently Emory pays a certain amount for utility plants in addition to the cost of the clean water from the county.
“Right now, we use good drinking water supplied by the county — we don’t need that quality of water,” Zern said.
This facility would eliminate the cost of the clean water, and Emory will receive the waste water at a significantly reduced price, according to Zern.
The facility will also be available as living, learning laboratories for Emory faculty and students, Zern said. Some classes, such as one taught by Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation in the Rollins School of Public Health Christine Moe have already taken samples from the greenhouse.
Originally, the greenhouse facility without the outdoor component was designed to treat 200,000 gallons per day, but Zern said Early wanted for it to process more. Therefore, the lot behind Beta Theta Pi became the second, outdoor component of the WRF.
According to Zern, other facilities like this exist in parts of Europe and China, but the ecological treatment is unique to the WRF in the United States.
“Other people might reclaim water using chemical treatment,” Zern said. He added that the WRF is a smaller-scale project and uses few chemicals.
“We’re leading the way in water conservation efforts,” Zern said.
— By Rupsha Basu, News Editor
Correction 12/03 12:06 p.m.: This article was updated to change the first sentence, which mistakenly said the project was commissioned by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives. The information attributed to a post on the University’s sustainability initiatives page also mistakenly was attributed to an Office of Sustainability Initiatives press release.
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