Black History Month helps students across campus understand heritage

BY SHANNON WILEY
News Editor
@TheShannonWiley

As students get settled into their new semester, several organizations on campus want to be a resource for another education: one on Black History Month, also known as African American History Month.
Salisbury University organizations such as the Salisbury Student Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Black Student Union as well as the board of the National Pan-Hellenic Council have planned events for the month of February.
“It’s a time for us to educate people who are unaware of the things our black ancestors have done for us, and not only for the black culture but for the history of the world in general,” NAACP president Alexis Lee said.
“We’re dealing with African American people who have not been properly taught their history, whether it’s systematic but it goes deeper than that,” senior Matt Jackson said, a member of BSU, NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha and the NPHC board. “It goes into the homes of black students as well. And it’s something that everyone can use, not just black people. It’s white people, Hispanic, Asian, everyone can benefit from the overall understanding of another culture.”
Events include a video series of “irreverent films,” Jackson said, from the past century that showcase race relations through history or relevant issues and a drive for water and other essentials for the citizens of Flint, Michigan.
“I believe that Black History Month is an opportunity for students who have not been given that support so much, culturally, for them to be able to come in contact and for them to be able to recognize their ancestors who have moved forward in American History,” Jackson said, “giving them some pride, something to hold onto.”
“It’s very hard for someone to take themselves seriously or to really have that knowledge of self—it’s like someone who doesn’t have a family,” he said. “So until we bridge those gaps of understanding and take away those negative connotations of slavery away so we can actually reach back and look at something that is not always a negative, and show there’s positives and great things that have happened and great people who have come along, people who have set the stage for you to do whatever it is that you’re driven to do.”
The NAACP is celebrating their 107th anniversary on Feb. 12, so during the week of Feb. 7-12, the SU chapter is holding NAACP week. This week will feature a “Gospel Explosion” as the organization pairs with Gospel Choir, voter registration resources, an alumni panel for students to learn about post-graduation life, a resume workshop and more.
“It’s nothing really specifically towards Black History Month, but basically more towards black involvement and black excellence and things like that,” SU NAACP president Alexis Lee said.
SU is hosting several BHM events throughout the month, as well, including a Soul Food Dinner accompanied by the Bernard Sweetney Jazz Quartet on Feb. 5, a poetry reading on Feb. 9, a Zydeco music performance on Feb. 11, a professional step show on Feb. 16, and keynote speakers and lectures.
Many in SU’s black community have goals for what people will focus on and take away from the month.
Jackson hopes that although finding information about black history and culture and talking about race issues has become quicker and easier as technology becomes more advanced, people do not forget about actually doing something to make things better.
“People have a lot of opinions, but there’s less movement in terms of how far we’re moving the ball forward on each play,” he said. “It’s something we have to remain conscious of because we can have all the opinions in the world, but if we’re not putting one foot in front of the other, we’re not going anywhere.”
Lee hopes that through BHM students will learn more about black history and culture than what is typically taught.
“I would like people to see and educate and talk about people that they haven’t talked about, or read literature that they haven’t read before,” she said.
Lee also said for students not in the black community, this is the time to start conversations or ask those awkward questions concerning race relations in America or other issues.
“It’s a time for everyone to come together as one and celebrate our differences,” she said.

Community works to eliminate homeless in the Lower Shore

BY CHARLEI BAYLOR
Staff Writer

Local community members joined together on Thursday to assist the Homeless Alliance for the Lower Shore with a day-long surveying event for the tri-county homeless.
Somerset, Wicomico and Worchester homeless were encouraged to come to one of the eight locations in Salisbury to complete a brief questionnaire about their circumstances.
Some volunteers went out to unsheltered individuals in the woods, streets and other inhabitable areas, as well.
Homeless individuals who came out were documented, given pertinent information and daily life resources like water bottles, toiletry packets and warm gloves and hats.
The Homeless Alliance sponsored this day to fulfill the biannual, federal mandate to document homelessness in the area. The more information acquired, the easier it is to help eliminate the epidemic.
“The rate of homelessness (in this area) has ebbed and flowed since 2008,” Grant Specialist Theo Williams said.
In the tri-county area, the number of documented persons who are homeless in the area has decreased almost 10 percent since 2013, but has increased by 15 percent overall since 2008, according to the Homeless Alliance website.
“We’re seeing about 1,000 people a year in shelters which is a lot of people,” HMIS System Administrator and Homeless Program Consultant Greta Rolland told WBOC. “A couple of years ago, we were seeing about 750 people in a year.”
These efforts are part of the Nationwide goal to End Chronic Homelessness by 2017. Currently the area is fighting homelessness with government funded shelters, education and job training.

In “atypical” 2016 US election, SU students begin considering their votes

BY REED SHELTON
Staff Writer
@ReedAShelton

With the 2016 U.S. presidential election edging closer, Salisbury University students – some of whom will be casting a ballot for the first time – are beginning to voice their opinions on the race for the Oval Office.
Senior political science major Chris Ek is still undecided on which candidate he will cast his vote for at this point, six months into an unusual election cycle featuring non-politicians, brain surgeons and self-described socialists.
“I’m actually very excited for this election because I feel that no one candidate has credentials that stand out over all the others,” Ek said. “It’s very intriguing, but it’s scary at the same time because I don’t see one particular leader that seems best to me.”
Ek says he admires Senator Hillary Clinton’s (D) experience as Secretary of State, but worries about the controversies surrounding her. He commends Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D) progressive approach to topics such as the high cost of college tuition, while at the same time having concerns about how or even if Sanders would be able to implement worthwhile changes.
Even Republicans on the other side of the aisle are not without values and faults, he said.
“I usually wait until close (to Election Day), before I take a strong stance,” he said. “Right now, for me, there isn’t one candidate that fits the definition of a president that I’d want. I’m willing to wait and see.”
Ek acknowledged that his “wait and see” attitude is unusual in an election that seems as polarizing among American voters as it is unusual.
And according to political science associate professor Len Robinson, the 2016 race for the Oval Office may be the most bizarre our nation has ever witnessed.
“It’s so atypical that we’re probably hard-pressed to even find a previous electoral cycle that we can go back and compare this to,” Robinson said, calling it, “for better or worse, the most-exciting campaign he’s seen since he started paying attention to politics.”
Partially driving this departure from the norm on the Republican side, he said, is a frustration both within their voter base over a sense of it abandoning the values they believe it stood for, and with successes from the Obama administration such as those surrounding health care and gay rights.
“Many people in the hardcore conservative base see this as an assault on their traditional values,” he said, citing as an example some Trump supporters’ desire to go “back to the twentieth century.”
On the other side of the aisle, some campus Democrats like senior philosophy and political science major Nick French have been attracted to “underdogs like Bernie Sanders,” a social democratic and long-time critic of many U.S. policies, because he addresses underrepresented issues, French said.
“There’s undeniable proof that the wealth gap is increasing, and we have a severe crisis of income inequality in America,” French said. “The top one percent earn eighty percent of the nation’s wealth – and it’s eye-opening.”
Along with rectifying that inequality, French said, Sanders also champions the cause of establishing universal health care as a human right, not a privilege.

“I believe that everyone should be entitled to health care if their nation can provide it to them, which we can,” French said.
French is hardly alone as a left-leaning college student. According to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 1996) vote Democrat 51 percent of the time. Republicans, however, garner only 31 percent of that group.
Graduate business administration student Mike DiMayo is one such outlier. He’ll enter the ballot box for the first time this election, casting his vote for a Republican, who he believes best embodies his own concerns for the country.
“Gun control is a big issue for me,” DiMayo said. “I hunt, and I don’t think that guns are the problem. Just the people pulling the trigger.”
Additionally, he said, repairing the economy is a major concern for him, but not in the way liberals have in mind.
“I don’t like the idea of taxing the upper class even more – they work hard to get where they are,” he said. “I’d rather see higher taxes on things like alcohol, tobacco and even marijuana.”

How many snow days does SU build in its schedule?

BY JACOB TROXELL

Editor-in-Chief

It took days for Marylanders to shovel themselves out of one of the largest snowstorms in the history of the state, but classes finally began Wednesday at Salisbury University.

After having the first two days of the semester off, SU has already used its two off-days built into its schedule for inclement weather. According to Jamie Holmes-Kriger of the SU Registrar Office, under the University System of Maryland, individual institutions can choose to use reading day or a Saturday if they were to have another inclement weather closing.

“The Provost will make this decision with input from the Dean,” Holmes-Kriger told The Flyer.

Still in the month of January, more winter weather figures to be on the way. According to weatherdb.com, Salisbury averages 3.3 inches of snow each February. In addition, a strong El Niño current in the Pacific Ocean could continue to bring above-average amounts of precipitation to the state in the coming months.

Historic winter storm targets mid-Atlantic

JUSTIN MCCLURE

Copy Editor

Believed to be a historic storm by some weather forecasters, the impending winter storm, set to hit the mid-Atlantic region on Friday is said to dump 12 to 24 inches of snow in some areas.

The heaviest areas of snowfall are concentrated around the Baltimore/D.C. metro area and parts of Virginia and West Virginia. While the first blast of winter weather of 2016 has many people scrambling for food and supplies, it could also affect Salisbury students’ commute back to school.

The first day of classes begins on Jan. 25 meaning that the majority of students would be traveling back to school during Friday or Saturday – right when the storm is expected to hit.

Students are encouraged to err on the side of caution when finalizing their travel plans.

According to The Weather Channel, the Delmarva region could see anywhere from three to eight inches of snow including five to eight inches of snow expected in Salisbury. Ocean City is expected to receive lesser snowfall amounts accumulating to three to five inches. Strong winds are also likely to accommodate the storm causing white out conditions in some areas.

Light snow will move into the Delmarva area around 5 p.m. Friday evening and will intensify as the day progresses. The last of the snowfall should leave the region Saturday night.

Parts of central Maryland and northeast Virginia are under blizzard watches while parts of western Maryland and the Eastern Shore are under winter storm watches including Wicomico County. Other states with counties under winter storm watches include but are not limited to: southern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia.

TWC 2

The Weather Channel image. 

Town Gown Survey

BY MELISSA WAINAINA

Staff Writer

As Salisbury University celebrates its 90th anniversary, the city of Salisbury is continuing to grow not only in local business, projects and civic engagement, but in ongoing efforts to create an even closer relationship with the university as well.

To do this, the Salisbury community just concluded a survey in which members had had the opportunity to share their opinions on how they would like to continue to increase a positive relationship with SU through the Town Gown Survey sponsored by SU.

The Town-Gown Council was established in 2003 by Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach to provide a forum for community and campus members to discuss topics of mutual interest. These topics range from student-community partnerships to safety initiatives, public policies and connections between the University’s academic departments and local organizations.

This survey is set to not only help strengthen ties between the community, but continue the rapid growth the city is having.

“I think it is very important that the community members have a way to communicate what they think would benefit the community through using resources the university can provide,” junior Amira Wrotham said.

The survey, which was administered through Optimal College Town Assessment that includes questions about SU events, classes and interactions between staff and students. SU will be the third campus in the country to have this survey help the campus communities, with other colleges including Ohio State University, University at Mansfield and St. Catharine’s College.

“The Optimal College Town Assessment will provide SU with raw feedback from local community members that we will be able to use to develop an engagement plan for our Town-Gown Council moving forward,” Deputy Chief of Staff and SU Government and Community Relations Director Robby Sheehan said. “It is important for us to understand whether the work that we are doing at a corporate level is truly making a positive impact at a granular, individual citizen, level.”

SU is also a member of the International Town-Grown Association, where their mission is to create strong ties and partnership between university campuses and their communities. Other members include American University, Boston University and Clemson University.

“It is good that SU is a part of these organizations,” junior Jonice Hyeems said. “It shows that the university is striving to make the local communities expand with its businesses and just in general.”

Taser review shocks City Council

BY SHANNON WILEY

A new tool has been implemented by the Salisbury Police Department, which SPD Chief Barbra Duncan has concluded reduces the amount of injuries sustained not just to officers, but to the individuals that being put in custody, too.

This tool is an Electronic Control Device, otherwise known as a taser.

In January of 2014, Duncan addressed the City Council asking to start a 12 month pilot program to see how the agency would work with the use of tasers. In October of that year, the SPD started that program with nine tasers and 16 officers trained to carry and use them. This past Monday night, Duncan came back to the council to review her findings.

She relayed to the council that during this period, eight officers were injured on duty, as opposed to 13 the year before. Likewise, 13 offenders were injured versus 15 the year before. Eight of those 13 were due to tasers.

“This decrease is consistent with other municipalities across the country,” Duncan said.

In regards to the officer injuries, Duncan said that the decrease in officer injuries was due to the decrease in the necessity for a physical altercation between officer and perpetrator.

Of the eight individuals injured by tasers, all of those injuries were what Duncan and the council described as “minor” injuries, including skin punctures from the taser probes, scrapes, and abrasions from the individual falling after being tased. This is in contrast to puffy eyes from a spray, lacerations from batons, or twisted knees that have been common from “hard takedowns,” as Duncan explained.

The tasers were presented a total of 34 times to perpetrators that year with a warning that the office may tase them if they did not comply. 13 of those times, the officer did have to use it, but 21 times, the perpetrator began to comply after the warning and the officers’ de-escalation tactics.

“It’s a lot of communication,” Duncan said. “We try not to communicate with them, we try to talk with them, to get them to comply without putting hands on them… without using the taser.

Based off of pilot period, Duncan said that she felt “comfortable and confident” in increasing the number tasers because she feels it will help protect the individuals taken into custody, as well as the officers.

Moving forward, Duncan plans to speak with the mayor about purchasing more tasers, as her goal is to build to 30 within the force so that officers do not have to always be sharing and handing them off, as well as get more officers trained.

At the moment, she believes funding is the biggest obstacle the department faces in reaching their goals. Each unit costs $900, as they come with a camera as well as the software to use them, so the department must build year by year to get to the goal amount.

The department did not ask for any more in their 2015 budget, but will most likely ask for 10 more in 2016.

Although Duncan is hoping to grow their use of the tool in increments, she said that this is still difficult because there are other things the SPD needs to ask for in their budget such as training, building maintenance and uniforms. Likewise, she said she knows that they are not the only department in the city that will be asking for more equipment.

Overall, the committee looked positively on Duncan’s presentation.

“I like what I heard,” City Council President Jack Heath said. “The part that impressed me the most is the number 21, where they displayed the taser and the issue was resolved with absolutely no physical contact.

“It reduces the risk of serious injury for both the officer and the person being detained,” City Council Vice President Laura Mitchell said. “If the mere presentation of the taser and giving them notice that they’re going to be tased if they don’t comply forces them into compliance than nobody gets hurt. That’s fantastic, even in the cases where the taser does get deployed, they were only minor injuries… a Band-Aid fixed it.”

Ugly Sweater Walk to raise money for Arthritis

BY STEPHEN CHOTT

Staff Writer

On December 6th, Salisbury University and the Arthritis foundation will be holding an Ugly Sweater walk with all proceeds going to the foundation. 

It only takes $5 to sign up and any donations will help the foundation and people dealing with this disease. If you can’t attend, you can still donate on a gofundme page for the walk.
Arthritis affects every one in five adults in the U.S and is the number one cause of disability in the country. The term arthritis is a way of referring to over 100 different types of joint diseases that 53 million adults deal with on a daily basis.

 The disease doesn’t only affect adults, as 300,000 children across the U.S fight with arthritis.If you know somebody with arthritis, you know how much it can change the way the person lives as well as knowing the importance of getting the proper treatment.

Prizes and a certificate will go to the first and second place winners for having the ugliest sweater. There will be food and drinks and festive music
 

SU gives back through Angel Tree

BY SHANNON WILEY
News Editor

Salisbury University’s Volunteer Center has teamed up with Angel Tree this holiday season, to give students a change to help the children of people in prison.

  Angel Tree is a Christian program through Prison Fellowship that helps prisoners connect with their children in order to remind them that they have not forgotten about them. The program visits prisons in which parents will sign up their children for the program.

  The program receives from the prisoners the names of the parents as well as the caregiver’s name and contact information. The parents and the caregivers give the coordinator a list of gift suggestions that includes everything from new clothes to toys. Likewise, the parents write a note that will be given to the kids with their gifts.

  “It supposed to be a healing process so that the kids are like ‘okay my mom or dad still loves me, they haven’t abandoned me,’” Volunteer Center Graduate Assistant Samantha Beck said.

This year, SU signed up to provide for 100 children. From there the volunteer center, headed by Beck, had to contact the caregivers to verify the information they were given and to receive gift suggestions from them.

  Despite multiple attempts to reach all of the caregivers through phone calls and letters, 25 did not respond, leaving 75 for SU to supply for.

  “Sometimes reaching the caretakers of the kids is difficult because may they have to move a lot,” Beck said.

  Beck set up sign-up sheets around campus where people can adopt angels. Some individuals got involved, as well as some groups of people as well as full dormitories.

  “I think it’s just nice for them to give back,” Beck said. “You kind of overlook how much that you actually have, but when it comes down to it these kids don’t even have their parents at home. If they don’t get a present from this, they may not get a present at all. It’s kind of a humbling experience, I would say, and I think it’s important to be thankful for what we have, and remember to give back to those who have less.”

  The originally final date for donations was today, but will be extended until Wednesday to give more time for more kids to be donated to while also leaving enough time for Beck and others to deliver the gifts to all of the children before the end of the semester.

SU targets Hispanic students in admissions

BY SHANNON WILEY

News Editor

As countries around the world experience continued immigration and increased ethnic diversity, Salisbury University has sought to mirror this changing demographic, increasing its diversity by targeting specific groups.

Freshman applications increased from 2009 to 2013 by 22.6 percent, transfer applications increased by 18.3 percent and graduate applications by 17.2 percent, which led to “one of the most accomplished and diverse classes in SU’s history” in 2013, with students from 20 states and 39 countries, as SU’s strategic plan reported.

One of SU’s main strategical goals in widening its diversity is to increase its Hispanic student population and to become the “premier Hispanic-serving institution in the state,” according to a plan published by the university.

Hispanic populations are expected to continue to make up one of the largest groups in the U.S. over the next 50 years, but according to a Pew Research Study, Asians are supposed to become the largest immigrant group by 2055. Likewise, they are supposed make up 38 percent of the foreign-born population in 2065 while Hispanic immigrants will only make up 31 percent.

Kara Siegert, special assistant to the President in the Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment Office, said that increasing their Asian student population is not a main focus right now because the university feels that they have already targeted this population.

“If you look at our English Language Institute, it’s one way that we’ve started to reach out, specifically to Chinese students to help bring them to the United States and help teach them English so that if they are qualified, they can matriculate into the institution,” she said.

Siegert also noted that the university’s study abroad options and partner institutions are primarily in Asia.

“While we would like to increase our Hispanic student population, most of our resources have been focused on recruiting Chinese students,” Siegert said.

Asian and Pacific Islanders Club Advisor and Japanese American Bryan Horikami said that when looking at what the school is setting its goals on, they have to pay attention to when the groups of immigrants came in and what generation they are in.

He said that Chinese and Japanese Americans, who were some of the first immigrants in America and are now on their fifth or sixth generation, already have had children going to college and now have an established tradition of going.

“It depends on how many generations of people you have and right now we have a lot of new immigrants in the Hispanic community,” he said. “So this is the first generation of parents that now have children going through our schools and now they’re ready to come to college… So sure, as an institution looking forward we have to prepare for that.”

Although the university is still working on increasing its Hispanic student population, some Hispanic students on campus feel that SU is nowhere close to being truly ethnically diverse.

The Organization for Latin American Students President Ruth Taleno said that her organization previously worked with the enrollment office at SU to create a resources page for Latin American perspective students, but that these are just first steps.

“I don’t think, for one, that we present ourselves as a friendly body to the Latin community,” she said. “For example my mother only speaks Spanish and I’ve never heard of a translator ever being present at a host tour… and only recently has Admissions, specifically, been present at Latin functions at which they can reach out to the Latin Community.”

“Do I think we are making progress or are we taking the initial step, yes,” she said. “But I don’t think we’re even close to reaching the community whatsoever.”

Currently, Siegert said that the university is trying to reach prospective Hispanic students by advertising in Hispanic and Latino publications and trying to target Hispanic high school students, as research suggests they prefer to stay close to their home and families.

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