Category Archives: Op-Ed

Op-Ed: FYE- More Damage Than Good?

Kee’Ara Smith, Staff Writer

In the hopes of helping first year students become successful at Georgia Southern, a mandatory course was created called FYE also known as “First Year Experience.”

The course provides outside classroom experiences for students. Within the course, students are asked to go to events on campus and create a “passport” to show proof of their engagement on campus.

Over the years, FYE classes have changed drastically.

According to Dr. Christine Ludowise, Associate Provost in the Student Success & Advising, the switch to primarily faculty instructors is fairly recent, the FYE course was created at different times at the two original institutions.

“On the Statesboro Campus, first- year experience (orientation to the University) has been in place for almost two decades.

It has gone through several revisions during that time. The discussions for the current revision began in July or August of 2018,” said Ludowise.

The class was usually taught by an advisor. However, over time budget- cuts, lack of advisors, professors and low enrollment has caused the class to now be infused with another course the student is already taking. The new curriculum merges the FYE class with an english, history or core-curriculum course.

According to Ludowise, the stipends which previously were paid to those who taught FYE 1220 have been redirected to help fund the faculty and staff equity adjustments.

“Faculty and exempt staff who value teaching FYE 1220 should speak with their chairs and supervisors about how teaching the course could be considered as a meaningful component of their contributions to student success.

As noted by the faculty members on the redesign team, faculty need to have a clear understanding of how teaching FYE 1220 will count in some meaningful way for them,” said Ludowise.

“My FYE class helps with things I should know around campus, like resources.” -Shakerion Ficklin, Freshman

The Provost’s Office has asked the Deans to work with their colleges, departments and faculty to clearly articulate how teaching FYE 1220 and CORE 2000 will count in faculty evaluations and towards their important milestones. These milestones include tenure, promotion, post-tenure, merit-evaluations, etc.

Of the 105 individuals teaching FYE in Fall 2019:

46 are Academic Advisors [44%]

25 are Faculty (6 of 25 are administrative faculty, such as Department Chairs) [24%]

26 are Staff [25%]

8 are Graduate Students [7%]

In Previous Years FY Instructors ratioed:
CY 2013: 133 individuals; 71 faculty [53%], 62 staff [47%]
CY 2014: 139 individuals; 79 faculty [57%], 60 staff [43%]
CY 2015: 137 individuals; 80 faculty [58%], 57 staff [42%]
CY 2016: 133 individuals; 80 faculty [60%], 53 staff [40%]
CY 2017: 119 individuals; 89 faculty [75%], 30 staff [25%]
CY 2018: 131 individuals; 106 faculty [80%], 25 staff [20%]

“Until the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), rules changed in 2016- 2017, academic advisors and other staff members regularly taught the FYE course on the Statesboro Campus. It is my understanding that academic advisors and other staff members also taught the FYE course on the Armstrong Campus, prior to consolidation,” said Ludowise.

During the 2019-2020 school year the Georgia Southern FYE staff decided to include diversity and inclusion talks within the course. Recent events such as the Statesboro campus’ book burning have proved this addition to be unsuccessful.

“I think it did help them to be more involved than they would have been otherwise.” -Dr. Carol Andrews, Former FYE Professor

“My FYE class helps with things I should know around campus, like resources. I learned how to calculate my GPA and look at what classes I need to take in the future. It is pointless in some ways, because all we do is talk about school, which is repetitive because I already know a good bit of stuff pertaining to campus life. I don’t get the hype about the book, because we barely read it; which was a waste of money,” said freshman Shakerion Ficklin.

“I feel like the FYE classes are a nice effort. I understand what the goal is, but the execution is not there. I went to class because I had to. The class had no impact on helping me transition from home to college life,” said junior Kadaja Williams of her FYE experience.

After asking students about FYE classes, the question still remained, “What is the purpose of this course?”

A newly retired Armstrong professor of over 40 years and former FYE professor, Dr. Carol Andrews, also gave her perspective on the program.

“I have never thought it especially useful although I did enjoy the increased interaction with students. I think they considered it a waste of time, especially the class meetings.

The Passport Project was the most positive aspect of the course because it involved students with campus activities and support services. They griped about it, but they produced interesting, often creative, digital portfolios illustrating their experiences.

It was difficult for students who didn’t live on campus to get to some of the activities, but I think it did help them to be more involved than they would have been otherwise,” Andrews said.

“I understand what the goal is, but the execution is not there.” -Kadaja Williams, Junior

It was expressed that there was a drastic change in the curriculum. For this year, instructors resources were built around the following six topics:

Growth Mindset
Information Literacy
Achieving Your Academic Goals

Communication in Our Communities
Diversity and Inclusion
Campus Engagement and Student Success

 
The addition of Diversity and Inclusion raised many red flags. Uncertainty was answered with, “We have provided the tools and the necessary training for our professors to teach about this subject,’’ Georgia Southern University President Dr. Kyle Marrero said.

Marrero later mentioned that this training was not mandatory for professors during an SGA senate meeting.

Recent events within the FYE course has raised many questions but the fact still remains that “several hundred colleges and universities assign a common book to first-year students each year. Many common read programs have existed for 20 to 30 years,” said Ludowise.

“The book choice is made by a committee of faculty and students. Using a committee to choose first- year books may not be the process in the future, but it’s not an uncommon approach,” said Ludowise.

Hopefully these recent events have brought awareness to the administration in how the FYE course will be run in the future.

Letter from the Editor: Farewell Armstrong

Madison Watkins, Editor-in-Chief

There were many times I’ve thought to myself, “graduation will never come.” Now, it’s days away and I still can’t believe it. A graduation in December is strange enough, but the fact that I’ll actually get to walk across the stage is even stranger.

If you had told the wide-eyed freshman who came here in the fall of 2015 she would be running the school newspaper by the time she graduated, she would have shaken her head in disbelief and said, “that’ll never happen.”

I’ve been a theater major through my whole college career so working on the paper definitely wasn’t on the agenda. But I had always enjoyed writing and I had heard we’d get paid $10 a story so I figured why not, it’d be a good way to pass the time.

“Besides, nothing too crazy happens on this campus anyway,” I thought and we all know how that worked out.

I’m so glad I decided to attend a writers meeting in January 2017. Through working at The Inkwell, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful students and faculty members, learn how to operate in a workplace, handle a leadership position and travel to Minneapolis and New York City.

Moving up from Staff Writer, to Arts & Entertainment Editor, to Editor-in-Chief (EIC) has been an incredible experience.

Since becoming EIC, there were a few times where I thought there’s no way I can handle all of this and get the paper out on time. But, with a lot of help from others and taking it one day at a time, a paper has been published every week.

Working as an EIC is challenging to say the least, but it’s helped me grow so much as a person.

Students on this campus have faced more than their fair share of challenges over the last few years, but I hope the hardships have helped the students and the school become stronger.

I’m excited to see where the new EIC will take this paper next semester and I hope the staff will stay true to the standards of journalism, freedom of the press, giving all students a voice and holding those in power accountable.

My last piece of advice is: students, leave your rooms. Make time for yourself and friends. Go to that event that you’ve seen a flyer for a hundred times in a week. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities you’ll find.

I’m forever grateful for everything I’ve learned here and I’m excited to walk across that stage now as an actress, a director, a writer and a chief.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT

Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology- Book Burning Statement

Here is a statement regarding the book burning incident from the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology. 

Dear students, 

We, a group of faculty in the Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology, are compelled to speak out in response to the behavior of Georgia Southern students involved in the burning of Crucet’s book, Make Your Home Among Strangers. As faculty members, we are committed to academic freedom and free expression of thought, and we believe that it is within students’ and others’ First Amendment rights to free expression. However, we also have the right to condemn the symbolism of book burning, a practice employed throughout history to silence the expression of free thought. 

As faculty, we have the privilege of engaging with you in the classroom and discussing different perspectives because of our education and the books we have read (and continue to read) along our way. While we may at times both agree and disagree with some of the content within these resources, we continue to recognize that each helps us make sense of the world — including recognizing opinions and experiences that may be different from our own. We believe that a university education encompasses an ideal time for open discourse, exploration of new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas, and learning and personal growth. Learning is not always enjoyable; sometimes it is unpleasant and can challenge our own entitlements and shortcomings. It involves listening, as much as speaking, with the purpose of discovering other perspectives and lived experiences. We believe that to burn books is to actively reject this critical engagement. It is our belief and hope that books have the power to guide you, and each and every one of us, in having these difficult conversations about privilege and to combat the thinking that it is legitimate to make oneself feel powerful or safer through acts of hostility and violence at the expense of others, especially those who are already underrepresented, treated as insignificant and peripheral or marginalized. 

Our department is diverse in its faculty, our academic programs, and the students we serve, and we strive to prepare you for the “real world.” This “real world” is also diverse. No matter what career you choose, you will meet and work with people of different races, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, gender identities, mental and physical abilities, and ethnicities. In the healthcare field, you also will take care of this diverse population — particularly when they are at their most vulnerable — and be a trusted source of knowledge and attention while creating safe, equitable spaces. We encourage you to use this recent event as an opportunity to engage in a civil dialogue with your peers, faculty, and staff by critically examining the information you are learning in your classes, questioning it, and developing conversations that can expand knowledge and understanding. 

We are committed to hearing all voices, helping you process these incidents, and ensuring and contributing to an educational experience that is compassionate and inclusive of all. We uphold the University Affirmative Action policy that prohibits “creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment,” and we stand in solidarity with the author, faculty from other departments, organizations on- and off-campus, and students who value the diversity of thought and who denounce book burning. 

Sincerely, 

Diana Botnaru  

Chris Barnhill

Christina Gipson

Leigh E. Rich 

Mary Beth Yarbrough 

John Dobson 

Janet R. Buelow

Matthew Cleveland

Bryan L Riemann

Gregg Rich 

Amy Jo Riggs 

Joelle Romanchik

Brandonn S. Harris

Megan Byrd 

Karen Spears 

Amy Rundio 

Tamerah Hunt 

Matthew A. Williamson

Starla McCollum 

Sarah Davis 

McKinley Thomas 

Nick J. Siekirk 

Steven Patterson

Gavin Colquitt 

Jane Lynes 

Greg A. Ryan 

Justine Coleman 

Zahi R. Jurdi 

Jody Langdon 

Barry Munkasy 

Erin Jordan 

Padmini Shankar

 

Op-Ed: Can’t Handle the Hurricane

Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer

For the past four years, classes on the Armstrong campus have been disrupted by hurricanes, first Matthew, then Irma, next Michael, and most recently, Dorian. You would think that our campus administration could handle something that they’ve had so much experience with. However, the handling of Hurricane Dorian and overall hurricane preparedness this semester calls into question their ability to deal with such matters effectively. 

         Granted those making the decisions now reside in Statesboro, but they should still understand that a campus forty-nine feet above sea level should respond differently to a hurricane than a campus two hundred and fifty-three feet above sea level. So, why in this most recent hurricane, were the campuses treated like they were six minutes apart instead of sixty minutes apart?

         Both campuses were closed even when the hurricane only skirted past Savannah and left a little flooding and lost power. Perhaps the argument could be made that the models of the storm were unclear,  the Weather Channel did not speak much about how Coastal Georgia would be affected, and if Statesboro had been affected, more people would have been affected. However, that is why the people making those decisions should have been continuing “to closely monitor Hurricane Dorian and weather conditions for the areas in which our campuses are located.” If they had done that as much as they said they would, they would have realized that Statesboro wasn’t going to be hit at all. They only needed to worry about Savannah.

         These administrators already had enough trouble making a decision, why inconvenience more people than necessary? First, they couldn’t make a decision until Sunday night on a holiday weekend. It’s not like any students could come back on Monday and get anything when the campus would be closed for the foreseeable future. Then, they could only make a decision for a day or two at a time. Five thousand plus people were waiting for this decision and this was how they choose to handle it.

         After the hurricane has passed Dr. Marrero said in an interview with the Inkwell editor-in-chief, Madison Watkins, “Well, we’ll always consider all options…There could be scenarios for weather-related events that only one campus would be closed while others are open.” However, they haven’t made any decisions about what that would look like or when that will actually become university policy. It seems like that is a decision that should have been made before Dorian even happened or at least before the next hurricane hits Coastal Georgia.

         Most recently, there is a Folio Bootcamp for Emergency preparedness with a picture of a hurricane on the flyer advertising the workshops. So, it seems the emergency these workshops will be preparing participants for is mainly hurricanes. If that is the case, then why are there two workshops in Statesboro and only one here in Savannah?  It seems giving more opportunities to prepare to the landlocked town than to the coastal town is just another way that the university administration mishandled hurricane preparedness this hurricane season. For those who are interested, the one in Savannah will be in Solms Hall room 207 on Sept. 30 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

 

Op-Ed: Buck Off, Rodeos

Rachel Hammond, Staff Writer

Rodeos have been a tradition of Western culture for decades. There are several main events to a rodeo, such as bull riding and calf roping. 

But do you know the cruelty behind rodeos? While it may look like a lot of fun to ride a bucking bull or bronc, these animals are severely abused behind the scenes.

Bulls and horses are often given steroids to make them aggressive. Not only this, but in order to get the animals to “buck,” they are electrocuted with high voltage “hot shots.” This causes the animal to run out of their holding pen and attempt to free themselves.

Severe bucking causes injuries to animals. Most bucking animals are made to worn bucking straps, which irritates the animal’s flank (rear underbelly). Horses and cows that have these straps placed on them become so desperate to remove the irritant, they buck in order to rid themselves of it. The pain used to induce bucking may cause the animals to run into fences or posts.

There is also a rodeo tradition of calf roping. This is one of the most horrendous rodeo acts. Like other show animals, calves are electrocuted in their holding “chutes” as well as have their tails painfully twisted in order to rile them up. 

When they are finally released into view of the crowd, the terrified baby cow runs, and a rope is caught around their necks. This forcefully pulls them back and they are tied at the legs. 

According to The Odyssey Online, “During this performance, calves may cry out (if they can breathe), defecate from fear and stress, and suffer neck injuries and death.”

As a rodeo winds down, animals are shipped off to their next event, where they relive this nightmare situation all over again. Some animals may even fight in transit, causing further injuries. When an animal is deemed unfit to perform, they are sent to the slaughterhouse. 

Dr. C.G. Haber, a veterinarian who spent 30 years as a meat inspector, saw animals from rodeos sold to the slaughterhouses he inspected. He described seeing animals “with six to eight ribs broken from the spine and, at times, puncturing the lungs.”

How does any of this seem fun or entertaining? Imagine for a moment if rodeos used cats or dogs for their abuse. Puppy-roping would be shut down in the blink of an eye.

What can you do to stop these events? PETA’s website has several suggestions: “If a rodeo comes to your town, contact local authorities, write letters to sponsors, leaflet at the gate, or hold a demonstration. Contact PETA for help.”

There is a rodeo in Bloomingdale Friday Sept. 27 and Saturday Sept. 28. If you are interested in protesting this event, please contact Rachel Hammond at rh16112@georgiasouthern.edu.