Elon students (from left) Michelle Alfini, Claire Lockard, Jacquelyn Lanphear and Sarah Paterson sit in the Honors Pavilion common room to discuss inclusivity at Elon. “Have you walked on campus?” Paterson asked, commenting on Elon’s lack of diversity. “Have you looked in this room?” Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Inclusivity. From grade school non-bullying campaigns to college campuses, inclusivity is an enormous issue in modern American society. College campuses nationwide have been addressing issues of inclusivity through demonstrations. Perhaps the most notable of these campuses is Dartmouth College, at which a demonstration sparked a backlash that included violent threats directed at the protesters over the Internet. Because of this backlash, the university canceled classes on April 24 to hold educational programming to foster healthy debate and promote respect for different opinions.
This is one of the posters distributed around Alamance Fountain on Tuesday in conjunction with the students’ demonstration at College Coffee. Photo by Rebecca Iannucci.
Elon University has been bitten by the inclusivity activism bug as well. Last Tuesday, a group of approximately 10 students gathered at the campus’s weekly College Coffee to protest the apparent bystander mentality that students seem to have, according to the protest’s organizer, Jasmine Whaley.
“The goal was to get the students’ attention to talk about what we perceive to be a campus culture that’s largely apathetic when it comes to issues of discrimination and bias on campus,” the graduating senior said. “So we wanted to do a few things, and one of the most important ones was to try to make people aware that these things happen on campus, and it’s much more frequent than the larger instances, the ones that The Pendulum and ELN cover, would have you think.”
Leigh-Anne Royster, Elon’s director of inclusive community well-being, said she thinks the demonstration was effective in getting students’ attention. She said the call to not be silent bystanders is important, but also said she feels the students organizing the event may have overlooked several issues.
“There were probably people in the crowd at College Coffee who weren’t actually silent bystanders,” she said, “And I think it would have been useful to put things in context, to maybe say, ‘some of you’ or ‘many of you’ or ‘we acknowledge that there are folks who actively use their privilege,’ things like that so people didn’t feel [alienated].
“I think that it’s hard when you don’t include all perspectives.”
Leigh-Anne Royster says that some of the message may have been lost on those who did not see the College Coffee demonstration and only saw the posters with derogatory terms written on them. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Elon freshman Michelle Alfini said she was off-campus when the demonstration took place and said several of the students she was with wished they could have been at the demonstration.
Freshman Claire Lockard said she understands why the students did not make the protest public in advance: most of the students were graduating seniors and were uncertain whether they would sustain honor code violations for the harsh language used in posters and in their speech.
“They’re really worried that once that group leaves and graduates, that there won’t be a very vocal group on campus, and so they didn’t want to discourage the people by getting them in trouble,” Alfini said.
University faculty, students react to issues of inclusivity raised by demonstration
Kenn Gatiher, associate dean of the school of Communications, points to the flag of Ghana in his office. He said he thinks Tuesday’s demonstration was successful in raising awareness about inclusivity. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Staff members and faculty reacted in many different ways toward the issues raised by the demonstration about Elon’s lack of inclusivity. Philosophy professor Ann Cahill said she thinks the university as a whole is more aware of its lack of diversity because of its commitment to higher levels of diversity.
“I think, like most institutions of our size and history, we do some things very well, and we continue to face ongoing challenges in terms of deepening our commitment to justice, deepening our commitment and understanding of diverse peoples and learning to distinguish a commitment to diversity with moral relativism,” she said. “This is not a new problem; we are not the only ones that face it, but I think we clearly have a long way to go to realizing a strong deep nuanced an intellectually informed commitment to social justice.”
Philosophy professor Stephen Bloch-Schulman said he does not think it’s possible for everyone to be included all the time if the university really wants to be diverse and include all viewpoints.
“I don’t think, in a school as large as we are, that you can ever be inclusive to everybody,” he said. “I think you have to exclude certain ways of acting publicly.”
Philosophy professor Martin Fowler said he believes Elon has been a part of the ‘Southern culture’ for a long time in which people were nice to each other when they disagreed and just moved on without settling any issues. Now he said he feels the campus is learning how to belong with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.
“Elon’s maturing to a university culture in which they can be brave enough but also sure enough of themselves to be host to that kind of conversation and disagreement and still be together, belonging with others,” Fowler said.
Issues of racewere just some of many issues brought up by students at Tuesday’s demonstration at College Coffee. Here is a look at Elon’s ethnicity statistics for the 2012-2013 incoming freshman class of 1,425 students. Infographic by Mary Kate Brogan.
Elon sophomore Sarah Paterson said she feels Elon misses the mark in terms of inclusivity and diversity because the whole campus does not talk about, just smaller groups who talk to other people within those smaller groups.
“Activist groups on campus are great and they do a lot of work, but it’s the same people at every event,” Paterson said. “It’s not something that gets the whole campus involved. You’ll wear a sticker, ‘Not on our campus,’ and you’ll keep walking and walk past whatever. A sticker is not inclusivity; a sticker is a sticker.”
Kenn Gaither, associate dean of the school of communications, said Elon works hard to be inclusive and does a pretty good job, but it is impossible to have a perfect society in terms of inclusivity.
“You can’t engineer a perfect society when you’re embedded within a society that has its own systemic problems,” he said.
Kenn Gaither speaks on his thoughts about inclusivity at Elon. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
While few high school students question the validity of learning about writing in school, it always seems a fair amount of students in math classes ask, “When am I actually going to use this in real life?” Well, journalists, the time is now. And always. Because math is a very important aspect of journalism. Directional measurements, area measurements, volume measurements, all provide important details that people care about. It is also vital for journalists to understand the metric system because many other countries use this system, and it is important for international issues.
In terms of directional measurements, rate, distance and time are measurements in close relation with each other. By learning to calculate these measurements, as well as speed, acceleration, g-force and momentum, a journalist is much stronger because he is able to include data in her story that she otherwise wouldn’t.
New Jersey legislators have voted to increase the number of speeding tickets being distributed, and now any driver who drives more than five m.p.h. above the speed limit is at risk. If Nancy is running late to work but cannot drive more than 65 m.p.h. and she lives 37 miles from her work, how late will she be for work if it is 9:04 and she is due into work at 9:30?
Distance = rate x time
37 miles = 65 m.p.h. x time
.5692 hours (x 60 mins./hour) = time
34.1538 minutes. Because she is due into work in 26 minutes, she will be 8.1538 minutes late.
Kathleen Woodruff Wickham brings up a good point in chapter 10 about analogies: if they don’t make sense, don’t use them. Instead, use exact numbers to illustrate your point, and make sure these numbers are accurate. From perimeter to area, square feet to circumference, chapter 10 may be a COM major’s worst nightmare, but these equations are useful to have on-hand.
James finds a crop circle in his field, a bigger circle than anyone in his rural Iowan region has ever seen. If he knows the distance across the circle to be 1,200 feet, what is the circle’s circumference?
Circumference = 2(pi) x radius
Circumference = 2(pi) x (1,200/2)
Circumference = 7539.8224 feet
Chapter 11 addresses common liquid measurement unit conversions, volume for a rectangular solid, the measurement of tons and the definition of a cord (the standard measurement of firewood). If I had to say one part of this chapter I felt was missing, I would say I wish Wickham had included a part about the volume of cones and cylinders because you never know when someone is going to build a ridiculously shaped building in a big city. I also wish she had left out the part about cord. Who’s going to use that? I highly doubt I will. Then again, I highly doubted I’d be using math in real life back in high school, so I suppose it’s at least an interesting fact.
The newest building in your downtown area is 49 stories tall (each floor is 12 feet high), and is a square with a width (and length) of 240 feet, what is the volume of the building?
Volume = length x width x height
Volume = 240 x 240 x (49 * 12)
Volume = 57600 * 588
Volume = 33,868,800 cubic feet
The final chapter of Math Tools for Journalists is especially important in international and scientific journalism. A journalist who knows how to calculate the mass of an object and can easily convert that object’s mass to international standards is a pretty impressive candidate for any position. While length, area, mass and volume are great things to be able to calculate, the one that is potentially the most practical is the conversion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Coming off a semester in London, I know I’ve had many a problem trying to figure out what the weather was going to be like or having any sort of conversation about the weather with my friends.
It’s a toasty day in Elon, N.C. but you’re going to Geneva, Switzerland to cover an important convention and have forgotten to look up the temperatures there. If it is 12 degrees Celsius in Switzerland, what is the temperature in Fahrenheit (round to the nearest whole number), and how does it compare to the 80 degree Fahrenheit weather in North Carolina?
Fahrenheit = (1.8 x Celsius) + 32
Fahrenheit = (1.8 x 12) + 32
Fahrenheit = 54 degrees
Difference between temperatures = 26 degrees Fahrenheit difference
Four students enjoy Festivus on April 27. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Multimedia report by Mary Kate Brogan
Mud coats everything. The cars, the kegs, the kids, all covered in dirt, beer and mud. This scene is one students at Elon have become accustomed to seeing on one Saturday every spring – the Saturday of Festivus.
This year, on April 27, students gathered in Sheridan Apartments, just off-campus near Danieley Center, to jump in an enormous mud pit surrounded on all sides by tarps and monitored by police just outside the Sheridan fence. Organized by several students not affiliated with any particular campus organization, the tradition has survived for nine years, which comes as a surprise to some, but is no surprise to students like Dean Shapero, a sophomore and one of the event’s organizers. Not only is he not surprised the event has lasted, but he says it’s become bigger and better than ever.
“Everyone said it’s just like best year ever,” Shapero said of last weekend’s mud festival. “The best is, we had some kid Mikey who graduated two years ago, he kind of tagged it on, and he told us it’s the greatest year he’s ever been to… Everyone who came back said it was the most fun time ever, so I would say it’s a success.”
Shapero defines Festivus’ mission as throwing Elon’s biggest party, “but not for any specific group of people.” While he considers this a community event, not all students are so keen on the event. Junior John Bowden, a resident of Sheridan Apartments, walked somberly over to the mud pit on Festivus day while having a beer and wearing a sombrero, both of which he claims did not belong to him.
“I don’t particularly enjoy being woke up on a Saturday at nine in the morning with people running into my room, screaming my name, and physically dragging me out of bed,” Bowden said. “Not my cup of tea.
“I am excited to see my friends act really stupid and not do it myself.”
He shortly spotted several students he knew, one of whom he said, “looks ridiculous,” and chatted with them before returning to his apartment.
John Bowden said he is not a big fan of Festivus’ placement outside his apartment. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Although some students like Bowden have qualms about Festivus, Shapero said he does not think this is popular opinion and said he doubts it will put a damper on the event because he thinks the community has become more supportive of its existence.
“This year and last year were so different than any years in the past because the school obviously is cool with it, they kind of just accept it at this point,” he said.
“We had multiple meetings with the police to make sure this wasn’t going to get broken up because at this point, it was big enough, what, like, 1500 kids came out? We put so much time into this, we didn’t want it to get broken up.”
Shapero said Festivus is not devoid of problems, though.
“The main issue is land and money,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s an issue, because the landlords obviously don’t love it… but we raise enough money and set enough aside so that we can make sure we repair all the land and clean everything up.
“Because you forget, you know you buy the pig, the beer, but then you have to pay for the cleanup, pay for the land, pay for the EMTs, pay for the hoses, pay for the car, just all the stuff to make the mud with.”
The organizers raised $4,000 this year, which Shapero said was mostly due to early planning. Shapero said he hopes next year’s event will be even better.
“Mainly the live music [is what] I really want,” he said. “And I want even bigger, more pig, more beer, because next year’s the tenth anniversary, so we want to make it a good one.”
A promotional recap video for Festivus 2013. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Polls and surveys, business, stocks and bonds and property taxes: all important things people need to know a bit about not just for journalism, but also to have better life skills. From the importance of random selection in a survey to the significance of a person’s answer being a standard deviation away from the norm, these four chapters of Math Tools for Journalists are jam-packed with the information journalists need to know.
Chapter 5 suggests that journalists should know where they get their polling sources from, understand the margin of error–degree of accuracy–and confidence level of a survey and have an understanding of the calculation of standard deviations through z scores and t scores–units of measurement for standard deviations.
You’re writing a story on how a particular student scored compared to average SAT scores. Her raw score was a 2280, and the average score is 1,538, according to about.com. If you know the z score (2.91), what is the standard deviation (s)?
z score = (raw score – mean)/standard deviation 2.91 = (2280 – 1538) / s 2.91s = 742 s = 742 / 2.91
s = 254.983
Chapter 6 discusses the financial statements of businesses and balance sheets (an important public record for keeping bigger businesses in check), profit and loss, and ratio analysis. A particularly common ratio is the “current ratio,” a liquidity ratio measuring the ability of a company to meet its liabilities (the answer is how much made in assets per dollar of liabilities, and the average current ratio is 1.8).
Apple’s current liabilities have risen since the death of Steve Jobs to $38,542,000, but their current assets have also increased to $57,653,000. What is Apple’s current ratio (r)?
current ratio = current assets / current liabilities r = 57,653,000 / 38,542,000 r = 1.49585
In chapter 7, stocks and bonds are the main focus, with a slight dabbling in market indexes. The book specifically centers on the equations for the change in bond costs and a bond’s current yield.
At an interest rate of 9 percent, a bond costs $186. If it’s face value is $47, what is the current yield (y)?
current yield = (interest rate x face value) / price y = (47 x 9) / 186 y = 2.274%
Chapter 8’s discussion of property tax has been especially pertinent when addressing the recession because property values rapidly declined and are slowly increasing. While this was great for anyone trying to buy a home, it has been difficult for others to sell their property at a value they feel is proper, so this is a newsworthy issue because it affects a great many people.
An estate owned by the governor is appraised at $1.7 million, and the rate is .3. What is the assessed value (v) of the governor’s estate?
assessed value = appraised value x rate v = 1,700,000 x .3
Graphic by Mary Kate Brogan. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Multimedia report by Mary Kate Brogan
Marijuana. Weed. Ganja. Cannabis. Pot. Doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a hot-button issue in American culture right now, especially with the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington since the last election and marijuana legislation in Congress in several more states. The issue of marijuana is one which has plagued college campuses for years. But how is it affecting Elon?
On the heels of 4/20, a traditional counterculture holiday for consuming weed, this three-part series explores individuals’ perceptions of marijuana, weighs the benefits and risks of using it as well as the possible gains and consequences of legalizing it and takes readers on a journey through the evening ritual of four Elon students who smoke together. At the end of the series, community members are encouraged to take a survey so the writer can gather data from users and better understand the culture of marijuana at Elon University and in its surrounding area.
Click here to take the survey, or at the bottom of the page.
Students by day, smokers by night: An inside look at the issues from four guys who get high
It’s a warm spring night at Elon. Some students are holed up in the library writing papers, some are at the gym working on their beach bods for banquet weekends, some are cheering on their favorite team on TV, some are already passed out from exhaustion, and some are recovering from the sunburn they sustained from the hot sunny day. But, whether they be few or many, some students somewhere in the Elon area are transitioning from baking in the sun to getting baked in the moonlight.
For Nate*, Ben*, Brian* and John*, this ritual is one they would be doing regardless of the nice weather. It’s a routine they’ve gotten into, one they do three or more times a week. They pile into the car, crank up some tunes and light up a joint as they drive off-campus.
“This might be one of my best joints all year,” Ben says with a grin. He inhales and hacks a bit, then hands it off to Nate.
“I love cruising,” Ben says. “It’s probably one of my favorite things to do. Good music, good friends, good weeds, that’s my life. The best is when you’re just in a nice safe location.”
“Cause you want to make that level of paranoia the least it can possibly be,” John says as he takes the joint. “I feel like the minute that weed becomes legalized, it will just become a better drug.”
The growing haze in the car clears a bit when John opens his window. To someone unfamiliar with the practices of weed smokers, it seems like a whole new world of coughing, laughing and smoke. A world of 90s music. A world free of problems.
Well, except the fear of the “squale,” the “pigs” – the police.
“A lot of people, especially when they’re new to smoking, it’s like they smoke and weed can cause paranoia,” Ben says. “And being scared of the cops is not a healthy thing when you’re on a drug that can cause paranoia.”
Brian says while they’re willing to take the risk of smoking, they’re still nervous about getting caught and try to be as safe as possible. After they get past the possibility of getting caught though, typically their next big concern is what music to play, a topic Ben and Brian often disagree on.
However, as the conversation flows on, it turns out Ben and Brian’s opinions differ on other things as well, like the culture of weed at Elon.
“I feel like at Elon, because there’s a lot of supervision, which is great because the classes are smaller, you check in a lot more with professors and so you have events that you have to go to,” Brian says. “And that’s why drugs aren’t able to overtake the lives of many, while at other big schools, when students don’t check in and they have huge lecture classes, … you can let it become the entirety of your life.”
But Ben says he knows people at other schools who are able to handle being high all the time and still function at a normal level, and he says he thinks these people exist in the context of Elon as well.
Ben and Brian also seem to disagree on the possible issues with legalizing marijuana.
“It’s no worse for you than alcohol or tobacco,” Ben says. “That’s unarguable. It’s at most on par with those, and those are legalized so by right, those should be in the same classification. My argument is that marijuana would not be as detrimental to society as alcohol is.”
Brian says if marijuana is added to the current equation, it might create a bigger problem. But Ben says if we go off past example, banning illegal substances makes the problem worse.
“Now let’s consider prohibition,” he says. “Prohibition was led by a massive women’s coalition. Prohibition then led to an increase in alcoholism and drinking across the country. You illegally prohibit it, and it spikes.”
Prohibition was repealed on Dec. 5, 1933. With several U.S. states passing legislation on the legalization of marijuana, students like Ben can’t help but compare the situations. Image courtesy of disinfo.com.
After a few minutes of debate, the guys quiet down a bit and just enjoy the cruise, talking about other things and, after a while, about how marijuana affects them. John says it affects everybody differently.
“I think weed just makes you more aware of everything,” Nate says. “Like you focus on more things. Because I will think about the way that my nose hairs feel for 20 minutes.”
Ben says he occasionally gets lost in a train of thought for long periods of time when he smokes.
And after a long bout of thinking and conversation, the boys head back to campus, back to their normal lives as students. How many students have this type of ritual? While they say the boys say they don’t know for sure, they feel a lot of students do what they do from time to time.
On a warm spring night, who’s to say what any student is doing? Some could be watching baseball or doing homework or going for a run or even chowing down on munchies. But the high guys’ ritual simply it goes to show: you really never know what goes on behind closed doors and open windows.
Is the grass greener in college?
Marijuana use is not a new thing on college campuses. Much like underage alcohol use, it may be kept under the rug, but it is certainly not absent from universities nationwide. And with the recent legalization of medical and non-medical marijuana in several states, the issue of marijuana on college campuses is becoming more complex than ever.
But just how common is marijuana?
The level of marijuana use is on the rise and is currently the highest it has been since 2002. Graphic courtesy of SAMHSA.
According to a 2011 survey by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), marijuana use in 18 to 25 year olds is the highest it has been in at least 10 years, with 19 percent of the population in this age group saying they had used marijuana within a month prior to the study.
“For young adults in many ways, the drug levels have remained pretty constant and in some ways have gone down,” said Brad Stone, a press postman for SAMHSA. “But the one place that we have seen a rise is in marijuana use.”
Stone said that the survey, which interviews approximately 67,500 people per year, may not be able to tell why these behaviors are happening, but it does a very good job of telling what direction the nation is moving with drug use.
While the national trend is that marijuana use has increased, students at Elon University seem to be split on the idea of whether marijuana has a strong presence at the university.
Joe*, an Elon University sophomore who said he smokes weed several times per week, said he believes many students at Elon smoke marijuana, if not regularly then at least recreationally.
“It’s incredibly common,” he said. “I think about everybody you run into does it.”
Elon University’s assistant dean of students Jodean Schmiederer disagrees. She said that the way most students see the culture of marijuana is through the people they surround themselves with.
“I think the perception is that everybody does it,” Schmiederer said. “But really everybody doesn’t do it. I think you routinely see it, and so the perspective is it’s widely accepted and that everybody does it just because you see it happening frequently. But one person smoking doesn’t mean that everybody is smoking.”
Jodean Schmiederer of Elon University’s Office of Student Conduct speaks about her understanding of how students perceive marijuana. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Freshman Ashley Halinski, who considers herself opposed to marijuana use, said she agrees with the idea that who students hang out with determines how common they think the drug is. She said she feels marijuana is less common at this university than at larger schools but has begun to consider it more common the more time she spends here.
Joe, on the other hand, said he feels marijuana use at Elon is very common and said he doesn’t think there is a single dorm that isn’t smoked in at least once a week.
“I think there’s a high volume of people who smoke weed in comparison to the total number of people who go here,” he said. “I think if it was a larger school, maybe it wouldn’t be the same. But if you’re saying we have 5000 students, I would think at least half smoke weed, recreationally, maybe on weekends, and then about half that smoke regularly.”
Schmiederer said it is difficult to rely on one person’s opinion of how common marijuana when trying to characterize its commonality on the whole because so many people have so many different perspectives.
“I think there are some students that think [marijuana use] is normal,” Schmiederer said. “I think there are just as many if not more students who think it’s something they might try but that they’re not going to continue to do, and I think there are some students, an equal number or more, who think it’s not something they want to do; it’s illegal and they don’t want to be around it.
“I think there’s often a culture of perceiving college as a time to try something new and different, which in some ways, we want you to try things that are new and different, but they sometimes extend that to illegal drug use, and I think that that tends to, one bad choice leads to other bad choices, and they find themselves in situations that they would not normally want to be in.”
Dennis Franks, director of campus safety and police, said he does not consider marijuana common on this campus, especially not in comparison to alcohol.
“Is marijuana here? Yes,” he said. “Do we see it all the time? No. So to use the term ‘a common thing,’ I struggle to say that it’s a common thing.”
Overall, the perceptions of marijuana’s prevalence at Elon are still up for debate, but it is safe to say that marijuana has a presence at Elon, much like it does at many other universities across the country, and as under wraps as this presence may be, it is still quite visible on Elon’s campus.
Risks of reefer vs. benefits of bong hits
Weighing the effects of marijuana on individuals, society
The debate between the benefits and consequences of legalizing marijuana is one that has been going on for ages, but, for the first time since this issue has been polled (1969 until now), more than 50 percent Americans think marijuana should be made legal. Earlier this month, a survey of 1,501 adults by the Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press revealed that 52 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be legal while 45 percent said it should be illegal.
The Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press released that for the first time since Gallup began polling on marijuana legalization in 1969, more Americans say marijuana should be legal. Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center for the People & Press.
This issue is very pertinent on the state level, where some state legislators are taking huge strides toward legalizing marijuana. Other legislators, like those in the state of North Carolina, have not budged on changing marijuana legislation. Progress on House Bill 84, a bill proposed earlier this year to legalize medical marijuana, was stopped in late February shortly after it was proposed.
N.C. representative Kelly Alexander, who supported the bill, said H.B. 84 would have allowed for physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients with painful lingering conditions in order to ease their pain.
“The bottom line is it can help sick people, specifically people who are suffering from chronic debilitating conditions,” Alexander said in a phone interview.
Alexander also said this bill may have remedied some of the problems with lack of research in the field by setting aside a portion of taxes for research on the effects of marijuana.
Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said the MPP was in support of H.B. 84. The MPP advocates for a taxation and regulation model of marijuana similar to the current model for alcohol.
“It’s not as much the benefits of legalizing marijuana as it is the negative consequences of prohibition that need to be rolled back,” Capecchi said. “People want to use marijuana; people are going to use marijuana despite criminal laws against it, so how are those people going to get marijuana? Currently, they’re going to the criminal market. They enrich the criminal market. There are no taxes that are captured on that, so any cost borne by the state for the effects of the use of marijuana, there’s nothing recaptured.”
Elon University’s policies regarding marijuana, as explained by Jodean Schmiederer. Graphic by Mary Kate Brogan.
While some outside the Elon community may be adamant about the legalization of marijuana, Schmiederer makes it clear that even if marijuana ever becomes legal in N.C., students caught with marijuana will still face an Honor Code violation. She said the university does not plan to alter its Honor Code because the charge would still be against federal law and not just state law.
“I think the challenge with marijuana from a philosophical perspective is that if marijuana was legalized, one of my concerns is still someone is selling it,” Schmiederer said, “And the individuals that are selling it don’t always have the best of intentions. When you invite people from the outside onto Elon’s campus or into our community, they bring other concerns with them. So if you’ve got a dealer…typically they have a lot of other issues and challenges. They’re not somebody we want in our community for the safety of everyone else.”
Freshman Danny Kirk said if marijuana had been legalized in North Carolina before he came to Elon, he might have chosen a different school.
“There were kids here celebrating when Colorado legalized marijuana because it was one step toward the rest of the states legalizing it,” he said. “So it might be more socially acceptable, but I still wouldn’t do it because of the health and mental risks.”
These health risks are plentiful, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. According to a fact sheet provided by NIDA, the adverse effects of marijuana can include increased heart rate, respiratory problems in frequent users, an altered psychological state, paranoia, anxiety and depression, among other symptoms.
“I don’t think it’s very healthy for anyone to do anything that alters who they are,” Elon freshman Ashley Halinski said. “So anything that kind of messes with your mind or changes your personality or the way you think cannot be healthy for you. And people say how it’s not addictive but I feel like it’s mentally addictive.”
Indeed, studies have shown that marijuana can also be psychologically addictive, with about 9 percent of users becoming addicted to marijuana, according to NIDA.
At the same time, many who argue for the legalization of medical marijuana say it can have benefits for those with cancer and other conditions such as AIDS and glaucoma. However, because it is a Schedule I controlled substance, marijuana is not legal for testing on a wide scale and thus there is very little literature on the subject. Some of the limited literature does address marijuana’s potential medical benefits.
A 2000 study in the Journal of Public Health reported that in 1985 the FDA approved Marinol, a synthetic form of medical marijuana, for treatment of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients who did not respond to conventional therapy. The FDA also approved its use as an appetite stimulant for those affected by AIDS in 1992, the study said.
Because of its listing as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, few studies have been legally conducted on the benefits of medical marijuana, but, as states continue to discuss whether marijuana should be legalized, the U.S. will likely obtain more insight into the risks and benefits of marijuana.
The room is quiet as the smell of incense fills the air. Students and community members sit on cushions all around the room breathing deeply, breathing in good thoughts through their right nostril and exhaling negative thoughts from their left. In front sits a man swaddled in a maroon and gold garment. Before encouraging the audience to begin their meditation, he and his companion chant a prayer. As the sound of their prayer dies away, the audience, still seated, departs from their calm surroundings and tries to focus on a single point as their teacher has taught them.
But this teacher is not any ordinary teacher. This teacher is Arjia Rinpoche, Buddhist monk and one of the highest lamas to have left Tibet, moving the U.S. in 1998.
On Monday evening, Iron Tree Blooming (ITB) meditation society and the Better Together living and learning community hosted Rinpoche as he taught the Elon community the art of single-point meditation. When explaining this type of meditation, Rinpoche said that the universe is made up of earth, fire, water and wind, and in a similar way, the body is made up of these same four elements.
“Four elements have to be balanced, so if four elements lose balance, we feel uncomfortable or even sick, physically or mentally,” Rinpoche said.
“Lose the balance will cause problems, so try to keep the balance. Beside the naturally sleep or rest is meditation, controlling our five senses.”
Barbara Gordon, Iron Tree Blooming’s adviser, accepts a khata from Arjia Rinpoche following his meditation session. According to ITB president Kelly Foran, traditionally, the host gives the guest a khata. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Rinpoche, who spoke on the convocation panel Tuesday about his perspective on interfaith issues, also entertained questions from the audience about the Buddhist faith. He discussed the principles of how enlightenment may be achieved, although he said that those who have achieved it often never recognized it themselves.
“No matter what kind of feedback you have, you have to give the love to the people, to your enemy,” he said.
Rinpoche presented Barbara Gordan, adviser of ITB, Kelly Foran, ITB president, and Mason Sklut and Immanuel Bryant, co-presidents of Better Together, with khatas – Tibetan scarves that are traditionally given as a sign of compassion. Foran said he was surprised when Rinpoche offered them scarves shortly before ITB and Better Together presented one to him.
“Usually you give them,” Foran said. “The purpose is to give thanks and respect and gratitude, so it was kind of surprising because I was giving it to thank him for coming out and being willing to talk to us. That just shows what type of person he is, giving us gratitude for just hosting him. That’s a really powerful thing. So I was very excited, almost at a loss for words.”
Morgan Sanderson and Philip Gurley, freshmen members of ITB, were similarly excited about the event. Gurley said attending the meditation was a unique experience he and Sanderson couldn’t pass up.
“It’s not every day that everyone gets to meet a great teacher of Buddhism,” Sanderson said.
Foran said listening to Rinpoche lead meditation was an illuminating experience because of his own role in leading ITB’s meditations.
“I meditate every day, but I don’t study it, and I don’t practice that lifestyle every second of my life,” Foran said, “So being able to just sit and be in awe basically and have him teach us… It’s funny because it’s just the opposite side, you know? Instead of me having to talk, I can just sit and listen. I wish I could have that every time.”
Arija Rinpoche shares his thoughts on finding enlightenment. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Elon may have a botanical garden for a campus, but the mild climate allowing for the campus’ beautiful flowers has its pitfalls. One of these pitfalls can be seen collecting on pathways and parked cars and can be felt in the itchy eyes and stuffy nostrils of Elon’s residents. The culprit: pollen.
An ATM at the corner of East College Ave. and Williamson Ave. is covered in pollen on a blustery day in mid-April. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation ranked Charlotte, N.C. and Greensboro, N.C. at 40th and 42nd for the Spring Allergy Capitals for 2013, although in the past Greensboro has been ranked as high as no. 2 in the nation for spring allergy severity. Both cities had worse than average rankings in medicine utilization per patient but were on par with the rest of the nation in terms of pollen score and board certified allergists per patient.
But some Elon residents, like allergy sufferer and sophomore Dan Malecki, may find this hard to believe. Malecki has been suffering from a sinus infection that he said R.N. Ellington Health Center officials believe stemmed from his allergies.
“This season I have been attacked by allergies just as I was last year,” Malecki said. “Previously, I did not have allergies, and when I moved from the north to college in the south, I’ve been badly affected. I have nasal congestion, I have itchy eyes, running nose as well, coughing, sore throat and pressure headaches.”
Elon sophomore Dan Malecki said the Health Center prescribed him penicillin to help him deal with his sinus infection, caused by allergies. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Malecki said if he had to guess, he would say about 70 percent of the student body, faculty and staff of Elon is affected by allergies.
In reality, the Health Center’s officials see far fewer individuals than this number, but that does not mean people are not affected by allergies. According to Ann Amyot, a nurse practitioner at the Health Center, said the Health Center sees four or five students affected by allergies per day during peak spring allergy season.
“In the spring … in North Carolina, we get a lot of different pollen that seems to be more prominent than a lot of other states, and so we’re one of the worst allergy states,” Amyot said. “So [students should] know that if you’ve never had allergies before in other states, if you move here to go to school, you have a likelihood of having some allergy symptoms.”
Amyot said she encourages students who have been using over-the-counter medications and have seen no improvement to come to the Health Center.
“Usually if they’ve been trying the over-the-counter medication for about five to seven days and really it’s not improving their symptoms, they should definitely come, or sooner if they start developing a fever, chills,” she said. “Those are going to be things that indicate you probably have an infection compared to just allergies.”
Amyot said the Health Center also administers allergy shots to students as long as the formula for these shots has been previously created and administered by an ear, nose and throat specialist or an allergist.
“They’ll test you, whether they do that by blood or by skin prick,” she said, “And they’ll figure out what types of things you’re allergic to, whether they’re pollens, grasses or weeds or animals, cats, dogs, things like that, and they can develop serum for injections for people to try to build up an immunity against those allergens so that you won’t have as bad of a reaction when you come in contact with them.”
Ann Amyot gives health advice regarding allergies. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
After 2012, a year of many gun violence-related tragedies, namely the shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn., university presidents across the nation have committed to having campus discussions about gun violence. One of these presidents is Leo Lambert of Elon University. As a result, Elon will host a panel of experts and students to discuss the many dimensions of gun violence this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in McKinnon Hall.
“One of the recurring themes in the planning meetings for this one is an emphasis on talking about gun violence versus gun control,” said Tara Corbett, an Elon senior and organizer of the panel.
Faculty organizer and sociology professor Tom Arcaro agreed that there is a definite emphasis on gun violence in this forum rather than gun control, and he said he thinks the moderator, Connie Ledoux Book, will do a good job of keeping the discussion on topic as it relates to gun violence.
A poster for Wednesday’s event hangs in Lindner. Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Several Elon community members along with expert panelists will present their ideas and special interests at the forum. The expert panelists include: Chief Cliff Park of the Town of Elon Police, Celo Faucette, a councilperson for the City of Burlington, Stephen Ross of the N.C. House of Representatives, Michael Rich, an associate law professor at Elon’s Law School, and Rev. Richard McBride, Elon’s chaplain emeritus.
McBride said that he will be speaking from his perspective both as Elon University’s most recently retired chaplain and as an individual deeply interested in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He said he looks forward to the opportunity for the university to delve into this issue.
“Every university needs forums to look at issues from a variety of viewpoints,” McBride said. “I hope people will look with more care toward the world and an interest in civil discourse because of this forum.”
Arcaro said he hopes this will inspire students to write to their congresspersons about what they learn during the forum.
“I think it’s the duty of everyone, especially everyone that comes to this event, to follow up,” he said. “Not just walk away going, ‘Oh, that was interesting,’ but actually follow up. That’s what democracy is based upon. It’s a participatory democracy.”
Tom Arcaro provides a brief preview of Wednesday’s event. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
As a kid, I never really enjoyed math, but now I find it refreshing. Numbers are easy on the eyes, and, in a field where there’s only one solution to a problem, numbers are also easy on the brain. That’s why it’s important to make sure numbers are accurate.
The first chapter of Math Tools for Journalists covers many basic style and writing tips regarding numbers. The chapter explains the difference between fewer and less than, over and more than and everything in between. It is important for journalists to know these skills to be able to properly convey numbers in writing and make things easier to read for their readers because of the uniform nature that AP Style urges journalists to use.
Suppose you are in a math class in Ancient Rome. It’s XLIV C.E., and you are tasked with finding out how long it has been since the Roman Republic was founded by Romulus and Remus (DCCLIII B.C.E.). In Roman numerals, find out how long it has been since the founding of Rome, making sure to account for the difference in C.E. and B.C.E.
The X before L denotes a 40 and IV is 4, so it’s 44 C.E., and you’re trying to go back to DCC (700) L (50) III (3). In this case, 753 + 44 = 797 years, or in Roman numerals, it’s DCCXCVII years!
The second chapter works on calculating percentages in real settings. It addresses the difference between percent and percentage points, which are calculated when a reporter is covering a change from one percent to another percent, like a change from 15 percent to 10 percent is a 5 percentage point difference. The chapter also explains simple interest which uses the formula I = Prt (principal x rate [decimal] x time [in years]. These skills are important to journalists because they pertain to graphs and graphics, which are especially important in stories, and they are also much simpler to read than numbers that are all over the place.
Donna wants to buy a house so she is taking out a loan. She has a simple interest rate. If her interest payment is $15,000 on an original loan of $60,000 and she plans on paying this over a period of 5 years, how much is she paying each month?
P = $60,000
t = 5 years
Interest = $15,000
15,000 = 60,000 * r * 5
15,000 = 300,000r
15,000/300,000 = .05 = r
Her interest rate is 5 percent.
The third chapter pertains to mean, median and mode, three important parts of a set of numbers. The mean is the average of all numbers in a set, the median is the middle number when the numbers are arranged from highest to lowest, and the mode is the number that appears most often. The chapter discusses finding what percentile something is in, what percentage of numbers are at or below that score. A standard deviation shows how much a group varies from the norm, probability calculates a ratio for how likely something may be, and combination probability occurs when you multiply the odds of each event happening together. As a journalist, these are important to know to be able to determine accurate averages.
Eight members of a Relay for Life team raised different amounts, listed below. Calculate the variance of those in question 3, along with its square root.
The final chapter in this reading speaks to federal statistics, which are very important in the news world because they are one of the best ways to get a feel for national issues. The chapter defines unemployment, Consumer Price Index, inflation, Gross Domestic Product and trade balance, and it gives equations for all of these. These equations have value for journalists so they can better understand the economics and data that will affect the public.
You want to calculate the annual inflation rate between February 1992 (138.6) to February 1993 (143.1). A = (B – C) / C x 100
A = (143.1 – 138.6) / 138.6 * 100
A = 3.247% was the annual inflation rate from February 1992 to 1993.
Elon University is a botanical garden and is a very green campus in terms of foliage, but are its students really green? Photo by Mary Kate Brogan.
Multimedia report by Mary Kate Brogan
Any observer on the street could tell you that Elon’s campus is very green just in appearance: the lush foliage, the blooming flowers, the blanket of grass sprawling across the quads. But are its students as green as the campus? According to an informal poll of 113 students on Elon’s campus from 9-10 a.m. on Monday, 73 percent of respondents consider themselves environmentally aware while 26 percent do not.
Junior Hillary Dooley, an English major, said she tries to be environmentally aware, but it can be difficult.
“Sometimes I forget to turn off the lights and I leave the TV on, so I try but I don’t know how well I actually succeed,” Dooley said.
An informal poll of Elon students showed that 73 percent of respondents consider themselves environmentally aware. Infographic by Mary Kate Brogan.
58 percent of students polled said they are concerned about global warming and are taking personal action. Junior Rickford Smith, a political science major, said he is concerned “to an extent” about taking action.
“The reason why I say ‘to an extent’ is because, even though global warming is happening, there cannot be a huge change unless it’s over a period of hundreds of years,” Smith said. ”I feel like just doing small things, it can help, but it doesn’t really matter as much as just making a huge impact with factories and stuff like that.”
Rickford Smith says he believes the burden to improve the environment is on large companies, not on the little people. Video by Mary Kate Brogan.
Another student, Luke Levin, a freshman exercise science major, also said he does not see global warming as an immediate concern.
“[I'm not concerned] because I’ll be dead when the world ends,” Levin said.
Those who are taking action are most often taking action by reducing, reusing and recycling (44 percent) and using less water or turning off lights when leaving a room (22 percent). Other responses included walking or biking more (15 percent), taking fewer trips or using less gas (11 percent), eating local foods, carpooling and not using plastic water bottles.
Beth Beless, a junior, said she is even planting trees this Earth Day.
The poll results revealed a nearly clean split between students who said their Elon education has made a difference in their environmental awareness and those who said it has not.