Mar 25 2015
Chris Hart-Williams | Editor-in-chief
On a typical day, a student might drop by the African American Cultural Center, walk through the Free Expression Tunnel , and most important of all, sit in a classroom. Last week, 10 students did that and more with 36 fourth and fifth graders. Joshua Moore, a senior studying sustainable materials and technology, co-lead a student mentor day with Breanna Powell, a junior studying social work.
Moore, Powell and the other mentors hosted boys from Barwell Road Renaissance Elementary School in Raleigh. “When I was in elementary school I already knew I was going to go to college,” said Powell. “I didn’t know much about it, but I knew I was going to go.”
Powell said that she hopes the visit made an impact on the boys, especially those who may not talk often about college at home. Some of them were able to attend class with their mentors, while others took part in tours of the D.H. Hill Library Learning Commons, Carmichael Gymnasium and Talley Student Center.
“They were really excited to be on N.C. State’s campus,” said Teyara Hudson, a senior in social work, who served as one of the 10 student mentors. “They kept saying ‘you guys are so lucky, I wish I could do this,’ I told them you can, just keep your work up in school.”
The fourth and fifth grade boys belong to a separate mentor program at their school that is lead by male faculty, the Helping Hands Mentoring Program. This is an initiative of Wake County Public Schools that works to foster supportive relationships, improve school performance, and help “statistical minorities” face and overcome challenges in their lives.
Robert Bridges, an African-American and former Wake County School Superintendent, started the program within a few schools in the system 25 years ago. This year marks the fourth year Barwell Elementary has offered it.
“The program provides students with enrichment to help them go to the next level academically,” said Marc Hardy, a mentor of the Helping Hands program at Barwell Elementary and school counselor. Hardy, an NC State graduate, says the program is culturally sensitive and aims to increase its participants self-concept and self-esteem.
The mentors engage with the students- after homework time, which comes first, said Hardy. Circle-time, which often follows, is what Hardy describes as “an opportunity for the boys to open up.” Hardy said he and his colleagues like to mentor using generative themes which comes from the writings of Paulo Freire in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed which stresses that solutions to a people’s challenges are best found from within their culture and community.
The program at Barwell creates a sense of community for the boys pays respect and appreciation for an Afrocentric worldview according to Hardy. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from N.C. State. Hardy holds an undergraduate degree in psychology, which he earned in 1992, and a master’s in counselor education, which he earned in 2010.
“For them to get to see the students, I think that was the most important part,” Powell said. “Just so they know that there are people here ready to support them and advocate for them when they go to college.” Powell said she wants to go into school social work and serve youth after college. She’s interested in youth development and hopes to be an advocate for children, like she had while in elementary, middle and high school. “I just want to be that person for other students.”
Mar 25 2015
Jillian Smith | Staff Writer
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest fraternities in the United States, had to shut down its Oklahoma chapter on Sunday, March 15, because of a nine-second video showing a bus full of brothers enthusiastically participating in a racist chant.
All of the participants are young white men, dressed formally, fist pumping as they vow that “there will never be a n***** in the SAE.” They also make a reference to lynching saying “you can hang him from a tree, but he’ll never sign with me,” revealing the deep-rooted history of this fraternity.
SAE is the only national fraternity developed in the antebellum South. Many of its founding members fought in the Civil War defending the Confederate South and many lost their lives for the cause.
Those that survived went home to burned universities and destroyed chapters. For the next three decades, they rebuilt and strengthened the fraternity, even expanding to some Northern states. Over the years, they have earned many different nicknames, one of the earliest being “the singing fraternity.”This particular ‘song’ has incited national outrage and has highlighted how many college campuses, supposed beacons of education and equality, are still experiencing serious racial issues. “I was utterly disgusted by the chant and the nature in which it was being recited. I was also very disappointed to see that the president and the members of the chapter showed much enthusiasm while reciting the chant,” said Sharod Fenner, a senior in technology, engineering and design education and secretary of the Eta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The video is one of few tangible pieces of evidence of a much larger and persistent problem within America’s predominantly white fraternities. This is unfortunately a direct result of a Greek letter system established with harsh and, at the time, legal exclusionary practices. While times have changed, the lingering notes of systematic racism continue to pervade many parts of our society such as this one.
“As a black man I was not surprised to see this video. Racism and prejudice are still very prevalent in America, and I think this video is only a small representation of a larger problem,” said Alex Starnes, a senior and President of Sigma Phi Epsilon. SAE has had experienced race-related scandals in the past. In 2013, the Washington University chapter located in St. Louis was suspended after some of the pledges were told to yell racial slurs at a group of black students. Just last year at the University of Arizona, 15 SAE members broke into a historically Jewish fraternity located off-campus. They assaulted the members while yelling discriminatory comments at them.
The Clemson University’s SAE chapter was suspended in December 2014 after the fraternity hosted a “cripmas” party which encouraged students to dress up as gang members. In response to this event however, “Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity is establishing a groundbreaking four-pronged initiative to combat instances of racial discrimination and insensitivity among its members,” SAE Executive Director Blaine Ayers said in a statement on Wednesday. After the release of the first video, a second emerged featuring the OU chapter’s 79-year-old house mother. In this video, she says “n*****” seven times, apparently listening to Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything” in the background.
“These beliefs do not come from thin air, which means the chapter, in some fashion, supports these misguided ideals,” Starnes said. Only time will tell if a “diversity and education” program can break down the racism shrouding SAE membership, and if this event will be a lesson to other predominantly white fraternities. “True brotherhood has no race, creed, or color. It is a comradery amongst individuals who share a common goal. It bothers me to think that the members of the chapter, and possibly the whole organization, feel that racism and discrimination is something they can agree upon and rejoice in song about,” Fenner said.
Mar 25 2015
Dear NC State Community,
As NC State continues to earn top rankings and broad recognition as a leading research university, our campus is also addressing some challenging and troubling issues. In particular, over the last few months issues around sexual assault, racism and sexism, along with the unacceptable behaviors we’ve seen associated with fraternities around the country, have hit home at NC State.
Our university has become part of the national discussions about these disturbing trends on college campuses. This is clearly not the type of recognition we want, but more so, not the type of behavior we will accept at our university.
In addressing these issues, I and other NC State leaders have made it clear that our university will absolutely not tolerate sexual assault, intolerance, substance abuse or other egregious misconduct. I hope today’s announcement about the disassociation of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity makes it clear that we take these issues, the impact they cause on campus, our words and our responses seriously.
Investigations of misconduct can take time as we ensure due process for everyone involved and that all aspects of a case are carefully considered. However, as today’s actions demonstrate, in cases where a violation or behavior counter to our values is determined to have occurred, NC State will take disciplinary action.
I know that the misconduct we’ve seen recently by a few in no way represents the strong character and values of our larger student body or the NC State community. You have my commitment, and the commitment of this administration, that we will work hard to ensure these outlying behaviors never become acceptable or tolerable at our university.
Along those lines, I have directed Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Mike Mullen and his staff to work with the Intrafraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Pan-Hellenic Association and the Multicultural Greek Council to conduct a comprehensive review of Greek Life at NC State. The review will in part assess whether fraternities and sororities are meeting the core values espoused by the Greek community and the high behavioral expectations of the university.
I understand the vast majority of our Greek members and majority of organizations are committed to high standards of behavior, and we believe pairing university staff with student leadership in this process will help support these goals and achieve the best Greek system possible at NC State.
As a community, we at NC State must continue our efforts to enhance and celebrate diversity and inclusion. I hope many of you are already participating in Pan Afrikan Festival Week activities this week. If not, find out more information athttp://uab.ncsu.edu.
I encourage members of our community to participate in the several NC State activities in April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Find out more information at http://oied.ncsu.edu/Womens-
Center/programs-and-events/ sexual-assault-awareness- month-2015.
Please also review the many resources available through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity at http://oied.ncsu.edu. The site is a gateway to programs, trainings, educational and other opportunities to help foster an inclusive, accessible and diverse campus community.
I hope you will join me in continually working to ensure that our university always holds and promotes as core values diversity, inclusion and respect, and strives to maintain an environment where everyone feels safe and valued.
Chancellor, NC State
The next leaders of AASAC have been determined. The newly elected officers will officially assume their roles in April and after the leadership oath at the 2015 Ebony Harlem Awards. Candidtes gave presentations before AASAC leaders, who voted on behalf of their organization during this week’s General Body meeting.
The 2015-2016 AASAC Executive Board
Chairperson Elect: Breanna Powell
Vice-Chairperson Elect: Jasmine
Cannon Secretary Elect: Johnia Murray
Parliamentarian Elect: Jasmine Jones