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  • Students representing Student Government, Union Activities Board, Fraternity and Soroity Life, Afircan American Student Advisory Council, Native American Student Affairs and  Asian Students in Alliance sit on a panel during the Racial Climate Town Hall hosted by Student Government in Stewart Theatre on Janurary 13th.
    Jan 27 2016

    Town Hall addresses issues of race on campus

    Jillian Smith | Editor-in-Chief

    On Wednesday, Jan. 13, Student Government held a town hall meeting in Talley’s Stewart Theatre. The subject: racial climate on campus.

    “I feel bad saying this because I love NC State, but I am very disappointed in my university because it hasn’t actively engaged me in race education,” said Kelly Elder, a senior in political science.

    The tone of the meeting was set by statements such as these as well as the Yik Yak, Twitter and Facebook posts scrolling across the screen throughout the event. The vulgarity and absurdity of the selected posts gave some of these ambiguous racial problems a level of widespread visibility they previously had not received.

    Darryl Johnson, senior studying mechanical engineering and representative of student government , speaks during the Racial Climate Town Hall meeting hosted by Student Government in Stewart Theatre on Janurary 13th. Students discussed both the problems and possible solutions towards the racial climate on N.C. State's campus.

    Kai McNeil | Staff Photographer

    This helped audience members understand the reasons behind the meeting and the need for change on campus. This slideshow also included testimonials from students sharing their personal experiences.

    “I feel like I’m constantly in a battle with my own identity and how my peers perceive me. You wouldn’t believe how often I receive questions like ‘are you a member of the NC State football team or basketball team,” said Ryan Barnes, a senior in paper science and engineering.

    The meeting started off with some emotional stories about negative experiences with race and discrimination, reinforcing the seriousness of the subject matter. Following this, the panel introduced themselves and Student Body President Khari Cyrus introduced the format of the meeting.

    “The purpose of this event is to develop solutions,” said Cyrus.

    There were four main action items for the meeting: sensitivity and inclusivity training, mandatory diversity training for incoming freshman, honor court and Asian-American/Pacific Islander inclusion.

    The possibility of sensitivity and inclusivity training for all students was a major part of the discussion. Bystander intervention training was also a topic of conversation in conjunction with the suggestions of mandatory diversity training for incoming freshman.

    Renee Wells, director of the GLBT center brought up the importance of cultural competency and how this type of training is something necessary for students to see and understand microaggressions. She believes to change the racial climate on campus, we need programs that build upon each other because “it can’t happen in a one hour workshop.”

    It did not seem that the panel members and audience members that suggested some of these programs came to a consensus on the time frame in which they would have to take place. Should they all happen during orientation? Should they be classes taken in the first semester? These are lingering questions, but it is important that the conversation was started at the meeting.

    The next action item was the need for a place where students could report non-academic misconduct such as acts of discrimination.

    According to Kamrie Risku, a sophomore studying political science and the the Diversity Activities Chair for the Union Activities Board, “there needs to be a better way to address these issues because there are very few safe spaces for minority students to address their discomfort.”

    Kai McNeil | Staff Photographer

    She has suggested having an “honor court” as a potential solution. The Honor Court would consist of both volunteer and elected court officials that would review reports of non-academic misconduct.

    This would be significantly different than any other program we have because it would encourage student-to-student accountability and peer mediation.

    This would be created under DASA which is a part of student housing. It is important to have a more student-centered organization to deal with these issues because the only other resource, the Equal Opportunity and Equity office on OIED which primarily deals with complaints against faculty and staff.

    One audience member brought up the issue of students against whom complaints are filed reacting negatively to their privilege being infringed upon. She questioned how we bring these students in rather than make them feel isolated.We need to focus on “winning the person versus winning the argument,” as another audience member put it.

    The last action item put up for discussion was the fact that there are very few resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander students on campus. Nina Ondona, the representative for Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA) explained how having a representative and a foothold in multicultural student affairs would provide these students with more opportunity and inclusion.

    Ondona is hopeful that AAPI students will receive greater visibility and have more of an on-campus presence if this can happen.

    There were many great ideas put forth at this town hall with a goal implementation date of fall 2017. The student government panelists were hopeful that through cooperative and collaborative work with administration, these plans could be put in place.

    Jan 13 2016

    Byron Pitts points students down career path

    Jillian Smith | Editor-in-Chief

    Byron Pitts’ speech on Monday, Jan. 11 featured empowering messages that encouraged students to make definitive decisions about their futures and follow through.

    He provided some compelling career advice giving students perspective on entering the industry, finding jobs and ultimately becoming successful. Pitts began by detailing his personal journey from illiteracy in Baltimore to being a national correspondent for ABC News.

    His main message to students and especially graduating seniors, was to be as specific as possible when it comes to your career goals. At age 18, Pitts decided that he wanted to be a correspondent on “60 Minutes” by age 45. By working diligently he made it to the show by age 44. Pitts took advantage of his opportunities early on during his time at college. “I think there are left lane people and right lane people. I’m a right lane guy, I have to go the slow way, so for me it was important to get an internship in my junior year of college,” he said. He made it clear, however, that we are not all meant to follow the same path.

    According to Pitts “Every dream has an address,it’s all about getting a clear view of that address and following the path that leads to it, beginning to end.”

    Pitts recalled how his mother vehemently railed against the first job he took with WNCT-TV in Greenville, NC. He was only making $8,600/year, less than one semester of tuition at Ohio Wesleyan University where he graduated from, but he doesn’t regret it for one minute.   

    “It got me on course to achieve my dream,” he said, and while it hurt him to know that his mother was disappointed, he was clear about his end goal. “I said ‘Mama trust me, it’s going to be okay.’”

    After a series of journalism stints around the country, Pitts was asked to join CBS News as a correspondent in 1997.

    “Decide what the end game is. Decide what you want to be doing by age 35. As my pastor would say, reach for the stars and fall on the moon, but let the goal be as outrageous as you want,” he said.

    Pitts suggests finding five people that currently have the job that you want. Research their background, their career highlights, anything that provides an understanding of how that individual became successful in their chosen profession.

    While you don’t want to be the same as them, he believes you cannot perfect the craft without first studying it.

    “My five people, in no particular order, are Dan Rather, Ed Bradley, Diane Sawyer, Bryant Gumbel and Sam Donaldson,” he said. Pitts admired these anchors and worked tirelessly to ensure that he followed in their footsteps.

    “Have a clear mission,” he says. “Once you decide, it becomes easier.”

    Jan 13 2016

    Byron Pitts: International broadcast journalist honors MLK Jr., inspires students to act

    Zoe Wilson | Correspondent

    “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and the struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals,” originally said by Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.

    To kickoff the 25th anniversary of the African American Cultural Center and the MLK Jr. Campus Commemoration, ABC News anchor and Nightline co-host Byron Pitts spoke to a crowd of almost 600 on Monday, Jan. 11 about the difficulties he overcame in order to achieve a successful career in journalism.

    “I liked how he spoke about his own personal adversity and made the presentation about his journey as a man,” said Mallory Deeter, a junior majoring in Communication with a concentration in public relations.

    Kai McNeil | Staff Photographer

    Pitts’ inspiring story proves that determination is key and that hard work pays off. His humble beginnings are rooted in Baltimore, MD. Raised by his single mother, Pitts faced significant financial, emotional and mental struggles. However, the “mustard seed” faith of his family as well as their ambitious nature provided him with a solid support system.

    This is what gave Pitts the confidence he needed to make a distinguished career. “I have never been lucky a day in my life, but I have always been blessed,” he said.

    It is hard to imagine someone so successful was declared mentally retarded by specialists at the age of twelve.  At the time, he was failing almost all of his classes, and especially struggled with mathematics. After being brought in for testing, the doctors discovered that his difficulty in school stemmed from his inability to read. They recommended that he be institutionalized given the limited means and 10th grade education of his mother.

    “I was surprised by his story. It was hard to believe that someone diagnosed as mentally retarded could speak that well,” said Darion Williams, a senior majoring in Construction Engineering and Management.

    Despite the scarcity of resources available to him, the strenuous effort he devoted to his education allowed him to graduate high school. With hard work, Pitts went from being ranked number 435 out of 440 students in his class to number 40.

    “I was not the best student in my high school, but I was the best student I could be,” he said.

    Pitts was accepted into Ohio Wesleyan University in 1978 and graduated in 1982. While many college students think those four years are the best ones of their lives, he had a different experience.

    “It was hard for me,” Pitts said. He was on academic probation for his first two years and at one point in time, he was seriously considering dropping out after an English professor told him that he was “not Wesleyan material.” Luckily, a kind first term professor was able to convince him otherwise.

    While many doubted that he was capable of accomplishing such illustrious dreams, Pitts is now an Emmy award-winning journalist who has traveled the world to cover some of the biggest news stories of our time.

    “He covered a lot, but my main take away was to have high aspirations for myself and set high goals. He encouraged me to create a list of goals and dreams to better myself and others. He also taught me that you don’t have to be a straight A students to be successful,” said Williams.

    Pitts asked students to be as mindful and engaged as they possibly can. He encouraged them to take action and be involved in their community as well as the lives of those within it. Indifference is something that scares him because it impedes progress and change.

    “Do not be indifferent about the opportunities you have to change the world. It might be as small as hug, but could change the world for someone else,” said Pitts.

    While everyone in the crowd reacted well to his speech, giving him a standing ovation when he finished, some students were surprised by the content of his speech.

    “I enjoyed listening to Pitt’s speech, however, it was not at all what I was expecting because of the current racial climate, I assumed he would address the challenges still facing the black community and thought he would start a dialogue on how to best bring about that change,” Deeter said.

    While there is no simple fix for this problem our country has faced for decades, Pitts addressed the enormous progress that has been made. He appreciated was that unlike his great grandfather who was born a slave, he is a free man, able to live out the American dream.

    “We are still a great nation, despite our flaws,” Pitts said. He emboldens each of us to both take advantage of and live up to that greatness.

  • Nubian Message
    Dec 02 2015

    Nubian Message is 23: Q&A with two past Editors

    Jessica Stubbs | Staff Writer

    As we grow older, wiser, and more like our parents with every year, there is a very special and important year that you normally wouldn’t hear about until you’ve reached your twenties.

    Yes, we all know of the “Sweet 16”, “Legal 18”, “Nasty 19” (we all say it, but never really know what it means), and the “Drunken 21”; however, what about your “Jordan Year.”  For those who don’t know, the “Jordan Year” is your 23rd year of life.  It’s called the “Jordan Year” because Michael Jordan shot to fame playing for the Chicago Bulls, with jersey number 23.

    The “Jordan Year” is supposed to be a year of greatness.  Like how Michael achieved much success with 23 on his back, turning 23 is the time when you start your path to success or you begin to reap the benefits of your hard work. November 30, 2015 marks our “Jordan Year.”


    The Nubian Message was first published on November 30, 1992.  In that first edition, the Editor-in-Chief, Tony Williamson, said the formation of the paper had been something long overdue at the university and also spoke about the goals of the student newspaper.

    Over the past 23 years, the Nubian Message has changed in ways it’s impossible to recognize them all, so instead we asked the people who knew Nubian the best-the editors.  We got a couple of editors to answer a Q&A about their time working with the Nubian.




    Cordera Guion,

    How has the Nubian, in any way, changed since you began your position as editor-in-chief?

    One of the big things that changed with the Nubian Message since I began position as Editor-In-Chief is that the newspaper has focused more on an online presence. Before that, it was primarily focused on print, but in these times, news is delivered 24/7, and if there’s breaking news you have online to rely upon, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

    What is your favorite piece that the Nubian featured during your run as editor-in-chief?

    My favorite piece that Nubian featured during my time as editor would probably have to be a tie between the visit from President Obama to campus (which was historic), as well as Trayvon Martin, because it was good to see the younger generation mobilize and unite for justice for a time, which is much similar to what’s going on around the country today connected to Mizzou.

    What has been your most valuable lesson/skill learned while being editor-in-chief?

    Most Valuable less learned while being editor was patience in having to rely on a team to get things done. Sometimes people didn’t realize how much it took to get the Nubian Message done on a weekly basis, and the number of hours that students put in each week. There’d be times when the paper would be sent to the printer at 1 or 2 AM, and then you’d have to get up at 7 or 8 AM to drive to Durham to pick it up and place it around campus.


    Kierra Leggett, May 2012 – May 2014


    How has the Nubian, in any way, changed since you began your position as editor-in-chief?

    During my editorship the Nubian Message really made an effort to get back to its “founding roots.” My staff and I studied the content of the original papers and tried to restore its original essence as a cause newspaper. The content shifted from black popular media to what was really taking place and happening in the black community on campus.

    What is your favorite piece that the Nubian featured during your run as editor-in-chief?

    The Nubian Message featured many great stories during my tenure, so it is very hard for me to pick just one! For me, it was always an accomplishment when the stories we published caused a buzz or stir, especially on social media. “Profiled: Student’s Sneakers Laced with Controversy”, the August 2013 Symposium Edition of the Nubian that had the headline “Welcome, Black Pack” and #NCSUBrickYardBeLike were some of our most talked about or tweeted articles.

    What has been your most valuable lesson/skill learned while being editor-in-chief?

    The most valuable thing I learned from my time as Nubian Editor was the importance of having a guide or mentor and, that you can’t do it all alone. Mama Thorpe and Dick Reavis (a former associate professor of English at NC State) both offered tremendous help to me during my time as Nubian Editor. Mama Thorpe always had words of wisdom and Mr. Reavis was always supportive and encouraging me to push the envelope with the content we published!

    Happy 23rd Birthday Nubian!!!