Tag Archives: Rae Hodge

red-bullhorn-200-x-172

Letter from the Editor: Ave atque vale

By Rae Hodge–red-bullhorn-200-x-172

There’s a seething hatred of the amateur in U.S. media culture. It comes from our idolization of those legendary writers who started their careers without our kind of savage competition (back when anyone with a strong stomach and a notebook could get a job in a newsroom, no matter how drunk or unreliable) and who’ve never had to save a sinking ship.

This hatred is enabled by a precisely-cultivated consumer hunger for  polished, packaged media. Rough drafts are despised by U.S. audiences; they cringe with embarrassment at the manic glee we take in fumbling with new discoveries– an oddly placed semi-colon, an ill-aligned column with mismatched fonts, a lede uncovered six graphs too deep.

The condemnation of the amateur, the demand for a polished first try, the fear of  appearing foolish– when these conditions put a tremble in writers’ hands, we get dangerously close to losing that crucial element which  develops depth in our writing: a willingness to fail, and then to rise from failure without embarrassment. And then, for the hell of it, to do it again.

We need amateurs. It’s the amateurs that are refusing to abandon the ship. It’s the amateurs that run into the wreckage of Gannett’s slash-and-burn newsroom attacks to save the typewriters. It’s the amateurs, raised in the recession, who can make ends meet on a shoestring budget, even if it means blogging through the night, and handing out copies on the street. They’re rushing to the scene, they’re taking notes, they’re losing sleep trying to cover all the beats. Every incentive to do this work has been taken away except one: the love of it. And the amateurs have come for no other reason.

That’s why The Louisville Cardinal is so important. As the de facto journalism program at the University of Louisville, we’ve cleared a space where new writers can fall on their faces as many times as necessary to get it right. This paper is a learning clinic full of ugly injuries, false starts, hostile sources, too few helping hands, not enough money, and no one to say when. We fight uphill battles every step of the way. Our reward is in keeping the lights on, our victory is having stacks on the stands. Leave it better than you found it, our motto.

That’s what I’ve tried to do here. When I arrived, the few writers we had were paid in peanuts, given no class credit, squeezing articles out between second jobs and full course loads, and then getting told — if anyone read their work at all — that they’re horrible at what they do. We were sliding down the mountain slowly, with only 16 pages between us and oblivion.

But we rallied. We fought tooth and nail. In a time when circulation across the country was dropping, we rose to 20 pages (the issue you’re holding rose to 24). Then we published our first book. Now, in the 2013-2014 year, writers and staff will earn credit for their work at the Cardinal through our Campus Media class, and will have both an advisor and an experienced professor to help them chart their course and recover from injuries.

My belief in the importance of this work — of their work, of your work– never waivered. And it’s been my privilege to fight, to fail, and to win with these faithful few.

If you’re one of us, and you’re reading this, know that you have a place here. If you’re hands are trembling, we’ve got a cure. Know that our sweat and ink, since 1926, has gone into creating and protecting this paper in anticipation of your arrival. You’re the one we’ve been keeping the lights on for.

I’m honored to have been among those charged with this task, and to be the one to invite you now: leave it better than you found it.

Ave atque vale.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com

UNBREAKABLE

Unbreakable: Louisville’s Inspired 2013 Championship Run

In celebration of the University of Louisville’s NCAA Championship victory over the University of Michigan, The Louisville Cardinal, the independent student newspaper, is proud to announce the publication of “Unbreakable: Louisville’s Inspired 2013 Championship Run,” an instant book released by Triumph Books.

The 128-page full-color book, available on April 15, is packed with Louisville Cardinal stories and dramatic photos from throughout Louisville’s historic season, including the Cardinals’ inspiring NCAA tournament run!

The softcover book includes profiles of head coach Rick Pitino, Russ Smith, Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng, Luke Hancock and other Louisville stars. Plus, there is a bonus section on the Louisville women’s run to the Final Four.

“The staff of the Louisville Cardinal rose to the occasion to produce an instant championship book,” said Mickey Meece, the adviser. “The photography and features and profiles capture the spirit of the team and the jubilation of Card Nation.”

Relive the heart-stopping moments and unforgettable accomplishments of a team that won America’s heart. Enjoy the work of student journalists, with an introduction by Louisville’s renowned sports journalist Billy Reed.

About the book: Full-color glossy, softcover, 8.5 x 11 inches, and 128 full-color pages

Pricing
Only $14.95, plus $6 shipping and handling
Add $1 S&H for each additional book.

How to Order
Contact The Louisville Cardinal; office@louisvillecardinal.com, Call Lisa Potter, business manager: 502.852.0701, Fax: 502.852.0700.

Order online at www.triumphbooks.com

Or call IPG at 1-800-888-4741, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

 

The Louisville Cardinal Inc. is a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the book will go to buy equipment, train and support student journalists at the University of Louisville. To interview the student journalists, please contact Mickey Meece.

RACISM 0730

Open to the public: Students hash out use of the n-word at University of Louisville

By Rae Hodge–

At the center of the story was the slur heard round the ‘Ville.

A white, university-employed student, with a less-than-private Facebook account, referred to hip hop as “n*****bop” in a status update about artist Kendrick Lamar. Someone took a screenshot.

Spring break or not, online backlash against both the girl and the university was swift and severe. U of L twitter users swarmed the hashtag, lambasting the girl with questions and complaints, calling for immediate action from the university. The girl went on to use the word, and a number of its variations, again and again. The outrage grew, the crowd swelled.

The girl shut down all of her accounts. No official statements were released.

Although listed online as a Student Ambassador to U of L’s campus tutoring program, Resources for Academic Achievement (REACH), Professor Dale Billingsley says that the student had not been employed by REACH since Dec. 2012.

Billingsley is the vice provost over undergraduate affairs at the U of L and over REACH. He says that the student remains employed by the university via a Federal Work Grant, and has been moved to a position in the Office of Enrollment Management.

After a tense waiting period, the campus took action last Wednesday. The U of L Diop Society, members of the Pan-African studies department, the Vice Provost of Diversity and International Affairs, and a number of student leaders partnered with The Cultural Center. They created an event for the Let’s Talk Luncheon Series and invited the public to participate in an open discussion panel about the tweet and the wider use of the n-word at U of L. They called it “The N*****bop Forum”.

They chalked the campus sidewalks with advertisements and tweeted the details. Some students received extra credit to attend. There was a sign-in sheet. There was free pizza.

The Louisville Cardinal sent writer Xavier Bleuel to cover the event.

Public event turned internal investigation

When Bleuel arrived and began gathering information, he introduced himself to Vice Provost of Diversity and International Affairs, Dr. Mordean Taylor-Archer. Taylor-Archer told Bleuel that while he was welcome to attend and listen, he was not to report on the events or discussion. Archer-Taylor also told Bleuel that the public discussion forum was an “internal investigation”. 

Bleuel, a new writer, exited the forum, reported his experience to his editor, who then relayed it to this reporter. In a follow up interview Taylor-Archer said, “It’s not an investigation, but what we had agreed to when we were putting on the forum was that it would be a discussion among the people who were there and there would be no press coverage. And so that’s why I said that to the student.”

This incident marks the first time that any event of the Let’s Talk Luncheon series has ever attempted to quiet the student press. Taylor–Archer explained how she came to her decision.

“This issue was more volatile than any of the other issues that we’ve had in the past

that we have covered, and it has been spun,” said Taylor-Archer. “Given the volatility of this discussion, I made that decision and so, you know, I stand behind it.”

“The Let’s Talk Luncheon has been (open to student press) and given the nature of this one that it was decided — and I was a part of that decision making — that we did not have press coverage of this event.”

Taylor-Archer continued, “I don’t know how you want to frame this, but I made a decision because it had already spun out of control. So I said that this would be a discussion, and it would not be covered by press, and that’s what I, we, had made that was decided prior to even beginning the discussion. So that’s what I said to the student when he was there.”

When asked who else was part of that decision-making process, Taylor-Archer said, “Well, when we discussed it- it was the- I had discussed it. And well, ultimately, I take the blame. I take the full responsibility for this decision.”

The press is the public

Phillip Bailey, political editor and news writer for Louisville NPR affiliate station, WFPL, was chosen to moderate the discussion.

Taylor-Archer was asked whether she felt that the choice of the panel’s moderator was consistent with her attempt to exclude student press.

“I do hear what you’re saying,” said Taylor-Archer. “And Phillip was in the role of moderating the panel and not reporting on the issues thereof, and that was an agreement that we had that was made with Phillip.”

When called for comment, Bailey said “I wouldn’t have agreed to do a forum if it wasn’t open.”

“I was approached by Deonte Hollowell and I thought it was interesting and worthwhile discussion,”

he explained. “But I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to do any discussion that wasn’t open to the press. As a member of the press, I take umbrage with anything that bars the press.”

“The press is the public,” said Bailey, “As I told her, I think it’s always best to err on the side of transparency and honesty. In U of L’s history, the biggest mistakes have been the ones shrouded in secrecy.”

Full disclosure: This reporter is an intern at WFPL news.


Dr. Ricky Jones, a professor who attended Wednesday’s forum, is U of L’s director on race relations and inequality. In his office in the Pan-African studies department, he was adamant about the department’s policy. “We’ve got to be open for our students to have those conversations and we’ve certainly got to be open to our student reporting mechanism, which is the Cardinal in this case, being able to have access to and report on those situations,” said Jones.“There’s nothing to hide.”

“We’ve been around this campus for 40 years and we’ve never had an event where we told anybody ‘you couldn’t report on this’.”

“So if it’s Pan African Studies – whether you’re dealing with a faculty member, or majors, or any of our student organizations – we would never tell any media organization that they do not have access or they are not to report on it.”

“If anybody else on this campus– I don’t care who it is– said to a Cardinal reporter, or the Courier Journal, or the New York Times that ‘you are not to report on this’, that is not the stance of the Department of Pan-African Studies.  Nor is it the stance of any group affiliated with the Department of Pan-African Studies. Nor will it ever be the stance of the Department of Pan-African Studies.”

“Whenever you tell someone that they are not to report on something,” said Jones, “it reeks of some kind of tyrannical inclination.  And we don’t function that way.”

Dr. Deonte Hollowell says that while Taylor-Archer “didn’t want this written in the press and sensationalized in the media” her concerns were unwarranted.

Hollowell is the Outreach Coordinator at Black Alliance for Educational Options and a professor in the PAS department who attended the forum. He says that PAS is “always been open for discussions and, as a matter of fact, begging of them. Begging of that from other entities from the university and challenging the students to have freedom and creativity.”

“If you’re asking me if I think more conversations need to be had about ‘n*****bop’,” said Hollowell, “Yes.”

When university spokesperson Mark Hebert returned a call for comment he said, “She made a judgment call, and we’re not going to second guess that decision.”

“She was acting out of concern for a student,” said Hebert, “Dr. Taylor-Archer had concerns about further alienating the student whose actions were the focus of the event.”

May as well have covered it

The Cardinal asked Taylor-Archer if she would like to comment on the proceedings of the forum, and whether she felt they were productive, she said. “Well then, if I’m going on record, and you’re doing this, the student may as well have covered the event.  Do you know what I’m saying? That reason that I said and the reason that I did was that we were not going to have press coverage with this particular event.”

Students and professors who attended the forum spoke openly about the event, and expressed interest in having press coverage at this, and future forums.

Josh Schuschke and Cheyenne Weathers attended and helped organize the event. Schuschke, President of U of L’s Diop Society, is a Pan-African studies major.

“We talked about issues regarding race on campus the history of racist events, and the recent event with the former REACH ambassador, who made comments about Kendrick Lamar’s music, referring to it as ‘n*****bop’,” said Schuschke. “So we had an open dialogue about that and why the n-word is such a volatile word. Some people feel is there a double standard to it. What can we do to further educate people about the use of the word? Who can use the word? Really that type of discussion.”

Weathers, a Pan-African studies and English major, also devotes time to the Diop Society. She said, “I feel like mostly everyone basically was on the same page when speaking about the issue. And we deconstructed the word ‘n*****bop’. What does it really mean? And is it just a negative stereotype about black people, or does it go further on that? And basically, everybody was offended and felt like the word – and when she used it in the context— was unnecessary.”

Jones had a similar take on the panel’s outcome. “The forum was nothing more than a discussion on what was said. What are the implications? There was even, I thought, a very poignant discussion about the use of the word ‘n*****’ and other language. Really, what we’re talking about is in-group language,” said Jones, “There wasn’t anything secretive.”

Individual or Institutional?

For Jones, the panel offered the student body a chance to earnestly discuss a central question about racism on campus. “What we were really clear on with our kids, from the beginning of this, is that you have to be you got to be clear when something like this happens, whether or not it is an individual incident or it’s something that has institutional overtones.”

The incident may have started with a university employee, but Jones said “It was very clear to us that this was something that had nothing to do with the institution. This is not an institutional problem. This is nothing that reflects badly on the University of Louisville, or any unit in the University of Louisville. This is a situation where an individual at best was racially insensitive, at worst might have had some type of racist sentiment. Period.”

“So the discussion today wasn’t about anything wrong with the university of Louisville, because if there is something wrong with the University of Louisville, that incident doesn’t reflect it. It doesn’t indicate it. This was just a discussion, I think, on racially insensitive speech.”

Professor Hollowell disagrees. To him, this occurrence isn’t just a single racist action but exists in a chain of university-related incidents that form an institutional history.

“It’s a society problem. It’s a reflection of what’s going on in the world with this campus being a microcosm of that, and a microcosm of what’s even going on in our city,” he says. “We have to use that conversation to be able to look at the whole picture: the big picture is that racism has existed on this campus and will continue to thrive. It’s not going anywhere—racist sentiment anyway.”

“There’s a history of racialized incidents that I’ve been a part of ever since I was an undergrad here starting in ‘97. Those things are going to continue to happen. But how do we react to them as a community of people who don’t agree?”

Hollowell quickly tallied up a list of events from recent memory, including giveaway of racist t-shirts by Bank One affiliates and repeated campus visits from the Ku Klux Klan.

Hollowell also notes that the student press has not been immune to creeping racist sentiment. He described an editorial cartoon that appeared in The Louisville Cardinal on Oct. 23, 1997.

“The first issue of the Cardinal I ever saw was them hanging – it was Ron Cooper, who was an African American coach.”

The cartoon depicts an angry mob of U of L fans, gathered around a bonfire, dangling an effigy of Cooper, hung by its neck, over the flames. Beneath, a caption reads “U of L Alumni: All fired up for homecoming.”

“And that forced us to create our own black student newspaper,” said Hollowell.

“We have to understand that structural institutional racism is not going anywhere. It’s going to exist pretty much in any American institution. We have to navigate that and we have to understand. And so these conversations are meant to bring better understanding of institutional racism and bring institutional justices to our students,” said Hollowell.

When asked about how whether institutions can be trusted to police themselves for structural injustices, and resolve their own problems internally, Hollowell said “That’s the goal of Diop’S’—not to be the police per se, but we are the Pan-African education group. And any time where there’s an injustice involving black people, or maybe even groups of people, we’re going to integrate ourselves into that.”

“Any time there’s a misunderstanding or a cultural misunderstanding, whether about black and African American people, or a historical misunderstanding, we’re going to be the group that is going to police that. We’re the group that’s going to say ‘Hey, this is wrong, this is right. And let’s understand each other this way.’”

“We never rely on an institution to police themselves to our interest,” said Hollowell.

Teachable Moments

“Basically, it was just a teachable moment,” said Weathers. “In situations like this, what can we do to help this from not escalating further? Is it a two-sided argument? Is it white or black? Or should we just come together and form a different view of things, and a different way of thinking of things when put in a different context?”

When Taylor-Archer was asked whether she had plans to change her policy against barring student reporting on the Let’s Talk Luncheon events, she replied by saying. “Of course, I don’t have a problem with that.”

But are there really two sides to the question of whether white people should use the n-word to describe hip hop?

Schuschke think so. “I’m sure there’s another side to it as we’ve seen online. There were people that supported her on it, but it’s a quiet side. It’s not a side that speaks up in public.”

He leaned into the microphone.

“It’s a very cowardly side,” he said, “that doesn’t feel the need, or doesn’t have the ability, to speak in public about what they really feel.”

“And if they want to keep those sentiments to themselves?” said Schuschke. “We encourage that actually.”

 

 

 

 

editor@louisvillecardinal.com
Photos courtesy of louisville.edu, wfpl.org, bangsandabun.com

Jason Bourne has no idea what tragic horror is about to befall him as he idles quietly on his motorcycle at this red light. The sad face pictured above tells the story of a man who regrets his decision to pursue an advanced degree in anthromusicology.

Dear Seniors: Do you want to go into grad school debt or do you want to be awesome instead?

By Rae Hodge–

Jason Bourne has no idea what tragic horror is about to befall him as he idles quietly on his motorcycle at this red light. The sad face pictured above tells the story of a man who regrets his decision to pursue an advanced degree in anthromusicology.

My mailbox has been spewing glossy, 8-page advertisements for MA programs since last August. They’re high-quality print stock brochures from nearby universities which promise an easy academic transition into urban planning, law school, and MBA’s. They picture groups of students arm-in-arm as they stroll on idyllic campus greens.

They’re laughing at that dark joke, whose setup is a paltry job market still dominated by their refuse-to-retire Baby Boomer parents, and whose punchline is “Who said I wanted to leave college anyway?”

For those of you headed into a S.T.E.M. field, the grad-degree bet is still a good one. Go for it. You deserve it. May your tribe increase. But maybe you other soon-to-be-minted BA’s will agree with me when I say that I don’t have the nerve to double down on an already risky bet by taking out an additional few thousand in student loans.

What’s a better bet, you ask? How could I prepare myself for a professional life, ensure a higher income, and pursue an education in my field without hunkering down for another three years of back-breaking study? Simple. Prioritize the skills I need and streamline my curriculum.

Parkour – So there you are, smoking a jay in your living room and watching some Netflix when there’s a knock on the door. You hide the stash in your Dorito bag and throw it under the couch before coughing out “Just a minute!”

When you crack open the door, there’s Louisville’s finest with a big pushy smirk and a twirling black billy-club. The dilemma is as follows: If you’re a grad student, you’re probably broke; if you’re broke, you can’t get a lawyer; if you can’t get a lawyer, you’re going to jail.

That’s where parkour comes in: if they can’t catch you, they can’t arrest you. So you need to make sure you can do a barrel roll out your front, kick flip off the trunk of PoPo’s cruiser and G-to-the-F-O.

Instead of paying a grand for a class on pre-revolutionary Russian lit, I’m going to be learning urban evasion tactics and indulging my paranoia of the CIA while fantasizing about being Jason Bourne.

Tactical weapons training – Speaking of Jason Bourne, you know that guy can kill somebody with a rolled-up magazine? Seriously. I saw him do it. Seems like a life skill worth attaining in lieu of my MFA.

Berettas, .38 Specials, AK’s and submachine guns aren’t going to shoot themselves. If my hunting trip to Russia takes a wrong turn, and I suddenly realize that I am both completely alone and being stalked by a crazy bare-chested Vladimir Putin across the icy tundra of the Motherland, I might find myself questioning why I went an additional $40,000 in debt to learn about sonnets instead of learning how to fire several very accurately-placed rounds into a methed-out man-bear who is charging at me, covered in snow and mouth-foam.

Weapons training will also enable me to more safe with firearms. There will be far less chance of misidentifying my target. I don’t want to accidentally shoot Sarah Palin as I cross the Bering Straight in making my hasty retreat.

Krav Maga – The unthinkable happens: fully-automatic, military-grade weapons which I have no business owning anyway suddenly become completely and permanently illegal. I don’t want to be caught off guard and unarmed when the prophesied tidal wave of outlaws and highwaymen pour into Louisville to burn my crops and take my women.

While blotting my precious tears today on a hanky embroidered with the second amendment, I had a thought: what if my entire body was a fully-automatic, military-grade weapon?

Who needs to bear arms when you could jack somebody up with bare hands? With a few Krav lessons I’ll feel safe leaving my door unlocked no matter where I live. I’ll be cuddling up to my teddy at night, drifting into a peaceful slumber, muttering about “I wish somebody would…”
Money-saving bonus: no longer having to pay for a home security system (the last thing you want is an interruption while you’re wood-chipping the body).

Motorcycles – I don’t want to cruise around on them every day. Really. How many of my friends and relatives do I have to see get smeared across the pavement before those death traps lose their appeal?
I just want to know that I could hop on one and take off if I wanted to.

I want to know that if I see some loud-piping jerk-off punk down in Old Louisville – his cigarettes rolled into the sleeve of his white t-shirt, which is taut against his arms, arms with just enough muscle, the kind of muscle you get not from some gym but from working wrenches under the hood all day, muscles that bulge slightly as he twists and loosens his grip on the handle, whose name is probably Hank or Jackie, and who straddles a hot motor with his jeans, who revs it at the red light where I’m in a sundress on the crosswalk, and casually flings me a smirk from under a loose sheaf of James Dean hair – that I could totally take him down and jack his ride.

Lockpicking – The way I see it, me being in handcuffs at the end of the night could signal either a cold, crushing defeat or an ecstatic, sweaty victory. Either way, I’ve got to be prepared.

If my parkour goes awry, if I get kidnapped by terrorists, if the Bilderberg group turns out to be in league with the Illuminati and I end up in the back of some black van headed to Sedona pinned to a dirty mattress while they make me drink fluoridated water – I’ll be able to do a full-scale James Bond evasion, before jumping out the porthole window in a tuck-and-roll.

When I stand up, dust myself off, and coolly adjust my bow-tie, I’ll be sure to remember that I could just as easily be back in grad school, arguing about which roommate is responsible for using the last of the toothpaste. But for the grace of God, there go I.
And, dear reader, but for the grace of me, there go you too.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy of fandangogroovers.wordpress.com

By Austin Lassell

Severance packages offer U of L potential solutions

Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

By Rae Hodge–

After dealing with 13 budget cuts in the last 12 years, the University of Louisville is now looking to save more money by offering buyouts to staff and faculty.

On Feb. 25 the university sent a letter to employees. It said that the school would offer a severance package to those who had been there seven years or more, or whose age and years of service add up to 75 years. The letter requested responses from faculty and staff by mid March.

“Right now we’re in the ‘feelers’ stage to see how many folks might be interested. We’re in the ‘Are you interested?’ phase,” said U of L spokesman Mark Hebert. “Once we see how many people send us notice saying ‘I’m interested’, that’s when we’ll say “O.K. Are these enough people to make the program worthwhile. And if we only get a few, then we’ll say ‘forget it.’”

Under the buyout program, employees who volunteer to leave would receive the following benefits: One year of salary for faculty member and six months of salary for administrators and staff members; faculty members would be allowed to teach part time; those under 65 would receive a small continual healthcare subsidy; and volunteers would receive pay for vacation and sick leave.

At the University of Louisville, which has 6,200 employees, one in five would be eligible for the buyout.  Hebert says that the buyouts could save the school $2.5 million dollars, depending on who takes the offer.

“The 2.5 million estimate came from the budget models for the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1. That’s the number from that estimate, but it depends on who leaves. If the majority are high paid faculty members we could have that number or higher,” said Hebert, “If the majority are staff, then we’re not going to have that number.”

“It’s been tried at other schools. The people that are helping the consultant of 21st -Century Initiative have seen it employed elsewhere successfully, but the success at U of L will depend on the number of people that take the option,” said Former Faculty Senate Chair Robert Staat.

Staat said that vacant positions would likely be filled with younger assistant professors. “We’re not talking TA’s (teaching assistant) or GA’s here. We’re talking faculty for faculty,” said Staat. “Any faculty person that starts in academics that will start as instructor or assistant professor. Assistant professors start on the tenure track. After six years, if you preform adequately and successfully, you will be approved for tenure and start as associate prof. Associate professors start at a minimum of five years. Some go 10 to 15 at that level before getting full professorships, which is the last promotion a professor will ever get and entails significant funding, publication and national recognition.”

Staat went on to say that “The majority of professors that the typical undergraduate student encounters are at assistant or associate prof level. Some full professors teach undergraduates but they are often into graduate students, and that sort of thing.”

“In the program there is a provision for a staggered separation that will allow departments flexibility so they aren’t short-staffed at any point. They can stagger the people leaving via this voluntary buyout so the coursework is still covered by quality people,” said Staat. “But the bottom line is that a 40-year-old faculty member isn’t going to earn the same as a 70-year-old.

Current Faculty Senate Chair Joseph Steffan did not return a call for comment.

Student reaction varied on the topic of faculty changes.

Julie Heinz and her brother Logan Heinz are students who work in Ekstrom Library. “Losing core professors could be a consequence, said Julie, a sophomore biology major, “but I’m not sure how the whole system works.”

Logan is a middle to secondary education major in his junior year, who said he hoped that the negative wouldn’t outweigh the positive effects of the buyout. “When you lose experience, you might need more balance. Also, it seems like a small enough incentive that not so many people would do it. Still, it might be good to get some fresh blood and younger people with a more recent education.”

Jarren Beasley, a junior math major, works as an office assistant in the Department of Communications, and echoed a campus-wide worry about tuition. “I feel like our tuition could also go up if they don’t leave. People are retiring more and more each year, so the money allocated to these professors who are collecting each year is going to go up.”

Faculty have until Mar. 15 to respond to the offer, but will be given an additional deadline later to make a final decision if U of L receives a sufficient number of responses.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

There were over 200 people from all over the state of Kentucky at Tuesday's rally.

The view from the Capitol: U of L construction, alcohol consumption and student protests

By Rae Hodge–

Universities took action this week in the state Capitol. President Eli Capilouto of the University of Kentucky acted as spokesman on behalf of six of the state’s public universities, while students chanted in halls and knocked on the doors of legislators in a grassroots citizen lobbying effort.

New concerns about alcohol arose as Kentucky legislators wrestled with old notions of intricate, historical liquor laws, and technological advancements changed the conversation about drunk driving prevention efforts.

 

Cash in hand

The University of Louisville now has approval to begin construction on the new $9.6 million Student Activities Center, after the state legislature passed a law allowing six of Kentucky’s public universities to use bonds to finance projects. The decision to allow state universities to use their own funds was the first bill signed into law during the 2013 legislative session.

The law allows universities to use more than $300 million in bonds for projects ranging from dorm and academic building renovations to new athletic arenas. The University of Kentucky was approved to use  $110 million to improve Commonwealth Stadium.

 

June goals

After receiving a $5  million donation from Mark and Cindy Lynn, construction of the new campus soccer stadium at U of L could begin as early as June, says the university.

The stadium is estimated to cost $17.5 million, seat over 5,300 people, and include an attached training center. The university needs $3 million more to turn what is now a parking lot on Floyd Street into a stadium by  projected completion in September 2014.

 

Fairness rallies students

There were over 200 people from all over the state of Kentucky at Tuesday’s rally.

The Fairness Coalition drew student groups from all over the state to the Capitol rotunda in the renewed battle against discrimination at school, work, and home.

The 200-plus group of activists spent the morning knocking on the office doors of legislators who are key to the passage of three particular bills. Two bills — House Bill 171 and Senate Bill 28 — are identical bills that would forbid landlords, real estate agents, and employers from discriminating against tenants or employees on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The third bill, House Bill 377, known commonly as the Anti-Bullying Bill, would create additional language in Kentucky’s current school anti-bullying law to protect children who are being bullied because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

None of the bills have yet received a hearing before a committee.

 

Stop and blow

Getting stopped for DUI could mean having a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle before being allowed back behind the wheel.

A new bill would allow judges in Kentucky to substitute the Hardship License Program — that allows some suspended drivers to go to work and back — with the Interlock Ignition Program. The driver blows into the Interlock device, it analysizes blood alcohol levels, and if the driver is drunk, the engine won’t start.

Once the engine is started, the Interlock device requires drivers to periodically blow into the device to check for intoxication. If the driver fails, the engine shuts off.

 

Milk, bread, booze

Those hoping to pick up their Maker’s Mark in the same place they get their milk, may be disappointed this year.

When a group of Kentucky grocers sued last year to be able to sell wine and liquor in their stores, a federal judge threw out the law that was against them, and ruled that they could. This year, a new bill has been put into motion that would re-establish the block against grocery stores selling liquor and wine.

The bill says that a minor may not enter any place where wine and liquor are sold unless accompanied by a parent. If a convenience store or a dollar store sold wine, a teenager wouldn’t be able to enter those establishments. The bill’s main proponents are a group called Fighting Alcohol Consumption by Teens, who also represent the interests of stand-alone liquor stores.

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Photo by Rae Hodge/The Louisville Cardinal

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Industrial hemp bill passes state Senate, garners public support

By Rae Hodge–

The executive director of the Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association Tommy Loving, has been quoted in the Lane Report, saying “Although industrial hemp contains only a small percentage of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the plants are indistinguishable to the eye,” His statement echoes the official position paper of the organization. Loving added, “Without laboratory analysis, you can’t tell them apart.” Marijuana (left) and hemp (right) are pictured here.

After sailing through the Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee, and passing out of the State Senate in a 31-6 vote, a bill supporting industrial hemp now faces an uncertain fate in the state House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 50 would create oversight for Kentucky farmers who want to grow industrial hemp, should hemp become federally legal. The state agriculture department would issue licenses to hemp growers who would first undergo a criminal background check. The license would cover up to 10 acres and would be valid for a year. Hemp production would also require state inspections of crops.

While the bill enjoyed mostly bi-partisan support in the state Senate, two key Kentucky Democrats have reacted with less enthusiasm.

Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg, said in the Capitol on Feb. 15 that he expected the bill to have a tougher time in the House. “And quite frankly,” said Stumbo, “the evidence that we’ve seen indicates that there’s not much of a market for industrial hemp.”

Public sentiment appears to support industrialized hemp. 65 percent of respondents said that they believe that hemp creates jobs. The following Harper Polling Survey, commissioned by RunSwitch Public Relations of Louisville, was conducted with 850 likely voters, Feb. 11-12. Its stated margin of error is +/- 3.36 percent.

Federally, Kentucky Sens. Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, have sponsored pro-hemp legislation in the U.S. Senate. Kentucky’s Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie has sponsored legislation in the U.S. House. Both Massie and Kentucky’s Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, have both spoken in support of the hemp bill before the state’s Senate Agricultural Committee.

Bill sponsor Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, defended the measure of the state  Senate floor, saying, “What I’m here to ask you today is to give up the opportunity. Put us in the position as Kentucky, to give us the opportunity to see how this works.”

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a Republican, has so far led the charge for industrial hemp in the state, urging lawmakers to consider the potential job growth that he says the plant would bring.

“I am extremely proud of the Kentucky state Senate for its commitment to job creation in Kentucky,” said Comer in a release, “Today’s bipartisan vote is the first step toward more opportunities for our farmers and jobs for Kentuckians.”

Gov. Steve Beshear has publicly expressed concern that the crops’ value may be overestimated. Kentucky’s current top-producing (legal) cash crop is corn, which brought in $786.3 million, according the U.S. Agriculture Department’s 2012 numbers. Beshear estimated that numbers for hemp were about $10 million in Canada.

However, according to the executive director of the Canadian Hemp Trading Alliance, Kim Shukla, profits exceed Beshear’s expectations. Shukla says production in Canada is forecasted to double by 2015. In a November interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Shukla said, “That will translate to about $100 million to the Canadian economy.”

Beshear also said that he is concerned with creating a burden to law enforcement. “We’ve got a big drug problem in Kentucky,” Beshear said in a recent television interview, “and I just want to make sure we don’t do anything that will make that problem even worse.”

Senate Bill 50 moved to the Kentucky House of Representatives where Stumbo has assigned it to the House Agriculture Committee.

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Parents and concerned constituents posted eye-catching decorations in the Capitol to raise awareness.

This week in Frankfort: One dean honored, two smoking bands considered and a hundred baby bibs hung

By Rae Hodge–

Parents and concerned constituents posted eye-catching decorations in the Capitol to raise awareness.

 

The Kentucky legislature resumed business in Frankfort in the last week, and swiftly began taking up legislation in committee and chamber. The following events are highlights from the week’s activities, including celebrations, landmark events and bills.

 

Smoking Ban

House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, would enact a statewide smoking ban in public places and places of employment. The bill has been proposed for three years, though it has only been heard twice in committee. Having gathered the support of Gov. Steve Beshear during his State of the Commonwealth address, and sailing easily through committee, Kentucky is one step closer to having the ban. The bill now moves to the Kentucky House of Representatives for the full vote of the chamber.

 

Smoking Un-ban

Senate Bill 11, known as the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act, is sponsored by Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, and would legalize the plant for medical use throughout the state. Attention to the bill has increased in the media since the push for industrial hemp has begun in Kentucky, and Clark says that this may help his cause. The bill’s strongest opposition is in the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee. Clark has also said that police support for the bill is gathering, telling reporters this week that since the liberalization of Kentucky marijuana possession penalties in the last two years, police “like the fact they’re not throwing everybody in jail for possession of a little bit of weed.”

 

Rapists could lose custody rights

A loophole in current Kentucky law allows rapists to take their victims to court and sue for custody if those victims become pregnant as a result of the rape. Kentucky is among 34 states that allow this to happen. Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, filed legislation in the Kentucky House of Representatives this week that would prevent rapists from taking their victims to court. A Georgetown Law Journal estimate states between 25,000 and 32,000 women become pregnant each year as a result of rape. Keene says that he expects no opposition to the legislation in committee.

 

Hudson Inducted

The late Dr. J. Blaine Hudson was honored in the rotunda during the 10th annual Black History Month Celebration at the Capitol, and was post-humously inducted into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians during the celebration. Hudson was a former dean at the University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences. U of L President James Ramsey was in attendance and spoke to the academic accomplishments of Hudson, “He embodied everything we value at the University of Louisville,” said Ramsey. Hudson’s surviving family was on hand to speak about him, and to receive awards on his behalf. The celebration included members of Kentucky legislative leadership such as House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg, and members of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus.

 

State of the Commonwealth

Gov. Steve Beshear gave his annual assessment of the state’s condition in his State of the Commonwealth address to Kentucky. Many criticized the Governor’s bleak outlook on the troubles facing the state, and his demand to raise revenues for education and pension reform. Beshear called for reforms to the tax code that would allow revenues to accumulate. “What we will be able to pass in this session in the way of tax reform or pension reform is not clear. And yes, the two go together,” said Beshear. Other things Beshear also advocated for statewide smoking bans, continued investment in education, and a forward-looking legislative agenda that would focus “not just on the present, but on five, 10, even 25 years from now.

 

Child care hang ups

The future of state-funded childcare assistance is uncertain in state government. The program which provides financial assistance to low income working families in Kentucky so that parents can go to work or school announced drastic cuts this week. The current averages the number of participants every month is 23,700 families, or 42,000 children.

The cuts were announced after the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services experienced a $86.6 million reduction. The cuts to the child care assistance program are estimated to save $57.8 million in fiscal year 2014.

Constituents gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb 6 to protest the cuts by hanging up tiny disposable bibs on which messages were written to legislators, urging them to reconsider the cuts. Among them, many college graduates and students’ messages were present.

“My son has benefitted from me receiving Child Care Assistance. I graduated from college because of childcare also,” read one bib, signed by Vanessa Churchill.

Letters to the editor of apology, defense and truth

Letter from the editor

To the readers of the Louisville Cardinal, candidates and members of the SGA, U of L Greek organizations and audience members:

During a live-tweet of last night’s SGA Debates, a writer from The Louisville Cardinal described an act of enthusiasm for an SGA candidate during the SGA debates. The tweet read: “There is no need to flash your sorority gang signs while candidates talk. #SGADebates #CrowdControl.” This tweet was broadcasted not on an opinion or personal account, but on our news account.

As soon as I was aware of the tweet, I logged in and immediately removed it. I asked the writer to refrain from any further participation in the discussion as a representative of The Louisville Cardinal, and said the same thing to a second writer who was responding to the event publicly.

The tweet was wrong for a number of reasons. As a news account, editorial obviously has no place in the event coverage. This is particularly significant because the news event was a political debate. The tweet specifically targets the behavior of Greek organizations in the audience and could be easily read as supportive of non-Greek candidates for this reason. That is not the position of The Louisville Cardinal, and does not square with our efforts to maintain news integrity when covering news events.

A large portion of responses to the tweet have come from students of color who were deeply offended by it. This brings us to the second reason the tweet was wrong.

While the writer has made it clear to me that the tweet described a white audience member’s response to a white candidate, and that the writer’s intentions were not to racially target audience members, the racial subtext of the statement is undeniable. For those readers who have written us defending the tweet, I need to explain why this is the case.

The writer unknowingly treaded into some very ugly stereotypes about people of color. These stereotypes exist because of how frequently organized groups of people of color are denigrated as “gangs” in both political and media spheres. This is often intertwined with the stereotype that people of color (and particularly people who are black) are aggressive or loud in public.

What is likely to be the most hurtful in this tweet may be the subtext in “#CrowdControl”. Whether the writer realized it or not, those words have a succinct meaning. “Crowd control” was, historically (and sometimes still is), a euphemism used by white police to describe violent acts against protesters of color. In the past, “crowd control” has described the use of attack dogs and water hoses against civil rights activists.

Personally, and on behalf of The Louisville Cardinal, I would like to apologize for this lapse of judgement. This remark was indefensible, and deserves every bit of criticism it has received. A remark like that gives readers the impression that The Louisville Cardinal is not an equal platform for all students. And so long as I have anything to say about it, that will never be the case.

The voices of people of color are too often shut out of conversations about race both nationally, and on campus. The Louisville Cardinal will never comply with that silence. Neither will I. We want to hear (and publish) student responses and see student engagement– about this incident and about every topic on campus. We want to hear from white students and students of color alike.

As sorry as I am to have had this happen on my watch, I can also say that I’m lucky to be in a position where I can make the kinds of changes that can prevent this from happening again. Today we get to do what we wish every organization would do when this happens: we get to be 100 percent real about it. We get to set a precedent for transparency, student engagement, and racial awareness in the media. We get to be an example of an organization that admits its mistake and, instead of dismissing or denying it, rolls up its sleeves and works to find a path toward long-term change.

     Rae Hodge, Editor-in-Chief

In response to the Editor-in-Chief: an apology and a defense

I would like to start this letter off with an apology. My tweet that read, “There is no need to flash your sorority gang signs while candidates talk. #SGADebates #CrowdControl” should not have been posted through the Cardinal’s news account. Posting an expression of personal opinion through a news account was inappropriate, and I apologize. It was editorializing and I can promise it will not happen again. A personal opinion about the audience had no place in the Cardinal’s news coverage.

I should have posted the tweet through my personal twitter account. I am not apologizing for the tweet itself, only that it was incorrectly posted, misconstrued as news when it’s an opinion. But I am not apologizing for my opinion.

This opinion was my reaction to girls in the audience, who, while a candidate was speaking and trying to get her message across, were raising their hands above their head in the sign that represents their sorority. I thought this was inappropriate, as the show of support for their sorority had no place in a discussion about candidates being a voice for the whole student body, not just the students associated with one particular organization. I felt that these hand motions distracted from the speake, and the message the speaker was trying to convey. And so I made a joke about it.

While the Editor-in-Chief said in her letter, “the racial subtext of the statement is undeniable,” I deny it. I would like to point out that there is no subtext to the word “gang” that associates it with black people.

A style note: The Associated Press Stylebook, the style in which journalists should follow, reads, “The preferred usage for African Americans is ‘black.’ The term is not capitalized.” For this reason I will be using the word “black” over the phrase “people of color” used in the letter to which I am responding.

“There are approximately 1.4 million active street, prison, and OMG gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. Many communities are also experiencing an increase in ethnic-based gangs such as African, Asian, Caribbean and Eurasian gangs,” reads the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Because of this, because of the fact that there are gang-members of every race across the world and even in the U.S. we’re seeing a rise of both Asian and Hispanic gangs, I argue that the word “gang” has no inherent racial association.

If one reads the word “gang” and thinks “black” that person is the one creating the connotation and assigning racial undertones to the word, not the person who wrote it. There is nothing racist about the word gang if every race has its own gangs. According to the National Gang Center’s bulletin on the history of street gangs in the United States, “Gang emergence in the Northeast and Midwest was fueled by immigration and poverty, first by two waves of poor, largely white families from Europe.”  Yes, I completely agree that “gang” is a word with a negative connotation, but it is not a racial connotation.

I disagree completely with the part of the letter dedicated to the dissection of the hash-tag “crowd control.” “Crowd control,” again, has no idea of race associated with it unless assigned so by the reader. This so called “euphemism” could have just as easily, and has probably more frequently, been seen as a negative police reaction from police of any race to protestors of any race. We could look at the so-called “crowd control” of protests in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. Or we could associate crowd control with the actions of the Ohio National Guard, who fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine Kent State students. This event took place in 1970 and was an anti-war rally that had nothing to do with race. The so called “succinct meaning” of “crowd control” was given to it by the writer of the letter, not history as she claims.

I would also like to point out that while reading responses to the tweet, all responses objected to the word “gang” and I didn’t see any objection to the words “crowd control” until reading this letter.

This tweet was meant as, and stands as, a critique, in the form of a joke, on the actions of the audience of the debate. While the candidates speaking represent the entire student body, the show of support for a single sorority is out of place. Furthermore, it was a distracting show of support, not a t-shirt or applause at the introduction of a candidate, but hands stuck in the air while a candidate answered a question during the debate.

The negative connotations of the word “gang” were directed at the girls who tried to make a debate for the entire student body about their own organization. When questions were asked about how candidates were going to make sure all students were heard, attempting to represent your club is uncalled for, and thus, the negative word for a negative action.

I stand by what I wrote and challenge anyone who read it and thought it was a racial reference to look at their own views on race. You made my tweet about race, I did not.

     Genevieve Mills, Assistant News Editor

 

Response to SGA debate coverage

During the Student Government Top 4 Debate that took place this evening, The Louisville Cardinal offered coverage via Twitter for those unable to attend. While much of this coverage was very informative, fair and balanced. One tweet was incredibly offensive and unacceptable for a news outlet of any kind; student or professional.

It read: “There is no need to flash your sorority gang signs while candidates talk. #SGADebates #CrowdControl.”

This is unacceptable on multiple levels. First of all it abhors the first rule of Journalism Ethics: Neutrality. Under the heading of “Integrity” the Associated Press’ Statement of Ethical Principles states: “Editorials and expressions of personal opinion by reporters and editors should be clearly labeled…The Newspaper should report the news without regard for its own interests.” This tweet completely defies this principle; as well as any other ethical statement regarding opinions in journalism.

Secondly, the tweet is completely disrespectful towards not only the sorority members present at the debate but also Greek Life at the University of Louisville and on campuses everywhere. By making any kind of inference towards sororities as “gangs” is preposterous. Instead of libeling sororities, why not ask what the motion means, instead of grouping Chi Omega or Kappa Delta with the Bloods and the Crips. I understand that some members of the Cardinal may not be involved in the Greek Community but that gives no excuse for the paper to make statements about that which they do not understand. A journalist’s job is to find and report the truth, not mock it.

Finally, whoever was present at the event would clearly attest that the motions that the tweet refers to were associated with one slate. This tweet provides preference to the other two slates involved, once again showing the Cardinal’s favoritism to one side. It is the job of newspapers to endorse candidates; but that takes place in the editorial section not on the public twitter of the paper.

It is my understanding that the tweet has since been deleted. However, I hope the paper will not see this situation as a slight mishap but as a sign of the paper’s inability to strike resonance with the student body and the Greek community: a group that has provided immense support for this campus year after year. I hope that if it is not already in the works, a formal apology will be sent to both the sororities of this campus but also the slate the tweet was directed towards; and that a formal apology will be run in the next edition of the Louisville Cardinal.

I believe the Cardinal has the opportunity to provide a critical but neutral voice during this SGA Election, and I hope you can take this mistake as a learning opportunity on how to better serve the student body. As a student of journalism, I certainly hope this will be the case.

     Gabriel Duverge, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity

 

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Our opinions diverge on gun control

The Louisville Cardinal’s editorial staff has been closely following the national gun debate in recent months. Our publication has come to represent a number of diverse opinions on the topics of gun control, mental health, background checks, and constitutional rights. So varied are these opinions that we present them individually below for our readers, and welcome our readers’ opinions in kind.

________________________________________________________________________

 

“Gun ownership for civilians should be guided by the same standards as those for gun owners in military service. The U.S. military is considered the finest in the world. If this is the case, then civilian regulation could benefit from the same psychological tests, background checks and weapons training. These tests and training methods should be made publicly available to all citizens and funded by those public and private entities, which fund the military. Am I being tongue-in-cheek? Maybe. Should this assertion call to attention a larger question about our country’s relationship with guns? Absolutely.” – Rae Hodge, Editor-in-Chief

“I think that I’m torn on how heavily guns should be controlled in this country because of two factors: One, there are so many gun-related deaths that I truly believe could be prevented if guns weren’t allowed for everyone and two, owning personal guns is a huge reason we haven’t had a war fought on US soil since the Civil War (so my history teachers say).”  – Anna Meany, Features Editor

“I am all for gun control without infringing on a citizen’s rights to bear arms. Military type guns and weapons should not be easily accessed by the public.”  – Caitlyn Crenshaw, Managing Editor

“Personally, I’m for standing by our constitutional rights. Our country was founded on the idea of freedom and should continue to be operated in a way that represents that. The only way to keep from compromising those rights would be to limit which “arms” everyday citizens are allowed to own and purchase. I don’t think we should have some huge database where every gun is registered, but laws could be put in place for future purchases, such as background checks.”  – Tyler Mercer, Opinion Editor

“I am in support of more rigorous permit testing (through a third party, not through the government) in order to own any type of weapon. The government should create regulations and enforce them, but should not create a bureaucratic testing department. I also support stricter laws about the types of firearms that can be sold; I think that everything that is currently on the market should available to anyone—even crazies!—but the more destructive it is in terms of weapon class, the more thoroughly you should be tested to get the required permit. If you want a bazooka or a tank, fine, but we have to make sure you’re qualified.”  – Simon Isham, News Editor.

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