Monthly Archives: February 2016

A newbie’s firsthand experience at Pensacon

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

Bay Center

Rows and rows of vendors packed the floor of The Bay Center. Photo by Claudia Carlson.

A few years ago I remember hearing about an event called Pensacon. Never in a million years did I think that I would attend this multi-genre convention, or even be excited for the chance to go. But I was thrilled when I got my three-day Pensacon pass with my name and “Media” on it. I felt so professional.

Pensacon was nothing like I have ever seen before, but exactly what I expected it to be.

To be honest, I was a little nervous pulling up to Pensacon. All the people in their wonderful costumes intimidated me; everyone I saw portrayed their character perfectly. I am a huge Star Wars fan, but that was about the only event at Pensacon that I really knew anything about. So like I said, it was all a little intimidating at first.

A few days prior, I downloaded the Pensacon app so I could map out exactly what I wanted to see and where I should go. So many events are going on at one time, it is a bit overwhelming; enough events to keep one busy for a whole week, not just the weekend.

First I went to the Crowne Plaza Hotel because I wanted to start out my adventure in a smaller area and work my way to the Pensacola Bay Center. (The con also had other venues as well including the Saenger Theatre and the Rex Theatre, and numerous other related events at downtown businesses and restaurants.)

At first I was lost and felt out of place, but everyone was so nice. I started going up to people admiring their costumes and asking who they were and why they chose to be that character.

First-time attendee Katelyn Murlin dressed as the female version of Link from Legend of Zelda. I must say she did an excellent job of portraying Link; I looked him up right after I spoke with her.

“This is my first time at Pensacon, and I think it’s amazing,” Murlin said. “I love the artist’s style and all the people dressed up. I wanted to come to Pensacon because I love conventions and meeting casts of movies and shows that I enjoy. I also like to meet new people and this is such a good place to.”

The Pensacola Bay Center was filled with activities (and food) both inside and out. I walked around the outside for a little while, just taking in my surroundings. I was thankful I already had my pass, because there was a mile-long line at Will Call. The inside of the Bay Center was packed to the max with people and vendor booths. It was amazing. Most everyone at the event was dressed up; everyone went above and beyond with their costumes.

I wanted to dress as Princess Leia but just opted for a Star Wars shirt for convenience. If I were to go back next year, I would definitely dress up. Since I did not dress up, I wanted to find someone dressed up as Princess Leia. Janie Haynes called herself the “Diva Princess Leia” – she said she did not want to put her hair in buns because she said it made her look ugly. Her white dress was beautiful and I could tell she was Leia even without the buns.

“This was my first time at Pensacon, and I think it’s really nice,” Haynes said. “I wish they had more events outside, though. I wanted to come to Pensacon to see what all the excitement was about and check everything out. I definitely think the early ticket price of $55 dollars is worth it, but I would never pay $75.”


I was not able to see everything that Pensacon had to offer, but from what I saw, I was impressed. It is a very organized event that many people look forward to and put in a lot of time and effort. I know that each year this event will just keep growing.



Local fan clubs set up role-playing and other games throughout the weekend.


Katelyn Murlin dressed as the female version of Link from Legend of Zelda.


The Bay Center parking lot was filled with fans waiting to get in. Food vendors kept them occupied.


The Bay Center parking lot was filled with fans waiting to get in. Food vendors kept them occupied.

The Bay Center parking lot was filled with fans waiting to get in. Food vendors kept them occupied.


Janie Hayes called herself the “Diva Princess Leia

Two UWF professors wrote the book on murder – literally

By Sara Agans
Staff Writer


UWF professors Richard Hough Sr. and Kimberly D. McCorkle wrote the newly released textbook “American Homicide.”
Photo by Sara Agans.

 Who would have thought that two of UWF’s own professors would literally write a book on murder?

Written by Richard Hough Sr. and Kimberly D. McCorkle, the new textbook “American Homicide” was three years in the making.

McCorkle is associate dean and professor for the College of Education and Professional Studies as well as a former prosecutor. Hough, an instructor in the department of criminal justice, teaches a course on homicide at UWF drawing from his lengthy experience in law enforcement, which included being a homicide detective.

Hough has been teaching investigative techniques both in college settings and in law enforcement for 25 years. Twelve years ago, when Hough created a homicide course, the right textbook just was not out there.

“Most of them were repackaged theory books on crime, not really specific to homicide because most academics don’t want to try to tackle that because it’s a little more complex,” Hough said.

Professors occasionally receive books to review to adopt for their classes, and at the end of this process the professors are asked if they are going to write anything themselves. At the time, Hough did not like the textbook that was required for his classes, so he decided he would write one. Within two days, the offer to write the book was accepted. That is when Hough called McCorkle to assist with the writing of the textbook.

McCorkle said they looked at the books already published and found only a few books that were mainly about homicide. Both concluded there were things they would do differently if they were to write a book.

“A big thing that stuck out to me was that most of the books did not give a lot of coverage to intimate partner homicide, which is a real and serious phenomenon, not just in the U.S., but worldwide,” McCorkle said. “This constitutes a great percentage of overall crimes, particularly homicides against women.”

One thing that McCorkle thought they could do better when it came to writing the textbook was to include a full chapter devoted to intimate partner homicide.

“Additionally, there wasn’t a lot of coverage of family homicides — homicides that occur within a family setting, in all forms that you can imagine,” McCorkle said. “That is a terrible thing to think about, but we understood the prevalence of these forms of homicide that were not well represented in the existing books. In fact, what those books did instead is focus on the more rare forms of homicide, like serial killing, school killing, and cult killing, and it gave those a lot more coverage than the types of homicide that are actually more prevalent.”

In addition to having a full chapter devoted to intimate partner homicide, another chapter focuses on confrontational homicide, which is another subject the other textbooks did not address according to McCorkle and Hough.

Another interest that McCorkle wanted to address was the court processes, such as what happens once a homicide case makes it to court. To address this process, the book contains chapters dedicated to homicide and the courts, along with investigation, which provides instruction on how to investigate a homicide.

“The reviews that we are getting on this book are very positive, saying the students will appreciate an actual balanced approach talking about the things that they’re interested in, not just getting another theory class, although it has all the theory in it as well,” Hough said.

Oriana Rodriquez, a UWF junior majoring in criminal justice, said, “Dr. Hough has a lot of insight and a lot of stories that you’re going to be able to understand better than just reading out of the book. He gives you both information from the book as well as life experience.”

Caitlyn Skaaland, a UWF junior majoring in criminal justice, said, “When Dr. Hough teaches, he is very excited about it, and he gives real-life experiences because he has been in law enforcement for so long. So you’re actually learning something that you can use later on in your career.”

McCorkle said that Hough and she did not want to make the book only about news stories; they wanted to provide examples to students because students seem to be fascinated by the homicide phenomena.

“In every chapter we have these callout boxes that are called ‘Why Would They Do It?’ and these are examples of the type of homicide that we discuss in the chapter with an actual example of the case that simplifies the concepts that we are talking about,” McCorkle said.

Both Hough and McCorkle said they thought it was important to talk about real-life examples, but they did not want the text to be just one example after another. They also discuss popular media, such as television shows, documentaries and the news, in their book. Hough and McCorkle clarify some of the myths existing in popular media, such as how some television shows solve the crimes, which is not always accurate to real life.

“I am really excited about the ‘Why Would They Do It?’ sections because it helps students understand some examples of what we’re talking about,” McCorkle said. “It encourages them to think critically about the type of homicide, to think about the theoretical constructs, and then the practical, how did the police investigate it, how did they solved it, and how it was handled in court.”

Hough said most textbooks teach you all about what you are studying, but do not elaborate on what you should do about it. The concluding chapter of “American Homicide” focuses on that exact topic and each of the other chapters discuss policy implications. For example, with a certain type of homicide, the book discuss what could society do, what could a legislature do, what could police do, what could prosecutors do, what could schools do, what could teachers do, what could you do for violence prevention, etc.

Confrontational homicide is one of the most commonly committed types of homicide, according to McCorkle. The textbook discusses how bigger cities are struggling with this certain type of homicide. Hough and McCorkle both recognize that homicide takes more than just law enforcement officers, defense attorneys and prosecutors; it takes a society to address problems with violence.

The “America Homicide” is available to purchase on for $58. In addition to the textbook, Hough and McCorkle also created learning materials for the course, such as Power Point presentations, tests, discussion questions, etc.

McCorkle and Hough will attend a Book Talk open to the campus community at 4 p.m. Mar. 24 in Building 70, room 115.


Bright future ahead for Vinyl headliners, alt-rock band Grizfolk

By Mackenzie Kees
Opinions Editor


Grizfolk hung out at 5½ Bar next to Vinyl Music Hall before their Thursday performance. Photo courtesy of Nadine Barragan.

This past Thursday, local hotspot Vinyl Music Hall saw performances by several gifted bands throughout the evening. Before the show, the headliner, Grizfolk, talked about their music, passions, and hopes for the future.

Grizfolk is best known for using laid-back, melodic undertones with a combination of sharp electronics and magnetic synths to create one cohesive sound. The alternative-rock quintet consists of lead singer Adam Roth, drummer Bill Delia, bassist Brendan Willing James, keyboardist Sebastian Fritze, and guitarist Fredrik Eriksson.

For Grizfolk, the songwriting process is mostly a group effort. “It just happens very naturally, very organically. Everyone respects each other, and everyone respects the writing process,” Fritze said. “Everyone respects what is best for the project and the sound. If I bring in something that the others don’t like, that’s OK.”

Each of their songs comes to fruition differently, but recognizing one another’s ideas and keeping ego out of the songwriting process is essential to the creation of them all. “And it can be something small that triggers a whole idea,” added Eriksson. “You hear a sound, and then you see the whole vision, the story of the song, and the vibe.”

Painting a vivid picture with their music is important to Grizfolk. “Every song has its own story, but they still go together,” James said.

The five members of Grizfolk come from all over the globe, which gives each of them a unique perspective on the human condition. However, the band’s frontman, Adam Roth, actually is a Pensacola native who once attended the University of West Florida.

“I probably got as big as you can get in Pensacola, and that’s kind of why I left,” Roth said. “I felt there was nowhere else for me to go here.”

Roth’s decision to leave the little oasis of small-town Pensacola would eventually lead him to Venice, California, where Grizfolk would later be born.

Grizfolk is already planning for the future after the Troublemaker Tour has ended. “Next we have the Redemption Tour,” said Roth with a smile. The others grinned at each other in response, clearly happy with the extensive amount of touring still to come.

When asked where they hope to be in five years, Roth said, “We’ve been roughing it for a while and we’re not making tons of money, so it’d be nice five years from now to still be touring year-round, but be able to use a bus and have a nice place to live.”

That sounds like a reasonable request that will surely be met if Grizfolk continues on their steady rise in the music industry.

For more information on the Troublemaker Tour and where to buy tickets, check out the band’s official website.

Watch The Voyager’s interview with alt-rock band Grizfolk here:




Grizfolk took a selfie with fans after their performance at Vinyl Music Hall on Feb. 18.
Photo courtesy of Grizfolk’s Official Instagram.


UWF Singers, PCC Ensemble combine for winter concert

By Sydney O’Gwynn

Staff Writer

UWF Singers

Despite the stormy weather, the University of West Florida’s Singers and Chamber Choir didn’t disappoint with the concert “Praises!” on Monday, Feb. 15, in the Music Hall in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

Three different choirs performed: both the Singers and the more advanced Chamber Choir, formally called the Madrigals, directed by Peter Steenblik; and Pensacola Christian College’s Chamber Ensemble, directed by Cleusia Goncalves. This was the first time the groups have performed together.

“It was definitely a unique concert,” senior voice major Rebekah Pyle said. “We hadn’t done anything like that before; it was fun.”

All three choirs had a chance to perform individually, but the last song, “Saints Bound for Heaven,” saw the Singers and PCC’s Chamber Ensemble performing together. Between the two choirs there were approximately 100 singers on stage.

“It was fantastic,” junior piano major Nyasha Brice said. “I haven’t been on a stage with that many singers in a long time.”

Steenblik said there has been tremendous growth in the choir, doubling since he started. He also praised them on the execution of their opening song, “Lux Arumque” by Eric Whitacre, which he described as a “difficult” piece.

“They’ve grown so much,” Steenblik said. “To have done that piece after only five weeks of rehearsal is absolutely remarkable. I’m very proud of what they’re doing.”

Pyle is the Singers’ president, and said that, despite the lack of seniors, these individual students have come together to form a choir.

“Everybody is passionate about putting on a good performance,” Pyle said. “It’s a fun group to be a part of.”

Brice said she sees something special in this group of singers.

“In this semester in Singers there is a lot of drive to want to be better,” Brice said. “We have a group that’s willing to work for it.”

Steenblik got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Utah. He performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for four years and taught high school music for 10 years in Salt Lake City before going back for his doctorate from the University of North Texas. This is his first year directing the choirs, and he is already making his mark by adding choir officers and section leaders.

“By appointing officers, there’s a sense of buy-in from the students,” Steenblik said. “It’s their choir.”

Brice also said she feels the togetherness brought by the new leadership roles.

“It gives us more accountability over our group,” Brice said. “It’s not his group, it’s our choir. We work together.”

Pyle also said that the new director gives the choir a fresh feeling.

“It was cool because he had all this experience but he was also just out of school,” she said. “So he knows what it’s like to be in school and have all the stresses of school. He is very much on our side.”

In April, the Singers will be collaborating with the Pensacola’s Children Chorus in its spring concert “A Prayer for Peace.” The concert will be at First Baptist Church of Pensacola and will center on the “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein. Steenblik said this concert was a “stepping stone” for the spring concert, which he called an “insanely collaborative concert.”

A video of the full “Praises” concert will be available on the UWF Singers website between Feb. 22-March 7. Archives performances may be found here as well.

For more information on the Department of Music, visit the website at

UWF Theatre Department brings classic Americana to the stage in ‘Oklahoma!’

By Sydney O’Gwynn

Staff Writer


The Theatre Department’s production continues next weekend.

The University of West Florida’s Department of Theatre dazzled in the opening night of its first production of the year, “Oklahoma!” on Friday night at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

“Oklahoma!” is an historic love story between the characters Laurey Williams, played by junior musical theatre major Hannah Sharpe, and Curly McLain, played by Andy Terwilliger.

The show began with arguably the most iconic song from the musical, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” sung by Terwilliger. The audience then meets Laurey and Aunt Eller Murphy, played by senior musical theatre major Kat Gold. This is Gold’s fifth and final production at UWF, but she said this show is different from those she did in the past.

“It’s exciting doing the gun work in the show,” Gold said. “I’ve never done that before, so that’s very exciting.”

Gold also said another difference was that this musical has a lot of dancing. Senior acting major Hayley Heath said she felt the cast was brought closer together through learning the choreography.

“I really, really enjoyed working with this cast,” Heath said. “It’s just really been a fun and creative process with all of us.”

Heath played Gertie, whom she described as a “mean girl” who Curly used to make Laurey jealous.

“She’s just this really obnoxious person,” Heath said with a laugh. “But she’s really fun to get to play.”

Aside from Curly and Laurey, there is another love story involving Will Parker, played by musical theatre major Garrett Metzler, and Ado Annie, played by junior musical theatre major Elizabeth Watson. Watson said her character is driven and open and that she can relate to her.

“I feel like the way I’m playing Ado Annie is like me playing myself,” Watson said.

Parker and Annie’s love story gets murky when Annie falls for a peddler, Ali Hakim, played by senior creative writing major McKenzie Richards. This is his second production at UWF, and he said he felt good about this one in particular.

“I think the group of people I’m working with are very talented,” he said.

Aside from being a story filled with love and humor, “Oklahoma!’ also touches on serious issues, including mental illness. This is shown through the character Jud Fry, played by senior musical theatre major Jim Eisman.

“Oklahoma!” also is a story filled with American history and how Oklahoma became a state.

“This show, as a whole, is probably one of the greatest stories that America has to offer,” Watson said. “In my opinion, I think it’s one of the best musicals written.”

The behind-the-scenes team included music director Tom Baroco, choreographer Elyn Collier, costume designer Glenn Avery Breed, technical director and sound engineer Phillip Brulotte, set and lighting designer Charles Houghton, wig and makeup designer Hannah Hiers, stage manager Baron Leon, assistant director Gabriella Fernandez, and director Sara Schoch, who is the assistant professor of Musical Theatre at UWF.

The cast had nothing but praise for Schoch.

“She expects 100 percent out of everybody,” Richards said. “She wants you to be engaged.”

“Our director Sara Schoch is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met,” Watson said. “She’s so talented, she’s smart, she really looks at everything at every angle and picks the best decision.”

Cast members also had only kind words to say of each other.

“I’ve worked with the majority of the cast members before on previous projects, but to have them all together in this large show is amazing,” Gold said. “There are so many dedicated, hardworking people.”

As for what sets this production apart? Heath said it is about audience connection.

“I think that our production of ‘Oklahoma!’ is one audiences can really immerse themselves in and hopefully really find something to connect to,” Heath said. “It really is an entire world that you’re seeing in this play.”

“Oklahoma!” will continue at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, in the Mainstage theatre. Tickets can be picked up at the CFPA box office. For more information about the Department of Theatre’s future productions, visit their website.


UWF events bring Black History Month to life

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer


Although many individuals may disagree in the rationalization of celebrating Black History Month, UWF continues to show support and engage in celebrating growth and change by hosting a series of events throughout the month of February.

UWF caters to a multitude of diverse organizations and events, from historically African-American sororities and fraternities to the Miss Multicultural Pageant.

“I feel that UWF is slowly getting better at acknowledging Black History Month,” said Ronnie Williams Jr., an exercise science major. “Organizations like AASA [African American Students Association] and W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society have been putting on events throughout the month of February.” The W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society, of which Williams is vice president, hosted a Black History Month showcase Thursday night in the Commons Auditorium. The event included enactments of past historical events, poetry/dance performances and speeches.

“I believe this showcase displayed some history of what black people went through and acknowledged the achievement that many black people have endured over the years,” Williams said. “I gained a lot of information from this event, and I truly appreciate my culture more.”

UWF will welcome Freeman Hrabowski III as the keynote speaker for Black History Month at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in the UWF Conference Center. Hrabowski is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was also named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2012.

Also, Susan Jans-Thomas, professor in the Department of Research and Advanced Studies, presented “2015: An Anniversary Year in U.S. Civil Rights,” hosted by the UWF Historic Trust on Feb. 18. The presentation was part of the Voices of Pensacola sharing a year of events throughout the South, recognizing historical events in Civil Rights history. In 2015, Jans-Thomas completed the 50th anniversary march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery.

However, not everyone on campus feels the university and its organizations are doing enough.

“I feel that UWF could have done a better job representing Black History Month,” said Pernell Beals, business major at UWF. “We should have highlighted the contributions blacks have had on the world everyday this month… showed black movies every week like ‘Dope,’ ‘NWA,’ ‘The Jackson 5’ or any movie that highlights what blacks have done.”

Beals also said black organizations on campus should have put on the biggest events of the year this month, since it is aimed at black excellence. “We have to do better,” Beals said.

Many areas on campus have advertised Black History Month events, including residence halls, major-specific building and the Commons.

“As a graduate student, I think UWF has been doing a better job of representing Black History Month,” Allie Ford, a criminal justice graduate said. “When I went to UWF there was a noose hung outside of my residence hall, so it is nice to see that UWF is working to highlight African-Americans without putting others down.”

For more information on the Office of Equity, Diversity and International Affairs, check their website.

All in the Laatsch family

By Grier Wellborn

Sports Editor

Second in a series on Siblings in Sports


Jason, (left) and Josh Laatsch have played basketball together since their high school days in Birmingham.
Photo courtesy of Jason and Josh Laatsch.


Often, siblings share similar interests, especially when it comes to sports. The NBA has had 61 pairs of brothers in its history. The University of West Florida also is home to many athletic siblings, but only one duo in the sport of basketball.

For the Laatsch family, basketball is a family affair. Junior guard Jason Laatsch and his freshman guard brother, Josh Laatsch, have joined forces on the UWF men’s basketball team. The Laatsch brothers have played on the same basketball team since Josh’s eighth grade year and Jason’s sophomore year in high school. Both brothers attended Briarwood Christian High School in Birmingham, Alabama and played for the school basketball team under their father and head coach, Chris Laatsch.

Jason’s outstanding basketball skills earned him a four-year career on the varsity team in high school where he set numerous records: 1,404 career points, 197 career three-pointers, 73 three-pointers in a single season. Jason was named Most Valuable Player for three seasons, Offensive MVP for two seasons, and served as a team captain his senior year.

Two years behind Jason, Josh followed closely in his older brother’s footsteps. Josh was a five-year varsity letterman for the basketball program, named team MVP for two seasons, and was selected to the All-Shelby County team for two seasons.

Following his prodigious high school career, Jason decided to continue his basketball career at UWF. He became the only freshman to see significant play time in every game of the 2012-13 season, averaging about 18 minutes per match. Unfortunately, he only recorded time in three games of his sophomore season after sustaining a shoulder injury.

While there were many contributing factors to Josh’s decision to also come play for the UWF basketball program, the idea of playing alongside his older brother again had the greatest influence.

“Coming out here, you’ve got the beach, I loved the coaching staff, and of course Jason,” Josh said. “We’ve been best friends since the day I was born, so coming down here, following him, was the best decision for me.”

Josh’s first season at UWF was cut short. He saw court time in two games and was then given a medical redshirt for an arm injury.

Jason, a starter, has seen play time in every game this season and is averaging seven points per game. Coming off his injury, Josh has played in eight games of the 2015-2016 season.

As with any sibling pair, the brothers often get asked who the better player is. Jason and Josh replied that neither can be distinguished as the better payer because they play differently from each other.

Jason and Josh both elaborated on each other’s strengths on the court.

“Josh is a really good shooter,” Jason said. “He rarely misses and he’s also a good ball handler; he rarely ever turns the ball over.”

While Jason elaborated mostly Josh’s skills, Josh expounded on Jason’s basketball IQ.

“Jason is basically a game manager,” Josh said. “He’s good at everything and has the career to prove it. He’s a playmaker and is very knowledgeable about the game.”

While playing on the same team with a sibling often brings out the competitive spirit in many, the Laatsch brothers’ competitive edges push each other to be better every day. Playing alongside each other also serves as an inspiration to play up to their potential.

For a complete men’s basketball schedule, visit the team’s page on

To read our first Siblings in Sports article, click here.



Do you know what it means to be a feminist?

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 Photo courtesy of League of Women Voters.

Photo courtesy of League of Women Voters.




While wasting time on Facebook, I found a BuzzFeed video titled, “Can a man be a feminist?” I found this very interesting as I was under the impression that the majority of men understood what it means to be feminist. I was wrong.

After watching the video, I wondered if there were men on campus who also didn’t understand. I quickly learned that there were. Dwight Williams, junior global marketing major, doesn’t consider himself to be feminist.

“Feminism only widens the gap between men and women,” said Williams. “I believe feminism is like choosing a side. Equality doesn’t have sides, though.”

Williams also said he thinks feminism should be renamed to something closer to equality, which he does support, and then he would join the cause.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of feminism is: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” The definition of equality is: “the quality or state of being equal; the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.” Therefore, if you are for equality of the sexes, then you are, by definition, a feminist.

Yes, a man can be a feminist.

Not everyone I talked to was against feminism. Asher Bechtold, junior mechanical engineering major, is a feminist because he believes there should not be a separation between genders.

“If a man isn’t for the equality, then I would say he is intimidated by the capabilities of a woman being better than him,” Bechtold said.

Feminism is a fight for equal rights, so women can have equal opportunities as men at every level. Women should not have to be taxed higher on products that are the equivalent to men’s products; pay higher, “luxury” taxes on feminine hygiene products; or paid less for the same job as a man.

However; in today’s society, individuals have shaped feminism to fit their personal views. As a whole, we have lost the fundamental beliefs that makes someone a feminist.

“I think that by definition I am a feminist; however, I think that the stereotype has really ruined it for people who are in support of equal rights,” said Travis Bennett, senior journalism major.

Bennett said women shouldn’t have to pay more than men on health products.

“I think that men who follow the traditional stereotype of a feminist are less than a man,” said Bennett. “I also believe that the people that I have met with the opposing view are usually not educated or refuse to live in the 21st century.”

Instead of saying that I am a feminist, I’m going to say I am for equality of the sexes. Then men will know I simply want to be treated equal to them on every level.

Should we rename “feminism” to “equality of the sexes”? Tweet me your response: @kelsi_gately_

Buddy wins Voyager’s Cutest Pet Contest by a landslide

By Claudia Carlson
Staff Writer


The Voyager Staff would like to thank all the students, faculty and staff who submitted a picture of their pets to our first-ever Cutest Pet Contest. There were 12 great submissions: three cats and nine dogs. We had a wonderful time going through the pictures and admiring all of the cuteness. After 10 days of the competition, a winner has emerged.

Buddy, a 13-year-old terrier mix, won the competition with 243 likes on his picture in our Facebook album. We couldn’t wait to contact his mother, junior Brooke Tanswell, and learn more about Buddy.

“Buddy has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old,” Tanswell said in an email interview. “He lived with my grandfather for nine years, so I was able to see him every day. Buddy is very special to me because he was my late grandfather’s dog that in inherited four years ago.”

Sharing the picture on Facebook helped Buddy win the competition. Tanswell, who is majoring in public relations, said she enlisted her family’s help to share Buddy’s picture on Facebook for maximum “likes.”

Tanswell said she is looking forward to seeing “Deadpool” with the two movie tickets she won from the contest.

Coming in second place with 110 likes was junior Adriana Viadero’s pup, Willow, an Australian shepherd.

The Voyager would like to thank Carmike Cinemas on W Street for donating the movie passes for our contest.


Medical marijuana back on the ballot in Florida

By Kelsi Gately

Staff Writer

 California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Graphic courtesy of

California was the first state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Graphic courtesy of





Map from Weiss Law Group

Come November, Florida voters will not just be voting in the local elections for the next President of the United States. They also will have the chance to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana.

Last December, Congress lifted the national ban on medical marijuana when passing the federal spending measure. Shortly after, some states and the District of Columbia legalized the use of medical marijuana. Florida, who did not pass the law in 2014, will have a second chance to legalize it in November. United for Care has made it their mission to make medical marijuana legal for all citizens. In 2014, a similar bill was on the ballot, but only had 58.8 percent of the 60 percent approval needed to be passed. This year, lawmakers believe it is more likely to pass because young voters tend only to vote during presidential election years.

“I believe medical marijuana should be legal because of all the positive feedback it has received from treating different diseases,” said Bianca Salvador, junior international studies major. “It has been proven many times that the proper use of medical marijuana has controlled general physical pain, weak immune systems, migraines, vomiting, some eating disorders and even cancer.”

According to the United for Care website, marijuana has helped patients dealing with medical conditions including: AIDS, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, and other injuries. It claims marijuana has proven to have less side effects than nausea and pain medications that are currently on the market for doctors to prescribe.

“If there is something out there that has been proven to help with the health of those who need it, it should be taken into consideration,” Salvador said.

Legalizing medical marijuana can also bring in additional income for states. Colorado, which has legalized recreational marijuana as well, brought in more than $60 million in marijuana taxes last year. Colorado has designated a total 15 percent of marijuana revenue to go to improving schools and the education of its students.

“I support the legalization of medical marijuana,” said Colleen Puchalski, junior international studies major. “I believe that the state can produce a great amount of revenue off the sale and taxes. Also, it has scientific medicinal purposes, and depriving the sick of a potential alleviation of symptoms is cruel and unjust simply because some people have preconceived judgments.”

The entire text of the 2016 proposed amendment can be read here. The Miami Herald also published the differences between the 2014 and the 2016 proposals in an article.

Tweet me @kelsi_gately what you think about the 2016 proposal and if you are going to #VoteYESon2.