Monthly Archives: August 2016

Fan Day scrimmage shows promise for inaugural season

By Brooke Weber

Staff Writer

UWF’s Aug. 25 Fan Day football scrimmage showed that the Argos are ready for the Sept. 3 season opener against Ave Maria University  near Naples.

The first offensive series of the game started off slow. The Argos struggled against their own defense but quickly picked up the pace to gain some yardage. Senior Kaleb Nobles, a  Valdosta State transfer, showed he is ready to take on the role of  starting quarterback for UWF. The 90-minute scrimmage included some big plays on offense, and multiple third down conversions were successful.

“We think our receiving crew is solid,” UWF Head Coach Pete Shinnick said. “That’s really Kaleb seeing the field and really seeing where we need to be.”

Nobles showed a lot of confidence during the scrimmage. Shinnick explained that the team knows the offense better than it did last year, and that with the depth and experience from transfers brought in, the Argos should be successful.

Nobles completed nine of 12 passes, scoring three touchdowns, for a total of 112 yards.

Quarterback Gray Jackson will likely play, as well, in the season opener against Ave Maria. He completed six of nine passes, including one touchdown throw, for a total of 30 yards.

“You have to have trust in the guys in front of us and the guys catching the ball,” Nobles said. “I think everybody knows that we have time to throw, we have receivers that can catch it, so really just trust everybody and just not even worry about anything else.”

Another star of the game was receiver Antoine Griffin, who scored two passing touchdowns and had four total catches for 30 yards. Griffin said that this off season the receivers have done a great job building chemistry between themselves and the quarterbacks.

“You know, every time we come to the field we make sure we have down all the little things first and then move on to the big things,” Griffin said. “So I really believe that with the chemistry we have with both quarterbacks, we are going to do a really good job.”

Griffin said he felt like the team did a great job and has come a long way the past year and a half.

Next week is UWF’s first football game in the university’s history, and the players said they felt they were ready.

“Everybody is ready to go. Everybody is ready to start getting on that bus to start getting on the road to Ave Maria and take care of business,” Griffin said.

Pensacola community members, UWF students, alumni, faculty and staff showed their support, with more thanat Thursday night’s scrimmage. Sorority and fraternity members attended to express their excitement for the university’s first football season.

Shinnick said the turnout was unbelievable. Fan Day ended with autographs from all the players. It was a really fun atmosphere and a great preview for the upcoming season.

“Thank you to our administration, to our advertising staff, and Sports Information,” Shinnick said. “What a great crowd. What a great testimony to how ready Pensacola is for college football.”


Find your next adventure with study abroad programs

By Nathan Cobb

Staff Writer

As fall starts and the memories of summer begin to settle, students find themselves mentally preparing for all the deadlines, tests and curriculum this semester has to offer. The infamous syllabus week has come to a close, and teachers are eager to share knowledge with their classes.

But for a select few, this semester holds much more.

Year round, UWF gives the option, to students with a minimum 2.5 GPA, 24 credit hours and at least one semester at the university, of studying abroad and immersing themselves in a completely different culture. Courses are available in cities in France, Germany, Japan and many more countries with different ranges of difficulty in the languages spoken.

“Across the Programs, one of the things we evaluate is the student’s readiness for the academic experience,” said the UWF Abroad coordinator, Karen Smith. “Typically the courses that students enroll in are conducted in English, but some of our students are already bilingual. So, say they were studying in Spain, it wouldn’t be a problem for them to take classes in English along with ones in Spanish.”

She explained that while most students choose spring to travel overseas, other courses are available to give students the best experience possible. Programs can range from a week in the summer to the full academic year.

Tuition is even paid to UWF the same as someone studying on campus, and financial aid and Bright Futures are also accepted.

The opportunity seems almost too good to pass up, and students who have returned from the program are eager to go back to their visited country.

“China is an amazing place to study abroad,” said Ruby Gregory, senior biology major. “Each city is unique in culture, and it is extremely easy to travel because of the superb public transportation. I studied the Chinese language at Taiyuan University in northern China for three months and was able to visit 11 different cities while there.”

The Catalyst program, which last about five weeks, is also open to students who do not want to spend an entire semester abroad but are still interested in the experience.

“I took a history class along with an international relations and communication course that studied the Syrian, Afghan and African refugee crisis in Berlin and Prague,” said UWF junior Jordan Pearson. We visited London, Paris, Berlin and Prague, and I even traveled to Sweden. I encourage everyone to get out and travel, whether is for a holiday or the study abroad program.”  

UWF starts school year tobacco-free

TobaccoFreeUWF_headerBy Juliana Lievano

Staff Writer

As of Aug. 1, 2016, UWF is officially a Tobacco-Free Campus, and students have mixed emotions. The policy affects everyone, including those who live on campus or commute to the university.

The Tobacco-Free Campus policy not only includes cigarettes, but also e-cigarettes, hookahs/shishas, vape pens, and any smoking device available on the market. Any product containing tobacco, including nicotine gum, is also prohibited.

The only exceptions to this policy are: tobacco being used for an educational, clinical, or religious/ceremonial purpose, or for research, and all have to be approved by the provost and executive vice president or designee first.

The university made this decision to provide a healthier working and learning environment for the students. Even though smoking on campus will not get anyone arrested, and right now there are no fines for smoking on campus, it is important to comply with the policy as every student at UWF is subject to the Student of Conduct.

“There are no ‘smoking police’ at UWF. Tobacco-free is a community norm that the community must help to enforce,” vice president for student affairs Dr. Kevin W. Bailey said. “Students seen smoking should be reminded of the policy and politely asked to extinguish the cigarette. Also, students may be subject to adjudication via the Student Code of Conduct.”

The only students who would have to pay a $50 fine for smoking would be those who live on campus, since it is part of the housing rules, but this is not new.

“It’s a health problem,” assistant dean of students Evan Springer said. “Smoking affects the smoker and the people around the smoker. We want people to take it seriously. It’s important to so many people. It’s a national sort of movement to create a smoke-free environment.”

UWF is definitely not the first university to become a tobacco-free campus. There are 1,137 campuses in the USA that are 100 percent tobacco-free, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

The Wellness Center is offering tobacco cessation classes once a month, which are open for everyone who is struggling to quit smoking. Representatives of the Area Health Education Center are teaching the classes.

“The biggest adjustment is having the community know. We as a community have to be educated. Educate people about the policy. So, it’s more of a social rule,” Mica Harrell, director of Wellness Services, said.

UWF students have been taking the policy well so far, even though some say they think it should be up to each person to choose whether or not to quit smoking. Others are happy to live in a smoke-free campus.

“I think it’s great because I have asthma, personally, and it really helps me out that people aren’t smoking,” freshman elementary education major Jessica Luciano said. “I also think it’s great that people are smart about their health habits.”

Not everyone supports the new policy. “I feel that people should have the freedom of choice to choose whether or not they want tobacco, especially if they’re over 18 and can buy it,” Dante Johnson, a freshman majoring in biology, said.


President Bense holds campus conversation after summer tragedies

By Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, University of West Florida President Judith Bense held a Campus Conversation event in the Commons Auditorium.

The panel from the Camus Conversation, listed right to left, SGA President Jacob Herbert, UWF President Judith Bense, Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey, President for the Division of Academic Affairs Martha Saunders, and UWF police Chief John Warren.

The panel from the Camus Conversation, listed right to left, SGA President Jacob Herbert, UWF President Judith Bense, Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Bailey, President for the Division of Academic Affairs Martha Saunders, and UWF police Chief John Warren.

The event was the start of a community conversation about diversity, tolerance and safety. Bense hosted the event in the form of a panel, where people from the UWF community could ask questions of the people in a position to make a difference.

Our nation was damaged this summer by tragic events such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the police shootings in Dallas, and flooding in Louisiana. With UWF’s student population over 13,000, and 32 percent of those students being non-white, organizers felt a conversation about race, sexuality and diversity was imperative.

Bense said in her opening remarks, “One of the best human strengths is dialogue. It’s natural human culture to discriminate, and we have to work very hard to counteract that.”

“One thing we do differently here that many places haven’t is we deal with it head on, as opposed to sweeping the issues under the rug. We are not running from something that happened over the summer. We are at peace in Pensacola.”

But Student Government President Jacob Herbert disagreed. “President Bense said our community is at peace, maybe that rings true for some,” he said, “but not all. Coming together and working as a community to solve problems isn’t always a peaceful conversation. The events haven’t happened here yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start a conversation.”

A panel consisting of Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Bailey, Vice President for Academic Affairs Martha Saunders, and UWF police Chief John Warren addressed the issue of staff diversity and having students feel comfortable knowing they aren’t being discriminated against by the people who are guiding them through their educational careers.

Bense said, “Staff diversity is a big challenge, not just here, but lots of places, and we are handling the situation as a top priority.”

UWF representatives gave lists of places students can go to seek help, such as the Health Center, where help is free for students if they are feeling troubled by something.

This event was an important start to open a dialogue in the UWF community to help put everyone on the same page. “It’s hard to find out what our students think it’s most important for us to be activists in, which is why it’s important this active conversation is happening,” Herbert said. “What do our students truly care about?”

Currently there is no future date set up for the next campus event, though Bense said, “This is just one conversation of many that need to be held on these issues.”

UWF regulations for sex offenders on campus

By Claudia Carlson

Staff Writer

The University of West Florida does everything possible to keep students, faculty and staff safe at all times. This includes providing everyone at the university with a list of registered sexual offenders on campus.

Sexual offenders who work or are students at the university are required to disclose information and register with the University Police Department. The UPD must also disclose this information to the UWF community. There are five registered offenders on campus at this time, according to the university website.

“I had no clue that there were sexual offenders on campus,” Molli Straw, a UWF senior, said. “Though I feel an education is something that all people should be able to attain, and no one should be denied. I also always wonder how they got into this situation, if they were in a relationship with a minor and he or she consented, but then the minor’s parents got involved. If a sex offender is working or going to school, they are bettering themselves either way.”

A Google search will help find the registered offenders on campus, and fliers with information about the offenders are available on the university website. Offenders register through a site with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Students are able to access the registry in three different ways. First, through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with the link shared above. Second, through the UWF Police site. The third way is to contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by calling (888) 357-7332.

The fliers with the information about the sexual offenders include all of their physical information and attributes, their address, vehicles registered to their name, a photo, adjudication (formal judgement) date, crime description and when the offender registered.

Something not included in the flier is the offender’s position on campus, whether they are a student, faculty or staff member.

“Information [about an offender’s position on campus] is not provided on the site. However, if you are a UWF student, you can login to your myUWF account, go to the campus directory, and look up the person listed by name, and it will identify a person as a student, faculty, or staff. The persons listed on the site, currently, are students or have recently been students,” Chief of University Police Department John Warren said.

The University is taking many initiatives to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.

“We have a full-service, on campus police department; safety escort services, blue light boxes and several crime prevention programs,” Warren said.

In all residence halls this semester there are cameras for the safety of the residents, though the whereabouts of these cameras cannot be disclosed to the public.

“I don’t feel that sex offenders on campus impact my education or me personally in any way,” Straw said. “If anything, I think they are building a better future for themselves and trying to get past the mistakes they made,”

For more information visit any of the links above or visit the campus police department.

Clinton’s education policy has yet to acknowledge the dangers of neoliberal education reform

By Josh Hart

Opinions Editor

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Hillary Clinton’s education policy does include the tenet that, by 2021, families with an annual income of up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state, four-year public universities, a plan that has drawn both praise and condemnation from some economists and politicians.

As enticing as the idea of free college is in a society in which 66 percent of graduates from public colleges accumulate loans with an average debt of $25,550, the reality of Clinton’s education policy, particularly in regards to the ways in which K-12 education could potentially affect both students and teachers who are interested in the college experience, is much more murky.

The insecurity comes, not as a result of a specific policy or suggestion made by the Clinton camp, but by a pattern of inaction. Clinton has yet to stiffly renounce a certain breed of education reformists who demand stricter teacher accountability and more money for charter schools.

This type of education reformation is the spiritual successor to 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act, an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that scaled up the federal role in holding schools accountable for student outcomes, effectively swamping the American school system in a sea of standardized testing and funding anxiety on the local level.

The primary legacy of No Child Left Behind, the shift towards greater emphasis on standardized testing, is largely seen as a grave mistake. Obsessive standardized testing negatively impacted the ability of incoming college students to “think critically,” according to Sean Wernert, Faculty Academic Advisor at the University of Notre Dame. Indeed, George Bush’s former education secretary, Margaret Spellings, referred to No Child Left Behind as a “toxic brand” in American politics, largely because of the effects of rampant standardized testing.

The last eight years has seen President Obama and former education secretary Arne Duncan aligning themselves more closely with education reformism with their Race to the Top initiative. An initiative that echoes No Child Left Behind in its performance-based evaluation for teachers and a renewed emphasis on standardized testing. After nearly 16 years of education policy based on this style of reformism, the time for a return to a system that doesn’t stifle the learning process is long overdue, yet the Clinton presidential campaign is remarkably silent regarding education reform.

The language Clinton uses to describe her K-12 education policies is remarkably vague. She has made a key statement about making college more affordable, has spoken about early childhood education and computer science investments, and has relentlessly criticized the school to prison pipeline, but has largely ignored the issues of school choice, standardized testing, and student accountability.

The 2016 Democratic platform opposes high-stakes standardized testing and teacher accountability tied to testing, but Clinton’s website does not currently put forth any kind of stance on the aforementioned issues.

This lack of engagement is simply not good enough. With too many schools failing to prepare our students adequately for the future and too many families being given a ‘take it or leave it’ choice of underperforming neighborhood schools, simply offering financial relief to families will not completely tend to the dire state of American education. To fail to take a hard stance on something as pivotal as education reform so late in the campaign is indicative of a presidency of tepid meandering, of lukewarm inaction.

UWF acquires Pensacola Museum of Art in summer deal

By Mary Jo Gruber

Staff Writer

On July 1, 2016, the University of West Florida officially took ownership of the Pensacola Museum of Art from what is commonly referred to as a gift agreement. The university is now responsible for the care and endowment of the P.M.A’s impressive collection of artwork, as well as its educational programming.

“The acquisition was prompted by a conversation about preserving the unique cultural assets of the city and what role the University may be able to play in that,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, the vice president of university advancement.

The P.M.A has been an asset to downtown Pensacola for over 63 years, and the building’s history stretches even further back. The building, which would later become the P.M.A, began as Pensacola’s first permanent jail. In 1906, the city made plans to build the two-story structure in Spanish Revival Style, and it housed the city jail, courthouse, Police Department, and shore patrol.

Today, the P.M.A is home to a vast collection of pieces including European glass art and African art. The P.M.A’s Permanent Collection boasts works from Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and several others. The museum also offers a variety of educational experiences including adult art workshops and children’s summer camps.

“Over time, we will slowly but surely develop the museum as we move forward. One of the key pieces of that is focusing in on taking advantage of new opportunities and enhancing the museum in terms of increasing major exhibits,” said Kelly.

This change in ownership also comes on the heals of the recent changes to downtown Pensacola’s Gallery Night. These modifications, such as preventing area restaurants to serve alcohol before 8 p.m. during the event, suggests the focus is to be shifted back to the educational aspect and the artwork.

“UWF is the perfect home for the museum, which will play an even greater role as Pensacola continues to evolve as a dynamic cultural hub in Northwest Florida. Student involvement in UWF Historic Trust has been a successful long standing initiative, and this will be another opportunity for our students to study curation and art administration in a brand new way,” said Kelly.

The new agreement between the university and the P.M.A is sure to further art appreciation not only for University students, but for the locals as well.