By Ali Neese, Staff Writer
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our nation has the chance to reflect on its history in regards to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the changes that have occurred since then. The same holds true for Young Harris College’s students and faculty members. The Civil Rights Movement was a turbulent time in America and many people had strong opinions on the subject, and YHC students were not an exception.
As a southern state, Georgia had a difficult time dealing with Civil Rights, along with the issue of integration. Several copies of the Enotah Echoes newspaper that were printed during those years reflected this ongoing conflict.
While it is safe to say that Young Harris College has come a long way in terms of diversity and acceptance since the time of Martin Luther King, there was a time in the college’s history when people were not so accepting.
An article of the Enotah Echoes printed on January 16, 1961, entitled “Crisis in the South” by YHC student John Ard talks about his concern on the topic of integration. He mentions the popularity of passive resistance by African Americans in their effort to protest “unjust civil laws” and that Martin Luther King was in favor of this type of resistance. His beliefs were typical of many Southerners in that he was concerned about the changes that were taking place and he even goes so far as to say that integration is one of the “greatest threats that the South has been confronted with since the Civil War.”
In the next issue of the Enotah Echoes the same student wrote an article called “Integration at Georgia” in which he details the chaos that ensued when two African Americans joined the University of Georgia’s student body. He stated that while he did not condone the persecution of the African American race, he was a strong believer in “equal but separate facilities.”
He stated that “their schools, the churches and other organizations should be equal to the whites, but not the same as the whites.”
This narrow view might lead one to believe that there was absolutely no diversity on YHC’s campus during those days, but this simply is not true. In fact, in the ’50s and ’60s Young Harris College had foreign exchange students from different parts of Asia, the Middle East and Cuba. The YHC family welcomed them and celebrated their presence at the college, but unfortunately the drama unfolding in the South blinded many to their opportunity to truly increase the campus’ diversity.
What is probably the most shocking about YHC and the Civil Rights Movement is that literally a week after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, that issue of the Enotah Echoes made absolutely no mention of his death or anything concerning the events leading up to it. Instead, they covered the upcoming classes for summer school, the recent play and who made the Dean’s List.
While YHC, along with the rest of the South, had trouble accepting integration initially, it is evident that this is no longer the case. According to Clint Hobbs, Vice President for Enrollment Management, in 2008 the ethnic percentage at the college was 4.5% and consisted mainly of Hispanic and African American students. Fast forward to this year and the ethnic percentage is at an “all time high” with 15.4% of the students being Hispanic and African American.
Hobbs stated that it was a major goal of the college to increase diversity on the campus and it is something that YHC will continue to better itself on. He says that the college embraces all students and does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of its past.
By Lauren Robinson, Staff Writer
Young Harris College prides itself on being a college as well as an environment in which students and staff members alike are incorporated in the culture and activities that occur on campus. As a freshman, college in general has been a major adjustment in regards to academics and campus life. When I find free time in my schedule, which is usually in the evening, I enjoy watching my favorite series on television. Engaging in something that I am familiar with away from home allows me to feel that much more comfortable with my surroundings.
Sitcoms, dramas, cartoons, reality shows and the newest star search have been quite an influence on today’s pop culture. You may find yourself perusing through the channels and happen upon a show that interests you. Consequently, you set your DVR and/or TiVo to record that particular show if you cannot be present to view it as it is being aired. Television has evolved into more than a pastime where families spend time together during the evening hours watching a show that pleases everyone. It has become something of which people in society find themselves scheduling their daily lives and/or schedules around.
Now let’s change the dynamic, shall we? It’s 10:00 o’clock at night and the game is on. The channel that I am looking for does not appear to be there. Just to be sure, I check the TV Guide Channel for that particular channel. The network that I watch my favorite television show is not offered. Now what do I do? Immediately, I think to check Hulu online. The show could possibly be available for later viewing. However, it is not. Two strikes and I’m almost out of options. I may just have to wait until I can take a break, go home and catch up on the latest drama.
As a student, there are a multitude of things that are un-constant and changing. While most things are in sync some things have yet to reach equilibrium.
Black Entertainment Television, otherwise known as BET, is a division of Viacom Inc. BET was launched January 20, 1980. As stated on the website, “BET provides contemporary entertainment that speaks to young Black adults from an authentic, unapologetic viewpoint of the Black experience. BET connects with its target audience in a way no other media outlet can providing hit music, entertainment and news programming that is reflective of their experiences such as: 106 & PARK, RAP CITY, MEET THE FAITH, COLLEGE HILL, and AMERICAN GANGSTER. In addition, outstanding mega-specials such as the BET AWARDS (the #1 Awards Show on Cable Television), BET HIP-HOP AWARDS and CELEBRATION OF GOSPEL keep viewers regularly tuned in for the latest and greatest in black entertainment. Reaching more than 84 million homes, BET can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.”
More often than not, there is a stigma placed on BET and the people that watch it. There is an underlying prejudice towards the network in general. An assumption is made and those who do not care for the content usually judge those who like the channel. In my case, BET is a source of information as well as an outlet that allows for self-expression. BET is an advocate for social justice, on the forefront of political news, first to leak new music from new and old artists and fighting the AIDS epidemic. It is a part of my culture and being without it is difficult. I feel as if I’m not aware of my cultural happenings and lagging behind.
I can easily choose to be pessimistic and play the victim in the situation. However, that would not be in my best interest. I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in this predicament. There are probably more people on campus and in the community that have a preference of channels. The best way to solve a minor issue like this is to bring it to the forefront and verbalize my frustration. What channel are you missing?
Karen Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Since the spring of 2010, there had been buzz going around campus that the upcoming year would bring many new students, not only from around the United States, but also from different countries.
“Since last year Rouseline Emmanuel, the director of campus activities, and Crystal Crouse, Residence hall director of Appleby Center, gave us the idea of a multicultural club and I decided to jump on board,” said Alejandra Manzanares, a sophomore, political science major and also one of the first members of the multicultural club.
The multicultural club, although brand new to the campus, is a student organization with much promise. “Our motto is Connecting through diversity,” states Manzanares.
“Most clubs form because a group of people have something in common, however, the multicultural club is being formed because it is an opportunity to learn from those people we have nothing in common with.”
This student organization is hoping to make an impact on the campus of Young Harris College by not just connecting cultures, but also ideas. “Diversity can come from anywhere,” said Manznares. “You don’t have to be from a foreign country to bring diversity. There are many people here on campus,who are also from different parts of the United States and that alone allows a person to incorporate different ideas in the lives of other people.”
“I come from a community that is very diverse and I have seen first-hand the great things people can accomplish when they unite no matter where they come from or how they grew up. We hope that the multicultural club will have the same influence on campus and do great things as well.”