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YHC campus on alert after unspecified threat against students

September 13, 2011 Comments off

Police were present throughout the day at Young Harris College in response to an unidentified threat against students. Four police officers stand in front of Maxwell Math and Science Building. Photo by Kathleen Layton

With information from wire reports 

The office of Young Harris College President Cathy Cox released an email to the campus community addressing the unspecified threat made Tues. Sept. 13, against YHC students.

After learning of the threat campus officials decided to cancel all classes prior to 10 a.m. so that the credibility of the threat could be further investigated. After notifying law enforcement, the college decided to resume with classes after 10 a.m. Students, faculty and staff are continuing with their normal schedules.

Law enforcement officials monitored campus throughout the week.

The email from Cox detailed the precautions taken for campus safety . As a safety measure, only the front doors to campus and academic buildings remained unlocked. Each campus residence hall locked all entrances to each building, though residents could still enter and exit the residence halls through the front doors by scanning their student ID card.

Additionally, law enforcement had the right to search any bags or persons considered suspicious.

The president urged the campus community to “remain calm and proceed with your normal schedule while being on alert and aware of your surroundings.”

Should anyone see anything suspicious or have any details that could help in the ongoing investigation, dial 911 or contact the YHC Police Department.

Eat, sleep, Facebook, repeat

April 6, 2011 1 comment

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

531      7      3      1

These numbers are not a safe combination, or even fragments of a social security number. Instead, these numbers can be found by scrolling through the list of your 531 friends on Facebook, clicking on your seven friend requests, reading your three messages, and responding to your one notification.

In the past couple of years Facebook has evolved beyond a simple means to contact friends and stay in touch. Now, Facebook is an integral part in our daily lives, with few people going more than a day without checking their profiles.

Facebook’s popularity has managed to eclipse other social networking sites such as Xanga and Myspace. This popularity has even allowed Facebook to capture the attention of Hollywood through the movie The Social Network, which later won three Academy Awards.

With all the accolades and attention, it is no surprise to find that Facebook has slowly and silently crept into our daily routines. Facebook is typically the first website people go to in the morning and the last page they visit before they go to sleep.

While Young Harris College is located in the mountains, its students are not immune to this social trend. At YHC, Facebook is a way of staying informed about what is happening, or going to happen on campus. Invitations to campus events are sent through Facebook, with even Enotah Echoes having a Facebook page.

It keeps students connected with their peers, and while it is not scientifically proven, late-night Facebook chats and creeping through someone’s profile are probably the leading cause of student procrastination and late assignments.

While I currently do not actively use Facebook, I can see why so many people do. Socially, it is a place to see and be seen, a source of gossip and an easy way to catch up on what you missed over the weekend. Professionally, it is an easy way for future employers to check up on potential candidates by sifting through his or her Facebook profile.

Besides these uses, Facebook has grown into a part of our culture and history. In the same way that history studies the pony express and hand-written letters, one day in the future people will look back at the phenomenon called Facebook.
This post copyedited on April 18, 2011.

Categories: Opinions Tags: , ,

YHC student hit by truck, no major injuries

March 16, 2011 Comments off

Cathy Cox, president of YHC, YHC Police and YHC administration rush to the intersection at School Street and Duckworth Street to where a YHC student was hit by a truck. The nose of the truck can be seen in the right-hand side of the photo. Photo by Ashton Jones.

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

While leaving her Design I art class from the Fine Arts Annex, a female Young Harris College student was hit by a truck while crossing Highway 76. The truck was driven by a male YHC student.

Students leaving the Fine Arts Annex typically return to campus by using the crosswalk from School Street onto Duckworth Street. Erica Ware, a student at YHC, followed this same route when she was hit by a dark blue 2005 Chevrolet Colorado.

According to Georgia State Trooper Lovell, after being struck by the truck, she walked around 15 feet towards the annex and before sitting down on the north shoulder of the highway. The driver was turning left towards Blairsville from Duckworth Street when he hit Ware in the middle of the crosswalk.

Lovell stated that the driver did not see Ware in the crosswalk, but when he hit her he immediately stopped.

Classmates Kelli Denning, a freshman from Fanning County, and Luis Arteaga, a junior from Union County, witnessed the accident. According to Denning and Arteaga, they were walking a few feet in front of Ware when they heard tires screeching. They turned around in time to see their classmate hit by the truck and scream as the truck hit Ware.

“We heard her screaming,” said Denning. “It was just God-awful hearing her scream.”

Among other law enforcement and emergency respondents was Towns County fire and rescue and EMS Captain Terry Parker.

Although Ware was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Parker said that, “It appeared as if she was going to be alright.”

Both Arteaga and Denning said that Young Harris College police happened to be on Duckworth Street when the incident occurred and responded immediately.

However, since the accident occurred on a state highway, the accident was ultimately turned over to the Georgia State Patrol.

It is not known at this time if charges will be filed against either party as a result of the incident.

Cathy Cox, president of YHC, was on scene consoling a student believed to be a relative of Ware’s. Cox announced to curious onlookers while leaving the scene that Ware never lost consciousness and was being transferred to a local hospital.

The College released an official statement about the incident saying, “At this time, it does not appear that any major injuries were sustained. The student was treated at the scene and transported to Chatuge Regional Hospital in Hiawassee for further examination. Young Harris College staff members remain with the student and are monitoring the student’s progress.”

The male driver of the truck wished to be anonymous and did not want to be interviewed.  He was visibly upset and mentioned he felt badly about the accident.

Fighting for the Fourth Estate

February 15, 2011 1 comment

Photo by Skye Butler

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

This past weekend the newspaper staff spent Friday and Saturday in Athens at the Georgia College Press Association Conference, which is an annual conference for college newspapers. At this conference the staff experienced the “real world” of journalism and reporting. We were exposed to everything from interviewing classes to lessons in layout and design. My staff and I left this conference on a journalism high. However, as we were weaving through the winding roads, it was all too apparent that that we were leaving the “real world” and entering the “enchanted valley.”

At this conference we witnessed articulate and coherent student arguments, filled with as much passion and zest as logic and reason. We saw students and professors volunteering a wide variety of opinions and offering helpful advice and criticism.

It is sad to say that this atmosphere did not enter into the “enchanted valley” with us. Instead we are confronted with students who are ashamed to put their name to their own words and opinions. Instead my staff is confronted with an ornery and obstinate group of peers, that would rather point fingers and mock the messenger than blaming those actually at fault. Instead, I am standing face to face with a student body that would rather believe false rumors than to wait and hear a published—and accurate—story.

The culture of fear and indigence at Young Harris College has fostered a bratty sense of entitlement that is only hindering its own growth.  At our conference this weekend, one of the biggest set-backs for our newspaper was the lack of presence and name recognition outside of YHC. Though this reflects our position as a growing academic production, it also mirrors the student body. Many of the stories had the potential to insight change and promote awareness on campus have been either tossed aside or given “no comments” in interviews.

There is a palpable sense of disinterest on campus. In place of students wanting to be informed about the latest issues facing our campus and students, the YHC community would rather believe idle gossip and look down upon the newspaper staff for attempting to report the facts in news articles.

The most disappointing aspect of this predicament is that by not lifting your voice as a student, you are only preventing yourself from being  educated, inspired and empowered as a YHC student.

Students critique value of first two years of college

February 12, 2011 Comments off

By Erin Grable, Staff Writer

Unlike the USA Today article, 79 percent of YHC students do not believe that the first two years of college are pointless and show small gains. Photo by Kathleen Layton

With the cost of college tuition on the rise, some people have questioned whether the first two years of college is worth the cost or a waste of time. An article from USA Today helped shed some light on this pressing concern among college students and their parents.

According to an article from Yahoo Shine website, colleges charge as much as $50,000 per year. With an investment this large, the thought that the first two years could teach students “next-to-nothing” may bring students and parents to rethink their decision about college.

An article from USA Today revealed from a new report that practically half of the nation’s undergraduates in their first two years of college do not display any improvements in learning. The explanation of these findings falls back on the colleges themselves for only offering academics as an option.

The report is based on the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, by lead author Richard Arum, a New York University professor.

The discoveries are based off of the following:  transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment or CLA. The CLA is a standardized test that gauges students’ critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills.

In this study, it was discovered that professors are more concerned with their own research as an instructor rather than teaching their students.

The results reveal that “45% of students showed no significant gains in learning” after two years in college. After four years, 36% of students “showed little change.” Also, “students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.”

Other factors of research show that truth behind the numbers of students who do study, do not study and those who do not study enough.

In the article, a reported “35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.” However, regardless of the “ever-growing emphasis” on partner projects and study groups the students that study with groups have a tendency to have poorer gains in learning.

50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages; 32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.

The article tells that 50% of students admitted they never took a class “in a typical semester” that required them to write more than 20 pages in a single semester. Also, 32% of students never took a class in a “typical semester” where they read more than 40 pages per week in a single semester.

“These are really kind of shocking, disturbing numbers, said Arum, a New York University professor and author. “Students are able to navigate through the system quite well with little effort.”

The Department of Education and Congress have searched for ways to hold colleges and universities responsible for student learning, but researchers state that “federal intervention would be counterproductive.”

According to the article, the Department of Education and Congress have searched for ways to hold colleges and universities responsible for student learning. However, researchers state that “federal intervention would be counterproductive.”

With Young Harris College having a long tradition as a two-year school, the first two years have typically been especially important to students.  To compare the article results to YHC, 100 people were asked “do you think the first two years of college are pointless?”

According to the poll results of various YHC students on campus, 79% percent of students do not believe that the first two years of college are pointless and show small gains.

“The first two years are a part of the transition from high school and learning new responsibilities, said Matt Wilmer a sophomore from Conyers. “They are about finding your niche on campus and learning how to balance social life and academics.”

The majority of the students who answered no still had the same response that it is all a learning experience and we have to do it. Although some students thought otherwise.

“I feel like we have already taken a lot of these core classes in high school, said Hayden Verner a freshman from Athens. “A lot [of classes] do not even go towards students specific majors.”

One student surveyed for the poll, believed that the responsibility lies within the student, not the institution.

“The reason that some people may think the first two years of college are pointless is because they do not take it seriously, said sophomore Jordan Rudd from Buford. “The college is responsible for student learning but it is our responsibility to do what we will with it.”

 

Cox reads for Ferst Foundation

February 9, 2011 Comments off

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

“Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.” These lines from the Dr. Seuss childhood classic, The Sneetches, were read by Young Harris College President Cathy Cox for the second annual CEO Battle for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.

Cox and six other CEOs competed from Jan. 13 to Feb. 7 for the title of “Favorite Reader.” The six other executives that participated included, Paul Wood, CEO for Georgia EMC, William Griffin, CEO for Rosser International, Michael Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell, Ruth Knox, president of Wesleyan College, Raymond King, CEO for the Atlanta Zoo and William Kimble, managing partner of KPMG in Atlanta.

Each CEO participated in a filmed-reading to a class of students. Cox read to a class of Pre-K students at Towns County, which is a local school system in Hiawassee. Each reading was edited into a film clip for voters to watch and vote on through the Ferst Foundation’s website. By visiting the Ferst Foundation’s webpage, voters were able to view the clips and pick the CEO reader of their choice. The “Favorite Reader” and winner of the contest will be announced on Feb. 14.

Throughout the competition, votes for each CEO could be cast daily, with the initial vote free of charge. Each additional vote cost $3 each. This donation is equivalent to the cost of one book, which would go to a child signed up in the Ferst Foundation’s reading program.

The Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy’s website says the goal of the organization is to “provide books for local communities to prepare all Georgia preschool children for reading and learning success.”

This foundation touches on a cause that Cox worked to improve during her 2006 campaign for Georgia Governor, with childhood literacy being “a major part of my platform,” Cox said.

Cox explained that although this issue seems obvious and easy to fix, improving literacy rates among children does “not [yield] immediate results. So, this makes it a short coming in policy,” Cox said.

Cox’s political background not only sparked her interest in this cause, but it led Cox to meet Robin Ferst, the president and founder of the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.

“I met Robin years ago at a political fundraiser. We hit it off as friends. She has a fun personality, and I loved what she was doing from the get-go,” Cox said.

This set the stage for Cox’s role in the CEO Battle.

“Reading is one of these things that makes a child’s life come together. Why not invest in something to help a child succeed,” Cox said in regards to why she competed in the 2011 CEO Battle.

“At different points, I was in the top three,” Cox said.

Although Cox would like to be voted “Favorite Reader,” her hope is that this competition will “win some recognition” so that more books can go into the hands of children.

Cox encouraged YHC students to get involved by saying, “Anything that students can do to read [to a child] will have a lasting impact on that child’s life.”

Faculty and staff meeting talk senior village and new property

January 18, 2011 2 comments

By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief

Tuesday in Wilson Lecture Hall Young Harris College President Cathy Cox called together all YHC faculty and staff for a semi-annual campus-wide meeting to discuss the state of the college.

After welcoming faculty and staff, Cox gave updates on a wide variety of topics, including the senior village, the acquisition of new property, plans for graduation and the possibility of national Greeks.

President Cox spoke about the plans for the new senior village, which construction began on late last fall. According to Cox, the construction for the village is split up into two phases. Cox explained that the first phase will include eight buildings. Cox added that these “eight buildings will be built closest to the retention pond and will resemble a two-story home. Each of these will have a front and back porch, a kitchen, a washing machine and a dryer.”

Cox also mentioned the possibility of giving these residents the opportunity to have a more flexible meal plan, which would allow students to cook their own meals instead of visiting the dining hall for each meal; however, neither the dining hall nor administration has reached a final decision on this.

Among other news, YHC recently purchased three and a half acres of land across the street, including the Young Harris Motel, the Bread of Life Restaurant and a two-story real-estate building. Cox explained that this “was a last minute purchase,” due to legalities.

In fact, the swiftness of the purchase worried the owners of the Bread of Life Restaurant.

“The Bread of Life Restaurant had heard several rumors that we [YHC]were going to shut them down; but the restaurant is allowed to operate as before and is a paying tenant to the college,” Cox said.

The college is thinking about using the old real-estate building as a site for the Bonner Leaders; but no final decision has been made yet concerning this property.

As for the Young Harris Motel, the college has considered turning the spaces into offices or using the 24 rooms to house students, although administration has not decided how to use the space yet.

In addition, Cox informed the faculty that the college is “still exploring national Greek organizations.” Administration will be making a recommendation to the board of trustees later this spring about the possibility of having national Greeks at YHC. If brought to campus, administration estimated that only four or five groups, total would be permitted to co-exist with current Greeks. YHC administration is still researching the possibility and has yet to make a final decision regarding national Greeks.

Young Harris College has finalized preliminary plans for graduation. The ceremony is scheduled to take place May 7 in the Fitness and Recreation Center. The venue change from the typical auditorium to the recreation center was made to allow students to invite additional family or friends to graduation. Zell Miller, a graduate of YHC in 1951 and former US Senator, has been invited to speak at this year’s graduation.

UPDATE1 (11:07 a.m.): Updated day of meeting.

UPDATE2 (8:08 p.m.): Updated day of meeting.