SGA Profile: Hollingsworth Patterson seek to reconnect student body

Carson Hollingsworth and McKinsey Patterson would not have considered themselves friends until they were dangling about 50 feet in the air during an Emerging Leaders class’s field trip. Wrapped in each other’s arms, the two got to know each other.

“We realized, ‘Maybe he’s not such a tool,’ and, ‘Maybe she’s not such a tight wad,’” said Patterson, a junior and nursing major.

Now, the two reminisce this moment while eating at Moe’s, campaigning for Student Government Association president and vice president.

“I know him as a person first,” Patterson said. “I know where his tickle spots are, but I also know him as a leader.”

Hollingsworth has been involved with SGA since his freshman year and has always questioned running for president. He believes that SGA is starting to become “an elitist group who also likes to wear the business suits,” which disconnects from the student body.

“I don’t think that SGA has done a good job necessarily with advocating for every single community, every single group of students here on campus and actually trying to reach out and get to know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and be passionate about it,” he said.

He revealed to Patterson in late January during an IGNITE team retreat that he was interested in running, but did not know who he should run with.

“And I said, ‘I wish I could help you out,’ because I didn’t think about it,” said Patterson. But after realizing her passion for advocating for students and her love for UT, the two decided to run together.

“I trust her with my life,” Hollingsworth said, “and we’re amazing leaders together on and off campus. Why not do it in this sense and roll?”

Patterson and Hollingsworth have held multiple leadership positions. They have both been Orientation Leaders, IGNITE Team Leaders, Emerging Team Leaders and were both elected president of the United Residence Halls, Patterson for Morrill Hall and Hollingsworth for Reese Hall. But unlike Hollingsworth, Patterson has little experience in SGA.

She was elected as a senator her sophomore year, but would soon decline because her hall director would not work with her going to SGA meetings and RA staff meetings. She has, however, also served as a Center and Leadership Ambassador, has been a part of Leadership Knoxville Scholars, and leads a campus ministry bible study.

The two believe their involvement in and out of SGA will help the organization with UT’s student body.

“I’m not Greek and he is,” said Patterson,” but he’s never been involved in an RA campus ministry (like myself).”

Patterson believes that UT is the “Disney World of college campuses,” adding that the students have helped shaped who she is today.

“I didn’t think the way I do about myself now, or my potential, until I got here and got to know my peers,” she said.

While the campaign does have a policy packet, Hollingsworth and Patterson encourage voters to focus more on the people instead of the packet. Hollingsworth added that Will Freeman and Madison Kahl, current SGA president and vice president, did not have a policy for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion defunding.

“I hate that it had to happen that way (…) but towards the end I saw something that was special because you saw SGA working with all these different organizations, collaborating to do something to benefit the student body, and you rarely see that with SGA,” he said. “It was cool to see the students come together like that. That’s what SGA should be here for.”

SGA elections begin Tuesday and winners will be announced Thursday.

Photo courtesy of the Hollingsworth Patterson campaign Facebook page

Edited by Jessica Carr

CBS Sports airs Zaevion Dobson video before Super Bowl 50

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“Now, to a tragedy in Tennessee making headlines this evening,” an audio clip from a December news report plays. “A 15-year-old high school football player risking his life to protect three young girls.”

Zaevion Dobson is now known nationwide as the Fulton High School football player from Knoxville who lost his life due to gang violence after protecting three girls during a shooting. During live coverage leading up to Super Bowl 50, CBS Sports aired a special video sharing Dobson’s story. The video aired around 3:30 p.m. and lasted for seven minutes.

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall did not realize how extraordinary Zaevion Dobson was until he arrived in Knoxville to help film this story. After spending time in Knoxville, he learned that Dobson “wasn’t only a hero when he laid his life down to save three.”

“When I got to Knoxville, and I got on the ground, I went to the high school. I spent time with his family, his mother, his brothers. I walked the streets. I was in his neighborhood, and the most disturbing and saddest part was this kid was a great kid, and he was in the right place when he saved three girls’ lives,” Marshall said.

The video featured interviews from Zenobia Dobson, his mother; Zack Dobson, his brother; Rob Black, his football coach; and a short statement from Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, who officially announced Dobson’s death in December. The video also included President Barack Obama addressing Dobson while discussing gun control.

Dobson’s older brother Zack mentioned that the two stayed focused on having a football career to avoid gang violence, which is a serious issue in his neighborhood.

“I just told Zaevion, ‘We better (not) do that. We better stay strong, and we’ve got to do what we started. We’ve got to finish and make it out of here.”

Fulton High School head coach Rob Black remembers Dobson as an unselfish kid who made all the right choices. Zack laughed, also remembering how teammates would surround Dobson’s locker just to talk to him.

“You know, most of the guys on a football team that are 15 years old, it’s all about them. I describe him as a fun kid. His locker was one of those places where teammates flocked to,” Black said.

Zack remembers running immediately after hearing gun shots and returning to his motionless brother. His mother said that she heard the gunshots and hoped that her children were safe. However, Zack told her that “his brother is gone” when she arrived to the scene.

“’Wow. I just thought about everything. Everything about my child. Wow,” she cried. However, Zenobia remembering her son’s laugh is what helps her through the pain.

While his family stills mourns his loss, they remain proud of the fact that Dobson’s death has had significant  momentum in promoting gun control movements.

“It was sad, but just knowing what he stood for makes me very proud of him,” his mother said.

“I just want to tell him that I love him, and that I’m going to make it,” Zack said.

To watch the full video, click here.

Info for this article and featured image obtained via video clip originally shown by CBS Sports

Edited by Jessica Carr

UT, Tennessee lawmakers compromise on Lady Vols name

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It was announced Monday that a compromise was reached between UT and Tennessee state legislatures on the Lady Vols’ name change. While the university will not be reversing its initial decision to strip all women’s athletics teams, except women’s basketball, of the Lady Vols name, women’s teams will be given commemorative patches to wear during the 2016-2017 season honoring the Lady Vols’ legacy, according to an article from WATE.

Tennessee state legislatures have been reviewing House Bill 1451, a bill that would ultimately force the university to reverse its decision, since it was proposed in Nov. 2014 following the university’s decision.

UT made the decision to change the names of all its athletics teams to the Tennessee Volunteers to become a unified brand when it switched to Nike in June 2015. Women’s basketball will be the only team to remain as the Lady Vols.

Following Monday’s decision, UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said that the compromise for women’s athletics to wear honorary patches was a compromise “that is in the best interest of all parties to continue to honor the Lady Vols.” Female athletes will be given the choice to continue wearing the patch after the 2016-2017 season ends.

“We realize there have been differences of opinion with the choice to use the Power T for all of our women’s athletics teams, except for basketball,” Cheek said. “A new branding effort and a combined athletics department, however, will never erase history and tradition.”

“My goal has always been to keep the brand alive for decades to come and to continue honoring Pat Summitt who was a legendary coach for women who has inspired other women by her great mentorship,” said Knoxville Rep. Roger Kane who sponsored the bill.

“The memories last forever and the Lady Vol names and the words on those uniforms and memories that are associated with those two words last long beyond the game.”

Edited by Cody McClure

Club Week: SHAG provides sexual education to UT students

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Amanda Alarcon and Victoria Long have noticed the lack of sexual education on UT’s campus. That’s why Alarcon joined the Sexual Health Advisory Group (SHAG) during her freshman year in 2012. Since then, she has been asked many questions about sexual health, including what a condom was.

Long transferred to UT from Pellissippi State in fall 2014. She had a class with Alarcon, and after having a discussion about sexual education she convinced Long to join SHAG. Now running as the organization’s co-chairs, the two hope to spread awareness about sexual health on campus.

“I think it is a huge problem that we don’t have this focus,” Long said. “This is about people’s health and about people’s lives, and so that’s why we do what we do.”

SHAG is a student-ran program through Planned Parenthood Generation Action to provide unbiased, non-judgmental and medically accurate sexual education and to advocate for sexuality issues affecting peers on UT’s campus, said Alarcon.

“We are all sexual beings, whether that’s remaining abstinent or not abstinent,” she said. “People don’t have the tools to take charge of their health which is scary. That’s a huge issue, and I think unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize that.”

This semester SHAG holds bi-weekly meetings, ranging from educational seminars to advocacy brainstorming, Fridays at 7 p.m. in Hodges 220E. One of the recent issues SHAG advocated for was the “Vote No on One” campaign that fought against Tennessee’s Amendment 1 bill that was passed at the beginning of this year.

“Even though it did pass our work isn’t done,” Long said. “We’re still here trying to fight the legislation that comes through.”

The organization is beginning to brainstorm ideas on how to reach out to UT’s community for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

SHAG member, Lauren Huguenard and co-chair, Victoria Long set up a table to show their support for Planned Parenthood. //Photo courtesy of SHAG
SHAG member, Lauren Huguenard and co-chair, Victoria Long set up a table to show their support for Planned Parenthood. //Photo courtesy of SHAG

SHAG also hosts other educational events including Dorm Storms, where resident advisors or hall directors have members of SHAG discuss educational topics with residents. Subjects range from overarching topics on sexual education, including sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, different birth control methods and healthy relationships, according to Alarcon.

“In the state of Tennessee, its abstinence-only education and often times, unfortunately, it’s very judgmental and it is not inclusive by any means,” she said. “(People) have never really been introduced to it before.”

Every educator has been trained in sexual education, and can answer questions ranging from birth control and reproductive rights to why it is important for a person with a cervix to get a Pap smear.

“We try to, through education, not only just educate our members but give them the tools to be able to go out and educate their friends,” she said.

For more information about SHAG, visit the organization’s Facebook page, SHAG: Sexxual Health Advisory Group of UTK, or email an executive at shag@utk.edu

Featured image courtesy of Amanda Alarcon

Edited by Jessica Carr

Profile: Arab-American author, consultant speaks on racial stereotypes

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In the 1970s, Dr. Jack Shaheen’s children would wake up early and enjoy Saturday morning cartoons starring their favorite cartoon heroes, Bugs Bunny and Popeye. One Saturday morning, however, Shaheen found his children watching an episode of their cartoon heroes hurting Arabian characters.

An Arab-American himself, this moment sparked Shaheen’s interest to investigate how Arabs and Muslims are portrayed in United States media. Now an author, former CBS news consultant and professor emeritus, Shaheen has made a name for himself in racial and ethnic stereotyping.

“I just began looking how television portrayed Arabs and I looked at eight years of television programming, everything from documentaries to sitcoms to dramas to children’s cartoons, and that led to my first book,” he said.

After studying years of programming, Shaheen concluded that Arabs and Muslims are mostly played as threats. He added that since Sept. 11, this image has intensified to not just Arabs and Muslims, but also Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans.

“We’ve had monolithic images of hate and distress, meaning we seldom—if ever—see an Arab or a Muslim like a normal human being,” he said. “The American Arabs and American Muslims who were (once) invisible in the media are now being targeted as a threat to this country.”

Shaheen has written several novels on the subject. His award-winning novel “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” was turned into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation in 2006. Shaheen said that it was an off-and-on 10 year project that has had a “profound impact” worldwide.

Krista Weigand, UT associate professor of political science and a faculty fellow of the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy, was influenced by Shaheen in the early 1990s when she had to read one of his novels in college. She now focuses her time on helping spread diversity awareness to Knoxville and UT.

“Any time there’s stereotypes and racism and simplification of an entire group of people, it’s really frustrating because (…) sometimes governments make bad policies, people are mistreated and in some cases violence against these people,” she said. “None of these things should be happening. There’s no reason based on stereotypes that people should be treated in certain ways.”

Shaheen headlined the second annual Arab Fest Thursday in the Toyota Auditorium at the Baker Center. Weigand thought that Shaheen was the right choice to start Arab Fest because of his knowledge and critical acclaim in Hollywood.

“I think the more people understand different cultures and also get to know people, individuals from those cultures, then they say ‘Oh wow, you’re not at all like I thought these people were,’” she said. “Once people are familiar with those cultures, they won’t be as nervous or scared about them.”

Shaheen said he has seen recent efforts from the media trying to “change the status quo of images.” One example is “Shimmer and Shine,” a Nickelodeon series that Shaheen was a cultural consultant for. He hopes to see this progression continue because the U.S. is the global leader of exporting entertainment.

“I’ve always said that my goal is to see Arabs and Muslims being portrayed like a normal group, no better or no worse,” he said.

Feature image by Thomas Delgado

Edited by Taylor Owens