“You Are Not Safe Here”

An anonymous email sent to 194 students from three email accounts on Sunday evening titled “you are not safe here” issued certain demands to students and administration regarding campus life. A blog post with the same message was also made public a few weeks earlier on March 31. The email and blog post circulated among students on the evening of Sunday, April 8 and quotes Dante’s Inferno and references inviting fellow ‘heretics’ to join them in Hell.

The email makes five specific demands. The first calls for “a true democratization of politics,” meaning rethinking the way politics are discussed on campus beyond an ideological divide. The second demand is that ideas, “not just our speech,” becomes free, and references the Code of Conduct policies at Wake Forest to encourage more integrity in thought. The Sixth Circle also calls for better treatment of campus employees, a complete end to Greek life and an overhaul of the curriculum to inspire more cross-cultural understanding.

It was allegedly written by five students who claim to have been ousted by the Wake Forest community, disguised under the names: “Dante, Virgil, Beatrice, Lucifer and Farinata. Heretics of the Sixth Circle.”

“We have been phased out of your clubs, kicked out of your parties, left out of your meetings, and passed over in your rushes,” wrote the post. “We are five students who are too afraid to speak to you as friends, too angry to speak to you calmly, too tired to speak to you loudly. We have chosen instead to scream.”

After receiving the email on Sunday, many students reported it and the blog post to Campus Police, referencing their concerns for safety on campus. They were not met with immediate action.

However, on Tuesday, April 11, Student Government met with Dean of Students, Adam Goldstein and Wake Forest Emergency Manager, August Vernon. Officials shared that the situation was being addressed by the Crisis Management Team, the Student Incident Team and the CARE team. Student Government and concerned students learned that Wake Forest collaborated with local and federal law enforement, who eventually reached the conclusion that the Sixth Circle’s message did not indicate a direct threat.

“I was confused when I initially got the email,” said one student who called the police at the request of members of their Greek organization. They asked to remain anonymous for safety concerns. “When I called University Police they didn’t really say much, instead they seemed like they had heard multiple people call already so they just wanted to hang up and move on.”

Other students involved in Greek life have voiced opinions regarding the statements against the Greek community, including about the call to end it completely because of its nature of exclusivity. The post also named specific Greek organizations in its criticisms.

“I appreciate that there are members of the Wake Forest community who are willing to share their concerns about the fraternity and sorority community, and I welcome the opportunity to partner with those community members to address those concerns,” said Jack Walsh, the president of the Interfraternity Council. “The fraternity community, like every community, has its strengths and its challenges.”

As students voiced their concerns regarding the email, the Office of Communications and External Relations sent an email to the entire student body on Monday, April 9 reiterating their position that they have found there is no direct threat to students in the message. They also invited students to talk with “caring staff” on Monday in Benson. This guided conversation ranged from students citing reasons for feeling unsafe on campus, to others sharing that they regularly feel unsafe because of their identities.

Other students felt less threatened by the message, citing that its theatrics were more intimidating than the message itself.

“While it was clearly an unconventional and provocative way to present grievances to the Wake Forest community, there were no explicit threats made to any individual nor the school in the post,” junior Charlie Engel said. “Wake needs to continue to take measures to protect freedom of expression, and this is an instance deserving of such.”

By Monday, conversations around campus ranged from fearful to comedic or satiric. For example, Fake Worest, the online satire newspaper, posted on Instagram about the sixth demand of the Sixth Circle being peanut butter in the Pit. Campus Grounds also named a coffee drink after the Sixth Circle called “Dante’s Mocha.”

“I do not feel threatened by the Sixth Circle; some of their concerns were actually valid,” freshman Lane Morris said. “Mostly, I am grateful that they inspired my new favorite drink at Campus Grounds: Dante’s Mocha. It’s delicious.”

Outgoing Student Government President Spencer Schiller voiced his opinion on the matter. Schiller noted that while dialogue is important, inciting fear is not the appropriate manner to begin conversation.

“Questioning institutional structures is important in driving the progressive nature of higher education, but only when done in a civil and academic nature,” Schiller said. “I believe that this language (‘you are not safe here,’ ‘your days are numbered’ and ‘welcome to hell’) has taken away from what seem to be legitimate concerns about the wellbeing of the Wake Forest community.”

Schiller also corrected specific points of the article, noting that some of their points are misinformed. He pointed out that a holistic curriculum review is already underway encouraging a greater emphasis on liberal arts. Further, that a Code of Conduct review will be published on April 17 and actively sought the advice of students. Finally, he added that Aramark is implementing a minimum wage of $11.10/hour to all Wake Forest employees.

While the campus was chattering with talk about the Sixth Circle on Monday, a range of emotions were heard as the message was ultimately a criticism of the student body. Students voiced fear, humor and even criticisms of how they delivered their message, noting that some of the underlying points were valid.

“The email initiated conversation purely based on the fact that it was provocative,” senior Chris Pearcey said. “Instead of taking an opportunity to foster a constructive dialogue, the authors were focused on having an overaggressive, uncompromising verbiage which ultimately weakened the piece’s potential effect.”

The Sixth Circle could not be reached for comment.

University Pledges Support of Paris Agreement

As a signatory of We Are Still In, a climate coalition of American businesses, states, cities and universities dedicated to working toward the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, Wake Forest is continuing its efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.

“In signing it, we’re saying we want to be responsible actors to preserve our planet,” said President Nathan O. Hatch in an interview. “What does that mean? We have to continue to work to that end.”

In 2015, 195 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement to take a collective step to stop the Earth’s temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, although it has already increased by 1 degree Celsius since 1900. A failure to stop rising temperatures would result in even more extreme weather events and more rising sea levels.

In the Paris Agreement, the U.S. pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent of the 2005 levels by 2025 and committed to providing $3 billion in aid to poorer nations by 2020. On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that he intended to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. Various subnational groups, including We Are Still In, formed in reaction to Trump’s move.

“Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below two degrees Celsius and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health,” reads the declaration of the We Are Still In coalition, the members of which represent $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.

“President Hatch publicly affirmed our commitment to addressing the very real threats posed by our changing climate with his signature on the list,” wrote Katie Neal, a university spokesperson, in an email.

The university’s signature in We Are Still In means that Wake Forest will continue its sustainability efforts, said Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, chief sustainability officer.

“There are three things,” Hatch said. “It’s the continuing to help to make our [carbon] footprint institutionally sustainable, continuing to help all of us live a lifestyle that is sustainable, and then having academic programs so that more of our students leave the university with sound knowledge of what’s happening in the world.”

Wake Forest has been working to improve the carbon footprint of its campus for years.

“Facilities organizations have always been change agents in that,” said John Shenette, the vice president of Facilities and Campus Services. “We have to be.”

“A lot of what’s driving the change on campus is efficiency and saving costs,” said Justin Catanoso, a journalism professor at Wake Forest who is a regular contributor at mongabay.com, an environmental news organization. “It accrues to a smaller carbon footprint, which helps in climate mitigation — that’s the end game.”

One aspect of the effort to reduce the carbon footprint of campus is improving the efficiency of the infrastructure and buildings on campus. In doing so, the amount of electricity that is used is reduced. According to an Environmental Protection Agency report from 2016, electricity generation accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gases, at 31 percent of greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

The installation of LED lighting is an improvement being made in the interiors and exteriors of buildings across campus.

“A typical interior lighting conversion saves about $35 a year in energy use,” said Doug Ecklund, the Building Systems manager. “By the end of this summer I will have been involved in about 3,500 LED conversions.”

Additionally, the renovations of residence halls Poteat, Huffman, Kitchin and Davis included efficiency and sustainability improvements. Taylor and Efird are slated to be renovated following graduation this year.

Occupancy sensors allow lights and temperatures to be changed when people are not in the room and have resulted in a 20 percent decrease in electricity usage. The ability for Facilities and Campus Services to adjust room temperatures remotely during breaks has also been installed.

The people within these buildings also play an integral role continuing Wake Forest’s sustainability efforts along the lines of its commitment to We Are Still In.

“That’s when you can actually affect change, when you put that many people together,” Catanoso said. “We’re not going to get to the goals of the Paris Agreement without the United States doing everything it can.”

Spring Musical Presents Relatable Themes

Visually and vocally stunning, the Wake Forest cast of Spring Awakening left the audience in awe. This spring musical, written by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, finds its roots within the 19th-century play by Frank Wedekind. It tells the tale of a town in Germany in 1891, where the world is dominated by the knowledge of the adults. The story covers the topics of sexuality, the shift from adolescence to adulthood, and morality, all while including bits of rock-n-roll. Sound confusing? To an outsider this does not sound like a typical musical, let alone a usual way for a musical to sound, but the Wake Forest cast helps display the importance of these themes in their exhilarating performance.

The plot follows as such. A young German girl, Wendla, has a desire to know where “babies come from” because she is a teenager and still doesn’t know. Her mother, mortified and baffled that she had the audacity to ask the question, beats around the answer. The avoidance of providing proper knowledge is a common theme throughout the story. On the other side of the town is a boy named Melchior who is defiant and provides support for his best friend Mortiz, who is currently blinded by puberty and potential academic failure. Melchior and Wendla stumble upon each other one afternoon and feel for the first time something they have been craving to experience. While they begin to fall in love, Moritz falls apart and slowly so does Wendla. The attempt for the kids to piece their world together against the odds creates a beautiful display of teenage rebellion and the effects of being suppressed by adults.

The Wake Forest production is directed by Sharon Andrews and has senior Caleb Cabiness (Melchior),  senior Anna Hibbert (Wendla) and senior Eli Bradley (Moritz) as its leads. The vocal talent of the cast can be seen easily in the production of each song. It is always fascinating to see how the music and lyrics tell the story away from the dialogue and the songs of Spring Awakening craft a beautiful storyline. Songs such as “The Bitch of Living” and “Totally F****d” act as pieces of rock that play a comical effect on a play set in the 19th century. Cabiness and Bradley especially shine in these two numbers, whether they are jumping off platforms mid-note or performing solos with ease. Hibbert’s songs as Wendla tend to be more ballads but equally display her vocal talent nonetheless. “Mama Who Bore Me” opens the show, and Hibbert performs it effortlessly. Again, her talents are displayed with “Whispering,” a sorrowful pea for how Wendla wants to be remembered in this world. Although it is an adjust from most musicals seen, the switch from rock to a ballad is a transition that does not phase the Wake Forest cast.

A specific mention needs to be given to the cast members of the show who play “Adult Woman” and “Adult Man:” Wake Forest professors Leah Elyce Roy and Michael Kamtman respectively. As the only adults of the show, they go from being teachers and headmasters of the school to playing the roles of various parents, and for Kamtman, the critical part of the doctor. While switching their characters scene to scene, their acting is so convincing that you believe they have transformed. Roy goes from being Wendla’s mother to Melchior’s in an instance and not a single bit of doubt inhibits you from not accepting it. They remain professional and never-troubled by their ever-changing roles.

The original concept for Spring Awakening created a chance for an eight-time Tony winning musical to be revived time and time again. Despite its story reflecting another century, the themes and story feel relatable for just about anyone who has gone through or currently is in their years of adolescence. The musical shifts and the pounding questions of morality attract the audience for successful work. The Wake Forest production beautifully adapts this Broadway production to The Tedford Stage and can be seen again this weekend. The shows run Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a final performance can be seen at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15.

Deacon Horoscopes

ARIES:

The stars have romantically aligned for you this week, fire sign. While waiting for your penne in the pasta line, you may suddenly find yourself striking up a flirty conversation with another carbs lover.

TAURUS:

Although your spring break trip was filled with drama, be careful when you gossip with your new “froomie.” You never know who will be sitting near you at the Pit or in line behind you at the P.O.D.

GEMINI:

During work study this week, it’s time for you to finally get to know your coworkers. As an air sign, you are sure to enjoy the light-hearted conversation during your shift.

CANCER:

This week, shake things up with a study session in Farrell Hall. Despite the fact that you are not in the Business school, the professional ambience, bagels and natural lighting will give you a much-needed creative boost.

LEO:

Although you can barely remember what you learned in HES 100 your first year, it may be time to look back at those powerpoints. Practice some much needed selfcare this week with a balanced diet and run in Reynolda Gardens.

VIRGO:

Your week-long lucky streak has begun. Whether you get one of the heavily sought-after 5th floor ZSR seats, an extra bag of chips from the vending machine or the last of the 336 Market sushi, take advantage of the universe’s good grace.

LIBRA:

Even though you are still dreaming of the tropical drinks enjoyed over break, don’t spend your lacking food dollars on a Forest Green smoothie that’ll make you late to class. Wait for the weekend and hit up the more economical Juice Shop instead.

SCORPIO:

Although you’ve already written a formidable number of papers during your college career, take a chance and stop by the reference desk with research questions. You never know what you will learn, or who you will meet.

SAGITTARIUS:

While you usually wait in the Starbucks line for your caffeine fix, it’s time to treat yourself. Make your way to Campus Grounds, and order one of their specialty drinks.

CAPRICORN:

Although you swore to never go out on a weekday again, Last Resort is calling your name tonight. Find a group of friends, turn on your “pump up” playlist and make sure you arrive no earlier than midnight.

AQUARIUS:

Happy birth month, Aquarius! To celebrate, make this the week to try new things. Wake up early before class to grab breakfast, take a group fitness class at Reynolds Gym, try a new order at Moe’s or head up to the OGB office and help with edits.

PISCES:

After trying to curb the late-night munchies in preparation for spring break, it’s time to embrace your cravings. When everything else on campus has closed, make your way to Zick’s or Subway for a satisfying late-night meal.

Sexual Assault Reckoning Has Yet to Come at Wake Forest

On a regular February morning in 2014, Elizabeth Kuehn didn’t wake up to her alarm.

Instead, she woke up to something alarming — a male student raping her.

Afterwards, Kuehn, then a sophomore, knew what happened but couldn’t process it. She didn’t cry for two weeks. She blamed herself for months. She constantly worried about taking action against her rapist, wondering if she could prevent him from doing it again.

In the four years that have passed, Kuehn fought to take back control and to heal.

Despite her accomplishments, the #MeToo movement caused Kuehn so much discomfort that she originally did not want to speak out.

When a man tried to grab her underwear through her dress in a bar, Kuehn decided her time had come. She recently published an online article, “Time for Me to Say #MeToo,” about the mental process behind her recovery.

“It’s a lot easier to be vocal when you’re angry than when you’re sad,” Kuehn said.

The #MeToo movement gained traction in October when, in the wake of scandals such as the Harvey Weinstein accusations, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged her Twitter followers to post their experiences of sexual misconduct online or to simply respond with #MeToo, assuring other survivors that they are not alone.

While #MeToo has empowered many people to come forward with their stories, the high frequency of sexual assault on college campuses, including Wake Forest, remains unseen. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 80 percent of sexual assaults committed against college women go unreported.

“We have no reason to believe that the Wake Forest campus is any different,” said Tanya Jachimiak, the Title IX coordinator. “We do know that the number of reports that we receive do not capture all of the survivors out there.”

There are many factors, both social and personal, that affect a student’s decision to report sexual violence. According to Steph Trilling, assistant director of the Safe Office, these can range from fear of not being believed to worries about consequences.

“Many students say that after an experience of sexual misconduct they just want things to go back to normal,” Trilling said. “Participating in a reporting process can remind them of their experience, which may contribute to further emotional distress.”

In May, Kuehn wanted to report with the school, but as her rapist had graduated, she would have had to press official legal charges. After talking with a criminal defense lawyer who told her that she had a strong case, Kuehn weighed her options. In the end, she made the right decision for herself: to not press charges.

“I thought it would hinder my healing process to have to go through that,” Kuehn said.

Exactly how many collegiate cases exist is hard to discern due to the lack of reporting. A poll by The Washington Post reported that 1 in 5 collegiate women are sexually violated.

According to the Wake Forest Annual Crime and Fire Report, there were 12 reported cases of fondling on campus from 2014 to 2016 and 10 reported cases of rape on campus in the same period.

Juniors Katy Marget and Emily Walton believe there is a high prevalence of sexual misconduct on campus. Together, they run an online blog, titled ‘End the Silence, Wake Forest,’ which publishes anonymous submissions from Wake Forest students in an effort to raise awareness about sexual violence.

On average, they receive three to four submissions per semester of direct stories about experiences of sexual misconduct in addition to the many that express support of survivors.

Marget believes that the anonymity gives more power to the stories than it might take away in how it exemplifies the prevalence of sexual misconduct.

“When you’re reading [the blog], it’s someone you could have class with, it’s someone you could walk by every day,” Marget said.

After publishing her article, Kuehn received responses from 14 current and former Wake Forest students — many of whom she didn’t know — who shared with her their similar experiences. In the era of #MeToo, Kuehn hopes that the stigma of sexual misconduct will dissipate.

“It shouldn’t be that scary for me to tell people that I was raped because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Kuehn said. “What am I so afraid of?”

 

Bias Incident Report Creates Controversy

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, senior Ryan Wolfe appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to speak about Wake Forest’s response to a bias incident report he submitted regarding perceived harassment he was facing by his peers. On the show, he claimed that the university’s perceived lack of effective action in response to his report exemplified that the university’s policies against bias are not enforced equally for all students.

Wolfe submitted the report a year and a half ago in the fall of 2016, against a group of students who he claims violated the Code of Conduct and harassed him for his race and political views. Wolfe was upset with the way the university handled the situation. The story broke following an article published by The Wake Forest Review on Monday, Feb. 26, and has since garnered national attention.

The article, titled “Wake Forest Declines to Enforce Harassment Policies for Conservative Student,” has been picked up by several online conservative media platforms. Various publications include The Daily Caller, College Fix, Truth Revolt and Drudge Report, many of them reinforcing The Review’s claim that Wolfe’s experience exemplifies the university’s inconsistent approach to bias incident reports, and can be generalized to reflect the experiences of many conservative students on what they consider liberal college campuses.

Wolfe filed the incident report in question after an encounter he had with fellow students at a panel discussion titled “The Future of the GOP,” held on Oct. 26, 2016. The event was hosted at the Wake the Vote hub and was sponsored by College Republicans — of which Wolfe was president at the time — The Wake Forest Review and Wake the Vote.

All four students speaking on the panel were white, something many attendees found issue with. In response to a photo posted on Facebook of the four panelists, junior Char Van Schenck commented “loving the lineup” with a photo of four Saltine crackers. As this gained more attention on Twitter, Wolfe responded to a related tweet by junior Brianna Reddick, saying, “Your mentions aren’t a safe space and neither is this panel. See you there.” Reddick responded: “if you don’t GET your mayonnaise monster looking asss OUT my mentions.”

Van Schenck, along with several other students, later attended the event after learning about the all-white speaker lineup.

“The intention was to go to the panel and ask questions to show the shortsightedness and ignorance of The Review,” junior David Ajamy said.

Other students that were involved with attending the panel, but who did not participate in handing Wolfe the crackers, were contacted as a result of the Bias Reporting System investigation. Richard Caban Cubero (‘17) was a senior at the time.

“I was a concerned student who attended the event with fellow queer and black and brown students, because we were concerned about the line up being completely white,” Caban Cubero said.

Throughout the question and answer session, only four crowd members were allowed to speak, the last of which was Van Schenck, who asked why the entire panel was white. Following the panel discussion, Reddick approached Wolfe and handed him a box of Saltine crackers. She then posted a photo of this on Twitter with the caption, “Today, I handed the saltiest Republican a box of Saltine crackers.”

Although Wolfe had seen Van Schenck’s comment about Saltine crackers on Facebook prior to this and had responded to a related tweet by Reddick, he “knew that something like that would not be tolerated if a similar thing had happened to someone of any other race here.” Wolfe also called the incident after the panel event “next-level” and “more personal” than what had been circulating online.

When the Anna Julia Cooper Center Director, Melissa Harris-Perry, and the Executive Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute, Marianne Magjuka, heard about the incident, they encouraged Wolfe to file a bias incident report with the university. A few days later, Wolfe received screenshots of a GroupMe conversation in which his face photoshopped onto a cracker had circulated further. He added this to the bias report, and met with Dean of Students Adam Goldstein a few weeks later on Nov. 9 — the day after President Trump’s election.

Goldstein told Wolfe that he had three options: to file a “no contact” order, to try and mediate, or to bring in a judicial case against the students involved. Wolfe decided to file a “no contact” order request against Ajamy and then-senior Madeline Coffey (‘17), to request mediation with Caban Cubero and Van Schenck, and to request a judicial case against Reddick and then-sophomore Julius Goble. Neither Coffey nor Ajamy were made aware of the request for a no contact order, as the university declined to issue them. Coffey was out of town the day of the panel discussion.

“If we had it my way we would just abide by the First Amendment and we wouldn’t have all these rules,” Wolfe said. “But if we’re going to have these strict rules and this Bias Reporting System, then everyone needs to be held accountable in the exact same way … regardless of your identity, regardless of your politics, regardless of national political events.”

A few weeks passed and Dean Goldstein, along with Director of the LGBTQ Center Angela Mazaris, had a 2.5 hour discussion with some of the students involved, not including Wolfe. The students spoke with administrators about keeping actions respectful and were asked to reflect on how they had responded to Wolfe’s political views.

“The bias response team had determined that our jokes were not sufficient to justify a restraining order or juridical action because they could not point to any actual violence that we had justified toward Ryan Wolfe,” Van Schenck said.

Wolfe spoke with Goldstein to ask if any further action had been taken beyond the discussion with the students.

“I was told, in many words, by Adam Goldstein that President Trump’s election somehow justified their behavior even though the incident happened before [the election], and if I brought a judicial case it would be worse for me,” Wolfe said during his appearance on Fox News.

Because it was nearing the end of the fall semester, Wolfe chose to drop the issue, even though he disagreed with Bias Reporting Committee’s response to his complaints. When asked why he waited until a year and a half later to share his experience, Wolfe noted that he feared pursuing the issue would have reflected negatively on College Republicans, as his role as their president required he have a working relationship with Goldstein. He also cited fear of retribution from the university, whereas now he is a senior about to graduate.

“Looking back 1.5 years later, I agree with the committee that my actions were juvenile,” Van Schenck said. “However, they were not violent, especially not in a way that put Ryan in any danger. As such, the conversation was enough to get me to realize the error of my ways without over-punishing me.”

As a result of The Review’s article going viral, Van Schenck has been the recipient of targeted backlash online.

“With the maturity and experience I’ve gained, I would not have published the single joke that I made on Facebook,” Van Schenck said. “However, I don’t think that this should be the center of conversation. The fact that my name and face has been circulating around far-right, neo-Nazi circles of Twitter and Reddit is unacceptable.”

Reddick has deleted the Twitter account on which she posted the photo of herself handing Wolfe the box of crackers. She did not respond to the Old Gold & Black’s request for comment.  

While Caban Cubero was not directly involved in the incidents mentioned, they do not think that the actions were wrong.

“Had I participated in the act, I would’ve defended the handing of the cracker box, because drawing attention to the lack of racial diversity on the panel does not equate the the dangerous actions Ryan Wolfe and other students at the predominantly-white Wake Forest Review took to alienate and attack marginalized communities on Wake Forest’s campus,” Caban Cubero said, referring to various articles published by The Review on topics such as bias, immigration and race.

The day before the election, Wolfe and Caban Cubero, then unaware of the report, met to have an informal conversation on politics and views in general.

“We connected on a variety of issues and had really great conversation,” Caban Cubero said.

“It went well and we found common ground. It was essentially a mediation without a mediator. I thought and think they are a reasonable person,” Wolfe said. Wolfe has also been working in collaboration this semester with Van Schenck for an unrelated event, for whom he had submitted the other mediation request.

“I do not, by any standard, hate Ryan Wolfe as a person,” Van Schenck said. “I think that his politics are terrible, and the article published on his behalf by Anthony Palumbo has done real violence to students of color and LGBTQ students on campus. But this won’t prevent me from engaging in constructive dialogue with him or any member of the Right on campus.”

At the time of this series of events, tensions on campus were high, specifically within political groups such as Wake the Vote. Ajamy, who had been in Wake the Vote with Wolfe since his freshman year, said that the incidents involving Wolfe, specifically the photoshop meme, were “a joke, but nonetheless a mean joke.”

In a statement, Executive Director of News and Communications Katie Neal wrote of Wolfe’s comments on Carlson, “We can say that the narrative oversimplifies a complex situation that took place 16 months ago in the heat of a polarizing national election.”

“I think many of Ryan’s views and the Review’s views are dangerous, and devalue identities on campus by telling people that they don’t belong,” Ajamy said. “[Many students] saw [Wolfe] as the epitome of The Review, of the right, and Ryan puts himself out there.”

Of the circulation online, Wolfe said, “It’s strange to have this social media mob be created and start coming at you, but not surprising in the sense that, in Wake the Vote, I was by far the most outspoken conservative student. I knew that some people in the group were not a fan of my politics, and by extension me.”

Ajamy said that Wolfe was not on a friendly basis with many because of his outspoken political views, and said that having heated discourse was not uncommon between members of Wake the Vote.

“The arguments, while not always the most progressive in getting beyond the political climate, were important for us to express our emotions and be open with each other; it brought us together as a cohort and helped us to understand the political climate of America,” Ajamy said. “I don’t think making a meme out of him is productive. Giving him a box of crackers is ridiculous. It’s all kinda stupid and childish.”

Goldstein and Goble did not respond to a request for comment.

Heather Hartel and Becky Swig contributed reporting.

*A previous version of this article stated that Reddick handed Wolfe a box of crackers with his face Photoshopped on them. This was error; it was a regular box of crackers. The print version of this article is shorter than what appears online due to space constrictions.

Campus Play, “The Adding Machine,” Explores Existentialism

Though you enter The Adding Machine expecting to see a play about the perils of technology and the way it changes society and humanity, your general questioning about humanity after the play will certainly not be about technology, but instead will focus on mortality and whether being a good person even matters. Continue reading “Campus Play, “The Adding Machine,” Explores Existentialism”

Carl Bernstein Explores Echoes of Watergate

“The best obtainable version of the truth.” Renowned journalist Carl Bernstein repeatedly emphasized this ideal, which he said has guided his decades-long career in reporting, at his lecture at the Temple Emanuel synagogue on Feb. 24. Bernstein was sponsored by the Winston-Salem branch of the United Jewish Appeal and spoke to more than one hundred congregants and members of the Winston-Salem community. Continue reading “Carl Bernstein Explores Echoes of Watergate”

Downtown Alternatives to the ZSR

As midterms are just beginning to creep up on students, finding a reliable spot to study is almost as important as having a full cup of coffee. For a new source of inspiration and focus, here are three alternative off-campus study locations:

Forsyth County Central Library 

Although most students know the ZSR Library like the back of their hands, almost no one from Wake Forest makes use of the Forsyth County Central Library.

Only eight minutes away from campus, located at 660 W 5th St, the library is outfitted with multiple study areas, free wifi and places to charge your devices.

Having been closed for renovations since 2014, the library finally reopened in August 2017 with a new, modern design and plentiful resources. Including multiple meeting rooms and an open-air terrace, the library offers alternatives to cramped ZSR tables and dimly lit study halls. On top of all of this, it is much easier to find an open table at this quiet location.

The library is free to the public and open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. With functioning hours everyday, students can make the most of this easy-to-access study spot.

Wake Downtown and Bailey Park 

Since many students already travel to Wake Downtown for their classes, utilizing the building for studying is almost free of hastles. Thanks to the shuttle that constantly runs, it takes only a few minutes to settle down in one of the study rooms or lobby areas in the space.

“Wake downtown has a student lounge on the base floor that has a printer, chairs and tables. On the top floors, there is a great view of downtown. There is even a coffee shop that has ample room for studying,” freshman Justin Neuberger said. “I like studying there because it is quiet and full of natural light. I feel less stressed while I work at Wake Downtown.”

Right across from the entrance to Wake Downtown is Bailey Park, a small grassy area with paved seating. With spring quickly approaching, make plans to study outside with friends, settling down at one of the tables or bringing along your own blanket to spread out in the grass. With longer hours of sunlight and some snacks, this is the ideal spot to hunker down and finish readings.

Krankies Coffee Shop and Bar 

Located right near Wake Downtown, this coffee shop and restaurant is an ideal study spot that only a few students regularly utilize. With a steady supply of caffeine and meals, Krankies offers a fitting scene for studying, alone or with a group of friends.

With affordable coffees and teas for sale, as well as dishes like the $8 “Grilled Cheese Hero” and $11 “Mother Salad,” the restaurant also offers a great alternative to the usual study break at Benson. For those 21 and over, Krankies also has a fully functioning bar to sneak in a drink after a day of studying.

The only negative about settling down at Krankies is the lack of charging outlets. However, with fully charged devices and notes on hand, one can make the most of the space’s calm atmosphere and thought-inducing lighting.

Ultimately, breaking out of the campus bubble can be difficult, especially when it comes to studying and doing homework. With a little bit of effort, however, one can enjoy the modern library, resourceful Wake Downtown or mouth watering food at Krankies at a moment’s notice.

Brittney Cooper Lectures on Race and Feminism

Author and black feminist Brittney Cooper gave her lecture, “Respectability. Ratchetness. Rage.” on Feb. 13 in Carswell to approximately 60 students and community members. She is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She is also a prolific author, a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective Blog and a contributor at Cosmopolitan. Her commentary has been highlighted on platforms ranging from the TED Talk stage to The New York TimesContinue reading “Brittney Cooper Lectures on Race and Feminism”

TEDxWakeForestU sparks “Out of the Box” Thinking

This past Saturday, Feb. 17, students, faculty, and staff from Wake Forest University — along with community members from the Winston-Salem area — gathered together to listen to speakers from all over the world share their expertise at TEDxWakeForestU.

From the start, the atmosphere brimmed with anticipation and excitement as Arthur Willson, the event’s Lead Organizer and Student Curator, introduced the event and the year’s theme, “The Broken Box.” Following the event, Willson described a brainstorming session where a member of the organizing team discussed the importance of thinking outside the box. “Why are there boxes in the first place?” the team asked as the conversation shifted. An urge to think differently became what Willson describes as an exploration into the question of “what are those boxes that are keeping us from our full potential, and what innovative ways can we — not only think outside of them — but completely break them, shaping our futures and also the future of the world?”

This year’s TEDx topics ranged from how to empower entrepreneurs worldwide to the potential for blockchain technology; from human capacity to solve problems aided by artificial intelligence to combatting neurodegenerative diseases with improvisational dance; from ending human trafficking to redefining the medical delivery system and living life to its fullest potential. Presenters examined new and old problems from different perspectives to empower us to redefine the future for ourselves and for others.

“I was really impressed with the topic variability and aesthetic presentation of the TEDx event,” freshman William Zhang said.

Following his talk, Fred Blackburn, the Executive Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton, discussed how his topic related to the overall theme of the event.

“I give talks about [Artificial Intelligence] a fair bit, and I think [this notion of thinking outside of the box is] about getting past the fear; [to start] thinking about the possibilities,”  Hamilton said.

This sentiment was echoed by his son, freshman Kyle Blackburn. “[These ideas] are much more ‘the road less traveled by,’ which helped me expand my vision of what the world could be and see the new possibilities in the future to help me envision my role in that.”

As college students, the broken box theme is especially salient. In today’s world, many students enter as freshmen knowing they are “pre-med” or “pre-business” — a self imposed limitation on what one can study. During an interview, Zoe Walling, the Master of Ceremonies for TEDxWakeForestU, shared, “the broken box is a more active and empowering way for you, as an individual, to overcome whatever hurdles you may face.”

Speaker Peter Cortle discussed hurdles entrepreneurs face daily. In his work with Cornell students and faculty, he assists them in identifying their creative visions and overcoming potential limitations, allowing them to reach their goals. Life contains many boxes, Cortle conveyed, and each person met — or new resource, connection or opportunity gained — is one more box broken. Each broken box can facilitate personal growth and expands one’s scope of influence. His platform, StartupTree, bridges the gap between investors and entrepreneurial students and alumni. Each connection he makes, and each connection he facilitates, pushes every party involved one step closer to their true potential.

After the death of a close friend, Sebastian Terry, another inspiring presenter, realized he was not happy with his life and had not achieved all he desired. He created a list of 100 things that would add meaning to his life. After sharing a few items he checked off, such as crashing a red-carpet event and marrying a stranger in Las Vegas, he transitioned to his new purpose: empowering others to achieve their goals in life. His personal list, he realized, was really a platform he could use to inspire others to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

Both Cortle and Terry embody the generous spirit of this year’s TEDxWakeForestU speakers who imparted an amazing gift: a precedent. Collectively, they showed that whatever the challenges in life may be, by not only thinking outside the box, but breaking — and redefining those borders — people can understand what they want in life.

How Performing Arts Played a Role in Civil Rights

Paige McGinley delivered a lecture titled “The Sociodramatic Experiment” in the Scales Fine Arts Center’s Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery on Feb. 13. McGinley is an Associate Professor of Performing Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and received the Eroll Hill Award and John W. Frick book prize for her book, “Staging the Blues: From Tent Shows to Tourism.” Continue reading “How Performing Arts Played a Role in Civil Rights”

Week of Sleep Illuminates the Issue of Sleep Deprivation on Campus

It causes higher stress levels, decreased academic performance, decreased memory and a weakened immune system. It increases risk for mental health issues, automobile accidents, cancer and weight gain … and it affects 70 percent of college students, specifically those at high-ranked universities such as Wake Forest.

Sleep deprivation is an issue that most students struggle with on a daily basis, but one that has been normalized so much that it is not often spoken about beyond comments of “you look tired” and the frequent observance of glazed-over eyes and the aged neck-jerk indicator of students nodding off in class.

In order to combat the trend, the Office of Wellbeing orchestrated the third-annual Sleepin’ Deacon initiative which  comprised last week’s Week of Sleep and a two-week Sleepin’ Deacon challenge through which many students have pledged to exercise healthy sleep habits and log their sleep quality.

The Week of Sleep included workshops on sleep as it pertains to subjects like mindfulness, nutrition, sound and restorative yoga.

According to a study conducted by the Office of Wellbeing last week through their Sleep Week initiative, members of the Wake Forest community have an average “sleepiness score” of 9.745 — a score categorized as moderately to excessively sleepy by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.  Those scoring higher than 10 are asked to consider seeking medical attention.

“Wake Forest University harbors an academically rigorous environment that pushes faculty, staff and students alike to perform their best. However, everything comes at a cost and for some that cost is sleep,” said Allie Chambers ‘17, a Campus Life Fellow who works with the Office of Wellbeing and has coordinated all Sleepin’ Deacon events. “The purpose of Sleepin’ Deacon is to give people the tools and knowledge they need to improve their sleep habits and therefore their overall wellbeing.”

While an undergraduate, Chambers started the student marketing team MRKT, and has largely applied that skill in marketing efforts associated with Sleepin’ Deacon. Students may have noticed vertical mattresses displayed across campus in the library, outside of the Benson food court and in Reynolda, as well as the eye-catching picket signs spread across lower and upper quad depicting animals yawning and facts about sleep.

“We put more effort into the social media marketing that accompanies the program [this year],” said Emma Baske, who is an administrative intern with the Office of Wellbeing and has been assisting Chambers. “In terms of involvement, we have about double the number of people officially enrolled in the challenge, and I’m hoping they will all be able to complete it.”

Before the challenge began on Feb. 12, students and staff participating were asked to complete an initial survey which asked about each individual’s current sleep habits, including average bed time, whether they use technology right before bed and how many hours they typically get in a night. The survey of 55 participants revealed that the average person got 6.65 hours of sleep, as compared to the recommended minimum of seven hours.

“I believe the culture of sleep deprivation on Wake Forest’s campus is more normalized than the standard [campus],” said senior Soo JeongLee, who is doing the challenge. “The fact that the library provides late night foods during finals week proves that most students stay up late and do not get enough sleep, especially during weeks with a heavier workload.”

While Chambers is aware that the initiative may not get students to get more sleep, she hopes that students at least improve sleep quality if increasing the hours of sleep quantity is out of the question.

“We are trying to get people to not only increase the amount of sleep they are getting, but also the quality of that sleep,” Chambers said. “Sleep is essential for improving things like academic performance, memory, heart health, weight loss, and immune function, and it reduces stress, anxiety, risk of cancer, and risk of depression.”

The student organization with the most members participating will earn $200 worth of printing money at the end of the two weeks, something which motivated some students participating.

“[Printing money] would greatly help us out for marketing future events,” said senior Jessica Huang. “It also helped that I knew several other people doing the challenge as well.” Others are authentically drawn to the topic of sleep deprivation and are using the challenge as a way to improve their own habits.

“I hope that I can learn to put away my phone earlier; however I know that it won’t be an hour earlier as Thrive suggests. Electronics and entertainment are two of the biggest factors that I believe contribute to not getting enough sleep,” JeongLee said. “Stress is another category that I believe contributes to lost hours, especially on college campuses. De-stressing is a lot easier said than done.”

When asked in the initial survey what they thought would be the greatest challenge throughout the two weeks, more than half of respondents cited electronics, specifically breaking the habit of checking one’s phone before bed. The challenge guidelines recommend that participants avoid using electronics for a full hour before going to bed.

Two years ago, in 2016, online media site The Tab published an article exposing the correlation between U.S. News and World Report rankings and average student bedtimes in prominent American colleges. Data generated by fitness products company Jawbone revealed that, over the course of their three-year study, the average Wake Forest student slept 7.12 hours in a night, on par with William and Mary, but higher  than that of comparable colleges such as University of Notre Dame (6.71) and NC State (7.04).

Thanks to efforts led by CHARGE a few years ago, the ZSR Library implemented the ZieSta Room, a space with comfy chairs in the 24-hour room dedicated to allowing students the opportunity to nap while pulling late nights in the main library.

This year’s participants may earn a Wake Forest sweatshirt blanket upon completion of the challenge. Each night, participants are asked to try two of the recommended sleep tactics, which include avoiding large meals before bed, using scented lotion or aromatherapy and ensuring that one’s sleep environment is dark.

“The issue of sleep deprivation tends to be pretty prevalent among college students, regardless of the institution they are attending,” Baske said. “The main issue is that students are trying to balance so many things — class, homework, clubs, exercise, socializing, eating — so sleep is usually the first thing that gets compromised. One of the main goals of Sleepin’ Deacon is to raise awareness about how sleep affects overall wellbeing, so students can learn to prioritize it.”

Unmasking the Demon Deacon

Senior Brittany Ezer has discreetly lived her four years at Wake Forest with a pretty big secret: she is one of the many faces behind the Demon Deacon mascot. Beginning during the second week of her freshman year, Ezer has been working the crowds and walking the walk as one of the mascots at everything from football and basketball games to volunteer and charity events. Continue reading “Unmasking the Demon Deacon”

Margot Lee Shetterly shares the story of “Hidden Figures”

Wait Chapel neared its maximal occupancy on Feb. 5, a testament to the power of storytelling and the influence of the past on the present. Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, delivered a poignant keynote address to students, faculty and community members, regarding the nature of black history and its role in the American story.

Shetterly began her speech with her own beginnings. The daughter of a NASA researcher and English teacher, she acknowledged that her upbringing made the frequently-neglected role of African Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields a “matter of fact,” quipping that the first engineer she ever knew was black and the first black person she ever knew was an engineer.

Shetterly also spoke of her upbringing in Hampton, VA, a community filled with NASA engineers, mathematicians and researchers. This community was permeated by the influence of the groundbreaking African Americans whose contribution to America’s success in World War II and the space race proved invaluable, according to Shetterly.

These men and women, lacking the opportunity, respect and status of their white counterparts, made possible numerous groundbreaking technological feats and helped land Neil Armstrong on the moon. Why, then, Shetterly asked, is their story so overlooked?

Shetterly posed several possible reasons. The black women who worked at the Langley Research Center for NASA were subjugated to “a land of marshes and mosquitos known as the West Area,” Shetterly said. Their seclusion in the woods behind Langley made them less visible, more apt to be forgotten.

Additionally, they were hired as “sub-professionals,” Shetterly said, a title lesser in prestige and pay than their male counterparts, despite their equivalent workloads. Female specialists in calculating flight paths, aerodynamics and gust alleviation were rarely allowed in important meetings at Langley, despite the profound impacts of their work, Shetterly noted.

But perhaps, Shetterly added, dwelling on the reasons for the oversight of the “hidden figures” is a futile distraction from the more important question: “What else did we miss?”

Freshman Andy Killebrew found Shetterly’s speech both inspirational and of historical value by placing prolific black innovators in the context of an interconnected American story rather than relegating them to the confines of black history. “[Shetterly’s speech is] notable for the manner in which it challenged the very lens through which we examine history,” Killebrew said.

Shetterly called on her readers to see firsts as beginnings, not ends; the successes of such female African American mathematicians as Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn, in Shetterly’s opinion, do not represent a final step in the pursuit of black excellence, but a beginning from which to progress, a legacy to not only uphold, but to further.

Shetterly left the audience with questions for themselves to address: “What have you missed? What is it you know that the rest of us have missed?” She requested that we simply listen to stories and tell them, too.

After a short question-and-answer session, spoken word poet and Wake Forest’s Program Manager of Pre-College Programs, Donovan Livingston, delivered a passionate performance of his most recent work, “Quasar” to conclude the evening.

Livingston, whose 2016 Harvard graduation speech received viral attention, spoke lovingly of his black predecessors whose influence shaped American history and fiercely of the patriarchy and racial stigmas that preclude African Americans and women. Blending themes of adversity and triumph through references to the interstellar, Livingston equated the scientific, social, and political influence of the hidden figures to celestial bodies called quasars, which emit massive amounts of energy despite their remote seclusion in the vastness of the cosmos.

The talk was affiliated with Project Wake: Exploring Difference and Embracing Diversity, and was sponsored by the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Math and Physics, the Office of the Dean of the College, the Division of Campus Life, the Intercultural Center, the Office of Personal and Career Development, the Provost Office, Wake Downtown and the Women’s Center.