The Crimson White: Rumor Edition, November 2021

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Rumors spread quickly on campus and tend to linger. In this edition, The Crimson White confirms or debunks some of the most notorious rumors that surround our campus.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2021

VOLUME CXXVIII | ISSUE V

Rumors spread quickly on campus

and tend to linger. In this edition, The

Crimson White confirms or debunks

some of the most notorious rumors that

surround our campus.

CW / Laney Davis

How does the Machine survive at UA?

ISABEL HOPE

ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

He had heard rumors of the Machine,

a 100-year-old underground political

organization of sorority and fraternity

members that controls campus

elections. When he walked up to a

Student Government Association table

to ask about it, he was told the Machine

didn’t exist.

McGehee, who graduated from the

University in 2020, was an independent

Senator who served on the SGA

Financial Affairs Committee. He also

worked on multiple campaign teams for

independent candidates who were not

Machine affiliated.

“I guess my assessment of the

Machine’s influence on SGA elections

is that they don’t have an influence,”

McGehee said. “They run the elections.”

Machine actions over the years have

included burning crosses, burglary,

vandalism and boycotts of local

businesses.

The Machine was investigated by the

FBI in 1983 after non-Machine SGA

President John Bolus discovered that his

phone was being tapped.

The SGA was temporarily shut

down after a non-Machine presidential

candidate reported being assaulted in

1993.

In 2013, a school board member

filed a lawsuit claiming the Machine

illegally influenced a city election by

incentivizing students with alcohol and

concert tickets.

In the ’90s, the Machine allegedly

stole over 4,000 copies of The Crimson

White after learning that an expose on

the organization was going to be printed

the day before an SGA election.

The Members

Alex Smith, who graduated from the

University in 2018, was an SGA Senator

and member of the Machine.

Smith said she was directed

to the Machine after rushing Phi

Mu, a Machine-affiliated sorority

and expressing interest in student

government.

“I knew it was kind of my key or my

ticket to obtaining an SGA position if

I wanted one,” she said. “I was assured

that it was nothing bad. I was told that

it was a group of people comprised

of members of the Greek system that

essentially looked out for other members

of the Greek system, kind of like a voting

bloc.”

Smith said the Machine became a

larger part of her life once she won a seat

in the Senate. She was told by Machine

representatives within her sorority that

she was part of a “select, secret group of

senators” and not to tell anyone about

the meeting.

“Once I got the OK from my Machine

reps in my house to run and I obtained

a Senate position, I became much more

familiar with the Machine, considering

that I became one of their senators,”

she said. “Over the span of a couple of

months I became more familiar with the

inner workings and what exactly being

a part of the Machine entailed. To me, it

was much more than just a voting blocc.

It was a way that members of the Greek

system coerced those in power to vote a

specific way.”

McGehee echoed this sentiment.

“I did overhear a Machine-affiliated

graduate senator, when we were going

into a Senate meeting, say, ‘I’ve been

instructed on what to vote on tonight,’”

he said. “It was a joke, but that’s literally

what they do. They’ll send the text

message and be like ‘Hey, this is how

we’re voting tonight.’”

A freshman sorority member, who

chose to remain anonymous, said

she became immediately aware of the

Machine while rushing this year.

They sat us [sorority members]

down the week before we got initiated,

and they were like, ‘This is how we are

involved in the Machine,’ or ‘the group,’

as they called it,” she said. “The girl who

is directly involved with the Machine

told us who she was and to the capacity

she’s involved in it. This was right when

homecoming elections were coming up.”

She said the Machine representative

encouraged them to vote for presumably

Machine-backed candidate McLean

Moore. She decided not to participate in

the “24/7” homecoming campaign for

Moore.

“I just chose not to be a part of that,” she

said. “Not to put myself in that position

publicly. I didn't post any of her graphics

for things. I didn’t associate myself with

the Machine-backed candidate.”

McGehee said every sorority involved

with the Machine has a representative

who reaches out to members to tell them

who the Machine-backed candidate is in

every election.

He drafted an amendment while he

was in office to make election results

public on the website in perpetuity.

He had approval from the then-SGA

president and other Machine-affiliated

people. The amendment passed the

Senate, but once Machine members

realized it would make results public that

“included reference to the Machine,” it

lost their support.

They had reps going through houses

saying that reporting the voting results

publicly was supporting cyberbullying,”

he said.

McGehee said there is a “weird air”

in the SGA offices when it comes to the

Machine.

“You’re not allowed to talk about it,”

he said.

SEE PAGE 4A

CONTENTS

4A

Cult

CULTURE

leaders

can come from

anywhere, even The

University of Alabama

3B

NEWS

Campus crosswalks

are slippery. The real

question is: Are

they safe?

4B

SPORTS

Alabama is famous for

football, but what else

does it offer?

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2A

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The Capstone

6 - 7PM

17

The Buzz

10 About Bees

Exhibit

Alabama Museum of

Natural History

10AM - 4:30PM

NOVEMBER EVENTS

SMGA Exhibit:

True Likeness

15 15

103 Garland Hall

9AM - 4:30PM

MFA Dance

Concert

English Building

Dance Theater

7:30 - 9PM

6

Forward

Movement

Paul R. Jones

Museum

9AM - 5PM

Trans Day of

19 Remembrance

Vigil

Student Center Lawn

6PM

Tree

23 Decorating 30

Alabama Museum of

Natural History

10AM - 4:30PM

23

UA Student

Coffee Hour

Alabama Museum of

Natural History

11AM - 12PM

RUMOR

November 18, 2021

Field Trip to

Birmingham

Museum of Art

9AM - 4PM

DECEMBER EVENTS

Exam Week

Begins

Monday - Friday

2

Mind Matters:

Academic 2

Anxiety

UA Student Center

3104

12PM - 1PM

Freshwater

Mussel Exhibit

Alabama Museum of

Natural History

10AM - 12PM

Cinnamon

7 Rolls, Not

Gender Rolls

UA Student Center

2418 1PM - 2PM

10 10

Study Abroad

101 Session

B.B. Comer Hall 144

2PM - 2:30PM

8

Fall

Graduation

Coleman Coliseum

6PM

Native

17 American Film

Festival

UA Student Center

Theater

5 - 11PM

Gilman

Scholarship

Workshop

B.B. Comer Hall 109

1:30PM - 2:30PM

13

Winter Interim

Begins

Monday, December

13th


RUMOR

November 18, 2021

3A

CW File

OUR VIEW: It’s our job to investigate rumors

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The Crimson White is not deterred

from tackling big issues, reporting

overlooked events or facing our

campus’s challenges head on. Our staff

aims to continue this work through

the rumor edition, which confirms

or debunks rumors that surround our

campus. The University of Alabama

is a well-known institution. From

our highly decorated football team to

our expansive research opportunities,

we have certainly earned a place

in national dialogue. The CW is a

valuable part in this conversation.

Rumor 1: Students at The University

of Alabama do not care about ending

COVID-19.

This rumor is a difficult one to tackle

since the subject of the pandemic

inherently invites the consideration

of many other issues, but we can start

with the reporting that has been done

on this topic. Are our students placing

themselves, and the surrounding

community, at risk?

During the summer of 2020, the

campus community gained national

attention for a number of concerning

headlines, all with the same idea:

that UA students were intentionally

hosting parties to encourage the

spread of COVID-19. These headlines

were in no short supply.

From ABC News to the Associated

Press to Insider, national news outlets

flocked to this story until it became its

own pandemic legend. The University

has rebutted this story many times,

but the myth has left a stain on the

University’s reputation, painting our

student body as reckless, careless and

even malicious.

Verdict: Insufficient evidence.

The University of Alabama has a

reputation for being a “party school,”

and its students have a reputation

for being football fanatics who are

unafraid to swarm the city’s bars on

game days. However, this reputation

does not necessarily mean that

students have intentionally spread a

virus for fun or to earn money through

bets. The source of these rumors is

somewhat vague in nature, circulating

through the staff of a local urgent

care facility, who cited recordings of

students engaging in these practices.

These videos have yet to be uncovered

or published online.

It appears to us at The CW that

parties that occur during the pandemic

are only “COVID parties” in the sense

that any large-scale gathering risks

the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The virus’s spread does not need to

be intentional in order for it to still

happen.

The University of Alabama is not

the only place that has inspired fears

of “COVID parties,” with similar

headlines cropping up in Florida,

Washington State and Texas.

In the absence of proof that people

are spreading the COVID-19 virus

intentionally, our reporting on the

pandemic has instead focused on what

the University is doing to curtail the

spread of the virus.

Rumor 2: The University of

Alabama is only a football and party

school.

Rumors such as the existence of

COVID parties are allowed to persist

due to another common rumor about

our campus: that students come here

to spend four years partying, with

academics taking a secondary role. In

rankings of the top party schools in

the country, the Capstone consistently

appears in the top 10. In 2020, the

Princeton Review even placed the

University at the No. 1 spot.

Verdict: False.

The sources of this rumor are

understandable. Alabama football

fans pride themselves on a very

recognizable number: 18. Our

football team claims eighteen national

championship wins. We are the home

of a national legend, coach Nick Saban.

When it comes to football, no one does

it better. It’s difficult to follow college

football at all without encountering

our university’s name splashed across

the headlines. From devastating losses

to glorious victories, news outlets are

always committed to covering our

football performances.

Our school offers more than the

celebration of football victories. There

are so many thriving areas of campus

that deserve coverage. This is why we

believe that The CW is best equipped

to uncover overlooked successes on

campus. While national news outlets

may not have the resources or interest

to consistently cover all aspects of the

Capstone, that is our express purpose

at The CW. Because of our connection

to campus as students, we are able to

gain a complete view of the University

from the inside.

Though we deeply value our football

team, we also love to report on the

other sports that The University

of Alabama excels in. We love to

highlight the top college athletes

of the UA gymnastics team and the

winners of the 2021 SEC Tournament,

the UA men’s basketball team.

However, our love of reporting

the successes of campus doesn’t stop

with sports. As both students and

journalists, we know that the Capstone

is an impressive academic institution.

If we want The University of Alabama

to be recognized for our impressive

research feats or our commitment to

service and leadership, then we, as

journalists, must give these events a

platform. If an area of campus goes

overlooked, then we have failed at

our duty. We take our responsibility

as a representative of the University

seriously, and we will continue to

identify what it does well and what it

can do better.

Rumor 3: Greek life is a big deal at

The University of Alabama.

Earlier this year, a surprising event

occurred. Every August, UA sororities

conduct formal recruitment, a process

to recruit new members that involves

a week of meetings, parties and, of

course, outfits. The process of rush

is pretty familiar to the average UA

student. If a student is surprised by

the magnitude of rush their freshman

year, they are certainly accustomed to

it three years later.

What usually goes unnoticed by

people outside of our campus became a

national topic of conversation. During

the week of recruitment, “Bama Rush

TikTok” became its own subculture

on the app, attracting viewers from

around the world. What started as a

few incoming freshmen posting their

outfits of the day quickly became

national discourse, even featuring

debates about topics such as how our

culture defines femininity.

Verdict: True.

While the average person can’t

understand the intricacies of the

TikTok algorithm, it’s not surprising

that Greek life on campus inspired

so much national interest. As the

biggest Panhellenic organization in

the country, accounting for 35% of the

UA student population, Greek life has

a strong presence on campus.

Due to its presence on campus, The

CW has a vital role in the coverage

of Greek life. At The CW, we seek to

delve deeper into Greek life and how

it represents our campus. We have

historically championed its successes

and acknowledged its shortcomings.

Because we represent the University,

Greek life and other UA organizations

shape our identity. People following

Bama Rush TikTok weren’t completely

off the mark: An institution of such a

size and history is a great place to start

conversations about what we stand for

as a university.

What now?

These are not the only rumors

that circulate about The University

of Alabama. Such a well-known

institution will always be a subject

of interest for a national audience,

but we maintain our commitment to

verifying the validity of these rumors

and providing a student perspective

on the narratives that define the

University.

News does not exist in a vacuum;

the narratives we tell shape our legacy

as a university. It is for this reason that

the editorial board is emboldened to

write narratives worth reading. We

are honored to join national news

outlets in the practice of journalism,

for despite any differences we have,

our goal is the same: to inform our

campus community.

The Crimson White Editorial Board is composed of Editorin-Chief

Keely Brewer, Managing Editor Bhavana Ravala,

Engagement Editor Garrett Kennedy, Chief Copy Editor Jack

Maurer and Opinions Editor Ava Fisher.


4A

RUMOR

November 18, 2021

CW / Jo Dyess

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

The Politics

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prizewinning

reporter for AL.com, graduated

from the University in the ’80s. He cohosted

“Greek Gods,” a podcast about

the Machine, in 2018 with AL.com’s

Reckon Radio.

Archibald said a primary reason he

cares about the Machine is because “it

doesn’t stop in college, and it manifests

itself in the real world.” He also noted a

more personal connection.

The Machine is the reason I do what

I do today, because in addition to being

a great training ground for a corrupt

politician, that’s a great training ground

for journalists who are indignant about

corrupt politicians,” he said. “It’s also

the reason I’m married to my wife.”

He met his wife, Alecia Archibald,

while working at the CW and covering

Machine activity on campus. He recalled

“staking out” the Sigma Chi house and

watching Machine representatives put

bags over their heads to get to cars that

quickly pulled up for them. She said Phi

Mu’s faculty advisor told her to break up

with Archibald and quit the CW or she

would be kicked out of Phi Mu.

Smith said what sticks out to her most

from her time in the Machine is that she

was told she could vote however she

wanted as a senator, but when she didn’t

vote how the Machine wanted, there

was “punishment.”

“I think one of the most telling things

is that if it really wasn’t a big deal, if

this group really isn’t as bad as people

make them out to be, then why are they

punishing people when they don’t fall in

line?” she said.

Smith said that once she left the

Machine, her sorority members reacted

negatively, and she felt “exiled.”

“It became very apparent that no one

wanted to sit with me,” she said. “No one

really wanted to be my friend. Things

were said in our pledge class group

about me leaving the Machine and how

it would reflect poorly on our house. I

received dozens of blocked phone calls

from numbers I didn’t know cursing at

me and saying very ugly things. Fellow

Machine senators no longer wanted to

work with me on any issues or any type

of legislation.”

McGehee later worked on the

presidential campaign team for Gene

Fulmer. Fulmer’s opponent Jared

Hunter, had enough election violations

to be disqualified, but his campaign was

only suspended with community service

hours. McGehee said the candidate

campaigned for only a few hours but

won with over 60% of the vote.

Hunter won the presidential election

and publicly claimed a connection to

the Machine.

McGehee later got a call from a

Machine representative acknowledging

that the Machine-backed candidate

should have been disqualified. The

Elections Board resigned after the

campaign cycle over the incident.

While campaigning for an

independent candidate in his junior

year, he was followed by people he had

never seen or met before, including

staffers from other campaigns. McGehee

left the SGA in his senior year.

The reason I dropped out of SGA

senior year was because I wanted a

cabinet position,” he said. “The incoming

Machine administration knew that and

promised me a paid cabinet position

before campaign season in exchange

for campaigning for the Machinebacked

candidate for SGA President. I

didn’t take their offer and campaigned

for independent candidates. I met with

the president-elect and asked if it was

worth my time to apply for a cabinet

spot after elections. He said yes, but

I was ultimately not offered any role

in SGA.”

When Smith ran for homecoming

queen, she wanted to campaign at

a sorority house but was denied the

ability to speak. She said the Machine

“infiltrates” honor societies and campus

organizations, so it was hard to build

relationships for the rest of her time

in college.

No one takes the SGA as seriously as

the Machine, according to Smith.

It’s a real organization.

It’s dangerous. People

shouldn’t feel apathetic

toward it. They have

real power on this

campus statewide.

“When you have a third of campus

automatically coming in as freshmen,

essentially being forced to be politically

involved in SGA, then that automatically

gives the Machine an advantage,” she

said. “Whereas other students who are

coming in who are not members of the

Greek system are not being exposed

to SGA and the politics of what the

Machine is.”

The anonymous freshman sorority

member said she is embarrassed for

those still in the Machine.

There’s obviously a very large voting

bloc of Greeks who will vote how the

Machine tells them. It’s been harmful. I

mean it goes back into the 1800s as being

a racist organization, and honestly, if

you’re involved in the Machine, I think

it’s embarrassing. That’s why I decided

to distance myself from that. I decided

to speak up.”

Archibald said he thought the Greek

Gods podcast would be an interesting

story to tell about the culture of

Alabama politics.

“I wanted to do it because of the

sheer number of politicians who come

out of that system,” he said. “It’s really

a breeding ground for politicians. It’s a

classic story of privilege versus justice.”

The Voters

Historically, voter turnout in

campus elections has not been high.

The recent homecoming election saw

the largest voter turnout since 2015,

with over 13,000 students – onethird

of the student body – voting.

McGehee said student voter apathy

leads to the Machine-backed candidates

consistently winning, but doesn’t think

it’s the only reason.

There’s definitely some student

apathy, but I think that that’s an excuse,”

he said. “I mean, just because there’s

apathy, ... it doesn’t give you the right to

rig elections.”

The freshman sorority member said

she sees student apathy but wants the

student body to know what’s going on

behind closed doors.

“People should know that it’s real,”

she said. “It’s a real organization.

It’s dangerous. People shouldn’t feel

apathetic toward it. They have real

power on this campus and statewide.”

Now that Smith has had several years

to reflect on her experiences, she has a

message for students currently involved

with the Machine.

There is not a day that goes by that

I ever regret standing up for what I

believe in or the injustices that I saw,”

she said. “Just knowing that you have

the ability to stand up for what is right,

for what you believe in. I just hope

that people who are in college now can

understand that that will be so worth it

in the long run, even if it seems like it

would do harm to you in the now.”

While the University’s administration

has never officially acknowledged the

Machine’s existence, the freshman

sorority member said she does not

believe that the administration

is unaware.

“Obviously the administration has to

know about it,” she said. “It’s Alabama’s

dirty little secret.”

Which former UA professor started a cult?

ETHAN HENRY

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

In 1997, the Heaven’s Gate cult

took part in a mass suicide, under the

assumption that they would ascend to

heaven in a UFO. Marshall Applewhite,

one of the founders of this cult, was a

music professor at The University of

Alabama for a few years in the mid-’60s

before teaching at St. Thomas University

and eventually having a psychotic break.

If you see that

astonishing, pale,

ghostly face that’s on

the Heaven’s Gate

website, it’s almost as if

he cultivated a look that

made him look alien.

NEELY BRUCE

Following this psychotic break, he

became close with Bonnie Nettles, his

nurse. After he began having visions, the

two formed their own set of apocalyptic

spiritual beliefs, recruiting followers and

spreading their alien-centric spiritual

message to anyone who would listen.

Despite the way Applewhite’s mental

health deteriorated throughout his life,

his time at The University of Alabama

painted a different picture for Neely

Bruce, a composer, professor of music at

Wesleyan University and UA alum.

“His singing was truly remarkable,

and I like to remember him as a very

good singer who had a lot of charisma

on the stage,” Bruce said.

For Bruce, it was a shock to hear about

how much Applewhite’s life had shifted.

Bruce had been casually following the

story in the news, and he didn’t realize

it was his former music professor until a

friend informed him.

In the ’60s, it was widely rumored

that Applewhite’s time at Alabama

ended following an affair with a graduate

student, but little evidence of this exists.

Bruce had no idea why Applewhite left

the University, but said the rumors

about his being with a graduate student

weren't true.

“This rumor was circulating [in]

lots of places. It annoyed me because I

didn’t have any direct evidence of this,

and I don’t think people should spread

rumors,” Bruce said.

In addition to the path Applewhite’s

life had taken, Bruce was surprised by

how much his appearance had shifted.

“If you see that astonishing, pale,

ghostly face that’s on the Heaven’s Gate

website, it’s almost as if he cultivated

a look that made him look alien,”

Bruce said.

Heaven’s Gate made an initial splash in

the media in the ’90s, but public interest

in the cultic topic has reappeared.

Lily Davenport is a doctoral candidate

studying English at the University of

Cincinnati who taught multiple firstyear

writing courses at The University

of Alabama centered around cults. She

attributed this resurgence in interest

to podcasts.

“A lot of the media around cults is

coming out of the podcast world, and

I think that that grows directly out of

the growth of true crime podcasts,”

Davenport said.

A 2020 HBO documentary about

the cult also revitalized interest in

Applewhite’s life. The story of Heaven’s

Gate holds more weight with a

modern audience because Applewhite

utilized modern-day techniques to

gain followers.

“One thing that I often talk about

with my students is that they were one

of the first cultic groups to utilize the

internet as a means of recruitment,”

Davenport said.

The Heaven’s Gate website, now a relic

of the ’90s, has been preserved and is still

accessible online.

Davenport said that due to its

utilization of technology, if the cult was

around now, it would have “cornered the

meme market.”

Alexa Tullett, an assistant professor

of psychology at The University of

Alabama, said people are often drawn

into groups like Heaven’s Gate to feel a

sense of belonging.

“We want to be part of communities.

So sometimes I think groups, especially

groups that have a fringe belief system

or unconventional belief system, can feel

very inviting to be a part of,” Tullett said.

A 2021 study published in the journal

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality

found that 57% of reported cult members

were female and that over half “had a

university education.”

It might seem surprising that educated

people frequently join these groups,

but dependence can lead members of

a cult to disregard outside information

and evidence.

There’s a certain effort that comes

with questioning all of our actions and

questioning the claims that are made by

our political leaders or people who are in

power, but I think sometimes people like

to have a source of information or advice

that we don’t question,” Tullet said.

It’s important to remember that the

people who are drawn into cultlike groups

don’t always fit a stereotype. Russell

McCutcheon, chair of the Department of

Religious Studies at the University, said

the wide variety of people involved in the

Heaven’s Gate suicides made the group

stand out in the media.

“It got difficult to dismiss them as crazy

or disaffected, as many at first rushed

to do, when the ‘goodbye’ videos were

released and we realized how diverse and

articulate/educated the group’s members

were, how old some members were, how

excited they all seemed to be for what

awaited them,” he said.

Many in the public saw parts of

themselves in the Heaven’s Gate

members, and that’s a key piece of

what made it so terrifying for some.

Applewhite seemed to convince the

group that their ascension to heaven

was imminent.

Heaven’s Gate is also the story of a

mental health struggle — one that not

only impacted Applewhite, but resulted

in the death of 39 people.

“It’s not pretty, and people need to be

more and more aware of the real damage

that mental illness does to its victims,”

McCutcheon said.

CW / Jo Dyess


RUMOR

November 18, 2021

How do faculty impact students’ legacies?

JEFFREY KELLY

CULTURE EDITOR

It’s debatable to say that all The

University of Alabama creates is

legends, but it’s hard to debate the

role faculty members play in students’

careers, especially faculty members

like Qianping Guo. Guo, an associate

professor of dance who danced with

two of the top ballet companies in

China and America, is a gold and silver

medalist in multiple international

ballet competitions.

On the second floor of Clark

Hall, Guo leads his students through

intricate ballet combinations, making

sure that students learn the techniques

and understand why they matter.

For Guo, ballet isn’t just about

“beautiful movements”; it’s about the

reasoning. In the 10 years he has been

at the University, he has created bonds

of trust with his students and instilled

in them an attention to detail.

According to some of his students,

Guo’s dedication to his craft has

helped them tremendously. Carey

Hodovanich, a corps de ballet

dancer at Ballet Pensacola and a UA

alumna, said Guo’s passion for ballet

was obvious.

“You can tell how much he loves it,

and that makes me love it even more,

because I know I’m learning from

someone who loves it,” Hodovanich

said. “It’s not just him giving me

corrections because that’s his job. He’s

giving it because he loves the art form,

and he wants to see me do it the best

that I can do it.”

Hodovanich said Guo always saw

room for improvement in every dancer

and pushed them to be better while

encouraging them. She said that Guo

was intent on making sure his students

worked hard, which helped her grow

as a dancer, and that his attention to

detail made her think less about the

big picture and more about the details

and the “intention behind it.”

“It clicked in my brain, and it

helped make picking up choreography

a lot easier, and it just kind of helped

me with my artistry because it gave

my movement purpose,” she said. “It

then helps me be successful in the

professional world, because I was

picking up details and not having to

wait to be corrected on them.”

While Guo has affected UA

students, he’s also created connections

through mentoring and teaching

students outside of the University

like Lumeng, Jiao Yang and Jolie Rose

Lombardo, all of whom have won

medals in international and national

ballet competitions.

In 2016, after evacuating Orlando

due to Hurricane Hermine, Lombardo,

a Florida native, had her first class

with Guo at age 14. After the class,

Lombardo left excited to learn more.

“​The class was so good. I love

being challenged. … I want to have

a combination that I can’t do yet,

... and his class was so difficult and

absolutely on the Vaganova training

that I was like, ‘That’s a real class,’”

Lombardo said.

Lombardo and Guo continued

to work together throughout 2018

until the regional Youth

America Grand Prix, after

which Lombardo got sick and

went back to Tuscaloosa to

recuperate. During this time,

he not only helped her get

back to 100%, but also helped

her prepare the variation her

previous ballet teacher gave her

for the Youth America Grand

Prix finals.

Stephanie Lombardo,

Jolie’s mother, said that after

six weeks the variation

looked completely

different. Jolie Lombardo

took the piece to New

York for the Youth

America Grand

Prix competition

and received a

gold medal.

“[The directors

of the competition]

kept saying, ‘You’re

a different dancer,’

not that her ballet

teacher wasn’t great

in Atlanta. She was

wonderful, but

they didn't give

her the amount of

time,” Stephanie

Lombardo said.

“When you have

somebody that will

spend time with you and fix everything

and prepare you for a competition that

big — that’s what he did, and it was his

phenomenal training.”

Through Guo’s preparation, Jolie

Lombardo went on to become one

of the youngest finalists at the USA

International Ballet Competition.

After that, Lombardo won a full

scholarship to the John Cranko

Schule, a renowned ballet school, in

Stuttgart, Germany.

Things for Jolie Lombardo took a

harrowing turn when after Christmas

in 2019, she began to have trouble

sleeping and experienced excruciating

pain when she tried. At a hospital in

Germany, she found out she had a

tumor on her spinal cord. Reluctant to

let her daughter have a major surgery

like that without her around, Stephanie

Lombardo worked to get her daughter

back home.

A day later, Jolie Lombardo and her

parents were at Children’s

Scottish Rite Hospital in

Atlanta, Georgia, when a

doctor informed them that

if they had waited a few

more days to come in or

if Lombardo had fallen

asleep from exhaustion

and the tumor had

moved the “slightest bit

south,” she could have

been paralyzed.

The surgery went well,

but for the first three

days, Lombardo was

paralyzed even though she

was supposed to be able

to move.

“For me having three

weeks off is a nightmare,

you know? Being not

able to move, I never

thought I’d ever have

to experience that

in my entire life,

because my life is

moving,” Lombardo

said. “So when

I woke up and I

could not move,

it was the most

frustrating thing.

... It was absolutely

horrifying. The

worst feeling in my

CW / Anna Butts

entire life.”

5A

Luckily, on the fourth day, Lombardo

was able to move her arm, then from

there she worked her way from the bed

to a wheelchair to a walker, and then

she was off to a rehabilitation center

in Florida.

It’s not just him

giving me corrections

because that’s his job.

He’s giving it because

he loves the art form,

and he wants to see

me do it the best that I

can do it.”

CAREY

HODOVANICH

Stephanie Lombardo said that

the second she was able to get into a

studio, Jolie called Guo. During this

time, Jolie Lombardo could only do

half a barre sequence, but with Guo’s

help she got better.

“Everyone thinks it’s my school

[the John Cranko Schule], but it’s not.

It’s here, and it’s because we love the

University so much,” she said.

Stephanie Lombardo said she

credits Guo’s training along with her

daughter’s positive thinking. She

said there was never a doubt in her

daughter’s mind about the trajectory

of her career.

Now, Jolie Lombardo has a job with

Stuttgart Ballet, a leading German

ballet company, and can openly give

that credit to Guo, whereas before she

couldn’t because of her connection to

the John Cranko Schule.

Hodovanich said she loved being

able to experience class with Lombardo

because it gave her something to

strive for and showed her that Guo’s

methods work.

“It was kind of like the proof, not

that I needed it, but it was nice to be

like, ‘Oh, yes. This is good,’” she said.

“[Lombardo] came back, and she was

saying that the level class that we were

doing, we looked absolutely fantastic.

So, it was nice validation to hear from

someone who was in the professional

world at the college level.”

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6A

RUMOR

November 18, 2021


RUMOR

November 18, 2021

AINSLEY PLATT

STAFF REPORTER

The University of Alabama has

announced multiple changes to its

COVID-19 policies over the last few

weeks. On Oct. 22, the University

announced that it would comply with

President Joe Biden’s executive order

requiring federal employees to be fully

vaccinated against COVID-19. A week

later, on Oct. 29, an email sent to the

campus community announced that the

requirement for vaccinated individuals

to wear masks indoors would be lifted on

Nov. 5, with some exceptions.

‘A pre-COVID world’

With the mask mandate lifted, many

students feel that there has been a return

to pre-COVID-19 normalcy. For some,

there is division on whether or not this is a

positive or negative development.

Payton Greenlee, a sophomore

majoring in marketing, said he feels

that having “normal” life continue is

more important than worrying about

COVID-19, and that it wasn’t worth

implementing COVID-19 restrictions at

the expense of normal activities like inperson

classes.

He said he did not think the University

should have restrictions for COVID-19

when they did not implement them for

other illnesses in the past.

“I have caught [COVID-19] before,

and it affected me no different than

having a fever does,” Greenlee said. “I

don’t think the campus should be worried

about COVID.”

The admin has failed

miserably at their job

of protecting students,

faculty, staff and the

greater Tuscaloosa

community. It is utterly

ridiculous that no one

was held accountable.

SKY DUNN

Gabrielle Kirk, a freshman majoring

in secondary education, said that as

temperatures drop, it’s even more

important for the campus community

to be on its guard for a COVID-19

resurgence, and she criticized those who

are celebrating the return to normal.

“We can’t get to a [pre-COVID-19]

society unless people get their vaccine

and booster shots and our body evolves to

handle the COVID-19 strain,” Kirk said.

“[Students] don’t want to get vaccinated,

don’t want to wear a mask, don’t want to

social distance, but want a pre-COVID

world. Science and viruses don’t work

like that.”

According to data released by the

University on Oct. 22, at least 62% of UA

students have received at least one dose of

a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Richard Friend, a member of the

University of Alabama System Health

and Safety Task Force and the dean

of the College of Community Health

Sciences, said the University is following

the science in lifting its mask mandate for

vaccinated individuals.

Is COVID still a concern for campus?

The Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention says that “everyone should

wear a mask in public, indoor settings,”

regardless of vaccination status, in

areas of substantial to high community

transmission levels. Tuscaloosa County

currently has a substantial level of local

transmission, as it did when the University

announced it would remove the mask

mandate. When the mask mandate

was lifted on Nov. 5, the county was

experiencing a high level of transmission.

According to the CDC, a substantial

level of COVID-19 transmission is

considered to be between 50 and 100 cases

per 100,000 people, or a test positivity rate

between 8% and 10%. Tuscaloosa County

currently has about 83 cases per 100,000

people, with 4.66% of COVID-19 tests in

the county coming back positive.

Some students like Greenlee said

they believe that COVID-19 is no worse

than the flu and therefore is nothing

to worry about. Friend did not offer a

direct response to this, instead stressing

that “we should still be concerned about

COVID-19 and we still need to be

concerned about the flu.”

Narratives that compare the flu to

COVID-19 have been viewed with

skepticism by public health authorities

due to the disparities in the diseases’

respective death tolls and the fact that

COVID-19 spreads faster than the flu.

While the flu can be deadly for those

who catch it — the CDC estimates that

the flu kills between 12,000 and 52,000

each year — over 750,000 people have

died from COVID-19 in the United States

since the beginning of the pandemic, with

that number climbing by the thousands

daily. Overall, there is a consensus that

COVID-19 is much more severe than the

flu.

‘No one was held

accountable’

A bill signed into law earlier this year

by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey prohibits state

entities and private businesses from asking

individuals to provide proof of vaccination.

The law effectively renders the University’s

updated mask requirements, which still

require unvaccinated individuals to wear

masks indoors, unenforceable.

The state law is the state law,”

Friend said. “I would just encourage

[unvaccinated individuals] to do the right

thing. They’re all on the honor system.”

The other two universities in the

UA System, the University of Alabama

at Birmingham and the University of

Alabama in Huntsville, continue to

require masks indoors on their campuses,

despite having lower levels of virus

transmission in their counties than in

Tuscaloosa County.

UAB spokesperson Alicia Rohan

said the policy is not likely to change

anytime soon.

“UAB plans to maintain an indoor

masking requirement for the rest of

the calendar year while we continue to

monitor local COVID transmission rates,

hospitalizations, and other relevant data,”

she said in an email.

Requests for comment from UAH were

not returned.

Jefferson County, where UAB is

located, has moderate levels of local

virus transmission. Madison County,

where UAH is located, is also in the

moderate range. Both counties have

significantly lower levels of transmission

than Tuscaloosa County, which has a

substantial level of transmission according

to the CDC website tracking transmission

levels in individual counties.

Sky Dunn, a junior majoring in history,

said she is tired of the University saying

one thing and then doing another. Due

to her immunocompromised status, she

is at higher risk of contracting severe

COVID-19.

The admin has failed miserably at their

job of protecting students, faculty, staff

and the greater Tuscaloosa community,”

Dunn said. “It is utterly ridiculous that no

one was held accountable.”

Dunn also stated that the requirement

for unvaccinated people to still wear masks

indicates that the University knows it’s not

safe to unmask, but chose to change the

policy anyways.

“By the admin writing the policy, they

acknowledge that if you are not vaccinated,

you need to wear a mask, which shows

that they are aware that people should

be wearing masks,” she said. “It does not

resonate with the political beliefs of the

admin of the school.”

The University has only cited Biden’s

executive order for why it chose to lift the

mask mandate. Open records requests for

the specific information used to make the

decision have not been answered.

‘Very few COVID-19 cases’

This semester has seen cases among

students, faculty and staff drop significantly

below the peak from fall 2020. Between

Nov. 1 and Nov. 7, six students and three

faculty or staff members have reported

testing positive for the virus.

Between Aug. 9 and Nov. 7, 685 new

cases have been reported among students,

and 191 new cases have been reported

among the faculty and staff. Around this

point last year the University had more

than 2,800 new cases reported by students

during the semester, while about 340 cases

were reported among faculty and staff in

the same period this year.

“We have very few COVID-19 cases on

our campus; our positivity rate is under

1%,” Friend said.

The number of cases this semester

is significantly lower than last fall, but

compared to last year, the University’s

testing operations are less robust. Last

year, the University required entry

and exit testing, as well as sentinel

testing for those who participated in

on-campus activities.

Students can voluntarily be tested at the

Student Health Center, University Medical

Center or an off-campus medical provider,

but they are no longer required to be

tested regularly, with some exceptions for

student-athletes.

Friend was unavailable for followup

questions regarding the changes to

testing resources.

‘Not everyone is vaccinated’

While campus COVID-19 cases

on campus remain low this semester,

transmission in surrounding Tuscaloosa

County areas remain high, and it is

still unknown how the lifting of some

masking measures will affect campus

infection numbers.

The University dashboard does not

list the number of students who are fully

vaccinated, only those who have received

at least one dose. In order to be fully

vaccinated, one must receive two doses of

either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.

One dose of the Pfizer and Moderna

vaccines provides significantly less

protection. The protection afforded by

vaccines have also been shown to decrease

1B

over time. Requests for information

on how many students have been fully

vaccinated have not been answered.

“If you don’t want to be vaccinated,

chances are you probably don’t want

to wear a mask or don’t wear one at all,”

Dunn said. “They know that not everyone

is vaccinated, and yet most people aren’t

wearing masks.”

[Students] don’t want

to get vaccinated, don’t

want to wear a mask,

don’t want to social

distance, but want

a pre-COVID world.

Science and viruses

don’t work like that.

GABRIELLE KIRK

All UA employees are required to

comply with the vaccine mandate by Jan.

4, but employees can apply for medical,

disability or religious exemptions. A

bill signed into state law on Nov. 5 by

Ivey made it illegal for employers to fire

employees who refuse a COVID-19

vaccine and claim a medical or

religious exemption.

The University has not publicly

outlined plans for employees who refuse

the vaccine. There is currently no available

information on how the University

evaluates exemption requests, or how

many people have requested one. The

exemption request forms were taken

down from the UA Vaccine Management

Portal on Nov. 5 and made available again

on Nov. 11.

‘Whatever measures are

necessary’

Many students believe that the

campus no longer needs to worry about

COVID-19, citing reasons ranging

from increased vaccination numbers to

incorrect beliefs that COVID-19 is no

worse than the flu.

“I think we are totally in the clear,”

said Saylor Collum, a freshman majoring

in public relations. “I think things are

normal again, and we need to start acting

that way.”

According to Friend, the campus should

still be concerned about COVID-19.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about

COVID-19; we still have cases, very few

cases but still, we have cases across the

country and in young people,” Friend said.

“I think everybody needs to get vaccinated

and take the necessary precautions to try

and prevent it.”

Friend said that the University is

committed to keeping the campus safe,

and that measures could be taken in the

future if necessary.

“We will implement whatever measures

are necessary, at the times necessary,

to keep campus safe as we have done,”

he said.

Dunn made it clear what she thought

people should do if they think COVID-19

is no longer a concern.

“People who think we should move on

from COVID-19 should get off Facebook

and call [their] local hospital,” Dunn said.

“See how many ICU beds are full and

how exhausted the staff is from fighting

this pandemic. Let’s try to get each other

through this hard time instead of fighting

CW File


2B

RUMOR

November 18, 2021


RUMOR

November 18, 2021

Is off-campus student housing too much trouble?

3B

ANNABELLE BLOMELEY, JEFFREY KELLY & MADDY REDA

THE CULTURE DESK

With 167 student apartments listed

on the UA off-campus housing resources

page, there are bound to be some

problems. From water leaks and poor

management to break-ins and infestations,

choosing a place to live after dorming can

be a daunting task.

While many off-campus apartments

have good reviews, some haven’t fared so

well, facing complaints such as broken

appliances, poor management, mold,

flooding and security concerns.

Recently, several complexes have

been the target of break-ins and

attempted robberies.

Stephanie Taylor, a spokesperson

for the Tuscaloosa Police Department,

said that most vehicle break-ins, thefts

and burglaries happen at off-campus

apartment complexes and off-campus

houses because there are more potential

victims available in a shorter amount of

time and there tends to be less security.

According to the Tuscaloosa Police

Department, all vehicles and every

apartment but one that have been broken

into within the past three months at Vie at

University Downs were unlocked and had

no signs of forced entry.

In the Alabama Student Ticket

Exchange Facebook group alone, dozens

of posts have been made about cars being

broken into or stolen at supposedly gated

apartment complexes.

“When choosing a place to live, pay

attention to whether the complex has

working security cameras,” Taylor said.

“We sometimes get crimes reported at a

residential or

business that

has cameras,

but not functional ones. Check with the

apartment management on occasion and

ask if the cameras work. If they advertise

on-site security personnel, hold them to

that. If the complex is gated, but the gate is

always left up — say something.”

Along with security issues, many

complexes have been berated online for

the lack of cleanliness in the apartments.

One apartment complex, The Lofts at

City Center, claims on its website to offer

“luxurious apartments” and “the best

student apartments in Tuscaloosa near

The University of Alabama.”

With rates as low as $394 per month,

The Lofts is one of the cheaper housing

options for students. However, many

residents have used the ticket exchange

Facebook group, online review websites

and other platforms to advise against

living at The Lofts.

One Yelp user claimed his apartment

flooded several times at The Lofts, that

there was a cockroach problem, and that

“trash piles up in the halls, dog poop stays

in stairwells or hallways for months.”

Cardinal Group Management, which

owns The Lofts and several other studentstyle

living apartments across the country,

said it is working to fix the problems.

“We are aware of issues concerning

trash and mold in The Lofts at City Center

over the last few weeks. We have promptly

and actively worked to resolve every

issue that has come to our attention.” the

Cardinal Group said in a statement to the

Crimson White in October.

While some may think the cheaper

price equates to worse conditions, some

off-campus apartments have proven this

isn’t the case.

In August 2018, many were

excited to be the first residents of

Hub Tuscaloosa, which flaunted

luxury apartments, pool parties and a

location near Bryant-Denny Stadium.

However, after being open for only a week,

Hub was already experiencing problems,

much to the dismay of the students paying

upwards of $1,200 a month in rent for

one apartment.

According to Andrew Cartwright, a

student who shared his experience with

the Crimson White in October, they were

met with dirty surfaces and sinks full of

water with no working garbage disposal.

Over the next few months, residents

also experienced flooding and mold in

the walls.

Lily Mai, the director of communications

for Hub, responded to the issues in an

October article of the Crimson White.

The heavy rainfall we had in September

impacted some residents and displaced

others,” Mai said. “We worked closely with

anyone experiencing issues, and there are

no residents in [un]inhabitable situations.”

Although most students who complain

about their apartments are simply out

of luck, more than 100 residents of Hub

Tuscaloosa filed a class action lawsuit

against the company in 2018 for violating

the Alabama Landlord and Tenant Act.

City Attorney Scott Holmes said all

lawsuits related to Hub were dismissed

with prejudice in February 2020.

Some off-campus apartment complexes

have changed their names throughout the

years due to changes in ownership, losing

the bad reviews associated with their name

in the process. Redpoint was originally

called The Woodlands of Tuscaloosa

but changed its name in 2019. Campus

Evolution was renamed The Path. Evolve

used to be known as Harbor on Sixth.

Michael Cartee, a real estate developer

from Chicago and a Tuscaloosa lawyer

who represented Core Spaces, said that

the exception for plexes is “fundamentally

unfair”

CW / Anna Butts

and that plexes cause horizontal sprawl

and blight.

Tuscaloosa attorney Bryan Winter,

who also represented Core Spaces, said

the city currently incentivizes four and

five bedrooms for plexes in the way that

it handles service fees. Land development

projects pay those fees to the city to

cover the impact that they have on

city infrastructure.

Service fees are charged to housing

developments by the number of units,

rather than by the number of bedrooms

and bathrooms.

Winter said the moratorium on multifamily

and student mega complexes

is “pushing back on outside economic

investment and job creation.”

Robert McLeod, a professor of

finance at The University of Alabama’s

Culverhouse College of Business, said

the economic impact of large-scale land

development projects like student mega

complexes “make a very large contribution

to both city and school taxes.”

“If we unduly restrict these kinds

of developments, it’s going to hurt

Tuscaloosa’s economy,” McLeod said.

After studying 2019 economic data with

Samuel Addy, head of the Culverhouse

Center for Business and Economic

Research, McLeod said they found that

for every dollar in construction spending,

there is a positive economic impact of

$2.40, and that large housing development

projects had an impact of more than $500

million on Tuscaloosa’s economy that year.

McLeod also said large-scale

developments like mega complexes have

a positive economic impact by paying

hundreds of thousands of dollars in

service fees, building permits and business

licenses to the city.

Despite the benefits of these complexes,

this August, the Tuscaloosa City Council

extended the moratorium on accepting

building and land development permits

for student megaplexes.

The vote was 7-0, and the moratorium

will continue until May 1, 2022.

In an interview with Tuscaloosa News,

Maddox said more time was needed to

solidify building rules and regulations

in order to avoid future overtaxing of

Tuscaloosa city infrastructure.

“We’re also exploring some ideas

on how do you fairly assess what these

developments are costing in terms of city

expenses,” Maddox said. “But we would

appreciate a little bit more time to work

through this.”

For UA student Caroline Horn,

warnings about the crosswalks started

during an early move-in camp for

new students.

The only thing I remember from

Camp 1831 was our team leader telling us

the crosswalks get slippery when it rains,”

UA student Caroline Horn said.

With the painted lines of a crosswalk

appearing to be a potent slipping hazard,

some might wonder if there is something

wrong with the paint.

“More than once I have been crossing

and slipped,” engineering major Logan

Burke said. “It happened so often that I

bought new shoes thinking maybe mine

just didn’t have enough tread, but it didn’t

help. So now I walk beside the crosswalk

instead of in it.”

The federal government regulates what

materials can be used when marking

a crosswalk. These guidelines are laid

out in the Manual on Uniform Traffic

Control Devices.

“Interestingly, only some portions of

this 862-page manual are required. There

are numerous optional statements and

guidance,” said Armen Amirkhanian, a

professor of engineering and an expert in

cementitious materials.

The manual rarely mentions

slipperiness. It only makes one statement

about crosswalk material slipperiness

for pedestrians: “Consideration should

be given to selecting pavement marking

materials that will minimize tripping or

loss of traction for road users, including

pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.”

“Since this is a legal document,

the word ‘should’ is really important,”

Amirkhanian said. “As an engineer, I am

not required to select a marking that will

minimize tripping or loss of traction. I am

recommended to do so.”

There is only one other mention of road

marker slipperiness in the manual, which

says “consideration should be given to

Are campus crosswalks safe?

GINGER MORROW & JENNIFER BAGGETT

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

selecting pavement marking materials that

will minimize loss of traction for bicycles

under wet conditions.”

“I’ve seen multiple bikers and

skateboarders fall due to the rain

on sidewalks,” freshman aerospace

engineering major Sydney Moskalick said.

“I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but I only

see it when it rains.”

Freshman criminal justice major

Madison Towner would suggest it’s not

a coincidence.

“I refuse to walk directly on the

crosswalk when it rains because I have

[fallen and almost fallen] too many times,”

Towner said.

Part of why slipperiness is not more of a

priority when choosing crosswalk marking

materials is that there is no national

standard for measuring it and therefore no

way to regulate it.

Researchers like Somayeh Nassiri at

Washington State University are using

the British Pendulum Number scale for

slipperiness evaluation in studies on

pavement. A project report authored by

Nassiri looked into evaluating the safety

of pavement marking for bicyclists. The

report tested three different pavement

marking material types evaluated in dry,

wet and icy conditions.

Based on the findings from the analysis,

centerline striping may be a beneficial

technique to prevent bicycles from

slipping. Other countries have their own

units of measuring slippage on walking

surfaces and the impact related to road

markers. Those units are helping American

researchers create safer road conditions

and could be utilized as part of a future

federal road marking material regulation.

Every state’s department of

transportation approves certain materials

for marking pavement, but not every project

is subject to these rules. Amirkhanian said

that because contractors are generally

familiar with the rules, though, the rules

are often followed even where they do

not apply.

UA Director of Transportation Services

Chris D’Esposito said the approximately

500 crosswalks on campus are repainted

every summer and worn ones are

subject to a midyear refresher coat.

He said many factors contribute to the

crosswalks’ slipperiness.

The inclement weather element, a

lot of rain, condensation, wintery mix of

snow and ice. Then, what is the shoe style?

A smooth-sole shoe or something with

more traction?”

D’Esposito said his department uses

Hotline Fast Dry Latex Waterborne

Traffic Marking Paint to mark crosswalks

on campus.

“We take anything to do with safety

very seriously,” he said. “We use the best

recommended products.”

D’Esposito said Hotline Fast Dry

Latex paint contains reflective glass beads

for safe driving at night and sand to

retain coarseness.

The primary objective for any

pavement marking is to indicate hazards

and deviations from expected flow to the

traveling public,” Amirkhanian said. “That

is, we are first concerned with drivers.

Pedestrians are expected to be observant of

their surroundings and yield to dangerous

situations, like vehicles traveling on

the road. Because of this focus, there is

not a significant concern of the friction

performance of pavement markings,

as they would minimally impact the

traveling public.”

Amirkhanian said that some materials

exist that can be added to paint to increase

friction but that those additives can create

much more danger.

The main issue with these types of

materials is durability,” he said. “Any

material with high friction would wear

down much quicker, especially in a

crosswalk application. A crosswalk

boundary that is worn and poorly visible

is much more dangerous for the driver and

pedestrian than a slippery but highly visible

and well-defined crosswalk boundary.”

On Tuscaloosa’s rainy days, some

UA students might continue slipping

and sliding their way to class. Students

on campus on one of those rainy days

shouldn’t let the slick crosswalks slip

their mind.

Students cross University Boulevard on November 10, 2021. CW / Lexi Hall


4B

Is Alabama just a football school?

RUMOR

November 18, 2021

SAVANNAH ICHIKAWA & LUCY PHILLIPS

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Some may hear “The University of

Alabama” and picture Bryant-Denny

Stadium, Nick Saban and championship

rings. However, the Capstone has nearly

200 degree programs and encourages

students to pursue excellence, making

it clear that this university produces

legends in more than just sports.

Dance and theater

Within the College of Arts and

Sciences, fine arts and performing arts

students have access to advanced classical,

contemporary and experimental styles.

They are guided by renowned faculty

and achieve accomplishments locally,

nationally and globally.

Sarah M. Barry, the current chair

of the theater and dance department,

said the UA theater and dance program

encompasses more than just ballet or

modern and contemporary styles of

dance, which is what attracted her to

teach at the school in the first place.

“We’re just not a cookie cutter

program. Students go on to perform

on cruise ships, in theme parks, for

Broadway tours or off-Broadway shows,”

Barry said.

Stacy Alley, an associate professor

and director of musical theater, said

performing arts students get the best

of both worlds by having intensive

conservatory-type training within a

liberal arts institution while holding on

to the true traditional college experience.

“People can have really individualized

one-on-one training. We keep the

classes small, and they are advised and

mentored throughout their entire time

here,” Alley said. “Tons of our students

are working and doing great things and

representing us all over the country.”

Students within the theater and

dance department graduate equipped

with skills to take into the performance

arts world. Graduates are currently

cast members in musicals like “Kinky

Boots,” “Tina Turner,” “King Kong” and

“Carousel” on Broadway.

The University of Alabama has a

large presence in Birmingham through

alumni-founded dance companies

such as Formations, Sanspointe

Dance Company and Jellybean

Dance Collective.

Science

The University’s size, reputation

and loyal alumni have afforded it a

plethora of resources and programs for

students to benefit from, including an

extensive network of undergraduate

research opportunities.

Undergraduate research gives

students the opportunity to embrace

and apply their course studies outside of

the classroom.

The Emerging Scholars Program and

the Randall Research Scholars Program

are two opportunities that give students

the real-world experience, resources

and connections needed to deepen their

understanding of their field.

Alex Turner, a junior majoring

in chemistry and psychology, takes

full advantage of these resources and

research opportunities, serving as an

undergraduate research assistant in the

Caldwell Lab as well as a McCollough

premedical scholar.

“Research and the McCollough

program have helped me establish

connections and introduced me to

people and mindsets that we would not

have initially thought about,” Turner

said. “That’s always extremely beneficial

for anyone but especially people wanting

to go into a field where knowing more

things, knowing more people, is never a

bad thing.”

The McCollough Institute for Pre-

Medical Scholars is an initiative to train

the next generation of doctors in skills

beyond the hard sciences. Scholars learn

about health care ethics, effective patient

interaction and a multitude of additional

topics that culminate to produce wellrounded

medical school applicants.

Undergraduate research is available

for students in a multitude of areas

of study, including the hard sciences,

economics and the humanities.

Students even have the opportunity

to be published in connection with these

research opportunities.

Lingyan Kong, an associate professor

and director of a research lab in the

Dancers perform in Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre in 2015. CW File

Visitors attend the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center in September 2020. CW / David Gray

Department of Human Nutrition and

Hospitality Management, employs

between four and 10 undergraduate

research assistants every semester and

is always impressed by the caliber of

students at the Capstone.

Throughout their time in his lab,

Kong seeks to teach his students

time management, expanded ways of

thinking, and independence. He expects

his students to conduct their research

within their control and under their own

supervision and schedule; his standards

are often exceeded.

The undergraduate students in my

lab are excellent, and they have access

to really good programs,” Kong said.

“Those students excel and learn so much

from conducting research during their

undergraduate studies.”

Visual arts

Katie Adams, an adjunct 2D and 3D

design professor and alumna of The

University of Alabama, praised the

resources and connections that were

available to her during her graduate

studies that helped launch her career

in sculpture.

“I was very much intrigued by the

amount of facilities that we have here,

and just the broad scope of machines and

processes that we could do,” Adams said.

“So, coming to Tuscaloosa, [students]

have the ability to cast large-scale

commissions, which other places don’t

necessarily have the opportunity to do.”

The University of Alabama’s art

department utilizes an expansive array

of facilities available to undergraduate

and graduate art students, including the

UA Foundry, which houses the metal

shop, the wood shop and numerous

other pieces of equipment and spaces for

producing art.

Commissions come to the UA

Foundry from across the state and

country seeking the artists and resources

that The University of Alabama is

known for.

The UA Department of Art and Art

History is, like the University itself, a

creative mix of tradition and forwardlooking

innovation,” department Chair

Jason Guynes and spokesperson Rachel

Dobson said in a statement.

Along with their own studies and the

development of their personal portfolio,

arts students also give back to Tuscaloosa

in a variety of ways, including programs

at local schools and community

sculpture projects.

Nursing

Another program that is thriving

on campus is the Capstone College of

Nursing. It is ranked among the top 5%

of programs in the country.

This field of study provides an

environment for nursing students

to explore careers in modern health

care systems and offers courses at the

bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Michelle Cheshire, the associate dean

of undergraduate programs, said that

while the Bachelor of Science in nursing

program is competitive, she believes

anybody who is interested in being a

nurse has the ability to pursue that path

at The University of Alabama.

The nursing program is a five-semester

program that combines clinicals, similar

to internship work, with classes.

The program culminates in the fifth

semester with students completing a

preceptorship where they are working

in the hospital one-on-one with another

nurse,” Cheshire said.

She said the Capstone’s nursing

program is active in the COVID-19

vaccination effort within the

Tuscaloosa community.

“Many of our students as part of

their clinical rotations have been able

to provide COVID vaccines to people

in the community,” Cheshire said. “We

helped with clinics at the VA Medical

Center and the Good Samaritan Clinic

here in Tuscaloosa.”

These students spent recent months

working within the community to

further their hands-on experience

through COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

“2020 was the year of the nurse,”

Cheshire said. “It’s been a very

interesting couple of years for nurses

and for students in nursing school. We

have come to realize how very important

nurses are to the health care of our

nation, and we are thankful that we are

educating the next generation of nurses

here at the Capstone College of Nursing.”

Are Alabama fans mad at the wrong coordinator?

BLAKE BYLER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

“Fire Pete Golding.”

These three words were echoed by

Alabama fans on Twitter following

their football team’s narrow 20-

14 win over rival LSU on Nov. 6 in

Bryant-Denny Stadium.

This was not the first time, either.

There has always been weariness of

Alabama defensive coordinator Pete

Golding since he was hired at Alabama

at the end of the 2018 season, replacing

Jeremy Pruitt after Pruitt took the

Tennessee head coaching job.

Alabama showed some defensive

struggles in Golding’s first year at the

helm but was given a pass by fans after

season-ending injuries to his starting

middle linebackers, which caused

him to start two true freshmen for the

majority of the season as the signal

callers of his defense.

It wasn’t until a game last season

against the Ole Miss Rebels that noise

started to increase. The Rebels did

whatever they wanted against Alabama,

scoring 48 points. This marked the most

points ever scored against Alabama

since Nick Saban took over in 2007.

Now we arrive in November 2021.

Alabama is 8-1 with a loss to Texas

A&M. The Crimson Tide has hardfought

wins against what now appear to

be inferior opponents such as Florida,

Tennessee and LSU.

Many Alabama fans are attributing

the struggles of this season to the

defense, specifically Golding.

This season, however, Alabama’s

defense has been better than Twitter

analysts have given them credit for.

Six out of nine Alabama opponents

have been held below their season

average, typically by a very wide margin.

Alabama was also one point away from

holding both Florida and Southern Miss

below their season averages.

Alabama is 11th in the country in

total defense, fifth in rushing defense,

12th in turnover margin and eighth

in interceptions. The Crimson Tide

has been above average statistically

in almost every major

defensive category.

While there have been

defensive lapses and

breakdowns during games

just like with any defense,

Alabama has undeniably

been strong on

the defensive

side of the ball

this season.

The defenses

of the early

Nick Saban

era that

gave up

f e w e r

than 10

points

per game have been gone for a long

time, fading out with the evolution of

the modern offense, but the current

defense absolutely can and has held

its own.

Moving to the offensive side of the

ball, Alabama has experienced more

struggles than fans could have imagined

after watching the past three seasons.

Former offensive coordinators Mike

Locksley and Steve Sarkisian turned

Alabama into one of the highestpowered

offenses in recent memory.

With both of them moving on to head

coaching jobs at Maryland and Texas,

former Houston Texans head coach Bill

O’Brien was hired to inherit and enhance

the offensive juggernaut that

was Alabama.

Things immediately

felt off.

The downfield shots

to swift receivers that fans

became accustomed to

have been few and far

between. The

unique play

designs

t h a t

worke d

to get

Pete Golding speaks at a press conference in December 2019. CW File

Alabama’s best skill players the ball have

disappeared. The once-feared running

game is now stagnant.

Most importantly, the headscratching

play calls have come

in waves.

Look no further than LSU for recent

examples. Alabama faced a third-andtwo

around midfield, and ran a direct

snap to wide receiver Slade Bolden,

not wide receiver JoJo Earle or running

back Brian Robinson Jr.

Alabama failed to get a first down.

Quarterback Bryce Young hit Jameson

Williams for a 58-yard touchdown early

in the second half to extend the lead.

Alabama did not attempt another deep

ball for the remainder of the game. A

critical fourth down scenario late in the

game with Alabama only leading by six

points led to a Young rollout.

The play call was so obvious that

he was surrounded by LSU defenders

before he reached the line of scrimmage.

These struggles are by no means

placed on talent. Golding may not be

as decorated and respected as current

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was

when he ran Alabama’s defense, but he

doesn’t have to be.

The defense is doing what is asked,

and if it weren’t for a myriad of stops in

the fourth quarter against LSU, or a twopoint

conversion stop against Florida,

Alabama’s offensive shortcoming would

have the Crimson Tide in a much

worse position.


RUMOR

November 18, 2021

5B

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6B

RUMOR

November 18, 2021

OPINION: It’s time for The University of

Alabama to raise its minimum wage

CW / Jo Dyess

CARSON LOTT

CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST

Typically, with a change in

inflation comes a change in wages,

or a government-administered price

floor on the amount a business pays

its workers. In the United States, the

federal minimum wage of $7.25 an

hour has remained the same since 2009,

despite inflationary increases over the

last 12 years.

In 2009, prices fell after the Great

Recession of 2008 by nearly 2%. Now,

the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports

that the consumer price index, a tool

for measuring inflation, increased

0.9 percent in October 2021 due to

supply chain disruptions related to

the pandemic and the ongoing trade

war between the United States and

China. Since November 2020, the

CPI has risen nearly 6.2% before

seasonal adjustment.

Student workers are

crucial to running this

University successfully,

and it’s time for wages

to reflect their value.

If the minimum wage were

accurately adjusted for inflation and

increases in worker productivity since

1968, it would be nearly $24 an hour, as

stated by the Center for Economic and

Policy Research.

However, most Americans (62%) are

in support of a more modest increase,

to $15 an hour, according to an April

poll by the Pew Research Center.

Despite widespread support, a wage

increase of this degree doesn’t look

possibile anytime soon, at least coming

from Washington, D.C. The last time

a bill was introduced to raise the

minimum wage — President Joe Biden’s

$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill —

was in March. Despite Congress being

mostly controlled by the Democratic

Party and the party’s adoption of a

$15-an-hour minimum wage in its

platform in 2016, it was voted down 58-

42 in the Senate.

Though Congress is at a standstill,

The University of Alabama shouldn’t

wait any longer. It’s time for the

University to follow in the footsteps of

universities nationwide and implement

higher wages for all campus workers,

including students.

An increase in wages eliminates

nearly all of the insecurities surrounding

life for college students: tuition, rent,

food, gas and more. As these prices

increase, wages should too. If wages

cannot cover these necessary expenses,

what is the point of having a job?

“Many students get jobs to just have

extra money, but also to pay for their

education or any other college expenses

they have,” said junior Alexis Castellar,

a nursing major. “I personally got a

job so I can help pay for my college

expenses, but it’s quite hard when

you’re only making $9.75 an hour. Not

only this, but classes interfere with my

work, and I can only work certain days

and times. I’m not the only student that

has that problem.”

The University is the flagship of

the state. It’s the largest employer

in the county, and it holds an

imperative responsibility to protect

the socioeconomic well-being of its

employees, students and the greater

Tuscaloosa community. The University

must set an example for the community,

state and nation, upholding the standard

of excellence it prides itself on.

According to the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology’s Living Wage

Calculator, the living wage for a single

adult with no children in Tuscaloosa

County is $14.55 an hour.

Amy Glasmeier, professor

of economic geography at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

writes that “the living wage is the

minimum income standard that, if

met, draws a very fine line between the

financial independence of the working

poor and the need to seek out public

assistance or suffer consistent and

severe housing and food insecurity.

In light of this fact, the living wage is

perhaps better defined as a minimum

subsistence wage for persons living in

the United States.”

Not only should wages increase

for full-time employees, but also for

student workers. Student workers are

crucial to running this University

successfully, and it’s time for wages to

reflect their value.

It’s time for the

University to follow

in the footsteps of

universities nationwide

and implement higher

wages for all campus

workers, including

students.

Assuming that a student worker

earns $7.25 an hour and works 20 hours

a week (the maximum for part-time,

on-campus jobs), they would earn

approximately $630 a month.

As of 2020, the average rent in

Tuscaloosa for a one-bedroom

apartment is $737 a month. With the

rise in the student population, luxury

condominiums and the gentrification

of affordable neighborhoods, it is

a challenge for working-class and

independent students to find adequate,

updated, sustainable and safe housing

that is near campus.

Many students play a dangerous

game of balancing their school work,

their social lives and their finances. This

juggling act places mental and physical

strain on students, limiting their ability

to dedicate themselves completely to

their studies.

College students don’t have to be

broke. The notion that the college

experience includes collecting spare

change just to buy food with empty

nutrition, like ramen noodles, and

having to live with multiple people just

to afford shelter must be rejected.

Increasing the minimum wage

would also be an investment in the

University, argued Maggie Palmer, a

senior studying public relations. She

said that “a higher wage would mean

more financial stability and the ability

to save for my future,” which would

allow her to donate to her alma mater.

Championing diversity, equity and

inclusion must go beyond the pamphlets

that boast a progressive campus. It also

includes immediate action in all aspects

of our society and economy. It calls the

University to uplift and support its

students and employees. The University

is more than capable of doing just that.

Several other colleges and universities

in Alabama, like Auburn and the

University of Alabama at Birmingham,

have raised the minimum wage for fulltime

regular-status employees, starting

in January 2022. These changes,

although a step in the right direction,

do not encompass student workers.

By raising the minimum wage for all

workers, the University could be a

pioneer in our state and region and

lead by example, possibly inspiring

other colleges and universities, and

potentially the state of Alabama, to do

the same.

The University wouldn’t be alone in

taking this action but would join the

ranks of schools like Johns Hopkins

University, Clarke University, the

University of Rochester and many more

in supporting the fight for fair pay.

There are misconceptions and

misinformation about what a wage

increase would mean for the University

and the local economy.

Myth: Raising the minimum wage

kills jobs.

Fact: In industries, cities and states

that have raised minimum wages,

there has been no discernible effect

on employment. This includes higherimpact

industries, like food service

and retail.

Myth: The economy will suffer from

increased wages; businesses will lose

money.

Fact: Studies show that only a

$2.25 increase in wages would lead to

increased earnings of workers by an

estimate of $40 billion. This increase

would significantly increase GDP, as it

will circle back into the economy and

decrease unemployment.

Myth: Raising wages is a

Democratic agenda.

Fact: While higher wage policy

is a part of the Democratic Party

platform, traditionally Republican

states like Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska,

South Dakota and West Virginia have

increased their minimum wage since

2014. Federally, Republican presidents

Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon,

Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and

George W. Bush signed legislation

increasing the minimum wage.

Myth: There will be no incentive for

“unskilled” laborers to find better jobs.

Fact: Higher wages equate to more

money being spent in the economy,

which can lead to a cycle of greater

demand for goods and services, job

growth, and increased productivity

for all sectors. Additionally, having

access to higher wages opens up the

opportunity to explore different career

paths and higher education.

Not only will a higher minimum

wage make the lives of student workers

and employees at the University so

much easier, but it also has the potential

to lift thousands of Alabamians out

of poverty, boost the economy and

increase overall productivity.

It will allow students to focus on

their studies and their social lives. It

will allow employees to properly feed

their families and to house themselves.

It will allow all workers to save for

their future. It can, and will, change the

lives of student workers and low-wage

employees for the better.

To The University of Alabama: What

are you waiting for? Roll Tide and Raise

the Wage.

CARSON SILAS

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

There’s history behind every rumor.

“Off the Record,” a podcast inspired by

“You’re Wrong About” and “Decoder

Ring,” explores stories about The

University of Alabama — and the

history behind it all. In these two

episodes, Carson Silas, a contributing

writer for The Crimson White’s culture

desk, talks with experts, dives deep into

the history of the Capstone and the

surrounding Tuscaloosa community,

and discusses how that history impacts

us today.

Episode 1: “Who built The

University of Alabama?”

In the premier episode of “Off the

Record,” Silas is joined by Hilary Green,

an associate professor of history and the

conductor of the University’s Hallowed

Grounds campus tour, and together

they discuss the history and impact of

slavery at The University of Alabama.

They analyze the University’s limited

The unknown history of our campus

CW / Victoria Buckley

records of slavery, discuss how slavery

began on campus and discover the

stories of those enslaved through UA

President Basil Manly’s journals and the

stories of their lives after Emancipation.

Episode 2: “What happened

to Bryce Hospital?”

Bryce Hospital, the mental health

institution that served the Tuscaloosa

community for over 150 years, gained

national attention with the case of

Wyatt v. Stickney.

In the second episode of “Off the

Record,” Silas is joined by Steve Davis,

historian for Bryce Hospital, and

together they discuss what caused the

decline of the historic Bryce Hospital.

They dissect the history of mental

health services in the state of Alabama,

exploring how Bryce Hospital started,

the impact of the state legislature’s

decisions on mental health services,

and what the ruling of Wyatt v. Stickney

means today.

Find the podcast at cw.ua.edu.

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