The Crimson White: Rumor Edition, November 2021

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.

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.


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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />


<strong>Rumor</strong>s spread quickly on campus<br />

and tend to linger. In this edition, <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> confirms or debunks<br />

some of the most notorious rumors that<br />

surround our campus.<br />

CW / Laney Davis<br />

How does the Machine survive at UA?<br />



He had heard rumors of the Machine,<br />

a 100-year-old underground political<br />

organization of sorority and fraternity<br />

members that controls campus<br />

elections. When he walked up to a<br />

Student Government Association table<br />

to ask about it, he was told the Machine<br />

didn’t exist.<br />

McGehee, who graduated from the<br />

University in 2020, was an independent<br />

Senator who served on the SGA<br />

Financial Affairs Committee. He also<br />

worked on multiple campaign teams for<br />

independent candidates who were not<br />

Machine affiliated.<br />

“I guess my assessment of the<br />

Machine’s influence on SGA elections<br />

is that they don’t have an influence,”<br />

McGehee said. “<strong>The</strong>y run the elections.”<br />

Machine actions over the years have<br />

included burning crosses, burglary,<br />

vandalism and boycotts of local<br />

businesses.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Machine was investigated by the<br />

FBI in 1983 after non-Machine SGA<br />

President John Bolus discovered that his<br />

phone was being tapped.<br />

<strong>The</strong> SGA was temporarily shut<br />

down after a non-Machine presidential<br />

candidate reported being assaulted in<br />

1993.<br />

In 2013, a school board member<br />

filed a lawsuit claiming the Machine<br />

illegally influenced a city election by<br />

incentivizing students with alcohol and<br />

concert tickets.<br />

In the ’90s, the Machine allegedly<br />

stole over 4,000 copies of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong><br />

<strong>White</strong> after learning that an expose on<br />

the organization was going to be printed<br />

the day before an SGA election.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Members<br />

Alex Smith, who graduated from the<br />

University in 2018, was an SGA Senator<br />

and member of the Machine.<br />

Smith said she was directed<br />

to the Machine after rushing Phi<br />

Mu, a Machine-affiliated sorority<br />

and expressing interest in student<br />

government.<br />

“I knew it was kind of my key or my<br />

ticket to obtaining an SGA position if<br />

I wanted one,” she said. “I was assured<br />

that it was nothing bad. I was told that<br />

it was a group of people comprised<br />

of members of the Greek system that<br />

essentially looked out for other members<br />

of the Greek system, kind of like a voting<br />

bloc.”<br />

Smith said the Machine became a<br />

larger part of her life once she won a seat<br />

in the Senate. She was told by Machine<br />

representatives within her sorority that<br />

she was part of a “select, secret group of<br />

senators” and not to tell anyone about<br />

the meeting.<br />

“Once I got the OK from my Machine<br />

reps in my house to run and I obtained<br />

a Senate position, I became much more<br />

familiar with the Machine, considering<br />

that I became one of their senators,”<br />

she said. “Over the span of a couple of<br />

months I became more familiar with the<br />

inner workings and what exactly being<br />

a part of the Machine entailed. To me, it<br />

was much more than just a voting blocc.<br />

It was a way that members of the Greek<br />

system coerced those in power to vote a<br />

specific way.”<br />

McGehee echoed this sentiment.<br />

“I did overhear a Machine-affiliated<br />

graduate senator, when we were going<br />

into a Senate meeting, say, ‘I’ve been<br />

instructed on what to vote on tonight,’”<br />

he said. “It was a joke, but that’s literally<br />

what they do. <strong>The</strong>y’ll send the text<br />

message and be like ‘Hey, this is how<br />

we’re voting tonight.’”<br />

A freshman sorority member, who<br />

chose to remain anonymous, said<br />

she became immediately aware of the<br />

Machine while rushing this year.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y sat us [sorority members]<br />

down the week before we got initiated,<br />

and they were like, ‘This is how we are<br />

involved in the Machine,’ or ‘the group,’<br />

as they called it,” she said. “<strong>The</strong> girl who<br />

is directly involved with the Machine<br />

told us who she was and to the capacity<br />

she’s involved in it. This was right when<br />

homecoming elections were coming up.”<br />

She said the Machine representative<br />

encouraged them to vote for presumably<br />

Machine-backed candidate McLean<br />

Moore. She decided not to participate in<br />

the “24/7” homecoming campaign for<br />

Moore.<br />

“I just chose not to be a part of that,” she<br />

said. “Not to put myself in that position<br />

publicly. I didn't post any of her graphics<br />

for things. I didn’t associate myself with<br />

the Machine-backed candidate.”<br />

McGehee said every sorority involved<br />

with the Machine has a representative<br />

who reaches out to members to tell them<br />

who the Machine-backed candidate is in<br />

every election.<br />

He drafted an amendment while he<br />

was in office to make election results<br />

public on the website in perpetuity.<br />

He had approval from the then-SGA<br />

president and other Machine-affiliated<br />

people. <strong>The</strong> amendment passed the<br />

Senate, but once Machine members<br />

realized it would make results public that<br />

“included reference to the Machine,” it<br />

lost their support.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y had reps going through houses<br />

saying that reporting the voting results<br />

publicly was supporting cyberbullying,”<br />

he said.<br />

McGehee said there is a “weird air”<br />

in the SGA offices when it comes to the<br />

Machine.<br />

“You’re not allowed to talk about it,”<br />

he said.<br />

SEE PAGE 4A<br />


4A<br />

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RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

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RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

3A<br />

CW File<br />

OUR VIEW: It’s our job to investigate rumors<br />


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> is not deterred<br />

from tackling big issues, reporting<br />

overlooked events or facing our<br />

campus’s challenges head on. Our staff<br />

aims to continue this work through<br />

the rumor edition, which confirms<br />

or debunks rumors that surround our<br />

campus. <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama<br />

is a well-known institution. From<br />

our highly decorated football team to<br />

our expansive research opportunities,<br />

we have certainly earned a place<br />

in national dialogue. <strong>The</strong> CW is a<br />

valuable part in this conversation.<br />

<strong>Rumor</strong> 1: Students at <strong>The</strong> University<br />

of Alabama do not care about ending<br />

COVID-19.<br />

This rumor is a difficult one to tackle<br />

since the subject of the pandemic<br />

inherently invites the consideration<br />

of many other issues, but we can start<br />

with the reporting that has been done<br />

on this topic. Are our students placing<br />

themselves, and the surrounding<br />

community, at risk?<br />

During the summer of 2020, the<br />

campus community gained national<br />

attention for a number of concerning<br />

headlines, all with the same idea:<br />

that UA students were intentionally<br />

hosting parties to encourage the<br />

spread of COVID-19. <strong>The</strong>se headlines<br />

were in no short supply.<br />

From ABC News to the Associated<br />

Press to Insider, national news outlets<br />

flocked to this story until it became its<br />

own pandemic legend. <strong>The</strong> University<br />

has rebutted this story many times,<br />

but the myth has left a stain on the<br />

University’s reputation, painting our<br />

student body as reckless, careless and<br />

even malicious.<br />

Verdict: Insufficient evidence.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama has a<br />

reputation for being a “party school,”<br />

and its students have a reputation<br />

for being football fanatics who are<br />

unafraid to swarm the city’s bars on<br />

game days. However, this reputation<br />

does not necessarily mean that<br />

students have intentionally spread a<br />

virus for fun or to earn money through<br />

bets. <strong>The</strong> source of these rumors is<br />

somewhat vague in nature, circulating<br />

through the staff of a local urgent<br />

care facility, who cited recordings of<br />

students engaging in these practices.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se videos have yet to be uncovered<br />

or published online.<br />

It appears to us at <strong>The</strong> CW that<br />

parties that occur during the pandemic<br />

are only “COVID parties” in the sense<br />

that any large-scale gathering risks<br />

the spread of the COVID-19 virus.<br />

<strong>The</strong> virus’s spread does not need to<br />

be intentional in order for it to still<br />

happen.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama is not<br />

the only place that has inspired fears<br />

of “COVID parties,” with similar<br />

headlines cropping up in Florida,<br />

Washington State and Texas.<br />

In the absence of proof that people<br />

are spreading the COVID-19 virus<br />

intentionally, our reporting on the<br />

pandemic has instead focused on what<br />

the University is doing to curtail the<br />

spread of the virus.<br />

<strong>Rumor</strong> 2: <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama is only a football and party<br />

school.<br />

<strong>Rumor</strong>s such as the existence of<br />

COVID parties are allowed to persist<br />

due to another common rumor about<br />

our campus: that students come here<br />

to spend four years partying, with<br />

academics taking a secondary role. In<br />

rankings of the top party schools in<br />

the country, the Capstone consistently<br />

appears in the top 10. In 2020, the<br />

Princeton Review even placed the<br />

University at the No. 1 spot.<br />

Verdict: False.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sources of this rumor are<br />

understandable. Alabama football<br />

fans pride themselves on a very<br />

recognizable number: 18. Our<br />

football team claims eighteen national<br />

championship wins. We are the home<br />

of a national legend, coach Nick Saban.<br />

When it comes to football, no one does<br />

it better. It’s difficult to follow college<br />

football at all without encountering<br />

our university’s name splashed across<br />

the headlines. From devastating losses<br />

to glorious victories, news outlets are<br />

always committed to covering our<br />

football performances.<br />

Our school offers more than the<br />

celebration of football victories. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are so many thriving areas of campus<br />

that deserve coverage. This is why we<br />

believe that <strong>The</strong> CW is best equipped<br />

to uncover overlooked successes on<br />

campus. While national news outlets<br />

may not have the resources or interest<br />

to consistently cover all aspects of the<br />

Capstone, that is our express purpose<br />

at <strong>The</strong> CW. Because of our connection<br />

to campus as students, we are able to<br />

gain a complete view of the University<br />

from the inside.<br />

Though we deeply value our football<br />

team, we also love to report on the<br />

other sports that <strong>The</strong> University<br />

of Alabama excels in. We love to<br />

highlight the top college athletes<br />

of the UA gymnastics team and the<br />

winners of the <strong>2021</strong> SEC Tournament,<br />

the UA men’s basketball team.<br />

However, our love of reporting<br />

the successes of campus doesn’t stop<br />

with sports. As both students and<br />

journalists, we know that the Capstone<br />

is an impressive academic institution.<br />

If we want <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama<br />

to be recognized for our impressive<br />

research feats or our commitment to<br />

service and leadership, then we, as<br />

journalists, must give these events a<br />

platform. If an area of campus goes<br />

overlooked, then we have failed at<br />

our duty. We take our responsibility<br />

as a representative of the University<br />

seriously, and we will continue to<br />

identify what it does well and what it<br />

can do better.<br />

<strong>Rumor</strong> 3: Greek life is a big deal at<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.<br />

Earlier this year, a surprising event<br />

occurred. Every August, UA sororities<br />

conduct formal recruitment, a process<br />

to recruit new members that involves<br />

a week of meetings, parties and, of<br />

course, outfits. <strong>The</strong> process of rush<br />

is pretty familiar to the average UA<br />

student. If a student is surprised by<br />

the magnitude of rush their freshman<br />

year, they are certainly accustomed to<br />

it three years later.<br />

What usually goes unnoticed by<br />

people outside of our campus became a<br />

national topic of conversation. During<br />

the week of recruitment, “Bama Rush<br />

TikTok” became its own subculture<br />

on the app, attracting viewers from<br />

around the world. What started as a<br />

few incoming freshmen posting their<br />

outfits of the day quickly became<br />

national discourse, even featuring<br />

debates about topics such as how our<br />

culture defines femininity.<br />

Verdict: True.<br />

While the average person can’t<br />

understand the intricacies of the<br />

TikTok algorithm, it’s not surprising<br />

that Greek life on campus inspired<br />

so much national interest. As the<br />

biggest Panhellenic organization in<br />

the country, accounting for 35% of the<br />

UA student population, Greek life has<br />

a strong presence on campus.<br />

Due to its presence on campus, <strong>The</strong><br />

CW has a vital role in the coverage<br />

of Greek life. At <strong>The</strong> CW, we seek to<br />

delve deeper into Greek life and how<br />

it represents our campus. We have<br />

historically championed its successes<br />

and acknowledged its shortcomings.<br />

Because we represent the University,<br />

Greek life and other UA organizations<br />

shape our identity. People following<br />

Bama Rush TikTok weren’t completely<br />

off the mark: An institution of such a<br />

size and history is a great place to start<br />

conversations about what we stand for<br />

as a university.<br />

What now?<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are not the only rumors<br />

that circulate about <strong>The</strong> University<br />

of Alabama. Such a well-known<br />

institution will always be a subject<br />

of interest for a national audience,<br />

but we maintain our commitment to<br />

verifying the validity of these rumors<br />

and providing a student perspective<br />

on the narratives that define the<br />

University.<br />

News does not exist in a vacuum;<br />

the narratives we tell shape our legacy<br />

as a university. It is for this reason that<br />

the editorial board is emboldened to<br />

write narratives worth reading. We<br />

are honored to join national news<br />

outlets in the practice of journalism,<br />

for despite any differences we have,<br />

our goal is the same: to inform our<br />

campus community.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> Editorial Board is composed of Editorin-Chief<br />

Keely Brewer, Managing Editor Bhavana Ravala,<br />

Engagement Editor Garrett Kennedy, Chief Copy Editor Jack<br />

Maurer and Opinions Editor Ava Fisher.

4A<br />

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

CW / Jo Dyess<br />


<strong>The</strong> Politics<br />

John Archibald, a Pulitzer Prizewinning<br />

reporter for AL.com, graduated<br />

from the University in the ’80s. He cohosted<br />

“Greek Gods,” a podcast about<br />

the Machine, in 2018 with AL.com’s<br />

Reckon Radio.<br />

Archibald said a primary reason he<br />

cares about the Machine is because “it<br />

doesn’t stop in college, and it manifests<br />

itself in the real world.” He also noted a<br />

more personal connection.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Machine is the reason I do what<br />

I do today, because in addition to being<br />

a great training ground for a corrupt<br />

politician, that’s a great training ground<br />

for journalists who are indignant about<br />

corrupt politicians,” he said. “It’s also<br />

the reason I’m married to my wife.”<br />

He met his wife, Alecia Archibald,<br />

while working at the CW and covering<br />

Machine activity on campus. He recalled<br />

“staking out” the Sigma Chi house and<br />

watching Machine representatives put<br />

bags over their heads to get to cars that<br />

quickly pulled up for them. She said Phi<br />

Mu’s faculty advisor told her to break up<br />

with Archibald and quit the CW or she<br />

would be kicked out of Phi Mu.<br />

Smith said what sticks out to her most<br />

from her time in the Machine is that she<br />

was told she could vote however she<br />

wanted as a senator, but when she didn’t<br />

vote how the Machine wanted, there<br />

was “punishment.”<br />

“I think one of the most telling things<br />

is that if it really wasn’t a big deal, if<br />

this group really isn’t as bad as people<br />

make them out to be, then why are they<br />

punishing people when they don’t fall in<br />

line?” she said.<br />

Smith said that once she left the<br />

Machine, her sorority members reacted<br />

negatively, and she felt “exiled.”<br />

“It became very apparent that no one<br />

wanted to sit with me,” she said. “No one<br />

really wanted to be my friend. Things<br />

were said in our pledge class group<br />

about me leaving the Machine and how<br />

it would reflect poorly on our house. I<br />

received dozens of blocked phone calls<br />

from numbers I didn’t know cursing at<br />

me and saying very ugly things. Fellow<br />

Machine senators no longer wanted to<br />

work with me on any issues or any type<br />

of legislation.”<br />

McGehee later worked on the<br />

presidential campaign team for Gene<br />

Fulmer. Fulmer’s opponent Jared<br />

Hunter, had enough election violations<br />

to be disqualified, but his campaign was<br />

only suspended with community service<br />

hours. McGehee said the candidate<br />

campaigned for only a few hours but<br />

won with over 60% of the vote.<br />

Hunter won the presidential election<br />

and publicly claimed a connection to<br />

the Machine.<br />

McGehee later got a call from a<br />

Machine representative acknowledging<br />

that the Machine-backed candidate<br />

should have been disqualified. <strong>The</strong><br />

Elections Board resigned after the<br />

campaign cycle over the incident.<br />

While campaigning for an<br />

independent candidate in his junior<br />

year, he was followed by people he had<br />

never seen or met before, including<br />

staffers from other campaigns. McGehee<br />

left the SGA in his senior year.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> reason I dropped out of SGA<br />

senior year was because I wanted a<br />

cabinet position,” he said. “<strong>The</strong> incoming<br />

Machine administration knew that and<br />

promised me a paid cabinet position<br />

before campaign season in exchange<br />

for campaigning for the Machinebacked<br />

candidate for SGA President. I<br />

didn’t take their offer and campaigned<br />

for independent candidates. I met with<br />

the president-elect and asked if it was<br />

worth my time to apply for a cabinet<br />

spot after elections. He said yes, but<br />

I was ultimately not offered any role<br />

in SGA.”<br />

When Smith ran for homecoming<br />

queen, she wanted to campaign at<br />

a sorority house but was denied the<br />

ability to speak. She said the Machine<br />

“infiltrates” honor societies and campus<br />

organizations, so it was hard to build<br />

relationships for the rest of her time<br />

in college.<br />

No one takes the SGA as seriously as<br />

the Machine, according to Smith.<br />

It’s a real organization.<br />

It’s dangerous. People<br />

shouldn’t feel apathetic<br />

toward it. <strong>The</strong>y have<br />

real power on this<br />

campus statewide.<br />

“When you have a third of campus<br />

automatically coming in as freshmen,<br />

essentially being forced to be politically<br />

involved in SGA, then that automatically<br />

gives the Machine an advantage,” she<br />

said. “Whereas other students who are<br />

coming in who are not members of the<br />

Greek system are not being exposed<br />

to SGA and the politics of what the<br />

Machine is.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> anonymous freshman sorority<br />

member said she is embarrassed for<br />

those still in the Machine.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s obviously a very large voting<br />

bloc of Greeks who will vote how the<br />

Machine tells them. It’s been harmful. I<br />

mean it goes back into the 1800s as being<br />

a racist organization, and honestly, if<br />

you’re involved in the Machine, I think<br />

it’s embarrassing. That’s why I decided<br />

to distance myself from that. I decided<br />

to speak up.”<br />

Archibald said he thought the Greek<br />

Gods podcast would be an interesting<br />

story to tell about the culture of<br />

Alabama politics.<br />

“I wanted to do it because of the<br />

sheer number of politicians who come<br />

out of that system,” he said. “It’s really<br />

a breeding ground for politicians. It’s a<br />

classic story of privilege versus justice.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Voters<br />

Historically, voter turnout in<br />

campus elections has not been high.<br />

<strong>The</strong> recent homecoming election saw<br />

the largest voter turnout since 2015,<br />

with over 13,000 students – onethird<br />

of the student body – voting.<br />

McGehee said student voter apathy<br />

leads to the Machine-backed candidates<br />

consistently winning, but doesn’t think<br />

it’s the only reason.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s definitely some student<br />

apathy, but I think that that’s an excuse,”<br />

he said. “I mean, just because there’s<br />

apathy, ... it doesn’t give you the right to<br />

rig elections.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> freshman sorority member said<br />

she sees student apathy but wants the<br />

student body to know what’s going on<br />

behind closed doors.<br />

“People should know that it’s real,”<br />

she said. “It’s a real organization.<br />

It’s dangerous. People shouldn’t feel<br />

apathetic toward it. <strong>The</strong>y have real<br />

power on this campus and statewide.”<br />

Now that Smith has had several years<br />

to reflect on her experiences, she has a<br />

message for students currently involved<br />

with the Machine.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re is not a day that goes by that<br />

I ever regret standing up for what I<br />

believe in or the injustices that I saw,”<br />

she said. “Just knowing that you have<br />

the ability to stand up for what is right,<br />

for what you believe in. I just hope<br />

that people who are in college now can<br />

understand that that will be so worth it<br />

in the long run, even if it seems like it<br />

would do harm to you in the now.”<br />

While the University’s administration<br />

has never officially acknowledged the<br />

Machine’s existence, the freshman<br />

sorority member said she does not<br />

believe that the administration<br />

is unaware.<br />

“Obviously the administration has to<br />

know about it,” she said. “It’s Alabama’s<br />

dirty little secret.”<br />

Which former UA professor started a cult?<br />



In 1997, the Heaven’s Gate cult<br />

took part in a mass suicide, under the<br />

assumption that they would ascend to<br />

heaven in a UFO. Marshall Applewhite,<br />

one of the founders of this cult, was a<br />

music professor at <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama for a few years in the mid-’60s<br />

before teaching at St. Thomas University<br />

and eventually having a psychotic break.<br />

If you see that<br />

astonishing, pale,<br />

ghostly face that’s on<br />

the Heaven’s Gate<br />

website, it’s almost as if<br />

he cultivated a look that<br />

made him look alien.<br />


Following this psychotic break, he<br />

became close with Bonnie Nettles, his<br />

nurse. After he began having visions, the<br />

two formed their own set of apocalyptic<br />

spiritual beliefs, recruiting followers and<br />

spreading their alien-centric spiritual<br />

message to anyone who would listen.<br />

Despite the way Applewhite’s mental<br />

health deteriorated throughout his life,<br />

his time at <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama<br />

painted a different picture for Neely<br />

Bruce, a composer, professor of music at<br />

Wesleyan University and UA alum.<br />

“His singing was truly remarkable,<br />

and I like to remember him as a very<br />

good singer who had a lot of charisma<br />

on the stage,” Bruce said.<br />

For Bruce, it was a shock to hear about<br />

how much Applewhite’s life had shifted.<br />

Bruce had been casually following the<br />

story in the news, and he didn’t realize<br />

it was his former music professor until a<br />

friend informed him.<br />

In the ’60s, it was widely rumored<br />

that Applewhite’s time at Alabama<br />

ended following an affair with a graduate<br />

student, but little evidence of this exists.<br />

Bruce had no idea why Applewhite left<br />

the University, but said the rumors<br />

about his being with a graduate student<br />

weren't true.<br />

“This rumor was circulating [in]<br />

lots of places. It annoyed me because I<br />

didn’t have any direct evidence of this,<br />

and I don’t think people should spread<br />

rumors,” Bruce said.<br />

In addition to the path Applewhite’s<br />

life had taken, Bruce was surprised by<br />

how much his appearance had shifted.<br />

“If you see that astonishing, pale,<br />

ghostly face that’s on the Heaven’s Gate<br />

website, it’s almost as if he cultivated<br />

a look that made him look alien,”<br />

Bruce said.<br />

Heaven’s Gate made an initial splash in<br />

the media in the ’90s, but public interest<br />

in the cultic topic has reappeared.<br />

Lily Davenport is a doctoral candidate<br />

studying English at the University of<br />

Cincinnati who taught multiple firstyear<br />

writing courses at <strong>The</strong> University<br />

of Alabama centered around cults. She<br />

attributed this resurgence in interest<br />

to podcasts.<br />

“A lot of the media around cults is<br />

coming out of the podcast world, and<br />

I think that that grows directly out of<br />

the growth of true crime podcasts,”<br />

Davenport said.<br />

A 2020 HBO documentary about<br />

the cult also revitalized interest in<br />

Applewhite’s life. <strong>The</strong> story of Heaven’s<br />

Gate holds more weight with a<br />

modern audience because Applewhite<br />

utilized modern-day techniques to<br />

gain followers.<br />

“One thing that I often talk about<br />

with my students is that they were one<br />

of the first cultic groups to utilize the<br />

internet as a means of recruitment,”<br />

Davenport said.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Heaven’s Gate website, now a relic<br />

of the ’90s, has been preserved and is still<br />

accessible online.<br />

Davenport said that due to its<br />

utilization of technology, if the cult was<br />

around now, it would have “cornered the<br />

meme market.”<br />

Alexa Tullett, an assistant professor<br />

of psychology at <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama, said people are often drawn<br />

into groups like Heaven’s Gate to feel a<br />

sense of belonging.<br />

“We want to be part of communities.<br />

So sometimes I think groups, especially<br />

groups that have a fringe belief system<br />

or unconventional belief system, can feel<br />

very inviting to be a part of,” Tullett said.<br />

A <strong>2021</strong> study published in the journal<br />

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality<br />

found that 57% of reported cult members<br />

were female and that over half “had a<br />

university education.”<br />

It might seem surprising that educated<br />

people frequently join these groups,<br />

but dependence can lead members of<br />

a cult to disregard outside information<br />

and evidence.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s a certain effort that comes<br />

with questioning all of our actions and<br />

questioning the claims that are made by<br />

our political leaders or people who are in<br />

power, but I think sometimes people like<br />

to have a source of information or advice<br />

that we don’t question,” Tullet said.<br />

It’s important to remember that the<br />

people who are drawn into cultlike groups<br />

don’t always fit a stereotype. Russell<br />

McCutcheon, chair of the Department of<br />

Religious Studies at the University, said<br />

the wide variety of people involved in the<br />

Heaven’s Gate suicides made the group<br />

stand out in the media.<br />

“It got difficult to dismiss them as crazy<br />

or disaffected, as many at first rushed<br />

to do, when the ‘goodbye’ videos were<br />

released and we realized how diverse and<br />

articulate/educated the group’s members<br />

were, how old some members were, how<br />

excited they all seemed to be for what<br />

awaited them,” he said.<br />

Many in the public saw parts of<br />

themselves in the Heaven’s Gate<br />

members, and that’s a key piece of<br />

what made it so terrifying for some.<br />

Applewhite seemed to convince the<br />

group that their ascension to heaven<br />

was imminent.<br />

Heaven’s Gate is also the story of a<br />

mental health struggle — one that not<br />

only impacted Applewhite, but resulted<br />

in the death of 39 people.<br />

“It’s not pretty, and people need to be<br />

more and more aware of the real damage<br />

that mental illness does to its victims,”<br />

McCutcheon said.<br />

CW / Jo Dyess

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

How do faculty impact students’ legacies?<br />



It’s debatable to say that all <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama creates is<br />

legends, but it’s hard to debate the<br />

role faculty members play in students’<br />

careers, especially faculty members<br />

like Qianping Guo. Guo, an associate<br />

professor of dance who danced with<br />

two of the top ballet companies in<br />

China and America, is a gold and silver<br />

medalist in multiple international<br />

ballet competitions.<br />

On the second floor of Clark<br />

Hall, Guo leads his students through<br />

intricate ballet combinations, making<br />

sure that students learn the techniques<br />

and understand why they matter.<br />

For Guo, ballet isn’t just about<br />

“beautiful movements”; it’s about the<br />

reasoning. In the 10 years he has been<br />

at the University, he has created bonds<br />

of trust with his students and instilled<br />

in them an attention to detail.<br />

According to some of his students,<br />

Guo’s dedication to his craft has<br />

helped them tremendously. Carey<br />

Hodovanich, a corps de ballet<br />

dancer at Ballet Pensacola and a UA<br />

alumna, said Guo’s passion for ballet<br />

was obvious.<br />

“You can tell how much he loves it,<br />

and that makes me love it even more,<br />

because I know I’m learning from<br />

someone who loves it,” Hodovanich<br />

said. “It’s not just him giving me<br />

corrections because that’s his job. He’s<br />

giving it because he loves the art form,<br />

and he wants to see me do it the best<br />

that I can do it.”<br />

Hodovanich said Guo always saw<br />

room for improvement in every dancer<br />

and pushed them to be better while<br />

encouraging them. She said that Guo<br />

was intent on making sure his students<br />

worked hard, which helped her grow<br />

as a dancer, and that his attention to<br />

detail made her think less about the<br />

big picture and more about the details<br />

and the “intention behind it.”<br />

“It clicked in my brain, and it<br />

helped make picking up choreography<br />

a lot easier, and it just kind of helped<br />

me with my artistry because it gave<br />

my movement purpose,” she said. “It<br />

then helps me be successful in the<br />

professional world, because I was<br />

picking up details and not having to<br />

wait to be corrected on them.”<br />

While Guo has affected UA<br />

students, he’s also created connections<br />

through mentoring and teaching<br />

students outside of the University<br />

like Lumeng, Jiao Yang and Jolie Rose<br />

Lombardo, all of whom have won<br />

medals in international and national<br />

ballet competitions.<br />

In 2016, after evacuating Orlando<br />

due to Hurricane Hermine, Lombardo,<br />

a Florida native, had her first class<br />

with Guo at age 14. After the class,<br />

Lombardo left excited to learn more.<br />

“​<strong>The</strong> class was so good. I love<br />

being challenged. … I want to have<br />

a combination that I can’t do yet,<br />

... and his class was so difficult and<br />

absolutely on the Vaganova training<br />

that I was like, ‘That’s a real class,’”<br />

Lombardo said.<br />

Lombardo and Guo continued<br />

to work together throughout 2018<br />

until the regional Youth<br />

America Grand Prix, after<br />

which Lombardo got sick and<br />

went back to Tuscaloosa to<br />

recuperate. During this time,<br />

he not only helped her get<br />

back to 100%, but also helped<br />

her prepare the variation her<br />

previous ballet teacher gave her<br />

for the Youth America Grand<br />

Prix finals.<br />

Stephanie Lombardo,<br />

Jolie’s mother, said that after<br />

six weeks the variation<br />

looked completely<br />

different. Jolie Lombardo<br />

took the piece to New<br />

York for the Youth<br />

America Grand<br />

Prix competition<br />

and received a<br />

gold medal.<br />

“[<strong>The</strong> directors<br />

of the competition]<br />

kept saying, ‘You’re<br />

a different dancer,’<br />

not that her ballet<br />

teacher wasn’t great<br />

in Atlanta. She was<br />

wonderful, but<br />

they didn't give<br />

her the amount of<br />

time,” Stephanie<br />

Lombardo said.<br />

“When you have<br />

somebody that will<br />

spend time with you and fix everything<br />

and prepare you for a competition that<br />

big — that’s what he did, and it was his<br />

phenomenal training.”<br />

Through Guo’s preparation, Jolie<br />

Lombardo went on to become one<br />

of the youngest finalists at the USA<br />

International Ballet Competition.<br />

After that, Lombardo won a full<br />

scholarship to the John Cranko<br />

Schule, a renowned ballet school, in<br />

Stuttgart, Germany.<br />

Things for Jolie Lombardo took a<br />

harrowing turn when after Christmas<br />

in 2019, she began to have trouble<br />

sleeping and experienced excruciating<br />

pain when she tried. At a hospital in<br />

Germany, she found out she had a<br />

tumor on her spinal cord. Reluctant to<br />

let her daughter have a major surgery<br />

like that without her around, Stephanie<br />

Lombardo worked to get her daughter<br />

back home.<br />

A day later, Jolie Lombardo and her<br />

parents were at Children’s<br />

Scottish Rite Hospital in<br />

Atlanta, Georgia, when a<br />

doctor informed them that<br />

if they had waited a few<br />

more days to come in or<br />

if Lombardo had fallen<br />

asleep from exhaustion<br />

and the tumor had<br />

moved the “slightest bit<br />

south,” she could have<br />

been paralyzed.<br />

<strong>The</strong> surgery went well,<br />

but for the first three<br />

days, Lombardo was<br />

paralyzed even though she<br />

was supposed to be able<br />

to move.<br />

“For me having three<br />

weeks off is a nightmare,<br />

you know? Being not<br />

able to move, I never<br />

thought I’d ever have<br />

to experience that<br />

in my entire life,<br />

because my life is<br />

moving,” Lombardo<br />

said. “So when<br />

I woke up and I<br />

could not move,<br />

it was the most<br />

frustrating thing.<br />

... It was absolutely<br />

horrifying. <strong>The</strong><br />

worst feeling in my<br />

CW / Anna Butts<br />

entire life.”<br />

5A<br />

Luckily, on the fourth day, Lombardo<br />

was able to move her arm, then from<br />

there she worked her way from the bed<br />

to a wheelchair to a walker, and then<br />

she was off to a rehabilitation center<br />

in Florida.<br />

It’s not just him<br />

giving me corrections<br />

because that’s his job.<br />

He’s giving it because<br />

he loves the art form,<br />

and he wants to see<br />

me do it the best that I<br />

can do it.”<br />

CAREY<br />


Stephanie Lombardo said that<br />

the second she was able to get into a<br />

studio, Jolie called Guo. During this<br />

time, Jolie Lombardo could only do<br />

half a barre sequence, but with Guo’s<br />

help she got better.<br />

“Everyone thinks it’s my school<br />

[the John Cranko Schule], but it’s not.<br />

It’s here, and it’s because we love the<br />

University so much,” she said.<br />

Stephanie Lombardo said she<br />

credits Guo’s training along with her<br />

daughter’s positive thinking. She<br />

said there was never a doubt in her<br />

daughter’s mind about the trajectory<br />

of her career.<br />

Now, Jolie Lombardo has a job with<br />

Stuttgart Ballet, a leading German<br />

ballet company, and can openly give<br />

that credit to Guo, whereas before she<br />

couldn’t because of her connection to<br />

the John Cranko Schule.<br />

Hodovanich said she loved being<br />

able to experience class with Lombardo<br />

because it gave her something to<br />

strive for and showed her that Guo’s<br />

methods work.<br />

“It was kind of like the proof, not<br />

that I needed it, but it was nice to be<br />

like, ‘Oh, yes. This is good,’” she said.<br />

“[Lombardo] came back, and she was<br />

saying that the level class that we were<br />

doing, we looked absolutely fantastic.<br />

So, it was nice validation to hear from<br />

someone who was in the professional<br />

world at the college level.”<br />

Representing Students in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court,<br />

Tuscaloosa District Court, Northport Municipal Court, and<br />

Criminal Case Expungements<br />

205-454-7500<br />

Representing Students in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court,<br />

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No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is<br />

greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.<br />

Representing Students in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court,<br />

05-454-7500<br />

Tuscaloosa District Court, Northport Municipal Court, and<br />

Criminal Case Expungements<br />

Representing Students in Tuscaloosa Municipal Court,<br />

205-454-7500<br />

Tuscaloosa Representing District Court, Northport Municipal Court, and<br />

705 27th Avenue Criminal<br />

Students<br />

Tuscaloosa Case<br />

in Tuscaloosa Expungements<br />

Municipal Court,<br />

Tuscaloosa District Court, Northport Municipal Court, and<br />

Alabama 35401<br />

Criminal Case Expungements<br />

205-454-7500<br />

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is<br />

greater<br />

205-454-7500<br />

than<br />

705<br />

the<br />

27th<br />

quality<br />

Avenue<br />

of legal<br />

Tuscaloosa<br />

services<br />

Alabama<br />

performed<br />

35401<br />

by other lawyers.<br />

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is<br />

greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.<br />

705 27th Avenue Tuscaloosa Alabama 35401<br />

705 27th Avenue Tuscaloosa Alabama 35401<br />

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is<br />

greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.<br />

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is<br />

greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

6A<br />

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong>

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />



<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama has<br />

announced multiple changes to its<br />

COVID-19 policies over the last few<br />

weeks. On Oct. 22, the University<br />

announced that it would comply with<br />

President Joe Biden’s executive order<br />

requiring federal employees to be fully<br />

vaccinated against COVID-19. A week<br />

later, on Oct. 29, an email sent to the<br />

campus community announced that the<br />

requirement for vaccinated individuals<br />

to wear masks indoors would be lifted on<br />

Nov. 5, with some exceptions.<br />

‘A pre-COVID world’<br />

With the mask mandate lifted, many<br />

students feel that there has been a return<br />

to pre-COVID-19 normalcy. For some,<br />

there is division on whether or not this is a<br />

positive or negative development.<br />

Payton Greenlee, a sophomore<br />

majoring in marketing, said he feels<br />

that having “normal” life continue is<br />

more important than worrying about<br />

COVID-19, and that it wasn’t worth<br />

implementing COVID-19 restrictions at<br />

the expense of normal activities like inperson<br />

classes.<br />

He said he did not think the University<br />

should have restrictions for COVID-19<br />

when they did not implement them for<br />

other illnesses in the past.<br />

“I have caught [COVID-19] before,<br />

and it affected me no different than<br />

having a fever does,” Greenlee said. “I<br />

don’t think the campus should be worried<br />

about COVID.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> admin has failed<br />

miserably at their job<br />

of protecting students,<br />

faculty, staff and the<br />

greater Tuscaloosa<br />

community. It is utterly<br />

ridiculous that no one<br />

was held accountable.<br />

SKY DUNN<br />

Gabrielle Kirk, a freshman majoring<br />

in secondary education, said that as<br />

temperatures drop, it’s even more<br />

important for the campus community<br />

to be on its guard for a COVID-19<br />

resurgence, and she criticized those who<br />

are celebrating the return to normal.<br />

“We can’t get to a [pre-COVID-19]<br />

society unless people get their vaccine<br />

and booster shots and our body evolves to<br />

handle the COVID-19 strain,” Kirk said.<br />

“[Students] don’t want to get vaccinated,<br />

don’t want to wear a mask, don’t want to<br />

social distance, but want a pre-COVID<br />

world. Science and viruses don’t work<br />

like that.”<br />

According to data released by the<br />

University on Oct. 22, at least 62% of UA<br />

students have received at least one dose of<br />

a COVID-19 vaccine.<br />

Dr. Richard Friend, a member of the<br />

University of Alabama System Health<br />

and Safety Task Force and the dean<br />

of the College of Community Health<br />

Sciences, said the University is following<br />

the science in lifting its mask mandate for<br />

vaccinated individuals.<br />

Is COVID still a concern for campus?<br />

<strong>The</strong> Centers for Disease Control and<br />

Prevention says that “everyone should<br />

wear a mask in public, indoor settings,”<br />

regardless of vaccination status, in<br />

areas of substantial to high community<br />

transmission levels. Tuscaloosa County<br />

currently has a substantial level of local<br />

transmission, as it did when the University<br />

announced it would remove the mask<br />

mandate. When the mask mandate<br />

was lifted on Nov. 5, the county was<br />

experiencing a high level of transmission.<br />

According to the CDC, a substantial<br />

level of COVID-19 transmission is<br />

considered to be between 50 and 100 cases<br />

per 100,000 people, or a test positivity rate<br />

between 8% and 10%. Tuscaloosa County<br />

currently has about 83 cases per 100,000<br />

people, with 4.66% of COVID-19 tests in<br />

the county coming back positive.<br />

Some students like Greenlee said<br />

they believe that COVID-19 is no worse<br />

than the flu and therefore is nothing<br />

to worry about. Friend did not offer a<br />

direct response to this, instead stressing<br />

that “we should still be concerned about<br />

COVID-19 and we still need to be<br />

concerned about the flu.”<br />

Narratives that compare the flu to<br />

COVID-19 have been viewed with<br />

skepticism by public health authorities<br />

due to the disparities in the diseases’<br />

respective death tolls and the fact that<br />

COVID-19 spreads faster than the flu.<br />

While the flu can be deadly for those<br />

who catch it — the CDC estimates that<br />

the flu kills between 12,000 and 52,000<br />

each year — over 750,000 people have<br />

died from COVID-19 in the United States<br />

since the beginning of the pandemic, with<br />

that number climbing by the thousands<br />

daily. Overall, there is a consensus that<br />

COVID-19 is much more severe than the<br />

flu.<br />

‘No one was held<br />

accountable’<br />

A bill signed into law earlier this year<br />

by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey prohibits state<br />

entities and private businesses from asking<br />

individuals to provide proof of vaccination.<br />

<strong>The</strong> law effectively renders the University’s<br />

updated mask requirements, which still<br />

require unvaccinated individuals to wear<br />

masks indoors, unenforceable.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> state law is the state law,”<br />

Friend said. “I would just encourage<br />

[unvaccinated individuals] to do the right<br />

thing. <strong>The</strong>y’re all on the honor system.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> other two universities in the<br />

UA System, the University of Alabama<br />

at Birmingham and the University of<br />

Alabama in Huntsville, continue to<br />

require masks indoors on their campuses,<br />

despite having lower levels of virus<br />

transmission in their counties than in<br />

Tuscaloosa County.<br />

UAB spokesperson Alicia Rohan<br />

said the policy is not likely to change<br />

anytime soon.<br />

“UAB plans to maintain an indoor<br />

masking requirement for the rest of<br />

the calendar year while we continue to<br />

monitor local COVID transmission rates,<br />

hospitalizations, and other relevant data,”<br />

she said in an email.<br />

Requests for comment from UAH were<br />

not returned.<br />

Jefferson County, where UAB is<br />

located, has moderate levels of local<br />

virus transmission. Madison County,<br />

where UAH is located, is also in the<br />

moderate range. Both counties have<br />

significantly lower levels of transmission<br />

than Tuscaloosa County, which has a<br />

substantial level of transmission according<br />

to the CDC website tracking transmission<br />

levels in individual counties.<br />

Sky Dunn, a junior majoring in history,<br />

said she is tired of the University saying<br />

one thing and then doing another. Due<br />

to her immunocompromised status, she<br />

is at higher risk of contracting severe<br />

COVID-19.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> admin has failed miserably at their<br />

job of protecting students, faculty, staff<br />

and the greater Tuscaloosa community,”<br />

Dunn said. “It is utterly ridiculous that no<br />

one was held accountable.”<br />

Dunn also stated that the requirement<br />

for unvaccinated people to still wear masks<br />

indicates that the University knows it’s not<br />

safe to unmask, but chose to change the<br />

policy anyways.<br />

“By the admin writing the policy, they<br />

acknowledge that if you are not vaccinated,<br />

you need to wear a mask, which shows<br />

that they are aware that people should<br />

be wearing masks,” she said. “It does not<br />

resonate with the political beliefs of the<br />

admin of the school.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> University has only cited Biden’s<br />

executive order for why it chose to lift the<br />

mask mandate. Open records requests for<br />

the specific information used to make the<br />

decision have not been answered.<br />

‘Very few COVID-19 cases’<br />

This semester has seen cases among<br />

students, faculty and staff drop significantly<br />

below the peak from fall 2020. Between<br />

Nov. 1 and Nov. 7, six students and three<br />

faculty or staff members have reported<br />

testing positive for the virus.<br />

Between Aug. 9 and Nov. 7, 685 new<br />

cases have been reported among students,<br />

and 191 new cases have been reported<br />

among the faculty and staff. Around this<br />

point last year the University had more<br />

than 2,800 new cases reported by students<br />

during the semester, while about 340 cases<br />

were reported among faculty and staff in<br />

the same period this year.<br />

“We have very few COVID-19 cases on<br />

our campus; our positivity rate is under<br />

1%,” Friend said.<br />

<strong>The</strong> number of cases this semester<br />

is significantly lower than last fall, but<br />

compared to last year, the University’s<br />

testing operations are less robust. Last<br />

year, the University required entry<br />

and exit testing, as well as sentinel<br />

testing for those who participated in<br />

on-campus activities.<br />

Students can voluntarily be tested at the<br />

Student Health Center, University Medical<br />

Center or an off-campus medical provider,<br />

but they are no longer required to be<br />

tested regularly, with some exceptions for<br />

student-athletes.<br />

Friend was unavailable for followup<br />

questions regarding the changes to<br />

testing resources.<br />

‘Not everyone is vaccinated’<br />

While campus COVID-19 cases<br />

on campus remain low this semester,<br />

transmission in surrounding Tuscaloosa<br />

County areas remain high, and it is<br />

still unknown how the lifting of some<br />

masking measures will affect campus<br />

infection numbers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University dashboard does not<br />

list the number of students who are fully<br />

vaccinated, only those who have received<br />

at least one dose. In order to be fully<br />

vaccinated, one must receive two doses of<br />

either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or<br />

one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.<br />

One dose of the Pfizer and Moderna<br />

vaccines provides significantly less<br />

protection. <strong>The</strong> protection afforded by<br />

vaccines have also been shown to decrease<br />

1B<br />

over time. Requests for information<br />

on how many students have been fully<br />

vaccinated have not been answered.<br />

“If you don’t want to be vaccinated,<br />

chances are you probably don’t want<br />

to wear a mask or don’t wear one at all,”<br />

Dunn said. “<strong>The</strong>y know that not everyone<br />

is vaccinated, and yet most people aren’t<br />

wearing masks.”<br />

[Students] don’t want<br />

to get vaccinated, don’t<br />

want to wear a mask,<br />

don’t want to social<br />

distance, but want<br />

a pre-COVID world.<br />

Science and viruses<br />

don’t work like that.<br />


All UA employees are required to<br />

comply with the vaccine mandate by Jan.<br />

4, but employees can apply for medical,<br />

disability or religious exemptions. A<br />

bill signed into state law on Nov. 5 by<br />

Ivey made it illegal for employers to fire<br />

employees who refuse a COVID-19<br />

vaccine and claim a medical or<br />

religious exemption.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University has not publicly<br />

outlined plans for employees who refuse<br />

the vaccine. <strong>The</strong>re is currently no available<br />

information on how the University<br />

evaluates exemption requests, or how<br />

many people have requested one. <strong>The</strong><br />

exemption request forms were taken<br />

down from the UA Vaccine Management<br />

Portal on Nov. 5 and made available again<br />

on Nov. 11.<br />

‘Whatever measures are<br />

necessary’<br />

Many students believe that the<br />

campus no longer needs to worry about<br />

COVID-19, citing reasons ranging<br />

from increased vaccination numbers to<br />

incorrect beliefs that COVID-19 is no<br />

worse than the flu.<br />

“I think we are totally in the clear,”<br />

said Saylor Collum, a freshman majoring<br />

in public relations. “I think things are<br />

normal again, and we need to start acting<br />

that way.”<br />

According to Friend, the campus should<br />

still be concerned about COVID-19.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s still a lot we don’t know about<br />

COVID-19; we still have cases, very few<br />

cases but still, we have cases across the<br />

country and in young people,” Friend said.<br />

“I think everybody needs to get vaccinated<br />

and take the necessary precautions to try<br />

and prevent it.”<br />

Friend said that the University is<br />

committed to keeping the campus safe,<br />

and that measures could be taken in the<br />

future if necessary.<br />

“We will implement whatever measures<br />

are necessary, at the times necessary,<br />

to keep campus safe as we have done,”<br />

he said.<br />

Dunn made it clear what she thought<br />

people should do if they think COVID-19<br />

is no longer a concern.<br />

“People who think we should move on<br />

from COVID-19 should get off Facebook<br />

and call [their] local hospital,” Dunn said.<br />

“See how many ICU beds are full and<br />

how exhausted the staff is from fighting<br />

this pandemic. Let’s try to get each other<br />

through this hard time instead of fighting<br />

CW File

2B<br />

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong>

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

Is off-campus student housing too much trouble?<br />

3B<br />



With 167 student apartments listed<br />

on the UA off-campus housing resources<br />

page, there are bound to be some<br />

problems. From water leaks and poor<br />

management to break-ins and infestations,<br />

choosing a place to live after dorming can<br />

be a daunting task.<br />

While many off-campus apartments<br />

have good reviews, some haven’t fared so<br />

well, facing complaints such as broken<br />

appliances, poor management, mold,<br />

flooding and security concerns.<br />

Recently, several complexes have<br />

been the target of break-ins and<br />

attempted robberies.<br />

Stephanie Taylor, a spokesperson<br />

for the Tuscaloosa Police Department,<br />

said that most vehicle break-ins, thefts<br />

and burglaries happen at off-campus<br />

apartment complexes and off-campus<br />

houses because there are more potential<br />

victims available in a shorter amount of<br />

time and there tends to be less security.<br />

According to the Tuscaloosa Police<br />

Department, all vehicles and every<br />

apartment but one that have been broken<br />

into within the past three months at Vie at<br />

University Downs were unlocked and had<br />

no signs of forced entry.<br />

In the Alabama Student Ticket<br />

Exchange Facebook group alone, dozens<br />

of posts have been made about cars being<br />

broken into or stolen at supposedly gated<br />

apartment complexes.<br />

“When choosing a place to live, pay<br />

attention to whether the complex has<br />

working security cameras,” Taylor said.<br />

“We sometimes get crimes reported at a<br />

residential or<br />

business that<br />

has cameras,<br />

but not functional ones. Check with the<br />

apartment management on occasion and<br />

ask if the cameras work. If they advertise<br />

on-site security personnel, hold them to<br />

that. If the complex is gated, but the gate is<br />

always left up — say something.”<br />

Along with security issues, many<br />

complexes have been berated online for<br />

the lack of cleanliness in the apartments.<br />

One apartment complex, <strong>The</strong> Lofts at<br />

City Center, claims on its website to offer<br />

“luxurious apartments” and “the best<br />

student apartments in Tuscaloosa near<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.”<br />

With rates as low as $394 per month,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Lofts is one of the cheaper housing<br />

options for students. However, many<br />

residents have used the ticket exchange<br />

Facebook group, online review websites<br />

and other platforms to advise against<br />

living at <strong>The</strong> Lofts.<br />

One Yelp user claimed his apartment<br />

flooded several times at <strong>The</strong> Lofts, that<br />

there was a cockroach problem, and that<br />

“trash piles up in the halls, dog poop stays<br />

in stairwells or hallways for months.”<br />

Cardinal Group Management, which<br />

owns <strong>The</strong> Lofts and several other studentstyle<br />

living apartments across the country,<br />

said it is working to fix the problems.<br />

“We are aware of issues concerning<br />

trash and mold in <strong>The</strong> Lofts at City Center<br />

over the last few weeks. We have promptly<br />

and actively worked to resolve every<br />

issue that has come to our attention.” the<br />

Cardinal Group said in a statement to the<br />

<strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> in October.<br />

While some may think the cheaper<br />

price equates to worse conditions, some<br />

off-campus apartments have proven this<br />

isn’t the case.<br />

In August 2018, many were<br />

excited to be the first residents of<br />

Hub Tuscaloosa, which flaunted<br />

luxury apartments, pool parties and a<br />

location near Bryant-Denny Stadium.<br />

However, after being open for only a week,<br />

Hub was already experiencing problems,<br />

much to the dismay of the students paying<br />

upwards of $1,200 a month in rent for<br />

one apartment.<br />

According to Andrew Cartwright, a<br />

student who shared his experience with<br />

the <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> in October, they were<br />

met with dirty surfaces and sinks full of<br />

water with no working garbage disposal.<br />

Over the next few months, residents<br />

also experienced flooding and mold in<br />

the walls.<br />

Lily Mai, the director of communications<br />

for Hub, responded to the issues in an<br />

October article of the <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong>.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> heavy rainfall we had in September<br />

impacted some residents and displaced<br />

others,” Mai said. “We worked closely with<br />

anyone experiencing issues, and there are<br />

no residents in [un]inhabitable situations.”<br />

Although most students who complain<br />

about their apartments are simply out<br />

of luck, more than 100 residents of Hub<br />

Tuscaloosa filed a class action lawsuit<br />

against the company in 2018 for violating<br />

the Alabama Landlord and Tenant Act.<br />

City Attorney Scott Holmes said all<br />

lawsuits related to Hub were dismissed<br />

with prejudice in February 2020.<br />

Some off-campus apartment complexes<br />

have changed their names throughout the<br />

years due to changes in ownership, losing<br />

the bad reviews associated with their name<br />

in the process. Redpoint was originally<br />

called <strong>The</strong> Woodlands of Tuscaloosa<br />

but changed its name in 2019. Campus<br />

Evolution was renamed <strong>The</strong> Path. Evolve<br />

used to be known as Harbor on Sixth.<br />

Michael Cartee, a real estate developer<br />

from Chicago and a Tuscaloosa lawyer<br />

who represented Core Spaces, said that<br />

the exception for plexes is “fundamentally<br />

unfair”<br />

CW / Anna Butts<br />

and that plexes cause horizontal sprawl<br />

and blight.<br />

Tuscaloosa attorney Bryan Winter,<br />

who also represented Core Spaces, said<br />

the city currently incentivizes four and<br />

five bedrooms for plexes in the way that<br />

it handles service fees. Land development<br />

projects pay those fees to the city to<br />

cover the impact that they have on<br />

city infrastructure.<br />

Service fees are charged to housing<br />

developments by the number of units,<br />

rather than by the number of bedrooms<br />

and bathrooms.<br />

Winter said the moratorium on multifamily<br />

and student mega complexes<br />

is “pushing back on outside economic<br />

investment and job creation.”<br />

Robert McLeod, a professor of<br />

finance at <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama’s<br />

Culverhouse College of Business, said<br />

the economic impact of large-scale land<br />

development projects like student mega<br />

complexes “make a very large contribution<br />

to both city and school taxes.”<br />

“If we unduly restrict these kinds<br />

of developments, it’s going to hurt<br />

Tuscaloosa’s economy,” McLeod said.<br />

After studying 2019 economic data with<br />

Samuel Addy, head of the Culverhouse<br />

Center for Business and Economic<br />

Research, McLeod said they found that<br />

for every dollar in construction spending,<br />

there is a positive economic impact of<br />

$2.40, and that large housing development<br />

projects had an impact of more than $500<br />

million on Tuscaloosa’s economy that year.<br />

McLeod also said large-scale<br />

developments like mega complexes have<br />

a positive economic impact by paying<br />

hundreds of thousands of dollars in<br />

service fees, building permits and business<br />

licenses to the city.<br />

Despite the benefits of these complexes,<br />

this August, the Tuscaloosa City Council<br />

extended the moratorium on accepting<br />

building and land development permits<br />

for student megaplexes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> vote was 7-0, and the moratorium<br />

will continue until May 1, 2022.<br />

In an interview with Tuscaloosa News,<br />

Maddox said more time was needed to<br />

solidify building rules and regulations<br />

in order to avoid future overtaxing of<br />

Tuscaloosa city infrastructure.<br />

“We’re also exploring some ideas<br />

on how do you fairly assess what these<br />

developments are costing in terms of city<br />

expenses,” Maddox said. “But we would<br />

appreciate a little bit more time to work<br />

through this.”<br />

For UA student Caroline Horn,<br />

warnings about the crosswalks started<br />

during an early move-in camp for<br />

new students.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> only thing I remember from<br />

Camp 1831 was our team leader telling us<br />

the crosswalks get slippery when it rains,”<br />

UA student Caroline Horn said.<br />

With the painted lines of a crosswalk<br />

appearing to be a potent slipping hazard,<br />

some might wonder if there is something<br />

wrong with the paint.<br />

“More than once I have been crossing<br />

and slipped,” engineering major Logan<br />

Burke said. “It happened so often that I<br />

bought new shoes thinking maybe mine<br />

just didn’t have enough tread, but it didn’t<br />

help. So now I walk beside the crosswalk<br />

instead of in it.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> federal government regulates what<br />

materials can be used when marking<br />

a crosswalk. <strong>The</strong>se guidelines are laid<br />

out in the Manual on Uniform Traffic<br />

Control Devices.<br />

“Interestingly, only some portions of<br />

this 862-page manual are required. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are numerous optional statements and<br />

guidance,” said Armen Amirkhanian, a<br />

professor of engineering and an expert in<br />

cementitious materials.<br />

<strong>The</strong> manual rarely mentions<br />

slipperiness. It only makes one statement<br />

about crosswalk material slipperiness<br />

for pedestrians: “Consideration should<br />

be given to selecting pavement marking<br />

materials that will minimize tripping or<br />

loss of traction for road users, including<br />

pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.”<br />

“Since this is a legal document,<br />

the word ‘should’ is really important,”<br />

Amirkhanian said. “As an engineer, I am<br />

not required to select a marking that will<br />

minimize tripping or loss of traction. I am<br />

recommended to do so.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is only one other mention of road<br />

marker slipperiness in the manual, which<br />

says “consideration should be given to<br />

Are campus crosswalks safe?<br />



selecting pavement marking materials that<br />

will minimize loss of traction for bicycles<br />

under wet conditions.”<br />

“I’ve seen multiple bikers and<br />

skateboarders fall due to the rain<br />

on sidewalks,” freshman aerospace<br />

engineering major Sydney Moskalick said.<br />

“I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but I only<br />

see it when it rains.”<br />

Freshman criminal justice major<br />

Madison Towner would suggest it’s not<br />

a coincidence.<br />

“I refuse to walk directly on the<br />

crosswalk when it rains because I have<br />

[fallen and almost fallen] too many times,”<br />

Towner said.<br />

Part of why slipperiness is not more of a<br />

priority when choosing crosswalk marking<br />

materials is that there is no national<br />

standard for measuring it and therefore no<br />

way to regulate it.<br />

Researchers like Somayeh Nassiri at<br />

Washington State University are using<br />

the British Pendulum Number scale for<br />

slipperiness evaluation in studies on<br />

pavement. A project report authored by<br />

Nassiri looked into evaluating the safety<br />

of pavement marking for bicyclists. <strong>The</strong><br />

report tested three different pavement<br />

marking material types evaluated in dry,<br />

wet and icy conditions.<br />

Based on the findings from the analysis,<br />

centerline striping may be a beneficial<br />

technique to prevent bicycles from<br />

slipping. Other countries have their own<br />

units of measuring slippage on walking<br />

surfaces and the impact related to road<br />

markers. Those units are helping American<br />

researchers create safer road conditions<br />

and could be utilized as part of a future<br />

federal road marking material regulation.<br />

Every state’s department of<br />

transportation approves certain materials<br />

for marking pavement, but not every project<br />

is subject to these rules. Amirkhanian said<br />

that because contractors are generally<br />

familiar with the rules, though, the rules<br />

are often followed even where they do<br />

not apply.<br />

UA Director of Transportation Services<br />

Chris D’Esposito said the approximately<br />

500 crosswalks on campus are repainted<br />

every summer and worn ones are<br />

subject to a midyear refresher coat.<br />

He said many factors contribute to the<br />

crosswalks’ slipperiness.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> inclement weather element, a<br />

lot of rain, condensation, wintery mix of<br />

snow and ice. <strong>The</strong>n, what is the shoe style?<br />

A smooth-sole shoe or something with<br />

more traction?”<br />

D’Esposito said his department uses<br />

Hotline Fast Dry Latex Waterborne<br />

Traffic Marking Paint to mark crosswalks<br />

on campus.<br />

“We take anything to do with safety<br />

very seriously,” he said. “We use the best<br />

recommended products.”<br />

D’Esposito said Hotline Fast Dry<br />

Latex paint contains reflective glass beads<br />

for safe driving at night and sand to<br />

retain coarseness.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> primary objective for any<br />

pavement marking is to indicate hazards<br />

and deviations from expected flow to the<br />

traveling public,” Amirkhanian said. “That<br />

is, we are first concerned with drivers.<br />

Pedestrians are expected to be observant of<br />

their surroundings and yield to dangerous<br />

situations, like vehicles traveling on<br />

the road. Because of this focus, there is<br />

not a significant concern of the friction<br />

performance of pavement markings,<br />

as they would minimally impact the<br />

traveling public.”<br />

Amirkhanian said that some materials<br />

exist that can be added to paint to increase<br />

friction but that those additives can create<br />

much more danger.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> main issue with these types of<br />

materials is durability,” he said. “Any<br />

material with high friction would wear<br />

down much quicker, especially in a<br />

crosswalk application. A crosswalk<br />

boundary that is worn and poorly visible<br />

is much more dangerous for the driver and<br />

pedestrian than a slippery but highly visible<br />

and well-defined crosswalk boundary.”<br />

On Tuscaloosa’s rainy days, some<br />

UA students might continue slipping<br />

and sliding their way to class. Students<br />

on campus on one of those rainy days<br />

shouldn’t let the slick crosswalks slip<br />

their mind.<br />

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

4B<br />

Is Alabama just a football school?<br />

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />



Some may hear “<strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama” and picture Bryant-Denny<br />

Stadium, Nick Saban and championship<br />

rings. However, the Capstone has nearly<br />

200 degree programs and encourages<br />

students to pursue excellence, making<br />

it clear that this university produces<br />

legends in more than just sports.<br />

Dance and theater<br />

Within the College of Arts and<br />

Sciences, fine arts and performing arts<br />

students have access to advanced classical,<br />

contemporary and experimental styles.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y are guided by renowned faculty<br />

and achieve accomplishments locally,<br />

nationally and globally.<br />

Sarah M. Barry, the current chair<br />

of the theater and dance department,<br />

said the UA theater and dance program<br />

encompasses more than just ballet or<br />

modern and contemporary styles of<br />

dance, which is what attracted her to<br />

teach at the school in the first place.<br />

“We’re just not a cookie cutter<br />

program. Students go on to perform<br />

on cruise ships, in theme parks, for<br />

Broadway tours or off-Broadway shows,”<br />

Barry said.<br />

Stacy Alley, an associate professor<br />

and director of musical theater, said<br />

performing arts students get the best<br />

of both worlds by having intensive<br />

conservatory-type training within a<br />

liberal arts institution while holding on<br />

to the true traditional college experience.<br />

“People can have really individualized<br />

one-on-one training. We keep the<br />

classes small, and they are advised and<br />

mentored throughout their entire time<br />

here,” Alley said. “Tons of our students<br />

are working and doing great things and<br />

representing us all over the country.”<br />

Students within the theater and<br />

dance department graduate equipped<br />

with skills to take into the performance<br />

arts world. Graduates are currently<br />

cast members in musicals like “Kinky<br />

Boots,” “Tina Turner,” “King Kong” and<br />

“Carousel” on Broadway.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama has a<br />

large presence in Birmingham through<br />

alumni-founded dance companies<br />

such as Formations, Sanspointe<br />

Dance Company and Jellybean<br />

Dance Collective.<br />

Science<br />

<strong>The</strong> University’s size, reputation<br />

and loyal alumni have afforded it a<br />

plethora of resources and programs for<br />

students to benefit from, including an<br />

extensive network of undergraduate<br />

research opportunities.<br />

Undergraduate research gives<br />

students the opportunity to embrace<br />

and apply their course studies outside of<br />

the classroom.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Emerging Scholars Program and<br />

the Randall Research Scholars Program<br />

are two opportunities that give students<br />

the real-world experience, resources<br />

and connections needed to deepen their<br />

understanding of their field.<br />

Alex Turner, a junior majoring<br />

in chemistry and psychology, takes<br />

full advantage of these resources and<br />

research opportunities, serving as an<br />

undergraduate research assistant in the<br />

Caldwell Lab as well as a McCollough<br />

premedical scholar.<br />

“Research and the McCollough<br />

program have helped me establish<br />

connections and introduced me to<br />

people and mindsets that we would not<br />

have initially thought about,” Turner<br />

said. “That’s always extremely beneficial<br />

for anyone but especially people wanting<br />

to go into a field where knowing more<br />

things, knowing more people, is never a<br />

bad thing.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> McCollough Institute for Pre-<br />

Medical Scholars is an initiative to train<br />

the next generation of doctors in skills<br />

beyond the hard sciences. Scholars learn<br />

about health care ethics, effective patient<br />

interaction and a multitude of additional<br />

topics that culminate to produce wellrounded<br />

medical school applicants.<br />

Undergraduate research is available<br />

for students in a multitude of areas<br />

of study, including the hard sciences,<br />

economics and the humanities.<br />

Students even have the opportunity<br />

to be published in connection with these<br />

research opportunities.<br />

Lingyan Kong, an associate professor<br />

and director of a research lab in the<br />

Dancers perform in Alabama Repertory Dance <strong>The</strong>atre in 2015. CW File<br />

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

Department of Human Nutrition and<br />

Hospitality Management, employs<br />

between four and 10 undergraduate<br />

research assistants every semester and<br />

is always impressed by the caliber of<br />

students at the Capstone.<br />

Throughout their time in his lab,<br />

Kong seeks to teach his students<br />

time management, expanded ways of<br />

thinking, and independence. He expects<br />

his students to conduct their research<br />

within their control and under their own<br />

supervision and schedule; his standards<br />

are often exceeded.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> undergraduate students in my<br />

lab are excellent, and they have access<br />

to really good programs,” Kong said.<br />

“Those students excel and learn so much<br />

from conducting research during their<br />

undergraduate studies.”<br />

Visual arts<br />

Katie Adams, an adjunct 2D and 3D<br />

design professor and alumna of <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama, praised the<br />

resources and connections that were<br />

available to her during her graduate<br />

studies that helped launch her career<br />

in sculpture.<br />

“I was very much intrigued by the<br />

amount of facilities that we have here,<br />

and just the broad scope of machines and<br />

processes that we could do,” Adams said.<br />

“So, coming to Tuscaloosa, [students]<br />

have the ability to cast large-scale<br />

commissions, which other places don’t<br />

necessarily have the opportunity to do.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama’s art<br />

department utilizes an expansive array<br />

of facilities available to undergraduate<br />

and graduate art students, including the<br />

UA Foundry, which houses the metal<br />

shop, the wood shop and numerous<br />

other pieces of equipment and spaces for<br />

producing art.<br />

Commissions come to the UA<br />

Foundry from across the state and<br />

country seeking the artists and resources<br />

that <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama is<br />

known for.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> UA Department of Art and Art<br />

History is, like the University itself, a<br />

creative mix of tradition and forwardlooking<br />

innovation,” department Chair<br />

Jason Guynes and spokesperson Rachel<br />

Dobson said in a statement.<br />

Along with their own studies and the<br />

development of their personal portfolio,<br />

arts students also give back to Tuscaloosa<br />

in a variety of ways, including programs<br />

at local schools and community<br />

sculpture projects.<br />

Nursing<br />

Another program that is thriving<br />

on campus is the Capstone College of<br />

Nursing. It is ranked among the top 5%<br />

of programs in the country.<br />

This field of study provides an<br />

environment for nursing students<br />

to explore careers in modern health<br />

care systems and offers courses at the<br />

bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.<br />

Michelle Cheshire, the associate dean<br />

of undergraduate programs, said that<br />

while the Bachelor of Science in nursing<br />

program is competitive, she believes<br />

anybody who is interested in being a<br />

nurse has the ability to pursue that path<br />

at <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.<br />

<strong>The</strong> nursing program is a five-semester<br />

program that combines clinicals, similar<br />

to internship work, with classes.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> program culminates in the fifth<br />

semester with students completing a<br />

preceptorship where they are working<br />

in the hospital one-on-one with another<br />

nurse,” Cheshire said.<br />

She said the Capstone’s nursing<br />

program is active in the COVID-19<br />

vaccination effort within the<br />

Tuscaloosa community.<br />

“Many of our students as part of<br />

their clinical rotations have been able<br />

to provide COVID vaccines to people<br />

in the community,” Cheshire said. “We<br />

helped with clinics at the VA Medical<br />

Center and the Good Samaritan Clinic<br />

here in Tuscaloosa.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>se students spent recent months<br />

working within the community to<br />

further their hands-on experience<br />

through COVID-19 vaccine clinics.<br />

“2020 was the year of the nurse,”<br />

Cheshire said. “It’s been a very<br />

interesting couple of years for nurses<br />

and for students in nursing school. We<br />

have come to realize how very important<br />

nurses are to the health care of our<br />

nation, and we are thankful that we are<br />

educating the next generation of nurses<br />

here at the Capstone College of Nursing.”<br />

Are Alabama fans mad at the wrong coordinator?<br />



“Fire Pete Golding.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>se three words were echoed by<br />

Alabama fans on Twitter following<br />

their football team’s narrow 20-<br />

14 win over rival LSU on Nov. 6 in<br />

Bryant-Denny Stadium.<br />

This was not the first time, either.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re has always been weariness of<br />

Alabama defensive coordinator Pete<br />

Golding since he was hired at Alabama<br />

at the end of the 2018 season, replacing<br />

Jeremy Pruitt after Pruitt took the<br />

Tennessee head coaching job.<br />

Alabama showed some defensive<br />

struggles in Golding’s first year at the<br />

helm but was given a pass by fans after<br />

season-ending injuries to his starting<br />

middle linebackers, which caused<br />

him to start two true freshmen for the<br />

majority of the season as the signal<br />

callers of his defense.<br />

It wasn’t until a game last season<br />

against the Ole Miss Rebels that noise<br />

started to increase. <strong>The</strong> Rebels did<br />

whatever they wanted against Alabama,<br />

scoring 48 points. This marked the most<br />

points ever scored against Alabama<br />

since Nick Saban took over in 2007.<br />

Now we arrive in <strong>November</strong> <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Alabama is 8-1 with a loss to Texas<br />

A&M. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> Tide has hardfought<br />

wins against what now appear to<br />

be inferior opponents such as Florida,<br />

Tennessee and LSU.<br />

Many Alabama fans are attributing<br />

the struggles of this season to the<br />

defense, specifically Golding.<br />

This season, however, Alabama’s<br />

defense has been better than Twitter<br />

analysts have given them credit for.<br />

Six out of nine Alabama opponents<br />

have been held below their season<br />

average, typically by a very wide margin.<br />

Alabama was also one point away from<br />

holding both Florida and Southern Miss<br />

below their season averages.<br />

Alabama is 11th in the country in<br />

total defense, fifth in rushing defense,<br />

12th in turnover margin and eighth<br />

in interceptions. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> Tide<br />

has been above average statistically<br />

in almost every major<br />

defensive category.<br />

While there have been<br />

defensive lapses and<br />

breakdowns during games<br />

just like with any defense,<br />

Alabama has undeniably<br />

been strong on<br />

the defensive<br />

side of the ball<br />

this season.<br />

<strong>The</strong> defenses<br />

of the early<br />

Nick Saban<br />

era that<br />

gave up<br />

f e w e r<br />

than 10<br />

points<br />

per game have been gone for a long<br />

time, fading out with the evolution of<br />

the modern offense, but the current<br />

defense absolutely can and has held<br />

its own.<br />

Moving to the offensive side of the<br />

ball, Alabama has experienced more<br />

struggles than fans could have imagined<br />

after watching the past three seasons.<br />

Former offensive coordinators Mike<br />

Locksley and Steve Sarkisian turned<br />

Alabama into one of the highestpowered<br />

offenses in recent memory.<br />

With both of them moving on to head<br />

coaching jobs at Maryland and Texas,<br />

former Houston Texans head coach Bill<br />

O’Brien was hired to inherit and enhance<br />

the offensive juggernaut that<br />

was Alabama.<br />

Things immediately<br />

felt off.<br />

<strong>The</strong> downfield shots<br />

to swift receivers that fans<br />

became accustomed to<br />

have been few and far<br />

between. <strong>The</strong><br />

unique play<br />

designs<br />

t h a t<br />

worke d<br />

to get<br />

Pete Golding speaks at a press conference in December 2019. CW File<br />

Alabama’s best skill players the ball have<br />

disappeared. <strong>The</strong> once-feared running<br />

game is now stagnant.<br />

Most importantly, the headscratching<br />

play calls have come<br />

in waves.<br />

Look no further than LSU for recent<br />

examples. Alabama faced a third-andtwo<br />

around midfield, and ran a direct<br />

snap to wide receiver Slade Bolden,<br />

not wide receiver JoJo Earle or running<br />

back Brian Robinson Jr.<br />

Alabama failed to get a first down.<br />

Quarterback Bryce Young hit Jameson<br />

Williams for a 58-yard touchdown early<br />

in the second half to extend the lead.<br />

Alabama did not attempt another deep<br />

ball for the remainder of the game. A<br />

critical fourth down scenario late in the<br />

game with Alabama only leading by six<br />

points led to a Young rollout.<br />

<strong>The</strong> play call was so obvious that<br />

he was surrounded by LSU defenders<br />

before he reached the line of scrimmage.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se struggles are by no means<br />

placed on talent. Golding may not be<br />

as decorated and respected as current<br />

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was<br />

when he ran Alabama’s defense, but he<br />

doesn’t have to be.<br />

<strong>The</strong> defense is doing what is asked,<br />

and if it weren’t for a myriad of stops in<br />

the fourth quarter against LSU, or a twopoint<br />

conversion stop against Florida,<br />

Alabama’s offensive shortcoming would<br />

have the <strong>Crimson</strong> Tide in a much<br />

worse position.

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

5B<br />

Shop Boots,<br />

Jeans, & Hats<br />

at <strong>The</strong> Wharf<br />

in Northport<br />

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6B<br />

RUMOR<br />

<strong>November</strong> 18, <strong>2021</strong><br />

OPINION: It’s time for <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama to raise its minimum wage<br />

CW / Jo Dyess<br />



Typically, with a change in<br />

inflation comes a change in wages,<br />

or a government-administered price<br />

floor on the amount a business pays<br />

its workers. In the United States, the<br />

federal minimum wage of $7.25 an<br />

hour has remained the same since 2009,<br />

despite inflationary increases over the<br />

last 12 years.<br />

In 2009, prices fell after the Great<br />

Recession of 2008 by nearly 2%. Now,<br />

the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports<br />

that the consumer price index, a tool<br />

for measuring inflation, increased<br />

0.9 percent in October <strong>2021</strong> due to<br />

supply chain disruptions related to<br />

the pandemic and the ongoing trade<br />

war between the United States and<br />

China. Since <strong>November</strong> 2020, the<br />

CPI has risen nearly 6.2% before<br />

seasonal adjustment.<br />

Student workers are<br />

crucial to running this<br />

University successfully,<br />

and it’s time for wages<br />

to reflect their value.<br />

If the minimum wage were<br />

accurately adjusted for inflation and<br />

increases in worker productivity since<br />

1968, it would be nearly $24 an hour, as<br />

stated by the Center for Economic and<br />

Policy Research.<br />

However, most Americans (62%) are<br />

in support of a more modest increase,<br />

to $15 an hour, according to an April<br />

poll by the Pew Research Center.<br />

Despite widespread support, a wage<br />

increase of this degree doesn’t look<br />

possibile anytime soon, at least coming<br />

from Washington, D.C. <strong>The</strong> last time<br />

a bill was introduced to raise the<br />

minimum wage — President Joe Biden’s<br />

$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill —<br />

was in March. Despite Congress being<br />

mostly controlled by the Democratic<br />

Party and the party’s adoption of a<br />

$15-an-hour minimum wage in its<br />

platform in 2016, it was voted down 58-<br />

42 in the Senate.<br />

Though Congress is at a standstill,<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama shouldn’t<br />

wait any longer. It’s time for the<br />

University to follow in the footsteps of<br />

universities nationwide and implement<br />

higher wages for all campus workers,<br />

including students.<br />

An increase in wages eliminates<br />

nearly all of the insecurities surrounding<br />

life for college students: tuition, rent,<br />

food, gas and more. As these prices<br />

increase, wages should too. If wages<br />

cannot cover these necessary expenses,<br />

what is the point of having a job?<br />

“Many students get jobs to just have<br />

extra money, but also to pay for their<br />

education or any other college expenses<br />

they have,” said junior Alexis Castellar,<br />

a nursing major. “I personally got a<br />

job so I can help pay for my college<br />

expenses, but it’s quite hard when<br />

you’re only making $9.75 an hour. Not<br />

only this, but classes interfere with my<br />

work, and I can only work certain days<br />

and times. I’m not the only student that<br />

has that problem.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> University is the flagship of<br />

the state. It’s the largest employer<br />

in the county, and it holds an<br />

imperative responsibility to protect<br />

the socioeconomic well-being of its<br />

employees, students and the greater<br />

Tuscaloosa community. <strong>The</strong> University<br />

must set an example for the community,<br />

state and nation, upholding the standard<br />

of excellence it prides itself on.<br />

According to the Massachusetts<br />

Institute of Technology’s Living Wage<br />

Calculator, the living wage for a single<br />

adult with no children in Tuscaloosa<br />

County is $14.55 an hour.<br />

Amy Glasmeier, professor<br />

of economic geography at the<br />

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,<br />

writes that “the living wage is the<br />

minimum income standard that, if<br />

met, draws a very fine line between the<br />

financial independence of the working<br />

poor and the need to seek out public<br />

assistance or suffer consistent and<br />

severe housing and food insecurity.<br />

In light of this fact, the living wage is<br />

perhaps better defined as a minimum<br />

subsistence wage for persons living in<br />

the United States.”<br />

Not only should wages increase<br />

for full-time employees, but also for<br />

student workers. Student workers are<br />

crucial to running this University<br />

successfully, and it’s time for wages to<br />

reflect their value.<br />

It’s time for the<br />

University to follow<br />

in the footsteps of<br />

universities nationwide<br />

and implement higher<br />

wages for all campus<br />

workers, including<br />

students.<br />

Assuming that a student worker<br />

earns $7.25 an hour and works 20 hours<br />

a week (the maximum for part-time,<br />

on-campus jobs), they would earn<br />

approximately $630 a month.<br />

As of 2020, the average rent in<br />

Tuscaloosa for a one-bedroom<br />

apartment is $737 a month. With the<br />

rise in the student population, luxury<br />

condominiums and the gentrification<br />

of affordable neighborhoods, it is<br />

a challenge for working-class and<br />

independent students to find adequate,<br />

updated, sustainable and safe housing<br />

that is near campus.<br />

Many students play a dangerous<br />

game of balancing their school work,<br />

their social lives and their finances. This<br />

juggling act places mental and physical<br />

strain on students, limiting their ability<br />

to dedicate themselves completely to<br />

their studies.<br />

College students don’t have to be<br />

broke. <strong>The</strong> notion that the college<br />

experience includes collecting spare<br />

change just to buy food with empty<br />

nutrition, like ramen noodles, and<br />

having to live with multiple people just<br />

to afford shelter must be rejected.<br />

Increasing the minimum wage<br />

would also be an investment in the<br />

University, argued Maggie Palmer, a<br />

senior studying public relations. She<br />

said that “a higher wage would mean<br />

more financial stability and the ability<br />

to save for my future,” which would<br />

allow her to donate to her alma mater.<br />

Championing diversity, equity and<br />

inclusion must go beyond the pamphlets<br />

that boast a progressive campus. It also<br />

includes immediate action in all aspects<br />

of our society and economy. It calls the<br />

University to uplift and support its<br />

students and employees. <strong>The</strong> University<br />

is more than capable of doing just that.<br />

Several other colleges and universities<br />

in Alabama, like Auburn and the<br />

University of Alabama at Birmingham,<br />

have raised the minimum wage for fulltime<br />

regular-status employees, starting<br />

in January 2022. <strong>The</strong>se changes,<br />

although a step in the right direction,<br />

do not encompass student workers.<br />

By raising the minimum wage for all<br />

workers, the University could be a<br />

pioneer in our state and region and<br />

lead by example, possibly inspiring<br />

other colleges and universities, and<br />

potentially the state of Alabama, to do<br />

the same.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University wouldn’t be alone in<br />

taking this action but would join the<br />

ranks of schools like Johns Hopkins<br />

University, Clarke University, the<br />

University of Rochester and many more<br />

in supporting the fight for fair pay.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are misconceptions and<br />

misinformation about what a wage<br />

increase would mean for the University<br />

and the local economy.<br />

Myth: Raising the minimum wage<br />

kills jobs.<br />

Fact: In industries, cities and states<br />

that have raised minimum wages,<br />

there has been no discernible effect<br />

on employment. This includes higherimpact<br />

industries, like food service<br />

and retail.<br />

Myth: <strong>The</strong> economy will suffer from<br />

increased wages; businesses will lose<br />

money.<br />

Fact: Studies show that only a<br />

$2.25 increase in wages would lead to<br />

increased earnings of workers by an<br />

estimate of $40 billion. This increase<br />

would significantly increase GDP, as it<br />

will circle back into the economy and<br />

decrease unemployment.<br />

Myth: Raising wages is a<br />

Democratic agenda.<br />

Fact: While higher wage policy<br />

is a part of the Democratic Party<br />

platform, traditionally Republican<br />

states like Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska,<br />

South Dakota and West Virginia have<br />

increased their minimum wage since<br />

2014. Federally, Republican presidents<br />

Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon,<br />

Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and<br />

George W. Bush signed legislation<br />

increasing the minimum wage.<br />

Myth: <strong>The</strong>re will be no incentive for<br />

“unskilled” laborers to find better jobs.<br />

Fact: Higher wages equate to more<br />

money being spent in the economy,<br />

which can lead to a cycle of greater<br />

demand for goods and services, job<br />

growth, and increased productivity<br />

for all sectors. Additionally, having<br />

access to higher wages opens up the<br />

opportunity to explore different career<br />

paths and higher education.<br />

Not only will a higher minimum<br />

wage make the lives of student workers<br />

and employees at the University so<br />

much easier, but it also has the potential<br />

to lift thousands of Alabamians out<br />

of poverty, boost the economy and<br />

increase overall productivity.<br />

It will allow students to focus on<br />

their studies and their social lives. It<br />

will allow employees to properly feed<br />

their families and to house themselves.<br />

It will allow all workers to save for<br />

their future. It can, and will, change the<br />

lives of student workers and low-wage<br />

employees for the better.<br />

To <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama: What<br />

are you waiting for? Roll Tide and Raise<br />

the Wage.<br />



<strong>The</strong>re’s history behind every rumor.<br />

“Off the Record,” a podcast inspired by<br />

“You’re Wrong About” and “Decoder<br />

Ring,” explores stories about <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama — and the<br />

history behind it all. In these two<br />

episodes, Carson Silas, a contributing<br />

writer for <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong>’s culture<br />

desk, talks with experts, dives deep into<br />

the history of the Capstone and the<br />

surrounding Tuscaloosa community,<br />

and discusses how that history impacts<br />

us today.<br />

Episode 1: “Who built <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama?”<br />

In the premier episode of “Off the<br />

Record,” Silas is joined by Hilary Green,<br />

an associate professor of history and the<br />

conductor of the University’s Hallowed<br />

Grounds campus tour, and together<br />

they discuss the history and impact of<br />

slavery at <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y analyze the University’s limited<br />

<strong>The</strong> unknown history of our campus<br />

CW / Victoria Buckley<br />

records of slavery, discuss how slavery<br />

began on campus and discover the<br />

stories of those enslaved through UA<br />

President Basil Manly’s journals and the<br />

stories of their lives after Emancipation.<br />

Episode 2: “What happened<br />

to Bryce Hospital?”<br />

Bryce Hospital, the mental health<br />

institution that served the Tuscaloosa<br />

community for over 150 years, gained<br />

national attention with the case of<br />

Wyatt v. Stickney.<br />

In the second episode of “Off the<br />

Record,” Silas is joined by Steve Davis,<br />

historian for Bryce Hospital, and<br />

together they discuss what caused the<br />

decline of the historic Bryce Hospital.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y dissect the history of mental<br />

health services in the state of Alabama,<br />

exploring how Bryce Hospital started,<br />

the impact of the state legislature’s<br />

decisions on mental health services,<br />

and what the ruling of Wyatt v. Stickney<br />

means today.<br />

Find the podcast at cw.ua.edu.

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