WTF host demonstration for gender equality

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While some campuses in Missouri, such as Mizzou, were having conversations about race during their Homecoming week celebrations, Western was having its own conversation on women’s equality. On Wednesday, the student group Women of the Future (WTF) held a demonstration outside of Blum Union from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students gathered in a line facing away from Blum holding signs with statistics on sexual assault and comments on equal pay for women written on them. One sign said that one in four women will be sexually assaulted during her college career. Another sign said that there is a pay gap based on gender, leading women to earn 77 cents to every dollar a man makes at the same job. Maddie Marx, the president of WTF, said the demonstration was about awareness. “We decided to have the demonstration to raise awareness about issues with gender equality and issues that women predominately face,” Marx said. “It’s to get people to talk about it.” Marx held a card with a backstory to it. “My card said ‘I was taught to scream fire instead of rape when calling for help,’” Marx said. “I think that’s something a lot of women identify with. My mom always told me 'if you’re ever in trouble or feel like you’re going to be sexually assaulted, yell fire, because more people will pay attention to that than rape,' which I feel is really sad. I think it also kind of speaks to the rape culture. I mean, there was a sexual assault on campus on September 27, and nothing has really been done since then, which makes me sad because it happens a lot more than people think.” Junior social work major Sabrina Robinson was also a part of the demonstration. “My sign said ‘I deserve equal pay for equal work,’” Robinson said. “It’s something that I feel pretty passionate about. I feel- especially with my degree- my degree should be equal to a man who earns the same degree. I completed the same degree and followed the same requirements and I feel like there is nothing that should make me earn 77 cents to his dollar.” Freshmen music education major Austin Edmisten was one of the several students who took part in the demonstration after being invited to join it by WTF. “I’ve always been a strong supporter of the feminist movement. I think it’s really important for society…” Edmisten said. “It’s a shame that people don’t take this stuff seriously because it does make an impact in society.” The demonstration wasn’t only attended by students. Western President Robert Vartabedian, Center for Multicultural Engagement Coordinator Latoya Fitzpatrick and Director of External Relations Brent Shields all appeared at the demonstration. “I think it’s important for students to stand up for what they believe in,” Shields said, “and to be active in their communities, to be active on campus, and exercising their right to free speech. I think this is a great event for our students who are taking a stand.” The demonstration fluctuated in number throughout the hour, but it did get up to ten students to be a part of it at one time, with many more walking by viewing the group. Overall, Marx said the demonstration was successful. “I think the job was done and we raised awareness and people took notice of it,” Marx said.

Debate team prepares for new season

Mike debates Griffon
The Missouri Western Debate Team attended the 2015 Golden Gate Invitational tournament, held at UC Berkeley on Oct.3-4. Chris Miles and Michael Smith placed in the top eight in quarter finals at the tournament, making this one step closer to nationals. Other schools that competed alongside Missouri Western were Washburn University, Southern Illinois University, California State University-Long Beach and William Jewell College, just to name a few. This year, Jason Edgar is the new coach for the debate team. Edgar is a Missouri native; he attended Missouri Southern and then went on to University of Arkansas for grad school, and has been coaching college speech and debate for 10 years. Being a Missouri native, Edgar saw a job opening opportunity at Missouri Western and took it, and liked that his new job was home-based. To be a top-20 program in the country, and to have Chris Miles and Michael Smith be top 20 nationally for an individual team, are some goals Edgar wants to meet this season. From the differences of coaching this season, Smith made it a point to say that the techniques were different. “Trying to direct us on where we should be going and us filling in and doing our own thing there,” Smith said. Clarity and clash is the strategy for this season to reach the top 20 goal. “For our affirmative teams to be clear and confident, not apprehensive, and for our negative teams to clash with the other opponents in a good way,” Edgar said. Strong national competition was expected at a meet like UC Berkeley. Every team entered was a two-person team and got between five and eight rounds. A judge either gave the team a win or a loss, then, if the team held a winning record, they advanced to elimination rounds. The tournament on Saturday consisted of eight rounds, then went into a bracket with eight to ten teams with single elimination. The win would go towards the team's resume for qualifying for nationals. Two teams were taken to the meet over the weekend, counting four people total. Jason Edgar felt that Miles and Smith are considered the Missouri Western Debate representatives. “I think this year will be similar or better to the results we had last year,” Miles said. “Last year we did very well, especially first semester, in terms of having a coach.”

Questioning Congress: Rep. Bill Sarpalius, D-Texas, Rep. Steven Kuykendall, R-California

Former Congressmen Bill Sarpalius, D-Texas, and Steven Kuykendall, R-California, were invited to campus Thursday as part of Western’s celebration of Constitution Day. While on campus, the Griffon News sat down with the two politicians to interview them about their time as representatives and their opinions about politics today.

[audio mp3="http://www.thegriffonnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Interview-with-former-congressmen.mp3"][/audio]   What would you consider your most influential bill or legislation? Sarpalius: My mother had a drinking problem… and for a whole summer, we searched throughout Texas to find a treatment facility. We never found one. My mother was eventually placed in a mental institution for a drinking problem. She later committed suicide. So I ran for public office on a platform to increase the number of treatment facilities in Texas. It took me eight years, but eventually we created an agency to put in drug and alcohol treatment facilities throughout the state. Kuykendall: I was a state assemblyman and there was this young woman… and she was literally walking the halls of the state legislature, wanting someone to introduce her piece of legislation. We invited her in. She had had a son who had been beat to death by her live-in boyfriend. He wasn’t charged with murder; he was charged with fatal child abuse. That reduced the number of years he could serve in prison. The only thing I changed in the law was to make the punishment for fatal child abuse the same as murder, from fifteen to life to 25 to life.   What is your opinion on the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United? Sarpalius: At the time when I took office, anyone who gave money to my campaign was reported and they’re funding was capped. Where it changed is that businesses now can give as much as they want; it’s an open checkbook. The concern is that companies are buying members. But the constitution begins with ‘We the people…’ It’s the peoples’ government. Kuykendall: What I find odd about Citizens United is that young people don’t seem to care as much as old guys like us. I have maybe 20, 30 years at best. I’ve already gotten my pension. But it’s the young people of this nation that need to worry about their vote being heard; but, it’s also the young people that don’t vote as much as the older population. I would just encourage young Americans to make that change, take the responsibility to vote and influence politics. Don’t leave it to big businesses.   Do you think the Civil Rights movement is over? Has it accomplished what it set out to in America? Sarpalius: That’s a good question. That’s a tough issue because on the other side of that coin we’re paying law enforcement officers to protect people. There’s always a rotten apple. There are people out there who are still doing profiling and whatnot. I don’t know how we can stop that. That’s what we did when we passed the Civil Rights Act. The color of your skin means nothing. There are places where that isn’t occurring. It’s not perfect, and it may never be perfect. I don’t know what the solution is. Kuykendall: It’s been happening more and more these days, younger generations of races interacting. It’s no longer black and white; it’s more of a tan color. Blacks are marrying browns and browns are marrying whites. I’m in an area where there is no majority. Minority white; minority black; minority Hispanic; everyone is minority where I live. What makes me sick is that we demonize law enforcement because of the acts of a few. I go on a lot of ride alongs, and it’s just crazy to see these people screaming ‘bloody murder’ in the faces of officers. I don’t know what the answer is. I thought we whipped this dog pretty bad already.

Beach bash brings banging beats

Kate - Phi Delt ConcertWebsite
There are a lot of mixed reviews concerning the concert which was put on by one of MWSU’s social fraternities, Phi Delta Theta, and held in Kemper of the Fulkerson Event Center on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The beach-themed event was coordinated by Phi Delta Theta member Alec Smith and featured DJ Apollo who entertained the students with his “club banger” beats. Phi Delta Theta is the only fraternity on campus to put on an event like this and it marks the third year that Phi Delta Theta has done it. “It shows that we’re a force on campus so basically come check us out,” Smith said. “If anything, it’s a big recruitment tool. We’re the only ones who do something like this; but in reality we’re still Greek and hopefully a bunch of Greeks will be there intermingling with the freshmen.” He hoped to get the new students interested in joining Greek life this way. “It was a giant thing for me when I was going through rush,” Smith said. “Phi Delt had this really fun concert that I enjoyed so I kind of want the same idea. I want freshmen guys to come in and have good time and see that Greek life likes to have a good time, too.” The theme, chosen by Smith, was beach-party social and he explained why. “I just wanted something fun and easy. People can just come in in their Hawaiian clothes, flip flops and trunks and have a good time like a day at the beach.  Definitely a fun welcome back to school; a ‘Welcome to Western’ to the freshmen." The music, also chosen by Smith, was mixed by DJ Apollo and is classified under the genre of “club bangers.” “It’s club music. Today’s music mixed with a little bit of old school hip hop rap. It’s gonna get people dancing and moving, it’s gonna be a ‘hey start having fun now type of thing.’” Smith said. “We had the room cut in half this year so it’d be tighter and more compact to really give it that club-type feel.” Also part of the event was a surprise beatboxing performance by Terin Wade, also a member of Phi Delta Theta. "The experience was kinda cool. The mic was hooked up to the DJ’s equipment and he was able to control the frequency so it was a little more crisp," Wade said. Outside of the concert Wade was able to interact with the DJ a bit before it started. “I beatboxed and he actually rapped over it. He’s a pretty cool dude,” Wade said. When asked about his thoughts on the concert Wade said, “It was a pretty good turnout for the most part. A good way to get out of the dorm and go do something.”     While some students weren’t particularly feeling the music and atmosphere that night, there still remained those who genuinely had a good time. A common complaint from students who didn’t really enjoy the concert was that there were  “people just standing around everywhere not really doing anything.” Among those who enjoyed the concert was student Doug Deering. “It was cool,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything big but I liked it. It had a real party feel to it.” Further information on events and happenings with Phi Delta Theta can easily be found on its twitter page @PhiDeltMOWest.

Rush numbers released

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The second week of class is over, which also marks the end of rush and recruitment week for Western’s two fraternities and three sororities.

64 girls and 33 boys received bids from their Greek organization of choice on Sunday’s bid day.

While fraternity Phi Delta Theta (called “Phi Delt”) welcomes 26 pledges, seven new members join Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE).  TKE president Taylor Bryant offers a positive summary nonetheless.

“I’m happy with the amount and quality of the guys we got. The whole week was pretty fun.”

According to him it’s “quality over quantity” and he looks for “ambition, dedication and energy” in TKE members.

“We pride ourselves in diversity as well,” Bryant said.

Phi Delt’s president Colin Rosenow is equally happy about the tunrout of rush week.

“26 news guys makes this the the biggest pledge class since 2010. It was definitely a stressful week – and a big chapter effort. We put a lot of activities and events on, and a lot of actives attended, which definitely helped. I’m very happy.”

Still, Rosenow agrees that numbers don’t define what is a good or bad fraternity.

“Both fraternities are pretty similar. TKE is definitely a competition for us,” he said.

Overall, it is about having a “great Greek community” on campus, Rosenow said.

“The more Greek organizations the better. When Phi Sigma Kappa left campus it changed the aspect of recruitment. A bigger community attracts a bigger crowd of PNMs [Potential New Members]. Less competition is definitely not better,” Rosenow said.

Sorority recruitment leader Caitlin Edwards is happy with the past week as well.

“I thought it was a very successful year, especially with such a small incoming freshman class.”

Sororities Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) and Sigm Sigma Sigma (“Tri Sigma”) both have 22 new members while Alpha Gamma Delta (AGD) has 20.

Edwards also agrees with Rosenow and Bryant that it’s quality over quantiy.

“The amount of members in my opinion does not and should not matter. I would rather have five girls who are involved, go to events and run for positions than 500 who join for the social aspect and just to show off the organization letter,” she said.

The same goes for Greek life on campus in general.

“I love Greek life on campus. Having a small Greek life, in my opinion, is more beneficial. I love being able to know everyone in my sorority and the other sororities. It makes our friendships and chapter that much stronger,” she continued.

Although each sorority looks for different aspects in a girl, there are some values they all share.

“[They look for girls] who they can communicate with easily, possess the values of their sorority, hardworking, value school and involvement in high school,” Edwards said as she explained the selection of new members.

Joining a sorority is a great way to get involved on campus, as Edwards explained on last Tuesday’s sorority info night.

“It is a great way to get to know people and make friends. And there are also opportunities to run for positions.”

According to Edwards, it’s worth it to make an effort.

“You get out what you put in and your experience is much more rewarding when you go beyond what is asked and stray away from the bare minimum requirements.”