With finals looming at our doorsteps, it is hard to believe that another school year has come and gone. While fast, this year was not short of unexpected events and unforgettable moments. A new logo, moving campaigns, celebrities in the Holy City, a daunting threat: These were just some of this year’s top stories. Here is a look at the top 10 stories that had the campus buzzing.
- The College’s bomb threat
Amongst the fear, confusion and unanswered questions, the most memorable event of the year would have
to be the bomb threat. Between the mysterious caller who claimed to place a bomb in the Beatty Center, the Cougar Alert system notifying students to evacuate and Twitter accounts stating that “a bomb has NOT been found on campus”, not just students, but the state questioned the entire scenario. Although this case continues to be investigated, school officials have acknowledge that following the panic left by the threat, one thing is clear: there is a lack in administering specific and crucial procedures to campus members during time of emergency.
- Walter Scott and campus response
“Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my taser,” was what North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager stated to dispatchers after fatally shooting unarmed black male Walter Scott. Captured on film, there is evidence that as Scott runs ways from the police, Slager fires eight gunshots in the victim’s back. The incident sparked outrage in the Charleston community, gained national media attention, and was placed as the number one trending topic on Twitter. With crowds chanting “Black lives matter,” and “Back turned, don’t shoot,” the same tragedies, protests and activist outcries that can be seen all over the nation, are now in the College’s backyard.
Highlighting the issue of police brutality and frequent deaths of black individuals in America, the College’s Black Students Union took to Cougar Mall, holding demonstrations. These demonstrations featured signs, those standing with their hands up and even students taping their mouths with the now famous hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
- SGA elections
In what was the largest voter turnout in years, the Spring 2015 Student Government Association (SGA) elections were packed with close results, a run-off and even contestation. For the coveted spot of Student Body President, candidates Sean Stivaletta and Zach Sturman nearly split the student body votes in half. With close numbers leading to a run-off, unexpected disqualification of Sturman and later contestation, Struman not only was the campus favorite but truly fought his way to the top this election season.
- #ItsYourPlace to end sexual assault
A new initiative at the College, the “It’s Your Place Campaign”, aimed to prevent sexual assault on campus. Through posters, YouTube videos and social media, the campaign highlighted the numerous accounts of sexual misconduct that sadly and frequently occur on college campuses. Interim Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Dr. Jeri Cabot agreed that #ItsYourPlace not only works to increase awareness in the ways bystanders can intervene, but places sexual assault at the top of campus and community discussions.
- New basketball coach introduced to the College
This year the College welcomed a new era of basketball with a new coach, Earl Grant. Grant’s hiring came after a month long process to replace former head coach Doug Wojcik. Surrounded by allegations of verbally and physically abusing members of the team, Wojcik was subsequently fired. After reviewing several finalists for the job, President Glenn McConnell is quoted saying, “We have found a winner in Earl Grant, and by that I don’t just mean a winner on the basketball court.” Grant expressed that while this past basketball season experienced highs and lows, he is determined to bring greatness to the team and school that he calls home.“The minute I got onto campus it felt like home to me, the coaches and players were great and I knew pretty early on that this is where I wanted to be.”
- Changes to improve the College
Not even a week after classes began in fall semester, the College unveiled a new “simple, clean, and strong” logo to represent the school. Showcasing Randolph Hall and featuring a font that is identical to that in copies of the Declaration of Independence, the revamped logo encaptures the school’s historical ties to past.
Furthering this theme of change, President McConnell proposed launching a pilot program that would alter the admissions policy. In efforts of solving the diversity disparity issue on campus, this policy would automatically accept high school seniors within the top ten percent of their graduating class. Essentially, this new policy plans to bring greater amounts of Lowcountry students to the campus and promote diversity.
- New majors bring new opportunities
Catering to the interests of more students, the College offered two new areas of study this school year. No longer just a minor, the African American Studies major asks students and faculty to think seriously about African American history and culture including the challenges and opportunities that come along with living and working in a multi-ethnic world. Director of the program, Consuela Francis noted that, “Students who have been taking these courses are happy to finally be able to major in a subject they really love. Faculty recognize the unique position the College of Charleston is in to offer a truly innovative AAST [African American Studies] major.”
Another new major will be offered at the College beginning fall 2015: Supply Chain Management (SCM) major. The logistics based program will be apart of the School of Business and helps students gain experience, all while exposing them to real-world business models. “These opportunities ideally will also blossom into internships for the students as well,” commented Pete Straub, the Director for the Applied Research Center for Supply Chain and Logistics.
- What’s in the box?
After weeks of an ambiguous posters and announcements, students gathered to clear the rumors on what exactly was inside the box that took over the center of the library. Not only did a box contain an entire party that ensued in the rotunda of Addlestone, but also came Boundless: an initiative that encourages students to give back to the school.
- Celebrities in the Holy City
Flannery O’Connor, Joe Biden, even Donald Trump took the time out of their schedules to visit the Holy City this year. Whether it was celebrating Southern Gothic with the English Department , speaking with local business leaders , or discus plans to defeat China, these big names made their marks in Charleston and left lasting impressions.
- National recognition
For the fourth year in a row, Charleston was ranked as the best city to visit in the United States and second best in the world. Charleston beat out cities such as Prague and Cape Cod and was honored for its historical presence, recognized for dining and praised for excellent hotel accommodations.
Meanwhile the College was deemed one of the nation’s top “public ives” and was ranked No. 80 amongst other public schools. With Charleston receiving national attention, there is no denying it was a good year for Charleston and the College.