Rap superstar Drake visits UM campus


Rapper Drake visited the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Monday afternoon to film a music video for his hit song “God’s Plan” and donate a $50,000 scholarship to a student.

Drake’s visit whipped up a frenzy on campus, drawing a large crowd around the Shalala Student Center hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Drake swung by the Frost School of Music where a smaller crowd watched as he surprised UM student Destiny James, a public health major, with a $50,000 scholarship. James was under the impression she would be filming a video to encourage scholarship donors when Drake appeared.

At the Shalala Student Center, the crowd’s patience was eventually rewarded when Drake popped out on the Moss Terrace balcony. He danced to “God’s Plan” while the crowd sang along to the track. Cheers erupted every time he threw up the U.

Throughout all of this, The Miami Hurricane, the UM student newspaper, did an excellent job of following the events of Drake’s visit and keeping students informed. There was an article on the online site that was continuously updated with new information and interviews of student reactions. By 9 a.m. the next day, the newspaper sent out a Drake edition of its newsletter for subscribers. There were also print issues on the stands with Drake as the cover story.

The Miami Hurricane effectively utilized social media. There were many tweets updating their followers with pictures of Drake sightings, videos of the crowd and Drake’s performance, and stories from the crowd. Their Facebook also had a number of videos.

The UM watchdog for fraternities


The last issue of The Miami Hurricane published an editorial about the danger of fraternities. The last event that made the newspaper pay attention to fraternities was the death of a Florida State University student Nov. 3 after attending a fraternity party.

An editorial is opinion, so journalists have more freedom to speak about some topics, because they just present their opinion but they base it on facts. The importance of an editorial, though, mostly lies in the point of view.

In this editorial titled “Fraternity culture poses danger to students” in the print version, the staff is aware that it can be accused of “fake news,” so it defends itself before any reaction can show up.

Here you can find the online version of the article: http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2017/11/13/death-of-fsu-student-merits-moment-of-reckoning-for-toxic-fraternity-culture/

The editorial staff reveals some examples of games that are played in UM fraternities to take a position opposing them and then to suggest solutions.

As they can’t prove that these games actually happen, so they defend the argument by saying: “Even if these hazing practices only amount to rumors, the fact that they are so widely circulated without any generalized outrage condones and perpetuates such behavior.”

The article ends with a warning that the staff will keep reporting about fraternities, but also looking for sources that back up their point of view or suggest even better solutions.

They are taking the editorial role that they serve in their community seriously, in this case  the UM campus. Journalists have the responsibility to report about the things that are not working in their community and give voice to people that suffer because of these issues. They are called the Fourth Estate and watchdogs because they willingly monitor and report about the actions and inactions of the people in charge.

So, in my opinion, they are doing what they should do, but prematurely. As they say twice that they are aware that this information can be called rumors or fake news. And, at the end of the editorial, they ask readers to contact them with related stories.

This way, the editorial loses some credibility. It would have been easier and more professional if they had identified sources and prepared one or more news stories to back up the editorial. In that manner, they would gain authority to opine about it.

School sells bulletproof backpack panel


Florida Christian School in Miami recently added a new item for purchase on its school website: bulletproof panels that can fit inside students’ backpacks.

The dean of the school, George Gulla, said that these panels would add another level of protection in the event of an active shooter. He also stated that teachers are to instruct students to use their backpacks as shields for protection.

The price for the bulletproof panel is $120.

With so many recent active shooter stories in the news recently, Florida Christian School wants to make sure students are well equipped in case they ever encounter one.

Gulla thinks offering the panels for parents to buy will give them peace of mind. However,  Kenneth Trump, school security expert, does not agree. He told CNN the panel “are not well focused for a child-centered environment.”

It is important to be prepared in case of an active shooter encounter. Though the topic of selling bulletproof panels for students’ backpacks can be controversial, it is good that CNN reported two different opinions on the matter.

No stories that I read on this topic stated any comments made by the parents of the students who attend Florida Christian School. I think that would have been good sources, seeing what the parents have to say and whether they think the school is making the right decision in selling the panels and if they would purchase them for their children’s backpacks.

Italian schools teach about fake news


Fake news has been around for a while, but with the existence of the Internet and ingraining of social media in people, this notion has been increasingly addressed and recognized as a critical issue. Italy has decided to create classes to teach high school students how to recognize fake news and the importance of not sharing false information, in addition to a new set of ethical commandments.

No generation has it ever been so easy and so fast to gain insight on what is happening around the world. Accessing information can be done with just a few taps on our phones. Laura Boldrini, the president of the Italian lower house of Parliament, told The New York Times “Fake news drips drops of poison into our daily web diet and we end up infected without even realizing it. It’s only right to give these kids the possibility to defend themselves from lies.”

Students will receive a list of commandments. One of them is: “Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.”

There are so many sources where we can access our information and the velocity with which we can acquire it doesn’t allow people to constantly check the reliability.

People’s perception is manipulated and not accessing the truth affects people’s actions, as seen in the 2016 elections. In fact, one of the main reasons this program was created is for the upcoming elections in Italy, which are scheduled on May 20, 2018. The Web is already full of conspiracy theories against all parties and it is essential that the political view, especially of a generation ingrained on their phones, is based on the truth.

The Italian government has been working with companies, such as Facebook and Google, to build a program that focuses on training students on how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online. The program seeks the creation of “Fake News Hunters” and is expected to begin later this month. It will be launched in approximately 8,000 high schools around all of Italy.

Students will be taught the ethics of not publishing or sharing fake news and how important the impact of everything they share on social media can be. Facebook will be contributing that specific aspect, addressing to students how “likes” on the platform are “monetized and politicized.”

It is of value that a social media giant, such as Facebook has been collaborating with this program. Especially, because of the pressure, social networks and search engines have been given on finding a solution to filter fake news and conspiracy theories. In fact, a few weeks ago, on Oct. 6, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, wrote in a  post:

“We will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation and subvert elections. We’ll keep working to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, and to ensure our community is a platform for all ideas and force for good in a democracy.”

Mark Zuckerberg was never one to approve of the impact of social media, for years he would argue as seeing social media as just a method of communication. His complete change in opinion really brings to surface the importance of doing something about this issue. Facebook reported that if the program is successful, it will create similar programs for other countries in Europe.

Many of the reports on this story are written in detail and seem to deliver a lot of useful information. I am from Italy and this makes me proud especially because I study journalism in the United States, which has a big issue on fake news. I would be really interested in knowing more on who will be teaching these classes and the opinion of students on this new subject.

Free college tuition okayed in California


Last Friday, California became the latest state to help students reduce their college costs. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill that will allow students in public colleges to have free tuition for their first year of college, creating the “California College Promise.” This bill is different and more forward then the other few free college plans in the United States.

California already had one of the most affordable tuitions in public colleges in the nation.  Since 1986, low-income students had to pay a $5 fee per credit and other residents $46  per credit. The new bill is expanded to all students, not just the ones with low income, allowing all residents to have a free first year of classes. But it does offer money to students with who cannot afford to pay for additional expenses.

There are 114 community colleges in California. This is supposed to encourage enrollment and higher education. This will make the idea of college not just an option to many people.

Other additions that make this bill so forward-thinking is the fact that the plan is not just applicable for students who finished high school, every resident of any age is eligible.

What also makes it unlike other plans in other states, is the fact that you do not need to be a full- time student, which means you do not have to pursue a degree and you can apply for just one class if you want.

The plan requires the students to be residents and they must be in their first year of college.  No matter how old you are, if it’s your first time on campus you are eligible for a free year.

The number of students that will be eligible for the waiver is estimated to be 19,000 per year, which means that it will cost the state around $31 million per year. Of course, if more people will enroll in the plan it will cost taxpayers more.

The plan includes the payment for classes, but for many, it will not include other college fees, such as health insurance, Internet, books, place of residence and more. College books can be very expensive but making the cost of classes free will help students pursue their careers.

Different articles reported different dates concerning the time in which the plan will come into effect. Some reported fall 2018, but others admitted in lacking the certainty of when the bill will come into effect, as at the current moment, the state funding is still lacking.

The “California College Promise” is a very appealing plan and it encourages many futures but it will simultaneously require a decent amount of tax money to come into effect. Reports and news articles fail to talk about what taxpayers think about this bill.

The response of residents to the plan should be reported, especially because, in recent months there has been damage in the state caused by wildfires. These fires have not been extinguished yet and continue to damage areas.  Forty thousand people were evacuated and 5,700 buildings were destroyed, including homes and businesses. This natural tragedy is bound to have an impact on California’s state funding.  Reports should take into consideration the recent events and their impact on residents and taxes and the effect on the progress of the bill, if any.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ banned … again


The Biloxi School District of Mississippi has chosen to remove the controversial “To Kill a Mockingbird” novel from the eighth grade curriculum. The move was done after the county received complaints about the book’s language being uncomfortable and inappropriate for a classroom setting.

In response, several acclaimed writers and literature enthusiasts took to Twitter to express their disdain. They upheld that the book’s primary purpose was to make the reader uncomfortable: only then would the book’s setting and culture (1930s in the deep south of the United States) be significant and impactful. Quotes supporting this idea include:

“If to Kill a Mockingbird makes you uncomfortable you may want to contemplate your life & search your soul.” (@marybschneider)

“If To Kill a Mockingbird makes you uncomfortable, you are the target audience” (@WIBC_StanLehr)

“If we are going to solve the racial problems we have in our county now, we have to confront the truth of how we got to where we are.” (Barbara Shoup, novelist)

USA Today did well to cover both the event and the outcry over it on Twitter. Its coverage provided details of the event and the book’s controversial history, for those unaware that the book had been banned before. They also gave a basic synopsis of the book and why it was unsettling to some, which was a good transition to the public response to this kind of reaction.

The Twitter outcry provided good insight as to why many believe the book is important and should be taught in schools, so including a variety of tweets in the story was wise of the USA Today writer (Shari Rudavsky). It gave readers a decent understanding of the other side of the debate, providing them with plenty of room to form their own opinion on the complicated matter.

A huge part of Antarctica is melting


According to CNN, Antarctica has been experiencing unusual weather, which causes scientists questioning the icy continent and it existence in the near future.

On the west side of the icy continent called West Antarctic Ice sheet, scientists have found a 300,000-square mile portion of its perimeter melting.

“A melt of this magnitude is relatively rare in Antarctica,” said Julien Nicolas, one of the paper’s authors at the Ohio State University Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. “There have been about three or four events of this size in the last 40 years.”

This is problematic, if the melted slush and water refreezes it can leak into cracks and damage the inner structure of the ice.

“When it comes to the disintegration of the ice shelves, they are like corks in a bottle,” said Dr. David Bromwich, another author of the paper and a professor at the Ohio State. “They are holding back the contents of the bottle, in this case the ice sheet, and you take the cork away and everything flows out to the ocean.”

Action must to be taken, if we plan to see dramatically results in the near future, from recycling the basis of bottles, to being cautious while paying close attention to our environment.

“We don’t know the time scale of this,” he said. “There was one modeling study that showed quite dramatic changes on the scale of a few hundred years, and another scenario would be quite a slow change. But a foot of sea rise, or two feet, in the order of 100 years would be alarming.”

We live in a selfish generation, where adults, including millennials, have taken earth for granted. Eventually, if we the people, allow ourselves to continue to treat the earth as trash, it will bite us back.

Karma …

Once the ice is in the ocean, Bromwich says, it could cause sea levels to rise dramatically and rapidly.

“Rapidly,” of course, means something completely different on a geological time scale.

Documentary film vs. news story


Recently some friends and I were discussing the differences between a documentary film and a news story. Most of them couldn’t tell them apart. There are a few main points to look at.

A documentary film is basically a movie that attempts to document reality. Even though the scenes are carefully chosen and arranged, usually through editing after filming, they are not scripted and the people in the movie are not typically actors. Sometimes, a documentary film may rely on voice-over narration to describe what is happening in the footage; in other films, the images speak for themselves without commentary.

A documentary often includes interviews with people in the film for additional information. Documentaries can use more time to establish world, character and struggle whereas, with news, a journalist has only a few seconds or minutes. There is often more mat sound with a documentary, also. Many documentary filmmakers attempt to change or improve society in some way with their messages. They want to inform.

Their goal is to bring to light a certain cause or injustice with the hope that their film will help galvanize the masses to demand change. An example might be a documentary on all the recent crimes that have been happening. In general documentaries are longer than news segments or stories and they focus more on real life. The mood of a documentary is also changed smoothly by the music that was chosen by the filmmaker. The news doesn’t use music as much.

News is defined as newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. The news also wants to inform just like documentaries. There is less time that the news has to establish world,character, and struggle. News also tries to entertain its viewers. They entertain viewers by choosing to talk about stories that are new, unusual, interesting and also about people. News covers many different topics.

The freshness of news gives it an uncertain quality which distinguishes it from the more careful investigations of history. The news describes the world in the present or immediate past. The news is given to you from a news anchor in different segments. All in all a news story is a factual, prose story for print or broadcast media about a person, place or event answering these five questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Last, but not least, a news story is sometimes written in the inverted-pyramid style, giving the most important information first and additional details later.

Harvard rescinds 10 admit decisions


Harvard University has chosen to rescind acceptance offers from 10 incoming freshman after becoming aware of an offshoot face group aimed at sharing “offensive” memes.

School administrators moderate an official Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook group in an effort to create a place for new students to get to know each other beforehand and ask questions in preparation for their first semester

Everything began when about 100 students created a separate page to share memes with one another – a trend amongst elite colleges. The page was entitled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.”

According to the Harvard Crimson, the school’s daily newspaper, the whole exchange took a dark turn when members of this group formed a spin-off page where students could exchange “R-rated” memes.

The founders of the group required that students posted questionable memes on the main page to gain admittance. Otherwise, the page is completely private.

The memes and images that were shared in the private group ranged from offensive racial stereotypes to the deaths of children, according the images provided by The Crimson. When university officials became aware of what was going on they took immediate action.

Harvard reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission if the admitted student “engages or has engaged in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity or moral character,” among other conditions, Rachel Dane, a Harvard spokeswoman, told The Washington Post.

This reaction brings to light a whole new issue that has been growing in recent years – that social media is playing a large role in the university admissions process.

The reoccurring question seems to be that at which point does this violate freedom of expression?

Erica Goldberg, an assistant professor at Ohio Northern law school, which said she taught at Harvard Law School for three years, stated that this page was no different than the popular game Cards Against Humanity, “whose purpose is to be as clearly offensive as possible”.

The group – which garnered more than 30,000 members, including “pharmabro” Martin Shkreli – seems to clearly be aimed at poking fun at these topics and not necessarily supporting these sentiments.

News media coverage of this topic has mainly focused on how this offensive material undermines the current “PC” culture at universities nationwide. The problem with reporting on these topics is, in fact, that it is done by older adults who unfortunately don’t understand the irreverent humor.

The headlines repeatedly use words like “hateful” and “racist” to describe the pages but they fail to recognize that the whole point of these memes is to not embrace these ideals but to laugh at the absurdity that anyone could actually believe these kinds of things.

Instead of demonizing these teens for their jokes, perhaps the news media should be focusing more on how appropriate it is that they are being reprimanded for conversations made in private.

Trump ends Obama scholarship program


According to officials, the “Let Girls Learn” program, which was founded by former first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama in 2015, has been dropped by the Trump administration.

The “Let Girls Learn” provided a platform where Michelle Obama strived to educate young girls in developing countries by giving every young girl the same opportunity that girls in America have. The program develops in girls “the ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table-all of that starts with education,” she said.

I could not agree more. Michelle Obama set a standard  of what it means to empower girls with a firm foundation of a good education. Former first lady Obama firmly believed in lifting others up and empowering women to be the best version of themselves. It is unfortunate that President Donald Trump wants to deny young women of an education by denying them their dreams and God-given purpose.

It is safe to say, although the “Let Girls Learn” has been altered, the Peace Corps looks to continue its effort to further educate young women. Rather than altering the current path forward, we hope the agency focuses more on providing technical assistance that can help schools get across the finish line, if they haven’t done so already,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.

In addition to “Let Girls Learn,” Ivanka Trump, adviser to the president, looks to continue her journey towards empowering young women. According to her Twitter biography,  Trump describes herself as an “Entrepreneur & advocate for the education & empowerment of women & girls.”

Students arrested for prostitution


University of Miami students Acacia Friedman, 23, and Maury Noun, 21, along with Florida International University student Samara Charlotin, 19, were arrested last week after Friedman and Noun were surprised by an undercover cop.

This all took place at the at the Colonnade Hotel. The undercover policeman then asked them to verify “what he was getting” for the money he handed over and, while at first, the women said that it would be a “hang out,” they did agree that there would be sex with a condom.

Both women were charged for prostitution. Charlotin was also charged with possession of one gram of cannabis and one Oxycodone pill. Noun was hit with a charge of aiding and abetting.

Judge Mindy Glazer ordered Charlotin in court on Thursday to stay away from the other two, saying, “You’re a smart girl, and if you want to see age 20, you need to find a new line of employment. A very risky thing you are doing, alright, for someone with a lot of potential such as yourself. You need to stay away from them.”

Noun met with the undercover officer at the restaurant at the hotel. He then directed his girls to a room after the officer paid the $3,000. Noun was arrested on charges including deriving proceeds from prostitution.

Every local news station featured the story on their evening newscast, including NBC6, CBS4, Fox Channel 7 and ABC Channel 10.

UM, FIU students arrested in Gables


Students from the University of Miami and Florida International University were arrested yesterday during a prostitution sting in Coral Gables.

Acacia Friedman, a 23-year-old from UM, Maury Noun, age 21 from UM, and Samara Charlotin, a 19-year-old FIU student were all charged with prostitution after an undercover police investigation on Wednesday night.

Friedman and Charlotin were said to have met with and undercover detective at the Colonnade Hotel after they agreed to have sex for $5,000.

Once inside the Colonnade, the detective handed Friedman the money and asked for reassurance as to what was happening.

Both Friedman and Charlotin faced additional charged for having drugs on them.

Noun was charged with aiding or abetting prostitution.

Local 10 news reported the judge saying, “You’re a smart girl, and if you want to see age 20, you need to find a new line of employment…. A very risky thing you are doing, alright, for someone with a lot of potential such as yourself. You need to stay away from them.”

UM has declined information about the ongoing investigations.

Largest cruise ship coming to Miami


The world’s largest cruise ship is set to sail out of the cruise capitol of the world, PortMiami in November 2018.

This cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will be the fourth Oasis class ship from Royal Caribbean.

Symphony of the Seas comes in at 230,000 gross tons, is 215.5 feet wide, 1,188 feet long, and has a cruising speed of 22 knots (25 miles per hour). The ship will also hold 6,780 guests in 2,775 rooms and have 15 dining options.

Before she heads to Miami, she’s set to explore several destinations in the Mediterranean including Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa Rome and Naples, Italy.

She then arrives at Miami, where she begins seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

This is a major breakthrough and milestone, the biggest, largest, most vast cruise ship ever to exist.

Although that this sounds great, and the media certainly portrays it to be so, this doesn’t mean all good things.

About a week prior to this announcement that was made on every local news company and cruise or vacation website, there was breaking news of how a cruise ship ended up scrapping the bottom of the sea beds in Fort Lauderdale and how terrible those ships are for the environment.

But, with that being said, it was quickly forgotten about and trumped by this story “The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Ever Built to Set Sail.”

I think that, in this situation, the news media are definitely skewed, possibly because readers are more interested in these vast Titanic-like ships if you will. Or, it could possibly just be purely for revenue.

Either way, it doesn’t dismiss the fact that cruise ships are very harmful for our environment.

Little do people know that the ships release all of their waste into the sea mid-voyage away from beaches or land.

Not only that but incidents like the one that happened in Fort Lauderdale where it scrapped the bottom of the seabed are far too common.

Stories that are about the environmental impact cruise ships have put those specific companies in check.

The ones that are revolved around the negative factors of cruise ships don’t really get as much attention or popularity compared to ones that focus on the largest cruise ship in the world being launched.

Why? That I still wonder.

Spring break begins in Florida


As we all know, it is now the season for spring breakers to travel south and enjoy the nice, warm, blaring sunshine that we have.

But, it is also the time of the year where cops have to be in full force and bars, clubs and beaches all have to be prepared for the massive crowds that fill their territories.

Last year in Miami, there were several arrests due to fights breaking out and crowds in the thousands created chaos on Ocean Drive on South Beach.

The police ended up having to step in the middle of these giant crowds, making the scene take quite a bit to get under control.

This year, there were a lot of efforts that went into cracking down on alcohol, litter, loud music, and the safety of all of the people participating in spring break on South Beach.

This new ban includes no coolers, tents or inflatable devices on the beach.

Although all of these efforts were made in order to keep the peace, the police were still forced to shut down ocean drive this year for spring breakers too due to the crowds filling the sand and streets.

In Fort Lauderdale, it still is a great place for spring breakers, but it doesn’t seem as “ratchet” or too out of hand.

They have tents that are specifically stationed in the popular areas and four policemen on horses at each station.

There are also dozens of trash bags and bins all across the beach to try and keep the littering to a minimal.

Fort Lauderdale seems to have it a lot more under control than Miami, although Miami probably has a lot more people participating in such activities.

As far as the news coverage goes, I’d say that they do a very good job of informing people about issues such as these on a local level.

All of the news companies from Orlando to Daytona Beach to Miami have done a very good job covering all aspects of the “spring breakers” story, the only thing that I thought maybe was lacking was on the national level.

The national level, I think, does still apply to these types of stories because you have people coming from all over the country to Florida to be a part of drinking and partying on the beach.

Trump rescinding transgender policy


If you haven’t heard, President Trump’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would be rescinding a portion of Title IX, which was issued by the Obama Administration last May, to protect transgender students against discrimination.

According to the Trump Administration, the reason for the rescission was because the Obama-era protection did provide “extensive legal consent” with its positioning in Title IX.

A statement made by the White House said that “As President Trump has clearly stated, he believes policy regarding transgender bathrooms should be decided at the state level, the joint decision made today by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education returning power to the states paves the way for an open and inclusive process to take place at the local level with input from parents, students, teachers and administrators.”

However the Department of Education’s Secretary, Betsy DeVos, did not agree with the decision. DeVos was reportedly “pushed” by both of the departments to signing off on rescinding the policy because they had already decided to move forward.

However, she made a statement agreeing that protecting all students, no matter what gender they identify with or sexuality is a key priority for every school in America, but best solved at the state and local levels.

This is a very easy subject to have mixed views on, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but at the same time everyone is entitled to equal respect and a country that is going fight to keep them safe no matter how they choose to live their lives.

As we plunge further into “Trump’s America,” we need to remember that it is important that we continue to fight the good fight in the most peaceful way possible. What has happened in the past few weeks has set the tone for what will be going on for the next four years, but it is no reason to get discouraged about all the progress we have already made. It’s just time for us to become stronger and stick together like never before to protect those who are not being protected by the system as they should be protected.

Penn State bans alcohol for greeks


A 19-year-old student, Timothy Piazza, who attended Penn State University, died on Feb. 3 after falling down a set of basement stairs at a fraternity party.

It was reported that he fell down the stairs around 11 p.m. on Feb. 2, but the police weren’t notified until 11 a.m. the next day. Piazza was eventually taken to a medical facility and died later that morning.

The former student had recently accepted an invitation to join Beta Theta Pi where the tragic incident took place. It was announced that in response to the death of Piazza this week at a fraternity, university officials have placed a moratorium on all social gatherings at on- and off-campus fraternities and sororities.

This being said, all of greek life is being revealed in a very negative light now that this happened. Several news articles focus on the actual incident that happened and the current investigations that are currently taking place due to the fact that the police were called nearly 12 hours after the accident.

The next big problem with this situation is that all of greek life is banned from having any social events. I have a friend who knows a lot of people at Penn State and she was describing to me how greatly impacted they were due to the death.

The news, I believe, does a great job of covering what the news organizations can do with this story. But even with these news stories and incidences occurring, it doesn’t seem to actually effect the greek life at other schools whatsoever.

So, I come to this conclusion that although there are very tragic deaths due to alcohol and hazing, fraternities still partake in these sort of events because, well, they always have.

Unfortunately, even with all the coverage of this accident, the news media and journalists have not been able to change this aspect of greek life or perceptions and mindsets about hazing.

There was only one article that I saw that covered the other side of the story, not what happened directly to Piazza but how it affected other students in other fraternities. I found this to be interesting.

All in all, I think journalists covered this breaking story well. Negative perceptions of outside greek life members will prevail and inside greek life students will have the same mindset as always; the more booze, the better it is.

Simple works best for Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is on the way. Feb. 14 holds an annual VIP spot on the calendar. Many people exchange cards, candy, gifts and flowers with their “valentine.”

This day of romance dates all the way back to the 5th century and was named after the Christian martyr St. Valentine. That’s a fun-fact that a lot of people, especially college students, don’t know. In fact, for most college students, especially freshmen, Valentine’s Day is a huge gray area. Everyone has only known each other for a short amount of time and probably have not been dating their valentine for long either.

This can lead to students wondering what exactly is appropriate to do and buy for their valentine. Do they do the standard dinner and a movie? Well the day of love falls on a Tuesday this year so that isn’t ideal. What about gifts? What is too much and what is not enough?

No need to worry. Here are a few ideas for a perfect Valentine’s Day, college edition.  First off is to keep things simple, but special. Food is the key to everyone’s heart.

Candy and chocolate are easy and thoughtful. Because Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday it is a good idea to plan the actual celebration for the weekend. “Fifty Shades Darker” has opened in theaters. There are always the classic movies you can watch in your dorm room such as “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Notebook,” “Titanic” or even “50 First Dates.” You can find these all online and have a romantic movie night without spending money.

If you really want to make someone feel special you can have your school send them a Valentine’s Day gram. Some fraternities are even willing to serenade your special someone.

These are simple ways to make your college Valentine’s Day thoughtful and romantic on a college student’s budget.

Studying abroad is more than just study


Thinking about studying abroad?  Whether it’s for a semester or for the summer, these programs are more than just leaving the country but will open up a new part of you.

University is an experience, it is not just about studying and doing your homework, you get so much more out it. By being exposed to new situations and challenging who you are, you keep finding more about yourself and others. As someone who has lived in different countries, I can say that living in another country opens fascinating areas of your mind.

Many students who have studied abroad or are studying abroad are willing to share their experiences. There is a Web site where UM students write their stories on the study abroad programs called Global Reach University of Miami stories. The link is: http://blogs.univmiami.net/student-stories. These blogs are a great way to get a better idea of the meaning of the program.

On the Global Reach website, students share their stories on exploring the world. They talk about the ups and downs that they encountered while being in a new country, they share their ways of coping and adjusting with the issues. Learning how to overcome new obstacles, gets your brain to increase the development of problem-solving skills.

Studying abroad will allow you to experience new styles of education and will educate you on a personal level.  These programs give you the chance to see the world, come into contact with new cultures, meet new friends and find out more of your interests.

High school students stabbed in Utah


A school stabbing occurred at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, injuring five students, who are all expected to survive.

It happened just before 8 a.m. in the boy’s locker room. The five students and the suspected attacker were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Inside the locker room, police say a 16-year-old straight-A student with no record of disciplinary trouble had attacked his classmates with a knife as they changed into their gym clothes.

Students were in shock and fear after the gruesome scene that they just saw. Police reported that the blade used was three inches long.

The 911 recordings were released from the police. One caller told dispatchers: “There’s someone at Mountain View killing people! He’s stabbing people! He’s stabbing people!”

Another woman called about a student in the attendance office with wounds to his neck and that another victim was on his way. She said, “We just need some help.”

The parents of the suspect later posted a letter apologizing for their son’s horrific actions and insuring everyone that the attacks were not racially or ethnically motivated.

“We are at a loss to express how deeply sorry we are for the pain and injury caused,” the letter said.

There were no indications the suspect was having problems or being bullied, so police are still investigating if there were any motivations behind these attacks.

Right after the attack, the school went on lockdown for about an hour until the police were able to decide that the school was safe. School then resumed normally, but some parents took their children out of school that day.

The school plans to investigate if the student’s actions were caused by anything that could have been addressed or stopped beforehand.

The news media addresses topics like this because a school stabbing is something that is not seen everyday, so when it happens people want to hear about it so that they can make sure that their loved ones that are in that area are safe and pray for anyone that was injured in the process. Anything that has to do with younger children is usually newsworthy because it appeals to the emotional side of audiences.

Students neglect danger and party


Windows are boarded up, families have fled their homes and the entire nation is glued to television sets, smart phones and computers to stay updated on the latest news of Hurricane Matthew.

hurricane-matthewThe United States hasn’t been hit by such a strong, dangerous hurricane since Sandy in 2012, so inevitably concern is growing throughout the nation, even in areas not directly impacted by the storm.

Many news stories have warned citizens, especially South Floridians, of the danger of their apathetic attitude. A category 4 hurricane seems obviously threatening to most, but South Florida is frequently plagued by tropical storms, complete with high winds and immense flooding.

President Obama and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have encouraged Americans living in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to leave their homes, warning that apathy and unwillingness to leave could cost citizens their lives.

However, there is little being said about college students during this time.

Universities along the southeast coast, including University of Miami, the College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University and University of South Carolina, have closed for the remainder of the week. Schools have encouraged students to evacuate if possible and are taking various precautions to ensure the safety of those who remain on campus.

Many college students are far away from friends and family dealing with a situation that is totally foreign to them. Plenty of students, particularly Midwesterners, have never lived through a hurricane and are utterly unprepared and overwhelmed.

Although the panic and stress this may cause is worrisome, the lack of preparedness and underestimation of the severity of Hurricane Matthew is far more concerning. Classes are canceled, assignments are postponed and students have more free time than ever.

What does that mean? It’s party time.

Media have neglected to cover the added danger that excessive alcohol consumption and drug use will undoubtedly cause during this disaster. Everyone must keep their wits about them during a crisis, and neglecting to do so by binge-drinking and going out in inclement weather may be fatal.

By neglecting to mention this issue and its potentially fatal side effects in the news, media are allowing this attitude to endure, even proliferate. Many young adults are unaware of the severity of a hurricane, so peer pressure and fear of missing out (FOMO, as the kids are calling it these days) are driving students to engage in risky behavior that is unwise even under the safest environmental conditions.

News media should pay more attention to college and university students to remind them of the possible consequences of hurricane parties and discourage them from taking part in unnecessary and life-threatening activities.