Alabama

 

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Alabama Student Wears “F#@* Donald” Shirt On Campus And Some People Got Pretty Mad

K. Alex Lane is a student at the University of Alabama and she is making some waves due to a certain wardrobe choice she made on Monday.

Lane wore a black t-shirt bearing the words “Fuck Donald” above an American flag.

The Donald in question obviously being Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.

On Facebook, Lane explained the reason she wore the provocative shirt:

“[I] walked around The University of Alabama’s campus with this shirt on cus it was only right after last night’s debate.”

The University of Alabama campus has been rocked in recent weeks by racially charged comments posted to social media by students.

Lane claims that some students called her racially charged names on campus Monday.

“[I] got called the n-word by a white male and a “stupid bitch” by a white female. couldn’t help by laugh right in their faces.”

Read More: Alabama Students Are Much Better Than The Racist Rhetoric Online

RISE NEWS is not able to independently confirm Lane’s claims. We will update this story when she responds to questions we sent her. 

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RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Alabama Students Are Much Better Than The Racist Rhetoric Online

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their historic decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In it, the court ruled that segregation of public schools in the United States was unconstitutional.

Despite this, numerous schools in the American South fought to keep segregation alive.

My own university, the University of Alabama, was one of them.

In 1956, Autherine Juanita Lucy, became the first African-American student to enroll at the University of Alabama but her enrollment was rescinded after it was discovered that she was African-American.

With the aid of the NAACP, Lucy sued the University of Alabama for racial discrimination and three years later, Alabama allowed Lucy to re-enroll.

Lucy’s enrollment resulted in riots and threats to her safety and prompted her eventual suspension, purportedly for her own protection.

In addition to Lucy’s fight to attend the University of Alabama, efforts to continue segregation at the school led to Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door outside of Foster Auditorium.

Read More: University Of Alabama Student Suspended After Sending Racially Charged Threats

On June 11, 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood, African-American students who had been admitted to the University of Alabama, arrived to register for classes, but were met by Wallace and other Alabamians who supported the continued segregation of public schools. However, despite a well-received speech on state’s rights, Malone and Hood were permitted into Foster Auditorium to register for classes.

Over 50 years later, the University of Alabama is one of the largest and most successful universities in the United States; both academically and athletically.

Today, Foster Auditorium still stands with the addition of a plaza and clock tower named after Autherine Lucy, Vivian Malone, and James Hood.

Students walk past the very spot George Wallace stood to prevent two eager students from enrolling in classes, simply because of the color of their skin.

Students have entered Foster Auditorium to cheer for Alabama’s volleyball team, women’s basketball team, and wheelchair basketball teams.

Wallace’s Stand in the Schoolhouse Door and the days of overt racism and prejudice may seem like they are merely memories of the distant past, but that is not the reality for students of color at the University of Alabama.

Within the last few years, the University of Alabama has come under national scrutiny for maintaining de facto segregation in its sororities, a secret society of Greek students (as in fraternity and sorority members) who mainly control the Student Government Association at UA (and is known as “the Machine”) blackmailed sororities into supporting their chosen homecoming queen candidate over one who was African-American, and the resultant backlash from the Machine when the first African-American SGA President was elected in 40 years.

Read More: University Of Alabama Must Expel Student Who Used Racist Threats

Sadly, these are just a few of the incidents that have made national news, and this racism on campus is becoming more and more overt, especially on social media.

The most recent event to occur at the University of Alabama was a series of comments made regarding Black Lives Matter and the Bama Sits protest.

In 2015,Brendesha M. Tynes, conducted a study analyzing online discrimination and recorded that the participants in the study reported six primary forms of racial discrimination: (1) racial epithets, (2) inaccurate racial stereotypes and statements, (3) racist jokes, (4) symbols of hate (i.e. the Confederate flag), (5) threats of physical harm and/or death threats, and (6) graphic representations/images of dead black bodies.

Aside from the graphic images of dead bodies, the other five forms of online discrimination have flooded the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange group on Facebook and the Bama sits hashtag as well.

Personally, I have witnessed comments where a student used the term “the colored people,” another student told African-American students to “get a f**king white mask and where [sic] it around,” Alabama fans referring to students protesting as “bastards,” an Alabama fan referring to Black Lives Matter as a disease, and students making violent threats towards students participating in the Bama Sits protests and African-American students.

Within the past week, one student, Ryan Parish, has been suspended for threatening to kill a student and referring to them as a ni**er and two others, one student and one non-student, are being investigated for threats they posted on social media as well.

This poses the question, why are these people so comfortable with posting such racist comments publicly on social media?

I know that I have been warned to be cautious with what I post on social media since it can impact employment and educational opportunities, but why does this not deter other people from making offensive comments on race and other matters?

To answer this question, we have to look at what social media offers.

In certain forums (i.e. Reddit, and to some extent Facebook and Twitter) the ability to comment and share your opinions while keeping your identity anonymous provides the perfect environment to spread hateful rhetoric without facing any consequences.

However, the Alabama students and fans posting these comments did not seem concerned with keeping their identities anonymous.

Perhaps the concept of group polarization provides a better explanation of these brassy comments with their racist rhetoric.

Group polarization occurs when a group of people who share the same beliefs and opinions become even more extreme in their opinions after they have discussed it with each other

Business Insider reporter Tony Manfred tried to explain that the internet is racist due to a number of reasons, including the idea that the brief “fame” or popularity that comes with posting such an unpopular and hateful opinion also encourages the public to overt racism.

These theories are certainly plausible, and I believe, in addition to these theories, that the platform that social media gives a person to easily share their opinions along with the systematic racism that still runs rampant in our country breed the perfect hostile environment for racism and threats.

I have spent almost seven years of my life, working on my undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Alabama.

It is no secret that I love my alma mater and the role it has played in molding a very crucial brick in the foundation of who I am.

However, I am embarrassed by the racism, especially the blatant racism, which is harbored and promoted by my fellow Alabama students and fans.

However, the disappointment that I have in my fellow Alabama students is much greater. When we enroll at the University of Alabama, we agree to live by the Capstone Creed: “As a member of the University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.”

We are better than this, my fellow Alabama students. Let us rise above the prejudice and hate and no longer tolerate it. Let us be great on levels.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: University of Alabama/ Facebook

University Of Alabama Must Expel Student Who Used Racist Threats

The University of Alabama must immediately expel Ryan Parish or it will lose standing in the fight for racial justice.

As an alumnus of the University, I can’t conscience sharing a degree with the likes of a person like Mr. Parish.

His remaining as a student at Alabama would cheapen all of us and would cheapen the efforts made in recent decades to fix the wrongs of hundreds of years of state sponsored white supremacy.

And our University should rise to the occasion and do the right thing.

For those that are just becoming aware of the situation, Mr. Parish is a pre law student at the University.

He got into a heated back and forth on a publicly viewable Facebook ticket exchange with some students over his disagreements with a student led protest of the nation anthem at last week’s football game.

He then called a fellow student a “nigger” and said that he would kill that person if they spoke to him “wrong.”

After his online comments were posted publicly, they spread wildly on social media.

The University promptly suspended him. And they were right to do so.

However, they have not gone far enough.

Mr. Parish must be expelled from the University of Alabama.

This is not a matter of free speech.

And it is not a matter of education.

It is about hate. Plain and simple.

Mr. Parish can’t be taught not to say those things to a fellow human being in a college setting.

Attending the University of Alabama is a privilege, not a right.

And Mr. Parish is not the type of person that we should want at our fair Capstone.

We already have so much to atone for and we have already graduated enough white supremacists in our history.

George Wallace was enough for all history.

Don Black is a living shame.

On matters of racial justice, Alabama cannot be mealy-mouthed.

It must have zero tolerance for racism and lead the nation in standing up for the rights of minorities and in being an example for how we want our society to be in the future.

Mr. Parish’s racist tirade on social media is not an isolated incident in recent UA history.

It took another national shame- and scores of national reporters to invade the Capstone to lead to the start of desegregation of sororities on campus. That was only three years ago.

Mr. Parish did apologize for his comments in a post on social media:

“I’m absolutely torn and saddened. I apologize so much for what I said. I know an apology isn’t enough but I’ll do what I can to make up for it. I love every student here. I made a TERRIBLE mistake and I can’t apologize enough. I’m sorry students of Alabama. I am not that type of person.”

What you can do Mr. Parish is commit your life to fighting to racial justice and work to change your heart.

But the University of Alabama should not be spending a dime trying to do it for you.

We have progress to make and we need all hands on deck.

University Of Alabama Student Suspended After Sending Racially Charged Threats

The University of Alabama has suspended a student who allegedly launched on a racially tinged tirade on social media.

According to the Crimson White, the student in question, Ryan Parish was suspended after an investigation by the university.

Here are the comments he made in a Facebook message exchange:

It appears that Parish’s tirade was prompted by the fact that some Alabama student chose to sit during the playing of the national anthem at last Saturday’s Crimson Tide home football game.

According to WIAT, Parish released a statement after his comments became public:

“I’m absolutely torn and saddened. I apologize so much for what I said. I know an apology isn’t enough but I’ll do what I can to make up for it. I love every student here. I made a TERRIBLE mistake and I can’t apologize enough. I’m sorry students of Alabama. I am not that type of person.”

Parish also seems to have made a public post on a ticket exchange Facebook page where a story about the student protest of the national anthem was posted.

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Are you an Alabama student and want to say something about this situation? Send us your thoughts to editor@risenews.net. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ryan Parish (Facebook/Raw Story)

WATCH: What Real “Ladies Of The SEC” Have To Say About That Slut Shaming HuffPost Piece

The ill-fated piece by Huffington Post contributor Rebecca Walden titled “Young ladies of the SEC, cover it up!” has engendered dozens of think pieces on the matter across the Internet.

Attacked as a “slut-shaming” screed, the Huffington Post was quick to take the story down.

But Walden, for her part, did not back away from the backlash.

In an interview with AL.com, she actually doubled down on her remarks and refused to apologize for her piece.

Since she won’t apologize for it, allow us to show Ms. Walden how we feel about her views that younger women in the SEC are not “classy” enough for her on football game-days:

 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

“The Game Knows”: How This Former College Softball Player Kept The Faith While Riding The Bench

By Jordan Patterson

“The Game knows.”

Throughout my career as a college softball player at the University of Alabama, I heard that statement hundreds of times.

From teammates, from coaches, and even from family.

There was always a part of me that wanted to believe that the Game really did know.

That it saw all of the extra work I put in.

That it appreciated my genuine happiness for the teammates who played over me.

That it sensed just how badly I wanted to succeed. And because of that, my time would eventually come.

On the day that my collegiate career came to an end, if you had asked me whether I believed that the Game knows, I probably would have said yes.

It wouldn’t have been a lie, but my words would have lacked conviction.

Throughout my career, I worked hard. Very hard.

I tried to do things the right way and be a good teammate. And yet, things never really clicked for me on the field. So yes, I thought that “the Game knows” was a nice idea to cling to, but it didn’t ring true for me at the time.

Ask me that question today, however, and I will look you dead in the eyes and tell you with an unwavering voice that the Game really does know. You can’t fool it- it sees your heart. It knows who deserves to be rewarded, and it will do so accordingly.

So what changed? Why am I now a believer? Well, let me tell you a story.

I arrived on Alabama’s campus in the fall of 2010, making the 10 minute drive from my parents’ house down the road.

This was what I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember- to wear the script A on my chest. I was excited, nervous, and full of hope. My classmates quickly became my best friends (#SS forever). I was working my butt off in the weight room, coming to practice early, staying late, and loving every minute of it.

I was a catcher, and there were two junior catchers on the team who were both wonderful players and even better people.

They taught me so much, and I truly loved getting to learn from them (shout out to Kendall Dawson and Olivia Gibson- BS da best).

I didn’t play much at all during those first two years- a few pinch hit opportunities here and there. The two of them handled almost all of the catching responsibilities.

I missed being on the field every day, but I knew what I signed up for when I decided to play at Alabama.

I knew that catching time would be limited in the first two years. It didn’t matter to me- I just wanted to WIN.

I figured that I would spend those first two years learning, getting stronger, and improving all aspects of my game.

By junior year, I would be ready. Ready to lead the infield, ready to manage the pitchers, ready to get the job done at the plate.

I have never worked as hard as I did during those two years. I improved, but not as much as I hoped that I would. As I said, I didn’t play much, but I stayed the course.

I tried to be a great teammate and contribute from the bench through positive energy and enthusiasm.

We ended up winning the National Championship my sophomore year, and it was the most rewarding experience of  my life.

That team was truly something special. So special that one of my dearest teammates wrote a book about our journey that year- Finish It by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. READ IT. You won’t regret it.

Jordan Patterson (center), holding the national championship trophy, surrounded by her parents.

Jordan Patterson (center), holding the national championship trophy, surrounded by her parents.

Coming off of the National Championship, I was more determined than ever.

We had two catchers coming back- myself and a sophomore, Chaunsey Bell. I knew that both of us would be given opportunities to prove ourselves early on, and I was going to give it everything that I had.

I had played the role of supportive teammate for two years and really took pride in that. It’s so important. Every team needs role-players who take pride in their job on the bench.

But now, I wanted to be on the field more than ever. The Game knew, right? It had seen all of the hard work over the past two years. It knew my heart. In the back of my mind, that little phrase gave me hope that it was finally my time.

I’m not exactly sure when, but I remember getting a call from my coach the summer before my junior year.

“We are adding a transfer to your class. We know that y’all are very close, but we trust you to take her in and make her a part of your family.”

Absolutely. No-brainer. I had full trust in our coaches and knew that they would not bring anyone into our family that didn’t belong there. I wasn’t sure who the transfer was, but I was excited to find out.

A couple of weeks later, I was sitting at my desk at my summer internship when I got a text from coach Patrick Murphy or as we affectionally call him, Murph.

“Molly Fichtner is going to be a part of our family! Here is her number. Please reach out to her and make her feel welcome.”

I excitedly got on RollTide.com and read the article about Molly’s transfer, and my heart sunk.

While Molly had played shortstop at her old school, the press release said that she would probably be working at catcher here.

I can’t explain the feeling that I got- I just remember thinking that this was going to change everything.

It was such a selfish reaction, and it is the moment that I am most ashamed of from my four years at Bama.

Well, it did change everything. Molly arrived on campus that fall and I immediately knew that she was special. She fit in perfectly with our team and quickly became one of my best friends.

On the field, she was stellar. She swung a great bat and consistently threw baserunners out stealing. She beat me out, plain and simple.

That year was a roller coaster of emotions.

I was so happy that Molly had ended up at Bama. She belonged on the big stage. She was one of the best people I had ever met, with a heart bigger than her home state of Texas.

On the other hand, I was heartbroken. While no spots in the lineup are ever set in stone, and I kept working hard, I simply knew that my next two years were going to be much like my first two.

If coaches read this, they will probably cringe at that statement, and they would be right in doing so.

You never want your players to give up on themselves. There are so many stories of players who turn it around their senior year and are basically a completely different player.

If I was a coach, I would preach that to all of my non-starters. You are never stuck in that role. There is always something you can do to get better, and don’t ever stop trying.

I knew that Murph still believed in me.

However, looking back, I think that there was a reason that I got the “feeling” that I was going to remain a role-player. W

hen I began to accept that my job as an upperclassmen was going to be leading from the bench, I was able to truly commit to it.

I kept working hard, still came early and stayed late, but my motivations for doing so began to change. Instead of being motivated by the desire for personal success, I was motivated by the desire for team success.

I needed to work my butt off so that I could demand that others do the same. I needed to keep getting better at blocking and framing so that the other catchers were pushed to get better.

While I had always been a “team player” on the surface, I had finally morphed into a “team player” at heart.

There were still times during those two years that were hard. As an athlete, you always want to be on the field.

It’s something that’s inside of you- a burning desire that doesn’t just go away.

Tears fell on occasion.

It didn’t happen often, but sometimes I would wonder why it just never clicked for me on the field, even though I tried so hard and cared so deeply.

Now, I’m two years removed from the game, and I wouldn’t trade those moments of sadness and frustration for anything.

You know what? That’s life.

Sometimes, you are going to put every ounce of your being into something, and it’s not going to work out exactly the way you wanted it to.

Get over it.

No, I never became a starter. But I did have the best experience of my life.

I learned lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.

When I walked off the field at the Women’s College World Series in 2014 after Florida beat us in the championship series, I had no regrets. I was truly thankful to the Game for everything it gave me, and I didn’t expect anything else from it.

I had experienced so much team success at Bama, and that truly was enough for me.

Little did I know, the Game would give me the biggest personal reward of all two years after I walked off the field.

I chose to go to law school after I got done playing. The legal market is pretty tough right now, and jobs can be hard to come by.

If you want to work in a law firm, the best way to secure a job for after graduation is to get a Summer Associate position.

Most firms hire law students the summer after their second year of school, with the intention of extending a full-time offer after the summer is over if you do a good job. Competition for these positions is fierce and the interview process is lengthy.

After living in Tuscaloosa for my whole life, I have been itching to move to a big city.

When it came time to start applying for Summer Associate positions, I knew that Washington, D.C. was my top choice geographically.

The problem was that it can be pretty hard to get your foot in the door at D.C. law firms.

They do not typically recruit students from Alabama, tending to get their Summer Associates from more “prestigious” schools. Side note: I would put my school up against any in the country and am so thankful that I ended up there. But I digress.

A family friend of my family is a partner at arguably one of the best law firms in the world, and I expressed my desire to end up in D.C. to her.

She graciously offered to set me up with another partner at her firm who knew a lot about the D.C. market.

I was thankful for any help that I could get, and booked a flight up to go meet with him. I had nothing to lose- I wasn’t even thinking about asking this man for an interview.

He was just going to give me some advice on how I should go about applying to smaller D.C. firms that might be willing to interview a student from Alabama who was not at the top of her class.

As it turned out, he ended up being the Hiring Partner- in charge of hiring all of the firm’s Summer Associates.

Well, lucky for me, he happened to Google my name before meeting me for breakfast. When he did, he found a Tuscaloosa News feature article that was written about me during my senior year.

The article basically told the story that I’ve been telling you here: that I was a hard worker and always tried to be a good teammate.

The Hiring Partner brought it up at breakfast, saying that those are the qualities he looks for when hiring law students and that it’s not often that he has tangible proof that someone possesses them.

He then proceeded to ask me “if I was opposed to interviewing with them.”

Um.. NO!

The firm flew me back up to D.C. the next week.

I had five 30 minute interviews with different attorneys.

The first four went very well. I walked into my last interview with one of the attorneys that was on the recruiting committee (so it was really important that this one went well).

He was a big sports fan, so we immediately started talking about softball.

He asked me if I had played much, and I truthfully answered no. Then I got THE question: “What did you learn from that?”

There is not a single interview question in the world that is more suited for me than that one.

I proceeded to explain to him for over 45 minutes precisely what I learned from being a role-player throughout my four years at Bama, rather than a starter. Resiliency. Selflessness.

How to take pride in your role, whatever it may be. What it really means to put the team first. I walked out of his office knowing that it was the best I had ever done in an interview.

Two days later, the Hiring Partner called and offered me a job. I lived in D.C. for the summer, working at the firm, and loved every minute of the experience. I was surrounded by former Supreme Court clerks, attorneys at the very top of their fields, and genuinely wonderful people.

On paper, I had no business being here. I do not have the same level of qualifications that my fellow Summer Associates had. Yet, there I was. All because I chose to keep working hard even though I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.

My coaches and teammates noticed.

A reporter chose to care about a story that almost no one else would. And then, of all things,  someone Google’d me.

Do not tell me that the Game doesn’t know.

So, to any players out there struggling with being a role-player: keep working hard. Keep putting the team above yourself.

Keep trusting your coaches. Believe me, I know that it hurts at times. But the Game sees you, and it will reward you.

It won’t always be in the way that you wanted or pictured it, though. Sometimes the reward will come years later, in a way that will have a much greater impact on the course of your life than getting more playing time ever will.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jordan Patterson is a former University of Alabama softball player. She is currently in law school at Alabama. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jordan Patterson/ Facebook

WATCH-The Truth Behind Tomi Lahren:

Tuscaloosa Man Beaten In Front Of Green Bar After Being Asked If He Was Gay

A Tuscaloosa man was reportedly beaten up last Friday by two men after they asked him whether he was gay.

The alleged attack took place outside of the Green Bar according to WIAT.

The victim in the case, Johnny Bishop said that two men attacked him after they peppered him with questions about his sexuality. There was also a woman involved in the incident, she seems to have served as the driver of the getaway car.

“Despite the fact that my face was gushing blood and I was sitting on the pavement and the assailant was right there next to us, police said they could not make an arrest at that point,” Johnny Bishop the victim in the case told WIAT.

Bishop was with his friend Katherine Snider during the time of the incident.

She also spoke to local tv about the situation.

“He was bleeding so badly, I’m not sure where the third guy was, at about that time they drove out of here in the SUV with the girl driving, she had the window down and was kind of smirking,” Snider told WIAT. “This is extremely traumatic, I’m scared to go to my favorite bar now, I’m scared to go to any bar in Tuscaloosa now.”

Both Bishop and Snider are Tuscaloosa residents.

Tuscaloosa police obtained a warrant to arrest one of the suspects in the beating.

WATCH: WIAT interview with Bishop

 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

The Top Things To Avoid Your First Year On Alabama’s Campus

By Michael Smith

Going into my first week at the University of Alabama, I was nervous, excited, and ready for a fresh start after high school.

I not only wanted to meet as many new people as possible, but I wanted to join as many friend groups as possible to expand my horizons.

The first year of college, especially at the University of Alabama, was a time for me and countless other current students to grab independent life by the horns.

While I classify my first year as a success, there are a few things I wish someone told me beforehand.

So, going into my sophomore year, I thought I would share with the incoming class a few warnings about life on Alabama’s campus.

This is not an advice column, but rather an (incomplete) list of things to avoid.

1) Don’t Label People Immediately

This is the single biggest trap I and many other new-to-college students fell into our first week being on campus.

In college, especially at one as large and tightly knit as Alabama, the first few weeks of freshman year are filled to the brim with new names and faces.

The only comparable situation is being a high school student who moved to a new school, having to restart with a whole new group of peers.

Typically, the new student is labeled quickly as “the girl from California” or “the quiet boy.” Now imagine this scenario, but everyone is the new kid.

Photo Credit: University of Alabama/ Facebook

Photo Credit: University of Alabama/ Facebook

Naturally, with so many people and so much information to process, the good-ole brain likes to just assign people one or two characteristics by whatever the first impression of them was.

Don’t let this stick.

Sure, it might be easy to write people off as the guy who is always late or that girl that made brownies.

But in reality, people in college are just as complex and dynamic as they were back in high school, if not more so.

Putting people immediately into a box is unfair and limits potential opportunities and friendships.

2) Don’t Get Involved In The Machine

This is strictly an issue at the University of Alabama.

The Machine, also known as Theta Nu Epsilon, is an underground group of fraternity and sorority members that work to control the Student Government Association, or SGA.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with the way The Machine is designed.

Theta Nu Epsilon had the potential to just be a political caucus meant to keep Greek issues in mind of the student government, which is actually admirable.

However, there is a BIG but.

While the structure of The Machine is perfectly legitimate, the way it operates is horrifying. The Machine uses voter intimidation, bribes, and, in some cases, death threats to accomplish its goals.

Theta Nu Epsilon works to keep black and non-Greek students out of the SGA and does whatever it takes to win.

I am not saying don’t join Greek life.

Fraternities and sororities provide invaluable bonds through brotherhood and sisterhood and give back to our community in so many ways.

However, if you are in a Machine-controlled house, don’t let someone intimidate you to voting a certain way, don’t ignore racist, sexist, or homophobic sentiment from Machine candidates, and dear god don’t go into the “basement.”

If that doesn’t apply to you, don’t fall into an even worse trap: apathy.

Photo Credit: University of Alabama/ Facebook

Photo Credit: University of Alabama/ Facebook

Sadly, many on our campus have given up on and have stopped voting entirely.

A common sentiment on campus is that SGA elections don’t matter.

Don’t fall for it.

The Machine wouldn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars, countless of hours of labor, and months of meticulous planning if the SGA didn’t matter.

3)Don’t Sit In The Back Of Class

Moving onto academics, one of the most unexpected features of my freshman year was how much my GPA changed from high school.

While applying to colleges, I barely hung onto a 3.0 GPA, which was mostly padded by good grades at the beginning of high school.

Senior year, I was lazy, barely turned in work, and played games on my iPad during class.

I knew I needed to change going into college, so I made myself to sit in the front row of every class I took.

Why?

Because sitting in the front forces you to pay attention.

The professor is right there, almost hovering over you.

You can’t play games, you can’t take a nap, and you have to turn in every assignment out of fear that your professor will scold you.

This may have not been an issue in high school, but in lecture classes of 200, you can get away with a lot hiding in the back.

Sometimes fear is a good motivator.

Now, of course, when I was tired, already knew the material, or needed to leave early, I would sit in the last row and try not to disturb those around me.

Overall, the system works.

I went from barely scrapping by in high school with a 3.0 to finishing freshman year with a 4.3 out of a possible 4.33 at Alabama.

4)Don’t Forget The Necessities

One of the dumbest mistakes I made my freshman year was believing that I would get by with some clothes, some sheets, a computer, and a printer.

I under-packed so much that I’m surprised that I even survived dorm life last year.

It is a common and simple mistake.

Little knick-knacks that are only used sparingly are easily forgettable.

I even made a conscious decision not to bring them.

However, they are quite essential when living independently.

For examples, you really can’t get away with not having a pizza cutter, or nail clippers, or oven mitts, or an umbrella.

You might think you can, but you can’t.

I know, I tried life without all of these things last year.

I failed.

Photo Credit: The University of Alabama

Photo Credit: The University of Alabama

Now, don’t take this cautionary tale as an excuse to pack everything and the kitchen sink.

Pack what you are going to pack and buy all the little things at Tuscaloosa’s SuperTarget the first week of class.

Also, share with your roommates.

Don’t buy four pizza cutters when you only need one.

For the rest of the year, simply keep a list of things you need from the store and take Alabama’s shopping bus route on Sunday every week or two.

Then, you won’t be asking your neighbors for a printer cable constantly like I did.

In conclusion, I know that it is stressful uprooting your entire life in the matter days.

But, even when you miss your old life, always remember to take in the fact that our campus is filled with brilliant educators, kind people, and extraordinary football.

My freshman year at the University of Alabama was the best year of my life, only to be matched by the next three.

I know the incoming freshman class is going to be even better than the last.

Be excited, because you are attending the best university in the world.

Roll Tide.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in life. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: The University of Alabama/ Facebook.

How Come The Media Had To Spoil Jerry Jeudy’s Alabama Announcement?

By Jose R. Lavergne

Last Thursday should have been an exceptionally joyous occasion for Jerry Jeudy, a high school football standout from Deerfield Beach.

He was announcing his decision on where he would be attending the next three to four years of his collegiate/football career.

He narrowed down his choices to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, and Tennessee.

Instead the greed from some members of the media was put on the forefront.

Without any consideration for when the scheduled announcement was taking place, his decision was leaked on Twitter that he was attending Alabama before Jeudy had a chance to mention it himself.

The actual announcement would go on to be delayed by Jeudy.

One can only speculate that shock and frustration behind the time delay.

I have to commend Jeudy for comporting himself like an adult and not letting this bitter situation take away from his excitement in committing.

He thanked his mother for helping become the man that he is today and moved forward in putting a visor with the Alabama logo on it.

In our lives, we all have moments that are meant to be special for us.

A relatable example to most of us is our graduation.

Whether from kindergarten or high school, we feel this sense of joy for accomplishing something in our lives, and get to enjoy accolades from those closest to us.

We should NEVER take away that from anyone, especially from a kid.

He was given his first tough adult decision, and the media did not allow for him to voice it himself.

If we want as the media not to be ostracized from great news stories, how about showing respect for the person in the story.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: @jerryjeudy/ Twitter

Alabama Governor Calls Special Session To Bring Lottery

UPDATED: 10:45 AM EST

In a stunning video announcement Wesdnesday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said that he would calling a special session of the state legislature for the purpose of bringing about a lottery in the Yellowhammer State.

In the five minute video announcement of the special session, Bentley referred to Alabama’s chronic budget shortfall as a “crisis” and called on the legislature to move to pass legislation that would allow for a statewide referendum.

Bentley said that the proposed lottery would generate $225 million annually for the state.

WATCH:

This is a breaking news story. Stay with RISE NEWS as we update.

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