QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK: Winternational, end-of-year concerns, MLB Opening Day and Easter Break plans

The COM 220 News Writing class put together an Easter Break edition of Questions of the Week.

First up is Communication major Katie Williams of Calabash, answering class member Hunter Pearson‘s question: “Where would you like to go on a Winternational?” The Winternational reveal of destinations for 2018-19 took place on Wednesday afternoon.

Major League Baseball season opened on Thursday, but this student was unenthusiastic when Mariah Anderson and Shane Rich asked if she was going to be watching.

So what ARE students most concerned about as we get near the end of the school year? Well, we couldn’t get them on camera, but here are the responses of a few students when asked by Hanna Smith and Matthew Garza.

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As this is being posted, Wingate students and faculty are on Easter Break. Class member Tanya Crump asked sophomore Caroline Downs and senior Amanda Lemacks (in order) about their plans.

And one more. Class member Caitlin Bailey asked freshman Simba Walker of Goldsboro about his Easter break plans. He said: “I work at a Circle K. Sadly, I won’t be doing any homework. Shout-out to my Mom.”

We loved the t-shirt. And the photobombing skateboarder.

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Have a Happy Easter, everyone.

Opinion: Internships should be a Graduation Requirement

Sydney Taylor, Staff Writer

It’s common knowledge that when applying for a job, employers like to see that an applicant has had some prior experience working in that field. That’s what makes internships so great. Students get the experience employers like and they also learn things that they wouldn’t in a regular classroom setting.

Given how much of an impact an internship can have on obtaining a job, they are something that every student should actively purse. In order to ensure that this is happening, schools should make internships a graduation requirement.

By making internships a graduation requirement, students will be motivated to search for opportunities sooner rather than later. The earlier a student can obtain an internship, the earlier they can start learning outside of the classroom.

This also means that students can quickly figure out if they are headed down the right track regarding their major. An internship will help them determine what they do and don’t like, what their strengths and weaknesses are and what’s the best fit for them.

Making internships a graduation requirement also ensures that after graduation students will find quality jobs quickly.

According to poll conducted by Gallup, “Recent graduates (those who graduated from 2002-2016) who had a relevant job or internship while in school were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job immediately after graduation.”

The poll also notes that not only are those jobs good and acquired within a timely manner, but they are also related to the student’s area of study.

One of the biggest concerns about internships is that in order to obtain credit from their school, students have to pay tuition. Many opponents of internships as a graduation requirement feel that this is a concern that isn’t properly addressed, especially given that certain internships are unpaid.

According to Looksharp’s 2016 State of Millennial Hiring Report, “55 percent of internships were paid, up from 52.5 percent in 2015.”

Given that paid internships are on the rise, students no longer have to worry as much about paying the tuition for their internships and being able to receive credit.

Internships are key to a student’s success in obtaining a job after graduation. If schools are not willing to immediately implement an internship requirement, it’s important that they still emphasize the important of internships to their students and keep them well informed about internship opportunities.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Opioid Crisis Presents Alarming Challenge to both County and Country

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

The opioid crisis is an issue that is becoming more and more prevalent here in our country. In 2016, there were over 63,600 overdose deaths in the United States alone, and more than two million people here are thought to be dependant on opioids, which are defined as drugs that replicate the pain-relieving effects of opium, such as morphine and oxycodone.

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Photo Credit: Savanna Harris From left to right, Trey Robinson, Jarrod McCraw, Lt. Brian Huncke

In order to raise awareness about this increasingly worrisome situation, the Batte Center here at Wingate University hosted a Lyceum this past Sunday, March 18, the third Lyceum in what is being called the Engaged Citizenship Series.

Throughout the program, a panel of ten speakers in total shared compelling information, as well as personal stories, regarding the crisis. Eddie Cathey of the Union County Sheriff’s Department began by saying, “We cannot arrest our way out of this.”

One major cause for this seemingly sudden crisis is the evolution of drugs that people are using. They have changed from what is expected, such as heroin and cocaine, to substances like bath salts and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.  

The main reason for this change is research chemicals, which are chemicals used by scientists specifically for research and scientific purposes. They are more toxic and therefore more dangerous than other drugs, and due to their scientific necessity, can cheaply and easily be ordered online. Ann Hamlin, who worked as a forensic scientist for more than 30 years, summarized this perfectly by giving the statement, “The normal rules do not apply anymore.”

In order to provide a personal aspect, Wesley Keziah, who is a former addict, and Stephanie Cox, whose son died of an overdose, spoke next. Wesley described the way his addiction began with a prescription for oxycodone following back surgery. By age 19, he had transitioned to using heroin.

According to him, “It was normal to be high.” He went on to say that he was in and out of the Union County legal system more than 80 times, and that he tried to get help but was never sure where to go for it, and that he overall felt misinformed about the true consequences of drug use. Thankfully, however, he is now three and a half years sober, is married with four children, and teaches addiction ministry.

Stephanie Cox then told the heartbreaking story of her son, Trenton Phillips’ death. On May 12, 2015, he died of a heroin overdose. She recounted how they thought that Trenton’s addiction was under control, but went on to say, “I was fatally naive.”

Wesley and Trenton’s stories were both local. Many people who attended the Lyceum, including myself, were surprised to discover how strongly the opioid crisis is affecting not only our country, but Union County as well.

In 2017, there were 372 drug-related arrests in Union County, and the number of arrests and deaths continue to rise as the years pass. Contrary to popular belief, the most prevalent age group these arrests and deaths are occuring in is not young adults, but rather people age 50 and over.

However, the problem is beginning to be seen in young people and in schools. According to Jarrod McCraw of Union County Public Schools, there are approximately 43,000 students in the county, and school officials are seeing alcohol, marijuana, and Xanax frequently appear among them.

Abusing these substances can lead to the abuse of those that are even more damaging, as well as acting as a gateway for other crimes, such as stealing, human trafficking, driving while under the influence, and murder. Trey Robinson, who is the Union County District Attorney, said that, “Our courts are filled with drug-related cases.”

Nevertheless, all hope is not lost. Measures are being taken at both a local and state level to combat and end this crisis. Operation Medicine Drop is in place for people to properly dispose of prescription pills that are no longer needed.

An opioid crisis hotline is being proposed. A nasal spray called NARCAN, which is an emergency Naloxone treatment for overdoses, is now in use. This is greatly beneficial, seeing as in order for a doctor to administer Suboxone and Methadone, which are other overdose treatments, they are required to receive special training and are therefore few and far between.

Additionally, Representative Craig Horn of North Carolina House District 68 said that they are working to limit the length of time that drugs are prescribed to five to seven days maximum, thus reducing the number of pills prescribed annually. In 2016 in North Carolina, this number was 555,000,000.

They are also trying to get rid of prescription pads and lessen the number of prescription drug commercials that are legally allowed to be shown on television. All in all, remarkable efforts are being made towards bringing this crisis to an end.

Edited by: Brea Childs

NASCAR May Be Getting Younger But Veterans Still Dominate

Dustin Kiggins, Staff Writer

There comes a time in every sport where veteran players seem to move aside for the future generation to take over the sport that they know and love.

The sport of racing is no different as NASCAR’s highest series have seen many of its older drivers leaving their seat to someone younger.  

Add Jeff Gordon to the list. With 93 wins and four championships, he is the third winningest driver in the history of NASCAR. At the beginning of the 2015 season, it was announced that he would be retiring from the series.

Since then, other big names have left the series, including Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

As more veteran drivers exit the series, there is no shortage of young drivers to fill their seats on race day such as Chase Elliott, the son of 1988 series champion Bill Elliott.

Other up-and-coming drivers include Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, William Byron, and Alex Bowman.

Despite many new drivers coming into the top series, the veterans of the Monster Cup Series are still dominating the sport. With the exception of the Daytona 500, the veterans have proven to be the most dominant so far this season.

Kevin Harvick won 3 of the last 5 races and Martin Truex Jr., defending series champion, won last week’s race at Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino, California.

These new drivers will one day become the new faces of the Monster Cup Series, but until then the veterans remain dominant this season. New and old drivers alike have something to prove and so far the veterans of the series are proving they still have what it takes.

The rookies have major shoes to fill in the future of the series.

Next week the Monster Cup returns to Martinsville Speedway for some short track racing at the smallest track on the schedule. The green flag drops at 2 p.m. EST.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Opinion: Wingate’s lack of emergency planning during the school lockdown

Ryan McKeel, Staff Writer

Shortly before Spring Break, Wingate University was put on lockdown on what was supposed to be just a normal Monday. In the middle of the day, law enforcement responded to a report of a shooting on Jerome Street south of US 74 across from the Wingate campus.

Members of the Wingate community were shocked to learn that while campus safety did their best to protect students, several problems at the institution existed that counteracted any successful measure by the team.

During the lockdown, several professors and staff members continued class, rehearsal, and practice within well-lit rooms with open blinds and propped-open doors as if to say “Hey! I’m in here, Mr. Gunman,” while forcing students to stay seated with their phones in their pockets and their eyes dead ahead. These professors either did not know what to do during a lockdown or seemingly did not care enough to follow procedures.

During the lockdown, some faculty members kept pursuing their lifelong mission of sharing trigonometry with disengaged students. They allowed their own selfish desire for control to override their position of authority, that commands them to protect their classroom community.

There were, however, countless reports of professors, some even near retirement, barricading doors with desks and chairs in an effort to protect themselves and the students with them. These employees followed protocol and attempted to do everything in their power to help the students they serve.

Only one problem existed above those helpful students and teachers: many of the doors on this campus do not lock.

Less than a month after the lockdown, University officials began to order and install locks on the door that could easily protect students during a lockdown, but why did it take a threatening situation to make this happen? Who decided to keep building gyms and dorms while doors could not yet lock? Why is it that this institution is seemingly so invested in what the campus looks like yet when it came down to protecting students most, we were left to barricade classrooms while some instructors who had no idea what to do?

The University needs to install systems of training required of all community members, including faculty, staff and students that actively prepare individuals for dangerous situations. All rooms on this campus should be prepared to protect its inhabitants, should students and faculty find themselves in it during a threatening scenario.

University employees who refuse to take matters like this seriously and would rather follow their own hidden agenda, should be fired.

It is easy to blame millennials for complaining, but students pay more in annual tuition and fees to this institution than some employees make in a year, yet it took a potentially life threatening day to start hearing their voices.

The community got lucky this time, but in a world that seemingly thrives off of school shootings, it is imperative that the Wingate community listens to the shouts of the angered and does something serious about protecting those who work, study and live on this campus. We will be the idiots the next time this happens, if we are not prepared.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Opinion: Changing Americans’ Attitudes on Drug Policy

Amanda Alling, Staff Writer

The problem to be discussed here is one that requires a radical shift in not only foreign and domestic policy, but more specifically a deviation in perception of substance abuse. For far too long, we as Americans have viewed the consumption of drugs in a negative light – as a vice. And while undoubtedly drugs can, and often do, weaken societal structures and ruin the lives of individuals, they are also powerless until they enter the bloodstream.

The issue in our current American drug crises is one of not only supply from places such as Latin American, but also – and this is a topic that we as Americans tend to ignore or attempt to wish away – a problem of domestic demand.

The United States is currently the largest consumer of narcotics in the world, and regardless of what the current administration believes, symbolically shunning our neighbors to the south via the construction of some wall along the southern border will not solve our current ills.

So what do we do? How do we “solve” this? There are three current strategies used domestically: prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

Prevention programs typically target elementary aged children, but studies show the methods are largely ineffective. Treatment programs are after-the-fact mechanisms, and have been proven to be the most efficient tool for combating substance abuse. The last element to current domestic drug policy is that of enforcement – targeting users and sellers. However, increased incarceration has not stopped the illegal flow of narcotics.

Leaders of Latin American countries are urging the United States to change the attitude about consumption. In the 2011 report provided by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso suggested that there be a shift in global drug policy to treat “drug addiction as a health issue, reducing drug demand through educational initiatives and legally regulating rather than criminalizing.”

The argument for legal regulation maintains that the elimination of the “illicit” term that precedes “substance” would help to reduce cartel related violence by replacing criminal markets with formal ones. However, that in and of itself would not “end” or “solve” our drug crisis– the consumption of hard drugs would still remain an issue.

Decriminalization may end some stigmatization that comes with substance abuse, and governments who try such policies could see an increase in abusers seeking effective treatment.

For the last thirty years, the United States has spent, on average, about two thirds of its anti-drug resources on the supply-side, focusing the war on drugs inside of Latin America rather than domestically. And here’s the kicker: while the budget for supply-side solutions continues to grow every year, demand-side drug policy expenditures have essentially remained stagnant.

There are no easy answers, but at the very least we should rethink our strategy here. It’s halftime in the war on drugs, and our coaches need to make adjustments.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Bulldogs Men’s Tennis cruise to sweep at Carson-Newman

JT Stokes, Staff Writer

The 24th-ranked Bulldog Men’s Tennis team remain perfect in league play with a resounding 9-0 victory at Carson-Newman University in South Atlantic Conference men’s tennis action Saturday afternoon. The team improves to 10-3 overall and 3-0 in conference play.

The 11th-ranked Wingate men’s doubles team of Daniel Belsito and Josh DuToit remained great with an 8-1 win at number one doubles. Duncan Addison and freshman Josep Canyadell teamed up for an 8-6 victory at number two doubles. Freshmen Matthew Jones and Enrico Giacomini then teamed up for an 8-3 victory at three doubles giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead heading into singles play.

 Belsito notched yet another 6-2, 6-3 win at one singles, while Canyadell added a 7-5, 6-1 victory at two singles. Jones triumphed 6-4, 6-3 at number three singles, and Giacomini won 6-4, 6-2 at number four singles. While Tamir Geva added a 8-4, 8-6 victory at five singles, Duncan Addison also concluded the day with 8-4, 8-6 victory at six singles.

The Wingate Men’s Tennis team are back in action Wednesday, hosting Lenoir-Rhyne at 2 p.m.

Edited by Brendan Shriver