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The blue banner. online resource ([Asheville, N.C.]) 1984-current, September 28, 2000, Image 1

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^ Blue Banner The Uniuersity of north Cdrolind at fisheuille Uolume 32 Issue 5 September28,2000 modernized macBeth opens in Carol Belk Tlieatre Oct. 28 See page 4 Uolleyball places third in Bulldog Inuitational See page 7 Tolerance is a uiewpoint, not an act, by Keuin Rollins See page 3 Harassment concerns students Forum held in response to complaints PHOTO BY JUSTIN MECKES Chancellor Jim Mullen opens the forum Sept. 25 in Lipinsky Hall. Around 150 students sit in the audience. community,” said Ryan Southern, president of the Student Government Asso ciation. “I do not think ha rassment is a problem on campus. From what I can tell, the incidences that oc curred this semester are rela tively rare.” Matt Witbrodt, organizer of the event and a junior history and political science major, worked with Terhan McDaniel, a senior drama maj.or, and jeanine Ammirati, a junior business management and adminis tration major, to put together the forum. Witbrodt said he planned the forum to edu cate students and open their Rachel Grumpier staff Ulriter Keith CromweU Guest Writer UNCA held a Diversity Forum on Sept. 25 as a reac tion to nine harassment cases that have occurred on cam pus this semester. However, several individuals said they do not believe harassment is a problem at UNCA. “The focus (of the forum) was to re-emphasize the im portance of diversification, and that we at UNCA are a eyes to the harassment that has taken place. Students “either see what is going on around campus, or they are blind to (the prob lems),” said Witbrodt. “I j ust want to raise student aware ness and let them know that (harassment) will not be tol erated.” Meg Dutnell, assistant di rector of student develop ment, said she would not see harassment as a problem if she decided purely on the statistics, but some incidents may not have involved pub lic safety. “I really cannot say whether harassment is a problem on this campus or not,” said Dutnell. “You know, there could have been many more incidents, but students may not have reported them.” Witbrodt said he felt obli gated to create the forum to prevent further incidents and to react to the racial and ethnic slurs, verbal harass ment and physical assault that has been occurring on campus. “To stand by and say noth ing is just as bad as being a part of the problem,” said Witbrodt. Witbrodt directed the fo rum at the freshman class because he said freshmen are to blame for a lot of the harassment. Harassment “became a problem at the beginning of this semester,” said Witbrodt. “There was not a whole lot that had changed (on campus), except for the addition of 500 new stu dents. In all complaints that I have been made aware of, freshmen have initiated the action.” Several freshman students See FORUM page 11 Two basketball players accused of harassment Rachel Crumpler staff UJriter Keith CromweU Guesi Ulriter Two freshman basketball players were accused of ha rassment on three different occasions by two members of UNCA-OUT, according to a public safety incident report. “Being gay is accepted, and that is not right. I know I am going to offend some people by saying that,” said Allan Lovett, an undeclared fresh man and one of the accused basketball players. “It is their choice, and they can do what they want (to do). But they do not need to act it out, like the boys who walk around swinging their arms.” The two UNCA-OUT members, Keith Wyatt, a sophomore cultural psychol- ogy major, and Josh Lunsford, a junior French major, said they feel they have been harassed for being openly gay, according to the report. They said Lovett and Allen have harassed them a total of three times within the span of 10 days. “The first incident occurred outside of Founders Hall,” said Wyatt. “I heard a guy say ‘faggot,’ and I turned around. I just blew it off.” Lovett said that he denied all allegations, and Billy Allen, an undeclared fresh man and the other accused basketball player, had no comment to make regarding the accusation. “I have not disrespected any group on campus,” said Lovett. “ I do not know why all this is going on.” According to the report, the second incident hap pened outside the cafeteria, where the two students were called “faggot” again. “I heard ‘faggot,’” said Wyatt. “When I turned around, the guy had his head down. He said, ‘oh my God, he heard me.’ I said, ‘faggots come with ears too.’ They started laughing, so I walked off” According to the incident report, Wyatt and Lunsford requested for the case to be sent to student conduct. “I am not scared, but I am afraid that it will escalate,” said Lunsford. “I am afraid that somebody will get hurt.” Joni Comstock, director of the athletic program, said she remains unsure what action, if any, she will take against the players if the allegations are proven. “We will discuss the out come of any and all deci sions by the student conduct board,” said Comstock. Then we will “determine any action we would take at that time.” Lunsford and Wyatt were also harassed in the parking lot of Founders Hall, accord ing to the report. “I saw (Lovett) and this other guy in their car,” said Lunsford. “I heard one say, ‘look, he will not even look at me.’ I just blew that off, because I had no reason to look at him. So I kept walk- ing- “I heard him say, ‘hey,’ sev eral times, each time louder and more vicious,” said See PLAYER page 11 Former student found with gun Kay fllton staff Ulriter A former UNCA freshman was charged with a felony possession of a weapon on school grounds after threat ening suicide on Sept. 24 at 11:50 p.m., according to the department of public safety. “Our concern is that this in dividual, (who) had a loaded shotgun on campus (and was) threatening to hurt himself, could come back,” said Eric lovacchini, vice chancellor of student affairs. Public safety received a phone call from an unidenti fied stu dent that alerted them to the situation. “A dis- t r a u g h t person with a loaded shotgun is very much considered a danger to the campus c o m m u - nity,” said an e-mail from the office of public information. “Should he be released and return to campus in a similar state of mind, it is of the ut most importance that those on campus know of the pos sible danger.” The caller reported that Weston had written a suicide note, which was in his car, along with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun and a box full of shot gun shells, according to Adams. “This person felt uneasy about the situation and talked Weston into givingher his car keys,” said Adams. “She was pretty nervous and concerned about him. Before she got to the car with him, she came back and called us.” At that time. Officers Vicki Harris and Bruce Martin re sponded by calling for addi tional help from Adams and Dennis Gregory, director of public safety. When the pa trol car approached from Founders Hall to Weston’s car, he immediately fled into the woods below, according to Adams. “From his cat, we recovered a loaded 20-gauge shotgun, a full box of shotgun shells and a letter indicating to us he was possibly planning to commit suicide,” said Adams. Weston was taken into cus tody, and officers called the Housing O f f i c e , Counsel ing Center and lovacchini, as well as the parents ofWeston and the caller. Weston was later admitted at a local hospital unit, according to Adams. Some students said they be lieve a campus-wide e-mail sent on Sept. 24 that con tained Weston’s name and details about the incident was inappropriate. “I was naturally disturbed about (the incident) because I liked him very much as a per son, and I was also surprised by the distasteful matter in which the e-mail was distrib uted,” said Audrey Hope Rinehart, an undeclared fresh man and friend ofWeston. See WESTON page 11 "1 liked him very much as a person, and I was also sur prised by the dis tasteful mannerin which the e-mail was distributed.” -Audrey Hope Rinehart, an undeclared freshman and friend of Weston. Students help clean rivers with Quality Forward Sanna Raza staff Ulriter Around 20 UNCA students participated in the “Big Sweep 2000,” a river clean-up along the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, on Sept. 16. “Everybody was getting wet, dirty and nasty, and we were really tired by the end of the day, but you know you have done something really great,” said Ben Erlandson, a senior multimedia arts and science major. After participating in a river sweep, people are often as tounded and disappointed in the amounts of trash that they find in the rivers, according to Gretchen Brooks, river im provement coordinator of Quality Forward. “It awakens a lot of people to the fact that litter is such a huge problem,” said Brooks. “People (realize) that they need to try and help correct our problems. They realize that is the water they will even tually drink.” Quality Forward, a local non-profit environmental group, has been in Asheville for 25 years. Apart from water quality, they also address en vironmental education, tree plantings, garden plantings, recycl ing and composti ng pro motions, according to Brooks. “The disappointing thing is that the sites along the French Broad that we (cleaned) are sites that were done almost each of the previous 20 years, and we still find the same amounts of trash in there,” said Brooks. During the big sweep, 608 volunteers cleaned up 16 sites along the two rivers and gath ered an estimated total weight of 46,000 pounds of trash. Apart from 390 tires, they fotmd a microwave, a VCR, a dishwasher, cash registers, newspaper boxes, TVs, a shot gun and many other unusual items, according to Brooks. “We found a lot of 55-gallon chemical drums, which is very sad, because we do not know what was in them, and it has already gotten into the water supply,” said Brooks. The sweep was a lot of fun, and it was also interesting to see what people would throw into a river, according to Lauren Penix, an undeclared sophomore. “We got six or seven tires and a parking meter that was interesting trying to pull up,” said Penix. “I had no idea how dirty these rivers were. It is amazing to see how stupid people are.” “Until you actually go and see how dirty it is, you have no idea,” said Penix. “It is an eye- opener.” While it was necessary to remove the trash, it was even more important to raise aware ness, according to Lyn French, UNCA’s representative board rnember of Quality Forward and director of planned giv ing on campus. “It was fun to watch the stu dents,” said French. “Some of them were pretty angry that it looked that bad, others were just digging and doing it, not so much agonizing over it as being action-oriented.” “I felt like we did a good job,” said Bethany Bostrom, a senior environmental science major. “We took out so much trash, but I think what needs to be done is make people PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY GRETCHEN BROOKS The river clean-up volunteers pull several of the 390 tires found in the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers. awareoftheiractionsandcon- French Broad is one of the sequences.” most polluted rivers, accord- Water quality is a problem ing to Summer Starling, an inthemountainsofN.C.,and undeclared sophomore, it is unfortunate that the . “It made me sad, (and) it made me angry there was trash,” said Starling. “But it See RIVERS page 10

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