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The blue banner. online resource ([Asheville, N.C.]) 1984-current, November 30, 2000, Image 1

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The „Blue Banner The Unluersity of north Cdrolind dtHsheuille Uolume32 IssueU Pouember30,2000 The Tanglewood Children’s Theater presented “Selkie" See page 4 Basketball defeats East Tennessee State to improue record See page 7 Uleb site for struggling musicians, by Andrew Thomasson See page 2 Student Web site offers professor rating auren Owens itaff Ulriter Students say speaker’s flyer misleading Former follower of Hinduism presents lecture on Christianity li’i JUMIN ' Rabi Maharaj pleased several who attended his discussion on Christianity, but others criticized his negative comments toward Hinduism, according to several attendees of Maharaj’s lectures. Rachel Grumpier staff UJriter Several students said tliey were misled by advertising concerning Rabi Maharaj, a traveling speaker who con verted from Hinduism to Christianity as a young adult. Instead of objective infor mation regarding the two religions, they said Maharaj spoke negatively about Hin duism at his lectures Nov. 13 and 14 at UNCA. The posters “said (Maharaj) was a yogi, so I expected to hear a motivational or edu cational (lecture) on Hindu ism,” said Logan Cole, an undeclared freshman. “But, whenever he spoke about Hinduism, there was a nega tive tone in his voice. In the end, it turned out to be a plug for Jesus.” Two Christian organiza tions, Illumination and Veritas Forum, sponsored Maharaj’s three lectures “En counters with the Supernatu ral, Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed or Christ?” and “My Search for Truth.” The groups made posters that introduced Maharaj as a “former Hindu yogi,” and listed the lectures he would give. The organizations did not intend to mislead students with the advertisements, ac cording to David Steele, as sociate professor of math ematics and faculty advisor for Reformed University Fel lowship. “We did not want to hide the fact that we were coming from a Christian perspective, but on the other hand, we did not want to push that out there,” said Steele. “It might turn people off ini tially. We wanted people to listen to what he had to say.” Some students said the ad vertising should have been more informative about the content and approach of the lectures. “The ads made it sound like the religions would be explained from a neutral standpoint,” said Crystal Goure, a sophomore art major. “They should have come out and said he used to be Hindu, but now he is Christian. I would not have been excited about it.” Steele said Maharaj’s lec tures served the purpose of introducing a Christian per spective to non-Christian members of the audience. The organizations wanted “to expose non-Christian people to a person who be came a Christian from a unique background,” said Steele. “(Maharaj was) not born in the United States into a Christian family. He was raised in Trinidad in a Hindu culture.” Erika Pollard, an unde clared freshman and a non- Christian, said the lectures made her reconsider the va lidity of the Christian faith. “When I got (to UNCA), I began to question iny be liefs,” said Pollard. “(Maharaj) talked about Christianity passionately. It is hard to come out of your caste in Hinduism, so for him toconvertfromaHindu to Christian is amazing. Maybe all that stuff they were telling me in Bible school is true.” Maharaj also gave Chris tian audience members in formation concerning Hindu culture, and a fresh view of their own religion, according to Steele. “Many Christians come from very sheltered back grounds,” Steele said. “We wanted to expose Christians to a person’s perspective from another culture that shares a lot of similarities with their beliefs.” A senior literature major and memberoflllumination, Alexis Stephenson said the lectures strengthened her faith in God. Maharaj’s “talks were en couraging to me as a Chris tian,” said Stephenson. “It is easy for me to think Ameri cans are the only ones who can and do believe in Christ. The whole world is covered with believers in Christ. To me, that was a comforting revelation.” See SPEECH page 10 Students from UNCA can ank professors and post com- nents about their teaching bilities on a Web site called Two JNCA and Western Caro- ina University students de igned the site to let students now which professors to take or classes, according to Sean itevens, a UNCA undeclared ophomore and one of the ounders of the site. One of the inspirations for he site was a general frustra- ion with school and not re- lly knowing where to turn to et people know when I’d had bad professor,” said Stevens n an e-mail. “Also, I thought he site would be great around egistration time so you would now what to look forward [Stevens and WCU freshman att Sprinkle met while orking together at a Web design company in Winston- Salem. There currently are not any other sites like this on the Web that I know of,” said Stevens in the e-mail. “My inspiration was a site that was up for a while last year called” The site is no longer aroimd, but it was basically the same sort of Web site, except for that every college he and Sprinkle feature involves a considerable amount of uni versities from around the country, according to Stevens. “I think it is a good idea, especially for freshmen who do not know who the profes sors are,” said Chris Vanderford, a senior music technology major. The site allows students to look up professors and see how other students rank them. Sev eral UNCA students said they believe the site is a good idea, according to Stevens. “It helps incoming freshman pick a professor and have a better year,” said Douglas Davidson, an undeclared sophomore. The site currently gets about 50 hits a day, according to • Stevens. Since the site went up three weeks ago, the site PHOTO BY LENA BURNo Sophomore computer science major Sean Stevens, co-creater of, discusses the Web site with David Bourne, multi-media arts and sciences professor. has received about 1,400 hits. “We are looking into getting the name out to other places on the Web such as search engines,” said Stevens in the e-mail. “Right now we are de pending on word of mouth.” Stevens said he wants stu dents to be able to use the site to vent frustration, but does not want it to be a site where people just degrade professors they do not like. “My only hope is that the professors actually read their critiques,” said Summer Star ling, a sophomore creative writing major. Out of 173 full-time profes sors, 125 are listed on the site. The most student input any professor received was about five student opinions, accord ing to the site. “There should be more stu dent input for each profes sor,” said"Rachel Isaacs, a se- niorpsychology major. “It will be interesting to see if it catches Foley to retire, McDevftt hired Kay fllton staff Writer UNCA’s new vice ch.incel lor of adminis tration and fi- nancial affairs will be Wayne McDevitt, cur rent chief of staff in the of fice of the gov ernor and UNCA alum nus. McDevitt will replace Arthur Foley, who currently holds the posi tion and plans to retire in De cember and move to Colo rado. “The breadth and depth of study exposure and mentoring that I got, and I find my son gettingby professors and staff, has certainly served me well,” said McDevitt. “I think hav ing UNCA’s incubator for critical thinking and engen dering the love of learning is critical.” McDevitt’s knowledge of government, and his skill in administrative matters is un surpassed, accordingto Chan- PHOTO COURTESY OF PUBLICATIONS Wayne McDevitt is an aluiTini of UNCA and will become a vice chancellor. cellor Jim Mullen. “Our university is very for tunate to have attracted a can didate of McDevitt’s stature and experience,” said Mullen. “Since my earliest days on the job, I have sought him out for his wise guidance and counsel.” The university’s position in the academic com munity asapub- lic undergradu ate liberal arts university is sig nificant in this state, the South east and the na tion, according to McDevitt. ‘UNCA is a g: at university, and the core aca demic mission is of great impor tance,” said McDevitt. Mullen said he did not be lieve he would, be able to con vince McDevitt to come back to UNCA when he first asked him to consider taking the job. “What I did not fully appre ciate was the depth of his love See REPLACE page 11 WNC novelist and poet presents work Justin Wolf staff Writer Appalachian author Robert Morgan enlightened students of characters’ situations in his writings Nov. 28, accordingto Stephanie Lucas, a sopho- ore history major. “He has a beautiful way of describing the situations he is writing about,” said Lucas. “I almost felt like I was there when he was reading them. His de scriptions were so good.” The creative writingprogram recently named Morgan, who wrote the best-selling novel, “Gap Creek,” the UNCA 2000 P.B. Parris visiting writer. Set in N.C., “Gap Creek” is a fictional account oflife in the Appalachian high country during the last part of the 19th century, according to Morgan. PHOTO BY PATRICK BRASWELL Author Morgan made Oprah Winfrey’s book club with “Gap Creek.” “The story revolves around Julie and Hank Harmon,” said Morgan. “They are a young married couple who finds their love and marriage being tested against such challenges as a flood, fire and sickness.” “Gap Creek” was chosen as the January 2000 selection for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, which helped bring it into the na tional lime light. Morgan is also well known for his poetry writing, and read several of his prior works to the crowd, according to a UNCA press release. Morgan’s most recent poem, “Blow ing Rock,” was inspired by Cherokee of WNC area, according to Mor- gan. “I have written many poems about the Cherokee, and the way in which they almost haunt the mountains of this See MORGAN page 10

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