Wofford’s whirlwind of a year

By: Kelsey Aylor, Senior Writer

For the final issue of the 2016-2017 school year, Old Gold and Black wanted to review some of the most influential events and articles that have influenced our pages. Here are some of the stories that made the biggest headlines on campus:

Greek Village leasing controversy (May 2016)

Although the school year was winding down, the student body’s fervor was not. Beginning with a petition released in late April, many members of the student opposed college administration’s attempts to draft leases for the houses in the new Greek Village. Continuing throughout May and June, the petition gained support and prompted various responses in the form of editorial letters, discussions and even an article on the notorious website, Total Frat Move.

Carolina Panthers Training Camp (July/Aug. 2016)

While it’s no news that the Carolina Panthers came to Wofford for close to two weeks of training, what was newsworthy were the attendance records broken. Only half way through the practices, the Training Camp’s attendance hit a record total on Thursday Aug. 4 with 79,804, compared to the previous record of 77, 625 set the previous year. By the end of the training period, more that 135,000 visitors had come to watch the Panthers at Wofford. 

Wofford College experiences its “Miracle Season” (Fall 2016)

Despite multiple life-threatening injuries, the Wofford College football team stayed in high spirits and performed marvelously. To read more, go to: https://www.wofford.edu/woffordtoday/spring2017/season-of-miracles/

Naming of the Stewart H. Johnson Greek Village (Sept. 2016)

Despite the many controversies and issues surrounding the construction and leasing of the houses in the Greek Village, on Sept. 17, 2016, the Greek Village received its official name amidst support and recognition. Recognizing Stewart H. Johnson ’67 and his family for their philanthropic contributions to the college, the Greek Village will serve the college for decades as a place to tie together both the Greek and non-Greek community with student programming and activities.

Topping out of the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts and the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium (Sept. 2016)

Ceremonies were held for the installation of the highest beams in both the new arts building and the new stadium. Construction on both projects, which were donated generously by Wofford alumnus Jerry Richardson, has been ongoing since the previous year. The new center for the arts is scheduled to open at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year and the new stadium for fall 2017.

Wofford becomes a JED campus (Nov. 2016)

Following the suicides of four Wofford students in a span of two years, Wofford has joined the JED initiative, a foundation that tries to enhance student well-being and prevent substance abuse and suicide. Active Minds, a nationwide organization focusing on the mental health of college students, was re-chartered, and memorials were held for the students. 

National Election and its aftermath (Nov. 2016)

The 2016 election sparked debate and controversy on Wofford’s campus. Donald Trump, the eventual winner of the election, spoke on Wofford’s campus the previous year, which in and of itself caused much dissent. Students continue to debate the president’s actions and other political events revolving around President Trump, including January’s international Women’s March and the controversy of Samhat’s statement (see below) 

Farewell to BenJo (Spring 2017)

The men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team played their final seasons in the Benjamin Johnson Arena. Next year, they will hold games and practices in the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. To read more about the final game, visit: http://www.woffordoldgoldandblack.com/2017/03/07/farewell-benjo/

President Samhat releases “political” statement (Feb. 2017) – This past February can easily be referred to as the Age of Petitions. On Jan. 30, a statement by President Samhat was released on the Wofford website detailing the college’s policy on and desire to welcome students regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, etc. What Samhat saw as an encouraging and empathetic welcome in response to President Trump’s immigration ban quickly turned south as an anonymous party began a petition arguing that the statement went against Wofford tradition and was stifling student voices. In response, a counter petition was created in support of Samhat. After weeks of angry Facebook posts, petition signing and letters written to and published by the OG&B, the issue began to die down – that is, until Campus Union later passed a resolution ultimately condemning the initial statement.

Sexual assault allegations shake campus (Jan./Feb. 2017)

During Interim, a college student published and article on Odyssey detailing her sexual assault at an off-campus fraternity party. Due to some incorrect information and the publicity the article received, both parties received backlash. An article was then released in the Old Gold and Black clarifying information and giving a voice to both sides. Regardless, this event sparked campus-wide interest and reaction, including sex education programming for Greek organizations.

Wofford student addresses racism on campus (Feb./March 2017)

Following a racially motivated incident in the fall, sophomore Drew Copeland used his negative experience as a teaching moment. Holding a three-part series that addressed race, it eventually culminated in a silent and peaceful march across campus. He later detailed the process he took following the incident in order to plan the “Speaking/Walking down Barriers” series, which revealed some disinterest and inconsistencies from the administration that has since angered many.

Fallen students memorialized (April/May 2017)

The senior class of 2017 has decided to make a gift to the school in the form of a memorial scholarship dedicated to two members of the class who have passed away. Both MacGregor Ruffin and Jeremiah Tate were vibrant and loved members of the graduating class. To commemorate their memory, the senior class is currently raising money for a scholarship in their name.

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