Tag: Campus

OPINION: JSU will overcome COVID-19, as we did with the tornadoes

Cody Shaw, Special to the Chanticleer

Jacksonville State University is among the best campuses in the nation. The student-teacher ratio is bearable, there are several things to do on and off campus, plenty of good eats both on and off campus, excellent facilities, including a new recreation center and even plans to expand the university. 

Continue reading “OPINION: JSU will overcome COVID-19, as we did with the tornadoes”

Nine charged in connection with rapes reported in Jacksonville

Scott Young, News Editor

Nine people have been charged with second-degree rape in connection with the six alleged statutory rapes reported to have occurred in or around the campus of Jacksonville State University.

“The investigation led me to the campus of JSU and arrests have been made in the case,” said Jay Harrington, an investigator with the Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crime Units, to CBS 42. “There have been 12 warrants issued and nine arrests made as of now.”

The men involved range from the ages of 18 to 22 and are from cities such as Anniston, Jacksonville, Guntersville and Centre. Investigators have said that these men were involved in numerous instances of sex acts with two girls between the ages of 12 and 16.

One Jacksonville man was charged with second-degree sodomy and is the only person charged in connection to the second victim mentioned.

The JSU crime log records six incidents reported between January 1, 2019 and September 3, 2019 that reportedly occurred at Rowe Hall, Meehan Hall, Sparkman Hall, Dixon Hall and on Mountain Street.

In the state of Alabama, a person has committed rape in the second-degree if  “being 16 years or older, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 and more than 12 years old, provided, however, the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex.” 

The offense carries potential penalties of between two and 20 years in prison, and a fine of as much as $30,000.

On Sept. 12, JSU sent an email to the student body informing students of possible criminal misconduct that involved non-students entering campus and “communicating with JSU students by electronic means.” Further, the email urged students to “be cautious and circumspect, especially when using social media as a means of communication.”

Sam Monk, JSU’s general counsel, confirmed that the suspects were given notice of their arrest and released on bond.

“I can say, without hesitation, there has never been any indication that there is any risk to students,” said Monk.

JSU released the following statement in response to the investigation:

“We are aware of an ongoing investigation by another agency. The university police is assisting with the investigation. The university is fully cooperating. No more statements will be made at this time due to privacy laws. There is no risk to our students. The investigation is ongoing.”

(UPDATE: 3:16 p.m. CST, Investigator Jay Harrington of the Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crimes Unit informed the Chanticleer that there are still three outstanding warrants to be served. Harrington said that the first victim made the initial report promoting an investigation and that throughout the investigation he developed a second victim. He further stated that he is limited in the information he can provide to the public but that he is working to “unmuddy the waters.”)

Photo courtesy of Grace Cockrell/JSU

JSU transitions from Blackboard to Canvas

Ashleigh Crouch, News Correspondent

Last fall, the university announced that it will transition from Blackboard to Canvas. As of August 16, Blackboard is no longer available. 

Canvas is said to be more efficient than Blackboard, and includes unique and useful features such as Office 365 integration, a media recorder, the ability to create polls, learning modules and integrated help resources. 

Randal Blades, a JSU drama professor, who taught a Canvas Pilot course in the Summer 2019 semester, seems to be happy with the transition, stating that it is easier for them to interact with students. 

Up until this semester JSU has used Blackboard for online and hybrid classes, a system designed to help professors keep in touch with students regarding class meetings, cancellations, grades and other important announcements.

“I found learning [the Canvas system] challenging but rewarding, and I felt like Canvas students were better able to navigate the course and it allowed me to conduct the course in a manner that was beneficial to student learning,” said Blades.

The Canvas system was established in 2008 and launched in 2011, and the system is currently used by more than 2,000 universities across the nation.

“[Canvas will] provide students with more efficient and effective work flows suitable for the way learning takes place now,” said Chris Casey, the operations manager at Online @ JSU. 

Student reaction to the transition appears mostly positive with many arguing that the interface is much more user-friendly.

“[Canvas] seems much more modern to me, and I believe it will be much easier for students to use,” said Marili Zurita, a JSU sophomore student. 

Sophomore Britney Ryals, who took a Canvas Pilot course in the Spring 2019 semester agreed.

“I like Canvas a lot better than Blackboard, and I am excited to begin using it for all of my classes,” said Ryals.

To access Canvas, you must create an initial password by following the steps below:

  1. Go to the Canvas login page: https://jsu.instructure.com
  2. Choose “Forgot Password?”
  3. Enter your JSU email (for example, user@stu.jsu.edu or user@jsu.edu)
  4. Watch for reset password email at your JSU email
  5. Login with the new password at the Canvas login page
  6. Username = full JSU email (for example, user@stu.jsu.edu or user@jsu.edu)

UPD provides campus safety tips

Scott Young, News Editor

Jacksonville State University is dedicated to providing a safe environment for students to obtain their education and enjoy themselves on campus. Students should always be aware and informed on how to stay safe while on campus.

The University Police Department (UPD) provides the same services as a traditional law enforcement agency and works 24/7 to keep Jacksonville State a safe campus for all its students.

“Stay vigilant and alert to surroundings, report suspicious activity, keep your car locked with valuables out of sight, check the area before entering your vehicle, be cautious for pedestrian and bicycle traffic on and near campus and ensure that you are receiving JSU alerts on your phone,” said Rob Schaffer, Chief of the University Police. 

When walking around campus, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone on campus if possible. If walking at night, try to walk with a partner or group and avoid isolated or poorly-lit areas like alleys, vacant lots or buildings. It is encouraged for you to remember the following well-known rules:  

  • Do not trust strangers.  
  • Always travel with those you know.  
  • There is safety in numbers.  
  • Do not leave valuables unattended. 

Schaffer encourages incoming freshmen to visit http://www.jsu.edu/police to view two videos regarding safety; one regarding active shooter information and one about campus preparedness and safety which is specific to JSU. 

If you ever feel unsafe on campus, UPD maintains seven emergency phones throughout campus that are a direct method of communication with UPD dispatch. These phones are located at the middle of the Quad, at the intersection of Russell Parkway and Trustee Circle, at the corner of Stephenson Gym, near the entrance of the JSU track and near Abbott Circle. Simply push the button and you will be connected directly to a dispatcher. 

Students are encouraged to sign up to receive emergency notifications to their phone and to update their emergency contact number in the JSU Emergency Alert System. The alerts allow students, faculty and staff to receive emergency messages via text message and email regarding any on-campus emergencies or severe weather. You can sign up for these alerts by visiting http://www.jsu.edu/police/emergencymgt/alertsystem.html

Students should also make sure they own a NOAA weather radio in the event of any severe weather such as severe thunderstorms, flooding or tornadoes. Never rely solely on outdoor sirens. Your weather radio is more likely to wake you up in the middle of the night to alert you for tornado warnings than an outdoor siren.  

ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann encourages everyone to know where they are going during a tornado warning. In the event of a tornado warning, seek shelter at the lowest floor of your building away from any windows. Wear a helmet, if possible, to remain safe from any flying debris. 

“Every Alabama home and business needs a NOAA Weather Radio (NEVER rely on an outdoor siren), and everyone needs Wireless Emergency Alerts enabled on their phone,” said Spann in an emailed statement. “Everyone must know in advance where they are going during a tornado warning and have helmets for everyone in that safe place.” 

For additional information on campus safety, please visit http://www.jsu.edu/police or call 256-782-8888. To report an emergency or crime, dial 256-782-5050 or 911.

Photo courtesy of JSU

Reframing the conversation: Campus speaker shares his experience with sexual assault

Photo Courtesy of CAMPUSPEAK
Speaker and sexual assault survivor Tim Mosseau spoke on JSU’s campus Monday about his experience and how to provoke change in the way society talks about sexual assault and domestic violence.

James Waller, Staff Reporter

In a presentation entitled “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation,” speaker Tim Mousseau presented the realities of sexual assault on a university campus to Jacksonville State University students at Pete Matthews Coliseum on Tuesday.

Mousseau, an activist and advocate for victims of sexual assault, has spoken professionally for five years, delivering over 300 keynotes, many on college campuses through an organization called CAMPUSPEAK, an organization that arranges and promotes speakers on college campuses.

“Using powerful stories grounded in personal experiences, Tim Mousseau uses his passion and vulnerability to guide conversations that will leave students inspired to combat sexual violence, redefine masculinity, and provoke change,” says Mousseaus’s web page on CAMPUSPEAK.

Mousseau’s speech opened with a story of his own victimhood of a sexual assault: a story in which he was stalked for a lengthy period of time and sent letters by an unknown sender that contained photos of his own, unremembered, sexual assault while he was intoxicated. Mousseau explained society-at-large’s poor reaction to him as a male sexual assault survivor.

“As a male survivor of sexual violence and severe sexual harassment, it is my mission to ensure no one has to experience what I went through,” Mousseau says. “It is my mission to redefine how our companies, leaders, and employees create workplaces welcoming to all and devoid of harassment.”

Mousseau also gave advice on tackling sexual assault and preventing sexual violence, envisioning the creation of a culture where people (especially other men) treat sexual assault and its survivors with due respect, creating a consent-based narrative around sex positivity, and listening to the stories of victims of sexual violence.

“When I say that we are going to retake our story, what I mean is that we are going to change the way we are having conversations around this topic, because right now the way that we talk about this conversation is wrong,” Mousseau said.