Tag: Cassidy Smith

Cocky for LGBTQ+: Cocky Pride Parade brings campus and community together

JSU students and community members gather on the TMB lawn for the first annual Cocky Pride Parade on Wednesday, November 1. (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

Cassidy SmithStaff Writer

The rain couldn’t stop the proud from celebrating the first annual Cocky Pride Parade on Wednesday, November 1. A crowd of over 70 attendees convened in the Theron Montgomery Building’s lawn to celebrate their sexualities or to be an ally to those they love.

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community, whether they were students at JSU or Jacksonville community members, gathered for the event, which came to a head in the town square with a parade at 6 p.m. Many of the attendees held or wore flags, umbrellas, clothing, hats and posters portraying the rainbow, the symbol for gay rights and pride. Other attendees, at the request of the event planner, brought their dogs to march with them.

A student holds a poster that reads, “Too much blood has flown from the wrist of the children shamed for those they choose to kiss.” (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

The event was hosted by JSU Students for Equality, a student organization on campus. Through promotional advertisement, like Facebook ads and flyers taped up in dorms and academic buildings, the organization was able to reach much of the student body to invite them to celebrate themselves.

“The Students for Equality are here for any historical minorities,” said Adrienne Swindle, the president of Students for Equality. “Women, African-American, anybody who has been historically oppressed is totally welcome. We are active for Women’s History Month, Black History Month, LGBT History month; that’s actually what this parade was organized to celebrate.”

She cited the comedy show and the women’s discussion panel, both held earlier this semester, as two events that successfully showcased a minority group.

Swindle invites any and all students of any minority group, whether it be LGBT, racial or gender minority, to come to the Students for Equality meetings that occur every other Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Brewer Hall room 100.

According to their JSU organization page: “JSU Students for Equality is committed to diversity and inclusion through providing resources and advocacy for students from historically marginalized populations. Our goal is to help retain and recruit these students while enhancing their experiences through programming, workshops, support groups, education and social events.”

Some participants in the Cocky Pride Parade brought rainbow flags like the one pictured above. (photo by Grace Cockrell/The Chanticleer)

The organization will next be hosting “Pet the Stress Away” during finals week, providing a way for students to de-stress with dogs from the League for Animal Welfare.

The Students for Equality organization can be contacted through Facebook or by emailing jsustudentsforequality@gmail.com.

See more pictures from Grace Cockrell below:

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Library tailgate encourages students to explore Houston Cole

Cassidy Smith, Staff Writer


Music, food and balloons filled the scene of the Library Tailgate at the Houston Cole Library on Thursday, October 26. The event’s purpose was to engage students with the priceless resource of librarians and the information that they can help students find. Each floor had a table set up with information regarding what exactly could be found there. Students were given “Tailgate Tickets,” and as they visited each table, they got a hole punched in the ticket; when the ticket was filled, the students would be entered into a raffle to win door prizes from local businesses and vendors.

Seventh floor librarian Harry Nuttall and sixth floor librarian Carley Knight greet students and guests at the library’s second annual Homecoming tailgate (photo by Cassidy Smith/The Chanticleer).

The goal was to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for both students and the Jacksonville community. “We want to send a message to the campus community that we are open and here for everyone,” explained Kim Westbrooks, the Business & Social Sciences librarian, who directed the event. “We strive to decrease library anxiety; the media portrays libraries as uninviting places with dusty old librarians who won’t even let you talk. But we are here to facilitate any and all research and to make lives easier.”

According to Westbrooks, the library is home to over 300 electronic databases (Westbrooks suggested libguides.jsu.edu) and 8000 books. The second-floor reference desk, which houses a librarian during all hours of operation, is available to help students navigate that overwhelming statistic.

Kim Westbrooks, the librarian who organized the tailgate party, stands at the third and fourth floor table (photo by Cassidy Smith/The Chanticleer).

For community members who are not JSU students (or for future alumni who plan to stick around Jacksonville), there is an option to become a “Friend of the Library,” which allows any member of the community to check out books and use the library resources for $30 a year.

The Library Tailgate was a “non-traditional method to bring more people into the library,” said Dean of Library Services John-Bauer Graham. “We’re trying something different that can appeal to everyone.”

To showcase and celebrate the unique themes of each floor, the corresponding librarian set up a table containing books from their floors, educational pictures and information, and their business cards to get in touch with them for help.

To get in touch with Kim Westbrooks, email kwestbrooks1@jsu.edu. For Dean Graham, jgraham@jsu.edu. 


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A directory of the Houston Cole Library shoes the content of each of the 12 floors. The library is the tallest academic building in the state of Alabama (photo via Jacksonville State University).


See more photos from the Library’s tailgate here! All photos by Hollie Ivey/The Chanticleer

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Webinar discusses Islamophobia on college campuses

Cassidy Smith, Staff Writer

JSU’s International House and Programs hosted a “Support Muslim Students” webinar on Tuesday, October 10 in the Houston Cole Library. This presentation focused mostly on how to keep college campuses safe and inclusive of our Muslim students. The two distinguished speakers were Dr. Amer F. Ahmed, an Intercultural Diversity Consultant, and Farzana Nayani, an Intercultural Diversity Consultant and Inclusion Specialist.

The webinar opened with a few statistics; one in particular was from a Harvard study which asserted that more than 50% of Muslim students have been bullied due to their religious backgrounds. To combat this, Ahmed and Nayani suggested, campuses need to seek to understand Islamophobia, what contributes to its persistence, and the current and evolving needs for Muslim students on any campus.

Islamophobia is defined as an exaggerated fear, hatred and hostility toward Islam and Muslims perpetuated by negative stereotypes, resulting in bias and prejudice. This is especially crucial on a college campus, where all students should feel comfortable and equal.

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Because the world population of Muslims is 25%, or about 1.7 billion people, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. According to the webinar, there are five current exacerbating factors on the Islamophobia problem: world terrorism being equated with the entire Muslim community; presidential and world politics; media representation; the “us versus them” rhetoric; and suspicion.

The consequences, unfortunately, are hate crimes, violence, profiling, mosque vandalism, marginalization, surveillance, anti-Muslim hate rallies and micro-aggressions.

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The webinar gave a chance for the people in attendance to speak their minds about whose responsibility it is to stand up to Islamophobic rhetoric on our campus. Basically, who should be responsible?

JSU Director of Community Standards Lauren Lowell says it comes down to all of us.

“I think it is everybody’s responsibility,” Lowell said, “but when you think about official process, naturally it’s going to go through either Title 9 or Student Conduct because it’s considered harassment or maybe threatening, hostile behavior—anything that’s going to affect the student’s ability to be successful. But when you think about what happens in the moment, I’d like to think that any faculty or staff member would step in and at least try to de-escalate the situation.”

Many college campuses have Muslim Student Associations to support their Muslim students, and JSU has the International Student Association, which supports students from all cultural backgrounds. The availability of support systems like this are vital to Muslim students who may be dealing with Islamophobia.

According to Ahmed, there are six major things for campuses and students to do to ensure the safety of their Muslim population: develop educational programs, draw from faculty, student affairs as resources of experience, utilize campus resources, bring in outside speakers and specialists, create spaces for dialogue, and protect the safety of Muslim students.

Many different strategies for action were offered up during the webinar; these include recognizing Islamophobia as a form of racism and treating it that way, offering training for faculty and staff on recognition and combat, holding campus gatherings addressing racism, ensuring Islam bias-free curriculum (students should not feel the need to defend their religion) and developing appropriate responses to support faculty to oppose anti-Muslim rhetoric.

For more information about JSU’s International Student Organization, can visit their page on JSU’s website.

To contact the speakers for the webinar:

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed Intercultural Diversity Consultant: amer@amerfahmed.com

Farzana Nayani Intercultural Diversity Consultant: farzana@farzananayani.com

Career fair unites students with employers

Cassidy Smith, Staff Writer

The Career Services Department hosted its bi-annual career fair on Wednesday, March 1. The Pete Mathews Coliseum was full of booths set up by recruiters and student organizations. Recruiters were looking to put information out about their companies and find qualified candidates in particular majors, while the student organization booths gave students the chance to showcase themselves to employers.

There were 32 companies in attendance, offering everything from full-time employment to internship opportunities. Some employers in attendance included the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources, Sherwin-Williams, The Learning Tree, Inc. and Honda Manufacturing. The student organizations involved were the Technology Club, Student Alumni Association, Circle K International, Alpha Kappa Psi, International Student Organization, Alpha Psi Omega Omicron Eta Cast, Kappa Pi Iota Alpha International Art Honor Society, Delta Sigma Pi, Rugby RFC and Delta Sigma Theta.

Students and employers gathered in the Pete Mathews Coliseum for the Spring 2017 career fair. (Cassidy Smith/JSU)

Benjamin Pryor, a student at JSU, manned the Circle K International booth.

“I am recruiting for members to join our organization while also showcasing myself and the organization’s achievements to employers,” Pryor said while passing out fliers to passing students. “Circle K International is one of the largest non-profit collegiate organizations in the world.”

Director of Career Services Becca Turner was in charge of the sign-in table for companies.

Cocky takes advantage of the career fair and signs up to work at summer camp! (Cassidy Smith/The Chanticleer)

“We expected about 150 to 275 students to attend today,” Turner said. “This event is for students of all classifications and majors. We encourage lower-class students to come in and prepare for internships, and our graduating seniors can find full-time employment.”


The Career Services department provides workshops helping students with professional development, applying for federal jobs, resume writing and more.

“We had two federal workshops and two résumé workshops in February,” Turner said. “We will also be hosting a ‘how to search for jobs’ workshop before graduation in the spring.”

Career Services hosts a career fair once every semester. They invite student organizations to set up booths to allow student leaders to get exposure in a leadership role to the recruiters there. They also plan other fairs for students in certain majors.

Lola Johston, one of JSU’s career counselors, runs the Career Services table at the Spring 2017 career fair. (Cassidy Smith/The Chanticleer)

On April 13, Career Services is hosting a Reverse Education Fair, a recruiting event for education majors. It is required for graduating teaching candidates. There are usually anywhere from 75 to 125 students setting up, and the department already has 25 school systems registered.

The Fall Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, October 4, although the location is to be determined later. Career Services invites students to find them on J-Link, where they advertise job postings, internships and co-ops. Students may also sign up for newsletters about recruiters looking for students in their major at the Career Services office.

Students can contact Becca Turner, the director, at bturner@jsu.edu for more information.

JSU Art department offers several concentrations

JSU’s Department of Art offers students that excel in visual creativity the opportunity to harness their skills in various art forms.

Students can choose from several concentrations including: ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography and printmaking.

The department offers professional education in the study of art, along with design instruction.

Students have the opportunity to earn three types of degrees: the bachelor of fine arts, the bachelor of arts and the master of fine arts in visual communication design.

The department is headed by J. Seth Johnson, and is staffed by 15 instructors. If networking with other artists is your interest, JSU is home to five student organizations: Kappa Pi (an Art Honor Society), Potter’s Guild, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Photography Club and Art Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association.

Students create their personal portfolios starting in college with projects they do in class. An advantage of taking an art as a major is the access to Hammond Gallery.

Hammond Gallery is a showroom for student, alumni and faculty artwork. The BFA and BA students are also required to show pieces for certain classes as a grade.

An art degree has the potential to lead graduates into diverse careers such as aerial photographers, art teachers, book jacket designers, court artists, fashion consultants, and gallery owners.

Students interested in more information can contact Johnson at jsjohnson@jsu.edu, or Jane Greene at jgreene@jsu.edu.

Cassidy Smith
Staff Reporter