Luis Rumbaut


2017 Spring Dance Concert is a Great Reminder of the Coming Summer.

You could hear the infectious music of the first performance “www.BluePrint” reverberate on the walls outside of Robinson Hall inviting latecomers into Belk Theatre’s showing of the 2017 Spring Dance Concert.

They would have to wait until the doors opened for the second act, as to not disturb the amazing sounding performance.

The second act called “Anthem for a Porcelain Generation” was an interesting piece of contemporary dance created, in part, by students in our school system at Chapel Hill. The music was less far apart at specific points where it was necessary for sound or audio to puncture the choreography as a way to illicit certain kinds of emotions out of the audience, often times laughter.

An exploration of intimacy and communication, dancers would run through different sequences at different parts of the stage and converge together at different times. Sometimes interacting with the audience, other times interacting with each other’s bodies. The dancers did a good job of courageously exhibiting this piece to the spectators.

After intermission the curtains rose for the third performance, “Tracer,” a mashup between music and movement as dancers swayed to the sound of violins and the intensity of a spinning wheel near the center of the stage. Creating a sense of tension throughout the piece.

Ann Dils, Professor and Chair for the Dance Department took the opportunity after the ending of the third performance to give a brief history of “Tracer,” a performance thought to be lost to time, which was reconstructed through the efforts of our school and their sponsors.

The fourth performance was “Esplanade (Section 1),” a melting of dancers in primary colors who conveyed, as they dance with one another, the positivity of social interaction. Executed wonderfully, the colorful dance was also a great reminder of the coming summer.

The final performance, “Faction 6-3-1,” was a sci-fi looking industrial set where the dancers played with light and shadow. And they swayed with one another into the end of the show. All the performers took to the stage once more for well-earned cheers from the audience as they bowed out.

The Spring Dance Concert 2017 took its chances with the material chosen for students to cover, all of which felt like it appealed to different tastes, and which the dancers delivered with great interest. From the beginning act, this event sounded promising, and the reception at the end showed that it was.

Celebrating women and their accomplishments

UNC Charlotte student listens to speaker at International Women’s Day. Photo by Chris Crews.

On the third floor of the Student Union March 28, students and staff gathered to attend the Annual International Women’s Day Celebration, the biggest cohort in its twelve-year history.

The audience was treated to refreshments as well as two songs from women’s ensemble The UNC Charlotte Charlotteans.

The purpose of the celebration is to honor women’s accomplishments at UNC Charlotte.

Opening speaker and Associate Director of International Programs Christina Sanchez mentioned how this celebration is also meant as a platform to speak on women’s issues in need of current attention.

After a brief telling of the history of International Women’s Day and its roots in the labor movements of the early 20th century in New York City as well as the European World, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia Dr. Eylem Atakav was presented as the keynote speaker of this year’s event.

Atakav shared with the audience the trailer to her new documentary “Growing Up Married” after speaking about women’s voice and visibility in media.

One example she gave was that only 3 percent of film makers are women, which allows men to influence the majority of the cultural narrative of issues and of life.

She made it a point to let the audience know that her documentary, which details the invisibility of child marriage in Turkey, is about a worldwide practice which exists even in some areas of the United States where it is legal to be married at 12 years old.

Atakav spoke about the making of her film and the way in which being able to highlight the voices of women whose stories are often unheard by the society they inhabit can have a rehabilitating effect on those women.

She told the story of one woman who cut her hair short because her husband took sexual pleasure in pulling it and who used to love singing at a young age but quit once she got married.

This same woman had been keeping in contact with Atakav after the documentary was finished and according to Atakav, was once again singing.

On Campus Memorial of Jonathan Ferrell

Last week on Sept. 14 there was a spontaneous pinning of victims of police violence upon Belk plaza, with words in chalk reminding students at UNC Charlotte about the 2013 shooting of Jonathan Ferrell as well as the words “End State Sanctioned Violence” and the nationally renowned “Black Lives Matter” Rallying cry.

These pinning’s, which were torn down a day after, were accompanied by quotes on their backs from famous 1900s writers such as Langston Hughes; thinkers such as Muhammad Ali and Emiliano Zapata; as well as lyrics from contemporary artists such as Frank Ocean.

The action was primarily a memorial for slain athlete Jonathan Ferrell organized by Customer49 a leftist organization which will be coming to campus shortly, it was also a form of highlighting national slayings of civilians via police violence.

President of Customer49 and organizer of the action Noe Campos said that the inspiration for the memorial came from a similar project he saw in Mexico City for the 43 students that went missing in

Memorial of 43 students missing in Iguala, Guerrero.
Memorial of 43 students missing in Iguala, Guerrero. Photo courtesy of Neo Campos.

“While replicating it here, I also wanted to remind people of the idea of ‘strange fruits,’ which Billie Holiday made famous through her song and hopefully people see today’s murders of black people as an extension of lynching and executions,” said Campos. “Let’s remember that police in Ferguson left Michael Brown on the street for four hours, which echoes the act of white communities leaving the bodies of black individuals so that black community members knew what could happen to them”.

Campos affirmed that the majority of pictures strung up were of African Americans, but also spoke about the inclusion of other race and ethnicities in the action as a way of recognizing that police violence doesn’t just affect one community, and that the work of “Black Lives Matter” intersects with other struggles against extrajudicial violence.

As a response to “All Lives Matter” and the arguments that are often found after these acts of violence such as “Black people aren’t the only ones being killed”. Which Campos made the point of calling a sad statement because of its implications of the normalcy of police violence and the compliance of the citizenry under such acts.

Campos also made sure to point out the inclusion of Black woman since community response to their killings by police are often minimal.

Campos stated that the similarities of these acts of violence can be found in their aftermath.

“Not all of them happened exactly the same, but most of them do have a similar aftermath, where the police claim that the victim threatened their life. A demonization of the victim as well occurs in the media, which most Americans believe and support,” said Campos.

He went on to detail the institution of policing as a classist and racist one, citing the war on drugs and its origins in slave patrols as sources and explaining that for those reasons diversification of police departments is not a solution since the roots of the issue are still present in society at large.

In light of the police shooting of a 13-year-old the following day and the execution of a man in Tulsa almost a week after the memorial Campos had a mixed response regarding if the visibility of these crimes was a good thing.

“The question of visibility is one that activists are still trying to figure out,” said Campos. “Many felt that body cams of officers and thus the visibility of police violence would make it easier to believe victims and sentence police officers to jail, however, many people still excuse extrajudicial violence. Yet at the same time, here we are trying to raise consciousness and thus increase visibility as a way to get people to think about these issues”.


The Lovely and The Grimy: Afro Punk 2016

On the weekend of August 27-28 I was in Brooklyn, New York attending the festival of Afro-Punk where it first started; Commodore Barry Park. The festival was a disorganized, crowded mess. Some of the more popular sets were up to an hour late getting on stage and navigating around the park took some getting used to, not to mention that there was no re-entry and some online buyers had apparently not received their tickets and were rightfully upset. Organization is definitely something Afro Punk is going to have to get better at if they want to make a serious transition from a free festival to a paid one, so exclusive that you aren’t even allowed to leave and return on the same day. However, to have the opportunity to go and be exposed to the energy and the passion of different genres of music and the festival-goers more than made up for whatever grime did accumulated during my attendance there.

I arrived late on Saturday at around 2 p.m., after going to brunch with the friends who were housing me. The line was a block long and it took a while to get through, but when inside we quickly dissolved into who we wanted to see perform. One bad thing that I’m definitely not going to complain about is the way in which good acts were scheduled to perform simultaneous to each other. So while my friends went to go catch an amazing Thundercat performance, I was jamming out to the words of the warrior poet, Saul Williams. What was really great was that this phenomenon didn’t extend to just the well-known and popular acts, but in fact to every group that was there, such as the up-and-coming industrial punk band, BLXPLTN, who played like a cross between The Sex Pistols and The Screamers. Such that I’m sure that I missed out on some great music and performances while watching other great musicians and performances, which is a great feeling to have when you attend a music festival, because it influences you to move around and discover what you can. Aside from seeing the legendary George Clinton perform, the highlight for Saturday was definitely the vision show of Flying Lotus, whose performance was enhanced by a pair of psychedelic glasses sold to me by Detroit-based visual artists Armageddon Beach Party.

Having been to the festival the day before you’d think I would have prepped better for the Sunday showing. Instead, I ended up going early in the morning on an empty stomach, planning on staying all day without taking the full amount of money I had available. Bad idea as all I ended up eating was an empanada and some coconut rice; water was free if you looked for it though. Regardless, I decided to spend the beginning of the day walking between the three stages and window shopping at the vendors. What I saw was a number of Brooklyn based clothing wear, shirts and hats from a number of vendors made to exemplify the affluence of black culture and youth culture such as House of AAMA, works by visual artists and free stylists such a Tony B. Conscious and gadgets like the wooden Ecowrist watches. There was a lot of amazing physical material to consume and come next year I’ll make sure to bring enough money to keep myself satiated and to support the thrift shops of Afro-Punk.

Back to the music, I spent most of my time in the open fiends of the Green stage on Sunday, where I was witness to the to the Bluesy magic of Seinabo Sey, the bigger-than-life soulful jazz vibes of The Suffers and the rock-and-roll rawness of Skunk Anansie. By which time I was already spent from having eaten very little and having danced a lot. I say that because I need you, the reader, to understand why exactly I tapped out near the beginning of the Bad Brains-Fishbone-Living Color mega-collective, which I will not be able to live down for quite some time since those legends of Rock and Roll were the main reason I was there. With Ice Cube being the second reason, who of course I missed out on since he played after them. While I’ll accept responsibility for the fact that I should have prepped better to go to the festival and have money for lunch and dinner, I do think having to stand an hour waiting for the bands to set up was a bit uncalled for. Another thing that was uncalled for was the way in which Zulu Warrior Security choked and dragged people out of the audience for moshing too hard in a rock show. Where people falling over others and losing their phones because of all the slam dancing? Yes. Did I get knocked off my feet and lose a shoe in the pit for a couple of seconds? Also yes. But I was also helped to my feet by the person who unknowingly knocked into me and there were those of us that were making sure things didn’t get too out of hand. While I understand the need for a security team to do their jobs, the level of suppression used felt uncalled for during a performance where no one was being forced to mosh and where the pit was in a very isolated place.

Other highlights include the open air bookstore, the activism row tents, the diversity in food, the alternative news vendors allowed to sell their paper outside of the premise, as well as the unofficial performances by people on the side of the park. Not to mention the location, surrounded by project apartments and ruined buildings on one side and the sight of gentrification on the other. This year corporate sponsors were in the background of the festival of Afro-Punk, here’s to hoping that it keeps its rebel spirit, because the vibe you get from festival-goers is rare and beautiful, one of freedom and acceptance and for its few minor flaws, Afro-Punk is a defining festival for creative and alternative music at this moment in time.

Friday Night Live – JR De Guzman

Photos by Ashwin Ananthapadmanabhan and Erin Cortez .

“Friday Night Live” on Feb. 5 was not the event it should have been considering the talent that was present with musician and comedian JR De Guzman. Although De Guzman was not supposed to be on his own according to the advertisement for the event, he was able to captivate the crowd for the entire two hours that he performed by weaving comedic timing and edge into his guitar songs. De Guzman’s strength comes from finding humor coupled with making insightful points on topics such as race and homelessness while not at all losing his light hearted persona in the joke that he is making.

Though the crowd itself was small enough to be counted on two or three hands, De Guzman still brought his A-game to the performance. He took every opportunity he could to interact with the audience and make sure that everybody was enjoying themselves. A confident comedian, you could see his gears turning even after the show, while thinking of something quick witted to say and showing no hesitation in his humor. In a way De Guzman reminded me somewhat of Dave Chappelle’s delivery, raunchiness and social commentary while at the same time coming off as completely original. This is an act that definitely deserves be welcomed back to UNC Charlotte at a later time and be seen by more people.

From what I got from him after the show, it is evident that De Guzman is really in love with going on the road and performing in front of others. He is somebody that lives with his parents because he travels so much that paying for a permanent residence does not make sense. He is someone that gears his jokes to what people might want to talk about at any given time and in that way showing that he works to serve his audience. It is a shame that he did not receive enough attention from the school this go around but the next time he is in town, I will make sure to let people know about him.

If you doubt what I am telling you or would like to learn more about the comedian I just reviewed, you should look up some of his YouTube videos or his official website. I promise that he will have a joke ready for you to laugh at. Watching his act on “Friday Night Live” was a lot like hearing a good music artist before they get popular. Maybe their material isn’t much yet, but its fresh and new and I hope to hear more from them.

‘The Opulence of Integrity’ – The Muhammad Ali story told through dance

Photo courtesy of official website
Photo by Robert Adam Mayer

Inspired by the mind of Fred Ho “The Opulence of Integrity” is an interpretative dance piece written to encompass much of the life and consciousness of legendary American Boxer Muhammad Ali. Presented at Belk theatre here at UNCC, the ensemble work was split up into four movements. Each of which were divided by a monologue, by Washington D.C. poet Patrick Washington who played the voice of the boxer and activist, that focused on a specific aspect of Ali’s life such as his relationship with renowned civil rights leader Malcolm X. The monologue along with the overhead images and quotes attached to the piece meshed well in contextualizing the emotion shown by the choreography in each movement.

Photo courtesy of official website
Photo by Adam Mayer

In their movements, dancers Dante Brown, Orlando Hunter, Cameron McKinney, Gilbert Reyes, Shannon Thorpe and Ricardo Valentine greatly exhibited the bravado, the pride and the struggle for identity which choreographer Christal Brown wished to demonstrate of men of color in the USA, using Ali’s story as a conduit. This reviewer was not able to completely analyze the symbolism behind each dance but that is honestly more due towards not knowing the complete story of Muhammad Ali, however I found the ensemble for the most part to be a legible translation of the choreographer’s goals.

Mixing punches jabs with what looked like African styled dances to a backdrop of house music and Afro beat by Zimbabwe musician and composer Farai Malianga, the spirit and personality of Ali looked to come alive. It would be interesting to hear what the man himself or the family of Ali think about “The Opulence of Integrity” if/or when they have a chance to see this presentation. Although the piece is not the type of theatrical art I am particular to, the amount of digital and print information the show made use of to get its point across along with the physical movements of dancers helped to not only keep my attention but to pique my interest.

Photo courtesy of Official Website
Photo by Adam Mayer

The cast members themselves are a troupe comprised of motivated and kind individuals hailing from places like Tennessee, Washington D.C., NYC, New Jersey and North Carolina. Even UNCC senior Shannon Thorpe had a part in the piece as a show of support to local artists, which she did an knock out job in. From the answers the troupe gave during the Q+A it was easy to see that they were very much involved in the work they helped present to the audience of Belk theatre. Topics during the Q+A ranged from the choreographer making sure that the piece is well understood through different mediums, to building trust amongst peers off stage in order to have trust onstage, to finding meaning in your work, all of which shone through in their artistry during the “The Opulence of Integrity.”

Preview: ‘Spotlight’ recital brings UNCC talent to the forefront

spotlight_2016_1920x1080Presenting Friday, Feb. 5 in Robinson Hall’s Belk theatre, “Spotlight” is a concert meant to exemplify some of the best student musicians UNCC has to offer. On Monday, I sat down with assistant clarinet professor Jessica Lindsey to get a better understanding of the way this concert will be set up and the type of music that the audience will be exposed to when attending the event.

The performances were picked by the department of music on the basis of finding students who were not only prepared, but motivated to present themselves the department’s ambassador’s of music during the Spotlight concert. Ensembles will usually incorporate Western European classical rhythms into their pieces.

Lindsey gave specific examples of those types of rhythms citing one string group with a Spanish influence and another saxophone and piano group with a French influence. She also mentioned that a group of folkloric violinists as well as opera vocalists will be present at the showing.

Apart from the main backgrounds of Western art music being well covered there will also be guitar and harp pieces with more of a Latin influence. As well as a percussion and clarinet ensemble, which might have less of a European rhythmic influence.

The concert itself is called “Spotlight” because of the interactive and innovative manner in which ensemble groups will be performing. Wherein every ensemble will be out and present throughout the theatre awaiting their chance to perform. In that way the audience will be treated to samples of different music styles throughout the concert. “Spotlight” will also be presenting its Alumni award to graduate student Tammy Reyes, who has been a North Carolina music educator since 1999 and has recently left her band director position at Hickory High School to become the band director at Grandview Middle School.

The Award is meant to recognize a graduate of UNCC teaching or performing in North or South Carolina as form of connecting current students to alum and in that way creating encouragement and resource for students.

Lindsey hopes that the fifth annual “Spotlight” concert will bring prospective students from the community of Charlotte as well as students from UNCC and anybody interested in what the department of music has to offer. She also mentioned that there will be an informal reception and opportunity to speak to the performers after the concert. This should be a fun and engaging event to head to after the show.

‘It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman!’ starts UNC Charlotte Theatre Department’s semester on the right foot

Photo courtesy of Columbia Records
Photo courtesy of Columbia Records

Seats filled the Black Box theatre almost completely as the musical’s live band, sporting the Superman logo on their black shirts, played their lounge music until everyone was situated. Liberal studies professor and half the directing force of this musical Jay Morong went out to welcome the audience. After the red and blue stage lights diminished and came back on for the show’s beginning. “It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman” opened up the first spring presentation of UNC Charlotte’s Black Box theatre on Jan. 15. From the start of the show, the actors and the band were able to create and keep a great amount of momentum and energy going until the very end.

It must have helped that the show involved UNC Charlotte students and regulars used to performing in the Black Box, such as Lucas King, playing the part of the main antagonist Dr. Abner Sedgwick wonderfully. But what really tied everything together was the chemistry between all the actors and the way each individual from the main cast explored their characters through the use of body language, verbal mannerisms and unique personality traits.

Justin Fisher who played both Superman and Clark Kent, Erin Darcy who played Lois Lane, Kevin Brenner who played the other main antagonist Max Mencken, Aubrey Young who played office sweetheart and love interest Sydney and the aforementioned King playing Dr. Sedgwick, all did an excellent job of making their characters come alive. So much so that the few hiccups and what was probably first show jitters that popped up during the performance were insignificant to the entirety of the show and easily forgettable. The secondary cast made up of cops, criminals and assistants also contributed greatly to developing the world of this production with their added quirks and personalities.

Through these actors as well as the live band, Morong and musical director Dr. Alissa Deeter, I feel that the message and comedic timing of this musical was conducted clearly and effectively. Not only that, but Beth Killion from costume design and Matt Fergen from lighting design deserve a mention for their success in further immersing the audience into the musical through their choice of costumes and effects.

If I had the money and the time, as well as if this musical was playing nationally, I’d be interested in traveling around and seeing how different studios compare to the way this production was made. Not only because the story itself is hilarious and mentally stimulating on a certain level, but because the way the actors and production team handled this musical was top notch. With this musical, UNC Charlotte theatre has started the semester of on the right foot.

Photos by Erin Cortez.

NASD accreditation to connect UNC Charlotte to dance community

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 1.49.04 PM
(photo courtesy of the College of Arts + Architecture)

The Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte is at long last being accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), an event that not only helps to fulfill the broader goal of the College of Arts and Architecture in reaching full accreditation in all of its five units of learning, but will also  give legitimacy a to the department.

Ann Dils, professor and chair of the department discussed the significance of this achievement and the effort it took to receive an accreditation from the NASD.

Accreditation is a system for reviewing the inner workings of a department, “from the curriculum to the students, to the faculty and their degrees and research agendas, to funding and support from the university, to facilities and safety issues” in order to confirm that the institution is providing a worthy and unique education to its students, Dils says.

A mission statement is created and sent to NASD detailing advertisement materials along with student and faculty handbooks in order to provide information for investigators, who will then come into the university, sit in classes, ask questions to students and faculty and then report back to the office of the NASD. Lastly, a letter is sent back to the department inviting them to make any revisions to and updates, followed by a final back and forth and a decision.

There were numerous factors that influenced the NASD’s decision to offer full membership without having to become associates first, which propelled the accreditation process. Primarily, the up-to-date performance and practice facility at Robinson Hall. This shows the commitment the department has toward providing an exemplary and safe education.

NASD interviews with faculty provided an understanding of  strengths and needs within the department. Most students in the Department of Dance are double majors, demonstrating a real interest in the medium here on campus.

For the students, this accreditation helps on a broad level, to reapply in five years the department will have to ensure the curriculum is on par with the 79 other NASD accredited dance departments. Becoming an accredited member also means the department has more networking opportunities for students.

The UNC Charlotte Department of Dance is the only accredited institution in North Carolina that focuses on Latin and West African dance.

Dils is certain the NASD accreditation will allow the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte to continue to expand and make an impact on campus. The Program is currently planning the creation of a Bachelor of Fine Arts for dance, and hopes NASD will help build better connections between UNC Charlotte and dance institutes in the Charlotte area.

Review: ‘The Hunting Grounds’ Documentary about sexual assault on campus

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Universities from Harvard to University of California, Berkley and even in our own state system in UNC Chapel Hill were implicated as places that facilitate predatory behavior in “The Hunting Grounds,” a documentary dealing with the sexual assault that happens on campuses nationwide and why these abuses have been allowed to continue since as far back as the Seventies. Shown to a small audience of mostly female students, parents and faculty on Monday in McKnight Hall the film did a good job of laying out the way in which so many institutions of higher learning allow predatory behavior to continue with little to no repercussion for perpetrators of the such crimes.

Through the use of first hand experiences from survivors, school administrators are portrayed as dismissive at best and at worst actively attempting to discredit sexual assault that is committed upon students. To use an example from the film, in both the former and the latter cases administrators would ask questions about the level of intoxication of student victims or the type of clothing they had on or whether or not the students tried to fight the person off, placing the blame on the victims instead of the aggressor.

The documentary then moved into the question of why schools are so reluctant to helping those students who become victims of rape, making a strong case for there being monetary incentives for school administrations nation-wide to not involve themselves in investigating such abuses. The film presented fraternities and sport teams as protective havens for predators to hide behind since both groups have financial stakes in the college system and so can pull their weight around when threatened. Opinions from experts such as Dr. David Lisak stated how it’s not every member of these groups or the student body that seeks to commit sexual assault but that it is usually a small percentage of repeat offenders who are allowed back onto campuses that are to blame.

The documentary though brief is a good general starting point for anybody wanting to learn more about the issue of sexual assault on campus and provides sources such as different cases survivors have faced and theories that can be further studied. This also allowed for a panel hearing from UNC Charlotte staff members afterwards who came together to take questions from the audience and discuss what our school is doing or could be doing to make sure students are safe on campus. Their information will be listed below and their answers to questions will follow.

The panel included: Michelle Guobadia, director of fraternity and sorority life, eight year UNC Charlotte student, member of Zeta Phi Beta; Christine Reed Davis, Dean of Students; Bridget Drake, student at UNCC and sexual assault survivor; Sgt. Angela Ortiz, works at the campus police department, sexual assault investigator; Dr. Terri Rhodes, has been doing trauma therapy on college campuses for 25 years, assistant director of training, Counseling Center; Christine Weigel, Lead investigator at UNC Charlotte’s title IX office, filling in for Dawn Floyd.

How can rape affect the academic performance and college experience and what can the institution do to address this problem? The panel agreed that sexual assault creates massive physical and psychological trauma towards victims that affect the individual and their relationship with friends and family. As far as academic performance is concerned Dean Davis summed up what a victim might be going through as, “not feeling safe in the place you come to, to feel safe,” giving examples such as victims not knowing if they could possibly be walking into the same class that their attacker or “having flashbacks in the middle of a lecture and having to walk out and the shame and embarrassment of having to explain to your faculty member what’s happening.” Dr. Rhodes also expanded on those examples by noting how victims lose motivation for school and decide not to go to class, as coping mechanisms to help them deal with their anxiety and shame, causing a social withdrawal that not only hurts the individual academically but also damages their social connections.

Adding to that was the personal perspective of sexual assault survivor Drake, a transfer student from Western University who recounted the frustrating way in which her ex-school made her jump back and forth between facilities and meetings in order to get the help she needed but ultimately providing no real support system for her as opposed to the help she’s received from UNCC’s disability services office which according to Drake helped her, “be more comfortable going to classes and know that if [she] does have a flash back [she] can leave and [her] professor’s aren’t going to wonder what’s going on or question [her] about it.”

Even so, Drake mentioned that there’s still work to be done on campus in creating more education and publicity about different avenues survivors can take in order to receive support from this school. Those concerns were addressed by Dr. Rhodes who brought up that in her 16 years of working at UNC Charlotte there has always been a committee dedicated to getting information and resources on sexual assault out to students, as well as programs ran by members of faculty that focus on how bystander’s can help survivor’s of assault or what people can do to change rape culture attitudes on campus and in the community at large.

Sgt. Ortiz made a point of saying that over the years campus police has had an increasing amount of members that actively investigate sexual assault on campus. Other points that were brought up insofar as what the University could do to address the issue of sexual assault on campus spanned from holding workshops to make sure people know how to respect each other’s space during SOAR to an online course about what assault looks like called “Think About It,” which was offered last summer to all incoming students and the other previous answers given is seen as a step in the right direction but by all means not an absolute solution.

Students expect that their school will do the right thing. When it doesn’t it is a double betrayal. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?A lot was said in response to this question that hinted towards our faculty having a good understanding of their responsibility and the responsibility the University holds to assure student safety on campus. Weigel started by talking about how when schools do not do the right thing everybody suffers, the student, their friends and family, and the community suffers since the expectation of safety in the name of academic excellence and positive school experience would not be present. Sgt. Ortiz made a similar analysis explaining that, “It’s a double standard … Being a college student here on campus you expect us to solve the incident and if we don’t, then you’re suffering and the suspects obviously aren’t getting the help they need and we have a whole community we need to protect”.

Another good point was made by Dr. Rhodes as she defined how the concept of a double betrayal could be a tricky thing since “survivors already experience a heightened mistrust after being violated” leading to low expectations of almost any justice being committed by the community on their behalf. According to Rhodes, “This is also one of the reasons why survivors don’t report assaults because they don’t expect that anything will happen.” However if the school succeeds at helping the survivor put the blame on the perpetrator where it belongs then there is also a chance of disappointing that person who has already been made distrustful when the school community does not respond in a way which seems appropriate and just, creating more self-blame and doubt in the person.

On the flip-side, as in the case of Drake’s experience being a victim of assault, the entire concept of a double betrayal can feel more like a persecution than being let down by the system. When, the faculty you are presenting your case to treats the fact that you didn’t fight back against assailants who are much bigger and stronger than you, as a way of absolving those predators of their crime or tries as an attempt to poke holes in your story. Drake finished her story by explaining how “the school is supposed to be there to support you, that’s your home, that’s where you’re living, that’s how you receive an education that’s supposed to [help with your future] and when they turn the wrath on you, it’s just terrifying”.

Dean Davis supported Drake’s story by providing examples of accusatory questions she herself heard administration ask students who reported their assault such “What clothes were you wearing?” as well as questions that were said in bad taste like “Can you recreate that?” In addition Dean Davis also mentioned how the idea of a double betrayal can cut both ways from the victim to the perpetrator and their families who does not feel they’ve done any wrong, either way Davis’s message was clear: “We need to do better as administrator, at listening to our students, being sympathetic and artful in our responses and careful in our judgments and those prejudices we may bring to the table.”

NPR did a study in which 1 in 5 college students were assaulted or had experienced assault, why is there a discrepancy between that and reported cases? Over only 32 cases were reported in 2014. While this question was vague in that it did not mention the precise reports the asker was referring to, Dean Davis worked off the assumption that they were referring to the Clery Reports, which are confidential information reported to campus police or mandatory reporters such as faculty or staff members that are in a position to provide information to the police, “so that there are often discrepancies between what is reported externally and potentially what is not reported through that function but maybe told another survivor or another staff member that has not made that confidential report as a mandatory reporter” Davis revealed, “In my many years as a higher administrator we’ve known that there have been discrepancies in things that get officially reported and the actual number of things that are happening on campus”.

Dr. Rhodes also clarified that the numbers in Clery are “only crimes, not just sexual assault, that occur on college property only, so there’s always going to be a discrepancy. Not all of our population lives on campus … so the numbers are getting closer to matching what they should look like for our Clery geography. That doesn’t include all the other students that live in the surrounding areas.”

Is this information being presented around campus, or is it easily visible or at orientations such as Soar? Dean Davis replied saying that information is provided about the Code of Student Responsibility and about Title IX in each new student and family bag as well as presentations provided through the Office of Student Conduct and Police and Public Safety, to which Weigel added that there are a number of initiatives also being planned to spread awareness about the issue of sexual assault, such as the inclusion of the Campus Clarity program, an online educational tutorial that provides information about sexual assault and where to go if you help, a program they’re hoping to get out to new but also current student members.

Is the freshman class the class that has the most assault of anyone else? Rhodes responded saying that freshman are at greater risk nationally. She cited Dr. David Lisak, featured in the documentary, who studied the behaviors of the perpetrators and found that they “tend to target the more vulnerable students which tend to be those that are first years” because they are the students that tend to be the most alone on campus and the ones that might not know where everything is necessarily and because of that assault tends to happen within the first six weeks of school.

Conclusion and Highlights

Apart from the questions presented above, this Q+A was also made up of audience ideas on what else could be done to raise awareness and prevention of sexual assault in UNC Charlotte, ideas the panel welcomed, spoke thoughtfully about and gave clarifications on. Things that are important to remember from this discussion is that assault doesn’t just occur on campus, sexual assault is a societal that affects institutes of higher learning and so while faculty can and has been working more and more on creating a safe environment at UNC Charlotte by speaking with students and trying to make resources better available for the student body, an idea that while not yet perfect continues to expand and develop.

One idea that stuck out the most was the use of student groups such as Greek life to develop integrity because even though the documentary showed that frats can be used as safe havens for predatory behavior, Guobodia did a good job talking about the different ways Greek life can be influential to students as far as creating an environment of values and honor and community where someone can exist safely.

It is clear that the next step towards eliminating the threat of sexual assault is for students to take advantage of the resources this school in order to become better able to combat predatory behavior when it is presented.

Review: Future-Soul Quartet – Hiatus Kaiyote

Photos by Luis Rumbaut

I did not know what to expect as I entered The Visulite Theatre by the side of the trolley tracks in Uptown Charlotte to see Hiatus Kaiyote, but I was sure blown away by how it was set up. The venue is divided into three areas with the bar being the first thing I saw when I entered the venue. A few steps down, the second area, which is at the same level as the stage, acts like a lounge area for people just wanting to sit and spectate. Located below was the third and smallest, the area right underneath the multicolored stage, already crowded with people before the show even started.

Opening up for the night was a band from Miami named Astrea Corporation, though initially I had thought they were a duo because there was only a DJ in a plain red tee and a singer with curly hair and an army vest performing. Either way, the vibe they gave off was electrifying as the singer’s stream-like voice flowed on top of some impact fully heavy beats capturing the attention of all the people within the theater.

After a proper vibratory performance by the Astrea Corporation and a few minutes of waiting, it was time for the main event. As soon as Hiatus Kaiyote hit the stage they got down to business. Melding aspects of blues, rock, soul and jazz through their performance. Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound resonated so loud that it rattled the cups in the back of the area furthest from the stage. The band’s chemistry was so great that it generated a lot of amazing energy from the audience, as it would be hard to find someone not enjoying themselves. People danced in the lounge area, jumped and sung along with the band right below the stage.

Over all the smallness of the venue, the energy that both these bands put into performing live and the love the audience gave unto them went into creating a positive night. Personally, I might not listen to a lot of indie, but I’ve been to a few live music shows and the ones that have had good performers and audiences are very similar to the night I saw Astrea Corporation and Hiatus Kaiyote live at The Visulite Theatre.

A reflection of the new industrial era, Review: ‘Priest of the Temple’

Photos by Aleena Oliveira.

On a dry run of “Priest of the Temple,” currently located in the art exhibition space of Rowe, the exhibit consists of various multimedia pieces as visions of both domestic and far off places. The room on the upper levels of the exhibit holds three looping videos with two videos off to either side that have to do with documentation of industrial areas. While the center video is occupied by what looks like farm buildings superimposed over surreal visuals of dead creatures in the snow, or a car moving down a winter highway. In this room there is also a suffocating, almost dystopian noise that governs the senses of the viewer.

In the room below, a similar type of dystopian music plays only sounding more coherent this time around, almost like music from a fantasy video game. As a matter of fact, a lot of the artwork of the lower level reflected a sort of fantasy/sci-fi realm, with the corporate buildings sown in the background of jungle like portraits, a sort of video set with holographic like visualizations of sculptures as well as other miniature sculptures which looked like they were making a statement about pollution. All of the art mentioned so far is what stood out the most after a first viewing but it should also be mentioned that there was also what looked like pictures of offices on the upper levels.

It should also be mentioned that unless you were present at the reception in which the artists of this exhibit Jennifer and Kevin McCoy gave a lecture on their work in room 130 of Rowe, or unless you’ve read their interview with the Niner Times, or even went so far as to doing your research on each piece, you will not be able to understand the artist intent. For example, you will not know that the aforementioned center video on the second floor was filmed as a reflection of a visit to the home of a famous libertarian writer and that pretty much all the pieces fit together as reflections on the industrial landscapes that the artists have visited such as Abu Dhabi and Silicon Valley.

This lack of context in the art coupled with the epic fantastical music and sounds can be a little disorienting, but ultimately the visit is worth it a lot if you study up on what the artists intended.

An evening at the Black Box theater

Photo courtesy of Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.

On the Sept. 28, a dreary and rainy Monday, the Black Box theatre in Robinson Hall exhibited a read through for the play “Tales of the Lost Formicans” written by acclaimed playwright Constance Congdon. Like most other events on campus, it was the Niner students who made up the primary body of the audience that night, along with a few adults scattered in the crowd, which included Congdon and a couple who had brought their child. The play is narrated through the lens of “aliens” and its center of gravity is based on loss, with major themes being the loss of memory as well as the loss of love.

Starring three members of faculty: Jill Bloede, James Vesce and Jay Morong alongside special guests Robin Reed, an acclaimed writer, voice actor and artist, local actor Leo Merrick and UNC Charlotte graduate Rebecca Roy, each character was portrayed wonderfully without having to use many props. In fact, one of the highlights of this read through was the interactions between each actor as they read from their parts, which was met with much laughter from the audience.

What a shame that some people weren’t able stay and pick the mind of someone as creative as Congdon during the Q+A because she had a lot to share with the audience. Generally, Congdon focused on her writing technique and how this play related to her real life and the real world. Of the former, she gave some basic, but good advice, which was to just jump into your work, demonstrated when she said, “Once you’re really writing from a true place the play gives back.”

Of the latter, Congdon was asked about certain lines in the play and how they related to a news event about Basque terrorists, how she felt about past work such as this play that was read through, etc. These types of questionings prompted the playwright to contextualize “Tales of the Lost Formicans” in such a way that she spoke about how each character is based on someone in her life, from her father who had Alzheimer’s disease, to the group of artists she was around when she was writing the play.

Though the play itself is an entertaining piece and it was especially fun to see staff members participating in it, what really made the night were the insights given by Congdon.

The sanctuary that is Open Mic Night

Photos by Maria Saenz.

Say you were told that open mic nights can serve as spiritual experiences, would that catch your attention? If so, then you should have been to this latest happening on the Sept. 24 because it sure did feel like everyone who went left with something. Whether that something was the audience leaving with a new insight on things because of the poems said, or the support the presenters received for being courageous enough to be vulnerable on stage, by the end of the night everybody had something to enjoy about the open mic.

What began with a small crowd of spectators one minute grew into a sizable audience in the blink of an eye as the event wore on. The event was hosted by two UNC Charlotte alumni who were also part of the SlamCharlotte team that won the National Poetry Slam competition two years in row, Bluz and Carlos, the former being the Slam Master at the time. It was an honor to not only have two alumni performing on campus, but also to see two well-versed poets interact with the crowd in such a way that people feel comfortable being themselves. Both hosts made sure whenever they were performing to convey the message that ultimately the night belonged to those people in question who felt like presenting their work.

From the presenters, most of whom were students or soon to be students, with the exception of Miss Kim Hight who works over at the financial aid office, sprung an array of different topics that for the most part dealt with different aspects of identity, specifically race and gender. Those topics also merged onto the themes expressed in the rest of the poems which dealt with the strength it takes to overcome what obstacles life may bring, which talked about depression, heartbreak, physical abuse, etc.

Something sacred was born out of the shared experience of this Open Mic Night, where the spectators replied to every performance and performer with enthusiasm and every presenter put themselves into their piece, something that elevated the event to that of a spiritual affair.