A Night in the World

Jessica McHenry

Online Editor

Mississippi University for Women’s International Student Association held its annual International Night on April 10 in Rent Auditorium to celebrate the many different cultures that are represented on campus.

The W is known for its diverse student population, including students from the countries of Nepal, Japan, Nigeria and Brazil. The event provided these students with a way to display their unique cultures and traditions through song and dance.  

Dr. Bridget Pieschel, Chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy, and a professor of English, gave the welcome speech for International Night.

“These students are brave enough to go out and be citizens of the world,” said Dr. Pieschel. “They’re brave enough to become those kinds of people on whom nothing is lost. And to have them here and to have them educate us is a true value of the W.”

There were 12 acts at International Night. The audience was captivated with all the different cultures being portrayed at the event.  The acts included dances from Nigeria and Nepal, as well as some in the style of Bollywood. Additional acts included a South African peace hymn, Ukuthula, which was performed by the MUW Chamber Choir, and songs performed by those from the Philippines, Brazil and Japan. Some of these acts were emotional because they were performed by senior students who are graduating this year.

During the breaks, the audience was challenged with some world trivia, giving the performers a chance to prepare for their next sets. At the end of the show, the students showed off their countries’ attire with a fashion show.

The international students enjoyed being a part of the event and putting it together for everyone.

“My favorite part was rehearsal with the girls,” said Deepika Joshi, one of the performers. “We had unlimited laughter and fun, made fun of each other and laughed at ourselves too.”

Joshi performed in a “Seniorita Dance” with several other girls.

People from all over the community came to celebrate this diverse group of students, including students from Mississippi State University.

ISA is planning to bring the event back for next year and everyone is encouraged to attend.

Overcoming the Inner Voice

Urusha Silwal

Broadcast Editor

I had literally walked out of my dorm room, gone down into my car and left. The next thing I knew, I was at a truck stop in Louisiana with no money, no gas, I was lost,” said Janie Jones, a student at Mississippi University for Women.

It was a friend’s help and a voice which brought her back safely to Mississippi that day. A voice which made her realize that she is not the first person who is going through that phase. A voice which prompted her to seek help. Before few months, it was the same inner voice that distracted her from priorities, made her feel rejected and unimportant. The voice that didn’t understand the value of her existence. The voice’s domination that people normally refer to as Depression. In her case, the change was inevitable.

Depression in college students has been increasing lately. Depression is a common, yet serious mental illness characterized by sad and anxious feelings. Normally these emotions last a day or two, but if it lasts for many days it can affect daily activities. Especially with students, it can affect their academic performance and decrease their self-esteem. College students are not fully matured mentally and emotionally. They are young adults and still learning to cope with different situations emotionally. Homesickness, stress, grief, relationship conflicts, identity crisis can be some major causes of depression for college students.

Dr. Deb Wells is a licensed professional counselor at Mississippi University for Women. Since more than 31 years, she has worked in counseling field helping students deal with their anxieties, depression and other mental health concerns.

“A lot of times we don’t know if the anxiety caused the depression or vice versa.  In college, a student may not have good grades, they might struggle with social skills to interact with people, they might not have many friends. They may have been a big fish in a little pond before, but when they come to college they are a little fish in a big pond,” said Wells.

The cause of depression varies from individual to individual. Jones was insulted twice as a kid when she was two and eight years old. Her aunt was very manipulative, and she would tell her that nobody cared for her. Her mom suffered from an illness which impeded her mobility. She started blaming herself for all that happened. Having experienced such things, she felt rejected, and always looked for acceptance from other people as a child.

When she moved from Nevada  to Mississippi to attend college, she had to stay with the same narcissist aunt. Her aunt tore her down to build her own self-esteem. She did not let Jones communicate with any of her family members. Therefore, at the end of the first semester in college, she ended up being homeless after deciding to move out of her aunt’s house. She moved back to campus dorm in her second semester. That’s when Jones lost all communication with her family, she gradually lost interest in her studies and her passion- Music.

“That phase was devastating for me. I did not want to do anything. I would go out, go for long walks at two in the morning to the Riverwalk, which is not very safe. Every day was a struggle; to put my clothes on, walk to the class, not smack somebody when they said things I didn’t like. I was changing my personality without knowing who I was. I felt like somebody else was controlling me,” said Jones.

In her sophomore year, she got assaulted by her friend whom she trusted a lot. That was a big relapse point in her life which made her stranded in Louisiana as mentioned in the beginning. Finally, self-awakening along with the support of co-workers, and church members made her take the first step to address depression in a proper way. She gathered enough courage in the fourth semester of college to consult a professional counselor at the W. And slowly her life changed for the better.

A lot of students suffering from depression hesitate to even contact the counseling center. Some of them even have a misconception that people will think that they are crazy if they go to the counseling center.

Wells said getting the students to do their homework is the biggest challenge when it comes to handling depression and anxiety.

“We assign several activities and homework for  the student. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the students’ effort and determination,” said Wells.

“When the students come with their problems, we firstly focus on listening to all the details of their issue. As counselors, our goal is to help the student arrive at their own conclusion rather than giving advice,” said Rob’Dreka Shaw, a counselor at MUW counseling center.

Jones saw a big turning point after she changed her attitude about depression, took it seriously and committed enough time for homework. She was assigned to write one thing that she liked about herself every day. Over the course of time, it made her feel special and appreciate the things around her. She made herself go out with friends, do physical exercise and focus on her music.

 “One of the most important things that students must do is self-care. You need to go out, and do things that are enjoyable to you. Those things are going to keep you energetic. Every now and then buy something that makes you happy,” said Shaw.

In Jones’s Case, relentless efforts, and the optimistic attitude of not giving up and trying finally made her depression free in junior year of college.

“You might not be happy about doing it but there is something about movement and doing things. If you can consistently do one thing in a day, have one conversation, make yourself laugh once even if it’s a fake one it releases certain chemicals which helps you get over depression quicker,” said Jones.

Wells and Shaw deal with depression and anxiety cases of college students almost every day. Both said every case, and every student’s personality is different. The cause, consequence, and the solution are not the same for everybody.

According to Shaw, what really got her to work with college students was the fact that she gets to work with soon to be future citizens of  the society.

“The highlight for me is that “Ahaaaa” moment when over the course of sessions student clients come up with the answer to their own questions. Since college students are growing into adults, deep down they know the solution to their problems. We just try to make them act on it,” said Shaw.

After all, mental illnesses do not define a person, the strength, and courage to overcome it does. One should not be hesitant to talk about mental illness. Mental illness should be taken seriously. Talking to a professional is a great way to deal with it.  Resources such as counseling center and health center are available in many universities. College students  just need to utilize them.

Big changes are coming to campus: Construction, renovation and demolition are underway

Big changes are coming to campus: Construction, renovation and demolition are underway

Lauren Trimm


    The W’s campus will be taking on a different look soon, with the remodeling of the Demonstration School and the demolition of both Taylor Hall and Keirn Hall. 

    These changes have been in the works for a while now and are finally able to become a reality.

    “What I’m hoping will happen out of all this is that our infrastructure will be upgraded to provide the ability to deliver modern facilities,” said Nora Miller, senior vice president for administration and chief financial officer at The W.

    The Demonstration School, which had been closed and unused for several years, is in the process of receiving an $8.2 million renovation. Construction for the project began in January 2018 and is currently six percent complete. Upon completion, the school will be renamed Turner Hall. The newly renovated Turner Hall will house the Speech Language Pathology program, the Speech and Hearing Clinic and a large tiered classroom/auditorium that will be available for both the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and other university programming. The project is expected to be completed by June 2019, and is being funded by state general obligation bonds.

    Preplanning for the demolition of Taylor Hall and Keirn Hall has begun. The goal is to have plans and funding in place in order to bid the project out in Spring 2019 and begin demolition in Summer 2019. A new culinary arts building will replace the halls.

    “Our plans for the new culinary building would provide for four kitchens which are going to be a much bigger pull on the electrical system than what we currently have,” said Miller. “If we are successful in getting funding from the current legislative session bond funding, that would be used for the demolition of Taylor and Keirn. It would be used for this electrical upgrade, and it would be used for some other things that aren’t as exciting as what we’ve been working on lately.”

    There are several new construction plans for the future in addition to Turner Hall, Taylor Hall and Keirn Hall. The renovation and expansion of the John Clayton Fant Memorial Library is complete, except for certain technology installations. The W is working with an Audio-Visual Consultant and with the State of Mississippi Information Technology services to produce technology for the tiered classroom and the study rooms. This process is also being funded by state general obligation bonds, and the remaining technology will be in place as funding is provided.

    Hogarth Dining Center is undergoing repairs to its infrastructure. Students noticed just before Spring Break that the cafeteria was closed and meal services were moved temporarily into the Subway location. The cafeteria is now open again. Because the dishwashing machine will be inoperable during the repairs, Sodexo will only be using paper and plastic products while the repairs are being made. Additionally, the parking lot behind Hogarth will be closed off during the repairs. Only the Sodexo catering van and delivery vehicles will be allowed to have access to it. Miller said the repairs are nearing completion. This project is being funded by the Mississippi Bureau of Building, Grounds and Real Property Management. This is a $700,000 project.

    The university has also been working to add onto the existing Physical Plant Building. A 4,477-square foot single-story addition and a 2,500-square foot warehouse are being built adjacent to the existing storage buildings. This $1,059,550 project is estimated to be complete by the end of next month. Miller said it is 96 percent complete and is funded by state general obligation bonds.

    Athletics have returned to The W, which means that construction has occurred in order to create athletics facilities on campus. The most noticeable of these facilities is the newly renovated Don Usher Softball field, located on 15th Street South. This is the result of a $716,399 project for improvements to the softball field. These improvements include an artificial turf playing field, fencing, windscreens, bullpens, scoreboard, deck, backstop netting and pads, field lighting and updates to the press box, concession area and restroom facilities. The renovations are 95 percent complete and are funded from university auxiliary funds and the Mississippi University for Women Foundation. The windscreens and deck came from athletics fundraising through sponsors and donations.

    Because of the carbon monoxide scare last semester, safety improvements have been made to the residence halls on campus. All residence hall mechanical and fire alarm systems have been inspected and evaluated by professionals, and carbon monoxide detectors have been placed in the mechanical rooms on every floor. Obstructions that may restrict airflow around the boilers have been removed, and air intake ducts have been extended where needed. Any necessary repairs have been made. The project was funded by university plant funds and is estimated to cost around $60,000.

    Additionally, the mechanical engineer offered two options for modifications to the south campus residence halls. These include structural changes or boiler replacements. Replacing the boilers is ultimately the best solution.

    “Our goal is to have the replacements in place by next year’s heating season,” said Miller.

    “We are closely watching legislative activity on bond bills for these and other projects,” said Miller.

    Several other projects will begin in the future.

    “We’re looking at what is going to be needed to bring baseball and perhaps soccer onto campus rather than at other facilities in the area,” said Miller. “We are also looking at residence halls so we can accommodate more students and provide the type of housing that students are looking for.”

Baseball and softball teams show promise

Price Hughes

Sports Editor

One of the hardest things to do in sports is work your way from the ground up.

Getting a program started is one of the most difficult undertakings an athletic department is likely to face, and it’s not something that happens overnight. It can take years. Sometimes universities are never able to cross the threshold and turn that program into a winner with the type of talent to make that winning sustainable.

While dealing with ups and downs, the MUW softball and baseball teams have seen some success in their opening seasons, which is something many new programs can’t say.

Over spring break, the softball team faced a grueling eight games over a four-day span in South Carolina and Georgia.

The Owls softball team opened its spring break road trip on March 12 by splitting two games with Southern Wesleyan in Central, S.C. Over the next two days, the Owls dominated Converse College to the tune of a four-game sweep in Spartansburg, S.C. They then dropped the final two games of the road trip to Piedmont College on March 15 in Demorest, Ga.

After a few days off, the softball team returned to action with a doubleheader on March 20 against William Carey. The Owls struggled in their return home, dropping both games, which moved their record to 12-12 on the season.

The doubleheader against William Carey is part of a seven-game home stand for the Owls. They have doubleheaders against Concordia-Alabama and Talladega on March 24 and 26, respectively, and a solo game against Mississippi Valley State on March 27.

The season is also in full swing for the MUW baseball team.

March 17 saw the Owls split a doubleheader with Concordia-Alabama. The Owls used a dynamic offensive attack to dominate the first game 16-6, before falling 5-4 in the second game.

The Owls returned home on March 20 with a doubleheader against Blue Mountain College. The Owls fell to Blue Mountain in both games, which brought them to 10-9 on the season.

The team will face Tougaloo in a doubleheader at home on March 24. It will then go back on the road for a doubleheader at Selma on March 31.

With softball and baseball past the halfway mark in their respective seasons, they’ll look to finish strong and build on the promise that both programs have already shown

The W prepares for 2018 homecoming

Vyuanna Harrington


   Mississippi University for Women has a host of events and activities planned for Homecoming weekend. The festivities will start on Thursday, March 22, and conclude on Sunday, March 25. The schedule below contains all events and activities, their dates, times and locations. For more information about Homecoming please call (662) 329-7148 or visit www.muw.edu.

March 22

  • 4:30 p.m. - Homecoming Court Dinner Party at the Hogarth Student Center with student performances following at the Bryan Green Gazebo

  • 6-7:30 p.m. - The Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture Series at Parkinson Hall (presented by the Ina E. Gordy Honors College and hosted by John T. Edge, author of “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South,” director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and contributor to Garden & Gun and Southern Living). This event is free and open to the public.

  • 8 p.m. - Performance by students from the Department of Music in the Kossen Auditorium at Poindexter Hall. This event is free.

March 23

  • 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  Registration in the lobby of Welty Hall

  • 9:30 a.m. - A campus tour led by President Jim Borsig starting at the Old Maids’ Gate near the College Street entrance

  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - The Golden Girls Luncheon will honor the Class of 1968 in the Pope Banquet Room at Hogarth Dining Center. Tickets are required for this event. Members of the Class 1968 receive a complimentary ticket with their registration.

  • 2 p.m. - A tour and update of campus starting on the second floor of Welty Hall will be offered by the Office of Admissions. Shuttles will be available.

  • 2-3:30 p.m. - "Reading, Writing, Living" will feature the work of three alumni.

  • 3:30 p.m. - The MUW Alumni Association Annual Meeting will take place in the Kossen Auditorium at Poindexter Hall.

  • 4:30-6 p.m. - The MUWAA Lowndes County Chapter will host “The Art of Terry Cherry” and “Unique Visions: Elayne Goodman and Herbert Reith” and celebrate the naming of the main gallery in honor of Ralph Hudson at the MUW Galleries in Summer Hall. Food will be provided by the Lowndes County Chapter.

  • 6 p.m. - The Long Blue Line Auction and Gala at the Hogarth Dining Center, second floor (dinner is $40)

March 24

  • 8-10 a.m. - Breakfast at Wesley and registration will be available at 8 a.m.

  • 8:30-9:15 a.m. - The MUW Social Organization Alumni Council Planning Committee will host an informational meeting outlining the mission, goals and first steps toward forming a single and united voice of communication between social organization alumni, students and the university.

  • 9:30 a.m. - Class reunion photos will take place on front campus

  • 1:30-5 p.m. - The Black Alumni Reunion will celebrate black excellence with special guests, food, fun and fellowship next to Bryan Green Gazebo (The cost is $7 per person).

  • 2 p.m. - All speech-language pathology and audiology alumni are invited to the MUW Speech and Hearing Clinic to enjoy complimentary coffee, tea and cake with the faculty and students.

  • 5 p.m. - Celebrate the 2018 MUW Alumni Association Award recipients with wine and cheese in the Atrium of the Fant Library

  • 6 p.m. - The Class of 1968 Reunion Dinner in Summer Hall, while the Gingko Gathering, a dinner for all, will be in the Pope Banquet Room at Hogarth Dining Center

  • 8 p.m. - "Last Call" celebrating the career of Professor William "Peppy" Biddy with a concert from musicals of the last 30 years, with alumni and students reprising their original cast roles will be held in the Black Box Theatre at Cromwell Communications Center. The tickets are $10 for general admission and $50 for premium seating, but is sold out.

Sunday 25

  • 9 a.m. - Chapel service, led by the MUW Wesley Foundation - It will be a remembrance of those who have died since the previous homecoming.

  • 10:30 a.m. – Brunch in the Hogarth Dining Center. Tickets will be available at the door.

A closer look at recent crimes on the W's campus leads to more questions

Anna Clare Dudley and Price Hughes

Senior Reporter and Sports Editor

The W’s campus sprawls across more than 114 acres, with most of the buildings tucked inside a system of walls and gates. At night the gates are locked, restricting access from several roads that feed into campus during the day.

    The gates can give an illusion of safety, though. There is no way to make a campus like Mississippi University for Women’s absolutely free from danger — especially given that a railroad track makes its way across the back side of campus.

    Students and faculty can often be found in campus buildings until late at night working on projects, research or grading. But now many of them say they are wary about walking on campus at night, and they look for other ways to reach their dorms or cars.

    Over the years The W has had a few isolated incidents that shook confidence in campus safety. Recently, though, there were two incidents that occurred within six weeks of each other that have caused people to question how safe The W campus is and how transparent the university has been regarding those incidents.

    The Spectator decided to look more deeply into the issue of campus safety, including steps currently being taken by the administration to improve security. Many people expressed private concerns, but would not speak publicly. Others would not address specific situations. But everyone does agree on one thing: safety is one of the most important issues on campus.


Dec. 13, 2017

    On this Wednesday evening, a W Alert was issued at 10:53 p.m. stating “a robbery occured on campus at 8:40 P.M. There is no threat to campus at this time. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings.” No further details were sent to campus, but WCBI reported that it was an armed robbery and that a professor was “reportedly struck and robbed.”

    That alert was issued almost two hours following the incident, and few details were released. It was near the end of the semester, and most people moved on with their holiday plans. Yet, there were nagging question at the beginning of this semester. What really happened that night?

    Police Chief Danny Patton is in his sixth year as chief of the MUW Police Department. He recognizes not only the need for safety, but the very feeling of safety. That is why there are so many procedures in place to try and make the W’s campus as safe as possible in a part of town where quite a bit of violence occurs. The W’s campus is located within the city, and it is not immune to what happens around it.

    But when asked what happened on Dec. 13, Patton said he could not comment directly about any incident on campus. The Spectator was instead referred to University Relations, which sent over copies of official university releases about the incident.

    The Spectator was able to speak with the professor involved in the incident, and she agreed to provide information about what happened. She wants to remain anonymous given the severity of what occurred and to also not make this about her. Instead, she wants this to help bring about improvements in campus safety. Here is her account of what happened that night:


Wed., Dec 13, during final exam week. 8:30 pm. I was walking to my office. My grade book, notes, computer and phone were in my work tote on my shoulder. I was in a normally heavily-trafficked area of campus, just outside the campus police department, close to the Subway sandwich shop. A man was also walking there. He said “Hi;” I said “Hi.” Then he walked towards me and said “Excuse me,” lunged at me with his right arm raised, and struck me hard on the back of the head with a smooth, hard object. I don’t know what it was. I tried to get away, but he held my arm and continued to strike me in the head. I screamed loudly and continuously. Meanwhile, he pushed me down onto the sidewalk where he continued hitting me in the head repeatedly, using both fists. Discovering he had let go of my left arm, I covered my head with both of my hands while continuing to scream. Eventually he paused, lifted me partway up from the sidewalk, shouted “bitch!” and struck me hard and deliberately in the side of the head with the object again, then flung me back to the sidewalk. After that, he pulled the tote bag off of my shoulder and ran off with it. Immediately afterwards, two young women, one of whom was my former student, came through the area and discovered me bleeding from the head. An ambulance was called, and I was sent to Baptist ER where I received multiple staples to seal the gashes in my head. Other injuries were bruises to my head, bruises and abrasions across both hands, bruises to my left arm, twisted neck and hip where I landed.


    University police said they stopped the suspect a few minutes after the robbery, but he threw down her stolen belongings and ran away. The suspect, Dominico Saddler, 33, was arrested on Feb. 14 by Columbus police who were serving a warrant. Saddler is charged with armed robbery and two counts of burglary.

    The W released a statement regarding Saddler’s arrest.

    MUW President Jim Borsig said, “I appreciate the interagency collaboration between the Columbus Police Department, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the MUW Police Department. The good work by all three agencies led to this arrest.”

    No update regarding the actual circumstances of the incident was provided, and the university has made no other comment regarding the assault and robbery.


Jan. 30, 2018

    On this Tuesday night, students, faculty and staff were surprised to receive a W-Alert at 8:16 p.m. stating “a robbery has been reported on 11th St near Pohl Gym. Victim was not injured and suspect not located. No imminent threat to campus at this time. Please continue to monitor your surroundings and be cautious and alert.”

    The following day the university sent out a safety bulletin regarding the incident that contained the information that the robbery had taken place at 7:29 p.m., almost an hour before the W-Alert was issued.

    The rest of the bulletin read as follows:

    The incident occurred on 11th Street in the MUW Lot adjacent to the Education Building.

    The student reported that she was leaving Stark Recreation Center and was approached by a male who demanded her purse, which was in the trunk of her vehicle. The individual was described as a black male, 5 feet tall, wearing a black leather jacket and black pants. He was last seen traveling west on Fifth Avenue South on foot.

    Several students in buildings in the area near where the robbery took place were nervous that evening, given that the robber escaped. Local media, including WCBI, reported that it was an armed robbery.

    The university has issued no further information regarding the incident, and the police chief added no further information.


Security on Campus

    These incidents have prompted students, faculty and staff to question if there is enough of a police presence on campus. (See “Is the W a safe place?” on page 3).

    There are many different gates across campus, both for traffic and pedestrians. Each night, all the street gates and many of the pedestrian gates are locked at a certain time as a means of precaution.

    “It depends on what events are going on around campus, but we usually try to get everything locked down at 7,” said Patton.

    It is impossible to lock down the campus completely because there is a train track that runs through the back side of the campus.

    “We’re trying to lock them [the walk-through gates] down at the same time that the coffee shop closes,” said Chief Patton.

    There are currently nine officers on staff at the W’s Police Department. Patton is currently trying to add two more officers, and he is hopeful that the budget approval will go through.

    He also says that unless there is an event going on, each night the officer at the gate at the front of campus should be checking the IDs of anyone trying to get on campus.

    No matter how many procedures the police department has to keep this campus safe, it is impossible to keep it completely safe. Incidents can and do occur.

    Many people, who preferred not to have their names used, expressed the feeling that there should be police officers patrolling on foot, or at least an increase in the amount of patrols around campus at any given time. Most don’t expect it to be a risk-free environment, but they would feel better if police were more visible on campus.


Concerns Remain

    But, for many people on campus, the question remains, are the police department and the university being transparent in the sharing of information about incidents that occur? Is the university as safe as it can be?

    As several professors noted, this is a discussion that needs to take place on campus to ensure the safety of all who are part of The W or who attend events at the university. Providing a safe environment — and one in which people feel safe — is a top priority for any university, and The W is no exception.




Carbon Monoxide leak causes scare for W students

Lauren Trimm


Thirty four students from Mississippi University for Women were admitted to the hospital Tuesday after a carbon monoxide leak was reported in Kincannon Hall about 5 a.m. According to an official at Baptist Golden Triangle, the students were transported to the hospital either by ambulance or personal vehicle. By late afternoon, all students had been released from the hospital.

Columbus Fire and Rescue Spokesman Anthony Colom said that the gas leak was caused by a boiler in the basement of Kincannon. As a result of the malfunctioned boiler, the gas leak spread to all of the floors in the residence hall. Students were evacuated to Stark Recreation Center to insure their safety.

Audacity presents 3rd Annual Dance Palooza

Robert Scott


Dance Palooza is an annual event hosted by Mississippi University for Women’s Audacity Dance Team. The event will take place Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in Nissan Auditorium.

This year, Dance Palooza will be held in honor of Taboris Smith and Janiqua Williams. Taboris and Williams have ichthyosis and muscular dystrophy, respectively. Audacity and the other participants are hosting this event to raise awareness for these diseases. Kelvin Cockrell, one of the performers, shared some information about the event and explained the purpose behind it.