College of Communication and Informations kicks off eighth annual Diversity & Inclusion Week

The festivities began on Monday with two panel discussions and a speech from UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport.

The University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information is hosting the annual Diversity and Inclusion Week during Monday, Sept. 25 through Thursday, Sept. 28.

While the celebration is a four-day long event, each day has three different sessions to cater to various student schedules.

This year’s theme is R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and every session incorporates that theme in some way.

Monday kicked off the week with a morning session titled “Mental Health and Media Effects” with Dr. Catherine Luther and UT student Tala Shatara as moderators. CNN contributor, psychologist and media analyst, Dr. Erik Fisher, was the panelist for the session.

The session covered the issue of mental health in the United States and how social media relates and feeds into that concept. Dr. Fisher talked about how the human race has let social media impact our lives so much that it is changing our brains and causing humans to feel more depressed than ever before.

Dr. Fisher gave some tips for changing habits and creating a better life. The full session can be found online here.

The afternoon session, “Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin” featured five student panelists: Justin Crawford, Ronnie Little, Kayla Parker, Crue Smith and Michelle Rodriguez. Student Lisa Oliver and Director of CCI’s Diversity Student Leaders Society, Alice Wirth, were the moderators for the session.

This discussion gave the panelists the chance to share their life stories about their personal challenges growing up and what they still go through today. They also talked about how and when they became comfortable being themselves.

In addition to the morning session, the full afternoon discussion can be found online as well.

To end the day, UT Chancellor, Beverly J. Davenport, was the keynote speaker. Her speech focused on ‘being different,’ an important topic to her and the university.

“Differences change the conversation,” Davenport said. “[differences] makes us more compassionate.”

Chancellor Davenport emphasized how important having a diverse campus is to the university. She talked about her goals to make UT more diverse and make it more welcoming for students from all over the world.

She said it is important to surround yourself with a diverse group of people, but also with some people who are similar to you.

“I wish I could go through this life without a body,” Davenport said. “We make so many judgments about what people look like.”

Furthermore, Davenport said that it is crucial to not judge people based on how they look on the outside, because you never know what’s on the inside. She said it is important to be accepting and loving of everyone no matter what.

Davenport also talked about how people need to be mindful of what they say to each other because words matter and can have a lasting effect on someone.

Davenport talked about her goals for the university and how she wants the students to help her make a difference.

“The students will lead us, [you] just have to listen,” Davenport said.

She answered questions from students about how to have a voice and make a change at the university. As someone who holds a communications degree, she found a way to connect to everyone in the audience.

Following her Q&A session, Chancellor Davenport thanked the Diversity and Leaders Society for having her and the students and faculty for coming out.

“I can’t applaud you all enough for being different with me, I can’t do it without you,” Davenport said.

A full schedule of all the events going on throughout the week can be found online.

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Published at: http://www.tnjn.com/2017/09/26/uts-cci-diversity-leaders-society-holds-week-long-diversity-inclusion-celebration/

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Yelawolf makes first tour stop in Knoxville

Southern rapper brings a party to Knoxville on his “51/50” tour

Thursday Sept. 21, the Cotton Eyed Joe concert series continued with Alabama native Michael Wayne Atha, aka Yelawolf, who made his first stop on his “51/50” tour in Knoxville.

With general admission tickets priced at ten dollars in advance, the Joe filled with people. Those in attendance stood extremely close together so they could be as close to the stage as possible.

The tour features three special guests as openers for Yelawolf. Cookup Boss opened up the show performing a few songs including “Dont Mean Nun 2 Me.” Mikey Mike followed with a slightly longer setlist that included “Cut My Hair” and “Going Charlie.” Big Henri did not perform any songs due to technical difficulties with his equipment.

IMG_0883Even though he did not perform, Big Henri introduced Yelawolf as he opened the show with “Empty Bottles.” Though the opening song was slow, Yelawolf immediately got the crowd amped up before the next song by introducing himself and the tour.

“Knoxville hasn’t seen what a real mosh pit is, so let’s show them one!” Yelawolf said.

He walked back and forth across the stage to make sure that every person on the dance floor could see him during the performance. He sprayed water bottles at the crowd, rendering them even more excited.

In the middle of his set, Yela gave a shoutout to Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, and asked if anyone had a best friend as he transitioned to his hit song “Best Friend” which features Eminem on his album.

Yelawolf continued his set with “Tennessee Love” and “Johnny Cash.”

While Yela performed mostly new songs, he performed a few hits from previous albums. He performed “Pop the Trunk” and “Daddy’s Lambo”  from “Trunk Muzik”, one of his first albums.

During one of the songs, Yela asked the crowd if they knew one of the verses and stopped rapping while the crowd continued the verse.  Then he, again, sprayed the crowd with water.

Yelawolf also performed “Let’s Roll,” “Till It’s Gone” and “Chevrolet.”

Yelawolf mixed up the pace of the show by singing some of his slower songs between the more upbeat and hard-hitting songs. From his “Love Story” album he performed “American You,” tying into his general American theme.

Yela mentioned little sayings like “this is America!” between songs. His interjections earned cheers from the crowd.

He finished his hour and a half set by thanking Knoxville for hosting him and his crew.

The “51/50” tour will be back in Tennessee on Oct. 8, 2017 for the “Slumfest” in Nashville.

Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.yelawolf.com/tour

Featured Image: Chelsea Babin

Edited by Lexie Little

Published online here

McGraw, Hill bring Soul2Soul Tour to Knoxville

Grammy Award-winning country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill took the stage of Thompson-Boling Arena Sept. 14, 2017 on their “Soul2Soul 2017” tour

For the first time in ten years, country music power couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill perform together on tour taking the stage in over 60 cities including a stop in Knoxville Sept. 14, 2017 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Thursday night’s performance filled the arena with dynamic lights, music and affectionate displays from the husband and wife duo. This is the third “Soul2Soul” tour for the couple following two record-breaking tours in 2000 and 2006-2007.

E61CFFEE-6E80-458F-95B5-FE77BBAE9EFDSinger Eric Paslay opened the show with a selection of his hit songs. He performed “Song about a Girl,” “She Don’t Love You” and  “Friday Night.” His guitarist played “Rocky Top” during one of his songs to engage the many Tennessee fans in the crowd.

McGraw and Hill spilt the show into parts: duets and solos. They started the show off by sharing the stage. They performed a new song, “Break First” ending in a staredown between the married couple. Hill won the contest, but she playfully insisted McGraw won. Small interactions like this contest occurred between songs for the duration of the show.

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Before McGraw left the stage for Hill’s solo act, he began the LSU chant met with loud “boos” from Tennessee Vol fans. Hill and McGraw teased the crowd by suggesting they would sing “Rocky Top.”

Hill started her solo set by dedicating a song to the ladies in the audience, both “young and older.”

“It’s not gonna be easy, but you’re gonna do it,” Hill said.

Hill continued her set with hit songs like “This Kiss,” “Wild One” and “Piece Of My Heart.” Hill constantly interacted with the crowd blowing kisses to everyone and trying to touch hands with as many fans as possible.

“Y’all are so friendly, I just can’t stand it,” Hill said.

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In transition to her husband’s solo set, Hill sat and played the guitar while her husband sang.

McGraw performed hit songs like “Shotgun Rider” and “Live Like You Were Dying.” He held the microphone out towards the crowd who sang the chorus.McGraw looked pleased and chuckled before continuing the next verse. He also performed “How Forever Feels,” “Where the Green Grass Grows” and “Humble and Kind.”

Hill rejoined her husband on stage to sing “Speak To A Girl.” Fans believed the show to be over after the couple sang “It’s Your Love” with a montage of their family photos in the D84A9620-D8FA-402F-A455-4296F9DB35E8background. After a few moments, Hill walked through the crowd singing “Mississippi Girl” and took pictures and gave hugs to fans. McGraw followed singing “Something Like That”  as he walked through the crowd.

The couple came back to the stage as they were elevated through fog sitting face-to-face to end the show with “I Need You” and a kiss.

The “Soul2Soul” tour continues until late October.

Edited by Lexie Little

Featured photo by Allie Chapman

Article photos by Chelsea Babin

Published at http://www.tnjn.com/2017/09/16/mcgraw-hill-bring-soul2soul-tour-knoxville-2/

Tennessee Smokies Proposal to Relocate Stadium

Tennessee Smokies owner Randy Boyd proposed last month to relocate the baseball team by 2019.

In the proposal sent to Sevierville and Sevier County, Boyd suggested the Double-A baseball team could remain playing in Sevierville through the 2018 season.

Boyd, the state’s economic and community development commissioner, recently purchased approximately 7 acres in Knoxville’s Old City for $6 million, fueling speculation he might bring baseball back to Knoxville.

A July 19 email from Sevier County Economic Development Executive Director Allen Newton cited information from Boyd and said a stadium in Knoxville would cost in the “$50 to $60 million range.”

Newton’s comments and Boyd’s proposal were in emails obtained by the News Sentinel via a public records request. Knoxville officials and Boyd began discussions on moving the Smokies to downtown Knoxville from Sevierville as early as 2014, emails obtained in a separate public records request show.

In the emails, Newton said he was “shocked” that “Knoxville and Knox County would even make a proposal to Randy Boyd Sports,” knowing significant years remain on the Tennessee Smokies lease in Sevierville. The lease expires in 2025.

UT welcomes its largest freshmen class in past 30 years

The admissions office at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has estimated that UT’s first-time freshmen enrollment has increased over 2.2 percent between fall 2015 and fall 2016.

According to Amy Blakely, assistant director of Media Relations, 4,825 first-time freshmen have enrolled for the 2016 through 2017 school year as of Aug. 4.

There were only 4,719 first-time freshmen that were enrolled for the 2015 through 2016 school year, according to last years fact book.

UT estimated that there will be more than 1,300 transfer students (other freshmen) enrolling for the fall.

This year is the largest freshmen class to enroll in the past 30 years. It also marks the sixth consecutive year of growth.

“We’ve improved our graduation rate,” said Blakely. “As we graduate more students, we have room to admit and enroll more freshmen and transfer students.”

According to top25.utk, between 2010 and 2015, the university’s six-year graduation rate rose 9 percent, the ACT scores of our incoming freshmen grew to reflect those at the peer institutions, and first-year student retention rose by 3 percent.

“We had one of the largest, most qualified applicant pools ever and we’re proud to welcome some of our state’s and our nation’s best and brightest freshmen to our campus,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

Based on the estimated data, 78.8 percent of the freshmen are first-time students and 21.2 percent are classified as other freshmen.

According to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment from 2015, 21.7 percent of the total student body were freshmen.

Graph A show’s the total headcount enrollment for the 2015 school year.

In 2015, 98.9 percent of the freshmen were full-time and the other 1.1 percent were part-time.

Based on the 2015 data, there has been a decrease by .7 percent in full-time first-time freshmen enrollment for the 2016 school year.

As of Aug. 4, there were 159 part-time freshmen enrolled for 2016—which is eight times greater than the 19 that were enrolled in 2015.

Graph B shows the full-time equivalent enrollment for 2015.

“Strategic efforts to involve more alumni, current students, and faculty and staff in outreach initiatives contributed to the 17,500-plus applications received from students seeking admission this year,” said Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge.

Cheek went on a nationwide bus tour to share what the volunteer community felt like with prospective students and families.

“I think these were incredible ways to raise awareness about UT and recruit the outstanding students from our home state and beyond,” Alldredge said. “By attending these and other admissions events, undecided students and prospective students learned about the opportunities they can find at UT.

The incoming 2016 class is about 18 percent minority. They represent 41 states and 11 countries.

According to the release from media relations, about 83 percent of this year’s freshmen are from Tennessee.

The average ACT score is 27 and about 10 percent of the freshmen are enrolled in UT’s honors program.

According to Blakely, about 31 percent of the incoming freshmen are eligible for Pell grants. And about 96 percent of in-state freshmen qualify for the for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship.

Classes do not start until Wednesday, Aug. 17, but some students have started to return to campus last Friday. UT expects over 7,200 students to live on campus.

“Many of our new freshmen are arriving on campus this week with a clear sense of what it means to be a Volunteer,” said Alldredge.

Enrollment numbers are not official until the 14th day of class.

More information about enrollment can be found here.

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Taboo Sex Offender Registry Brought to Attention

The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry is necessary but not something most think about very often, according to a few West Knoxville residents.

According to the TBI’s map offender search, there are 20 offenders within a two-mile radius of the Woodlands West apartment complex.

“I’ve never even looked at the registry. It’s not something I think about hardly ever. I think because I am a big man and don’t often feel victimized or feel like I should watch my back,” said Adam Eichelberger “So I am slightly surprised to learn about the offenders that live nearby.”

Eichelberger is a UT student who lives in West Knoxville at the Woodlands West apartment complex.

West Knoxville resident Connor McCallum, who also lives in the same complex as Eichelberger, was surprised by the number of offenders in a two-mile radius of his home.

“I think the registry is a good thing to have because if I was moving somewhere with my small children, I would want to know about the people living by us,” said McCallum.

Eichelberger thinks the registry is a good thing for the sake of transparency in the communities, but he also has a some reservations about it.

“I think it is a little unfair for the offenders maybe because they cannot escape their crimes even after they serve their time, but honestly, I don’t have any respect for sex offenders anyways,” said Eichelberger.

McCallum feels the registry is unfair to some people simply because of the type of offense they committed.

“It’s pretty awful that someone has to be registered as a sex offender for peeing outside  [indecent exposure] because then every time they move somewhere they have to go door-to-door explaining who they are and why,” said McCallum.

The offenses listed on the registry include:

  • Sexual battery
  • Statutory rape
  • Aggravated prostitution
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Indecent exposure upon a third or subsequent conviction
  • Spousal sexual battery

Both Eichelberger and McCallum have never looked at the list nor have they been notified of any offenders living near them at any point in their lives.

More information can be found about the law at:                  https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/tbi/attachments/2014%20Sex%20Offender%20Law.pdf

More information about the registry and a list of offenders can be found at:                  https://www.tn.gov/tbi/topic/sex-offender-registry-search