Dan and Alex talk about toboggans, SGA elections, Justin Bieber, the interns, Alex’s ADD, the new, new Facebook, Dr. Pepper and pet peeves.
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Editor-in-chief Alex Green and News Editor Dan Jackson discuss the issues of the day, including: SGA VP elections, Chick-fil-A, Twitter, pen-tapping on public radio, networking, starting a newspaper in Bulgaria and gingers, among others.
By Daniel Jackson
SGA believes there are too many opinions and not enough gospel when Bryan handles controversial topics.
The class presidents of SGA met with the Bryan Board of Trustees Friday, October 26 and critiqued how the Office of Spiritual Life Formation handled the topics of homosexuality, the relationship between Islam and Christianity, and the topic of diversity.
“The problem with each of these controversial issues is that they have not been clearly presented in light of the gospel,” said Matt Dennis, sophomore class president.
Dennis believed that the college has been incrementally slipping from its Christian foundation, just in the way that Harvard and Yale slipped from their Christian start.
“If you look at it in a long-term perspective, it can become a bigger issue.”
SGA told the Board of Trustees that issues like Homosexuality get talked about, but never really addressed. At the couch event last year, the college said it was a big issue that needs to be talked about, but never actually addressed the question said Amy Morris, president of SGA.
Dennis said the Diversity forum focused on what divided the campus rather than what unites. It’s an important issue to him because its one that is “tearing this country apart.”
“(We) need to celebrate unity, not differences,” he said.
Lastly, SGA talked to the trustees about Buddy Hoffman’s visit to Bryan College. In the fall of 2011, Hoffman spoke in the first week of chapel about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.
Morris said there were serious theological flaws in Hoffman’s message and not many students were critical of the message.
Dennis talked to the Office of Spiritual Formation after SGA’s meeting with the trustees. After meeting with Ben Norquist, director of faith and missions, Dennis said there may have been miscommunication between the speakers and the students.
“He (Norquist) doesn’t think that’s what they believe. I’m still going to think about it instead of saying ‘okay’.”
Norquist said that the office will not change chapel because of SGA’s meeting with the Board of Trustees because the chapel team evaluates chapel based on a student survey conducted each year. Chapel is an educational part of Bryan College which introduces speakers that love the gospel and are bible-believing to the students. However, those speakers might articulate their belief differently than what students are used to, Norquist said.
Twice a year, members of SGA meet with the Board of Trustees. The trustees have several meetings on campus during a two day period in which they discuss budget issues and the long-term trends of the college.
Gary Phillips, a Bryan trustee who sits on the committee which heard the SGA members, declined an interview with Triangle, citing a pledge of confidentiality he took when he became a trustee.
“I will say, however, that you have excellent representation in SGA,” he said. ”They were thoughtful, serious about their responsibilities, and clear in their points; I greatly enjoyed hearing from them and talking with them.”
The SGA members were quick to say that they respect the Office of Spiritual Formation.
“They can do their best,” said Morris, “but they don’t always know exactly what that person is going to say so you have to give them a little bit of a break.”
By Dan Jackson and Meredith Kreigh
While crime rates rose across Tennessee campuses last year by 4.2 percent, Bryan’s crime rate stayed low.
Among the incidents last year, Bryan dealt with a string of burglaries in its dorms, one simple assault, two instances of vandalism and a liquor law violation in the time between Jan. 2011 and Dec. 2011. However, the 19 incidents that occurred on campus last year is a small fraction of the 7,493 incidents that occurred across campuses around the state, according to data released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Statistics Unit, there were 3.96 crimes committed per 1000 students on Bryan’s campus last calendar year.
This starkly contrasted the 31.82 crimes per 1000 at Tennessee State University and even the 9.87 crimes per 1000 at Lee University—to name only two of the ninety-three institutions highlighted by the TBI.
Doug Schott, director of the physical plant, said Bryan is blessed to have a peaceful campus.
“I think that the kids that come here are less likely to do bad stuff,” he said.
However, Schott said the campus sees one or two people every year—student or non-student–who “have issues that they act out on.”
The Bryan is an open campus, with five roads leading from the hill and thus non-students are able to come onto campus. Schott said most are unaware of the security features on campus: the 36 security cameras, the daytime police officer and the night watch patrol.
In 2010 and 2009, Bryan experienced 18 incidents of crime each year. The numbers are small, and it could easily be skewed by one criminal mind on campus, Schott said.
“I think a math wizard would tell you the data is too small to make any inferences one way or the other,” he said.
The college is required to report crime data to the government because of the Clery Act.
The Clery Act, instituted in 1990, was a reaction to the rape and murder of Lehigh University freshman Jeanne Ann Clery in 1986. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to document and make available crime statistics for the past three consecutive years.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation then took the data and compiled it in a state-wide report of college crime statistics which it released April of this year.
Crime steadily rose across the state’s campuses as the spring 2011 semester went on. The incidents of crime on Tennessee campuses peaked in April and then dropped during the summer.
The number of incidents rose again as school started up. Tennessee saw nearly 640 instances of crime in September and 650 incidents in October. But then crime declined as the school year eased into December.
The report found larceny and theft made up 37.1 percent of crime on campus. The most common theft was when the suspect took computer hardware or software from a building.
The report also said larceny and burglary most often occurs during the week, rising steadily from Monday and peaking on Thursdays.
Bryan experienced this kind of crime last year. November 2011 presented a string of five burglaries within two days in Huston and Arnold Residence Halls. Five Bryan students reported that an ASUS laptop, USB mouse, two Macbook pro laptops, an MSI laptop, a Lenova charger and an iPod Touch were stolen from their rooms.
According to police reports, the victims left their doors unlocked. Many of them lived on the second floor of their building.
Resident Director of Huston Kari Harpest said it is the responsibility of students to take extra precautions to make sure that their possessions are safe.
She wasn’t really surprised at the crimes since a lot of the girls don’t think about security.
“We encourage the girls to treat their room like home, but instead some of them apply that to the whole dorm; this means that they don’t lock their doors,” she said.
By Daniel Jackson
The Bryan Triangle
The Sequoyah Nuclear Power plant in Soddy Daisy might be one of the sites where the U.S. government uses plutonium to provide energy to the South. This plutonium was originally designed for warheads.
The U.S. Department of Energy describes the project on their website as the 21st Century equivalent of beating swords into plowshares.
DOE spokesman Joshua McConaha said the government plans to take the weapons grade plutonium, mix it with uranium to make Mixed Oxide fuel, or MOX, and use it to fuel nuclear reactors in the United States.
The DOE said this is their preferred plan for dealing with the weaponized plutonium that was stockpiled during the Cold War and they list the Tennessee Valley Authority as a cooperating agency with their plans.
However, TVA spokesman Ray Golden said TVA has not made a decision whether or not they will use the MOX fuel, and they will not make a decision for a while.
“TVA will only go forward with use of MOX fuel if it is: safe; lower cost; NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) approved; environmentally acceptable,” said Scott Brooks, TVA spokesman.
McConaha said MOX fuel is an established part of nuclear technology. Over 30 commercial reactors worldwide use MOX fuel to power their reactors. The program in the U.S. is based off French technology.
Converting plutonium into MOX fuel is the only way to permanently dispose of the element so it cannot be used as a weapon in the future, said the DOE.
The plan to convert plutonium into MOX grew out of talks between Russia and the U.S. about nonproliferation of nuclear materials worldwide. Together, the two countries agreed to dispose of 36 metric tons of plutonium, enough material to manufacture 17,000 warheads.
“The effort to dispose of surplus weapons grade plutonium through MOX fuel was critical to obtaining Russian cooperation to eliminate their weapons grade plutonium,” said McConaha.
The Alliance of Nuclear Accountability criticizes the plan because they believe the infrastructure is not in place for the nuclear reactors to accept the MOX fuel. Even though companies have used MOX fuel in their reactors, no one has ever used plutonium made for weapons before. Current plans for MOX use do not include testing for the new fuel.
“Given the significant obstacles that confront this program as now conceived,” said Tom Clements, Nonproliferation Policy Director for the alliance, “DOE must begin a full review of plutonium disposition options and develop new approaches not tied to use of costly experimental plutonium fuel.”
If TVA decides it does not want to use MOX fuel in their reactors, the DOE said other utility companies have said they were interested in using the MOX fuel.
“The Department is confident that we will have utilities under contract when the MOX facility is complete and prepared to provide fuel,” said McConaha.
Golden said local residents would see their electricity bills decrease if TVA decides to use MOX fuel in their reactors.
The company tries to develop a secure energy balance. Besides using nuclear power, TVA uses hydroelectric power, green energy and coal. Golden said the company does this in order to keep costs secure.