Supreme Court rules for cheerleader in free speech case

Teaching good manners does not outweigh free expression of off-campus speech

(Creative Commons graphic)

By Clarion News

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed public school students a landmark First Amendment victory, ruling 8-1 that off-campus speech is a protected form of expression.

In 2017, freshman cheerleader Brandi Levy became upset when she was denied a spot on the 2018 varsity squad. On a Saturday afternoon, Levy and a friend sent a expletive-laced Snapchat photo (complete with their middle fingers raised) from a local coffee shop. “F*ck school, f*ck softball, f*ck cheerleading, f*ck everything,” said the Snap, which landed in the inbox of 250 friends and ultimately shared with a cheerleading coach. Levy was handed a one-year suspension from cheerleading because she violated stated conduct rules. She was not suspended from school.

The Mahanoy City, Penn. student sued the school district, arguing that her off-campus speech is not subject to the district’s oversight. Levy won in two lower courts, with both opinions noting that the Supreme Court has never extended the reach of a public school beyond its border. In an earlier landmark case – Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) – the Court held that students keep their First Amendment rights while on campus, unless the speech is substantially disruptive. In the current case, the speech occurred away from school property.

“Teaching good manners does not outweigh free expression,” said Justice Stephen Breyer, one of eight justices voting in favor of student free speech. He noted the Snap might have been vulgar, but the poor choice of wording did not diminish Levy’s right to say what she was feeling.

Levy has acknowledged the immature choice of words, while also noting she was away from campus and was not directing threats at anyone. In fact, her Snap disappeared in 24 hours (as all Snaps do) and nobody complained of the school or cheerleading program being substantially disrupted.

The Court noted that schools cannot become parents by governing off-campus behavior. Public schools, the Court said, may extend a reach beyond campus when the speech involves bullying or cheating.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissent, noting that the cheerleader was subverting school authority, regardless of where the Snap originated. During arguments made to the Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that the cheerleader’s actions were eroding the importance of team solidarity. But, he said, the fact she was away from campus insulates her from the reach of the school district.

An article about the case here.

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Campus mask mandate ends next week

Clarion News reports

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The campus will no longer require the wearing of masks beginning June 14, 2021, states an email released today by the LU Office of Marketing and University Relations. Masks will be recommended for anyone without a vaccination or for those with a compromised immune system.

Social distancing protocols in classrooms and meeting places will remain in place during the summer.

The campus has required masks since May of 2020. The mask policy is subject to change, depending upon local health conditions and CDC recommendations. For more on LU COVID info, go to

For a past article on students and masks, see the Clarion News article below:

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President Woolfolk departing LU

The university has been led by three presidents since 2013, searching for fourth

LU President Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk at 2019 Fall Institute. Aug. 11, 2019.

Clarion News staff

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The Board of Curators announced today that President Jerald Jones Woolfolk will be leaving the university at the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. She began her service as president in June 2018. An interim president will be named soon and a search for her replacement will begin.

Jones was the third president to serve since Dr. Kevin Rome was hired in 2013, only to resign in March of 2017 to take a president position at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. His departure led to a year under Michael Middleton, an interim president who served until the hiring of Woolfolk in June of 2018.

March 2017 – Dr. Rome leaves LU to become president of Fisk University.

May 2017 – Michael Middleton, former interim president of University of Missouri schools, hired to head LU until a replacement is hired.

June 2018 – Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk hired as LU’s 20th president.

May 16, 2021 – Woolfolk to leave LU.

A news release from the LU Board of Curators issued today (May 16, 2021) did not state a reason for Woolfolk’s departure. The release contained quotes from Victor B. Pasley, president of the Board of Curators, and President Woolfolk. He praised her time and accomplishments while serving the LU community.

Woolfolk said her leaving is “sad,” but that it is “time for me to return home” because she has been away from family a long time. The board praised Woolfolk’s recent fundraising efforts and that the university’s new police academy were under her tenure as president.

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LU holds in-person commencement

To achieve social distancing, five separate ceremonies will be held during the weekend

LU journalism students attend commencement in Mitchell Auditorium. May 15, 2021. (Clarion News photo)

Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Graduating seniors are walking across the stage once again, but not all on the same day and time. To keep some sort of social distancing, the university is holding five different commencements in Mitchell Auditorium. The ceremonies are divided by school/degree program.

The spring of 2020 seniors were unable to hold graduation due to the campus being closed by COVID-19.

By all accounts, the graduation gatherings have been very successful. Graduating seniors were allowed to bring six guests into the auditorium. Many students appreciated the abbreviated commencement, with most ceremonies taking less than one hour to complete.

Congrats to all Blue Tiger graduating seniors!

LU seniors attend commencement in Mitchell Auditorium. May 15, 2021. (Photo by Elise Eaker)
LU President Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk delivers a commencement speech during graduation in Mitchell Auditorium. May 15, 2021. (Photo by Elise Eaker)
LU President Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk delivers a commencement speech during graduation in Mitchell Auditorium. May 15, 2021. (Photo by Elise Eaker)
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Appreciation Day lunch on the Quad

Students enjoy free hot dogs, hamburgers, and other goodies during an LU Appreciation Day held on the Soldiers’ Memorial Plaza. April 30, 2021. (Photo by Mar’che Boggess)

By Mar’che Boggess

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Students and staff were treated with a beautiful day and free food during an Appreciation Day picnic held Thursday on the Soldier’s Memorial Plaza. Next week will be the last few days of classroom work for the 2020-2021 school year, For many students, the pandemic brought disruption and challenges.

But we made it. Congratulations to graduating seniors and the LU community for supporting us during the year.

Have a great summer!

President Woolfolk (center, standing) enjoying lunch with students during an LU Appreciation Day on the Quad. April 30, 2021. (Photo by Mar’che Boggess)
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Supreme Court to hear student free speech case

Brandi Levy (via Creative Commons)

By Will Sites

A clash between technology and the free-speech rights of public school students will take place Wednesday in the nation’s highest court. The case involves the discipline of a high school cheerleader after she posted an expletive-filled Snapchat aimed at her school and coaches. The post originated on a Saturday, off-campus, while she was not engaged in a school activity.

The case is Mahanoy Area School District (Penn.) v. B.L. The initials stand for Brandi Levy, who was 15 when the lawsuit was filed – court citations use initials for minors. Levy is now in college. Here’s what happened:

The Mahanoy High School (Penn.) freshman was spending a Saturday with a friend when she decided to send a Snapchat photo of the two flipping-off the camera, along with several f-bombs aimed at cheerleading, softball, and generally the school. The post was not sent to any administrators, teachers, or coaches. However, it was shown to a cheerleader coach, who ultimately suspended Levy because the student violated written conduct policy. Levy filed a lawsuit, stating her First Amendment rights were violated because the speech took place away from campus and did not disrupt the school environment.

The question in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. is: Does a public school violate a student’s First Amendment right to free speech when the speech takes place off-campus and it does not significantly disrupt the school? The issue was previously settled in the 1969 landmark Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines.

In Tinker, two students entered a public high school wearing anti-Vietnam War black armbands. They were suspended after refusing to take them off. The Supreme Court took the case, ruling that schools must protect the First Amendment rights of students, but only if the student speech does not disrupt the school environment. Because nobody complained about the armbands and there was no disruption, the armbands were protected speech. But things have changed.

Because technology allows for speech to originate away from campus – while simultaneously being delivered to campus – the reach of school discipline may be settled after Wednesday’s arguments. The Supreme Court has ruled on several public school speech cases, but this is the first one involving speech via digital devices. Generally, speech is protected when it doesn’t disrupt the school and/or the speech takes place away from campus and campus activities. How much the speech disrupts the school environment seems to be the key factor. Two types of speech – political and religious – have the highest protection.

Wednesday’s oral arguments can be accessed Friday on the Supreme Court’s website and live on C-SPAN’s website.

(Will Sites is an associate professor of journalism at Lincoln University)

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View from the track

Kimone Campbell and Chrissani May

By Phillip Spencer and Kourtney Burchfield

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- The first outdoor track meet originally scheduled for Saturday, April 10 was postponed to the next day. Opening the season, The Clarion decided to ask a few track student-athletes about the 2021 season.

The Clarion: How many meets do you have this season?

Aliyah George: Outdoor 10 and indoor about eight.

The Clarion: How did COVID-19 affect your training for this season?

Aliyah George: Honestly, I feel like I could’ve had a better opportunity especially for outdoor because they only took the top 10. COVID messed everything up, but you just have to take it day-by-day.

Colby Jennings Jr.: It was really, really, really kind of spaced-out. Our teammates had to be in groups of three. It’s hard.

Chrissani May: Well, it was quite a setback, but where are getting there. We are training hard each day to go and perform.

Aliyah George

The Clarion: Do you feel confident about this season?

Aliyah George: I’m coming back. I feel like it could be better, but you just have to be patient and trust the process.

Colby Jennings Jr.: Well, since last meet I think I ran about three races. I’m a bit tired right now, but after this week I think we have conference coming up. I’m feeling good that I have enough time to rest.

Chrissani May: We feel pretty good. We’re training really hard to run our PB because that’s the aim to run track and field.

Colby Jennings Jr.

The Clarion: Are you confident in going to the finals?

Aliyah George: Yes, I am. I always make the top four at every meet so, that kind of motivates me and make me work harder.

Colby Jennings Jr.: I’m super-confident.

Kimone Cambell and Chrissani May: Yes, we are.

The Clarion: Because you are not from America, explain how training is different here.

Colby Jennings Jr.: I’m from Boston, but I was born in Turks and Caicos. It’s a huge difference because where I’m from we don’t have the facilities like here. It’s still hard because whenever we get hurt, it kind of backfires on us; we have to lookout for ourselves. We go to trainers, but they most likely recommend us to different physical therapist in this state. That’s one huge problem we have for the LU track team. We need more physical therapists.

Chrissani May: We (including teammate Kimone Campbell)  are from Jamaica. The climate is different from where we come from. We have a lot of support, which we don’t find here as much, but we are trying to cope with it.

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Springfest returns to LU campus

Springfest 2021

By Kaden Quinn

As the school year comes to a close, Lincoln University is hosting the annual Springfest event to celebrate their students one last time before the school year ends.

Throughout the year, students are able to celebrate their time at Lincoln through events such as Homecoming and Springfest. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school was unable to host the 2020 Springfest.

“Springfest is our big spring event that we do for the week to bring in lots of different events for the students,” Director of PR and Marketing Kenda Graves said. “It usually involves a concert, but obviously with COVID going on, we can’t do that right now. We’re just putting together a lot of fun big events for last hurrah before we get out of school.”

The events planned for Springfest include: a silent DJ battle, a skate night, a spelling bee, and a “Wipeout” obstacle course. There will be many other games and activities occurring April 18-April 23.

An annual event that has been occurring on campus for the past 20 years, Lincoln would like to bring back a sense of normalcy for students as the coronavirus continues to recede. However, while the school usually hosts musical performances for Springfest, they will be only focusing on what students will be able to do on campus in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks.

“I wouldn’t say COVID has been a problem,” Graves said. “It’s more only of adjustment to abide by the guidelines and limitations that we need. We might not have everything but we are making sure that we’re still good to hold the event.”

Outside vendors will be working with administration to guarantee that their COVID-19 policies while match up with the university’s. LU will be going to great lengths to ensure that their students are able to have fun while also staying safe from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to make sure that student safety is the number one priority,” Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Greek Affairs Octoria Ridenhour said. “It has been a little challenging on my side but I had to put that on the vendors as well going forward.”

Graves and Ridenhour continued, explaining that she would like students to know that this is their big event before it is time for the university to wrap up the school year. Administration wants the LU community to know that Springfest is for students to have fun and celebrate their time together.

“I just want for everyone to understand that Springfest is for students,” Ridenhour said. “We always welcome alumni and different people back onto campus for different events but for Springfest, we like to consider this our students only celebration as their end of the year wrap up. This is for them to spend time with each other on their campus.”

“I’m ready for students to show that, yes, they are responsible,” Ridenhour said. “They can still come together even during COVID. We are still going to be making sure that masks are required at every event, we will be social distancing where we can, and we’re going to be sanitizing in between activities. We’re just covering everything and I’m ready for it to be successful.”

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Remembering the life of Robert Lee Mitchell Sr.

Robert Lee Mitchell Sr.

By Mar’Che Boggess 
JEFFERSON CITY- The man for whom Lincoln University’s Mitchell Auditorium was named passed away on April 14, 2021.  

Robert Lee Mitchell Sr. graduated from Lincoln University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Upon graduating, he returned to his hometown of Dallas, Texas to teach at Madison High School while pursuing a master’s degree at North Texas University.

After receiving his master’s degree, he was invited to LU to work as a supervisor of student teaching at Laboratory High School and an instructor of music. Eventually, Mitchell became a full-time professor at the university.
In 1977, he founded L.U.V.E (Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble).  During his tenure at Lincoln University, he was a successful choir clinician and became the interim chairman of the Fine Arts Department. After he retired, he was still involved in many campus events, including organizing and conducting the Lincoln University Reunion Choir from 2004-2016.
He was preceded in death by his siblings and his wife Charlene Mitchell. 

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, 2021, at Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home. Facial coverings are encouraged while in attendance.  

A private family service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at Grace Episcopal Church. The service will be live-streamed on Dulle- Trimble’s website for those who wish to watch from home. 

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LU Artist Spotlight: Phil Jones

Phil Jones stands next to his sculptures inside Page Library. March 30, 2021. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)

By: Mar’Che Boggess

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- If you’ve spent any amount of time in Page Library, you’ve probably come across artwork by Phil Jones, a 1997 graduate of Lincoln University. His sculptures of people connected to LU history can be found throughout the building – including Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, and Martin Luther King Jr. Jones recently spoke with the Clarion News about his artistic work.

The Clarion: When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Jones: I’ve always done art as long as I can remember. I can’t remember a time I when I wasn’t making art

The Clarion: What led you to LU?

Jones: I’m a third-generation alumni. My grandfather was the first person in our family to go to college. My mother went to college here as well. I majored in computer science and history.

The Clarion: LU has a rich history. In what way is your work able to capture that history?

Jones: I have been blessed to be used by Mark Schleer, the university archivist. When he needs pieces for something, I do it. I just like to give back.

The Clarion: Do you remember the moment when you first saw your work in Page Library? How did you feel?

Jones: I felt very proud to have work here.

The Clarion: What is your creative process when it comes to sculpting?

Jones: First, I try to find the best reference photo. I feel like I can do the details of the subject a lot more justice if I have more photos to draw from. Then, I sit down and put it on an armature. 

The Clarion: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve sculpted to date?

Jones: I think Abraham Lincoln is my favorite. To me, he looks like he could just blink his eyes at you and start talking to you. 

The Clarion: Do you have any advice for LU art students interested in sculpting?

Jones: Don’t ever stop. When you fail you learn a lesson. Take that lesson, forget the frustration, and just keep doing it.

The Clarion: What’s one sculpture that you’d love to see in the archives department one day?

Jones: I honestly don’t know. Anything the archives department asks of me.

The Clarion: Aside from sculpting, do you have any other creative hobbies?

Jones: I play guitar, I started playing in 1967. I teach high school and middle school art. I teach at Trinity Lutheran and Calvary Lutheran. I paint and write as well. I have a novel here in the library called “Manopoly: The Persian Affair.” I’m also working on a textbook about sculpting. 

The Clarion: What legacy do you want your art to leave on the LU’s campus?

Jones: One of these days my grandkids, my great grandkids, and my great-great grandkids will be able to walk in here and touch something I made with my hands. They’ll be able to say, “My grandpa did that.”

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Colby selected as MIAA Track Athlete of the Week

Colby Jennings Jr. (Courtesy LU Athletic Media Relations)

Dan Carr, Asst. AD for Media Relations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second time this outdoor season, Lincoln sophomore Colby Jennings, Jr. has been selected as the MIAA Men’s Track Athlete of the Week. The league office announced the award, which was voted upon by a select panel of conference sports information directors, on Monday afternoon (April 12).

Jennings won three events at the Lincoln Open on Sunday (April 11), including the 200m, where his time of 21.16 currently stands as the fastest time in the MIAA and is tied for the ninth-quickest in NCAA Division II. Jennings additionally won the 400m in 48.29, and joined with Kewani Campbell, Rashane Bartlett and Reuben Nichols to help LU’s 4x400m relay team win in 3:14.27, the second-fastest mark in the MIAA.

This is the second career MIAA Athlete of the Week award for Jennings, who also received the honor on March 29 after a strong performance at the ESU Relays.

The Lincoln men’s track & field team will be in Warrensburg, Mo. on Friday (April 16) to compete in the Outdoor Mule Relays, hosted by the University of Central Missouri.

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LU to hold in-person May commencement

Tickets for guest will be required and limited to six per student

LU faculty at Dwight T. Reed Stadium during the May commencement, May 2016. (Photo by Will Sites/Clarion News)

By Amoni Lewis and Kourtney Burchfield

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- May 2021 graduates will not Zoom across the commencement stage, they’ll walk.  That’s the decision of LU administrators after the 2020 spring ceremonies went digital due to the ongoing pandemic. Next month’s graduation will take place in Richardson Fine Arts Center over a three-day period to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The schedule begins on Friday, May 14 with the School of Education and ends on Sunday, May 16 with the College of Arts and Sciences-Social and Behavioral Sciences. The schedule is as follows:

May 14: Noon – School of Education. 6 p.m. – School of Nursing (includes pinning ceremony).

May 15: 10 a.m. – College of Arts and Sciences, Technology, Math, and Humanities and Communication. 2 p.m. – School of Business and College of Agriculture.

May 16: 10 a.m. – College of Arts and Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Graduates will receive six armbands for their guests. Children of the ages 3 and under are not required to wear an armband to attend the ceremony. Armbands are mandatory for entry.

Graduating students will be able to pickup armband packets in Young Hall 206. Armband packets are available from Monday, May 10 to Friday, May 13 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. A student ID is required to receive a packet.

A livestream of the ceremonies will be available on the university’s website for guests that are unable to attend in-person.

Congratulations to all Blue Tiger May 2021 graduates!

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President Hosts Student Town Hall

LU President Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk (center) takes questions during a town hall held Thursday in Richardson Auditorium. March 25, 2021. (Photo by Amoni Lewis/Clarion News)

By Amoni Lewis/Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- President Dr. Jerald Jones Woolfolk hosted a student town hall on Thursday evening in Richardson Auditorium. Students were able to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the university. Faculty and staff were in attendance to answer questions. Some of the topics of concern included the following:

Student: In regards to Dawson Hall, will it reopen and what is going to be the process for that?

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Marcus Chanay: We’re going to be doing a lot of work in Dawson. We have put together a plan to get Dawson back to where it needs to be – this summer Dawson will be open.

Student: Are there any storage places on or near campus for international students?

Director of Residential Life and Housing Brian Bennett: Storage space on campus is limited because we have a lot of students that have left items. We want to give them the opportunity to come back and get those things so we don’t have to get rid of them.

Student: Regarding housing, are the janitors supposed to clean our bathrooms every day?

Bennett: Yes, they are supposed to be cleaned every day. If they are not, let us know.

Student: Why are some students receiving 10 hours of community service and others are suspended from the university?

Dean of Students Dr. Miron Billingsley: We have a student conduct committee in place. One of the things that Dr. Woolfolk emphasized to us is listening to the students. Three things she does not tolerate are distribution of drugs on campus, sexual assaults, and weapons. We try to work with the students and get them community service.

Student: Why is there only one student on the Student Conduct Committee? Why isn’t there a separate committee with only students?

Woolfolk: That’s just not the way it works in higher education, at Lincoln, and anywhere else that I’ve worked. That is a violation of our rules and regulations here at Lincoln University.

Student: When are graduating seniors going to receive information about the number of tickets for graduation?

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Alphonso Sanders: That conversation was held today to get information out to everybody. Rather than me tell you the exact number, I’ll just let the information come out.

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LU Opens Blue Tiger Resource Center

Some of the items available to students at the new Blue Tiger Resource Center located in the Scruggs Student Center. (Photo by Amoni Lewis/Clarion News)

By Amoni Lewis/Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- The Blue Tiger Resource Center officially opened the doors in its Scruggs location on Wednesday to help address the needs of students, including such as items as food, clothes, and school supplies for women, men, and children. The center’s hours of service are 2-6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“The resource center is going to serve the needs of our students outside of the classroom,” said Misty Nunn, LU’s director of Communications and Marketing.

Nunn thinks the resource center will make the university a much better space for students.

“Students worrying about their next meal, clothing for interviews, and diapers for their children are things that affect their performance in class,” Nunn said. “The resource center addresses everything they could possibly need.”

Students believe the resource center will benefit the university.

“I think it’s a great thing for the university to have because it fulfills the needs of students,” said Aaron Spencer, a senior journalism major from Kansas City, Mo.

To schedule a donation delivery, contact the resource center’s director Earnest Washington at

(To read LU journalism student Kaden Quinn’s article in the News Tribune, click here)

Some of the items available to students at the new Blue Tiger Resource Center located in the Scruggs Student Center. (Photo by Amoni Lewis/Clarion News)
Some of the items available to students at the new Blue Tiger Resource Center located in the Scruggs Student Center. (Photo by Amoni Lewis/Clarion News)
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The Roving Clarion: Students Note Study Strategies

Reporting by Tyree Madge/Photos by Mar’Che Boggess

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Back from spring break and ready to run to the end of the semester, The Clarion asked a few students: How are you going to tackle the rest of the semester? Here’s what we heard:

“I plan on finishing out the semester strong by turning in my work on time.” Ralph Beck, a freshman chemistry major from St. Louis
“ This semester I plan on maintaining straight A’s. Also, I would like to interact with more students because I love God. Plan on staying in Jefferson City for a year or two to stick around help out with church.” Jermarcus Perkins, a senior Wellness major from St. Louis. He graduates in May.
“I plan on finishing off this semester by asking questions and reading.” Shamar-Kay Fable is a freshman nursing major from Jamaica.
“Going to classes more.” Kennedy Davis, a freshman psychology major from Chicago.
“Time management.” Carrington Moley is a freshman agriculture major from Kansas City, Mo.
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Video: What Are You Doing For Spring Break?

Video by Amoni Lewis

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The Clarion News is ready to put Mother Nature’s brutal winter in the rearview mirror. With spring break just a few days away, intrepid reporter Amoni Lewis trekked across campus to ask LU students:

What are you doing for spring break?

Spring Break 2021 begins after classes end March 12.
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Police Agencies Look To LU For Recruits

Recruiting officers believe that the new academy will bring many positive changes

Sgt. Shawn Rackhaus, left, and St. Charles County Sheriff Scott Lewis at the LU police recruiting job fair. Feb. 26, 2021. (Clarion News photo)

By Kourtney Burchfield and Tyree Stovall

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – More than a dozen law enforcement agencies arrived on campus Friday morning looking for new recruits during a police job fair held in the Scruggs Student Center ballroom. The event occurred just weeks after the university became the first HBCU in the country to host a licensed police-training academy – the Lincoln University Law Enforcement Training Academy.

“We are excited to build relationships through Lincoln University and to be part of something new,” said Texas Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Auth, representing one of about 15 police agencies actively recruiting during Friday’s event. The Texas trooper said his agency strives to be highly diversified and Lincoln’s academy will significantly add to the success of recruiting minority applicants. “The goal is to be as diversified as we possibly can.” Missouri police officers agree.

Closer to home, officers representing the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department are looking to expand minority ranks. “We are always looking to improve diversity in our department,” said Sgt. Shawn Rackhaus, one of two deputies representing the sheriff’s department located just west of St. Louis. He said Lincoln University’s new academy should help improve public perception of police and help change stereotypes. “The new police academy is going to make a change in many communities and put police in a more positive light.”  

The Missouri State Highway Patrol aims to do the same. Trooper Kordel Gibson, based at Troop C in Weldon Springs, arrived at LU’s police job fair hoping to recruit minority students for the MSHP’s academy. He noted that the Highway Patrol is looking to significantly expand the agency’s diversity.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Kordel Gibson explains the recruiting needs of his agency during the career event held in the Scruggs ballroom. Feb. 26, 2021. (Clarion News photo)

“We need more diversity and we are looking for individuals that will make a difference in the community’s they serve,” said Gibson, who began with the MSHP in 2011. He said LU’s new academy is impressive and that it will go a long way in helping law enforcement agencies recruit quality officers.

The Lincoln University Law Enforcement Training Academy is currently being directed by LUPD Chief Gary Hill. “When I went through the academy, I was one of two African-Americans, and for us to have an academy here focused on increasing the diversity in law enforcement so people can feel included is incredible,” said Hill in an interview with The Missouri Times.

“We have to ensure that when we have people enrolled in the academy that we’re giving them all the tools that they need to succeed today and in the future.”

LU Police Recruiting Fair Attendees:

Missouri State Highway Patrol

Hazelwood P.D.

Johnson County (Kan.) Sheriff’s Dept.

Springfield P.D.

Texas Dept. of Public Safety

City of Sedalia P.D.

Overland Park, (Kan.) P.D.

Callaway County Sheriff’s Office

Grandview P.D.

Boone County Sheriff’s Department

Webster Groves P.D.

Fulton P.D.

St. Louis Metro P.D.

Hazelwood P.D.

St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department

O’Fallon P.D.

Gov. Mike Parson makes the Lincoln University Law Enforcement Training Academy official during a signing ceremony. (Photo courtesy The Missouri Times)
The Missouri State Highway Patrol was one of many law enforcement agencies meeting with potential recruits at a job fair event held in the Scruggs ballroom. Feb. 26, 2021. In the photo, Trooper Kordel Gibson talks with Clarion News reporters Kourtney Burchfield, center, and Tyree Stovall, right. (Clarion News photo)
The Texas Dept. of Public Safety was one of several out-of-state law enforcement agencies recruiting at the job fair held in Scruggs ballroom. Feb. 26, 2021. (Clarion News photo)
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Faculty Spotlight: Connor Campbell

Lincoln University English and speech instructor Connor Campbell in an MLK Hall classroom. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)

By Tai-Rece Basey

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- The Clarion News is turning its faculty spotlight on Connor Campbell, a popular speech and English instructor at Lincoln University. Campbell has been teaching LU students for three years and is being recognized for his dedication to both students and the campus community.

The Clarion: Where did you go to college?

Campbell: I went to school at Texas Tech University. I started there in 2010 and received my bachelor’s in 2014. I double-majored in English and Classics and received my master’s in English, specializing in film and media studies.

The Clarion: What led you to become a speech professor?

Campbell: My wife received her (undergrad) degree and master’s at Texas Tech. Then she got the opportunity to get her doctorate at Mizzou. That’s what caused us to move from Lubbock, Texas to Missouri.  I began applying for different positions at different places. My wife’s boss (at Mizzou) was contacted by Lincoln’s English chair, Dr. Salmons – he said they needed somebody that could teach speech or if they knew somebody that was qualified.

The Clarion: And that led to you coming to LU?

Campbell: Yes. Through a weird coincidence, Dr. Salmons knew my old boss from when they were in grad school together a while back. And so he was able to talk to her and she gave him the reassurance that – even though I’d only taught English before – she felt like I could easily handle a speech class. He gave me the chance, and three years later, I’m still here teaching.

The Clarion: Can you explain your personal history with speech and speech classes?

Campbell: As I mention in my speech classes, I had to go through speech therapy as a child to help me talk properly. And then I took speech classes in middle school, high school, and college. So I have a lot of that prior experience that helped me build the classes that I teach.

The Clarion: How do you juggle being a professor and a first-time father?

Campbell: It was the greatest blessing when I held my son that first time in the hospital room. After reading reports about the virus in China that could be coming to America, I was scared to go out of the house. But I love teaching in person much more than I like teaching online. And the problem with napping when he naps is, you can’t do things while he’s not napping because you have to be watching him. So it’s been retraining myself  – now that he’s old enough to get work done when I’m not with him. I’m only going to sleep six hours a night from now on in my life, apparently. But that allows me to spend time with him and still feel like I get to be his father, while also being able to help my students as well.

The Clarion: What made you apply to an HBCU?

Campbell: It kind of happened by happenstance. I’ve learned so much more about HBCUs since I started at LU and I love being here. It is an amazing place. One of my favorite things is just the diversity of students. We have students from St. Louis and Kansas City and here in Jeff City – as well as students from Columbia and from rural towns, and students who want to come back to LU for a new education. I love getting to meet those students and learn from them and just see all of the different ways life can take you, and yet still feel like I’m helping them on to a better path.

The Clarion: Have you taught at any other universities?

Campbell: I taught at Texas Tech. The big thing in any English department is if you want to stay in academia, you have to be able to teach. Even if it’s just two classes or even if it’s a very simple class, you have to teach. And so I’ve been teaching. I primarily taught English at Tech for about three years before I came to Lincoln. I taught up to six classes in one semester, which was rough teaching 180 students in one semester. Texas Tech was a very different school from here. Very different group of students. Very different group of people. Texas is a wonderful place, but Texas is Texas…it’s fun getting to take what I’ve learned at Tech and change and mold it to make it better here.

The Clarion: Do you ever find it hard to relate your class to today’s students?

Campbell:  I think that’s where my background in film and media helps me so much. I study film and media. I study videos. I study social media. It makes me want to include those into the class, because that’s what I teach. And a lot of the students we have today, that’s how they learn. So many of our students are on social media and watching videos on YouTube, or watching movies. Sometimes I slide my examples into the curriculum to find the video that matches what I need to teach, in that moment.

The Clarion: What has been the most difficult part of teaching higher education during a pandemic?

Campbell: It’s got to be the distance. Trying to make sure that I’m keeping away from my students, because I love when my students come up to meet me during office hours or come up to me after class to ask questions. I want to help my students as much as possible.

The Clarion: What advice would you give students to help them get through college during a pandemic?

Campbell: I think the biggest thing is to find ways to relax. It is more stressful for students and professors walking into the classroom when everyone is wearing masks. I’m sure it is more stressful for students when they can’t go to parties on Fridays and Saturdays because everybody’s in masks and nobody wants to be the reason a bunch of people get sick. So it’s finding other ways to relax, such as taking a walk or just going outside. Try to mix it up and just do little things each day to help you find a balance. Whatever it is that will help you relax in a safe way, is the best thing you can do right now.

The Clarion: Who did you root for in the Super Bowl?

Campbell: About 95 percent of me was for the Chiefs. My mom’s side of the family live in Tampa Bay, so of course they were for the Buccaneers. But since moving here, my Cowboys have not been a good team, so it’s been very easy to love the Chiefs. And Patrick Mahomes is a Texas Tech grad. We were there at the same time.

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Health Center Receives Quicker COVID Tests

Thompkins Health Center on the campus of Lincoln University. (Clarion News photo)

By Amoni Lewis

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- The federal government recently began providing LU with BinaxNOW rapid-COVID tests to attack outbreaks on college campuses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently began shipping over 500,000 rapid coronavirus tests to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) back in October.

“We began to administer tests the week before the university switched to online classes last semester,” said Director of Student Health and Counseling Services Leasa Weghorst. “We have a standing order from our off-site medical director to test students who present symptoms.”

All tests are administered in Thompkins Health Center and take 15 minutes to obtain results.

“Students who are experiencing COVID-related symptoms should call Thompkins Health Center to talk with myself or nurse Kirby,” Weghorst said. “We will do a phone assessment and then instruct the student in the process for testing or other follow-up care.”

There isn’t a limit to the number of times a student can be tested. Weghorst thinks the tests will help slow COVID cases on campus.

“The tests are part of an overall strategy for reducing the spread of the virus on campus,” Weghorst said. “The earlier we can detect infected students and isolate them from the rest of the campus population, the lower our transmission rates will be.”

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Campus thaw is on!

Friday was the first day the LU campus broke the freezing mark since Feb. 5

An LU student braves the snow and cold Wednesday morning near MLK Hall. Feb. 12, 2020. (Clarion staff photo).

Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Finally! An early taste of spring is on its way and not a moment too soon. On Friday, the Jefferson City area experienced a temperature above freezing for the first time in 13 days when the mercury struggled to an official 33 degrees. The National Weather Service says its going higher, maybe even to 60 by Tuesday.

On Feb. 6, 2021, an Arctic blast slid south across the Midwest, creating a plunge of temperatures and a volatile mix of weather affecting millions of Americans. Extreme cold – including a local low of -7 on Feb. 16 – and two waves of snow led to nearly two weeks of canceled classes for many mid-Missouri schools. Lincoln classes resumed on Feb. 19.

Think spring!

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Warmer temps, return to classroom coming

Reports say 50-plus degrees possible by early next week

Few students were braving the cold and snow Wednesday after another day of canceled classes due to weather. Feb. 17, 2021. (Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)

Clarion News/Photos by Sydnee Bryant

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – It’s over. Well, almost. The winter-weary folks at the National Weather Service say the massive Arctic blast gripping the Show-Me-State will begin to lift in the next couple of days. Expect slowly rising temps through the weekend and next week, with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s by Tuesday.

Will this be the last snow of the winter season? Probably not, say the experts. But most agree we won’t see another round of record-setting lows anytime soon. In Kansas City, a six-day string of single-digit temps broke a record set in 1899. Snow falling south of Dallas. Sea turtles freezing on Gulf of Mexico beaches.

It’s over. Almost.

Mother Nature’s icy grip led to another round of canceled classes on the LU campus. Feb. 17, 2021. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)
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Campus closed Tuesday, more snow expected

National Weather Service says above-freezing temps will arrive this weekend

Area roadways – including highways 50, 54, and 63 – remain mostly to totally covered throughout mid-Missouri. Feb. 16, 2021. (Map courtesy of MoDOT)

Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The campus closure on Monday was extended into Tuesday as bitter cold and slick road conditions continued across mid-Missouri. Mother Nature will continue her icy grip into midweek as high temperatures will struggle to hit 20 degrees and lows will remain in the single digits until at least Friday. Another round of snow will likely blanket the area on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday (Feb. 16) issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Jefferson City area effective for late Tuesday evening through 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Expect bitter cold and an additional 1-3 inches of dry snow on Wednesday. Area roads are expected to remain dangerous through Wednesday and into Thursday.

MoDOT on Tuesday reported dangerous road conditions throughout most of the Show-Me-State. Highways feeding into the Capital City – including highways 50, 54, and 63 – remain covered or partly covered. According to the transportation department, until temperatures reach into the 20s, salt and other anti-ice chemicals are ineffective.

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Campus closed Monday, Feb. 15 due to weather

Snow and severe cold has led to the cancellation of classes for Monday, Feb. 15, 2021.. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant)

By Clarion Staff

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Another round of snow, another day off. Severe cold and an expected 2-5 inches of fresh snow for Sunday night and Monday morning has led to the campus being closed on Monday. Low temperatures near or below zero will continue through mid-week and snow events through Wednesday will make travel difficult through most of the Show-Me-State through at least Thursday.

Stay safe!

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Blue Tiger football returns for spring season

LU football returns for a 2021 spring season

By Phillip Spencer

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The Lincoln Tigers football season will be back in action and on the field this spring. After missing the full fall season due to COVID-19, the team is looking to play again and get back into somewhat of a pre-pandemic routine. Returning player Ralph Green discusses the upcoming 2021 football season.

“We’re excited we get to play again,” said Green, a senior tight end from St. Louis. He said COVID wrecked the fall season, but he’s grateful to have an opportunity to play again. “We came into a new conference last year and didn’t do too well, so we’re looking forward to redeeming ourselves this season and even though it’s just three-to-four games, we feel like we have something to prove this year and we’re going to take full advantage of it.” Coaches are ready to go, too.

Assistant Offensive Line Coach Deshawn Haney said he’s ready to prove that the Blue Tigers are ready to play and ready to improve. “We have to get our confidence back and we’re going to compete in every game this season and make sure teams know who we are once the short season is over,” said Haney.

The Lincoln Tigers went 1-10 in the 2019-2020 season after joining a new conference. However, with returning players and a talented incoming group, Lincoln is set to turn it around this spring. 

(Phillip Spencer comes from Louisville, Kentucky and is a junior defensive end for the Blue Tigers.)

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UPDATE: Campus closed Wednesday due to weather

Local road conditions deteriorate with additional snow, freezing rain

A MoDOT road conditions map shows the hazardous travel for area motorists during the Wednesday morning commute. Highways 63, 54, and 50 are partly to mostly covered with snow and ice as plunging temperatures continue to hamper removal efforts. Lincoln University delayed the Wednesday classroom start time until 10 a.m.

By Clarion News staff

UPDATE (9:35 a.m.): Campus has been closed for Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Additional winter weather has created a mess for Mid-Missouri motorists, creating a temporary delay until 10 a.m. for the start of classes on Wednesday.

Temperatures in the low teens has hampered local, county, and state efforts to remove ice and snow from area roadways. Pockets of snow and freezing rain moved into the area early Wednesday morning, just in time to hamper the a.m. commute into the Capital City.

The National Weather Service says it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Highs on Thursday might reach 20 degrees – that will feel balmy compared to the next seven days. Friday the low will be about 5 above, Saturday near zero with a high of 10, and continued single-digit temps until next Wednesday.

For updated road conditions, click here

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K.C. students share Super Bowl thoughts

By Jermarcus Perkins/Clarion News correspondent

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The Kansas City Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. Last season the Chiefs played in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in SuperBowl LIV. Prior to that win, the Chiefs hadn’t been in a Super Bowl since 1970.

I asked a couple of Lincoln University students from the Kansas City area – Ladarrell Toney, a computer science major, and Mar’Che Boggess, a journalism major, what a second consecutive Super Bowl championship would mean to them.

Ladarrell Toney

The Clarion: How did you feel about the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl last season?

Toney: It was an awe-inspiring moment because I grew up in Kansas City. It was a lot of good progression over the years but in the back of my mind, I thought it can only go so far especially when Alex Smith was the quarterback. I was excited because it was more than just normal news going on at the time in Kansas City.

The Clarion: How would you feel if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl again this season?

Toney: I would feel like we are going to go on a really long run with this. I think teams who haven’t been so good are going to start being good – like the Bills and Browns. American Football would be so more fun and interesting to watch.

The Clarion: What part of Kansas City are you from?

Toney: South Kansas City/Kansas City, Missouri.

The Clarion: Mar’Che, how did you feel about the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl last season?

Boggess: I was very happy with being from Kansas City. We (Kansas City) pride ourselves on the Chiefs.

The Clarion: How would you feel if the Chiefs win the Super Bowl again this season?

Mar’Che Boggess

Boggess: I would be impressed.

The Clarion: What part of Kansas City are you from?

Boggess: Kansas City, Kansas.

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Life as an RA: A few questions for Mya Bursey

By Amoni Lewis

Mya Bursey (Photo by Amoni Lewis)

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- Being a resident assistant at a university has its pros and cons. From free room and board to time commitment, the job can be beneficial and challenging. I recently spoke with resident assistant Mya Bursey, a junior psychology major from East Saint Louis, Illinois.

The Clarion: How long have you been a RA?

Bursey: I’m a rookie. I just started a couple of months ago in August.

The Clarion: What made you want to become a RA?

Bursey: I just really wanted to get to know people and communicate with others. I feel like I could have a really big impact.

The Clarion: What characteristics do you think make a good resident assistant?

Bursey: I would say knowing how to communicate with others and settle disputes. I’ve had a lot of practice because I have sisters and brothers. Also, by being friendly, understanding, and unbiased.

The Clarion: How much time do you feel this position takes up during a typical week?

Bursey: I would say about half of the day. About 5-6 hours each day, but I feel like as long as I’m here on campus then I’m a RA.

The Clarion: What is the most difficult aspect of your job as a RA? What is the easiest?

Bursey: I think the hardest thing that I’ve had to learn is setting boundaries. The easiest is being friendly because I’m naturally a social butterfly.

The Clarion: What have you learned about yourself?

Bursey: I’ve learned that I’m very understanding, but not to the point where people can just step all over me.

The Clarion: How do you juggle being a resident assistant and a student?

Bursey: During my office hours I use my free time to do homework as well in class. It’s not easy, but I do it.

The Clarion: How have you built a relationship with the students you assist?

Bursey: They are very friendly. It’s not hard at all. They come to me even when they don’t have a problem. They see how I’m doing and I check on them as well.

The Clarion: Are there any programs or activities you have planned or already had as an RA?

Bursey: In October, I had “Tea Time Tuesday” where I informed the residents about things the school has to offer and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. That’s just one activity, but it’s an example of what I’ve been doing.

The Clarion: What is your advice to someone who wants to become a resident assistant?

Bursey: If you have good communication skills, a kind heart, and self-control you would make a great RA.

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Dawson Hall residents must move out

LU says the residential building is too costly to operate

By Amoni Lewis/Clarion News

Photos by Sydnee Bryant and Elise Eaker/Clarion News

Dawson Hall on the campus of Lincoln University. Feb. 3, 2021. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant/Clarion News)

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – About 100 students living in Dawson Hall began moving Friday afternoon to other campus dorms in a measure to save the university money. According to Dawson Hall residents, students were notified last week during a meeting with Brian Bennett, LU’s director of residential life and housing.

“They said Dawson is going offline right now due to low enrollment,” said Hassaun Jones, a freshman business administration major from St. Louis, while talking with the Clarion News on Friday. “There’s only 100 students in the building and Dawson holds 300.” Jones said he was notified on Thursday that he would be moving Friday across campus to Anthony Hall.

Hassaun Jones, a freshman business administration major from St. Louis, is one of about 100 Dawson Hall residents being relocated because of low enrollment. (Photo by Elise Eaker)

Jones also said that Dawson residents would be moved to other dorms, including Tull, Martin, Bennett, Anthony, and Sherman. He noted that the university offered to assist with moving. Although some students seem a little blindsided by the move, others seem OK with it.

A student referring to himself only as Von, said he was OK with the relocation. The freshman physical education major from Chicago said he was moving to a building where he already knows a lot of students.

Von, a freshman physical education major from Chicago, is one of about 100 Dawson Hall residents being relocated because of low enrollment. (Photo by Elise Eaker)

“When I found out in the meeting that I was moving, I was like, alright, that’s cool,” Von said. “I know for a fact I have to move tonight.” Several Dawson residents said students would be moved out according to the floor they reside on. An email distributed across the campus noted the move might take two weeks, providing enough time to limit disruption of studies.

(See the Jefferson City News Tribune article here)

Dawson Hall on the campus of Lincoln University. Feb. 3, 2021. (Photo by Clarion News)
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Missouri Baptist Convention elects first black president

Pastor Nelson oversees and hopes to expand Lincoln University campus outreach 

Pastor Jon Nelson preaching on a Sunday morning at Soma Community Church in Jefferson City, Mo. Jan. 24, 2021. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)

By: Mar’Che Boggess/The Clarion

JEFFERSON CITY— Local pastor Jon Nelson, of Jefferson City’s Soma Community Church, recently made history by being elected as the first Black president of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). The organization is a network of 1,800 Southern Baptist churches that aims to equip and train individuals to live the Christian mission. I recently sat down with him to discuss his presidential duties, love for Lincoln University’s campus, and more. 

The Clarion: How does it feel to be elected as the first Black president of the MBC?

Nelson: Overwhelming, I could not believe it. For the first time in over 180 years, an organization that has a very tumultuous history chose me to be their face to the world. I said when I stood up in the pulpit that day that I am my mother’s wildest dream.

The Clarion: What do your duties consist of as president?

Nelson: The organization is a bottom-up organization. I represent everyone, I am not in charge of everyone, which makes my role a touch different from most presidents. I sit on multiple boards, I appoint people to positions, and I get to do things like this and talk on behalf of the convention to everything from a school newspaper all the way to the governor.

The Clarion: What do you hope to accomplish in this next year as president?

Nelson: Our convention is aging. I want to help us move toward a new generation. There are a lot of younger pastors and leaders in this state and I want them to be involved. Many of them aren’t aware of the opportunities our convention has. For example, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home works with sex trafficking victims and specializes in foster care and adoption.

There are many people in the millennial and Gen Z generations that are extremely passionate about those things but don’t know that we have entities that do that already. I want them to know that they can use them for the Kingdom of God.

The Clarion: Racial reconciliation is near and dear to you. How do you plan to continue to bridge that gap in this role?

Nelson: The Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Convention both have a sordid history when it comes to race. Too many times we’ve been on the wrong side of it. The Gospel speaks extremely clear to these events.

I endeavor, not to be the token, but the ladder that others get to climb to get to that position to also represent all of us.

The Clarion: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received since being in this role?

Nelson: I’ve had many of the past presidents tell me to enjoy my time. My wife has told me over and over when I doubt myself, “God put you here and you’re built for it.” 

The Clarion: How does taking on this role inspire you to better serve Lincoln University’s campus?

Nelson: I talk to students daily that have ginormous aspirations. I just want to tell them to serve locally. So many times they want to be president or congressman, which isn’t a bad thing. What they don’t realize is the most effect they’re going to have is at the local level. So many people tell me “you’re the president now,” and I tell them “I’m still a local pastor, I’m still on campus.”

I want to inspire people to know they can do these things and still be themselves. I think of Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church who was just elected as a senator of Georgia. He’s served the community well and his influence has grown because of his faithfulness to his local community. I endeavor to be that faithful. 

The Clarion: What inspired you to plant a church near Lincoln University’s campus?

Nelson: My mom. She and my grandmother were students here. I heard stories and grew up around this campus. I remember coming to the building we serve in now and hearing about how many lives were changed.

After a lot of fighting with God, to be honest, we planted a church here and served a campus that didn’t seem to have those Christian communities I heard so much about growing up. It broke my heart because we had so many students, and still do, who leave the university with a great education and opportunities, but not Jesus.

We want them to leave with both. For the last five years, we’ve endeavored to have a church that reaches into the campus and the community and says “We love you both.” 

The Clarion: What’s your favorite thing about serving LU’s campus?

Jon Nelson: By far and away, the students, they keep me young. I’m constantly having to learn what’s important to them. It opens my eyes constantly. Aside from that, I love the liveliness. We bought a house near where the parties happen.

We’ve been around some of the best and worst events around this campus. We did that purposely because the students bring life to the local community. We love being a part of that. 

The Clarion: What’s your favorite thing about pastoring Soma Community Church?

Nelson: The diversity. We’re not a Black church, we’re not a white church. We’re a church that endeavors to cross racial, socioeconomic, and cultural lines. Myself being a half-Jamaican and half African-American man, who was born in Kansas City and grew up in the country, I don’t fit. But yet, God has built me in such a way that I can reach across those lines and bring people closer to Him.

The Clarion: Aside from being a president and a pastor, what are your favorite roles?

Nelson: Husband and daddy. I tell people all the time my order in life is: loving Jesus, loving my wife, and loving my babies. That’s my world. Being a pastor and a president is cool, but they’re not as high on my list. 

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Winter weather comes to campus

The quad with a layer of snow after winter weather blew across Mid-Missouri Wednesday morning. Most of the region received 1-3 inches before the front moved out of the area later in the day. Jan. 27, 2021. (Photo by Sydnee Bryant)

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – A blast of winter weather created hazardous conditions across Mid-Missouri on Wednesday, slowing commuters and students heading to class. The region experienced snow totals ranging from 1-3 inches, with most of the precipitation leaving the area by the afternoon. LU remained open, but some Show-Me-State schools closed for the day.

The white stuff will disappear Thursday with sunny skies and temps in the low 40s expected.

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Students Return to Campus

By Elise Eaker/Photos by Sydnee Bryant

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- Students returned to campus on Jan. 19, 2021 for a semester that will use a combination of online, hybrid, and in-seat classroom instruction due to the ongoing pandemic. The Clarion asked a few a students what they’re looking forward to most during the semester.

“Getting grades up and band performances.” – Anconio Williams
“Learning about my new major… Nursing” – Kenlyn Washington
“Clinicals” – Malerie Strong
“Graduation” – Cardasia Futrell
“Finishing my first semester” – Sara Williams
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Lincoln University becomes first HBCU to host police academy

Gov. Mike Parson signs a license granting the official green light for Lincoln University’s new police training academy. Dec. 15, 2020. (Photo by Cameron Gerber/The Missouri Times)

By Cameron Gerber/The Missouri Times

JEFFERSON CITY — With Gov. Mike Parson’s signature, Lincoln University will officially become the first historically Black college and university (HBCU) to house its own police academy next year.

“At a time when law enforcement agencies are working to attract more diverse officers and create agencies that look more like their communities, Lincoln University presented an ambitious plan for a law enforcement training center that could have far-reaching impacts on recruiting more minorities to policing,” Parson said before signing the university’s basic training center license Tuesday. “We appreciate all the work the Lincoln University team has put into this unique effort.”

Parson said he hoped other HBCU’s in Missouri and across the country would follow suit. There are more than 660 police training academies across the U.S., with about half hosted by colleges, according to Department of Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten.

“Lincoln University is ahead of the class,” President Jerald Jones Woolfolk told The Missouri Times. “We are so excited to be the first HBCU to host a police academy in the country. I’m proud of Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill and his team for making this happen — they stayed the course, and we couldn’t be more proud of their work.”

Hill, a Lincoln alumnus who has worked at the university since 2011, said he was proud of the work that had been done to get the project across the finish line — and the academy’s work is just getting started.

LUPD Chief Gary Hill (Clarion News photo)

“When I went through the academy, I was one of two African-Americans, and for us to have an academy here focused on increasing the diversity in law enforcement so people can feel included is incredible,” Hill said in an interview. “Now the real work begins. We have to ensure that when we have people enrolled in the academy that we’re giving them all the tools that they need to succeed today and in the future.”

Hill will lead the academy as its director when it begins operating next year. The staff will be made up of Lincoln professors and police officers teaching part-time. The 16-credit-hour program would allow students to devote their final semester at Lincoln to full-time police training. 

Hill previously said the academy hoped to train between eight to 10 recruits over its first year of operation. Fourteen hopefuls, including both Lincoln students and working adults, have applied for the academy so far and are currently going through background checks.

Missouri’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission recommended the university’s academy be granted a license earlier this month. Hill, who was appointed to the commission by Parson earlier this year, said the recommendation came after on-site inspections were conducted by Karsten and others at DPS.  

The commission granted its preliminary approval to prepare the academy in October. Commissioners praised the idea, noting that increasing minority recruitment would benefit both students and police forces and expressing hope that other HBCUs across the country would follow suit.

(Reporter Cameron Gerber writes for The Missouri Times in Jefferson City. He is a recent graduate of LU’s journalism program. The article can be found here.)

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Will COVID Bring Down The Curtain On Movie Theaters?

Regal Cinema in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo taken 2019/Creative Commons)

By Kaden Quinn

In the absence of an audience due to COVID restrictions, the pandemic has forced many film companies to look towards streaming services as a valid way to bring their product to the public. This has caused commentators to speculate that the virus brought about a bad ending to an industry that arguably began with the showing of 1903’s The Great Train Robbery.

In the age of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it has never been easier to have television and film beamed directly into a home or phone. Old and new content has been made available on these platforms with the bonus of exclusive content created directly for a specific service with prominent Hollywood directors like David Ayer (End of Watch), Spike Lee (BLACKkKLANSMAN), and Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver) attached to direct.

As the box office continues to be overtaken by big-budget blockbusters such as The Avengers franchise, Star Wars franchise, and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the opportunity to create smaller and riskier films have been pursued by directors old and new alike. The presence of which adding a layer of legitimacy for viewers to consider as Scorsese’s The Irishman went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

As the coronavirus continues to force people to shelter at home, film studios and their parent companies have been searching for new ways to bring the movies to the public. While these services continue to grow in their popularity, the Disney Corporation and Time-Warner have also thrown their hats into the streaming game with Disney+ and HBOMax platforms. The latter announcing that they will be releasing Warner Bros’ entire 2021 film slate on the service at the same time the movies will running in domestic theaters. Titles will be available for audiences to enjoy for at least one month, leaving plenty of time for a user to view these films before they are removed.

Disney+ experimented with a similar model in early September 2020 with the release of the live-action version of Mulan, charging users $30 to users to view it. Online criticism from fans and subscribers alike stated the price to see the film was too steep. However, the company reported that this did not curtail their profit. When considering that HBOMax/ Warner will not be charging their subscribers to pay an extra price to watch their new films, the hesitancy that users would have had to engage with these titles will be absent.

While most of these platforms have been producing their own original high-budget films, this would be the first time that a streaming service would have a blockbuster film slate – originally set to release exclusively in theaters – available on their platform.
Since streaming began to gain popularity in the early 2010s, people began to speculate about the end of movie theaters as film-goers began to dwell on what they did not enjoy about the experience. Between increasingly higher ticket prices, expensive snacks, and rude behavior from other patrons, these establishments started to become less appealing as the years went on, especially compared to the comfort of one’s own home.

Now with services like HBOMax offering box office titles on their platform, it will be safe to assume competitors like Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu will be following suit. Leaving many who wish to abandon the traditional movie-going experience for something more personal. However, if audiences flock to streaming, some are wondering where that would leave the state of movie theaters moving forward.

Cinemas are certainly one of the American entertainment cornerstones negatively affected by the coronavirus. Establishments based entirely around gathering into one place to watch a movie have now had to halt or completely shut down their business to stop the spread of COVID. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the film industry seems to be turning its back on traditional movie theaters as it attempts to gain back profits through streaming.

While movie theaters have been struggling for quite some time (Variety recently reported a $905 million loss for AMC Theaters in November) these establishments have been looking for news to keep afloat. For example, in that same report, AMC Theaters is also planning on renting out their auditoriums for private screenings with a maximum of 20 occupants. However, just as a theater chain seems to be pulling itself out of trouble, another issue seems to rear its ugly head. For Warner to release its entire slate on HBOMax, this could also mean a great loss for theaters across the nation. Instead of going to the movies with their friends or renting out a theater, a person could simply invite all their friends to watch the films at home.

According to Fox Business, movie theaters have taken this personally and have since collaborated on the idea to slash ticket prices in retaliation against the HBOMax/ Warner deal. This would leave Warner with diminishing box office returns; however, if handled poorly, could also bring the end of theaters at a much faster pace.

It is hard to say what is going to happen next, but one could say we might be getting the best of both worlds. Yes, streaming new big-budget films does seem to be where things are headed, but it is also probable that renting out auditoriums might be as well. There will always be an audience for movie theaters. There is a special kind of communal experience that is almost irreplaceable. If a person likes to get outside and sit in a theater with their friends, family, and moviegoers alike, those people will find a way to continue doing so.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many of people’s day-to-day lives, that it has unfortunately reached and touched one of America’s oldest pastimes. Regardless, while this might mean movie theaters would be diminished in the near future, they will certainly never be gone.

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Blue Tigers take Pitt State 76-55

LU’s Cameron Potts in action against Pittsburg State. Dec. 10, 2020. (Photo courtesy LU Athletics)

By Dan Carr/Asst. AD for Media Relations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Four members of the Lincoln men’s basketball team scored in double figures as the Blue Tigers defeated Pittsburg State, 76-55, on Thursday night (Dec. 10).

Sai Witt turned in his third double-double of the season with 11 points, 11 rebounds, a pair of assists and two blocks, while Quinton Drayton scored a team-high 16 points and pulled down three rebounds. Cameron Potts tallied six steals to go with 15 points, two boards and two assists, and Ni’Sean Rigmaiden added 14 points, four boards and a steal.

Pittsburg State (3-3, 3-3 MIAA) took an early 10-2 lead, but the Blue Tigers roared back with a 25-6 run to take the lead for good. Lincoln (3-2, 3-2 MIAA) toughened up defensively, forcing 20 turnovers which led to 25 Blue Tiger points. PSU shot just .364 for the game and .310 from three-point land, while LU also claimed a 36-33 advantage on the glass. In a second half that featured Lincoln out-scoring Pittsburg State 45-31, LU shot .515 from the field and connected on seven treys.

Yaniel Vidal added seven points in the victorious effort, and DaMani Jarrett blocked a pair of shots while chipping in two points and grabbing three rebounds. Jordan Notch came off the bench to contribute six points, six boards, a block, a steal and two assists, and Mekhi Kimble scored five points and had a pair of steals, assists and rebounds during the second half. Arash Yaqubi rounded out Lincoln with an assist.

The Blue Tigers will be off until next Thursday (Dec. 17), when Lincoln heads to Emporia, Kan. to take on Emporia State.

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Professors note pandemic impact on instruction, students

Journalism student Marche Boggess wears a mask during the fall 2020 semester. (Clarion photo)

By Jermarcus Perkins/Clarion News contributor

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the upcoming spring semester due to the virus pandemic. Without knowing how the severity and direction of the virus in the days ahead, many professors are not sure if classes will be in-seat, online, or hybrid.

“I think we are going to see a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases in the winter, so it will be a delayed start to in-person instruction,” said journalism instructor Gloria Enloe. “I believe the school will start virtual.” Some professors see a mix of in-class and online – commonly known as hybrid instruction.

 Wellness professor Patrick Oligschlaeger thinks the campus will continue the fall semester strategy. “It sounds like the spring semester is going to look like the fall semester (with) hybrid classes and some students will have to quarantine,” said Oligschlaeger. However, he sees positive outcomes with the hybrid model.

“I think students are more engaged due to the hybrid classes,” Oligschlaeger said. “Because of the hybrid model it has allowed students to be more engaged – it has raised attendance as well.” But other teachers have seen the negatives associated with the fall semester.

Enloe, the journalism instructor, has mixed feelings. She’s glad to see students attending class, but feels teaching her trade is difficult. “It (pandemic) has hampered it a little bit, like we aren’t able to hear each other and we cannot work in groups,” said Enloe.

Crystal Mosely, a wellness professor at LU, says she has reservations about the upcoming spring semester. “I hope to be in-seat, but if Covid case numbers keep rising, I’m doubtful,” said Mosely. She says the classroom has been negatively affected. “Students are not engaged at all. It’s almost impossible to get them to speak up in class (and) some don’t even want to talk to each other.”

To get a better understanding of how engagement levels are being affected, some LU professors noted attendance and office-hours engagement.  “With the hybrid classes, attendance is up due to how I am structuring the class,” Oligschlaeger said. “If a student misses a class, they will miss the instruction on an assignment.” He says attendance has been worse, with some students going into quarantine and others just disappearing. Some professors say fewer students are visiting their offices, but others say students are responding via text and email. It’s a safety issue, professors say, but it does have a negative impact.

The pandemic is also affecting how teachers give or present their instruction on a daily basis. This may be the same during the spring semester. “I can’t do partner or group activities like usual,” said Mosely. Many professors agree and note that mandatory face masks create barriers to communication.

“I think the lectures are tougher because it’s harder to hear and give facial cues,” said Enloe. However, for Oligschlaeger, the fall didn’t have a huge impact on how he provided instruction. He says he had to work harder on choosing what content to talk about during in-person class. “I had to reduce the information and edit my slides,” he said. For some teachers, the challenges have not been from school, but from their personal life.

Professor Enloe had a Covid-related issue outside the classroom. “The most challenging thing for me was having my child quarantining for two weeks,” Enloe said. “Also, I had students who had to quarantine and most of what we do is hands-on, so it has been hard getting students caught-up if they miss class. If they aren’t there, they can’t do the work.”

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Commentary: We Need Sports

LU’s Marcel Burton shoots over a defender. Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Aaron Spencer)

By Harry Brownell/Clarion staff writer

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY-The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in every aspect, but universities have experienced significant changes and challenges. Chaos, confusion, and unfamiliarity surrounds everything like a heavy mist. However, with the basketball season tipping off on November 21, students and community members are rallying around and showing their school pride.

Attending a basketball game and watching classmates represent your school can be such an uplifting experience. It may not seem like much, but for some it could mean everything. The players, coaches, training staff, and even referees have prepared all year for the season.

For some, athletics may be the only reason they are enrolled in school. Students not retuning due to canceled sports is what the university must avoid. Unfortunately in 2020, it could all be for nothing if COVID continues to rear its ugly head. That is why sports are more important this year than in previous years. In 2020, we have learned that anything can be taken away at any moment. So we should not take anything for granted, even a basketball game.

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In Their Own Words: Blake Oakley

Blake Oakley

By Jermarcus Perkins

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- Every student has been affected by the pandemic in similar and different ways. I recently spoke with LU freshman football player Blake Oakley (Warren County, Mo.) about how it has changed his life.

The Clarion: How has the pandemic affected your life? What is it teaching you now?

Oakley: So I think the biggest thing is so much stuff has changed like school and just going out in general. There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing now that obviously we weren’t doing a year ago. So things like online classes, Zoom meetings, and only having a limited number of people in a class has been something to get used to. Also, with everyday stuff – like wearing a mask to go to Walmart – is something that’s never really happened before, especially as a freshman coming to a new school and playing a sport. So, both the academic and athletic side has affected me.

The Clarion: How has the pandemic affected you as an athlete regarding your ability to practice and workout?

Oakley: With practice we are probably behind more than we would like to be. In a normal year we’d be playing games right now, but we can’t. Social distancing and wearing masks in places like the weight room isn’t exactly pleasant, but all of us want to practice and play, so we can get through it. It definitely makes me think about what I do and where I go because if I were to get COVID and give it to my teammates we would potentially be shut down for quite a while.

The Clarion: What were your expectations going into the school year?

Oakley: My expectations were that I have to have the mindset we’re playing. I went in knowing I had to get work done and to control what I can control. I knew I needed to personally get better and that’s what I set my mind to. For a while, we were expected to play but I wasn’t surprised when they ended up canceling the fall season. Hopefully we will be back and play in the spring.

The Clarion: Who has motivated you the most on the football team?

Oakley: I don’t think I can even just pick one person that has motivated me the most. I think all of the specialists have motivated me the most. They’re all really hard workers and they are always trying to make themselves better. So when I first came in I was struggling with consistency and all of them did what they could to help me in getting more consistent. Sometimes it’s as simple as them saying “hey did you get your homework done?” because they want to see their teammates succeed. I think everyone on the team and coaching staff is great. It really feels like a family.

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Clarion Spotlight: Braxton Bailey

Braxton Bailey

By Jermarcus Perkins/For The Clarion

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- The campus has experienced major changes since the pandemic began. From fall sports to homecoming, the university has canceled traditions students have grown accustomed to. For input on how athletes are adjusting to these changes, I recently spoke with LU football player Braxton Bailey, a freshman sports management major from Fort Worth, Texas

The Clarion: What high school did you play for?
Bailey: Cleburne High School

The Clarion: What were your expectations for the team and staff when you first arrived on campus?
Bailey: I wasn’t expecting to start. I was just expecting to help my team in any way I can.

The Clarion: What position do you play for?
Bailey: Linebacker (Backup: second/third string)

The Clarion: How is the pandemic affecting you as an athlete and student?
Bailey: There are more positives than negatives. The negative for me is wearing the mask. A positive is that we get more time to workout. During practice, we don’t have to wear a mask because we have on our helmets. We only wear masks in the weight room.

The Clarion: Who has motivated you the most on the team? And why?
Bailey: Our head coach, Hoskins because we are turning the program around. I want to be a part of that and help.

The Clarion: What is your major? Why did you choose it?
Bailey: Sports management because I want to coach after I graduate.

The Clarion: How do you feel about playing in the spring and not in the fall? Why do you feel this way?
Bailey: I wasn’t feeling frustrated because I knew I needed time to get better.

The Clarion: Why are you playing football?
Bailey: I am playing because I like the competition and you can create bonds that’ll last forever. I am competitive, that’s another reason why I am playing.

The Clarion: What has the pandemic taught you about life?
Bailey: Time is really important, like what you do with it.

(Jermarcus Perkins is a Wellness major at LU)

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LU professor hosts town hall

Dr. Darius Watson (photo by Kaden Quinn)

By Kaden Quinn/Clarion Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY – Lincoln University’s Dr. Darius Watson recently organized a Jefferson City town hall to help establish a better relationship between the community, public safety and policing. Hosted in LU’s Richardson Auditorium as a virtual event, the town hall was co-sponsored by KRCG and the News Tribune.

Watson states that this event had been in development for close to a year and was created before the coronavirus pandemic. With the backing of local media the focus was to use virtual platforms provided by all three outlets so the community could have a more interactive role within the town hall.

While the virtual aspect of the event played a prominent role, it was used very traditionally in gathering community opinions. Watson wanted the public to know that although this event has many familiar aspects, it would also differ significantly.

“In the same ways we will solicit public input, we’ll have community representatives on the stage discussing their own perspectives and answering their questions from the community so that traditional town hall framework will be there,” Watson said. “What’s often missing from a town tall however is follow-through – the ability to translate what you get from the community out of that town into practical initiatives, projects, and laws.”

According to Watson, the second component of this town hall is a stakeholders meeting in the spring. Between the event and the meeting, the input from the October town hall will be used to create an agenda upon which stakeholders will be able to operate.

“They’re not just fielding these general perspectives, emotions, and issues,” Watson said. “They will have concrete areas that the community, through the town hall, has identified as those they want most addressed.”

In that way, the professor hopes to create a more practical mechanism for government responsiveness to public needs. The event has received much support as well as a sponsorship from the highest levels of state government.

“Just about every major actor within the Jefferson City community, in particular, is on board,” said Watson. “From police to the mayor’s office to the public school system. Obviously, Lincoln University is one of the primary sponsors. I am quite excited about the potential that this has and we’ve really gone out of our way to promote this as apolitical. It is just about the community and everyone has been willing to get on board with that message.”

Overall, the event was considered to have a solid turnout. Across all three platforms, the town hall was estimated to have over 500 viewers and fielded about 60 questions from participants. They also arranged both the panelists and then the questions they received from the community in a way that would cover a variety of subtopics or areas within public safety.

The specific topics that were discussed were issues such as the role and training effectiveness of school resource officers, issues regarding youth at risk, and the development of mental health crisis centers. The idea of implementing a kind of intervention or de-escalation short of entering juveniles into the system was also discussed.

“We talked about a different approach for crisis intervention and de-escalation with regards to domestic abuse cases and trying to create more social understanding among law enforcement as to other aspects beyond just enforcing the law,” Watson said. “Trying to understand on a deeper level of what’s going and what’s driving the issues.

The role of gun laws and gun violence were brought up, as well as some questions regarding the use of body cameras by police in Jefferson City. There were many different topics touched upon and discussed by the community; however, the topic of the community’s dynamic with police would become the focus of the event.

“I think in many ways it boiled down to the relationship between law enforcement and Jefferson City,” Watson said. “It might play out as the school resource officer or it might play out in terms of how we can create stronger and more effective neighborhood watches. Some of it was more direct in terms of actual policing tactics. Review and oversight of the police and there were also discussions of race and policing because obviously, that’s a critical issue.”

Watson believes that the foundation for real progress was made during this town hall. With the event concluded it is now his role to now breakdown details of the town hall into an executive summary and then distribute that to the potential stakeholders that are identified through its topics.

“That’s how we’re using what the community gave us in the responses we got from the panelists and that’s when we’re going to see the real impact,” Watson said. “Even if we are only able to practically address one of these issues, we would have to consider it a success. But if we’re able to come up with two or three really solid initiatives that are backed by the majority of the community and that is fundamentally the result of the community itself saying this is what we want – that’s what you call democracy.”

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Midterm exams signal halfway point

Students will enter virtual classrooms following Thanksgiving break

Students enjoy pizza while taking a midterm exam in Journalism 407 Public Affairs Reporting class in the Elliff Hall media lab. Oct. 7, 2020. (Clarion News photo)

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Midterm exams are winding down as students anticipate a shortened remainder of fall semester’s second half. Students will not return to campus after they leave for Thanksgiving break on Nov. 20. Classes will move to online when classes resume post-break on Nov. 30 and continue in the virtual world through final exams, which begin Dec. 14.

Oct. 16 – Midterm grades due

Nov. 20 – Last day of classes before Thanksgiving break

Nov. 30 – Classwork resumes (all classes online)

Dec. 14 – Final exams begin

Students enjoy pizza while taking a midterm exam in Journalism 407 Public Affairs Reporting class in the Elliff Hall media lab. Oct. 7, 2020. (Clarion News photo)
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Video: LU Softball Players On…Everything!

Video by Raphael Green/Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – This isn’t your usual interview by a journalist. But then again, this year has been nothing but unusual. A few questions for a few LU softball players.

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LU President Hosts Town Hall

A student expresses concerns during an LU Town Hall event with President Woolfolk. Oct. 8, 2020. (Photo by Kaden Quinn)

By Kaden Quinn/Clarion News

LU President Jerald Jones Woolfolk hosted a Town Hall for students on Thursday evening in the Richardson Fine Arts Center to build better relations between students and the university. Topics included details regarding food plans, coronavirus safety, and new restrictions involving parking services for students.

Woolfolk began the event by stating that she was proud of what the student body had accomplished at combating the coronavirus. Whereas most young adults would throw caution to the wind, Lincoln students have remained committed to their health and safety, she said.

“You guys came in here after being out since March and you have taken all the proper precautions,” Woolfolk said. “You’re wearing your mask and washing your hands.” She credits students for keeping COVID-19 in single digits.

Woolfolk described the event as a way for students to share their thoughts and be heard by the LU campus administration. Several representatives from important bodies were in attendance, including staff, administration, and student representatives.

“This is your opportunity to let us hear your concerns,” Woolfolk said. “A lot of our faculty, staff, and administration have come out to hear your concerns. We know this is a difficult time for all of us and we want to make sure that we’re doing as much as we possibly can to keep you safe and to make sure this is a good academic year for you all.”

Heading the student side of the event was president of the Student Government Association, Logan Griggs-Mitchell. Woolfolk thanked the SGA president for her time, acknowledging her as an important student representative. Throughout the event, students had the opportunity to voice their opinions.

The conversation began with a discussion regarding meal plans for students and recent restrictions placed on them due to COVID-19. If a student picks up a to-go box they must now wait an hour before entering the cafeteria again. This decision was made to reduce capacity inside the building; however some students have felt this has negatively impacted their mealtime.

Food choice was discussed because many students feel their options are limited in a supposed “unlimited meal plan.” Two students mentioned a lack of different drinks to choose from, as well as a lack of vegan and vegetarian options.

While most of the conversation revolved around meal plans, food choices, and the dining hall, there was still some concern over the coronavirus. Even though the school’s positive numbers are relatively low, students remain concerned about the possibility of exposure. One student asking if the administration they could name sections or areas of campus where COVID-positive individuals frequented.

Although the school could not give the names of individuals or information that would single another person out, the Lincoln administration wants the student body to know they will remain healthy if they follow the safety guidelines.

“We’re a really small university, so if we were to say this classroom had a positive case and then all of a sudden one person is missing from that classroom, we’ve now identified who that person is,” said Lincoln’s Director of Health Services, Leasa Weghorst. “We have to protect people’s privacy and we can’t just give out all that information.”

Between concern over the coronavirus and dining hall, there was also some discontent with the parking situation at Lincoln. Some believe that with the shortened school year there should be a partial refund on the purchase of parking passes. It was explained that tuition and housing was not discounted, nor was the price of parking passes.

According to Woolfolk, it was her pleasure to host the Town Hall for Lincoln University. She believes that having a conversation is the most important thing that everyone can contribute at this time.

“As administrators and the staff that work here, we end up being so busy in the jobs that we don’t get an opportunity to interact with the students as much as we would like to,” Woolfolk said. “So that is why many of us go to the dining hall to eat and to spend some time with you. I want this Town Hall to continue and we’ll try to do another one before the semester ends. Then we can come back and report to you regarding some of the concerns that you have.”

Woolfolk said the dining hall is the higher concern for students. However, she also mentioned that the SGA’s Logan has plans with her Food Service Committee to start regular meetings with the dining hall staff.

“So, let’s make a list and give some priority to them and try to chop them off at least one by one,” Woolfolk continued. “We can’t fix everything in a day, a week, or a semester but if we constantly work on improving the services that we provide for you…if you constantly engage with us and we engage with each other, we can do this. And that is why I say we are all in this together.”

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Darius Watson

Dr. Darius Watson (photo by Kaden Quinn)

By Kaden Quinn

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Dr. Darius Watson has lived a storied life. A political science professor at Lincoln University, he has spent a lot of time moving from state-to-state in pursuit of advancing his academic career. Watson now feels he has finally found a place to call home.

The decision to pursue political science and international relations began after his time in the Model UN program as a university student. It was through his work inside the program that pushed him away from more a traditional major toward a more worldly profession.

“I tell my students that domestic politics makes my head hurt,” said Watson. “International relations was just more rational. It was easier to understand from a theoretical perspective and so much stuff in domestic politics involves things that you can’t always see clearly. I felt like I could see international politics more clearly.”

The popular professor says he was originally an architectural engineer major. “I took the model United Nations and it basically transformed my life,” he says. “It was just the most incredible learning experience I ever had.”

Watson describes the Model UN program as the most dynamic course any student can take. Covering every aspect of the academic experience, he says the Model UN pushes students towards many important and necessary skills, with each influencing the students professional career.

“You research and then you present,” Watson says. “You have to learn how to write, you have to learn how to co-operate and then get those things passed (and) you learn bureaucracy, legal frameworks – I mean that doesn’t even touch on the cultural, political, and social dynamics of the actual country you’re learning about as well. And then to be able to go to New York and do it with 5,000 students that are doing the same thing – it’s just a complete experience.”

According to Watson, becoming a college professor has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. He says that although he is always striving to reach new heights in his career, his work with his students has proven to be his greatest accomplishment thus far.

“My students, they’ve always been my accomplishment,” he said. “It’s funny because I guess in the end I don’t think I’ve achieved my greatest accomplishment yet. I’m satisfied with the things I’ve done but I want to do something bigger. So, for me, it’s just the students on a daily basis.”

Watson says helping students continues to be the highlight of his day. Between requesting funds from research grants and working on a local Town Hall project for Jefferson City, helping a Freshman student sort out the overwhelming aspects of her college experience is still the most fulfilling part of the job.

“To be able to sit down as a professor, an authority figure, or just as a friendly voice…to be able to bring her back in line and make her understand that she’s actually doing very well,” Watson says. “To assure her that this environment is going to increase and improve her chances of being better and to kind of just make her feel better about being here and about education and frankly the struggle she was having – that was probably the highlight of the week.”

For Watson, it’s about having an impact on his students. If he’s not doing that, he says, then everything else is just of kind of secondary. He doesn’t like limitations.

“Aim high and then shoot higher,” Watson says. “If you come in under the bar it better not be because you did your minimum (and) if you’re not doing your best then you’re cutting yourself short. It’s a double-edged sword – pursue perfection, and know that it is unattainable, and if you do that then you’re always pushing yourself forward. There’s always more to learn.”

As his time at Lincoln continues, one thing that Watson has noticed is the acceptance he has received from the people of central Missouri. Formerly residing in New York and Nebraska, he says that it was not only important to preach diversity, but also practice it. He feels good about living and working here.

“No one’s home is perfect but it’s comforting and it’s familiar,” he says. “So, being able to come here and what I do and the way I do has not always fit into other places, but here it just seems to be a natural fit. I feel like I belong and that’s a pretty unique feeling in my life.“ After moving around the country, he feels content with somewhere to call home.

He likes the feeling of communities committed to diversity. “A lot of people preach diversity but very few communities live it,” Watson says. “I feel like the communities I’m in, whether I live up in Columbia and here in Jefferson City, have to walk the walk. I feel like there’s actually more effort to be diverse here.” It’s genuine, he says.

“No one has made me feel unwelcome and I mean that in a way where just neutral responses can make you feel unwelcome. By everybody seems to actually want to engage and that’s what I do. All I do is engage.”

The sentiment extends to his fellow faculty and administration. Since arriving at LU, Watson says the campus has been quite welcoming and open-minded toward both him and his methods. In only his second year, Watson was elected to chair the faculty Senate. He appreciates the confidence.

“Now I actually have an administration that’s like, ‘Hey, just keep this in a loop and we’re behind you,’” Watson says. “I’ve worked in institutions where I didn’t hear that for six or eight years. I’m definitely enjoying it.”

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HBCUs to receive COVID-19 tests

LU’s Page Library. (Drone photo by Clarion News)

By Amoni Lewis/Clarion News

JEFFERSON CITY – In effort to combat COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses, the Trump administration says HBCUs will soon be receiving coronavirus rapid-tests. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently began shipping more than 500,000 total BinaxNOW rapid coronavirus tests to 71 of the 100-plus historically Black schools located across the nation.

According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African- Americans are five times more likely to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus. HBCUs have predominantly minority faculty with underlying health conditions making them a greater-risk demographic. This could lead to an outbreak on HBCU campuses.

Each college institution will receive enough kits to test every student, faculty and staff member. The schools will be resupplied as often as necessary but will initially receive between 3,000 and 10,000 tests.

The names of the HBCUs that will receive the BinaxNOW rapid coronavirus tests are unknown at this time. Leasa Weghorst, Director of Student Health and Counseling Services at Lincoln University of Missouri, is unsure when the HBCU will receive the tests, but hopes the time is soon so the university can be equipped with the services needed to remain safe.

(Kyessence Collins contributed to this article)

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State football championships move to Jefferson City

Slated for Mizzou’s Faurot Field, new COVID rules prohibit non-MU participants

Missouri State High School Activities Association

By Clarion News staff

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) recently announced that the 2020 state high school football championships will be played at three locations in and around the Capital City instead of at Mizzou.

Because of new pandemic rules, the University of Missouri currently prohibits outside events to be played on Faurot Field, the usual home of the post-season high school football season. Class 1 through 6 games will be played on school fields at Jefferson City High, Blair Oaks High, and Helias Catholic High.

The Class 6 championship will be played Thanksgiving weekend, with Class 1-5 the following weekend.

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ROTC cadets participate in Leadership Lab

MSIV Cadet Dubbs teaches MSIII cadets how to conduct a tactical mission and MSI cadets wearing APFT uniforms (black & gold) are listening to Cadet Dubbs’ advice on tactical planning.

Article and photos by Cadet Joshua M. Nelson/U.S. Army ROTC

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – The cadets of Lincoln University’s U.S. Army ROTC program recently participated in a hands-on activity known as Leadership Lab.  They learned about basic infantry tactics, land navigation, first aid and much more to develop and refine their Army knowledge and leadership skills needed to be an officer.

The goal of each lab varies depending on the classification or military science class, but generally the objective is to train cadets to successfully complete a mission as a team under the guidance of a platoon leader. For this lab, freshman and sophomore cadets applied their knowledge from the lecture to the practical exercise. They are led by a small group of junior cadets under mentoring by senior cadets.

A group of cadets in a triangular formation as they wait for guidance from the platoon leader.
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Roving Reporter: How has COVID-19 affected your freshman year?

By Kalon Grover/Photos by Elise Eaker

Amya Milligan is freshman from Kansas City, Mo. “It’s really boring. I expected more activities and interactions.”
Aniya Chism is a freshman from Decatur, Ill. “I didn’t get involved because my softball season was postponed until spring.”
Bryson DeBow is a freshman from St. Louis. “It feels normal for the most part, but I feel there are some visiting restrictions.”
DaMia Day is a freshman from Chicago. “Classes have been shorter and a lot of my teachers cancel classes because of COVID. Sports are not happening – so tragic!”
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Don’t Mask Your Personality, Wear It!

By Mar’Che Boggess

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – With the continuing impact of COVID-19, many states have enforced a mask mandate in an attempt to decrease the spread of the virus. While some have chosen to sport a more generic mask, others have decided to wear ones with elaborate designs reflecting their personalities. I recently did a class project exploring how my peers are choosing to make the most of the mask mandate. Here are a few examples of what I found:

LaDarrell Toney, a computer science major from Kansas City, Mo., enjoys wearing his mask because of how unique and random it is. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Nicolle Singh, a political science major from O’Fallon, Mo., enjoys wearing her mask because it matches her outfit. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Jermarcus Perkins, a wellness major from St. Louis, Mo., wears this mask around campus because he wants people to know that he stands for Black lives. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Andrew Knight, a criminal justice major from Georgia, chose this mask because it’s all he has. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Hannah Grogan, an agriculture science major from Jonesboro, Ark., wears this mask because it showcases her love for dogs. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Sarah Feisel, a Jefferson City native, enjoys wearing this mask because of how pretty the flowers are.
Asha Faison, an LU alumni from Topeka, wears this mask to encourage those around her to stay safe. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Elise Eaker, a journalism major from Fulton, Mo., sports her mask to make a statement in spite of the racial tension in our country. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Kim Curtis, a criminal justice major, from Columbia, Mo., loves wearing her mask because she likes the colors. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
Allen Bradley, a computer information systems major from Georgia, likes wearing his mask because it was gifted to him by his grandmother. (Photo by Mar’Che Boggess)
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Basketball Q&A with Joseline Ramos

The transfer guard averaged 9.4 ppg at Florida State-Jacksonville

Senior reporter Raphael Green with LU basketball guard Joseline Ramos. Sept. 21, 2020.

By Raphael Green/Clarion News

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY – Although the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped or delayed collegiate sports nationwide, the Lady Blue Tigers basketball team remains busy preparing for the upcoming season. The Clarion will be visiting with athletes during the school year, beginning with Joseline Ramos, a junior transfer guard from Orlando, Fla. Ramos, a criminal justice major, was a stand-out player at Florida State-Jacksonville, where she led the Blue Wave with 9.4 points per game.

The Clarion: what’s your thoughts on the upcoming basketball season ?

Ramos: I feel confident about the team we have. I don’t really know when the season will start, but we have a lot of new faces and a really good squad.

The Clarion: If you have to play without fans, how will it affect the game?

Ramos: I think without fans it will just be basketball (and) we wouldn’t be worried about what the fans have going on in the stands – we would be a lot more locked in. It will feel different, but we will be OK.

The Clarion: Who is your favorite WNBA player ?

Ramos: Maya Moore.

The Clarion: So far, what is your career high in points?

Ramos: The most points I ever scored was in high school and that was 40.

The Clarion: What’s your favorite go-to snack as an athlete ?

Ramos: It would be strawberries and Nutella.

The Clarion: what is your go-to college meal ?

Ramos: Pizza rolls because they are quick.

The Clarion: What’s your favorite artist or song to listen to on game day?

Ramos: Drake or Lil Baby. If not music, I would just play WNBA highlights before the game.

The Clarion: There’s a lot of embarrassing moments in sports. What is the most embarrassing moment you have experienced in basketball?

Ramos: I tipped a ball that led to a steal and I started back-peddling and fell.

The Clarion: Thank you so much and good luck on the season!

(See the schedule here)

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