New Allegations of Hazing in Marching 100 Prompts Second Investigation

A freshman clarinet player in the Florida A&M Marching 100 is at the center of a new investigation into possible hazing within the band’s ranks.

The Tallahassee Police Department has opened a probe into the alleged battery of 18-year-old Bria Shante Hunter.

Hunter’s parents told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV on Tuesday that the freshman clarinet player suffered a fractured thigh bone and damaged knee. They say when she returned to Georgia she couldn’t bend her legs.

Officer David Northrop confirmed they are investigating whether the injuries came from hazing. (CBS News)

Now the dominoes begin to fall. Parents concerned with unexplained injuries to their children, band members with second thoughts about the definition of loyalty and brotherhood in the death of a classmate are all primed to come forth with information on how deep 100 hazing really got.

And in turn, a new tide may be soon coming for many HBCU bands to confront similar stories and resulting consequences.

Editorial: An Ode to Cultural Sensitivity at America’s Airports

Imani Jackson is an award winning journalist and a mass communication senior at Grambling State University. She has been editor-in-chief of The Gramblinite newspaper for two years. Follow her @faithspeaks on Twitter.

“You ain’t accustomed to going through customs. You ain’t been nowhere, huh?” Kanye West spits on “Otis” with Jay Z and Otis Redding.

While Yeezy and other entertainers possess enough celebrity to travel without the flight experiences of commoners, everyone cannot say the same.

But, everything is done with us in mind.

The airport system is filled with compassionate workers who affirm equal rights. They only want what’s best for travelers. They are trained to avoid prejudiced or impolite interactions.

Policies are passed down to make flying the most comfortable experience that it can be. Flights run on time. No one is placed on standby. Bags show up where they are supposed to be.

Let us all be reminded of airports’ splendor as many travel during the holiday season.

Transportation Security Administration workers, noted nationally for their sensitivity and respect for privacy, will undoubtedly make security checks as comfortable and humane as possible.

They approach their duties like courtship. Most people round first, second and third bases immediately upon meeting a potential mate.

Who doesn’t like to spread ‘em, be patted down by strangers and walk through body scanners repeatedly?

It is an opportunity to bond with the workers. Body scans inspire touching conversations about individuals’ life experiences.

Workers run their gloved fingertips across scalps, karate chop dreadlocks and caress Afros.  They understand that flying is oftentimes a stressful experience and seek to provide disproportionately African-descended travelers with scalp massages to ease their worries.

I have layered, back-length locks. Recently, my appearance warranted the pleasurable memory of being the only passenger in the vicinity subjected to two body scans before having my hair searched for weapons.

The seemingly befuddled worker’s patting of my head conjured images of an African drum circle.

“I have never seen this before,” she said.

Upon tweeting the experience several sistas either expressed displeasure at my experience or shared similar airport experiences.

But, we should know better. Especially as Black women with natural hair, we should be aware that our appearances are risky.

I could have a blade under my mane. I might be so determined to stab someone else that I risk stabbing myself under my hair. While traveling.

At least airport workers are not ageist.

Just ask Dallas native Isis Brantley whose luscious coils were scanned for explosives. The 50-something hairstylist’s massive raven power fro was clearly part of a cross-country scheme to smuggle weapons of mass destruction into Atlanta’s airport.

It is not like Atlanta is not noted for aesthetics or hair shows.

As these occurrences remain part of public discourse, travelers should just accept the superior judgment of airport personnel.

They will only interrogate people who deserve to be questioned. If many of the people detained and quizzed are brown and/or bear names of Arabic origin, even better.

Those people are known troublemakers. Terrorists are only born in Middle Eastern nations or believers in Islam. So it is in everyone’s best interest that workers make them feel like the “other” every time they seek to travel the skies.

But, wait. TSA representatives have feelings too. In light of controversy regarding their treatment of passengers, they toned it down a bit.

Children ages 12 and under are now permitted to keep their shoes on during security checks!

TSA issued statements about security. They want to remind travelers “to be vigilant during the holiday travel season by reporting suspicious activity.”

They encourage the public to speak out saying, “The traveling public plays an important role in security, so ‘If you see something, say something.’”

Hi. I’m saying something.

Alabama A&M Student Actors Produce Film for State Courts

Three Alabama A&M student actors were cast in an Alabama Administrative Office of Courts video produced by Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.  The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts governs all aspects of the courts in the state of Alabama.

Mychal McAdoo, Monique Miller and Janette Smith were the student performers.  Smith is a graduating senior and serves as narrator for the project.  The video, set for state-wide distribution, deals with parents trying to get along and allow visitation for the good of their child, according to Dr. Susan C. Brown, professor of communication arts in the Department of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts of AAMU’s College of Education, Humanities, and Behavioral Sciences.

Read the full story at:
Court Video

President Obama Awards Howard Faculty for STEM Mentorship

President Barack Obama recently announced leading cell biologist Winston Anderson, Ph.D., a Howard University professor of Biology, as one of nine individuals awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

The White House presents the award to individuals and organizations in recognition of the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields.

Anderson (B.S. ’62; M.S. ’63) has devoted the last 44 years of his academic life including 36 years on the Howard faculty to the intellectual enhancement and training of African Americans and other underrepresented groups from K-12 to postdoctoral students.

Read the full story at:
President Obama Awards Howard Faculty for STEM Mentorship – Howard University News Room.

Hampton’s Kendyl Crawley-Crawford Selected as 2012 Marshall Scholar

Hampton University senior Kendyl Crawley-Crawford has been chosen as a 2012 Marshall Scholar.

“It is such an honor to have won the scholarship; I am really excited,” stated Crawley-Crawford. “The Marshall Scholarship gives me an opportunity to indulge in furthering my education and expose myself to various cultures.”

The Marshall Scholarship, one of the most prestigious postgraduate scholarships available to Americans, finances American students to study at any institution in the United Kingdom. Marshall scholars are future leaders that are expected to strengthen the relationship between the British and American people. A total of 36 2012 Marshall Scholars were chosen.

Read the full story at:
Hampton University Senior Selected as a 2012 Marshall Scholar

Winston-Salem State Alum Fred Whitted to Debut Book on History of Ram Athletics

Fred Whitted has spent several years researching what he regards as one of the greatest collegiate athletic histories in the nation. By Christmas time, everyone will have a chance to catch up on the sports legacy of Winston-Salem State in his latest book, The Rams House.”

The book includes a section on WSSU’s winning its ninth CIAA football title earlier this month and is scheduled to be finished two days before the undefeated Rams play in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Whitted, a 1975 graduate of WSSU who lives in Fayetteville, already has written several books on black college history. He was so intent on finishing this book, which he has been working on since April, that he didn’t attend Saturday’s playoff victory against California (Pa.) at Bowman Gray Stadium.

“Our aim is to show America the glory that has been the theme of Winston-Salem State over the past year,” Whitted said.

Livingstone’s Dr. Carolyn Duncan Debuts Suspense eNovel “Hastá Mañana”

By: Laurie Willis
Livingstone College News Service 

Dr. Carolyn Duncan, QEP coordinator at Livingstone College, isn’t one for much fanfare. In fact, she’s soft-spoken and fairly unassuming.

“I’m shy by nature,” Duncan has said previously in a newspaper interview. “Writing is a way of getting my thoughts out of my head, even when no one reads them but me.”

Chances are soon a lot of people will be reading Duncan’s thoughts – electronically, that is.

“Hasta Mañana,” Duncan’s first work of fiction under the pen name Carolyn Wilkerson, was originally published in 2003. However, it has been released as an eBook and is now available at (Barnes and Noble), at and the iTunes Bookstore, said her son, John W. Duncan.

The book, based in large part on Mr. Duncan’s former position as a Border Patrol agent and set in Arizona and Mexico, examines illegal immigrants from both sides and raises some important questions.

“My effort to partner with my mom in this venture to release her book in a digital format stems from my desire to make her work available in a platform that’s in very high demand and didn’t previously exist,” said Duncan, who works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a manager for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “I want to do this to showcase her talents as a writer in the genre of suspense thrillers.”

Duncan said he also wanted to raise awareness over the complexities he and his law enforcement colleagues face daily as they pursue missions pertaining to improving national security, public safety and enforcing immigration and customs laws.

“That’s really at the heart of what’s motivating me to do this,” he said. “The partnership between my mother and I is very unique in that we’re able to take our proficiencies in our respective professions and mold them into stories that we think people will find authentic and entertaining.”

Duncan and her son have formed Wilkerson Duncan Media, a digital publishing company based in California. The younger Duncan said he’s ecstatic over the timing of the eBook release because it happened in mid-November, around the time his mother celebrated her birthday.

“What better gift for a son to give to his mom?” Duncan asked. “For me it’s a special gift because I know we’re going to use this not only for her fictional works but also to address the problem of illiteracy in the United States, something about which we both care deeply.”

Duncan graduated from Livingstone College in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and teacher education before earning her master’s degree in educational administration from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in 1974. She earned her doctorate in social and philosophical foundations of education, with a minor in early childhood education, from Rutgers University in 1981.

Eugene Stafford met Duncan when she served as executive director of the Community Development Corporation in Mount Holly, N.J. The two have been friends for more than 40 years.

“She’s an extremely nice person, and she’s down to earth,” Stafford said. “She’s very high on education. She has a heart for trying to help those who have difficulties with their reading. She absolutely, without question, cares about educating children.”

Stafford has a hard copy of Duncan’s book, which he said is intriguing.

“I think it’s truly exciting that it’s now in eBook form, and I’m so happy for her,” he said. “She’s a very humble person and a dedicated person. I have the highest respect and regard for her, and she’s so deserving.”

Duncan, who attended Joseph C. Price High School, is an avid mystery reader and enjoys authors Robert Parker and Janet Evanovich. She has read and owns the entire Agatha Christie series.

Duncan loves to write and usually carries several books, a legal pad and many pens and pencils in her purse. Some of her earliest writings emanated as her way to deal with difficult situations.

“Writing helped me absorb the grief of losing my father at age 13, my mother two weeks after my 16th birthday, and writing poetry helped me to deal with the anxiety of living in Washington, D.C. during the late 1960s riots,” Duncan says on her website.”

Duncan’s son said his mom has been writing as long as he can remember.

“I believe what distinguishes my mother’s work as a fiction writer from her notable peers is who she is as a person before putting pen to paper,” he said.

“Her unique style of characterizing reality is fueled by her passion to educate and teach by presenting her readers with plots, settings and characters that draw from truth in our culture. What distinguishes her as a promoter of education is her keen awareness of the sense of urgency needed to transmit that utility, knowledge and accumulated experience of social living. Few are so gifted at both.”

Jackson State Extends Rick Comegy Through 2013

Jackson State University Athletic Director Dr. Vivian Fuller today announced the extension of Rick Comegy as the Tiger football coach through 2013. He will receive a three percent raise to just over $191,000 per year. Some quotes from Comegy at the press conference, courtesy of Jackson Clarion-Ledger reporter Ross Dellenger on his Twitter feed:

“It’s a place where I wanted to be, a place where I needed to be….It means a lot this day has come. We can now move forward to recruiting…

Comegy on how long he wants to be at JSU: “As long as I’m winning and capable of winning and as long as they want me.”

Dellenger also reports that Comegy has targeted several potential replacements for standout quarterback Casey Therriault, who led the Tigers to a 9-2 record and in two years rewrote many of the school’s passing records.

Jackson State was banned from the SWAC football championship game this season and from NCAA postseason competition after falling short of the NCAA’s academic progress rate. The program faces possible expulsion from the NCAA if the APR issues aren’t solved in 2012.

Despite problems with academics and retention, clashes with coaches and fan angst, and a new athletic director; Comegy has proven he can recruit and win in Jackson. Now the question will revolve around graduating his players, and not throwing them off the team or having them quit

Oh yeah, and competing for the SWAC title every year.


Virginia State Launches Dual Enrollment Program for Richmond High Schoolers

Richmond-area high school juniors and seniors will now be able to earn college credits prior to graduation through a new dual enrollment partnership between the city’s system and Virginia State University.

The Virginia State Academic Partnership Program allows qualified students to take courses counting towards graduation at their high school and college of their choice.

There is currently no tuition charge to the students taking dual enrollment courses. Textbooks are usually purchased by the high school system hosting the classes. Dual enrollment students typically enter college with close to a semester’s worth of credits, resulting in savings of several thousand dollars. (VSU in the News)

The partnership with the Richmond Public School System is the latest addition to the VSU partnership program, following similar installations in Petersburg, Prince George and Dinwiddie.

Alabama A&M Unheralded in SWAC Championship Build-Up, But Prepared

Grambling State has one of the biggest single season turnarounds in college football this year, turning a shaky beginning to the season and an offense led by a freshman quarterback into the favorite for the SWAC football championship.

The only team with a bigger turnaround? Alabama A&M, which lost its first two games of the year and has won eight of its last nine with serviceable defense and a balanced offensive attack. The least sexy headline magnet of the two teams competing for the SWAC crown, AAMU head coach Anthony Jones says his team was prepared for the possibility of a meeting with GSU.

“We were 0-2 and no one expected us to be where we are now,” Jones said. “We’ve had one of the biggest turnarounds in all of the country. We’re trying to complete the turnaround. All we’ve done is flipthe numbers from 3-8 to 8-3. We’re trying to add another number to that.

“Everybody in the SWAC fights to play in the championship game. We have that chance and so does Grambling. When we played them earlier in the year, I said don’t be surprised if we see them again. A lot of people didn’t see it. My early thoughts were between them and UAPB. They had to get used to to the new systems. They seem to have found their stride and they understand their roles and the rest is history.” (Huntsville Times)

Alabama A&M is well tested for the title game, and should have a mental advantage to reverse a trend of losing efforts in the title game against Grambling. AAMU got its first road victory in school history over the Tigers earlier this season.