Archive for April, 2011

Who’s on Campus?

by Tyler Corbitt

An evangelist drew criticism from students when he began preaching in the outdoor commons area Wednesday.

Pellissippi student, Tyler Neal said, “I’m sitting there, trying to study and that guy’s yelling at the top of his lungs.  I’m trying to study here, I have an exam in forty-five minutes and I can’t hear myself think because you’re [Stockwell] up here yelling.”

Mike Stockwell appeared on campus as part of his literal cross-country mission of preaching at campuses and outdoor events across the nation.

“I’m a preacher,” says Stockwell, “I was preaching Jesus Christ and that’s my ministry…They [students] were having a problem with what I was saying.”

A Pellissippi student approached Stockwell and asked, “Do you go to class here?”

Stockwell: “You talking to me?”

Student: “Yeah I’m ******* talking to you.”

Stockwell: “You don’t talk to me like that.  You have a wicked mouth.”

Student: “How’d your finals go?  You go to class here?  No, you don’t.”

Under Tennessee Board of Regents Policy on Use of Campus Property and Facilities under the Access to Campuses clause, only students, faculty, staff and guests of the institutions or schools have access to the campus.

The exception would be, if the campuses buildings and facilities were open to the public for a designated time and purpose that encompassed the date of April 27, 2011.

Pellissippi Collegiate Ministries (PCM) was operating the booth/table in the commons where Stockwell was occasionally seated at.  Stockwell said that he was not an invited guest of PCM and said, “I’m not connected with them in any way.”

At one point, security asked Stockwell to leave.  Stockwell recounted security telling him, “You really need to leave,” to which he replied, “What if I don’t do what I’m doing and I just sit down and I behave myself?”

Stockwell was allowed to remain on campus.

Another man, in his late forties-early fifties, appearing at the PCM booth and denying any invitation from PCM, identified himself only as Tim.

Tim was observed attempting to engage a Pellissippi student in religious conversation to which the student was not inclined to participate.  The student, identifying himself as Sam, said he responded to Tim, saying he was already a Christian and didn’t want to hear what he [Sam] already knew.

Tim responded, “Your beliefs are on thin ice.”

At that point, Sam had walked past Tim and verbally, and physically, indicated he did not want to continue any conversation with Tim.

Tim proceeded to yell, “You’re proving my point!”

Tim said, “I would say you’ve got freedom of speech in the United States.  Those guys [students] could go anywhere they wanted to and not be disrupted.  No one was holding them at gunpoint to stand where they were.  I mean, even the loudest speech I heard, at fifty feet or even one-hundred feet you could always walk further away.”

“Or you could even do this,” says Tim, while physically sticks both his index fingers into his ears. “That’s why God gave you two fingers that fit in your ears.”

There are three videos of Stockwell preaching at Pellissippi on under the heading, “Outrageous Pellissippi Students.”

“I don’t pay to come to Pellissippi to have an overwhelming presence of someone yelling,” said the student, Neal.

Stockwell will be appearing in Winchester, VA at the 84th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival this weekend.

Friday, April 29th, 2011

State Gun Ban Supported by Faculty Senate

by Daniel Westerling

The Pellissippi State faculty senate passed a resolution to support a current Tennessee state law banning guns on college campuses.

 The resolution was passed in response to bills being worked on in the state legislature, House Bill 2016 and Senate Bill 339, which would allow properly licensed faculty to carry handguns on college campuses.

According to Mark Fuentes, faculty senate president, there is another bill being worked on in the state legislature that would allow students who have been honorably discharged from the military or have police training to carry firearms on campus.

 Fuentes said “I think personally this is the worst idea in the history of history.”

Trent Eades, a member of the senate and an English professor, felt that the issue was a constitutional one. He felt that there should not be guns on campus, however he felt the 2nd Amendment gave citizens the right to do so, and that the current laws on the books were unconstitutional. Eades said, “If you want gun control, and I do, you need to change the Constitution. It’s the only way with intellectual integrity.”

 The senate voted 21-3 in favor of a resolution to support the current law. The resolution will be presented to the Tennessee Board of Regents.

 The faculty senate meets once a month during the school year and all meetings are open to the public.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Veteran Programs

by Jonathan Rook

Many student veterans have wondered why there are no military-related organizations on campus.

The answer is simple. Pellissippi State’s President Dr. Allen Edwards, who served in artillery himself said, “There have been many organizations for veterans throughout the years. The problem is that when the student members graduate, there is no leadership left to maintain an active organization.”

He also pointed out that this was the case for previous honor societies as well. There has even been an outdoor club that had 70 members, but once the members graduated no one kept the club up and running for other students to consider.

There are hundreds of veterans or future military members that pass through Pellissippi annually. These students could greatly benefit from either a ROTC or veterans program that would substantially contribute to their career.

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Student Leadership Awards

by Brittany Hawk

The Pellissippi State Community College Student Leadership Awards will take place Friday, April 29.

The awards ceremony is an annual event that first began in 1993.

Gwen Miller said, “The Student Leadership Awards is Student Life and Recreation and the college’s celebration of student leaders around campus.”

The awards are for outstanding clubs, advisors, officers and members. They also recognize the council of student advocates, student activities board, student success, mentors, ambassadors, new student orientation leaders, global ambassadors and student liaison.

Miller said there will be a panel of a student, faculty and Student Life representatives.

Clubs and council of student advocates department supervisors nominate themselves or others for the awards. The panel will pick the winner in each category.

The categories consist of outstanding student leader, outstanding advisor, outstanding community service, outstanding service to the college, outstanding project, most improved organization and outstanding student organization.

The winners are given plaques for the awards and certificates are given out to recognize the council of student advocates and global ambassadors.

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

ETSU Transfer Checklist

by Graham Smith

East Tennessee State University has made a checklist for students who are interested in transferring to the college.

If a student follows the seven guidelines given by the ETSU official website,, the student will have a smooth transition into the college.

The first step is to apply for admission.  A student is expected to complete the undergraduate application form and submit a $15 application fee.  The deadline is August 15 for Fall Semester.

The second step is to forward your transcripts.  ETSU is expecting not only transcripts from college, but also transcripts from high school.

For the next three steps, it is advised that a student apply for scholarships,  housing, and complete student health forms.  After these steps have been completed, it is time to apply for financial aid and lottery awards.

If all these steps have been successfully completed, the last thing to do is to sign up for new student orientation.

If you are interested in transferring to ETSU, more details are given on their website.


Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Pellissippi Chorus Concert

by Timothy Daly

The final choral concert of the semester will take place at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus at 7 p.m. on April 28.

Bill Brewer, the music program coordinator, stated that the concert features the 65-member non-auditioned choir and the 36-member Variations Ensemble of selected students.

Bill Brewer, music program coordinator at PSCC

The choirs will perform classical pieces, music from the Renaissance and songs from the Broadway show Les Miserables.

Pictures of several sites in France will be displayed on a large screen while the Variations Ensemble performs to showcase the spring break trip that students in the auditioned choir were able to attend.  “It will be a great way for those who attend the concert to view the places that our students have visited,” said Brewer.

The concert is a free event and any donations will go towards musical scholarships.

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Blount County Student Appreciation Week

by Brandon O’Neal

The Blount County Campus is preparing to have student appreciation week during the week of the 25th.

Holly Burkett, assistant dean at the Blount County Campus, said that students will have the opportunity for free food during this week.

The campus will have fruit on Monday, java boost during the day and then pizza Tuesday evening, pizza on Wednesday, Pop-Tarts on Thursday and Little Debbie snacks on Friday, said Burkett.

“We just want to show the students that we appreciate all of their hard work and dedication to school,” said Burkett,” so what better way than to offer free food?”

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Student Accuses PSCC of Infringing His 1st Amendment Rights

by Daniel Westerling

A Pellissippi State student has accused the college of infringing on his First Amendment right of free speech. The student, Mark Dew, worked with the Law Offices of Gilbert and Fox to send a letter to Dr. Rebecca Ashford alleging that his rights were being infringed by the Pellissippi State policy on solicitation.

Mark Dew, right, talks with fellow student Joseph Davis about religion at the Hardin Valley PSCC campus on Wednesday April 13, 2011. ©Bekki Dunlap 2011

The letter, which is available here, states “that the school’s solicitation policy prohibited him [Dew] from distributing literature or sharing his religious beliefs publicly with other students on campus.”

At issue is PSCC’s lack of a clear policy on “solicitation” on campus.  As of now, any person, student or not, who wishes to hand out literature on campus must either pay a fee and await administration approval, or be part of a student organization.  The letter alleges that these requirements are “an unconstitutional prior restraint on all student or student group speech.”

Furthermore, the letter also takes issue with the school’s definition of solicitation in the first place.  It argues that by Tennessee State law solicitation is defined as “any oral or written request, however communicated, whether directly or indirectly for a contribution.”

Dr. Rebecca Ashford, vice president for student success at Pellissippi, explained that PSCC does not have an official policy for the distribution of literature.  The rules used up to this point were the facilities use policies, which Ashford said is the process that any student at Pellissippi can use.  She also conceded Dew’s right to hand out his literature, provided he follows the PSCC policies.

The policy is currently under review by Kae Carpenter, associate general counsel for the Tennessee Board of Regents, who handles legal issues for Pellissippi State.

Gilbert and Fox are associated with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group which claims to be “a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth.”


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Presidential Candidate Asked to Speak Before Faculty Senate

by Daniel Westerling

Dr. Anthony Wise, vice president of Pellissippi

Dr. Anthony Wise, vice president of Pellissippi and one of the three finalists for Pellissippi’s new president, has been asked by the Faculty Senate to answer questions about the moderation of the Fac-Staff listserv.

The listserv, a list of email addresses for all faculty and staff at PSCC, is the primary means of communication between faculty, administration, and the support staff.

The moderation went into effect in February of 2009, however, the issue is still being hotly debated amongst personnel at Pellissippi. It prompted a unanimous condemnation from the Faculty Senate in the form of a resolution passed at it’s April 2009 meeting.

According to several members of the faculty, including Writer-in-Residence Edward Francisco, the listserv was used for a variety of reasons, including debating curriculum based issues such as the Common Academic Experience book.

Shortly after a fierce debate between Francisco and Lisa Bogaty about a potential book for the Common Academic Experience, the moderation of the Fac-Staff listserv went into effect. The timing was seen as suspect by some members of the faculty.

According to Dr. Wise, the moderation had been in the works for some time before the debate between Francisco and Bogaty. When asked why the moderation went into effect Wise said, “There’d be things in there about somebody losing a cat…stuff that wasn’t necessarily related to the official activities of the college. It was an attempt to create a space where official announcements by and about the college could be available for employees.”

One of the more hotly debated issues about what should and should not be sent over the listserv are announcements and discussions on the United Campus Workers-Communications Workers of America (UCW-CWA), a Tennessee based union for faculty, administration, and staff of Tennessee’s college campuses.

According to Mark Fuentes, president of the Faculty Senate, messages about any groups, such as military recruiters and UCW-CWA, are not sent out over the fac-staff listserv. He also said that he believes that one main reason that UCW-CWA messages are not sent out over the listserv is because the Tennessee Board of Regents has not given the college a policy on the union.

This opinion was supported by Dr. Wise who explained that because the UCW-CWA is not recognized by the TBR, it’s activities are not sanctioned by the school and therefore messages relating to the union will be filtered out from the listserv.

Syndney Gingrow, a Pellissippi English professor, has a different opinion. “The college is not an in loco parentis [in the place of a parent] organization that’s here to act as a parent to it’s employees…without having a way to communicate to all the employees, I find it pure censorship. I do. I find it censorship.”

Peggy Wilson and Jerry Bryan, the other two moderators of the listserv, have also been asked to answer questions before the April meeting of the Faculty Senate.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

UCW-CWA on Campus

by Tyler Corbitt

While teachers in Wisconsin and Ohio fight for bargaining rights, Tennessee educators are striving for their first pay increase in four years.

Representatives and members from United Campus Workers have recently been on Pellissippi’s campus to raise awareness of the financial situation facing Tennessee’s educators.  Each Wednesday for the past two weeks, UCW has set up a booth to recruit, distribute flyers and discuss issues with students and faculty alike.

Regarding the obstacles facing Tennessee’s higher educators, UCW organizer Cameron Brooks said, “There are right-wing politicians that have demagogued and demonized what people that work for the public sector do.”

“I think it’s important that the public know that we’re not overpaid, we’re in fact, underpaid compared to our private sector counterparts,” said Brooks.

One of UCW’s primary goals is to see the passage of a bill that proposes an across-the-board pay increase for faculty and support staff on Tennessee’s campuses.  UCW members rallied in Nashville on Mar. 15, in part, to support the bill.

The bill, HB1707/SB1588 was proposed by State Sen. Beverly Marrero and Rep. Mike Turner, and would grant a $2000 across-the-board increase to each full-time employee of UT and TBR (Tennessee Board of Regents).

Additionally, in his budget proposal, Governor Bill Haslam allows for a 1.6 percent pay increase for state employees and teachers.

One UCW member said that the problem with the 1.6 percent increase is that it can translate to a mere $12 in take home pay for some workers.

“Even if the bill [HB1707] doesn’t pass, we might get something better than 1.6 percent,” said Brooks, “It’s something that people can work for.”

According to Brooks, there are over 1,200 UCW members in Tennessee and close to 50 union members on Pellissippi’s campus.

Friday, April 15th, 2011