Victims in Plain Sight: The Importance of Sharing Your #MeToo Story

Content warning: sexual violence, dating violence

“They force you to shut down, then judge you for not opening up” -R. H. Sin

We are living in a new age, and it has finally dawned on me that I shouldn’t let the fear of others’ repercussions stop me from releasing my anger that has been boiling under the surface for two years. I have learned over time – with nightmares, flashbacks, bouts of anger and frustration, social isolation, depression and an eating disorder – that the only way to move on from my own past is to address it head-on. Here is my story, in its naked truth, with personal characteristics and identifiers removed.

I am a survivor of dating violence, and I have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I have been quietly attending group therapy sessions at my university’s center for sexual misconduct prevention and response, speaking to a confidential Victim Resource Specialist one-on-one, seeing a therapist once a week at my university’s psychological counseling center and meeting with a therapist in my hometown.

Why haven’t I spoken up in the past two years? The answer is simple: my abuser is one of the most charismatic, well-liked boys in any crowd (and no, he is not a man; real men do not hurt women). In fact, people are so quick to take to him, I was afraid that everyone would turn against me if they knew. I saw this fear materialize with the reactions surrounding White House aide Rob Porter, who was revealed to have abused his ex wives. Our President rushed to Porter’s side, claiming that the allegations were false – despite photographic evidence – and that he wished him well during this “tough time.” In a society with this victim-blaming approach, how could a survivor have the courage to speak about her experience?

Not only are there many potential social repercussions, but there are legal obstacles as well. A victim who speaks out about her experience will be almost immediately contacted by campus officials and implored to start an investigation, as is directed under Title IX. Additionally, there is a wave of perpetrators claiming that the #MeToo allegations are false, and they are suing the victims for defamation. With all of these deterrents, it is easy to understand why so many victims have remained silent for so long.

“A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” -Paulo Coelho

The boy in my narrative started out as a goofy, fun-loving guy. This transitioned to drunken nights punctuated with light roughhousing. Then – before I could even fathom it – it escalated to him blacking out and being careless with my body. In his many stupors, he broke my nose, bit down on my lip, bruised and scratched my neck, shoved my face under a running faucet, suffocated me with his body on my face, and almost drowned me. This was all occurring with the constant thought: is he doing this purposely, or is he just so unaware of his level of intoxication and his size? I chose to believe the latter, as I was infatuated with him, and so this occurred over a period longer than it should have. Regardless of the truth in his intentions, I’ve come to realize that what I have experienced is just as wrong in either case. I was abused, and I was my only witness.

During all of this, verbal and emotional abuse coincided with each incident: calling me names, gaslighting, body shaming, belittling, victim blaming, threats to break up, etc. The physically violent incidences are all memories that have slowly been coming back to me over the past two years, out of a repressed corner of my mind, as is characteristic of PTSD.

I didn’t realize the impact that his actions had had on me until one day, several months after we cut things off, I had my first panic attack. I realized that I needed to finally address what I had downplayed all this time. It took months before I could say “abuse” instead of “the a-word.” Like many other victims of interpersonal violence, I experienced shame, numbness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, overwhelming anger and guilt. However, the fact that I am able to write out this experience and share it with others is a sign of improvement, and I want this to serve as a beacon of hope for victims who have not yet reached this stage.

“and here you are living, despite it all” -Rupi Kaur

With the #MeToo movement, we have begun to recognize that there are many victims hiding in plain sight. There are people who you know dearly and care for who likely have not shared their story. There are many reasons, as I mentioned earlier, for why a victim is hesitant to come forward. Above all, no one wants to be labeled as crazy, and everyone wants to be taken seriously. Putting our most vulnerable selves into the public eye – to be potentially subjected to scrutiny, criticism and outright denial – is possibly the most stressful action a survivor can take. Especially in a campus setting, where many perpetrators are socially adept and well-liked by others, it is almost assumed that the friends of the accused will turn against those who speak out. Because of this, I have come to accept that there will be those who do not believe me, despite a plethora of evidence.

However, it is not only therapeutic for us survivors to put our experiences into words, but it is also helpful to demonstrate to the world the extent of this heinous problem. The importance of speaking out does not just apply to females; survivors are men as well. If we all were able to express our past without fear of retribution, and without the ridiculous level of sympathy others have for our perpetrators, the world would be more informed and more driven to action than ever. I encourage the Vanderbilt community to share your stories without fear, as I and many others like you are here to support you. If you don’t have a story to tell, share this one and others like it to demonstrate that this is a bigger problem than people realize. It is time to take action, now more than ever.

Project Safe is available to anyone who may need support and resources for issues of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence. The Project Safe 24-hour hotline is 615-322-SAFE (7233). Any mandatory reporters who have questions about their responsibilities in regards to this story can contact Project Safe at 615-875-0660 or at projectsafe@vanderbilt.edu. The Project Safe Center is located near Alumni Lawn at 304 West Side Row (Cumberland House).

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Wolf Alice rocks 3rd and Lindsley

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A look at the Vanderbilt transfer experience

If past trends repeat themselves, the first wave of transfer admission decisions will go out this week. Each year, approximately 210 transfer students join the Vanderbilt community. Of the most recent transfer class, 79.7 percent entered as sophomores, 11.2 percent entered as juniors and 9.1 percent started at Vanderbilt classified as first-year students. This means that at any given time, transfer students make up roughly nine percent of the student body.

The top feeder schools for the Vanderbilt transfer program are New York University, Belmont University and Boston College, respectively. Other significant feeder schools for the Vanderbilt transfer program include Emory University, George Washington University and Boston University.

For the class of 2020, Vanderbilt boasted a first-year retention rate of 96.6 percent, with only about 55 of the class’ members choosing to not return for their sophomore year. By accepting over 200 transfer students each year, Vanderbilt is increasing its graduating class sizes after freshman year.

“We look at transfers to level-set all the class loads” said Douglas Christiansen, Vice Provost of University Enrollment Affairs. “As we’re thinking about when students go to study abroad, there is a capacity that we’re keeping within our classes. Instead of being kind of high and then low, we just try to level [class loads]. That’s why [we take so many transfer students].”

Aside from pragmatics, administrators see other reasons to accept transfer students.

“[Transfer students] also bring, we’ve thought, a little bit of a flavor from some other schools” Christiansen said, citing the diversity of experience that transfer students have. “They bring different thoughts and ideas.”

Christiansen notes that transfer students perform at the same level as students who were accepted for freshmen year and that it’s not an easier process for transfers to get in.

Using data from the past three years, average GPAs of sophomore transfer students have been nearly identical to sophomore students who attended Vanderbilt their freshman year. In fact, during the 2016-2017 school year, sophomore transfer students had an average GPA of 3.46, which is slightly higher than the 3.41 average GPA of non-transfer sophomores.

Despite performing at the same level as non-transfer students, transfer students have reported sometimes feeling forgotten.

“What I noticed when I took on transfer student orientation in the fall of 2016 was that I think the transfer students were kind of feeling like the red-headed stepchildren” said Christiana Russell, the current director of the Office of Transition Programs. “There’s just a big to-do for the first year students; I personally think that our move-in and the way we welcome students here at Vanderbilt is just second to none.”

In the two years that Russell has been in charge of the Office of Transition Programs, she has overhauled the transfer orientation program. Russell has moved transfer student move-in to Friday instead of Saturday, arranged for a transfer student group picture similar to that of entering first-years, and has increased the role of Transfer Student Leaders.

“I wanted to do something to make [transfer students] feel like they’re welcome, they’re important, they’re an important part of the Vanderbilt community” Russell said.

Since the 2017-2018 school year, Transfer Student Leaders go through four days of training before being assigned a group of about 15 transfer students. Along with a co-leader, Transfer Student Leaders help to facilitate the transition process both during and beyond the three day transfer orientation.

“The idea is to welcome, integrate, and kind of  allow [transfer students] to blossom and be members of the Vanderbilt community” Russell said. “By the time you’re graduating from here, you are a Vanderbilt student and this is your community, this is your school.”

Transfer applications are up nine percent over the last year, and although they might not know who they are yet, the Office of Transition Programs has high hopes for this year’s transfer class.

“I’m just really, really proud of where we’ve been able to bring the program” Russell said.

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Women’s Golf ousted in SEC championship match play

After advancing to match play as the seventh seed in the SEC Championships this past weekend, the Vanderbilt women’s golf team fell to second-ranked Alabama 3-2.

The top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play advanced to match play in the conference championship’s new format this year.

After the first round of stroke play, Vanderbilt was third in the standings with an eight-over 296. Louise Yu led the team with a two-under 70, and Virginia Green carded a two-over 74.

Abbey Carlson hit a hole-in-one, her first in competition, on the 150-yard second hole.

The second round of stroke play did not go as well for the Commodores, who ended the day with an 18-over 306.  

Yu and Green, the team leaders after the first 18 holes, carded an 80 and 81, respectively. Morgan Baxendale shot an even-par 72, and Carlson bounced back from a first-round 78 to shoot a 3-over 75.

Courtney Zeng shot a 79 in the second round after a first-round 76.

Vanderbilt stormed back in the third round to clinch a spot in match play. Carlson shot an even-par 72, and Baxendale and Yu scored 73s on the day.

After stroke play, Vanderbilt sat at 899, 35 shots over par.

In match play, Vanderbilt faced Alabama, the top-ranked team in the nation.

Alabama’s Kristen Gillman defeated Virginia Green 6&4, which means she was ahead by six holes when there were only four holes left to play.

Louise Yu earned a point for Vanderbilt after winning the last hole to beat Cheyenne Knight 1 up. The match was tight the entire time, and no player was ever up by more than one hole.

Courtney Zeng lost to Lauren Stephenson 5&3. Stephenson is currently the 6th-ranked amateur golfer in the world.

Morgan Baxendale earned Vanderbilt’s second victory with a 2&1 win over Lakareber Abe. Baxendale was behind or tied for the entire front nine, but pulled away over the back nine.

Carlson lost a tough match to Angelica Moresco. Carlson never led, but fought her way back multiple times to cut Moresco’s lead to one or two strokes before Moresco won the seventeenth hole to clinch the win for Alabama.

Vanderbilt is expected to make NCAA regionals when the field is announced on Wednesday. The regionals are May 7-9 at locations all over the country.

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Black in Medicine: The importance of representation and support

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Letter from the Editor: Farewell, Vanderbilt

Hi Vanderbilt,

Wrapping up this year is the definition of bittersweet. My time as Editor in Chief has been rewarding, enlightening and fun. I’ve had the privilege of overseeing the Hustler’s second year as a completely digital news source, and not to brag, but we’ve been wildly successful. Our campus team has perfected their coverage of breaking news. Our sports staff has done deep digging into more than just games and plays. Our life staff has expanded their coverage of topics such as fashion and food. Our multimedia squad can be found at events all around campus, documenting Vanderbilt’s daily life and never missing a beat. There are never enough hours in the day to cover everything that we want to, but we spend every moment we can researching and reporting on the stories you’ve seen on the site all year. We’ve made mistakes, and we’ve handled them gracefully. While I’d love to take credit for all of these incredible accomplishments, I need to give credit where credit is due. The Hustler’s staff is composed of the most hardworking, bright, kind and inspiring people I know, and each and every one has played an instrumental role in our success this year. I’ve just been the lucky one that gets to guide and support them.

But I won’t lie to you–it’s also been a hard year. Moments that come to mind include the all-nighter I pulled fact checking this story about sexual assault allegations against a Board of Trust member and crying hysterically as I wrote this letter about the Nashville statement and this story about Perry Wallace’s legacy. I’ve seen students criticize the Hustler for posting clickbait and for being ethically and journalistically irresponsible when I know that those things aren’t even remotely true. But these challenges have taught me the true meaning of strength and conviction. Facing criticism in such a public way has taught me to never back down when I know what I’m doing is right, and to lean on the people I trust for help and support. I’ve learned to view feedback for what it is, and to distinguish helpful, constructive comments from hateful, uninformed ones. I have learned the power of treating everyone with love and respect, even when I’m upset or angry. I’ve embraced Michelle Obama’s famous remark: when they go low, we go high.

There are several people I want to thank as I wrap up my time as Editor in Chief. I’ll name a few here, but the list truly goes on and on. Dallas Shatel, Deputy Editor, has kept me sane and grounded, not to mention that he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. Paige Clancy, the Hustler’s advisor, has made herself available to me and the Hustler’s editorial board at all hours of the day and has been both my biggest fan and my biggest critic from day one. Sam Zern, Campus Editor, has impressed me beyond belief with her talent and interpersonal skills every day of the past year. I can’t wait to see the amazing things she does as the Hustler’s Editor in Chief next year–you’re all in for a treat. Cutler Klein, Sports Editor, has made it very clear that he will fight anyone that stands in my way, and I can’t wait to say that I know him when he’s a famous sports journalist someday. Claudia Willen, Life Editor, completely reshaped the Life section and brought her vision to life in an unbelievable way. Claire Barnett, Multimedia Director, inspires us all with both her dedication and with her unbelievable eye for good photography. Jenna Moldaver, Voices Editor, oversaw the birth and growth of the Voices section, which has recognized students as campus experts on the topics they’re passionate about. Allison Boyce, Social Media Director, has revolutionized the way that the Hustler communicates with the Vanderbilt community. My sister, Rachel, has dealt with me being all too unavailable during her first year at Vanderbilt and is still my best friend and role model, even though she’s the younger one (watch out for this one, world).

But the biggest shoutout goes out to each and every one of the Hustler’s readers, who are the reason why this publication has attained the success that it has this year. Without all of you, I wouldn’t have a reason to spend long days and long nights writing and reporting. You have provided your feedback, both positive and negative, which has made the Hustler something we all shape together as a campus community.

So thanks, Vandy, for lending me your pupils, even if it was only for a minute on Monday mornings when my email landed in your inbox. Serving as the Hustler’s Editor in Chief has been the greatest honor and challenge of my life, and I will cherish this experience forever.

All the best,

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IN PHOTOS: Rites of Spring 2018

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Vanderbilt takes to the skies

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It’s time to invest In Memorial Magic

When any student submits his or her application to Vanderbilt, chances are that bragging rights between their friends about which school has the best sports teams is not high on their list of priorities. When late March rolls around, most students will be concerned with finals, not the Final Four.

While some of Vanderbilt’s other sports, such as Tennis and Bowling, may be making successful campaigns, some of the most fun memories in college can come from cheering on major teams getting national attention. Vanderbilt has never been an athletic powerhouse or even a perennial contender, but the potential of next year’s Men’s Basketball team has sparked great excitement for everyone around campus.

If the university decides to back the program with the financial support it needs, students may someday dream of coming to Vanderbilt not just for the opportunities in the classroom, but also to root for a team that has the chance to cut down the nets at the end of March.

It’s impossible to expect the school to evolve into a powerhouse overnight, but next year provides an incredible chance for Vanderbilt to take a step in the right direction. If the university chooses to invest more strategically, we could reach a point in which Vanderbilt is competing for titles rather than competing in the SportsCenter Not Top 10. The Southeastern Conference lacks any depth in basketball powerhouses, with the Kentucky Wildcats being the only team consistently competing late into March. Additionally, Vanderbilt’s central location in a fun city like Nashville offers great promise in terms of recruiting.

While there will always be conservative spenders who believe that big investments can wait, it’s clear that Commodore Basketball is about to be ready for primetime. While they may have just come off of a tough season, head coach Bryce Drew has brought in a few incoming players who could change everything. For the first time in a long time, Vanderbilt is bringing in more than one High School Senior marked as “Five Stars,” meaning they are the most elite in the nation. Simi Shittu, Darius Garland, and potentially Romeo Langford are all top players in their respective states, and make up three of the top 15 spots on ESPN’s recruiting rankings.

In a sport in which a few key players are all that is needed to make a team great, next season looks very promising. If subsequent recruiting classes classes see these commits succeed and see the university fund internal improvements and demonstrate that it is dedicated to the team, Vanderbilt Basketball could turn over a new leaf. The Commodores are finally being presented with a real chance to be a national success, and the university needs to do its part and invest in a winning team.

Another factor pointing to Vanderbilt’s potential success on the court is how similar it is to other successful basketball programs. Villanova, who just dominated Michigan in the most recent NCAA Basketball championship game, has just under 7,000 students. Schools even smaller than Vanderbilt, such as Butler and Xavier, also are consistently competitors. Furthermore, while it is often a struggle for especially academically rigorous universities to pull in recruits, schools like Duke show that this is hardly an obstacle for the nation’s top basketball stars.

Other schools are taking this initiative with even less potential for success. For example, Northwestern University just underwent a total renovation of their arena after making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2017. The only difference between Vanderbilt and these schools: they’re willing to spend the money.

On a larger scale, American interest in basketball is rising at an incredible rate. As parents worry about the lasting effects of concussions on their children, youth football is fading slowly as the basketball fan base grows and grows. The gameday experience of college basketball is unparalleled by any other, and Vanderbilt’s famous “Memorial Magic” is especially electrifying. That being said, any sports fan in Memorial Gym immediately feels the antiquity of their surroundings, and the arena desperately needs new seats, an updated concourse and modern  suites that recruits are taken to as a showcase of the school’s basketball prowess.

If even a fraction of the financial attention Vanderbilt constantly gives to its academic institutions and housing facilities was redirected to this project, these amenities could make fans feel less like they are at a high school gym built in the 1980s and still hold on to the historic atmosphere that makes Memorial Gym such a great place to watch basketball. Instead of having the program’s official website boast about how old its facilities are (even putting itself on a “Top 25” list that is downright embarrassing), Vanderbilt needs to put the money in so that someday that website can boast a Final Four berth, or even a championship.

The best part about investing in new amenities for our basketball program is the huge scope of its potential effects. Not only will the Men’s Basketball players and prospective recruits be ecstatic, these same improvements will be enjoyed by the Women’s Basketball team. The same resources dedicated to making the Men’s Basketball program would help make the Women’s program a championship contender under coach Stephanie White.

Most importantly, Vanderbilt is constantly promoting its plans to renovate the university under the name “FutureVU,” all with the goal of creating a deeper sense of community on campus. What better way to do that than to give students, faculty, and alumni the rallying point of a basketball team that could make runs to the Final Four?

It’s time for Vanderbilt to put its money where its mouth is.

After all, if the choice is between just one more opulent Yale-like dormitory guaranteeing 22-year-olds still have to live on campus and a championship-level basketball team, I think most of us know what we would choose.

Bryan Hollis is a first-year in the College of Arts and Science. He can be reached at bryan.p.hollis@vanderbilt.edu. 

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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Rites of Spring, Variations concert & more

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Next Steps; Vanderbilt’s inclusive higher education program

Hoping to continue her family’s tradition of attending Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Story applied to the Next Steps program when it was first implemented at the university. She was accepted to the program, eager to gain a true college experience. After graduating with the first class of Next Steps students in 2011, Story reflects on the impact it has had for her.

“I hope that the Vanderbilt community learns through seeing Next Steps students on the campus how important it is for everyone to have a college experience and that the Next Steps students are just like them,” Story said.

Next Steps is an inclusive higher education program at Vanderbilt that provides educational, social and career development opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. Next Steps students work with Ambassadores, who are peer mentors that strive to build relationships and support students in academics, social life and personal development.

In addition to spending time with her Ambassadores, one of Story’s favorite memories with the program was meeting two singer/songwriters during one of her first year classes and learning how to write a song. When the group of students finished writing their songs, the singer/songwriters performed them at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Story recalls this as an especially impactful moment over her two years with the program.

“I am so glad that Next Steps at Vanderbilt exists and that other universities are creating programs like it on their campuses because everyone deserves to have a college experience,” Story said.

Story also said that cultivating increased independence over the course of the program was an influential part of her time at Vanderbilt. She now works at the Susan Gray school, after beginning her involvement there before her time with Next Steps.

Next Steps Beginnings

Next Steps started as a two year program and accepted its first class of students in January 2010. There have been a total of nine classes of students accepted, and since 2010, 55 students have come through the program. Tammy Day, the Director of Next Steps, first learned about this type of inclusive programming in colleges around twelve years ago when she was a special education teacher. At this point, there were not inclusive higher education programs at universities in Tennessee, but Day helped make the program a reality at Vanderbilt. A task force worked to create programming in Tennessee, with Day serving as a local educator on the task force.

“After this task force had been going for about three years, the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities knew if we don’t put some money behind this to do a pilot in our state, I don’t think we’re ever going to get anywhere,” Day said. “So because of a very very generous donor in the community that matched the grant, they joined and Vanderbilt was awarded a three year pilot grant which allowed them to hire a director and to get started.”

Next Steps at Vanderbilt is one of five similar programs in the state for inclusive higher education, and Vanderbilt is the only top 20 university with an inclusive higher education program like this. The task force that initially worked to create the programs evolved into the Tennessee Inclusive Higher Education Alliance, with Day currently serving as the chairperson. The group works with legislators and coordinates with the programs throughout the state. One of the pieces of legislation the group worked to pass was the Step Up scholarship, which provides scholarships to students entering any of these five programs.

Last fall, Next Steps was approved as a four year program, meaning that the upcoming academic year will be the first year with juniors as part of Next Steps. Transitioning from a two year program to a four year program allows for increased growth for the students and an opportunity to expand its impacts.

“Going forward with our four year expansion, our goal is to have 40 students, so accepting 10 students a year,” Day said.

Daily Life of Next Steps

Each Next Steps student takes a combination of three Career and Community Studies (CCS) classes and one or two Vanderbilt classes. CCS classes are specific to the program and focus on topics such as independent living, self awareness and career development. This has been the structure for the two year program, but independent study may be an option for juniors and seniors in future years of the program.

Next Steps students also participate in internships in many different career fields. Lindsay Krech, Assistant Director of Career Development, coordinates field trips for first semester students to help them explore various career options and reflect on what works best for them. First year students can then begin internships during second semester. Sophomores also participate in internships, further exploring potential career directions. Students work with job coaches in their internships to learn required job tasks and develop skills.

“For juniors our goal is that they have paid internships,” Krech said. “Most of them will be out in the community and then by senior year we hope that they’re in a paid job in their field of interest that they can continue to work in after they graduate. That’s our goal for our four year plan.”

In addition to classes and internships, Next Steps students are involved in many different campus organizations. Peach Chinratanalab, a second year Next Steps student, says that going to acapella concerts with friends and helping groups such as the Melodores table at Rand are some of her favorite parts of social life with Next Steps.

“My favorite part is hanging out with friends and getting the opportunity to form many different career fields,” Chinratanalab said.

Kristi van Wulven is a first year Next Steps student who participates in the Special Olympics and Best Buddies in addition to attending campus events such as concerts.

“I’m in the Campus Life Ambassadore athletic group,” van Wulven said. “And I’m in two different groups. I’m in the athletic group and we go to different Vanderbilt athletic events on campus and off campus. So we go to baseball, basketball, bowling, and football. And I’m also in the arts and music group.”

John Cayton, Director of Student Supports and Campus Life, works with Next Steps students and Ambassadores to coordinate between the groups and facilitate involvement on campus. He emphasized the importance of inclusivity in organizations around campus and bridging the gap in knowledge about the program throughout the Vanderbilt community.

“I just hope that we can spread awareness that these are your peers––they’re college students and they have access to participate in any area of campus life that they hope to be a part of,” Cayton said. “I think that’s the biggest thing right now. You know Peabody side knows, but when you go across the bridge there’s a lot of ‘I don’t really know what’s going on.’”  

Ambassadores Program

Ambassadores are Vanderbilt students who work with students in the Next Steps program in various capacities. There are four roles that an Ambassadore can take on, including tutor, workout buddy, daily planner, and lunch buddy. There are currently around 80 Ambassadores working with students, but Cayton hopes this number will grow next year as more students will be enrolled in the program due to the four year extension.

The number of Ambassadores that each Next Step student works with depends on the individual student. While each session can vary depending on the needs of the student during that particular time, one consistent aspect of these sessions is the opportunity to form a relationship between peers. Pooja Santapuram, President of Next Steps, underscored the impact that her involvement as an Ambassadore has had on her Vanderbilt experience.

“What I see as the biggest takeaway for both Next Steps students and Ambassadores is friendship,” Santapuram said via email. “Both the Next Steps students and Vanderbilt Ambassadores benefit tremendously from their relationships with one another. I have built many strong friendships with the students I have worked with over the years, to the point where many of them seem to know me better than I know myself at times.”

Both Chinratanalab and van Wulven echoed the sentiment that cultivating friendships with Ambassadores was an important part of the program.

“My favorite part of Next Steps is getting to know people and getting to know the Next Steps staff and students and Ambassadores,”  van Wulven said.

Beyond Vanderbilt

One of the most important aspects of Next Steps is providing students with the tools to discover their career path of interest and pursue employment opportunities. Working with the Vanderbilt and Nashville community offers opportunities that some students may continue to be involved in post-graduation.

“Nationally a little under 20 percent of people with disabilities are currently employed,” Krech said. “And that compares with our employment rate of our alumni which is just shy of 90 percent.”

For Elizabeth Story, independence was an essential takeaway from her time with Next Steps. Beyond just employment, the intangibles of the program are just as important for students within the program and alumni.

“Now I am living in a condo with one of my friends and I think without Next Steps I would still be living with my parents,” Story said.

As Next Steps welcomes its first class of juniors, the program continues to bring value to the Vanderbilt community through its inclusivity and emphasis on educational and social opportunities for every student.

“Vanderbilt prides itself on excellence, but to me you can’t be excellent if you’re excluding part of the population,” Krech said. “And so Vanderbilt University as a whole is a better place because our students are here. And people often think of the reverse of that––that our students are better because they’re at Vanderbilt. Yes, but Vanderbilt’s better because our students are here.”

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Men need to take action against sexual assault

Content warning: sexual assault

When I was collecting information for an article on the #MeToo movement at Vanderbilt, an unsurprising pattern emerged: everyone I interviewed was a woman. Sara Starr is the head of VSG’s Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (VSAP). Cara Tuttle Bell is the Director of Project Safe. Claire Smrekar is the Chair of the Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention Committee. Nicole Baptista is the Project Coordinator of Vandy Fems. Molly Zlock is the director of the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office. It is clear to me that women are taking the lead on combating sexual violence on campus. While it is important that women feel empowered enough to try to change our sex culture and advocate for victims, it is problematic that men are not involved to a similar extent.

The problem of sexual violence is gendered. In the vast majority of cases, a man is the perpetrator and a woman is the victim. If we are seeking to root out sexual harassment and assault at its core, it’s imperative that men change their behavior. Men are the ones who are disproportionately catcalling, raping and everything in between. And on this campus, men have not only failed to take a leading role–they’ve failed to engage with the problem.

When I was going through the mandatory Green Dot bystander intervention training for fraternity members, I saw everything but engagement. Some knocked out after the first hour. Some took extended bathroom breaks. Some played on their phones. Some doodled. The group leader had to prompt many times for simple answers to simple questions. Looking around the room as I walked out of the training session, I felt that a lot of the men didn’t gain a thing.

Last Thursday, I attended Project Safe’s Prevention Procession and Survivor Speak Out. As the name indicates, there are two parts to the event. The first was a 15-minute march in solidarity with survivors. After this, the processors walked into a quiet room where survivors of sexual violence told their stories. In between the procession and the speakout, there was a station where members of Greek Life could swipe their Commodore Card to get credit for Greek Member Experience (GME), a program that each fraternity needs to participate in by getting enough swipes at events around campus to avoid suspension.

Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that most of the fraternity men I saw came to the procession, got their GME swipe and left before the speakout. They came to the walk, talked and joked their way through it, got their GME swipe, avoided confronting the problem laid bare at the speakout, and made it back to their houses and dorms in time to get ready for a night out. Looking around the room during the speakout, I couldn’t find most any of the fraternity men I saw at the procession.

Men, by and large, are causing the problems. But they’re not learning how to prevent the problem and they’re not willing to confront it. They need to take initiative. They need to attend survivor speak outs so they know the dire consequences of inaction. They need to pay attention at bystander intervention trainings so they know what to do when a friend isn’t respecting a woman’s boundaries. But they need to do more than that. Fraternity men need to call out their brothers for making rape jokes. They need to be willing to stand up to their friends who are taking advantage of women. They need to know how to recognize narratives of sexual harassment and sexual assault to help their female friends who may not understand the gravity of what happened to them get the help they need. And they need to know how to help their female friends who have been victimized.

All men on campus are capable of doing these things, and, rape culture won’t change until they decide to do them.

Max Schulman is a first-year in the College of Arts and Science. He can be reached at maxwell.r.schulman@vanderbilt.edu. 

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Matt’s Traditional American Values: Goodbye, Vanderbilt

Between 2012 and 2014, I visited roughly 30 colleges and universities, applied to 16 and chose Vanderbilt as the place that would best fit my needs and wants in a school.  One factor in my search was the political climate of the different campuses. When I say that, however, I do not necessarily mean that I needed a right-wing echo chamber. If that were my goal, I would have exclusively looked at known conservative schools or state schools in deeply red states.  I was mostly looking for a healthy political climate where conservative views would be heard and respected on campus.

When I arrived at Vanderbilt in 2014, I definitely felt that Vanderbilt lived up to that goal.  I had often heard it said that Vanderbilt was the “most conservative top 20 university” (or various iterations of that concept), and I definitely do think that was accurate four years ago.  My freshman seminar class was essentially on Obamacare, and half of the class was opposed to the bill. According to AnchorLink membership, the College Republicans (VCR) were several times larger than the College Democrats; additionally, VCR was far more active on campus and far more universally conservative than it is today.  Conservative perspectives were generally respected. I would certainly say that a majority of the people I met my freshman year leaned to the right. Conservative speakers were brought to campus, both by the administration and by student groups. Groups on the left were certainly still active too– the Vanderbilt Feminists were particularly active that year– but, most of all, there was a strong sense of open dialogue and exchange of ideas on campus.

Even then, there were worrying signs.  The Hustler used the cover page of its print edition to endorse the “No on 1” campaign (opposition to a pro-life ballot initiative).  As a Vanderbilt student who regularly campaigned for “Yes on 1” in my free time, I felt that the “campus elites,” as I would come to call them, were completely ignoring my perspective.  The bigger turning point, however, was the 2016 presidential election. In the primary season, I was supporting Senator Marco Rubio and was on the executive board of the Vanderbilt Students for Rubio.  I actually found it really easy to find students who supported Rubio, and I often wonder if Vanderbilt would still be the traditional center-right Vanderbilt had someone like Rubio, a very conservative Republican, but one whose rhetoric could have appealed to college students, won the Republican nomination.  

Following President Trump’s nomination, the political climate on campus changed entirely.  When I debated a left-wing activist on social issues two weeks before the election, I now know there was a room full of students watching a live stream and jeering me and my values.  I do think that former VSG President Ariana Fowler (who was very vocal in her support for Hillary Clinton in 2016) was a major driving force behind the sudden liberal turn of the campus, as she allowed student government’s role to switch from issues of campus life to being a mouthpiece for the left-wing agenda.

An undoubted truth about this is that the left became far more mobilized and active.  When VSG passed a “sanctuary campus” resolution, they did so under pressure from about 50 loud “social justice warriors” who all organized to go to the VSG meeting.  Initially, the perceived change in the campus climate was just the result of the left being far louder and more active than the right. However, the eventual result of the left being more vocal than the right and student organizations and the administration starting to bring in far more leftist speakers than right-leaning ones was that undecided or moderate students only heard one perspective.  Any view makes sense if you do not hear arguments against it, so the median Vanderbilt student started to drift far to the left.

As of this writing, the College Democrats outnumber the College Republicans by a ratio of 3:2 on AnchorLink.  Compare that to four years ago, when VCR was more than twice as large as its Democratic counterpart. I have seen changes first-hand that go far beyond raw membership totals.  If membership being down were the only issue for VCR, I would not be nearly this concerned about their future. It is not nearly as active as it was in 2014, when we had at least one GBM a month plus plenty more opportunities for activism.  Nor is it as conservative as it was when I first got involved, and today it largely ignores social issues.

Following losing an election for VCR president largely because I was viewed as too conservative and too vocal on social issues, I started a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, which is affiliated with Young America’s Foundation.  It was a real struggle to get the group really off the ground, and it eventually pretty much fizzled out (after hosting a few successful events) due to a lack of organic interest. I admit that I was not the greatest recruiter or the greatest with administrative tasks, but I was so passionate about what I was doing and I really hope that someone reading this will be able to resurrect Vanderbilt’s YAF chapter, as they do great work on all sorts of campuses.  

I am optimistic that there is still a latent conservative movement on campus.  Relatively frequently, students I do not even know quietly come up to me and tell me they agreed with something I said.  Even if we are not 50% or more anymore, we might still be 30%. I have tried (and largely failed) to organize that sizeable minority and mobilize us, but I hope and pray that there is someone on this campus who will take up the torch of standing up for what is right.

The post Matt’s Traditional American Values: Goodbye, Vanderbilt appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Plan your week (4/23-4/27)

Looking to try something new this week? Peruse the events below and make a point to attend something outside of your comfort zone. For more offerings, check out Anchor Link.



What: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: “A Passion for Leadership: Reflecting on 50 Years of Public Service”
When: Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m
Where: Langford Auditorium
Why: Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will host a discussion featuring former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Vanderbilt Distinguished Visiting Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham. This event is not ticketed. Admission is free and on a first come, first seated basis.
Who: Chancellor’s Office



What: Nashville Sounds vs. New Orleans Baby Cakes
When: Thursday, April 26 at 6:35 p.m.
Where: First Tennessee Park
Why: Get off campus for the exciting Sounds game against New Orleans.
Who: Nashville Sounds

What: Baseball vs. South Carolina
When: Friday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Hawkins Field
Why: Take a break from studying to  cheer on the baseball team as they go head-to-head with South Carolina.
Who: Vanderbilt Athletics



What: VU Libraries Present: The Bard’s Birthday Bash
When: Monday, April 23 at 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Vanderbilt Central Library
Why: It’s William Shakespeare’s birthday! Vanderbilt Libraries and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival are throwing a birthday bash for William Shakespeare’s birthday. There will be jugglers, troubadours, fight masters and scribes on hand, as well as an open mic for reciting your favorite Shakespearean soliloquies, sonnets and speeches.
Who: Vanderbilt University Libraries

What: Nashville Flea Market
When: Friday, April 27 at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Nashville Tennessee State Fairgrounds
Why: Vendors from across the country gather for a unique shopping experience. The event runs until Sunday.
Who: The Fairgrounds



What: iLens: “Graduation” screening
When: Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Where: Sarratt Cinema
Why: One of the great auteurs of contemporary Romanian cinema, Cristian Mungiu, offers a dark satire about the stresses of high school exams and the pressure that parents place on their children to succeed. This film is presented in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, English and Cinema & Media Arts.
Who: International Lens Film Series

What: Opening reception for Alex Lockwood’s “Targets”
When: Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: OZ Arts Nashville
Why: Returning to OZ Arts after his wildly popular interactive installation “Shake” in 2015, Lockwood maintains his use of repurposed materials. Attend the opening reception for “Targets” to see more of his work and meet the artist. Reception is free and open to the public with RSVP.
Who: OZ Arts + Elephant Gallery

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness

What: Stress Less Spring Fest
When: Monday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center
Why: Relax and unwind before finals begin. Take advantage of free food and activities like a petting zoo, yoga classes, a hammock village, facials, massages and more.
Who: Residential Education Programming

What: St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Health and Fitness Expo
When: Thursday, April 26 at 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Nashville Music City Center
Why: Free and open to the public, this expo features the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health & nutrition information and interactive displays.
Who: St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville

Editor’s note: Source of event information is Anchor Link and Facebook

The post Plan your week (4/23-4/27) appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Vanderbilt getting player looking for fresh start in Matthew Moyer

On Thursday, former Syracuse forward Matthew Moyer announced he is transferring to Vanderbilt.

Moyer, who just finished his redshirt freshman season, will have to sit out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but will have two years of eligibility at Vanderbilt. He averaged 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 35 games for the Orange last season.

Despite those low numbers, Moyer could have the chance at a fresh start with the Commodores. His potential seems to be beyond his stat lines. Sam Rubinoff, Syracuse Basketball play-by-play broadcaster for WAER radio, said he saw a lot of potential in Moyer this past season.

“I was on the call for the Syracuse game at MSG this year against Uconn,” Rubinoff told The Vanderbilt Hustler. “In the first half Moyer flew out of no where on the baseline and threw down at put back dunk off a missed three. He finished that game with 12 pts and 8 rebounds. In that game he showed what a talented and athletic player he is and there were flashes throughout the season.”

After that, things began to fall apart for Moyer. He sprained his ankle against Boston College on January 24 and missed a game. When he came back, he just didn’t have the same touch. Moyer eventually lost his spot in the starting lineup.

That might have weighed on him mentally.

“After that, his confidence was gone and he turned into a black hole with the basketball,” Rubinoff said. “It seemed as almost if he knew he was on the way out of the program and he was just out there trying to show off what he could do.”

It’s unclear what type of role he will play at Vanderbilt, especially because the 2019-20 roster will largely be determined by how many of their 2018 recruits stay past their freshman year. Given his size, and Vanderbilt’s considerable lack of size this past season, Moyer will likely be competing with Yanni Wetzell, Matt Ryan and possibly Simi Shittu for playing time at the power forward position. However, his 6’7” frame could make him a good candidate to play the small forward position as both Wetzell and Ryan are both 6’10”.

However, it will likely all come down to attitude, something head coach Bryce Drew has always stressed in his players.

“My overall take is the mindset that he brings to every game,” Rubinoff said. “You know which Matt Moyer you have at the under 16 timeout. He’s either high flying and ready to play or just going through the motions without much confidence.”

With Moyer’s commitment, Vanderbilt now has just one scholarship spot left for the 2018-19 season. Coveted five-star recruit Romeo Langford could take that spot when he announces his decision on April 30. Vanderbilt will also host Illinois graduate transfer forward Michael Finke for a visit, per CBS Sports insider Jon Rothstein.

The post Vanderbilt getting player looking for fresh start in Matthew Moyer appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Women’s Tennis wins second-straight SEC Tournament title

Just a week after clinching the SEC regular season title, the No. 2 Vanderbilt Women’s Tennis team rolled straight into Knoxville and won the 2018 SEC Tournament with a 4-0 clean sweep of the No. 9 Florida Gators on Sunday.

With the win, the Commodores claimed both SEC titles for the second year in a row. It’s also their third tournament win in four years.

Vanderbilt dominated from the get-go, claiming the doubles point with 6-1 wins by both Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer and by the powerhouse duo of Astra Sharma and Fernanda Contreras. It was just the second time since March 25 that the Sharma/Contreras dynamic duo had been paired together. The 22nd-ranked pair had just come off a dominant 6-0 win over a top-10 Ole Miss pairing in the semifinal.

In singles play, Vanderbilt made some quick work of the Gators. While top singles player Sharma had all she could handle against Florida’s Anna Danilina, her teammates were helping to take care of business. Meyer got off the court first with a blitzing 6-1, 6-2 win over Victoria Emma in the No. 4 match.

After having her contentious first-set tiebreaker cut short by Vanderbilt’s clinch in Saturday’s semifinal, Summer Dvorak was fired up and looking to dominate. She came out with a head of steam and dismantled Florida’s Katie Kubicz 6-2, 6-1 on the sixth court.

With a 3-0 edge and just one more match needed to clinch the title, Vanderbilt’s ace-in-the-hole in Contreras took over. On the second singles court, Contreras put together her second straight-set performance of the weekend and beat Florida’s Josie Kuhlman 6-2, 6-1 to clinch Vanderbilt’s second consecutive SEC tournament championship.

At the clinch, Sharma was locked in a tight battle with Danilina in the second set. This was Vanderbilt’s first clean sweep of the tournament, having beaten Texas A&M and Ole Miss by scores of 4-1 to advance to the Final. Now, Vanderbilt will move on to the NCAA tournament for the 24th consecutive season under head coach Geoff Macdonald. They will be seeking their second NCAA title in program history, having made the semifinals of the tournament in each of the last two seasons.

The NCAA regionals begin on May 11 with the championship rounds starting on May 17.

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Vanderbilt contributes ‘mission-critical’ component of TESS satellite

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The Vanderbilt Finance Development Program hopes to offer students recruiting in finance a level playing field

Recruiting for a position in the financial sector is an intensive process and something that many Vanderbilt students are interested in. According to the 2015 Graduating Student Survey, 15.9 percent of the Class of 2015 was employed by a finance, real estate or insurance firm.

In order to graduate with an employment offer at a financial firm, there is a common path that most people take. It begins with business or finance experience in the summer following their sophomore year, and then an internship the summer following their junior year that will hopefully result in a return offer of full-time employment post-graduation. This timeline, however, has been moving rapidly forward over the past few years. Four years ago, firms were recruiting for junior year internships between October and December, with some firms recruiting early during the spring semester. However, this timeline has been propelled forward by firms in a “race to the bottom” where companies attempt to undercut each other at the possible cost of sacrificing standards held by the firm.

“Each bank would try to be the first bank to recruit and then give what they call exploding offers very aggressive timelines, usually one to two weeks,” said Tom Carroll, a founding member of the Finance Development Program.

Often times, students attempt to accelerate interviews at other firms, but that is not always a possibility. Advancing the interview timeline has been an effective strategy for many firms, and each consecutive year, the timeline has been pushed earlier and earlier, with the majority of firms recruiting for junior year internships in the spring of sophomore year. This early recruitment process means that students have less experience going into the recruiting season and are less prepared for crucial interviews. This was where Tom Carroll and his fellow program directors, Jennifer Pema, Josh Abreo, Olivia Cherry and Gloria Liu stepped in.

The Finance Development Program (FDP) was started by a group of students in the fall of 2017 with the intention of leveling the playing field for Vanderbilt students interested in working in the financial sector after graduation.

“In investment banking, there are three things that you need to do to get an internship,” explained Carroll. “You need academic performance, you need business experience, and you need somebody to advocate for you.”

Carroll and his peers noticed that Vanderbilt students excelled academically, but many were lacking in the second and third requirements. For students without connections in business, it can be difficult to receive an internship after sophomore year because many of these positions are found through informal means. This also plays out in a lack of personal advocates when applying for junior year internships at large firms.  FDP steps into the networking challenges many people face by introducing members to Vanderbilt alumni in the finance realm and by encouraging members to seek out meetings with professionals in the field. Additionally, Carroll hopes that alumni of FDP will be instrumental in providing a path to internships for future FDP members. FDP also prepares students for internship interviews.

The members of FDP meet weekly and come prepared with a news article that they have read about an issue that would move financial markets. Student advisors will then ask members follow up questions, similar to what would happen in an interview setting. Students also have weekly technical homework assignments, as well as questions designed to make them reflect on their interest in finance.

“I’ve gotten tons of FDP participants come up to me after their interviews and say, ‘I got that exact question I did in the homework assignment’ or ‘I had to pitch a stock and I pitched the exact same stock I wrote about in my assignment and they asked me to send my assignment because they wanted to see the in-depth analysis’,” said Carroll.

Without a formal business major at Vanderbilt, these are things that many students have not been exposed to by the time recruiting season comes around. FDP also provides its members access to firms when they come to Vanderbilt.

The Financial Development Program at Vanderbilt is not the first of its kind. The founding directors studied the success of programs at the Kelley School of Business, UVA and Duke amongst others. They decided what facets of the various programs would be successful and most beneficial for students at Vanderbilt. In creating FDP, the program directors decided to ask the Career Center to decide who would be accepted into the program in the hopes of avoiding any partiality on the parts of the directors.

“We have this pool of high quality applicants and we can pitch them to firms. We have had exclusive information sessions and resume drops with large investment banks, asset management firms, you name it,” said Carroll. “We’ve seen tremendous success in that respect.”

FDP is also actively trying to improve Vanderbilt’s recruiting prospects in terms of the quantity and quality of firms which recruit on campus. One of the roles of the directors is to advocate on behalf both Vanderbilt and members of FDP with large investment firms and banks. Due to the reliance on networking in finance recruiting, placement of Vanderbilt graduates in firms will serve as a great advantage to future Vanderbilt students.

“If we place more Vanderbilt students on an absolute level into these firms, then eventually Vanderbilt will have greater placement in the financial services industry and more firms will realize that and want a slice of the Vanderbilt talent pool,” said Carroll.

The directors of FDP plan to evaluate the success of the program in the long term by looking at the job placements of their members. According to Carroll, their goal is not 100 percent job placement in the financial sector, but 100 percent satisfaction on the part of their members with the jobs offers they receive.

“We have some of the smartest students, some of the most ambitious students,” Carroll said. “There is no reason we should not be placing them into these excellent opportunities across the globe at the same rate as some of our peer institutions.”

The post The Vanderbilt Finance Development Program hopes to offer students recruiting in finance a level playing field appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Christine Lim, Incoming Financial Product Sales & Analytics at Bloomberg L.P.

Entering Vanderbilt as a first generation college student, senior Christine Lim says she was fortunate to find a supportive community as a recipient of the Posse Scholarship, a four-year, full tuition leadership scholarship for ten students from New York City offered by the Posse Foundation.

“The idea of the Posse Scholarship is to bring ten student-leaders together who will serve as one anothers’ support system and help each other through each year of college,” Lim said. “For me, that was very important because I was the first in my family to attend college, so the transition was really hard, but it was easier because I had my posse.”

Lim stepped foot on campus seeking to enact change, which she has been able to fulfill through her activities as chair of the Campus Life Committee of Vanderbilt Student Government, a position she has served in since sophomore year. Lim has been instrumental in developments such as getting Uber on the Commodore Card, making Chobani yogurt a side and acquiring Lyft promotional codes.

“I’m very passionate about making sure I’m helping students advocate and improve their Vanderbilt experiences,” Lim said. “People say college is the best four years of your life and so I want to make it exactly that.”

Initiatives such as getting Uber on the Commodore Card, which required over a year of regularly held meetings with the administration and Uber Nashville, allowed Lim to sharpen the soft skills she needed for professional success.

“I often work with administrators and students so I like to think of my role in campus life as the bridge between them,” Lim said. “Communication is key and sometimes it can be hard for students to understand why changes can’t be made, so I’m in a role where I have the opportunity to pass on the message and explain that we’re working on an issue but certain ideas are not feasible, so instead other plans are in the works.”

Lim took the opportunity to enrich the student experience not only through VSG, but also through Vanderbilt Programming Board’s Venue, which provides late-night, nonalcoholic programming, and First VU, a new initiative seeking to support the transition to college of first generation students like herself. Academically, Vanderbilt has also provided many chances for exploration for Lim, who knew she wanted to pursue a career in business.

“I came in as an econ major first because I thought that if I wanted to go do business, I had to be in econ,” Lim said. “I learned a lot that summer, but I figured out that I didn’t really like to focus solely on the numbers, so I explored other options and learned about HOD. I thought it was very practical and broad. I learned about the corporate strategy minor through looking at classes that I was interested in, such as marketing and finance. I really enjoyed the classes, so I picked up the corporate strategy minor.”

During her sophomore year summer, Lim sought to explore her professional interests in the realm of finance as a sales and trading intern at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“Being the youngest on the trading floor was very hard because I had never even heard of how to perform a portfolio evaluation,” Lim said. “I learned a lot that summer, but I figured out that I didn’t really like the numbers. I still wanted to be in finance, but I wanted to do a different part of it, so that’s why I looked at Bloomberg because it touched on so much of finance.”

One aspect of Bloomberg that particularly fascinated Lim was the Bloomberg terminal, a software system used by virtually all bankers. Lim interned with Bloomberg during her junior year summer, working with their tradebook function.

“There, I learned more about the terminal and its usage and strategies and I fell in love with it. I found my passion in finance and technology after my internship which is why I finally decided to take the full time offer at Bloomberg.”

Lim will have more opportunities to work with the Bloomberg terminal in her future work with the Financial Product Sales & Analytics department at Bloomberg in her hometown of New York City.

“I think Vanderbilt has prepared me well to go into the real world and I know there’s a big alumni network in New York City, so i’m actually pretty excited,” Lim said. “I will really miss my experience at Vanderbilt, but I think I’ve gained so much, and developed so much.”

The post Christine Lim, Incoming Financial Product Sales & Analytics at Bloomberg L.P. appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Plan your weekend (4/20-4/22)

Looking to try something new this weekend? Peruse the events below and make a point to attend something outside of your comfort zone. For more offerings, check out Anchor Link.



What: VUARC Kit Building Session
When: Friday, April 20 at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: The Wond’ry Room 212
Why: Vanderbilt students and staff are invited to come to VUARC’s workshop to learn how to build a simple electronic kit. The tools and parts will be provided, and you can keep your creation.
Who: Vanderbilt University Amateur Radio Club



What: #UNITY
When: Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Library Lawn
Why: Watch excellent performances, get a taste of real Nashville food and take part in fun cultural activities to celebrate the success of marginalized people on campus.
Who: Hidden Dores



What: Rites of Spring
When: Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 5 p.m.
Where: Alumni Lawn
Why: The annual Rites of Spring is here again! This year will feature DNCE, Gucci Mane, Born Animal and more. Gates open at 5 p.m., and tickets are still available for one or both nights.
Who: Vanderbilt Programming Board

What: Vanderbilt Gamecraft’s Finals Game Night
When: Friday, April 20 at 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: Commons Dining Upstairs
Why: De-stress before finals with Gamecraft’s wide variety of board games. Everyone is welcome!
Who: Vanderbilt Gamecraft

What: JCF De-stress Fest
When: Sunday, April 22 at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Buttrick 201
Why: JCF will be serving coroquette and sushi roll and doing t-shirt printing to de-stress before finals week begins. Stop by Buttrick to learn more about Japanese culture and enjoy the end of the weekend.
Who: Japanese Cultural Foundation



What: Taalenated: A Fusion Concert
When: Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Sarratt Cinema
Why: Join Vandy Taal and Melanated A Capella for a joint end of the year concert with food. Additional special guests will also perform.
Who: Vandy Taal

Cover photo from Rites of Spring 2017 by Claire Barnett

Editor’s note: Sources of event information are Anchor Link and Facebook.

The post Plan your weekend (4/20-4/22) appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

VSG announces Uber Campus Pass opportunity

Vanderbilt students now have the ability to receive a discount on uberPOOL and uberX rides in Nashville through the purchase of an Uber Campus Pass. Tariq Issa, incoming VSG president, spoke with the Hustler about the pass and why it is being offered to students.

“Uber is testing out a new way to get more students to use the app. Similar to how to how our Lyft codes attract riders to use the service because it makes the ride cheaper, Uber is trying to do the same,” Issa said. “Uber has already been using this program for a few months now and some riders in Nashville have enjoyed this program since, in the long term, you save money on the rides. We are advertising this pilot program so that they can just test how effective devoting a pass for Vanderbilt students is and so that we can see if students like this new feature.

Jacqueline Cox, current VSG president, sent an email to the Vanderbilt Community yesterday alerting everyone of the short opportunity. Students must have an Uber account and connect it to their Vanderbilt emails by 6 p.m. on April 19th to get the information Uber will send about the pass.

“The end of the semester launch date was actually selected by Uber. Uber has recently been releasing flat rate ride packages in certain cities,” Cox said. “Now, they are trying to move to a college campus model. When they brought the idea to VSG we wanted to make sure we could follow their timeline in order to bring the deals to students as quickly as possible.”

Issa said that the pass will cover a large area of Nashville.

This geofence is relatively large. There is a Ride Pass currently existing in Nashville that covers popular areas including Broadway, the Green Hills area, and 12 South. Some ride passes cover trips to Opry Mills while others will cover airport trips,” Issa said. “That means that any UberPool from the airport to campus, or vice versa, will be at a much lower cost than before. That alone will be very attractive for students as the Campus Ride Pass is launched.”

Uber will be reaching out to students once the pass is available for purchase.

Follow the instructions below if interested in the pass.

  • You do have an Uber account, and your Vanderbilt.edu email address is linked

No action is necessary – keep an eye out for an email from Uber on how to purchase your Campus Ride Pass.

  • You do have an Uber account, but your Vanderbilt.edu email address is not linked

Fill out this form indicating the phone number associated with your Uber account, so that Uber can give you access to purchase the pass*

  • You do not have an Uber account

Click here to set up an Uber account – make sure you use your Vanderbilt.edu email address when setting it up

The post VSG announces Uber Campus Pass opportunity appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Looking back at life as a Commodore

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Determining responsibility: the Vanderbilt sexual assault reporting process

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Student Ability Alliance pushes for creation of Disabilities Community Center

According to SAA co-president Andie Defreese, most Vanderbilt students don’t think twice about printing papers. They merely swipe their cards at the nearest residence hall, library or student center before rushing off to class with their documents in hand. However, for students with visual impairments, using a braille printer requires scheduling an appointment at the EAD (Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department), which is only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This lack of accessibility on campus is currently being addressed by a proposal for a disability community center, headed by the co-presidents of the Student Ability Alliance, DeFreese and Lexie Garrity.

“Many students with disabilities need resources like accessible printers and computers with certain capabilities, so we think that a space offering all of these resources would be extremely beneficial to the community,” Garrity said.

In addition to serving as a resource to students with disabilities, the community center would serve as a welcoming space for all Vanderbilt students to engage in the conversation surrounding disabilities.

“This space would be a good platform to continue what SAA wants to do, possibly hosting monthly talks with different professors and individuals in the community, conducting group discussion tables about what people want to see change on campus in relation to disabilities, and providing a community space where individuals with or without disabilities can come to study and do homework,” DeFreese said. “We’re focused on all students, regardless of ability. We just want them to feel safe and welcomed in this space.”

SAA recently found an ally for the community center in Vanderbilt Student Government.

“We just started working with VSG,” DeFreese said. “The plan is to collect data from different students on campus in order to obtain facts backing up why this space is needed and how it would be used. Early next fall, VSG is going to propose a bill to Vanderbilt to get us the space.”

In the meantime, SAA continues to fulfill its mission of increasing accessibility to disability at Vanderbilt. It is a diverse organization composed of students of all abilities, visible or not, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. SAA has completed projects mapping wheelchair accessible routes throughout campus, and they have utilized various ventures, such as TED Talks and Dean’s Dinners, to increase the minimal campus conversation surrounding disabilities.

“There are a lot of issues everyone has emotions tied to, whether it’s race or gender, and on campus there has been a great initiative to talk about these issues and make these minorities feel included, but I feel like the one aspect of diversity that’s not included in that conversation is disability,” DeFreese said.

As students who identify as having a disability, DeFreese and Garrity have experienced firsthand the difficulties of discussing disabilities with their peers and professors.

“People don’t realize that on your diversity statement, disability is there, and that’s what makes Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt- because of the diversity we have,” Garrity said.

The post Student Ability Alliance pushes for creation of Disabilities Community Center appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

GCC China Forum, “Xi’s Not My President” movement spark conversation about Chinese constitutional change

*Names have been changed.

At universities throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong, many Chinese students have been protesting Xi Jinping for his constitutional amendment that would allow him to stay in power indefinitely. In March, posters in Chinese and English proliferated at many university campuses outside mainland China, with phrases such as “not my president” and “I disagree” written across pictures of Xi Jinping’s face.

Believed to be run by anonymous Chinese university students through the Twitter account @StopXiJinping, the “Xi’s Not My President” movement became a medium for Chinese students studying abroad to discuss the implications of Xi’s constitutional amendment. Even for Chinese students studying at American universities, the subject remains difficult to hold open conservations over.

While the movement does not currently exist at Vanderbilt, organizations such as Global China Connection (GCC) have created platforms for Chinese students to discuss political events with each other, while interacting with the larger Vanderbilt community.

In particular, GCC’s first China Forum on Apr. 7 presented an opportunity for Chinese students to connect with future leaders and discuss topics on Chinese politics, philosophy, education, art and journalism. With its theme of “Unlocking the Current State of China,” the 2018 China Forum included a full-day agenda of speakers, panels and discussions. In addition, the China Forum gave undergraduates a chance to network with professionals and companies based in China, such as Embark China, Infervision, Veritas Academy and Ofo.

The forum’s keynote speaker featured Dr. Cheng Li, a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution and a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

“Dr. Li has a more moderate voice,” said Sam*, a Chinese student who attended the forum. “His viewpoints find a middle point that connects people.”

Li’s speech focused on “The Trajectory of the Middle Kingdoms and US-China Relations: A Paradox of Hope and Fear.” The “hope” mentioned lies in the economic growth of China during Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, with the establishment of age and term limits and regional bureaucratic representation.

Li’s “fear” involved Xi Jinping’s new era and political repression, viewing Xi Jinping’s tightening political control and his abolition of term limits as a threat to political freedom. Li identified three groups that serve as obstacles to Xi Jinping’s reforms: liberal intellectuals in China, Chinese political elites who appreciate Deng Xiaoping’s ideas and critics overseas – such as Chinese students studying abroad.

Many Chinese students use the social networking app WeChat (which functions similarly to Facebook) as a platform to discuss events such as Xi Jinping’s constitutional change.

According to Sam, WeChat is the most popular way to receive news in China; while the app is monitored to some extent, she uses WeChat to discuss political events with her friends both in China and at American universities.

“Many of my friends are angry about how easily the Constitution can be changed without a rigorous examination of the impact,” Sam said. “People were scared that China will go back from a lot of the progress it’s made since its pre-revolution stage.

“Many of my friends are angry about how easily the Constitution can be changed without a rigorous examination of the impact."

According to Sam, the initial reaction to Xi Jinping’s constitutional change was an emotional one. Later, Sam saw her university friends develop two schools of thought on the change.

“Our world is currently under the narrative that the world is powered by the West, and that’s how every country should play the game,” Sam said. “However, this can be a new way to rule a strong country. Maybe democracy is not the best way, and Chinese characteristics can be good.”

According to Sam, this Western narrative argument has become more popular in the past couple of years, especially among Chinese students who have graduated from elite American universities and returned to China to start careers. After a technological boom in the twenty-first century, many Chinese students are excited about economic changes in China, which they believe could not be possible without strong one-party growth.

According to Sam, the second reaction she has noticed in her network is a worrying one; if Xi Jinping can change the Constitution, it means that other leaders can easily change it as well.

“Xi Jinping made a lot of changes in China after 2012,” Sam said. “The Party got rid of a lot of bad influences and emphasized the judicial branch. Xi’s next steps are to strengthen military power and solve territorial issues. People think that he wants to solve that within his own time. If we have a weak leader after Xi, the progress he made will not be accomplished. But the change risks a sad prospect. The very institution he wants to change is weakened by his own act.”

According to Sam, her peers in the Vanderbilt Chinese community are less politically vocal than Chinese students in other top universities. While GCC’s China Forum presented an excellent opportunity to discuss political issues, Sam hopes that continuous and informal conversations will spark a general interest in Chinese politics.

“So many things can be changed in the next five to ten years, that no one wants to be super vocal without really knowing what’s happening,” Sam said. “There’s no right answer at this point, but worry and uncertainty is moving on everyone’s hearts.”

“So many things can be changed in the next five to ten years, that no one wants to be super vocal without really knowing what’s happening."

The post GCC China Forum, “Xi’s Not My President” movement spark conversation about Chinese constitutional change appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Unethical consumerism: How Gucci Mane’s Rites of Spring headliner status defies Vanderbilt’s “values”

Content warning: interpersonal violence

How we spend our money is a reflection of our values: when we purchase a good or a service, we are not just purchasing that good or service but everything that went into making it available, too. This is a key principle of ethical consumerism. We often view ethical consumerism as an individual decision, but this principle applies to organizations as well. The Music Group, a branch within the Vanderbilt Programming Board (VPB), invited Gucci Mane to headline Rites of Spring–Vanderbilt’s annual music festival. Based on Gucci Mane’s history of perpetrating interpersonal violence and the principles of ethical consumerism, this decision is a highly questionable one and may be potentially triggering for survivors of interpersonal violence.

We cannot ignore acts of violence for the sake of popular music.

In early 2011, Gucci Mane was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor battery. He allegedly pushed a woman out of his moving car after she refused his $150 offer to accompany him back to his hotel room. Furthermore, when commenting on the 2011 incident in his biography Gucci Mane did not show remorse, instead insisting the moving car was not traveling as fast as the survivor claimed. The crime he was charged with–pushing someone out of a moving car–is not the example we often think of when discussing sexual violence; the context, however–Gucci Mane committing violence after being refused sex–makes this case incredibly relevant in light of the #MeToo movement due to the ways it vividly shows how cultural acceptance of sexual harassment leads to physical acts of violence. We cannot ignore acts of violence for the sake of popular music.

Despite not being considered “recent” news, this information is quite easy to find. The aforementioned case was reported back in 2011–7 years ago. Who we choose to financially support and invite to our campus is a reflection of organizational values. As a student leader who has experience inviting speakers to campus, I am aware that Vanderbilt does its best to bring in outside speakers and performers that have not violated university values. The Music Group–and by extension Vanderbilt–has chosen to bring in a performer with a known history of interpersonal violence. There has been no attempt to discuss the choice to do so. Instead, it appears that the Music Group is attempting to sweep these allegations under the rug so students are unaware of these controversies unless they research the artist on their own. There was room to make this a conversation about interpersonal violence and methods of rehabilitation for perpetrators, as Gucci Mane did serve time for his crime.  There was room to make this part of a larger conversation about rape culture and the frequency of interpersonal violence in our society. Neither of these things happened. By saying nothing, Music Group is telling the student body that Gucci Mane’s actions do not violate university values.

It is hypocritical to financially support a known perpetrator of interpersonal violence while simultaneously making efforts across campus to create cultures of reporting and to support survivors…

It is not merely Music Group’s money that provides a stamp of approval for Gucci Mane’s history of abuse: approval is shown via ticket sales and physical attendance at the event. In recognition of this, I have personally chosen not to buy a ticket for this year’s Rites of Spring; however, many people have already bought their tickets and are in need of the break from finals that Rites can provide. It is an individual’s choice whether or not to attend at this point. If you have already purchased a ticket, deciding whether or not to show support by physically attending the event should at the very least be an informed decision.

Gucci Mane is certainly not the only musician who has been accused of power-based personal violence; going forward, Music Group–and all student organizations, for that matter–must be cognizant of actions and values they are endorsing when inviting guests to Vanderbilt’s campus. Looking at the history of the Rites of Spring music festival this becomes clear. In 1989 the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed as part of the Rites of Spring music festival, unlike the decision to invite Gucci Mane information about various band members sexually abusive behavior was not widely available at the time, however we must reflect back with the critical analysis based on new information. We can only be as ethical in our consumerism as information available to us allows, however in a time in which information is so readily available we can no longer claim ignorance or attempt to sweep abuse allegations under the rug. Quite frankly, it is hypocritical to financially support a known perpetrator of interpersonal violence while simultaneously making efforts across campus to create cultures of reporting and to support survivors through resources such as the Project Safe Center. As a student involved in activism in regards to interpersonal violence, it is disappointing to see a student organization make a decision like the choice to invite perpetrators of interpersonal violence to campus.

The post Unethical consumerism: How Gucci Mane’s Rites of Spring headliner status defies Vanderbilt’s “values” appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Space Jam: Inferno

At first glance, Venus seems like the very definition of a death world. It might as well be Earth’s evil twin; despite being almost the same size as Earth’s, the Venusian surface is, on average, twice as hot as a kitchen oven, enough to melt lead. The air itself is carbon dioxide and peppered with clouds of sulfuric acid. The life expectancy for human spacecraft that have landed on the surface of Venus can be measured in minutes, if even that. So it might be tempting to write Venus off as a hellscape that is worth fearing but unworthy of any other attention.

But, as usual, the truth is rather more complex.

It is true that Venus’s surface air temperature is a staggering ninety times that of Earth. This is the equivalent of the pressure a full kilometer underwater. Without protection, a human would be crushed instantly. But in the Venusian atmosphere, just as in Earth’s oceans, the pressure loosens as one rises from the depths. Indeed, high above the surface, in the Venusian equivalent of the mesosphere, the otherwise fatally oppressive atmosphere thins to a survivable air pressure. This is why serious suggestions have been made that Venus’s upper atmosphere is suitable for human settlement–where humans would live in floating “cloud cities.”

Even more profound, it has been suggested that Venus could have life of its own, floating amongst the sulfuric acid heights. While it may seem odd that life could exist in an atmosphere filled to the brim with a brew of toxins, those chemicals are only toxins by the standards of recognizable Earth life– and, even on Earth, so-called “extremophile” microorganisms are known to thrive in such places as the farthest depths of the ocean, inside active volcanoes and even outside the atmosphere.

Furthermore, while Venus may also be an inferno today, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this was not always true. The current bone-searing temperature has less to do with Venus’s closer position to the Sun and more to do with the rampant greenhouse effect caused by heat being trapped within the thick carbon dioxide of the planet’s atmosphere– a stark extreme of what may happen on Earth if humans continue to pollute the air.

Before any of this happened, at least hundreds of millions of years ago, Venus may not have been terribly different from Earth. Its atmosphere may have been thinner and far more habitable– and Venus might have even had water, creating the perfect combination for life on what was, truly, Earth’s twin.

The post Space Jam: Inferno appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Lorde electrifies Bridgestone Arena

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Women’s Golf using momentum from Brickyard going into SEC Championships

The SEC Women’s Golf Championships begins this Wednesday in Birmingham, and the Commodores have some crucial momentum after winning the Brickyard Collegiate last week.

“I think anytime you’ve got momentum on your side, it just gives you a chance to go and play really well,” said coach Greg Allen.

Vanderbilt, which is ranked No. 25 in nation, took home both team and individual honors, as freshman Morgan Baxendale placed first out of 78 golfers in the field. Baxendale shot a 3-under 213 over three rounds and won SEC Freshman of the Week honors for her performance.

“That girl doesn’t slow down, doesn’t stop,” said Allen of Baxendale. “And she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around in my 20 years of coaching.”

Sophomore Abbey Carlson and freshman Louise Yu tied for fourth place at 3-over 219.

Even with an impressive showing at the Brickyard, Allen thinks this team still has room to get better and reach their potential.

Carlson leads the team with a stroke average of 73.04 and Baxendale is close behind with an average of 73.33. Louise Yu’s average of 73.52 and Courtney Zeng’s 73.54 average are also remarkable.

The sophomore has improved the most in the past year, taking almost a stroke and a half off her average.

“Her ball striking is unbelievable,” Allen said of Carlson. “But I would say the biggest thing for Abbey is that her chipping has improved.”

The SEC Championships have a different format this year. In addition to the traditional 54 holes of stroke play, the conference championship will now feature a second round in which the top eight teams from stroke play compete in match play for up to three additional rounds.

Allen said, “I’m excited about the possibility of match play. It mirrors the national championship now, and it mirrors what the guys do.”

While the team has not played in match play in any tournaments this season, Allen emphasized that they play matches in practice, and match play is very common on the summer amateur tours.

Greystone Golf and Country Club hosts the tournament on its Legacy course.

Carlson, who played the course at last year’s SEC Championships, said, “it’s a course that all around tests your game, but you’re rewarded for good shots.”

The competition will be tough, as Arkansas and Alabama are both top-five teams and South Carolina, Florida, and Auburn are also fellow top-25 teams.

This team’s chemistry could play a factor in keeping the Commodores loose in a competitive and pressure-packed tournament.

“This is probably one of the best teams I’ve had in terms of chemistry in a really long time,” said Allen, who has coached 11 seasons at Vanderbilt after leading Arizona’s squad for seven years.

Carlson said, “Our team just all around gels really well. Last tournament, we all got ice cream after a round and just sat and talked in the van for 20 minutes.”

The post Women’s Golf using momentum from Brickyard going into SEC Championships appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

Vanderbilt’s aesthetic food photo hall of fame

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