Central Park Five member speaks on institutionalized racism

Yusef Salaam came to speak about his experiences in the criminal justice system in Armstrong Student Center on last night, following the presentation of Ken Burns documentary, “The Central Park Five”. Salaam is one-fifth of the Central Park Five, a group of black and Latino teenagers wrongfully convicted of raping a white female jogger in Central Park in the early morning of April 19, 1989. He came to campus as part of a spring tour for the Ohio Innocence Project-undergraduate (OIP-u), which comprised most of the audience. The student law organization, led by president and senior Ariel Shuster, raises awareness of the frequency of wrongful imprisonment. “This is not just the story of one person,” Salaam said. “This is the story of a lot of people’s lives.” Salaam was the only one out of the five who did not make a false confession, which prosecutors used to send the teenagers to prison as adults. “The only crime I committed that night was [that] I hopped the turnstile,” Salaam said in the documentary. After over 24 hours of interrogation, the police had coerced the five, who had been in Central Park that night, to falsely confess. Years later, the Central Park Five — Salaam, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana and Antron McCray — do not hold animosity toward one another, and even wrote to one another while in prison....

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April poetry contest buds into spring

Learning is the continual/Change in which one/becomes an alloy/of the Entirety of the world/Beautiful university, where? This poem by sophomore Viengsamai Fetters became one of three grand-prize winners in last year’s social media poetry contest. Fetters, a literature major, wrote her poem in the Notes app on her phone the night before the deadline. The theme last year, determined by President Gregory Crawford and Director of Creative Writing Cathy Wagner, was Diversity. “They were saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got things to work on, but we can do that together,’” Wagner said. Fetters and other participants posted their poems on Twitter and Instagram under the #LoveHonorPoem hashtag, to compete for the chance to win prizes. Last year, senior JuJuan Johnson and graduate student Shamika Karikari were the other two grand-prize winners. The three winners each received a Love & Honor medal, a handwritten note from President Crawford and a $40 gift certificate to the Miami University Bookstore. Honorable mentions received $18.09 in Miami University Bookstore credit. Fetters spent the Miami University Bookstore certificate she won on a textbook she rented for her linguistics anthropology class, which she found serendipitous. “Linguistics anthropology is about how language and culture interact with each other, which I think is very poetic,” Fetters said. The last line of Fetters’ poem, “Beautiful university, where?” is in Arabic. While this was left out in the original announcement of...

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Women’s self-defense class a rank above the rest

It was Thursday. It was dark. I was Uptown, walking alone past a brooding Brick Street and suspicious cars tucked in alleyways. Walking alone at night reminds me of horror stories from family and friends, sexual assault notifications and the statistics that aren’t in my favor. This is what drives the demand behind the women’s self-defense classes run by Tier 2 Defense. Tier 2 CEO Chris Cravens has eight years of experience in the U.S. Marine Corps Infantry, followed by work for a protective agency. Cravens also protected for a time on behalf of the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. The Tier 2 self defense syllabus for both law enforcement classes and women’s self-defense classes on college campuses is based on his experience. I was on my way to Tier 2’s first-ever lesson at the Oxford Community Arts Center. The lesson ran from 7-9 p.m. (Another class marketed to Miami students is coming up on Nov. 30). Despite spending the better part of the past year attending krav maga classes and learning tae kwon do, judo and hapkido with Miami’s Red Dragons martial arts club, I was about to find out I had been too tense to be able to effectively defend myself on my walk home in the dark. While women’s self defense classes are often free of charge, they are nowhere near as intensive as...

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First years’ first days: The freshman ‘shock’ experience

The first semester away at college is tough. Whether your parents washed your dirty laundry your whole life or you were the most self-sufficient, I-know-my-social-security-number-and-how-to-use-jumper-cables kid in your high school class, there’s some adjusting to do after arriving in Oxford. Among the things our first-year writers found out: A box full of bright-pink tools isn’t the worst way to make friends. It can hurt to watch your parents drive away. No, Brick is not a movie theater. Store-bought tortillas do not taste as good as your grandmother’s. It’s easy to feel lonely on campus — but there are always...

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