The Daily Athenaeum’s List of Influential People is All-White and All-Male

So yesterday the Daily Athenaeum, WVU’s official school newspaper, had an article on the front page of their paper  listing the “Top 5 Most Influential Persons of 2013.”

Gee, I wonder who is #1?

Gee, I wonder who is #1?

The list includes outgoing WVU President Jim Clements, Student Body President Ryan Campione, baseball coach Randy Mazey, Athletic Director Oliver Luck, and Mountaineer Mascot John Kimble. As you might be able to tell, the list is very white and very male and very sports-oriented. Rightfully so, people had a problem with this.

It all started when someone from WVU’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion called out the DA’s list on Twitter.

In case you hadn’t noticed already, @paigelav points out the issue.

But there’s so much more than that:

And the internet has a field day.

The user on the Office’s Twitter then offers an alternative list.

Some of the choices are stellar:

Franklin D. Cleckley is a professor at the WVU College of Law who graduated with a Master of Laws from Harvard. He was the only African-American to sit on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from 1994-1996.

Frances Silva is a senior forward on the WVU’s Women’s Soccer Team. She was the 2013 Big XII Offensive Player of the Year and led the team to victory in the Big XII Championship (the only championship WVU has won this year, so far.)

Brian Jara is a faculty member in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. It looks like he’s published some papers this year and presented them at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in Cincinnati.

– Deb Beazley is a Senior Program Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention at the Health Sciences Center. She’s been teaching sexual assault prevention classes since ’98 and coordinates High Expectations, an experiential learning program for students cited for drug or alcohol abuse.

– Elaine McMillion is an award-winning documentary storyteller who graduated from WVU’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism. Her most recent project, an interactive documentary called Hollow, explores the issues of rural Appalachia through the eyes of people living there.

– Narvel Weese is WVU’s Vice President for Administration and Finance. Weese oversees the University’s finances, facilities, human resources – basically everything involving WVU funds. 2013 has been a busy year for him, considering WVU’s recent expansions and growing pains.

– Ruth Kershner oversees Student Affairs for the School of Public Health and teaches in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her bio says she’s presented at local, state and national conferences on issues of health concerns and violence in the lives of women.

What’s true is this – when it comes to most visible, everybody on the DA’s list is well-known. I’m only familiar with one person on the suggested list, but the beauty of a top-5 list is the chance to recognize less-visible people who have made an impact. Although he’s an influential guy who deserves it, Clements has gotten enough limelight already.

While people are quick to point out the “WASP-y” nature of the DA’s list, think about the circumstances influencing the editors. I assume the list was put together late at night, which is validated by the clear typo in Ryan Campione’s name. Do you make quality work when you’re on a deadline? It’s also not surprising the list is sports-centric, considering the influence of the DA’s sports editors. They must have influence – why else would the paper spend thousands to send reporters to away football games when our own band can’t attend?

These circumstances don’t justify the DA’s monochromatic, single-sex list (nothing will) but they do explain it. Hopefully the feedback will give the editors pause. They’re funded by WVU student fees, an oft-fleeting source of income for school papers, and could make the DA a national-award-winning paper like it used to be. Now they just make national headlines for gaffes.

Edited, 12:16 AM 12/11 – Full disclosure – I worked at the DA for two years. I left in April.

Edited, 12:26 AM 12/11 – Sourced some data about student newspaper budgets after being challenged. Also fixed some typos and style.


Business, Traffic, and more Business: The Reason Behind the Roundabout

So for my inaugural post, I’ll be exploring a side of Morgantown that often goes unnoticed by the downtown-based student population: Suncrest. This side of town is continually growing thanks to Morgantown’s increasing post-grad population, and a new addition to the infrastructure has the town (wrongfully) up in arms. I want to explore why.

Location, Location

While Google Maps puts the Suncrest neighborhood somewhere near the Arby’s on Patteson, colloquial use has expanded the name’s reach to define most of the area on the outside of the WVU Hospitals Complex. This is due to the influence of the newly-minted Suncrest Towne Centre, a strip mall featuring boutiques, restaurants (one of which may be promoting the exploitation of women), hotels and the WVU Dental Clinic. This place is exploding: new venues keep opening, and some have already become local favorites – here’s looking at you, Sonic.

Photo from STC's website.

Photo from STC’s website.

There’s no wonder the area is booming. The centre, or “Suncrest,” is an oasis of businesses aimed at townies and post graduates. The area isn’t easily accessible on foot, nor is it close to Morgantown’s student-dependent downtown area. The result is a beautiful business Shangri-la with lots of parking and easy access from I-68.

Morgantown’s Second Downtown

The Mileground used to be the “student-free” business haven townies always dreamed of – at least before the Blue Parrot moved in. Now it seems that the city is putting a lot of interest in development around Suncrest, from the large, family-oriented apartments across the street to the months-long construction project that expanded route 705 to four lanes.

Obviously the city is preparing for population and business expansion in Suncrest. It’s no wonder why they’re so hot – look, it’s spelled Towne Centre! So chic!

This expansion inspired the city to build better infrastructure around 705. This project also led to the construction of a traffic-flow phenomenon known as “The Roundabout.”

Image from

Image from

A roundabout is a type of intersection that utilizes a circular traffic pattern and selective yielding to promote constant, safe traffic flow. The roundabout built on the intersection of 705 and Mileground road replaced a traffic light which, as any local driver knows, was prone to brutal traffic.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts are a much safer and much more efficient solution to traffic lights. Plus these roundabouts are much cheaper to build and maintain, considering they require no lights. Because stopping is less common, roundabouts promote the constant flow of traffic from all directions.

This roundabout is going to be excellent for businesses in the Suncrest area because it’s going to prevent mood-killing midday traffic, allow for more cars to travel on 705, and generally promote transit throughout the area. More people means more business, which is great news for everybody.

And seriously, Europe’s been using these things since like 1909. It’s about time we wizened up. And maybe that’s why…

People Really, REALLY, Hate the Roundabout

Literally every person I’ve heard talk about the roundabout hates it. And for no real good reason, either – I’ve heard people claim:

1. It doesn’t help traffic. False.

2. It’s less safe: False.

3. It’s more expensive than a traffic light: False.

4. It’s going to cause more traffic accidents: False.

5. It’s European and therefore inferior. European: True. Inferior: xenophobia is so 18th century, folks.

I’m going to point out an enraging, terribly reported and generally intellectually offensive opinion article in the Daily Athenaeum that challenges the effectiveness of the roundabout, because the writer said all of the above and is completely, unabashedly wrong. Like, do you even have a car?

Roundabout loves you – why not love Roundabout?

Let’s reiterate why we should all love the roundabout and what it brings to our community. Later this week, my fellow bloggers are going to explore the specifics for me, so stay tuned.

1. Suncrest is getting bigger and we need better traffic patterns. In like fifteen years that roundabout is going to be the best thing that’s happened to the mileground and 705, considering by then people will be skilled at navigating it.

2. It’s safer, cheaper and more reliable. God knows we don’t need more traffic accidents – 20 people a day die in intersection collisions.

3. Small businesses all across that part of town are going to benefit from increased traffic flow. Small business is the lifeblood of our town, and we need to support them in any way possible. This includes infrastructure.

Please learn to love the roundabout, and learn how to navigate it. The effectiveness of the design relies on the quick and efficient navigation of it’s travelers, so please be kind to the confused old people you might see driving the wrong way around it. Honestly though, if you just follow the signs and yield, you’ll discover that the roundabout might be the panacea to Morgantown’s brutal traffic problems.

I think time will sway the nonbelievers.