A Guide to Athens

By: Emmett Baumgarten, Contributor

Last spring, I had the pleasure to spend a semester abroad in Athens, Greece. It was an opportunity I did not dare forgo — to study in one of the ancient world’s greatest hearths of knowledge (even as it declined from bustling city to famed college town under Roman rule) is a dream to any Classicist, such as myself. I envisioned a city littered with ancient sites and charm; as Rome was to Italy, so too was Athens to Greece in my mind. Then I flew in. From on high I gazed down not on the picturesque ruins and general charm I had envisioned, but upon a homogenous, white mass, discolored by the daily cigarette smoke of its millions of inhabitants. A surge of disillusionment dragged me down like Charybdis was said to do to many fated ships. The cab from the airport provided little relief: he tried to charge us double and then drove with that patently bad and fear inducing driving Mediterranean cabs are known for. The drive was not lacking for excitement, however, as it provided a crash course on Greek insults and rude gestures. Were I to stop here, Athens might seem a terrible destination. I will assure you my disillusionment was not long-winded. A quick turnaround began as I first moved into my apartment, which, given the homogeneity of Athens, is quite similar to every apartment there. Two features stand out and constitute points of pride among the Greeks. The first is the thick, marble countertop in the kitchen. Modern Athenians seize every opportunity to connect themselves with their ancient counterparts and the land around them; the presence of Pentelic marble, with which the Athenians constructed all their major landmarks, in the home on a surface interacted with daily amply satisfies this desire. Second, an open-air balcony with a perilously short rail meant “not to protect you from falling” but rather to “remind you that you can fall,” as my Greek instructor, Angeliki, would say. This, more so even than the marble counter, is the pride and joy of an Athenian home. This is where you display your gracious hospitality — a custom rooted as far back as the bronze age — this is where you take back souvlaki to eat in the open air as far away from the din of the city as you can get from within, this is where you enjoy late nights with a glass, or few, of wine and good company. From there on, I met the people, indulged in the food night and night again, and visited those ancient sites engulfed by the concrete jungle. It was all superb; though, for the sake of brevity, which I am already endangering, I will spare you the details of my experiences and, instead, provide you with advice so you can rejoice in Athens the same.

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Amazon’s “The Grand Tour” Combines Entertainment and Humor in New Series

By: Aidan Clarke, Staff Writer

Competing with Netflix and Hulu, Amazon knew from the beginning that its streaming service would need big names and excellent content. To achieve both of those goals, in 2015, Amazon brought in Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, along with their favored producer, Andy Wilman. Together, this group had turned the BBC’s middling “Top Gear” into the most successful car show of all time. Now, Amazon gave them a bigger budget and a clean slate to shape their new show “The Grand Tour” as they saw fit.

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Maddie De Pree is a Junior, Vol. 12: Whoa, I’m Almost A Senior

By: Maddie De Pree, Columnist

Last night, I went downtown with my friend, Sarah, to grab some dinner. As we walked around, I remembered how beautiful Greenville is in the springtime. Everyone, it seemed, had come out to celebrate the arrival of warm weather: kids were skipping, couples laughing, street musicians playing and end-of-the-worlders were giving their bizzare sermons. Sarah and I ran into several groups of high schoolers dressed for prom, the girls’ running down the sidewalks barefooted, high heels dangling loosely from their fingers as their dates trailed behind.

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First Town Hall Addresses Racial Slur

By: Nomonde Gila, Contributor and Evan Myers, Assistant News Editor

The morning of March 25, Furman’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion received a bias incident report concerning a video on social media that depicted a Furman University student singing along to a hip-hop song that included the “N” word.

The video elicited strong reactions from students all over campus. Later that day, Chief Diversity Officer Michael Jennings sent out an email, notifying the campus community that the administration was aware of the video and its inappropriate and offensive content. The email emphasized that the video did not represent Furman’s stated values regarding diversity and inclusion, expressed that the student had apologized for their actions and committed to making more thoughtful decisions in the future and finally, assured recipients that the administration would engage the student who appeared in the video in an effort to educate and discuss how their actions affected the broader community.

After the initial email confronted the issue and officially informed the student body about the video, the dialogue between the administration and the student body drew to a close, but the conversation on campus continued. Furman’s student organizations, including SLBC, NAACP and SGA wanted to host an event to discuss the video and “the bigger picture — issues of diversity and inclusion on Furman’s campus,” explained SLBC President Sasha Doster. Collectively, they organized Furman’s first town hall meeting on issues of race at 8 p.m.  Thurs., March 28.

Opening a dialogue for intensive yet informative discussion, students of all backgrounds filled McEachern Hall that evening to share their perspective. Some students were understandably upset, claiming that “the school’s reaction was a disappointment and did nothing but protect the student” and emphasizing that “limited groups of diversity on campus feel targeted and unsafe” when events like these occur. Others, including Doster and sophomore Cameron Abney, have since expressed that they were “not surprised.” Abney went on to say, “I think that it is going to get brushed over just like everything else” with a sigh.

Students seem to agree on two things: first, that racial issues at Furman are more prevalent and profound than this one incident, and second, that there is a disconnect between Furman’s administration and Furman’s student-body with respect to issues of diversity and inclusion.

Qwameek Bethea, Vice President of NAACP, recently articulated both of these views in an interview with The Paladin. With respect to the larger context of racial issues at Furman, he emphasized that there is a difference between “intent and impact,” elaborating “I don’t think the student’s intent was to harm anyone… but this person is representative of Furman [and] it’s important to figure out how many people think this is ok.” The video is hurtful, but more so still because for many, it is a clear example of latent racism that still exists at Furman University.

Moreover, the administration’s response to the video made many students, including Bethea, question whether Furman’s administration and student body are on the same page regarding racial issues on campus. Bethea identified two key disconnects. First, though Bethea has been encouraged by overarching administrative efforts to reconcile Furman’s controversial history with race — such as the Seeking Abraham Task Force — he feels that “there is not that much student support behind it.” Second, Bethea said that the same student groups who organized the town hall struggle to communicate with the administration. “We want to hold the University accountable, they’re saying they’re going to do something, but we want to see actual things getting done,” said Bethea. From his perspective, Bethea said that miscommunication between the administration and the student body is “definitely making us feel like we don’t know if you guys care or not.”

In the end, the recent “N” word video emphasized that Furman’s long struggle with racial issues continues today. Furman’s administration taking notice of the video and student efforts such as the recent town hall meeting are encouraging, but in order to address recurring issues from our past — such as when the “N” word revisits campus — it is critical that the administration and student body work together to come up with concrete solutions. Suggestions offered in the wake of recent events include clearer guidelines and standards for incidents of bias, increased inclusion and attendance to events hosted by minority groups and an extended town hall series that brainstorms more serious solutions.

The Problem with Wealth at Furman, Continued

By: Courtney Kratz, Opinions Editor

This article is a follow-up to “The Problem with Wealth at Furman,” a piece I wrote in response to the Equality of Opportunity Project’s 2017 study on economic diversity in higher education. I’ve met with a number of Furman administrators, including the president, to discuss the problem of economic diversity at Furman. I hope to address their concerns, the pervasiveness of the problem and possible solutions. For your convenience, the following includes some of the data that prompted me to write.

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The Power of One: We Cannot Afford Indifference

By: Bonnie Williams, Copy Editor

When I first heard about the shooting in New Zealand, my heart sank. Usually, I am spurred to action by these moments. I am spurred to educate, to inform and to get out of bed in the morning to fight for a more tolerable world. Rarely do I allow myself to pause and grieve, but in this moment, I did. I grieved for the lives lost, and deeper still, I grieved for the indifference still prevalent in the world. I grieved for the reality that those who commit crimes of violence, particularly against religious peoples, do not live in a vacuum. When someone commits a violent act, there exists others who supported or were indifferent to this person’s hate-motivated crime. Perhaps those who saw the early inklings of hatred in this person believed it would make no difference to speak out. Perhaps they did not see the damage this person’s hate could do.

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