Author Archives: agibson0813

It Happened to Me Too

by Alyssa Gibson

No one talked about it.

No one said anything. You didn’t tell your friends. You didn’t tell your parents, and if you did there was nothing they could do. They told you to hide it, asked the circumstances and made you feel like it was probably your fault. Judges didn’t care, police didn’t want to help.

Then the whispers start.

“That’s awful, truly, but wasn’t she asking for it with her behavior?”

“She shouldn’t dress like that. What was she expecting?”

“At least she finally got laid.”

“No, he would never. I know him. He’s not like that.”

“I bet she made it up for attention.”

This is what I had been used to hearing when I was growing up. If any form of rape or sexual assault happened, you just swept it under the rug.

He was a linebacker for our football team and weighed about 150 pounds more than I did.
He thought that gave him the right to touch my thigh and work his way up. I shifted my chair as far away from him as I could, but he kept advancing.

“C’mon, you know you like it.”

His words still haunt me. I didn’t tell my parents; I knew what their response would be. I didn’t tell my friends; I didn’t want them to see me as someone that sought that kind of attention. I didn’t tell the teacher; he probably wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. So I moved to the opposite side of the classroom.

I shouldn’t have done that.

I should have fought, I should have yelled and I should have told him to stop then punched him.
I should have done something.

But I’m not the only one. One in five women in college will be sexually assaulted. 42 percent of women who are raped don’t report it. Georgia laws regarding sexual assault are vague at best, applying them to only instances in the workplace, psychotherapists and hospitals. In 1,000 rape cases, 994 perpetrators will walk free.

But others are changing this. Others are taking a stand. Others are speaking out about sexual harassment and rape. And I am so proud of them.

They give hope to younger generations. Younger generations no longer have to accept this kind of attention as something all women must go through. They no longer have to put up with it to get a job or promotion. They don’t have to take it anymore, largely thanks to the MeToo movement.

The MeToo movement started with Tarana Burke in 2006 and progressed into a national movement that brought attention to the abuse of women in media and entertainment industries.

Now, it has become a social media hashtag that provides an outlet for victims to voice their experiences and inspires confidence in young women. Young women are now being educated on their resources to stop this unwanted attention and their futures are being rewritten.

While laws in Georgia regarding these situations are still largely flexible, the MeToo movement is bringing much needed attention to this social issue and providing closure for several thousand people.

I never want what happened to me to happen to anyone. It took me a long time to rebuild my self-esteem and push away the shame that it brought. But now I am so much happier with where I am. I have a loving family and wonderful friends who guided me through that time. I’m now very open about my story so that younger generations will know it is never okay to be treated this way without consent. I am so proud of where my generation is taking a stand and I never want them to stop talking about it.

So keep talking, keep spreading this message and keep brightening the future for younger generations.

QEP on Campus

by Alyssa Gibson

QEP is a popular buzzword on Piedmont College’s campus, yet with it comes a growing problem: most students can’t identify what it is.

QEP, or Quality Enhancement Plan, is a five-year accreditation process that focuses on student involvement and bettering its undergraduates. “We are in our first year of the SACS accreditation process, and we’ve chosen to focus on undergraduate research and creative inquiry, global learning and leadership and community engagement,” said Julia Schmitz, director of QEP. “Our main goal is to improve student learning and get students more involved on campus. Studies have shown that the more students are involved the more likely they are to succeed through college, graduate on time, and get a job.”

With student success being their main goal, QEP channels their efforts in different ways. “We’ve had a Leadership Symposium, a T-shirt event, and a Maymester showcase. We were able to bring Maymester participation up from about 21 students last year to over 75 students now,” said Andrea Guillen, QEP student fellow for the Demorest campus. “We’ve had around 250 students participate in our sponsored events and we’re excited to see that turnout.”

Despite the success that it has had on campus, QEP is still seemingly unrecognizable by most students on campus.

“QEP has something to do with involvement on campus,” said Christian Castro, a residential student. “I really don’t know what it is or what it does, I’ve just heard the QEP is HIP lingo around campus.”

“I know it puts on events like QEP week, but I couldn’t tell you what it is,” said commuter London Cochran.

One theory Dr. Schmitz has for the unfamiliarity among students is the program is still relatively new. “We’re trying to make students understand what they’re working for, but because we are in our first year we can’t expect results overnight,” Schmitz said. “We have some events lined up in the future that will hopefully make the name and the goal more recognizable around campus.”

Although it isn’t universally recognized around campus, QEP is still dedicated to its original founding goals of bettering students. “The reason why it was created is to continue raising awareness for what we’re trying to do and the change that we’re trying to create so that it proves to other institutions and accreditors that we are working hard,” said Kanler Cumbass, an SGA President and representative on the QEP Steering Committee.

“It proves that we are engaged, that our students are learning outside the classroom, that the experiences as a college student don’t just affect you once you leave Daniel or Stewart Hall, that you’re gaining experiences in the global and local world as well as you’re gaining experience through service learning and undergraduate research. We’re working for our students, even if they don’t realize it yet.”

Tornado strikes Piedmont campus, injuries nearly 100

by Alyssa Gibson

Editor’s Note: This was written as a breaking news story covering a simulated disaster drill at Piedmont College. The event served as a training opportunity for the college’s nursing students.

Piedmont College was a chaotic wasteland after a tornado ripped through a crowd of unsuspecting students on Wednesday morning.

Students were found strewn along the sidewalk as the tornado swept through the Piedmont amphitheater, flinging branches and debris and causing near-toxic amounts of smoke to blanket the Swanson Center.

Habersham Police, Habersham County Emergency Services Department, Homeland Security and Public Health were all present at the scene as well as 70 Piedmont nursing students who were enlisted to help with injuries. “Around 97 students are in need of medical attention,” said Karen Greilich, coordinator of the on-scene disaster relief efforts. “We have Habersham search and rescue dogs on the scene looking for any other victims that may be lost in the woods and drones overhead surveying the scene.”

Students were being treated while many deceased victims had to be left behind. Friends and family were separated from each other as victims were being escorted to safe zones by the Piedmont nursing students. “I just watched my baby die,” said Marianne Smart, a junior at Piedmont. “She was 2 and they wouldn’t let me go back for her. It was horrifying.”

Deceased victims were categorized as black using the standard nursing triage system and left where they were lying. Nursing students were encouraged to leave terminal victims classified as black or gray and focus on those with a higher chance of surviving.

“We never do CPR. If a person isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse you move on. You can’t use all of your resources on one victim.” Greilich said. “It’s the greatest good for the greatest number. That’s the bottom line.”

Nursing students and EMS focused their attention on victims in need of immediate attention by administering bandages, medicine and thermal blankets. “We went in in teams of four and escorted as many people as we could out of there,” nursing student Chelsea Thomas said. My team picked up the red or most critical patients according to the triage system and gave them the necessary bandages and medicine we could provide on the scene before they were taken to the hospital in an ambulance.”

Rev. Tim Garvin-Leighton was also on the scene providing comfort to those in need. “I’m trying to keep people calm. That’s my main responsibility,” he said. I’ve been helping escort people to the safe zones as I can. It’s very crazy, but we’ve been able to rescue a lot of people. All we can do is wait and provide peace where we can.”

Finding a Home (Regina Fried Interview)

by Alyssa Gibson

Rural Piedmont College wouldn’t seem like the first choice for someone who’s had their hand on the urban pulse for most of their life.

For Regina Fried, living and thriving in major cities across 8 states is normal, yet Piedmont College’s hometown atmosphere appealed to her more than the buzz of city life. Piedmont became her home 13 years ago and she’s loved it since moving here. With her dad in the Navy, Fried moved around several times during her childhood. “I was born in Orlando, and then we moved to Hawaii,” said Fried, design manager for Piedmont. “I’ve lived in Washington, Georgia, Connecticut, South Georgia, Virginia, San Diego, and back to South Georgia where I graduated high school.”

Having lived all over the U.S. gave Fried the chance to see the country from every coast and experience different ways of living. After her high school graduation, Fried decided to join the Navy, but changed her mind and decided a small college was the best fit for her.

“I had friends that went to school here [Piedmont] and they loved it and would come back and visit me,” she said. “They convinced me to come up here and check it out. Everyone was helpful and wanted me to be here. They walked me through the scholarship process and helped me make it happen,” Fried said.

Piedmont’s friendly atmosphere is what convinced Fried to stay and make it her home.

Fried started as a student worker for the previous graphic designer on campus and fell in love with the art form. After graduation, Fried secured a job in Institutional Advancement to replace her former boss. Currently, she is responsible for all publications on the entire campus.  “I make ebooks, brochures, posters, music programs, postcards, flyers, and much more,” Fried said. She also worked at Brenau University for a year in between her career at Piedmont.

“Brenau was a little more urban than Piedmont and I loved all the really old traditions they had, like finding an old spade or doing a maypole,” Fried said.  “I really loved it and there was a lot of really cool stuff about it, but when Piedmont asked me to come back I felt relived to be coming home.”

Piedmont’s caring atmosphere drew Regina back to the college she loves and thrives on.

Fried has future plans that include travels to Greece to explore caves and experience the culture, but her plans will always include Piedmont. “At Piedmont, I feel like my job has a cause more so than big corporate organizations,” Fried said. “Our purpose is students and we are all getting something out of it in return, and that is really only something you can get from Piedmont.”