NFL week 2

The NFL is underway and the teams that faltered in week one tried to avoid an 0-2 start. Teams that earned a first week victory attempted to carry over that momentum and remain among the undefeated.

Statistically, starting 2-0 has proven to be an important piece in making the playoffs. Since 1990, 63 percent of teams that were undefeated after the second week have advanced to the postseason.

Here’s how the week unfolded.

Jets        10

Patriots 13

A slow start by Tom Brady and plenty of dropped passes by the Patriots’ young receivers made this one closer than it should have been.

Panthers 23

Bills        24

Rookie EJ Manuel got his first win as a pro. Do the fans in Buffalo finally have a reason to cheer?

Browns    6

Ravens 14

Although the defending Super Bowl champs walked away with a win, they failed to impress and showed that they are not the team from a year ago.

Vikings  30

Bears   31

A game winning drive from Jay Cutler gave the Bears the win and put their division rival in a 0-2 hole to start the season.

Cowboys 16

Chiefs     17

A win by the Chiefs gave them a 2-0 start. They have already matched their win total from 2012.

Redskins 20

Packers  38

Second year QB Robert Griffin III continued to struggle as Aaron Rodgers had a career high 480 yards passing.

Titans    24

Texans 30

The Super Bowl contender Texans needed overtime for the win. Their slow start gave the impression that the AFC south may be more wide open than previously thought.

Dolphins 24

Colts        20

An official Mike Wallace sighting in the Dolphins offense helped lead the Dolphins to their second straight win to start the year.

Chargers  33

Eagles       30

A career-high passing day from Michael Vick wasn’t enough to overcome three TDs from Eddie Royal.

Rams        24

Falcons    31

A 68 yard interception return by former Giants star Osi Umenyiora stretched the score to 21-0 for the Falcons, a lead that was too much for the Rams to overcome.

Lions         21

Cardinals 25

The new Bruce Arians regime was able to secure their first win of the year behind a 1 yard TD run by Rashad Mendenhall with under two minutes left to play.

Saints         16

Buccaneers 14

A last minute field goal defeated the Bucs for the second straight week after Drew Brees and company put together a 54 yard drive to get in scoring position.

Broncos    41

Giants        23

Older brother Peyton bested Eli Manning for the third time in as many tries as the Giants fell to an 0-2 start.

49ers           3

Seahawks 29

In the first matchup between the NFC West rivals, the Seahawks showed why many consider them the best team in football.

Jaguars     9

Raiders   19

In the battle to decide the worst team in the NFL, the Jaguars made in abundantly clear they are in a category all their own.

Steelers  10

Bengals  20

Big Ben and the Steelers completely lacked effectiveness offensively. This win by the Bengals could be the official beginning of a new king of the AFC North.

After all was said and done week two, 75 percent of the league’s teams have at least one loss. Of the eight teams that are 2-0, four did not make the playoffs last year.

True turn arounds, or just flukes? Time will tell.

NCAA Pay for Play

We live in a society where anything and everything is dissected under the public microscope. This proves more significant for those who spend the majority of their time in the spotlight.
Whether you are almost nude “shaking what your momma gave you” on national television or a 20-year old who just became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, nothing you do goes unnoticed.
I couldn’t care less about Miley Cyrus so I’ll refrain from being the millionth person to offer my two cents about what she did to Robin Thicke on MTV’s Video Music Awards, even though she should be arrested for it.
Johnny Manziel, who is again impressing people all across the college football landscape with his dual-threat abilities, seems to be the focal point of America’s distain towards young people in sports. Sure the guy likes to have fun, but who doesn’t? Just because he is a potential first overall draft pick in the NFL doesn’t mean he can’t have fun. Maybe he shouldn’t be so obvious and ridiculous about it but he is still a kid.
For years, the collegiate athlete has been a cash-cow for their respective universities. The University of Florida made huge profits off of the success of Tim Tebow while Texas A&M has been able to revamp their football complex much ado to the stellar play of “Johnny Football” after just one season.
With these schools and programs benefiting from these players so much, why do these players not see any of it?
All of these athletes are full-time students, practice every day but have no time to work and live a normal life. They are so consumed by their “football life” that it is near impossible for them to provide for themselves.
It seems as if every other week there is information brought forward that a school or a player had committed some sort of violation by accepting money or gifts from someone and then the school, its fans and its players suffer.
If that’s the case, pay these kids already. Most all of them achieve above-average GPA’s. They all are active within their communities through their sport or other activities, but more importantly, they bring in profit for their school.
Suspending these players or preventing schools from being eligible for bowl games hurts these kids’ potential livelihoods. I’m all for these athletes following rules but they are their own brand. If they want to market themselves and reap the benefits of their hard work and sacrifice, I see nothing wrong with that.
Why shouldn’t Manziel be able to sell his autograph? He’s signing someone else’s property with his name. If these kids can’t sign their own name on merchandise and receive payment for it, for something that may be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars one day, why should they pour their blood, sweat and tears into earning thousands, if not millions, for a school or program that can’t compensate them for what they have done?
The Southeastern Conference earned $23.6 million in payouts from the BCS for Alabama, making it to the title game a season ago, according to a Forbes article. Notre Dame, a school independent of a conference, received a $6.2 million check for also making it to the BCS Championship Game. The total payout of $30 million is approximately a quarter of the BCS’ yearly net revenue.
For all the hard work the kids down in Alabama do, the conference their team plays in receives approximately $25 million for making it to the championship game. Those players receive none of it. Some of it goes to their program and their facilities which help these players get better, but for putting in the long hours in the classroom and on the field and not being able to work to support themselves, why don’t they deserve a piece of the earnings?
One might argue that they get scholarships that cover their classes, room and board, books, etc., but that doesn’t give them spending money. They have other expenses to manage but no real way of covering it, which is why I feel that these kids turn to outside sources of receiving money, which the NCAA deems illegal.
If a program can sell merchandise, memorabilia, and other goods that market these players and their respective brands, the players should be allowed to profit off of it. If there is something the NCAA wants to say can’t happen, they should ban the sale of merchandise that features each school’s athletes that the players receive no compensation for.
I’m not suggesting we pay these kids boatloads of money, but maybe a monthly stipend of $500 to $750 to cover the cost of everyday life wouldn’t kill these schools, especially with the amount of revenue the student-athlete generates.

Levins Lighthouse 2

I sat there watching her as the tears poured down her face. She was a single mother trying to do the best she could with what she had. She was struggling, the weight of life’s cruelty seemed to be suffocating her.

I wanted to help, I wanted to say something to her that could make the pain evaporate or at least subside for a little while. Instead, in my infinite 20-year-old wisdom, the only words I could summon in response to her pain were, “I understand.”

Now, the gravity of those words may not hit you like they hit me. As soon as I said those words the meaning of that phrase hit me like a ton of bricks. “I understand.”

How on God’s green earth could I understand what this woman was saying to me. How could I understand what it was like to be a single parent, to struggle with the hope that you can give your kids an amazing future; how could I understand?

I was fortunate that this woman was a friend of mine and knew what I meant when I said those words. But I ask you, what if she was someone I didn’t know? What if this person didn’t just need someone to listen but needed a better response?

Perhaps to you what I said didn’t matter. Perhaps you thought I said the right thing at the time. I’m here to tell you today that I said the wrong thing and that the words we choose truly matter.

The words we choose truly matter because they can either tear us down or build us up.

We’ve all had that experience where we’ve had a word said to us that cut like a razor or a word that was so kind it set us on cloud nine. Here’s some advice on how to control your words.

Think before you speak

It’s an old expression and I’m sure you are familiar with it. I mean it just a little differently though. I mean that we must not only think about the words we are using in regards to ourselves, but how the words we are using will impact others.

Try putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Try allowing yourself to truly understand what the other person is going through.

It’s okay to be silent

We all have a tough time with this, myself especially. We feel as though we always need the last word. Sometimes it’s better we realize that silence can be the best response in many situations.

No, I don’t mean ignoring the other person we are talking to. I just mean that sometimes the best answer is a friendly arm around the shoulder or pat on the back. I know that I wish I had done that with my friend.

We don’t always need the answers, friends. As Abraham Lincoln once put it, “better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Compassion beats Condescending

My momma always said if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.


The sum of the whole is greater than all of its parts. Our goal with our words should be to always bring people together, to destroy barriers. When we are using words that build a team, that unify a group, we are synergizing and allowing for the whole to work for the greater good.

These have been some of the most impactful thoughts on the power of words that have been given to me. I hope they may do the same to you. When I think of these things, I am often reminded of a quote from the lion-hearted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “we are masters of the unsaid words but slaves of those we let slip out.”

Week 3 NFL roundup

Week three is the point where NFL teams should be separating themselves into classes. The elite usually go to 3-0, the middle of the road teams will have at least one win, and the bottom feeders end up winless.

Is this year any different? Take a look at these scores and see how it is shaking out.

Chiefs     26

Eagles     16

Andy Reid seems to be onto something as the Chiefs have already surpassed last years win total.

Texans     9

Ravens    30

In all three of Houston’s games they have looked shaky, Sunday the Ravens took advantage of that and walked away victorious.

Browns    31

Vikings      27

The Trent Richardson trade got all the buzz for the week in Cleveland, but this week they’ll be talking about win number one.

Giants        0

Panthers   38

An 0-3 Tom Coughlin team is almost unheard of. Has the head coach lost this team and his touch?

Packers    30

Bengals     34

A wild game filled with turnovers falls in Cincinnati’s favor. At 3-0 are the Bengals the real deal?

Rams            7

Cowboys   31

Cowboys get this one in blowout fashion as Romo looked like a 100-million dollar QB.

Lions            27

Reedskins   20

RGIII continues to struggle as the Lions get their first win ever in D.C.

Bucs           3

Patriots   23

New England is starting to look like New England again as Brady has found a rhythm with young receivers.

Cardinals    7

Saints          31

Cardinals may have to eventually accept that Carson Palmer has seen better days.

Chargers    17

Titans          20

Lockers throws a TD at the end to win this one, Titans may be for real.

Falcons      23

Dolphins    27

Dolphins, at 3-0, are the biggest surprise early on in the league.

Bills    20

Jets      27

The battle of rookie QB’s goes Geno’s way as Manuel fails to lead a game winning drive.

Colts    27

49ers    7

Even though the Colts are good, this has to be the upset of the week because of how one-sided it was.

Jaguars        17

Seahawks   45

Everyone saw this coming, what was shocking is the depth that Seattle showed their roster has.

Bears       40

Steelers   23

The Steelers looked as bad as any team in the league in this one, Tomlin needs to right the ship.

Raiders     21

Broncos    37

Peyton Manning is completely healed form his neck surgery and teams need to respect that he is back.

If history holds true, we can expect the Giants, Steelers, Vikings, Jaguars, Redskins and Buccaneers to miss the playoffs and should see the Patriots, Dolphins, Chiefs, Broncos, Bears, Saints and Seahawks to cruise to the postseason. The middle ground teams are looking to get it under control and battle to fill the remaining spots.

Can one of the winless teams get it together and make a push? Will one of the undefeated teams stumble and come up short? It’s only week three let’s hope the season isn’t that predictable.

A Rich History of Athletics: Celebrating the Tradition of JU Sports

e Dolphin community would recognize the likes of a Chris Anderson, the pitcher who was selected in the first round of this spring’s Major League Baseball draft or Josh McGregor who quarterbacked JU to a Pioneer Football League title.

Then there is the unmistakable Artis Gilmore, Hall-of-Fame basketball player who led JU to a national title game, who now works for the university.

But what about the guys who paved the way for these athletes, like Gilmore and the many others in the years before our time?

Most of us wouldn’t recognize the likes or even know of Dee Brown or Otis Smith or Roger Strickland. Granted they aren’t the athletes of our generation, but if it were not for them, we wouldn’t have the chance to go out and watch Coach Cliff Warren lead our basketball team to the A-Sun tournament.

There would be no football stadium to be built to provide a high-profile experience to see our Dolphins compete for a PFL title year in and year out. These luxuries are all possible thanks to the JU athletes and coaches of the past, and for that we owe them.

Here is a look at some of the “Distinguished Dolphins” who exemplified what being a student-athlete and collegiate coach is about.

First the obvious one, Artis Gilmore. Gilmore was voted as one of the Top-50 players of the 20th Century by The Sporting News. Gilmore is the NBA’s all time leading field goal percentage leader and one of the top left-handed scores in the league’s history.

Gilmore averaged over 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in his JU career and now has his number 53 jersey hanging in the rafters at the Veterans Memorial Arena and on the wall of the historic Swisher Gymnasium.

Gilmore would not have been at JU if it were not for the man who recruited him, Joe Williams. Coach Williams led the Dolphins to a number one ranking and the 1970 NCAA basketball championship game.

James Ray, a 1980 graduate, was the fifth player taken overall in the 1980 NBA draft and played three years for the Denver Nuggets. His number 43 jersey hangs alongside that of Gilmore’s. Ray led the Dolphins to the 1979 NCAA and 1980
NIT tournaments.

Six years later (1986) Otis Smith graduated from JU after scoring 1700 points and recording 900 rebounds for the basketball program. Smith was the 47th overall pick in the NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets in 1986 and one of the first 12 players selected by the Orlando Magic in the 1991
expansion draft.

Now, Smith has retired from the court and makes his home in the Magic front office as their General Manager. Donnie Hammond, a 1979 Dolphin Alum made a name for himself on the PGA Tour after winning the 1986 Bob Hope Desert Classic.

Hammond has 41 Top 10 and 126 Top 25 tournament finishes on his record. Dee Brown, who attended JU from 1986-1990 played 12 years in the NBA mostly for the Boston Celtics where he was a first round draft choice and winner of the NBA Slam
Dunk Contest. He was also a member of the 1991 All-Rookie team.

Brown spent time as a broadcaster for ESPN and coaching multiple teams in the WNBA. He currently serves as the Head Coach of the Springfield Armor.

Maybe our most notable Alumni of the last decade, Daniel Murphy, star of the New York Mets, played for the Dolphins from 2003-2006. He has spent the past six seasons with the team and has made a home atop the National League batting average list year in and year out.

Let’s not forget the only person to throw a nine-inning no hitter in Dolphins history, our current President, Tim Cost. Cost graduated from JU in 1981 and returned to the university to replace Kerry Romesburg as president.

As Homecoming weekend approaches, take a minute to learn about and reflect on how Dolphin Athletics came to fruition. Whether you hear about them or not, there are many alumni supplanted in our JU community who deserve recognition for furthering the legacy of the
Jacksonville University Dolphins.

Levins’ Lighthouse: Where Was All the Pink?

As big of a sports fan as I am, and for as long as I’ve known they’ve been doing it, I still find it so odd to see all of the football players donning their pink attire while the referees scamper around blowing their pink whistles and throwing
their pink flags.

Yes, the month of October and the pink regalia signify a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, breast cancer awareness.

It is a month that recognizes and touts the efforts of the deadly disease’s survivors and remembers the lives of those who
succumbed to it.

I find it symbolic that sports, especially football, champion the cause of breast cancer awareness because these women who have been afflicted by this disease go through all of the things an athlete goes through during their season.

There are struggles, pain, depression, times where one wants to give in, but I believe that all of these feelings are magnified during a patient’s treatment because she is not in a fight for a championship. She is in a fight
for her life.

She is in a fight against a disease that will affect 12 percent of all American women in their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society. She is in a fight against a disease that will cause nearly 40,000 women to die in 2013 alone.

The disease’s effects are the reason this cause is so close to me. My aunt is a breast cancer survivor.

She was diagnosed in the spring of 2012 and immediately had to undergo a mastectomy.

I remember sitting with her in the waiting room before her surgery, nervous for what was about to take place. I looked over at her and was amazed by how calm she was. Here I was trying to bring her strength by being there for her, while instead, she brought strength to me.

Her surgery was a success and she had an excellent recovery. I am inspired daily by her perseverance and feel lucky to still have her in my life.

My aunt is not the only person that has inspired me through her recovery. I am strengthened daily by the other 2 million or so U.S. survivors of this disease. I have enjoyed seeing them honored at football games and supported in charitable events.

However, I have been saddened by the lack of pink on the Jacksonville University campus. I know that there is a student lead soccer tournament coming up which the proceeds will go to benefit breast cancer. A sorority’s philanthropy goes to research as well, and the football team will wear their pink attire for this weekend’s
homecoming game.

Though these efforts are appreciated by so many, myself included, I still wish I could see a day where the whole JU community wears their pink. We don’t have to do it to raise money; we can do it to show how
much we care.

We need a time where the balloons are released, the ribbons are pinned to every shirt, the survivors honored, and the
dead remembered.

Where was the JU voice this year, the whole voice?

A Letter to My 13-year-old Brother: Your Growth in Jr High Will Make You A Better Man in College


Do you remember when we pretended we were fairies? You sort of went along with it because I was the older sister and you were just a little kid and embarrassment-proof. And I, who probably had sleep deprivation at this point with all my pre algebra homework, said, “you’ll be Tinkerbell and I’ll be Tinker…butt.” And you cracked up laughing because you were six and I probably shouldn’t have said the word “butt” in front of you, but not only did I say that word, I related it to fairies, which were really just flashlights that danced on the wall.

I was about your age when that happened, and I was a weird kid. I mean, I’m still weird, but definitely not as strange as I was when I was 13. And I can’t help but wish I were back there, in that moment, to tell myself that it’s okay to be a little weird. I wish I would have known that being weird would be the greatest thing that could have happened to me.

I promised you I would write you a letter for when you went to middle school—a letter that would help you through this awkward time and give you some support as you mature. And as I started writing the letter, I realized that most of what I’ve learned in middle school can really be useful at any age, in any stage of your journey. So I’ve decided to publish it in my school newspaper, so that those who are not 13 can take the advice I’m giving to my little brother and apply it to their lives as adults. Because the greatest piece of advice I can give you is that you’re never too old to learn something new. You’re never too old to grow up.

The first piece of advice I have for you is this: treat your friends like gold because you never know how long they will be with you. People move, change and grow apart, but you will have those friends that will stay with you through all of that if you put an effort into the friendship. Don’t feel like you have to have a surplus of friends. Daddy always told me that if you have one good friend, you’re gonna do alright. Mom calls them “oak trees.” She says that acorns will come and go with the wind, but oak trees will be rooted in the ground and won’t be affected by the wind. Find at least one oak tree and surround yourself with acorns and learn from them.

As a girl in middle school, I always thought I wanted to be liked by boys. But as I grew in high school and college, I realized that it feels a lot better to be respected by guys than to be liked by them. So don’t be selfish when it comes to girls. Respect looks a lot like listening. It looks a lot like seeing value in a person and giving them permission to have their own thoughts, decisions and emotions. If you like a girl, listen to her, learn about her and allow your actions to reflect that. Once you have established that respect, she will be more open to being liked by you. You may not see the effects of this in middle school because at your age we are so insecure and lose ourselves easily, but once you get to high school and college, you will have a better perception about the difference between love and infatuation, and will have a positive reputation with the girls in your community. If you get your heart broken—and you will—remember that we’re all growing and the seasons in your life will bring you joy and pain. It’s about embracing the experience and having the self-respect to move on and the respect for her to let her go.

Kids are going to try and get you to do some stupid stuff. Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for being smart. Don’t snort Smarties, don’t jump off the roof, don’t get in the car with someone’s drunk older brother, don’t play the knife game, you get the point. That being said, don’t be like your sister and be too afraid to take risks. Once in a while, there will be something stupid that won’t be dangerous or unhealthy, like pulling back and forth pranks on your friends or making funny memes about your weird teachers. Do that. It’s about the balance of stupidity, not the absence of it.

You will get hurt. Your friends, your classmates, your teachers will hurt you. Some days you will feel alone, left out, broken. But this pain is the most beautiful pain you can experience because it will shape who you will become. You are stronger and more resilient than you may think and you have an amazing family and support system. You have a voice. Use it. Show people your identity. Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Persevere with passion and endurance, and do what you can to be a light for people who are going through this pain. Don’t become a bully, as this is often a negative side-effect of this pain. Remember that you are not powerless. You have the power to grow in whatever direction you choose.

You are a leader, whether you want to be or not. People gravitate toward you. Be someone that you will be proud of when you are my age. It won’t happen overnight. It’s a long process. You will make mistakes and do things you’ll regret. But with that comes growth if you don’t let the mistakes define you. The mistakes are part of the story, but your heart is the narrative. Believe in it.

Love and miss,


Week Of Welcome: A Look at JU’s First Week of Activities

Photo By: Courtney Jimenez

Dolphin Productions kicked the Week of Welcome off this year rising with the early birds at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 26 and settling down with an outdoor concert at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29. The Week of Welcome is a Jacksonville University tradition that offers returning and incoming students many activities to kick off the year. Here’s what went down during the Week of Welcome:

Poster Sale:

Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, large posters were sold in the Davis Student Commons. Students used the posters to decorate their rooms or give as a gift to their friends.

Rooftop Movie:

The rooftop movie is a signature Week of Welcome event and this year the acapella groups of Pitch Perfect were projected onto a blow up screen on the rooftop of the parking garage. Bridget Korzcyk, Spirit and Traditions Coordinator for Dolphin Productions, oversaw the planning of this event. Korzcyk, senior English major, said she hadn’t seen the selected movie but had only heard good things about it.

“I knew it was already out and I was a little worried about that,” Korczyk said. “I didn’t want people to be like ‘oh, I had already seen it’, but then I heard that it was so good everyone would want to go so we decided to show Pitch Perfect.”

The students on the rooftop enjoyed the movie and the free popcorn delivered to them by Dolphin Production volunteers.

“Pitch Perfect couldn’t have been a better movie for the week,” Alexa Zucker, freshman, said. “It shows that sitting in your dorm room not doing anything on campus isn’t going to make you love your school. College is about getting out there and finding a passion and this movie really helps all of us freshmen understand that a little bit more.”

Fin Up Fo’ Free:

This event took place Wednesday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. inside the Kinne Center right outside the Riverview Café. Dolphin Productions paired up with the Jacksonville University Student Alliance and gave out free JU gear to any passing student.

Dolphin Productions handed out shirts from the Florida Georgia Line concert last semester, but only if and when the student liked them on Facebook. They also used this time to promote the concert at the pool with Austin Renfroe for the next day.

Just opposite of Dolphin Productions, JUSA handed out sunglasses and student planners. Although JUSA didn’t have students like them on Facebook, they were promoting all of their social media to help students get more involved and help them understand exactly what JUSA means to JU.

“This was a small, easy way for us to collaborate and work together just to give out free stuff,” said Will Baxley, President of JUSA. “The event went great. We had lots of traffic and were able to resource the student body. In that regard, I think we accomplished our exact intent.”

Meet, Greet, Travel and Treats:

The meet and greet event took place Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. The entire event was a collaboration between Dolphin Productions, Student Life and offices all across campus.

Kaiti Chambers, Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Students, said it was a way for students to get to know where everything was on campus while the administrators were able to meet the new students.

“Students started at Gooding to meet service learning where they also grabbed a bite to eat while speaking with the staff members,” Chambers said. “From there, they went to Howard where there were more snacks. There they were able to speak with other staff members outside of the traditional time periods. Our goal for this was to help make it easier for students to know where they can find all of these offices and help them gain knowledge about all JU has to offer before they really need it.”

Overall, students met with staff members from Service Learning, Study Abroad, Financial Aid, The Controllers Office, The Registrar, Academic Engagement and Academic Advising.


To put the cherry on top of another Week of Welcome, Dolphin Productions brought out up-and-coming indie songwriter and singer Austin Renfroe to the Lonnie Wurl Pool where students could relax and take in the sounds of an acoustic guitar and the man behind it.

Renfroe played everything from old-school Britney Spears to Brian McKnight to his own music he wrote himself.

“I love all types of music,” Renfroe said in between sets. “I love love songs in general. When I got into music, I was just trying to impress girls, or a girl. There was one girl in particular. It didn’t work so well for me. I ended up playing in her wedding a couple summers ago, but my life turned out better.”

Although Renfroe is still new to the music scene, he has already had songs play on the radio, has been on the top of indie charts and has been approached by Disney to have his song play in the next Disney movie.

“We were really lucky to have found him,” Korczyk said. “We had a short amount of time to get him but his agent was very helpful and we booked him.”

Korczyk said she was not disappointed with her decision and the crowd seemed happy to have him there as well.

“I loved the show,” sophomore Lara Bushwood, said. “He connected with the crowd and played songs we all would know. Just being able to relax by the pool and listen to good music was a great way to end the Week of Welcome.”

Political Parties: Are they Still Relevant?

Elections come and go and they often do more than just leave us with a president or a senator; more times than not they leave some of us with a bitter taste in our mouths. Why, you ask? Because we see political parties rear their ugly heads, showing us their true colors, and no, they are not red, white and blue.

The true colors of political parties have gotten me thinking. Are they still relevant? I would argue no because, one, we are already seeing voters leave political parties in droves, two, candidates and parties themselves no longer adhere to their platforms, and three, they simply divide our country.

Since the 2008 election, we have seen an increase in people leaving their respective parties and claim independency. In a 2011 USA Today study of 28 states, over 2.5 million voters have left their parties in favor of independency.

This surge in independent voters is just another reason to abolish political parties. There are now over 24 million registered Independent voters compared to 30 million Republicans and 42 million Democrats.

Though those numbers are not as high as the Republicans and Democrats there is evidence to suggest that these independent parties are growing. In the all-important swing states of Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, there has been an increase in Independent voters totaling to over 500,000.

This statistical data represents a changing of the guard, so to speak. It represents a group of people who view political parties in a negative light. Such as new Independent voter Chris Weigand; he says that the parties are “so hellbent on carrying out whatever their perceived agendas are that they’ve totally lost sight of the regular citizens.”

Perhaps one can argue that some party politicians keep their sights on the regular citizen but it is difficult to argue that they have kept their sights on the core values of their party platform.

When we look at this example we need not look any further than the criticism that was drawn from 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

As he went through the primaries he was focused on out-righting his other opponents. Diving further and further into his party’s platform. It was like music to the Republican’s ears.

But I guess Romney had a change of heart when he started his presidential campaign because we saw that he was being criticized for a lot of flip-flopping and back tracking. All one seemingly had to do was watch his first presidential debate and see “Republican Romney” transform into “Moderate Mitt” right before their eyes.

Let’s be honest though, Mitt Romney is not the only political party member that we have seen that cannot stick to his core party beliefs. There are other politicians who have done so as well which is why political parties should be abolished.

Besides giving us a recent example of a politician’s flip-floppery, the 2012 election also gave us a very grim realization of our nation’s parties and its followers. They, we, are divided.

Our country, which sought out to free the world of despots and dictators, of warlords and warmongers, is being ripped to shreds from within by its own system, its own corrupt politicians, and yes, even its own people.

I fear for the worst if we do not do away with political parties, if we do not stop labeling ourselves Republican or Democrat and start calling ourselves Americans. After the 2012 election, 52 percent of voters polled expect that the current partisan conflict will stay the same, according to a Pew Research Center Poll. Well, if this is true, and if these partisan conflicts do stay the same, then we may find ourselves a broken nation. Abraham Lincoln leaves us with an important reminder, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

So with all things considered,the shift of independent voters, the inability of our representatives to maintain their party platforms, and the divisiveness of our parties, what are the benefits of abolishing political parties?

Well, one, you would see an increase in research a voter would have to do in order to make an informed decision. No longer would an uninformed voter be able to walk into a poll and vote for a candidate just because they are a member of their party.

Two, you would see an increase in the number of candidates because with a thir

Three, you would see the average citizen begin to be recognized as an individual with their own thoughts, beliefs, and ideas and not some product or puppet of a political party.

Four, we would see elections determined by statesmanship and honor instead of who can receive the most money from their political party.

At the end of this article, I am merely asking: are political parties becoming irrelevant? You, the people have the chance to decide on this matter. Do we make a change or do we stick with the status-quo?

First Impressions: Freshman React to Life at JU

Photo By: Emily Long

Photo By: Emily Long

Photo By: Emily Long

Photo By: Emily Long

Photo By: Emily Long

Photo By: Emily Long

Michael DePeder, Aviation Management major.

“It’s like a family, in a good way.”

Kiersten Nieber, Flight Operations major.

“It’s a lot more spacious. I’m used to everything being so compact back home in Washington, D.C.!”

Casey Sandorf, Nursing major.

“It’s a really nice campus! A great place with really awesome people!”

Brittany Mathis, Elementary Education major.

“Everyone is nice! The campus is pretty. The teachers are excited to help and they’re very knowledgeable.”

Ben Harden, Biology major.

“Everyone is really friendly. I can talk to anyone for help.”

Dehiam Gonzalez, Graphic Design major.

“I was actually really surprised. I wasn’t expecting everyone to be so open and nice, especially the upperclassmen.”

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