UTC Student Creates Parking Petition

General parking lot with numerous pot holes and poor maintenance.

General parking lot with numerous pot holes due to poor maintenance

By: Ashley Broockman

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – It is nothing new to hear student complaints about parking on campus, but one student has created an online petition asking for a reform of the parking rules, regulations and lot maintenance.

Junior Patrick Wagner recently created the petition, which details some of the troubles he and others have experienced with UTC’s parking services. Wagner says he created the petition after an incident with the parking administration pushed him over the edge.

“They gave me a parking ticket for a car that I didn’t own, or had ever owned. It was never owned by any of my family either. I couldn’t register for classes or anything because I had a hold on my account. The parking services wouldn’t let me appeal the ticket until my dad, who is a lawyer, talked to them.”

Wagner says he shared the petition on Facebook and with his fraternity brothers after creating it, and overnight it was a hit.

“Overnight it got about 70 signatures, which was kind of shocking. I didn’t expect it to really spread at all at first.”

Sophomore Stevi Boling said, “The petition is a great idea. It gives students a place to come together and talk about their experiences and think of ways to fix these problems. I signed the petition as soon as I saw it on Facebook.”

Petition Issues Addressed

  • Faulty parking tickets
  • Not enough spaces
  • Separation of reserved and general lots
  • Decal prices
  • Poor lot maintenance                                   

Wagner pushes for lower decal prices, and also brings up the idea of having no separate lot decals but one decal so that students can park anywhere. He also addresses the poor maintenance of the lots including the general lots that are gravel with numerous potholes (as pictured above). Wagner says all lots should be paved to give equal parking to everyone. He also thinks there should be a reform of the appeals process, because there are so many students who have received faulty tickets without being able to appeal them.

Parking Committee’s Response

However, according to the minutes from a recent parking authority committee meeting in February, the committee “discussed rate increases” and also “decided that a parking rate increase was needed along with a new transportation fee.”

With a steady increase in parking space to student ratio, the parking committee has addressed that expanding parking is a priority. There has been discussion of rate increases, event parking increases, etc. so that UTC can pay the massive amounts it will take in order to buy new land, add new lots, or even add a new parking garage.

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Overcrowded general parking lot on UTC’s campus

 

According to data found from Reed Constructions, the average costs of adding new, smaller paved lots costs around 4 thousand dollars per parking space.  This adds up to about 200 thousand dollars for a small lot that holds only fifty cars.

Depending on the type and size of a full parking garage, the averaging cost is around 3 million to 5 million dollars.

With the costs of these endeavors averaging from the hundred thousands to millions mark, these and other issues addressed in Wagner’s petition will not be able to be addressed for another several years.

There is still something to be done about the faulty parking tickets, appeals process, and other non-construction based issues included in Wagner’s petition. You can view and sign the parking petition using this link – UTC PARKING PETITION.

 

This story also featured on UTC’s campus broadcast station Mocs News.

 

 

 

 

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Tennessee Springs into Spring weather Earlier Than Expected

Chattanooga, TN (UTC/The Loop)

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — An end to winter’s bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania’s famousgroundhog.

Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included temperatures well below freezing as well as record warmth, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn’t see his shadow.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 on Gobbler’s Knob in west-central Pennsylvania, winter will last six more weeks. But if he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.

The prediction is made during a ceremony overseen by a group called the Inner Circle. Members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.

Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle, says that after “consulting” with Phil, he makes the call in deciphering what the world’s Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the weather.

Phil is known as the “seer of seers” and “sage of sages.” Organizers predicted about 20,000 people this weekend, a larger-than-normal crowd because Groundhog Day falls on a weekend this year.

“I just hope he’s right and we get warmer weather soon,” said Mike McKown, 45, an X-ray technician who drove up from Lynchburg, Va., with his mother.

Phil’s got company in the forecasting department. There’s Staten Island Chuck, in New York; General Beauregard Lee, in Atlanta; and Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton, Ontario, among others noted by the National Climactic Data Center “Groundhog Day” Web page.

“Punxsutawney can’t keep something this big to itself,” the Data Center said. “Other prognosticating rodents are popping up to claim a piece of the action.”

Phil is the original — and the best, Punxsutawney partisans insist.

The 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray brought even more notoriety to the Pennsylvania party. The record attendance was about 30,000 the year after the movie’s release, said Katie Donald, executive director of the Groundhog Club. About 13,000 attend if Feb. 2 falls on a weekday.

Phil’s predictions, of course, are not always right on. Last year, for example, he told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter, a minority opinion among his groundhog brethren. The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University later listed that January to June as the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began being kept in 1895.

“We’ll just mark it up as a mistake last year. He’ll be correct this year,” McKown said hopefully.

___

Ron Todt reported from Philadelphia.

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Warm Weather

By: Emily Brogdon

Chattanooga, TN (UTC/AP/The Loop)

 An end to winter’s bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog.

Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included temperatures well below freezing as well as record warmth, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn’t see his shadow.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 on Gobbler’s Knob in west-central Pennsylvania, winter will last six more weeks. But if he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.

The prediction is made during a ceremony overseen by a group called the Inner Circle. Members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.

Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle, says that after “consulting” with Phil, he makes the call in deciphering what the world’s Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the weather.

Phil is known as the “seer of seers” and “sage of sages.” Organizers predicted about 20,000 people this weekend, a larger-than-normal crowd because Groundhog Day falls on a weekend this year.

“I just hope he’s right and we get warmer weather soon,” said Mike McKown, 45, an X-ray technician who drove up from Lynchburg, Va., with his mother.

Phil’s got company in the forecasting department. There’s Staten Island Chuck, in New York; General Beauregard Lee, in Atlanta; and Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton, Ontario, among others noted by the National Climactic Data Center “Groundhog Day” Web page.

“Punxsutawney can’t keep something this big to itself,” the Data Center said. “Other prognosticating rodents are popping up to claim a piece of the action.”

Phil is the original — and the best, Punxsutawney partisans insist.

The 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray brought even more notoriety to the Pennsylvania party. The record attendance was about 30,000 the year after the movie’s release, said Katie Donald, executive director of the Groundhog Club. About 13,000 attend if Feb. 2 falls on a weekday.

Phil’s predictions, of course, are not always right on. Last year, for example, he told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter, a minority opinion among his groundhog brethren. The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University later listed that January to June as the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began being kept in 1895.

“We’ll just mark it up as a mistake last year. He’ll be correct this year,” McKown said hopefully.

___

Ron Todt reported from Philadelphia.

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Questions About Libraries Answered

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop) – Several UTC students and faculty have heard rumors and myths about the old and new library on campus, and are now questioning what is to come of the buildings.

Casey Cherry, UTC Senior, stated that she heard Lupton Library was going to be torn down, and then heard it was going to be remodeled. Luke Caldwell, UTC Junior, along with Cherry has heard the myth that the weight of the books was not taken into account when Lupton was built and it is now sinking.

While these rumors are floating around, Steve Cox, UTC Head of Special Collections and University Archives, has answered some of the rumors and myths about the libraries.

Cox said the story that Lupton Library is sinking is an “untrue urban myth.” He confirmed that in about 1970, open spots underneath the library were found and it may have started to sink, but the holes were filled in. When Lupton was built, there were about 4,500 students enrolled and it was not built for today’s technology. Talk and plans for a new library have been underway for about 15 years. Cox explained that the new library, which has not been named yet, is “long over due. As the university grew, the library did not.”

Some students have voiced their opinions on what should be done to Lupton once the new library opens. “I would like for it to be a parking garage, but I have not heard what they are going to do with it,” Cherry explained, “The university should improve every area of student need and parking is a top priority because if it is just a building then it is a waste of space and money.”  Caldwell said, “I would want to see the old library get a face lift because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It would be nice to see it blend with the rest of the campus because it is awkward and out of date.”

“You can tell roughly the time when Lupton Library was built, and the new library will be more aesthetically pleasing,” said Cox, “It will be one of the nicest in the country as far as university libraries go.” Cox also explained that the construction on the new library was almost cancelled and we are lucky to have gotten it.

Rumors of what the new library will feature are also going around campus. Caldwell explained that he heard the new library might have days where it is open for 24 hours and that it will have a Starbucks in it. Cox put these rumors to rest when he explained that there will be, “More computers and digital resources, rooms to practice presentations, sofas and recliners, and a Starbucks included in the new library. It will be more 21st century friendly and will be able to handle the technology of this time.”

Cox said that it has not been officially decided what will happen to Lupton Library, but he thinks it will most likely be renovated for class rooms and offices. The $48 million dollar new library is planned to open either late 2013 or early 2014.

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Free Birth Control for Female College Students

By: Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Obama’s Affordable Care Act is giving female college students access to virtually free birth control, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s President Cecile Richards published an online press release stating, “Covering birth control with no co-pays means college students will not have to choose between paying for tuition and books, or paying for basic health care like birth control.”

Obama’s new plan is designed to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Female college students are one of the main target groups for this new act.

President Obama speaking about his plan for covering birth control

Alina Salganicoff, director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said research shows access to contraceptives really does reduce unwanted pregnancy and abortion rates.

Obama has pointed out the preventative services regulation mandates free contraception for female college students as one of the reasons “why we passed this law.”

“I don’t think a college student in Fairfax or Charlottesville should have to choose between text books or the preventive care that she needs. That’s why we passed this law. And I am proud of it. It was the right thing to do. And we are going to keep it,” said Obama at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Christina Pagnani said, “I went to the student clinic last month for my birth control, and the nurse just handed it to me and sent me on my way. I was confused but obviously happy that I didn’t have to pay. I think that once UTC students find out about the free birth control, every girl at UTC will be in the student clinic so that’s definitely something to think about. I think free birth control is a good and bad idea at the same time, but I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

The Affordable Care Act provides contraception not only for family planning, but also as a way to reduce ovarian and other cancer risks. The controversy about the new law remains, but for now, contraceptives will be available for women seeking it for no cost.

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Work not so smooth for UTC graduates

By Chris Awuah

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Many UTC graduates have realized that finding a job after graduation isn’t easy. As of October 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor estimated that an average of 5.8 percent of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree were unemployed. That is the highest rate since 1970.

UTC commencement ceremony in the summer of 2012

Sean Whitehead from Murfreesboro, Tenn., graduated from UTC in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He planned on finishing school and going into the field he once always dreamed about. Instead he was unemployed for more then five months until he found a job at Best Buy.

“I just couldn’t continue to sit around and wait to see if jobs in my field would open up, so I had to settle for less,” Whitehead said.

This has been a recurring problem for many first-time college graduates. The post-college life is an uncertain picture for not only present but also future college gradates because of a recovering economy and fewer  job openings. Many have decided to pull the books back out to advance their education and get a leg up on their competition.

Some graduates like Whitehead, think if they had more education on their resume, it would help them qualify for the job. “I sometimes wish I would have continued on to graduate school after graduating” Whitehead said. “I know it would have been more time and less money being made, but it would have probably been for the better for me.”

UTC Head Athletic Advisor Lisa Tarr has been in the field of helping students find their way through school on all levels from middle school to college. When it comes to giving advice about future career plans, Tarr said she tells her students it’s sometimes better to get a degree in a field that you would enjoy even if you were not getting paid.

“From the way recent numbers are leaning, it’s better to have a higher degree towards your major because how competitive the market has become,” she said.

 

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Pitch Perfected- UTC has it’s Own A Cappella Group

By: Alexandria Adams

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Mocking Birds are known for the ability to mimic songs. And that goes no different for UTC student A cappella group, The Mocking Birds.

UTC student Sidney Toney started the group in the fall of 2011. The group is comprised of ten members.

The Mocking Birds performing at the 2012 Spring Greek Show.

 

Most members come from a musical background. President Whitney Gonyea, Vice President Melody Shenkman, and Secretary Caitlyn Krueger were all a part of their high schools’ choirs as well as other small musical groups that led the way for them to join The Mocking Birds.

All three say the have deep passion and appreciation for singing.

The musical group performs a variety of tunes from artists ranging from Taylor Swift to the jazzy melodies of Michael Buble says, Shenkman.

 

Gonyea says, “We are all a bunch of different individuals and we come together. We all sound really great and we have a lot fun.”

The Mocking Birds next performance will be at UTC’s annual Greek Show later this spring.

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Scholarly Men in Action

By Tia Kalmon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) - Scholarly Men in Action have set a goal to raise graduation rates among men at UTC.

Cameron Armstrong, UTC Senior and founding member said, the organization began when members realized a need for a strong alliance. They looked at graduation statistics and noticed a trend. So they decided to form an organization that focused on leadership, brotherhood, academics, financial support and mentorship for college males.

According to collegecompletion.chronicle.com, only 16-percent of UTC students graduate in four years and 37-percent graduate in six years. In comparison, all public universities in the state of Tennessee have a graduation rate of 20-percent in four years and 46-percent in six years.

Scholarly Men in Action posing in front of the Chattanooga sign for a Christmas card.

Scholarly Men in Action are trying to change that. They want to encourage the knowledge in men, so they can cross the stage and turn their tassels.

“They tutor me for English writing because I’m an English major,” Armstrong said. “They will help me review a paper I have or help me in another subject like a general education course like Spanish. We have a member who speaks Spanish, so that really helps me out and personal support as well.”

Each week, this group of men meet on campus to discuss how they are doing. They encourage each other to stay in school and follow their dreams.

“Everybody in this organization are like brothers because we all hang out, do community service together, we have conversations together, and sometimes we make cookies together,” Mark Gilbert, UTC sophomore, said.  “It’s the brotherhood aspect of it that’s really appealing.”

Not only do they want to make a difference on campus, but they also want to make a difference in the community. Scholarly Men in Action participate in many community service projects. They have plans to work more with the community this semester.

A Christmas card from SMIA.

Gilbert said, “this semester, every Friday, we are going to work with BCM, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and serve food to the homeless downtown and also we will be working with the Office of Disabilities, mentoring disabled students.”

“We are a diverse organization and we are open to all types of minorities whether that be race or religion, whatever major and we will accept everybody and welcome anybody who is willing to join,” Armstrong said.

These men meet every Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Ocoee Room on the third floor of the UC.

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UTC Bad Luck Brian Twitter account drawing huge following.

By Brian Bass

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP/The Loop) – Students at UTC are quickly realizing that if you want to follow a UTC Twitter account, you are going to run into options. There are the typical accounts that are run by the school or by different departments that are moderated and updated by faculty.
These accounts update students about changes in class times, when different clubs meet, and other school related activities.

However, an anonymous student runs the most popular account that involves a more personal look at the life of a UTC student. The Twitter feed @UTCBadLuckBrian, which describes the negative and unlucky encounters a UTC student can come across in an average day, and has drawn thousands of followers.

Miles Magallanes, senior from Nashville, says he enjoys following the account because many things that happen to “UTC Brian”, have happened to him.
“Whether it’s getting a quiz on syllabus day or not being able to park’, Magallanes said, “the Bad Luck Brian usually nails the problems of this school.”

The popularity of the account seems to grow by the hour.
Chad Roberts, a senior from Franklin, says the reason students love the Twitter feed is because it creates a common bond.
Roberts says, “Even if you love UTC you will see something on the Twitter feed that has happened to you and makes you laugh.”

Students get big laughs from new Twitter account.

The UTC BadLuckBrian has over 1,200 followers with that number growing every day.

Criticism of the accounts has come from the controversy over multiple comments made about the school’s Greek system, in particular, individual fraternities and sororities.
Posts involving Greek stereotypes and rumors about fraternities and sororities have started online fights over their validity with many Greek members.

The most hotly debated post came over the reason for Sigma Chi’s probationary period this year.  The fraternity claimed the post to be  false and wanted it taken down.

As of now, university officials have no plans to become involved in the Twitter account.

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Watch Out For That Cloud!

By Drew Flora

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn- (AP/THE LOOP)- Let’s set the scene. You’re walking to class on the UTC campus and then, BAM! A cloud of cigarette smoke hits you out of nowhere. Has this happened to you? How did you feel?

Many students don’t mind, but the majorities are annoyed with the situation and hope a solution or compromise could be made.

Corey James, a non-smoking senior, wishes there could be some kind of compromise made.“It’s just annoying walking to class behind someone that is smoking,” James said. “I wish there were designated areas around campus and maybe have the smokers not smoke in busy walk ways [on the way to class].”

UTC has placed regulations about smoking on campus that states smokers aren’t allowed to smoke in front of doorways entering buildings but doesn’t quite help the people getting hit with smoke walking to class.

Larry Miller, a smoking senior, feels there isn’t a problem with smoking on campus, but did agree with James that designated areas aren’t too impractical. Being a smoker myself, I’m fine there being a ban from smoking on my walk on the way to class.

As long as I have somewhere convenient and covered to smoke under near buildings I’m on my way to, I’m good. It’s not a restriction of smoking they are asking for. They are asking us to be more courteous of others around us, and that’s quite fair.

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