Delta Zeta Sorority Comes to UTC

By: Sue Harris


CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/The Loop) — After months of interviews and planning, UTC Sororities have voted on which new sorority will come to campus: Delta Zeta.

Delta Zeta is an international organization that was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1902. This sisterhood was founded by six women who came together to start a sorority on a male populated campus.

Delta Zeta's take a picture on Bid Day

Delta Zeta's take a picture on Bid Day

This organization’s symbol is the turtle, inspired by the fact that turtles always have a home. Their colors are Old Rose and Vieux Green, with a national flower that is the Killarney Rose.

Today, Delta Zeta has over 220,000 members and alumnae in the US and Canada. This sorority has a nonprofit organization for scholarships, leadership, philanthropy, and education called the Delta Zeta Foundation.

Delta Zeta was chosen out of the other three sororities for presenting to the campus the different ways they plan to contribute to the community.  Some of the main factors are:

  • Community Service
  • Civil Engagement
  • Fitting in to the UTC community

Delta Zeta showed how involved they would be with community service.  Their national Philanthropy is the Painted Turtle Camp, which is a nonprofit organization for speech and hearing.  The camp is an experience for children with life threatening diseases to have fun and life changing experience. They also have started a new campaign called Pink Goes Green for environmental awareness.

This group also plans to get involved by recruiting members that will be leaders on campus as well as in the community. The women they chose to join their organization will make it part of their pledge to be an active  community member.

A group of Delta Zeta's gather around their letters

A group of Delta Zeta's gather around their letters

Ashley Baker, UTC Senior and Student Development Intern, said they were a great choice for this campus because they will fit in with the lifestyle. “UTC Greek life cares a lot about every student on campus, and the campus as a whole.” Baker said.  “Delta Zeta showed the students they intend to be an active part in our community by making sure we are all an active part of their activities.”

Members of the Greek community are very excited to have this group come to our campus. Samantha Holder, UTC Sophmore and Panhellenic Vice President of Public Relations, said she knows Delta Zeta will make a great asset to the campus. “The Delta Zeta women showed me that they will be a great fit to the rest of the groups here.” Holder said. “I am very excited for them to assimilate and become an active part of the campus.”

Patti Phillips, UTC Junior and Panhellenic President, said Delta Zeta had great ratings after their presentation. “The women had a wonderful presentation and really showed the community how badly they wanted to be a part of us.” Phillips said.

After Delta Zeta starts recruiting their new chapter in the fall, they will begin the colonization process. This includes getting founding sisters of the chapter, and a new pledge class to kick things off.

Want to know more about the extension process? click here!

Sara Jahansouz, Dean of Students and Greek Advisor, said this new chapter will be the last new sorority to colonize for a couple of years.  Jahansouz said we will wait to see the outcome with this current new addition. The campus will wait another couple years to add another sorority.  

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The Race for A New Sorority Begins

by: Sue Harris

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/The Loop) — It’s off to the races for the four potential new sororities as they fight for a spot in UTC’s Greek system. Out of Alpha Omicron Pi, Phi Mu, Alpha Phi, and Delta Zelta, only one can claim the position on our campus.

These four sororities competed March 15 – March 18 with presentations. Each group had the opportunity to meet individually with UTC’s staff, IFC Council, Panhellenic Council, and the Extension Committee.

After the individual meetings, the sororities put on an open presentation in the UC auditorium for the campus to attend. At these informational meetings, the women told background history about the chapters, and showed why they would be an asset to the UTC community.

A group of Phi Mu's sport their letters on their front porch

A group of Phi Mu's sport their letters on their front porch

Want to know more about the extension process? Click here

Ashley Baker, UTC Senior and Extension Committee member, said these meetings are important to the extension process so other members of the UTC community can have a voice in who will be chosen. “These women are the future of our campus.” Baker said. “We want to know what the leaders on our campus, and the rest of the community, think about each organization.”

Baker said one of the main things she is looking for in the potential group is to make sure they have the same values as UTC’s shared values. “Civic engagement, brotherhood and sisterhood, academic excellence, leadership development, and social responsibility are UTC’s shared values, and it is important for the new sorority to be able to embrace these values and really make them part of their own.”

The decision will be made by each sorority on campus voting. They will then take the information to the current sororities on campus and have them vote. The final decision will be made April 7. For more information on extension or Greek life, please contact Ashley Baker at

Want to know more about Panhellenic activities? Click here

What Concerns Me Most: My Mother Flying

By Sue Harris

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) —   My mother has recently decided that she wants to learn how to fly airplanes. As most would assume, this concerns me greatly. Flying an airplane is not something that most people have a desire to do, and/or the resources to achieve it. But some how my mother has found a way.

Two Christmas’ ago my step dad asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she replied with flying lessons. Most people would laugh to this response, but my step dad went out to our local hanger and asked how she could learn how to fly. The gift was just one lesson to fly a plane, and she said it was the greatest experience of her life. She loved the speed of the take off and the adrenaline rush of landing. She asked me to go with her one time, and I responded with “What? Are you crazy!?”

After her one flight experience she decided to make it a full time hobby. She took all of the class lessons and is currently working on her flight hours to get her Private Pilot License. Every time she has a lesson I am always invited to go. I don’t think I will ever feel comfortable enough knowing that my life rests in the hands of the woman who raised me.

At first, my main concern with her flying was the risk of the whole activity. Will she crash? Will the plane have some malfunction that she can’t handle? But now, it seems more like I am concerned with my mother being more adventurous than I am. She is 51 years old and found something she loves to do. I am 20 years old, and barley have time to think than find a hobby that I enjoy. If I am in the prime of my years, why is my mom having a better time than I am? Will it take me 30 more years to find something that I am that passionate about?

My mom has also always told me that this is the best time in my life to do anything I want. She wants me to go on an adventure before my life gets too hectic after college, and maybe I should. If she has the guts to do something really risky, then I should too. If I am so concerned with my mom being more adventurous than me, then what is holding me back?

Man Throws Baby Off Bridge

By: Geoff Mulvihill and Samantha Henry

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man pleaded not guilty Thursday after police say he told them he threw his 3-month-old daughter off a bridge, as searchers and relatives held out hope that the infant might still be found alive.

Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, appeared composed during his arraignment in Newark via video link from the Essex County jail, where he is being held on $700,000 cash bail. Public defender Regina Lynch entered the plea on his behalf.

Abdur-Raheem is charged with attempted murder on accusations that he assaulted the baby’s maternal grandmother after showing up at her home and snatching the girl, Zara Malani-lin Abdur, from her arms Tuesday afternoon. He is also charged with kidnapping, two assault counts and child endangerment.

Police say Abdur-Raheem forced his way into the grandmother’s East Orange apartment around 4 p.m. Tuesday, striking her in the face, choking her and pulling the baby from her arms before fleeing in a van.

The 60-year-old grandmother, whom police declined to identify, chased after Abdur-Raheem and was struck when she tried to stop him by throwing herself in the path of his vehicle, authorities said. Abdur-Raheem then headed toward southern New Jersey, and police say he told them he tossed the child from the Garden State Parkway’s Driscoll Bridge, over the Raritan River, on his way.

Search teams using boats, helicopters and dogs found no sign of the baby as the search entered its third day Thursday. State Police Sgt. Julian Castellanos said the mission was still a rescue attempt even though the odds of a baby surviving that long were slim.

The child’s mother, Venetta Benjamin, had no visible reaction Thursday as she watched Abdur-Raheem, clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, answer questions on the video screen in court. She left the court, accompanied by a woman in a priest’s collar and other relatives, without commenting.

Officials say Benjamin, who has sole custody of the infant, had sought a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem around the same time Tuesday afternoon that he is accused of showing up at her mother’s East Orange apartment. Benjamin’s lawyer, Mitchell Liebowitz, said the baby was snatched before the restraining order was served.

New Jersey’s acting attorney general, Paula Dow, has classified the case as severe domestic violence.

Abdur-Raheem’s father, Mushin Raheem, said the relationship between his son and Benjamin, who are not married, had been bumpy since they started dating as freshmen at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

“They had their problems, you know what I mean?” Raheem said, saying his son could get angry but not unusually so.

“Everybody has a temper,” he said. “He’s mad, you get mad, you know.”

Raheem said his son and Benjamin moved into an apartment together in Galloway Township about two weeks ago. She moved out within a week, Raheem said, going to live with her mother.

Raheem said that the couple had brought the baby to his home four or five times, and that the idea that his granddaughter could be dead was weighing heavily.

“Man, I’m distraught,” he said. “I’m distraught.”

Raheem said that Amin Muhammad, an Atlantic City imam who was close to his son, brought the young man to his father’s home Tuesday night. Police arrested Raheem there later.

He wouldn’t say what his son, who aspired to go into criminal law, told him then.

“It’s very difficult,” Raheem said. “Everybody in my family’s hurt by this.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

Panhellenic Gets New Recruitment Counselors

By: Sue Harris

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — UTC’s Panhellenic will gain new Recruitment Counselors in the next coming weeks. Recruitment Counselors, otherwise known as “Pi Chi’s”, break away from their own sororities to help girls going through recruitment find the sorority that is right for them. 

Want more information on UTC’s Panhellenic? Click Here

A group of Pi Chi's bond at Horn"s Creek

A group of Pi Chi's bond at Horn"s Creek

Chelsea Crouse, UTC Junior and Vice President of Recruitment Counselors, is in charge of picking out the new Pi Chi’s. “Pi Chi’s are crucial to the recruitment process, and we pick girls that we know will be great leaders.” Crouse said.

“We have girls from all four sororities fill out an application and then we interview them.” Crouse said. “After all the girls are interviewed, Panhellenic Executive Council decides which girls will be chosen.”

Crouse said when a girl is chosen to be a Pi Chi, they will disaffiliate for the summer and not participate in their own sororities recruitment. They are impartial to what chapter the girl goes to, even if it is not their own.

A group of Pi Chi's travel to Horn's Creek for their first retreat
A group of Pi Chi’s travel to Horn’s Creek for their first retreat

Ashley Baker, UTC Senior and outgoing Vice President of Recruitment for Panhellenic, said Pi Chi’s are the leaders of Panhellenic. “They do not just help women go through recruitment; they are the face of Panhellenic.”

Pi Chi’s will be chosen this month and will begin their training at the end of February. The training is a value based curriculum in which they will come to find their own personal and organizational values, as well as diversity training.

Want to know about more organization events on campus? Click Here.

Taylor Swift’s Manager Defends Her Performance at the Grammys

By: Caitlin R. King

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The head of Taylor Swift’s record label is fired up and defending his superstar against critical comments about her Grammy-night performance.

“She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to (her fans), and they speak directly back to her,” said Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta in a phone interview. “This is not ‘American Idol.’ This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It’s not about that technically perfect performance.”

Borchetta first responded to the backlash in an interview with The Tennessean. Asked by The Associated Press why he felt the need to defend Swift, he said because the criticism was “just over the top.”

Taylor Swift sings "Today Was a Fairytale" at the 2010 Grammys

Taylor Swift sings "Today Was a Fairytale" at the 2010 Grammys

“It’s that classic thing that critics do of building something up and then wanting to tear it down,” he said.

Swift rehearsed her performance and duet with Stevie Nicks two different times at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of an audience. Entertainment Weekly wrote of the rehearsal, “The two women’s voices complemented each other nicely on the harmonies of ‘Rhiannon.'”

But on Sunday night’s Grammy show, Borchetta said Swift had a technical issue that made her worry about her performance. (Attempts to reach The Recording Academy for comment went unanswered.)

“We had a volume problem in the ear. So, she was concerned that she wasn’t able to hear everything in the mix,” Borchetta said. “That’s just part of live TV. … So you’re going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn’t hear herself like she had in rehearsal.”

As quickly as you could say “Fearless,” bloggers and media outlets pounced on Swift’s performance. The Washington Post quipped: “To borrow a phrase from Montgomery Burns, it was more ‘off-key caterwauling.'” said: “There’s no doubt that someone was badly off-key. … I’m afraid my money’s on Taylor.”

The chatter at times overshadowed the four Grammys Swift had won, including album of the year.

It’s doubtful her fans will abandon Swift anytime soon, judging by positive comments on her Facebook and MySpace pages, or shun the second leg of her sold-out “Fearless” tour, which resumes March 4 in Tampa, Fla.

And with that, Borchetta has a message to all of her critics.

“If you haven’t seen her live performance, you’re welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it’s amazing,” he said. “There’s a reason tickets are selling like they are.”

Swift’s “Fearless” album has sold over 5 million copies and was last year’s top-selling album.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Government Not Taking Necessary Steps to Prepare for Bioterrorism

By Eileen Sullivan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States isn’t prepared for a biological terrorist attack, a congressionally mandated panel said in a report.

The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation gave the Obama administration a failing grade for its efforts to prepare for and respond to a biological attack, such as the release of deadly viruses or bacteria.

“Nearly a decade after Sept. 11, 2001 … and one month after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the United States is failing to address several urgent threats, especially bioterrorism,” said former Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the commission. “Each of the last three administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the biothreat. But we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve, when we know al-Qaida is interested in bioweapons.”

Retired Air Force Col. Randy Larsen, the commission’s executive director, said the poor preparation for the swine flu epidemic in 2009 is proof that the country is not positioned to respond to something more serious. Larsen pointed to the early shortage of H1N1 vaccine despite a six-month warning from health officials that the disease would be potentially deadly.

No one in the Obama administration has taken the lead for protecting the country against bioterrorism, Larsen said.

“Especially troubling is the lack of priority given to the development of medical countermeasures — the vaccines and medicines that would be required to mitigate the consequences of an attack,” the report said.

The report recommended five steps the government should take to deal with the threat of bioterrorism:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the domestic program to secure dangerous pathogens.
  • Develop a national strategy for advancing the ability to conduct forensic analyses of bioterror attacks.
  • Tighten government oversight of laboratories that deal with dangerous pathogens.
  • Promote a culture of security awareness among scientists.
  • Enhance the nation’s rapid response plan to prevent biological attacks from inflicting mass casualties.

The commission was formed by Congress to evaluate the government’s readiness for a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction. Its report follows a study released Monday that warned that al-Qaida is still pursuing technology to conduct a biological, chemical or even nuclear attack against the United States.

That study, released by Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said al-Qaida’s “top WMD priority has been to acquire nuclear and strategic biological weapons.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Nation Freezes from Bitter Cold

By Randall Dickerson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The freeze that lingered over much of the nation Wednesday was expected to be followed by strong winds and more bitter cold through the Midwest and deep into the South.
The unusually persistent Southern cold snap has been blamed for at least six deaths and threatened to freeze Florida citrus crops.
The cold was expected to continue through the weekend. The National Weather Service predicted the heaviest snow from the fast-moving system would fall on Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, with 4-6 inches predicted along with some locally heavier amounts through Thursday.
In a rare turn for the South, forecasters warned that snow and ice were possible Thursday from South Carolina to Louisiana and wind chills in the region could get down to near zero at night.
“This air mass originated on the ice cap at the top of the world,” said Bobby Boyd, a weather service forecaster in Nashville. He said the cold shot wouldn’t be spent until it plunged southeastward and moved well beyond Cuba into the Caribbean.
Authorities said four people in Tennessee, one in Mississippi and one in South Carolina have died from the cold since the weekend. They included a man with Alzheimer’s who wandered out into his yard in Nashville and froze to death, and a homeless man found dead in a tent in South Carolina.
The total doesn’t include people who died in car accidents on icy roads and in fires started by stoves and space heaters.
The frigid weather hampered northern firefighters and even made life hard for Florida’s tree dwelling iguanas.
In central and south Florida, farmers tried to salvage citrus and vegetable crops by spraying them in protective layers of ice and covering them in plastic.
Florida was so cold that freezing iguanas were seen falling out of trees. Experts say the cold-blooded reptiles become immobilized when the temperature falls into the 40s and they lose their grip on the tree.
In Indianapolis, frozen hydrants frustrated firefighters as they tried to put out a Tuesday night blaze at a commercial building.
Officials said the city of Des Moines is likely to exhaust the remainder of its $3 million annual snow removal budget with this week’s storm, expected to dump up to as much as 10 inches of snow in some areas. That is on top of the more than 28 inches of snow that fell there in December.
Oklahoma’s two largest school districts have canceled classes for the rest of the week because of subfreezing temperatures. Some of the schools in several other states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri, were expected to close Thursday because of the weather.
In the Dakotas, Interstate 90 between Rapid City and Mitchell in South Dakota was closed Wednesday because of zero visibility that led to backed-up traffic and some crashes.
Joe Dietrich, who owns a snow blower repair shop in Bismarck, N.D., said bitter cold and snow have been so good for business, he had to turn away dozens of repairs this week.
“My building is only so big and I can only take so many,” he said.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Perry County, where water line breaks have left large swaths of the area without water.
Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia was closed to motorists because of heavy accumulations of snow and ice as well as downed trees.
In Maine, a pilot died Monday after he reported ice buildup on the wings of his small plane and it crashed into a river channel. Searchers were also looking for an 18-year-old snowmobiler who disappeared on New Year’s Day. And in Wisconsin a 7-year-old boy died when he fell through ice into a river while sledding with friends.
In coastal North Carolina, volunteers were scrambling to save endangered sea turtles that were stunned by the cold and stranded off the Outer Banks.
Southern supermarkets were doing a brisk business in staples like bread and milk.
Ann Warden of Brentwood, Tenn., loaded eight grocery bags into the trunk of her black luxury car Wednesday morning and worried about a snowy forecast.
“You know Nashville gets paralyzed with just one snowflake,” she said. “I couldn’t be caught without milk. And I got some nice wine at the liquor store.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press