Jasmine Baxter

A city’s past re-examined: Montevallo partakes in Community Remembrance Project

(Left to right) Kathy King, Debra Harton Love, Kathy Lowe, and Amanda Melcher led the discussion. Photo by Jasmine Baxter “Until very recently, lynching was something I knew about from photographs,” remarked presenter Kathy King as she stood in front of the crowded Pat Scales Special Collection Room. “Like many of you, I’m sure, I would look at them. They were black and white. They were distant. They happened somewhere else.”   She paused there, visibly collecting her thoughts before she began to describe the part Montevallo plays at The National Memorial for Peace and Justice—a monument that commemorates victims of lynching in the United States.   “When you go to Montgomery, if you haven’t been yet, there’s a slide of...

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The exclusionary culture of higher education

For several centuries, college education has functioned as a tool for upward mobility—a gateway to socioeconomic success in various forms, including financial gain, career satisfaction and specialized knowledge.   As a result, in many marginalized and underserved communities, college has been heralded as the ultimate source of stability.   In such contexts, the schooling process is oversimplified: apply, get accepted, graduate, then find a job. Much less often do we recognize or even discuss the extensive barriers that prevent us from reaching the academic finish line.   The reality is that the same gateways can gatekeep, and higher education is largely inaccessible to entire groups of people.    The problem itself is complex. Middle class students are getting squeezed out of higher education because they just barely miss the qualifications for government grants,...

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Are you contributing to the mental health stigma?

“I’m not going to try to get into the mind of Donald Trump because I don’t think there’s a lot of space there. I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.   This excerpt may be nearing two years old, but its impact is timeless; using words like “kook” and “crazy” to refer to a person whose very existence is controversial reinforces society’s overwhelmingly negative outlook on mental health.    Though it may seem harmless and insignificant in the moment, our language dictates how we see the world and the people living in it. More specifically, the meanings we assign to words, however implicit, influence our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and this concept is gravely important to remember during our discussions of mental illness.   At...

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Secular Student Alliance unveils Graveyard of the Gods

Headstones denote rarely worshipped deities of today’s modern world. Photo by Jasmine Baxter Constructed amidst the Halloween season, the Graveyard of the Gods was meant to be the Secular Student Alliance’s (SSA) “farewell to humanity’s forgotten deities”; it was meant to demonstrate how many previously revered gods have become mere symbols of mythology. Its purpose was to prompt a conversation about religion at the national level – one that the SSA has been encouraging for several years.  “The event started in 2013 at the University of North Georgia,” said Erin Green, the president of UM’s chapter of SSA. The students in the...

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Communication professors work toward community change

The SDCP has been active in moderating and facilitating deliberative community forums in Montevallo, such as those for the Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO). Pictured above is the town hall meeting where the NDO was passed. Photo by Waid Jones In today’s cultural climate it’s not uncommon for discussions about community issues to become polarized. Quite often, people get trapped in a negative, accusatory discourse that, at this point, is almost overly familiar. For this reason, nonprofits like the Kettering Foundation and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life have created communication models that teach people how to come together and talk productively.  ...

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