Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

If you see this woman off-campus, you might assume she's armed.

If you're a gun-toting homicidal maniac with ties to Wright State and thinking of pulling a Virginia Tech there, you might steer clear of the departments of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, whose secretary is in favor of allowing (properly licensed, I assume) people to bring concealed weapons on campus and has seen the announcement by Wright State President David Hopkins of a special observance honoring the Virginia Tech victims as an opportunity to lobby for Wright State's ban on concealed weapons to be lifted:

From: Siobhan Semmett
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 8:14 PM
To: David R. Hopkins
Subject: Re: [OFFICIAL-L] Observance Honoring Victims of Virginia Tech Tragedy

Dr. Hopkins,

I am speaking only for myself here: I believe everyone at Wright State would be far safer if the restriction against conceal carry on campus were abolished.

One mature individual, registered with the police and trained in the use of firearms, might well have prevented the carnage at Virginia Tech. Such an individual would not legally be permitted to carry a weapon at WSU. In the case of such an horrific event, all of us are, like the VT victims, essentially defenseless until the police eventually arrive.

It seems to me that the students & faculty of VT were victimized twice, once by their assailant, and once by the administration which had decided that they were somehow better off being completely unable to defend themselves.

Lifting the ban on conceal carry would add an extra measure of safety to whatever plans the university already has in place.

Thank you.
Siobhan Semmett

On the other hand, if you are in fact planning an attack, you might want to go before the ban's lifted and while this secretary is still defenseless.

Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Last Thursday, Andrew-Bryce Hudson of the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center at Wright State posted an announcement to Wright State’s announcement listserv about an appearance to be held Saturday the 21st by Jeff Johnson.

Jeff Johnson,
BET star,
Youth advocate,
Blackwell campaign
Shortly after Hudson’s announcement was posted, another person posted a reply pointing out that Johnson was employed by Ken Blackwell’s gubernatorial campaign as its “advocate to young and urban voters” and saying that perhaps Hudson should have mentioned that fact. Hudson quickly replied with a simple “His appearance to WSU is non-partisan. Thank you.”

That sparked my curiosity. If Johnson’s appearance had been scheduled for several months, as is common for busy speakers, it could well have nothing to do with his work for Blackwell. However, if it had been scheduled recently, after his appointment, then perhaps it was for partisan reasons. I sent Hudson an e-mail asking only “How long has Mr. Johnson’s appearance been scheduled?”. Friday I hadn’t heard anything so I sent another e-mail saying that my question hadn’t been meant facetiously and that I really did want to know. Friday afternoon I saw a post on another matter from Hudson on the listserv, so I knew he was in the office. Today I sent a third e-mail saying that my question wasn’t outrageous nor was it posed impolitely and that I deserved a response, if it was just to say he couldn’t answer my question.

Well imagine my surprise when I received a phone call this morning from Hudson. I hadn’t included my phone number in my e-mails, so he’d taken the trouble to look it up. He said he’d only just received my second and third e-mails today and that it sounded from my third e-mail as if I thought he was ignoring me. I said that yes, I had gotten that impression, and he said he’d been busy with Johnson’s arrival. I said that I understood that but I’d seen he’d been able to post something on the listserv on Friday. He asked why I wanted to know how long Johnson’s appearance had been scheduled and said that he wondered if I’d had any conversations he’d not been a part of. I said that no, I’d seen his original posting and the replies and was just curious, and he said he didn’t like the tone of my e-mails. I said my first e-mail had simply said “How long has Mr. Johnson’s appearance been scheduled,” how could that have a tone, and shouldn’t that be public information. He finally gave me the information I’d been looking for, that Johnson’s appearance had been arranged “for about three months.” I thanked him and thought that was that.

However, I get the feeling that Hudson must be feeling defensive because he also took the time to send a reply to my e-mail, explaining that “[p]er our phone conversation today, you[r] email was not answered until today because of Jeff Johnson’s arrival on Saturday” (which I agree is reasonable—even if he had time to do other announcements related to his job on Friday, he wouldn’t necessarily have time to reply to every e-mail he received) and that “[a]gain, Mr. Johnson’s speaking engagement was arranged this past summer.”

Okay, so Jeff Johnson’s October 21st appearance’s being scheduled three months or so beforehand would put the arrangements at July 21st, before the August 11th announcement of Johnson’s joining Blackwell’s team. Simple enough, especially if Hudson had simply sent me an e-mail saying that, instead of taking the time to find my phone number and call me to question my tone and motives. Actually I can understand why Hudson would question my motives, because my motives were based on what he feared, a suspicion that he wasn’t being entirely truthful or forthright in his original listserv post or his reply to it, a suspicion that he has not allayed. Perhaps Johnson didn’t know on July 21 that he was going to work for Blackwell. Perhaps Hudson didn’t either, and perhaps Hudson wasn’t being disingenuous in omitting the info about Johnson’s employment by Blackwell in the announcement of Johnson’s WSU appearance. Or perhaps not.
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

This evening I attended a performance of the Wright State University Chorus. Well, actually I attended the first half, leaving at intermission not because they weren't good but because I had an incredibly long day and was tired.

The reason I went to the concert in the first place is because my EDS333 professor, Dr. Patricia Renick, offered us extra credit to attend. Dr. Renick told us in class about how she'd never been able to sing, or so she'd thought until she joined the University Chorus and started learning. As the conductor of the chorus, Dr. James Tipps, pointed out tonight, the majority of the members of the University Chorus are not music majors, and some are not students (the chorus is open to members of the Dayton community as well).

However getting us to see her sing was not Dr. Renick's primary objective in encouraging us to see the concert. Instead she wanted us to notice which people with disabilities participated in the chorus, how they were included, what accommodations, if any, were made for them, and how it affected our enjoyment of the performance. The point of all that is that the University Chorus is an example of how students with special needs can be mainstreamed, not only for their benefit but to the benefit of all. I noticed two chorus members who use wheelchairs (in addition to Dr. In-Hong Cha, director of orchestras at Wright State, who uses a very sporty racing-style wheelchair), two members who use a cane or crutches, and one blind member. There may have been members who have less obvious disabilities, perhaps not orthopedic or sensory (presumably there are no deaf members).

Music from
the performance

Memorial Anthem
The performance was very enjoyable. There was neither an announcement in the theater nor a notice in the program about recording being impermissible, so I went ahead and used my iPaq to record part of the performance. The first piece they did was "Psalm 117" by Georg Philipp Telemann, and I especially liked the third movement, "Alleluia," which Dr. Renick had mentioned in class as one she was proud no longer to get lost in. The second was a "South African Suite," arranged by Henry Lock, and its second part, "Siyahamba" or "We Are Marching in the Light of God," is a song we've sung at church. The last piece in the first half was a "Memorial Anthem" written by Robert H. Taylor, who was in the audience, for his father.

For the last piece the chorus had to step into the audience as the crew rearranged the stage to make room for the members of the University/Community Orchestra. The performance was held in the Concert Hall in the Creative Arts Center, and in the hall is a "1977 28-rank, two-manual Cassavant pipe organ" (according to this page about Wright State's keyboard studies program). The console to play the organ was wheeled on stage, connected to the organ's mechanics by a long digital umbilical cord. Not quite as elegant as seeing the NCR Mighty Wurlitzer rising from and descending into the orchestra pit at the Victoria Theatre downtown before summer films, but interesting nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004
As you can see from the picture to the left (taken from the COM TA office on the fourth floor of Millett), it snowed a bunch today. Aren't the trees pretty?

I know that many of you had to work despite the snow today so you won't feel much sympathy for me when I complain that today should have been a snow day. All the local school districts were closed; even Wright-Patt was closed except for essential personnel. Wright State has done a little better at actually having snow days in the last year or so, but I think that only destruction of the campus itself would cause cancellation of classes during a finals week, which this week is. Never mind that there were cars on the side of the road on I-675 this morning, never mind that there were two cars stopped after an accident in the center lane just before the Fairfield Road exit, this is finals week and we're not canceling classes!

Actually, I'm kind of glad they did not cancel classes since canceling classes today would have meant they'd schedule makeup finals on Saturday.
Saturday, July 12th, 2003
Okay, I know I'm probably breaking some rule of blogging because although the pictures in this entry really were taken on the 12th, I'm not posting this until the 24th. But I want to put these pictures up and I have other stuff to post for the 24th and it's my blog. And I'm not alone in being tardy with blog updates. So pretend I posted this on the 12th.

This morning I went to the Dayton Black Cultural Festival. One of the DDRR groups I facilitated decided they wanted to Click for larger versiongo as a group (they decided to go to Mountain Days too in August), and I wanted to go too. Even though not everyone in the group could come, those of us who did go had fun. We met inside the front gate of the Fairground and got to see the parade come in. The Tuskegee Airmen were in Dayton as part of Inventing Flight and were honored both as part of the parade (they got to ride in an RTA tram) and in a ceremony in the Coliseum. Jamila got her picture taken with two airmen, and Kathy got a lot of them to autograph a picture she bought. Kathy and I also met an astronaut, Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.

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Click for larger version Click for larger versionClick for larger version Then in the afternoon I went to another TEFL party. This time Dr. Crusan and her husband Dr. Bank hosted. They live in a beautiful mission-style mansion in Springfield where Dr. Bank's practice, the Transformational Healing Center, is also based. The party was in honor of the Korean TEFL students from WooSong University as well as one of their professors, Dr. Sung, who came to teach in the TEFL program. Tim and Yuki played guitar again, with a little help from Eun-Young. Anthony wore his cool shoes.

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Friday, July 4th, 2003
Today, obviously, is the Fourth of July, and I celebrated it in a few ways. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionThe first was here in the Oregon District, participating in the annual neighborhood parade. It takes a while to get everyone ready. Normally the Dayton Fire Department sends a fire truck but they didn't show this year (a fire somewhere?) so we made do with a toy one.

Later in the day I went to Yellow Springs. I'm taking TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) classes this quarter at Wright State, and Click for larger versionClick for larger versionDr. MacDonald, one of the program's professors, invited us all out to her place for the Fourth. We have some grad students from South Korea in the program as well as a professor from Korea (Dr. Sung), and this was their chance to experience not only an American Independence Day but also life in the wild but wonderful village of Yellow Springs.
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There was good food, including apple pies made by Sharon and her boyfriend Doug. Peter brought his unicycles, showed off a little on them, and let others try to ride them. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionWe took some group pictures and then went for a group walk through the village, stopping at the playground and some stores and then heading to Glen Helen to see the spring from which the village takes its name. Some of us partook of the sulfurous water. Amazingly for a town known for letting people do what they want, there's a rule, as you can see on the sign in the photo, that groups of ten or more must apply for a permit to enjoy the Glen. We took another group picture to document our flagrant violation of this rule.
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Later it was back for more food and some musical entertainment before we played with some tame fireworks and then headed out to see the official ones, which got rained out. Although we got a little wet, we still had fun and got to see the kitchen belonging to the famous Carol of the old Carol's Kitchen restaurant. Click for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger versionClick for larger version
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