Category Archives: Wingate University

Wingate makes changes to the safety protocol in reaction to the campus lockdown

Mariah Anderson, Staff Writer

“Wingate University has issued immediate lock-down procedures for the main campus. Please lock all doors and windows and await further instruction.” With this 11:35 a.m. text, Wingate University instituted a lockdown on Monday, February 26, 2018.

Rumors of an active shooter on campus caused students in the dining hall to race to their dorms since they had no place to hide in the open hall.

Students and faculty in classrooms immediately moved to lock the doors, but some rooms had no locks. The people in these rooms used chairs and tables to barricade the entryway as they awaited further instructions and details from the university staff.

During the lockdown, students and faculty were notified that the shooting had happened across the street from campus on Jerome Street earlier that morning. However, Wingate took precaution and placed the campus on lockdown to ensure student safety.

After the lockdown, the question at hand became: Was Wingate University prepared for a lockdown, and how could they better prepare for similar events in the future?

One possible way to prepare for the future would be to ensure that proper communication occurs with everyone: faculty, staff, students, and parents. Professor Karen Dunn stated that she was unaware that there was a lockdown until a student told her because she was busy teaching when the message was sent out, and the alarm was not audible from the classroom.

Another professor, Dr Jim Coon, stated that he did not receive the text alerts because he had mistakenly subscribed to the weather alerts.

Both professors were uncertain about what procedures to follow, with Professor Dunn stating, “As a professor, I felt that I should have known what to do, but I didn’t know what to do.” In fact, she found herself asking her students, “What should we do?”

The students and professor jumped into action, but overall the classroom felt unprepared for such an emergency, suggesting that one area of improvement Wingate might pursue would be to have mandatory training for faculty and staff on how to handle emergency protocols.

Some parents expressed reservations at the lack of communication in place, with one parent stating, “I think they could have been a little more forthcoming with the fact that the students were following safety protocol. It was not until I was contacted by my daughter that I found out that a safety protocol was not in place or worse had not been previously practiced by Staff and Students.”

One student, Cameron Smetak, criticized the amount of time it took to alert the students, “We should have been informed that there were shots fired across the highway right when it happened, not an hour later like we did.” An immediate alert system in the future might save lives.

Wingate University has already started instituting changes. A recent email to the campus community stated that the university was working on the doors without locks, posting lockdown guidelines in each room, improving communication with Union County, planning to conduct drills for each emergency, and adding additional sirens on campus.

However, this email was not sent to parents of students, so some parents are unaware of these upcoming changes, with one parent stating that he was “not aware of any improvements since the incident.”

However, students have noted that Wingate University is already implementing the promised changes, with new deadbolts being installed on doors that previously lacked them.

The faculty have noted positive changes as well. Dr. Coon stated, “We have gotten a couple of emails as faculty and staff, they are going through all of the procedures and looking at what worked and what didn’t. They’ve gotten feedback from lots of people, too.”

Although the recent lockdown was frightening for the campus community, it helped Wingate identify strengths and weaknesses in its emergency system. One parent, commenting on the success of this lockdown, suggested, “Simply have a plan. Practice it as well. The campus is a simple one that makes security in such an event more possible.”

With the improvements in place, Wingate will become a safer community, one that is fully prepared for emergencies and able to respond in a timely fashion in order to prevent tragedy.

Wingate University is advising all students to update their contact information on WUSync so that future alert systems can reach the entire campus community.

Edited by: Brea Childs


Res Life opens the door to new housing changes

Caitlin Bailey, Staff Writer

Housing sign-ups is one of the most dreaded times of the year for students. Friend groups are split up as students scramble to find who they are rooming with. This is not a decision to be taken lightly either.

Decisions made can determine where you will live for a year. Sure, students can change housing at the beginning of the semester, if things don’t go well, but the alternative may not be as ideal if  they would have just gone with another friend to begin with. These decisions require thought, but housing sign-ups sneaks up on students before they know it.

This dreaded time is currently going on. However, this year has been unlike any other. This year brought a few changes to housing. One of them being that the housing process is being done online.

This started with students signing up to get their rank on Feb 20. After students got their rank, they could talk with their friends and decide who they want to live with. The deadline to select roommates or get matched with one is March 21.

After this, the group will get their rank number and selection time slot. Then the group will sign up for housing and get confirmation that the housing selection has been completed.

Another change coming in this fall is the new housing buildings. These new buildings will be called Wilson Halls East and West. Hilltop which opened in fall of 2017 will no longer be for freshman. Starting in fall, it will be for returning students. Also in the fall, Helms Hall is going to be for first-year students.

Wilson Halls East and West
Wilson Halls East and West

The most surprising changes is the co-gender housing. Co-gender housing was tested out this school year in Alumni Hall. Freshman, Courtney Finley is currently living there. Speaking of her experience this year, “ I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s not for everyone. I like having guys on the hall because it helps me feel a little more safe, and we all get along pretty well. I would recommend co-ed housing.”

Starting in the fall, co-ed housing will be offered in Beam Hall in Watson Village, Rushing Hall in South Village, and half of Bridges Hall.

In order to help with the housing process, the Office of Residence Life sent out instructional videos of how to go through the process. They also offered eight housing sign-up information sessions.
The first one was held on Feb 20, and the last one will be on Mar 14 in Helms Hall Lobby with Roommate Mixer at 6 p.m. However, even with these tools students found the housing process still a little complicated. Sophomore, Reiley Richardson said, “I feel like they need better communication on where to find all of the links, and a better way to get to them rather than through email.”

Edited by: Brea Childs

Homicide across from campus causes schoolwide lockdown

Keyana Daye, Staff Writer

Wingate students started their Monday afternoon just like any other until the sound of a siren was played from the bell tower. A lockdown had begun. Earlier that morning the Union County law enforcement had responded to a report of a shooting on Jerome Street, which is across from Wingate University.

Once Campus Safety was notified, the University Crisis Management Team mobilized and the University initiated lockdown procedure. All students were notified to seek shelter to the closest building. The lockdown lasted an hour long until the University was advised by law enforcement to resume normal operations while law enforcement remained on campus. On Tuesday morning the suspect, Douglas Cleveland Colson, turned himself into custody of the Wingate police department.

The homicide that prompted a lockdown on Wingate campus happened shortly after 10am, Monday morning. The victim, Prentis Robinson, was live streaming on Facebook Live after leaving the Wingate Police Department from reporting cellular theft.

On his way back to his home, Douglas Colson appeared who he then exchanged a few words with. There are reports that Robinson had suspected Colson of drug dealing. Shortly afterwards shots were fired and a few minutes later he was pronounced dead on the scene. This all took place less than a mile away from Wingate University.

While the homicide took place approximately at 10 a.m., the lockdown on Wingate campus didn’t take place until a little after 11 a.m. Some students reported that they thought it was odd since they had been seeing helicopters in the sky over campus.

And there were some students, like Jessica Daniels, that had heard Wingate Elementary School was on lockdown around 11 a.m. When Daniels heard about this and saw helicopters outside, she decided to call Wingate Campus Safety to check on things.

She reported that a woman answered the phone but reacted as if it were the first time she had heard of there being an shooting. After a few minutes of being on hold, the woman said, “So, someone was shot in the area, but it’s not like there is a killer on the loose.”, and according to Jessica Daniels it was less than 10 minutes later that the lockdown was called for.

As soon as the siren was played, it would be expected that everyone who heard the siren would move into the nearest building and turn off all the lights. However, according to most students, nobody knew what to do or even knew what the siren meant.

Some students reported that people kept walking around as the siren played and that even 10 minutes into the lockdown some professors were still lecturing. And according to most students, the general census was that nobody knew that the lockdown had started until they received text alerts from Wingate Campus Safety. Also during the campus-wide lockdown, many students reported that they were in rooms that did not have locks.

Many students expressed concern and were confused as to why it took so long from the initial incident to initiate the lockdown. In response to these questions, Chief of Wingate Campus Safety, Michael Easley, stated that Wingate Campus Safety was currently in the process of testing new locks and that by the end of next week they should have more locks to test.

And in response to the confusion of the wait in between the incident and the lockdown he stated, “I was not made aware until approximately 11 a.m. by the Wingate police department. I, then assembled the Crisis Management team and we analyzed the situation and sent out the first request for a lockdown at 11:30.”

He also reported that the public was able to know about the incident before Campus Safety and the police because the victim was live streaming on Facebook. Once the incident was analyzed, the Crisis Management team and Wingate police department was able to initiate action.

In response to the incident, an email was sent out to students on Tuesday afternoon detailing that the suspect was in custody and summarized the lockdown procedure that took place that Monday afternoon.

The Crisis Management team and Campus Safety are assessing their response and are currently accepting feedback from students, faculty, and parents. A listening session for students was held with the SGA forum and individual training will be held for Wingate employees in response to the incident.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo credit: Flickr

Speaker Kevin Hines shares his story of suicide and second chances

Sarah Thurman, Staff Writer

On Thursday, February 22, Kevin Hines came to Wingate to give a lecture titled Cracked Not Broken, The Kevin Hines Story. Kevin Hines was only 19 when he decided that he wanted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate bridge.  This is a jump that 99% of people, do not live from. Kevin was in that 1% that lived.

The lecture began by showing a snippet of Kevin’s film titled ‘Suicide: The Ripple Effect.’ Kevin came on stage and introduced himself, then proceeded to explain how he was not there to just tell his story, he was here to inform us by using his story.

Telling a story of a suicide attempt can get very dark, yet when Kevin felt that the mood was shifting he would give a joke that would make the whole audience laugh. Once he saw that the audience was in fact laughing he would go back into the story.

During one of the darkest parts of the story, when Kevin is describing himself jumping off the bridge and into the water, he realized that he didn’t die and that there was a creature swimming around him. He said, “I remember thinking ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, I didn’t die off the Golden Gate bridge and now a shark is going to devour me. NO!” The audience mood instantly lightened at the joke.

He went back into describing how this creature was keeping his body afloat and taking him towards a boat. With no idea what was under him, he decided to name the creature “Herbert” and after he began to tell his story publicly, he was contacted and informed that the creature that was under him was a Sea Lion.

Suprisingly the story does not end there, he continues to recount the story of his recovery and how he has gotten to the point he’s at today. He tells of his time spent in psych wards, fixing his relationship with his father, and meeting his wife. He does not just outline the negative parts, but he dives into the positive ones as well.

He ended the lecture by telling the audience that even though he stands here to tell his story that he still struggles everyday with a mental illness, but “I’ve been given the gift of a second chance, and most people in that situation sadly never got to see.”  

Kevin then tied the lecture together with a simple statement and a joke, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that I believe is why we call it the present and if ya’ll don’t believe me Master Oogway from Kung Foo Panda said that.”

Left to Right- Nya Henderson, Kevin Hines, Aliyah Long. Photo credit: Sarah Thurman

After he finished, he asked the audience to stand and he pulled out his phone and asked us to scream “Be Here Tomorrow” as loud as possible.  After the event Kevin went into the lobby of the Batte Center and met with students. Many people approached him to inform him of the impact of his story and some even pulled him aside to talk privately. Counseling was also on duty if anyone felt the need to talk to someone during or after the event.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, Wingate University offers free confidential counseling to students, you can contact them at To learn more about Kevin’s story visit

Edited by: Brea Childs

John Pavlovitz speaks to Wingate campus about creating a bigger table

Rachael Robinson, Staff Writer

John Pavlovitz spoke to Wingate students, faculty and staff last Wednesday. Pavlovitz is a pastor, blogger and the author of the novel A Bigger Table. He spoke to the audience about expanding their horizons and opening up themselves to new people, with his theory of “creating a bigger table.”

Photo credit: Pavlovitz website

When Pavlovitz speaks of creating a bigger table, he has an image in his brain. The table in his parents’ home. He mentioned that his house “was just an expensive covering for the kitchen.”    

His family started spending time around the kitchen table. As their family and friends grew, they moved to the larger dining room table. He then remembers his father going to the garage and having he and his brothers help add wood to make the table even bigger

Expanding your personal “table” though takes practice. It must be built upon using the four foundations which he calls the legs. The foundations of radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity and agenda-free relationships.

Everyone should be welcome, regardless of whether their ideals match yours, no one should feel they need to be an edited version of themselves.  It should be a safe place for everyone and a place to just hear stories. You also can’t be afraid of people leaving your table. People might not fit and that’s okay.

Pavlovitz also spoke about activism. Activism doesn’t have to be standing on the side of a street holding a sign and yelling at individuals as they pass. “Activism is using your privilege to raise up others,” Pavlovitz explains. “Use whatever is at your disposal.”

You could end up on the street with a sign, but activism can be simple. Taking a stand during conversations with your extended family when you would normally walk out or posting comments on social media posts that you think are wrong is enough.Both he admits “may go horribly wrong,” but that’s the point. Activism can be costly and painful.

Pavlovitz grew up in New York. His family was behind him 100 percent and he felt the same way about God. He didn’t realize until he went to college in Philadelphia just how many “false” stories he had been told about the world. He realized that he felt that he was above the people who weren’t like him.

Philadelphia was full of new stories, he felt like a fish that had been thrown into a new aquarium too quickly. He was having all these experiences and felt like he was using new muscles. He realized he was beginning to care. His table was growing.  

A pivotal moment for Pavlovitz was when he was asked to replace the youth leader at the church he attended outside of Philadelphia. That is where he fell in love with preaching. When someone suggested getting paid, he figured he would give it a try. Pavlovitz and his wife would then move to Charlotte, where he would become the pastor of a mega Methodist Church.

During this period Pavlovitz began to have theological questions about the messages he was spreading. He realized that his table had gotten smaller again. He was always surrounded by people from the church. He also began to notice that the only people who were welcomed at the church were people who fit the mold. There were no “marginalized” people.

That’s when Pavolvitz started writing. He started his blog where he could write about these issues. “All I did was speak my truth and I got a bigger table” said Pavolvitz.

Edited by: Brea Childs

SGA looks foward to a better future for the Wingate campus

Shane Rich, Staff Writer

While the new semester is kicking into gear, Wingate’s Student Government Association shifts focus on bettering student experiences on campus. Even though in past years SGA has done much for the student body, they look to build on that momentum to make campus life even better for the future.

According to the President of SGA Amanda Alling, “some of the things SGA has planned for this upcoming semester includes our weekly Coffee in the Quad events from 9-10 am every single Tuesday, located in the Academic Quad. We do this to provide a quick bite to eat and engage with some students on campus. We [also] hold a portion of a meeting called, ‘#WUVOICE’ which is a time for students to give their own announcements and ask questions.” Alling also spoke about how she is excited to see what the future holds for SGA, especially when it comes to the development of underclassmen.

When asked about how SGA will be run differently this semester as compared to past semesters , Alling responded, “Things are not going to be done super differently, but we are placing more of an emphasis on engagement this year. We want everyone’s experiences with SGA to be meaningful and impactful. One of our most important missions is to ensure that this happens and that every single student feels valued and important at Wingate University,” which is something SGA has done and continues to do for many years.

“As far as becoming an actual member, elections are held at the end of the school year for Executive Board positions and senator committee positions.” Alling said. 

SGA also has a summer planning retreat, in which they take the time to outline their goals for Wingate and the student body. These goals as well as the SGA mission statement are outlined below.


Create and utilize a marketing and communication plan to efficiently and effectively promote and connect students with SGA.

Enhance the student experience through increasing involvement in SGA and campus activities, while creating avenues to promote and cultivate Bulldog Spirit.

Using effective and efficient planning to better define and delegate SGA roles, expectations, and engagement within committees and events.

Mission Statement:

We are devoted to developing a student-powered organization that effectively directs the student’s vision into reality as well as reflecting the standards and values of Wingate University. SGA also strives to serve as an organization that aims to create unity and pride in the community.

Edited by: Brea Childs

VITA club students are helping those in the community to file their taxes

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

It’s always refreshing to hear that the people in your community are helping those in need. What’s even better is when those volunteers are coming from your very own college campus.

Part of the Wingate University mission statement is to take advantage of opportunities to go beyond the campus itself and make a difference, and that is exactly what the students of VITA are doing.

Photo Credit: Savanna Harris

VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, is a nationwide program that offers free income tax preparation not only to low-income families, but to people with disabilities, people who speak limited English, and to the elderly, as well. The Wingate University branch of the program was started in 2008 by Dr. Bob Threatt, Assistant Professor of Accounting. His goal was to apply the knowledge of the Business School in a way that would make a significant impact and comply with the service component of the Wingate mission statement.

One of the most surprising aspects of this program is that there are no prerequisite requirements to be a volunteer. If a student desires to be apart of the program, they must only pass three online IRS tests. Before the tests, they are given IRS booklets to study over the holiday break.

The entire process also counts as a three-credit course and a ninety hour internship. Students must put in approximately fifty hours of studying and preparation, and approximately forty hours of doing the actual tax returns.

It is very student friendly due to the fact that the volunteer hours are not demanding. The volunteers simply send in a schedule to the VITA headquarters in Monroe stating the days and times that they are available.

It is no surprise that this program has been remarkably successful during its ten years of operation. According to Dr. Threatt, all of the feedback he has received has been positive, and Union County particularly enjoys having Wingate students volunteer.

During our interview, he recalled a time when the IRS sent an agent to come review the overall performance of the student volunteers, as well as how well our branch of the program was running. The agent went as far as to say that this was one of the best VITA locations he had ever visited, and that he was greatly impressed at how the students interacted with their clients.

Luis Aguilar, finance major, and Beau Hildebrand, accounting major, both of whom are seniors and VITA volunteers, reflected on how VITA has changed their own lives, as well as the lives of those they have helped.

Aguilar described feeling humbled, and called to mind a specific memory with a client of his. “I remember helping one lady who had two little kids. Her family was very cute and you could definitely see the unity.”

Hildebrand gave a different perspective, going on to say, “I haven’t officially started working yet, but so far I’ve had a great experience learning about the tax process, and I look forward to getting to know the people I work with better.”

All in all, there have been sixty-eight Wingate University students who have participated in VITA, completing an average of forty tax returns each, equalling around 2,700 tax returns throughout ten years.

Our volunteers have gotten a total of $6,646,160 in tax refunds for their clients. In the fine words of Dr. Threatt, “It has been much more than I ever dreamed it would be.”

Edited by: Brea Childs