PANTHER 9-11 silent walkPANTHER 9-11 service main

Claflin University held a memorial service and silent walk on Thursday to commemorate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Panther photos by Justin W. White)

Claflin remembers 9-11

The Panther

On Sept. 11, 2014, 13 years after 9/11, Claflin University held a memorial service and silent walk to remember the terrorist attacks on our nation.
The service honored the thousands of men and women who lost their lives and gave praise to those who served and protected us. The silent walk recognized that all people were affected by 9/11.
Capt. Ed Conner, a 30-year veteran of the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, was in attendance. He said that during the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he was working in his office when someone came in and told him to turn on the television to the news, which was showing the attacks in New York as they unfolded.
Connor said he was shocked when he saw airliners hit the first tower and then the second.
The Claflin service is an appropriate remembrance and shows gratitude to those commemorating 9/11, Connor said. He prays for his friends and family members who were affected by the events of the tragic day.
Claflin sophomore Xavier Black attended the service because he wanted to show respect for his father, who was in the Pentagon during the attack on 9/11.
 “I don’t remember. I didn’t even know my father was there when it happened and when I found out later on in life, it hurt me a lot,” Black said. He said the Claflin ceremony was to the point and respectful.
Steve Gibson came from the Orangeburg community to remember 9/11, praising Claflin for holding the event.
He was at a nursing home with his mother on 9-11 and watched all of the events unfold on television.  He said he remembers clearly everything that happened.
During the silent walk by Claflin students, senior and Student Government Association President Dillon Isaac said he wanted to pay homage to those who lost their lives during the attacks.
He said that when he was younger, he didn’t understand the magnitude of what happened on that day. Now he wants to keep the memory fresh for the next generation so it will remember those fallen heroes.
“It happened when I was at recess and I was playing outside,” Isaac said. “My third-grade teacher called my class inside to watch the news and we all watched it happen.”
Shaketa Maiden, also a senior at Claflin and the person in charge of the silent walk, said, “I really appreciated that people showed up. I really wanted to show my respect to those people who were affected by this tragedy and the people who lost their lives because of it.”

Soon-to-be residents get tour of Commons

PANTHER commons living area

The Panther

Claflin University temporarily opened its new co-ed dorm, the Claflin Commons, on Sept. 4 to give short tours to students.
The tours, which took place after the university Matriculation Day Convocation, were from 12:30 p.m. until 3 and were given only to students who would be staying in the Commons.
It was announced during convocation that the Commons could be open for students to move in as early as Friday, Sept. 12, but no later than Sept. 15. Those students who have been temporarily housed off-campus in hotels will be the first to move into the dorm when it opens.
The $12 million, 64,000-square-foot dorm will feature four-bedroom and  two-bedroom suites that will house up to 200 students.
The four-bedroom suites feature a large living-area (with a community sink, tables, chairs, and a couch), two showers and four bathroom sinks. Each room will feature a desk and chair for the student as well as storage for clothes and other personal items.
The two-bedroom suites feature a much smaller living area (with  a community sink, a small table and two chairs), but the bedrooms in these suites are slightly bigger than those in the four-bedroom suites. These will also feature a desk and chair as well as storage for clothes and other personal items.
"Each wing will have card access locks accessible only by residents and will feature its own elevator, laundry room, computer lab and informal study areas. The wings will be connected by a shared student commons area that will include the main entry to the building and a fitness center. Open gathering spaces and high ceilings will allow for lots of natural light and a seminar room will be available for student meetings," the university said in its news release on Aug. 25.
Inside the Commons will be a new fitness center for students.
The fitness center, which consists of two separate rooms (one room specified for weightlifting, the other for cardio), will be open for those who live in the Commons 24/7. Those students who do not live in the dorm will have specified hours of availability.
The Commons will also feature new plazas and courtyards that will provide additional outdoor gathering spaces for students.
"The completion of Claflin Commons serves as an institutional commitment to student learning and development," said Dr. Leroy Durant, vice president for Student Development and Services "The Commons will serve as a living and learning community. The students are excited. They've seen the construction progressing and are eager to see the finished product."

PANTHER commons weightroom

A look at the living area, left, the the weight room, above, in Claflin Commons. (Panther photos by Andres Waters)

Students await date to populate
Commons, find more parking

This story is compiled from reports by Panther Editor Princess Williams, Andres Waters and Tyler Jackson 

Students returned to campus in August to find that the university's new dorm, Claflin Commons, is still under construction.
Despite projections that the dorm would be ready for students to move in at the beginning of the new school year, a Claflin email of Aug. 8 advises that the dormitory will be open no later than Sept. 15.
"This opening date will ensure that our new residential complex is safe and will fulfill our commitment to provide an environment supportive of excellence in living and learning," according to the email sent by the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Students who had original housing assignments to live in the new dormitory are being housed in temporary accommodations, some on campus and others off.
"We expect that most of the students assigned to Claflin Commons will be housed on campus. Students living off campus will have access to the University's shuttle service transportation to and from the campus," according to the Claflin email.
"The University is working diligently to ensure that students, parents and the University community are informed of the arrangements."
The email advised that questions concerning housing be referred to Devin Randolph, assistant vice president for student development and services and director of residential life in the Office of Residential Life.
On Friday, Randolph said Sept. 15 remains the target date.
Not surprisingly, the situation is causing some consternation among students.
"The groundbreaking ceremony was over a year ago," senior Leslie Black said. "The dorm was supposed to be ready for students to move in on Aug. 18."
Senior KaShayla Bennett said, "I think this dorm situation is a complete mess. I was so excited to see the new addition to our campus only to find out it not even finished. I am now living in a different dorm here on campus and the fact that I have to move again when they finish the Commons has me frustrated too.
Junior CJ Riley is presently back in his former dorm, High Rise, and is concerned the projected Sept. 15 dates will not be met. "I wanted High Rise to be a distant memory."
Ground was broken on the $12 million 64,000-square-foot, environmentally sustainable Commons in September 2013.
The purpose of the dorm, which will house 100 males and 100 females and feature a fitness gym, is to have more of the university's students living on campus.
The commons area, which will separate the male and female wings, will include the main entrance, high ceilings with natural lighting, open gathering spaces, a multipurpose room for student meetings and two fitness rooms, Hudson said. Each wing will be divided into two- and four-bedroom suites and have an elevator, laundry room, computer lab and informal study areas.
Further complicating the on-campus situation is parking.
Work on Goff Avenue parking lots is not complete and the university's Goff Avenue Enhancement Plan, which was approved by Orangeburg City Council, means removal of on-street parking spaces in the 700 and 800 blocks of Goff Avenue.
Senior Leslie Black, "They don't think about the students or how few spaces they offer to us. Most on-campus spots are reserved, but they blocked off two parking lots that were supposed to be paved before we even got back."
Senior Gaby Roland said, "Parking is horrible, there aren't enough spaces for students."

New Smokey
plans to put
on a show

The Panther

Claflin University had its Smokey the Mascot tryouts on Aug. 27 during a meltdown in Panther Plaza.
Four students tried out to become the mascot. The students are Travis Barnes (freshman), M.J. (sophomore), KyReese Blocker (freshman) and Christopher Anderson (freshman).
Each participant had to create and perform a one-minute routine in front of everyone at the meltdown and the crowd would decide who would be the mascot. Each participant had a unique style.
When it was time to decide the mascot, the crowd screamed and cheered for two students, Travis Barnes and Christopher Anderson, which created a tie between the two. The tie would be broken by a dance-off and the crowd would once again pick the winner. While both of the students gave great effort, in the end the crowd favored Travis Barnes to become the new mascot.
Travis said, "I am very excited to be the mascot, I am really going to enjoy it. I was very nervous especially when the crowd was silent in the beginning but I told myself to just keep going and continue to show my personality. I want to bring a lot of creativity and one way I will do that is by bringing in props during games and really putting on a show."

PANTHER new smokey
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