Semester news in review from G-A Digital

Blakeley Bartee

Throughout the Fall 2016 semester, the Georgia Southern University community has been through two hurricanes, a United States presidential election, a brief mascot change and several local crimes together.

To mark our final days of publication for the season, here is a chronological review of some of the biggest news we covered in The George-Anne Digital this semester.

Strange new bird

A never-before-seen version of the Georgia Southern University’s mascot debuted at the Sept. 3 football game against Savannah State University. After outrage, jokes and jabs against the new GUS spread across social media, the traditional mascot returned by the next game.

A GS student threw a plastic bottle at an SSU cheerleader

Ma’Kyah Sims, senior Savannah State University cheerleader, experienced harassment at the Sept. 3 game at Paulson Stadium, including a bottle thrown at her face by a 22-year-old GS student in the stands. Ultimately, Sims did not press charges, but she used social media to share her experiences.

No Eagle Alert for an armed robbery on Chandler Road

Three suspects committed an armed robbery and an assault against a police officer at the Renaissance Apartments on Chandler Road on the night of Sept. 19. The Statesboro Police Department took two of the suspects into custody, and the third fled the scene.

Some students expressed concern when they did not receive an Eagle Alert regarding the crime and the missing suspect.

Fatal shooting and armed robbery in Campus Evolution Apartments

Three armed robbery suspects entered a residence at Campus Evolution and held victims at gunpoint in the early morning of Oct. 4. After officers arrived, one suspect was arrested, the second fled the scene, and the third suffered a fatal gunshot wound.

No Eagle Alert was released for the incidents, prompting concern among GS students.

Hurricane Matthew

Soon after Governor Deal issued a state of emergency for Bulloch County and other areas along the Georgia coast in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, classes were cancelled from Oct. 6 to the passing of the storm. Those who remained in Statesboro for the duration of the hurricane faced severe weather and power outages.

Fatal shooting in Campus Crossings

A victim died from gunshot wounds after suspects fired seven to eight shots at the Campus Crossings apartment complex in the early morning of Oct. 19. According to the Campus Crossings management, neither the victim nor the suspects were residents of the apartment complex.

“Enough is Enough.” President Hebert expressed concern about local crime and Eagle Alert system

To address nearby crime and concerns over the Eagle Alert system, Jaimie Hebert, president of GS, said he will propose to expand the Eagle Alert perimeter and work with the mayor and law enforcement to lower criminal behavior in Statesboro.

Hit-and-run at Lanier and Harvey

A black four-door KIA collided with a cyclist on the corner of Lanier and Harvey on Nov. 3. After the driver stepped out of his car to check on the unresponsive victim, he returned to his vehicle and fled the scene before the police arrived.

Writing professor gained national attention and faced death threats during the election season

Jared Sexton, assistant professor of creative writing, gained national attention when he wrote political op-eds and other pieces for publications including the Atticus Review, the New Republic, and the New York Times, resulting in harassment and death threats from internet users. As he adjusted his lifestyle to ensure his safety, Sexton found comfort and support in the GS community.

Eagle enrollment soars

GS achieved a historic enrollment record in the Fall 2016 semester, with total enrollment for full-time students standing at 20,674. Enrollment has increased by 4.9 percent since 2010, keeping GS the state’s largest center of education south of Atlanta.

Center for Sustainability announced upcoming projects

The Center for Sustainability awarded $250,000 in grants for the fiscal year of 2017 to 18 projects, including the restoration of Eagle Creek, solar lighting for the RAC walking trail, efforts to restore the population of bees on the Campus Greenway trail and the installment of several bicycle repair stations near student residential halls.