Hampton U. Pirates collect treasures at NCAA tourney

By Aaliyah Essex

Starting guard Reginald Johnson smoothly travels into the Hampton University basketball office. Suited up in Hampton Blue, the Chicago native looks as if he is prepared to tell a satisfying story. With his confident smile and friendly laugh, it was as if Johnson had changed the nation's perception of the typical Pirate.

Quite frankly, after two consecutive years of collecting cargo labeled, "MEAC Champions," accompanied by back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament, changing what it meant to be a Pirate is exactly what Johnson has done.

Using the game of basketball, the senior captain and his mates have made an impact that will set records on and off the court.

This past season, the Pirates charted their way into the NCAA Basketball Tournament where they battled No. 1 seed University of Virginia. Although Hampton did not bring back the gold after an 81-45 loss, they did not return to their home by the sea with an empty treasure chest.

According to University President William R. Harvey, the NCAA awarded the institution $1 million just to appear in the tournament. Harvey says the institution kept half of the money while the other half was given to the MEAC. The university's Director of Athletics Eugene Marshall says, "The money is equivalent to a grant that goes towards the betterment of the institution."

The success of the seasoned team has sailed beyond financial waters. Track and Field Coach Maurice Pierce said the success of the basketball team has helped him recruit athletes. During a speech at a March 21 athletic celebration held by the university, Pierce recognizes the basketball team's impact on his program: "We recruit a lot of kids and for whatever reason they'll say 'well we don't know what Hampton is. We've never heard of Hampton.'

"I say, turn on the TV.

"So I always tell [Coach] Buck, when y'all are on TV, we recruit. You [Coach Joyner] help me."

Edward "Buck" Joyner says the team has certainly marked an 'x' on the spot at HU.

"To get the school seen in a different light or in a different type of exposure, you know, it helps all of us, not just athletics. It helps admissions. It helps any potential sponsors, you know, and anything that the university wants to do."

The accomplishment of the men's team has entered waters beyond the university. As one of only two historically black colleges and universities to reach this spring's tournament, the team has affected their counterparts. Meanwhile, the Southern University Jaguars competed against the College of Holy Cross in the First Four round of the tournament. That HBCU lost a close game. The final score was 59-55.

Being that these predominantly African-American schools are often looked at as the lesser opponent, the Pirates and the Jaguars have certainly made a statement.

In addition to the impact that the men have made outside the team, the athletes have left an effect on the younger members of the team. Hampton freshman guard Akim Mitchell says he will continue the legacy that his older teammates have started: "A lot of people say that we cannot live up to the legacy that the seniors have begun. I'm not going for that. They taught us. They brought us up. So I'm not going for it. I am not accepting that." Hampton finished the season with an overall record of 21-11. They went 13-3 in the conference. During the regular season, the Pirates took two losses at home and at one point, went on an eight-game home winning streak. Joyner is quickly preparing his young team for the 2016-2017 season.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

1 out of 4 every teens are cyberbullied online, study says

By Briana Oates

Cheerleading and photographic memories is all that are left. A mother mourns the death of her 13-year-old daughter who committed suicide on July 6.

Rebecca Abbott, mother of Zoe Johnson, wants every parent to learn the lesson from her. According to reporter Josh Sidorowicz from Fox 17 News, "Abbott said she believes that cyber bullying led to her daughter's death."

Prior to Zoe's death, a Facebook post read "tag a b***h you don't like," with her name and many others tagged. It was only a matter of time until Zoe gave up a fight and took her own life. After her death, harsh comments were still posted on Facebook. The comments and powerful words got to Zoe and psychologically; her brain and whole body lost the fight.

It only takes two seconds to hit the buttons known as "send," "enter" and "post." These three buttons are crucial in being able to post a statement about a person that could ultimately tarnish their reputation and/or emotionally damage that person. Cyber bullying is using electronic devices to communicate to a person in a negative way. Social media is a popular use for students to use in order to harass or embarrass a person.

This is a problem among many schools across the country. Studies have been done and, "one in every four teens has been bullied at some point online," said Sidorowicz. According the American Association of Suicidology, rates for suicide among 10- to 14-year-old teens has grown 50 percent in the past three decades." Cyber bullying is a common thing among that generation today.

Youth have always been bullied. But, it was only a matter of time until this issue becomes the topic of discussion for not just parents and teachers. Yet, cyber security analysts have brought this topic to life as well. Jean Muhammad, Ph.D., department chair of Computer Science at Hampton University, is an advocate for the discussion and awareness of cyber bullying. "A lot of school systems are just now starting to catch on to the fact that psychological bullying is just as serious as cyber bullying," she said.

Because it seems everything is done over the Internet, anybody can hide behind a computer and post comments and images online. A National Institute of Health journal article titled "Cyber Bullying, School Bullying, and Psychological Distress: A Regional Census of High School Students" gives data on victims of cyber bullying and school bullying and its correlation with psychological distress. It offers a unique perspective on how cyber bullying has its own personal characteristics amongst the many dangers that come along with cyber security. "Electronic communications allow cyber bullying perpetrators to maintain anonymity and give them the capacity to post messages to a wide audience," said co-authors Shari Schneider and Lydia O'Donnell.

When dealing with the Internet, it is a free-for-all for the ability to post comments and information out there. Also, the amount of guilt and responsibility is perceived by participants as decreased because acts are anonymous.

In most cases, demographics can play a big role in the understanding of why cyber bullying occurs. Age, gender and even sexual orientation are many factors of why cyber bullying can occur. Even though there is an unclear number statistically as to whether girls are bullied more than boys, "some studies suggest that cyber bullying victimization increases during the middle school years," said Schneider and O'Donnell.

Surprisingly, most cyber bullying action takes place outside of the school environment because of the Internet security being monitored. However, this does not mean that schools are involved and/or liable in certain situations when cyber bullying occurs.

There is a definite parallel between cyber bullying and the effects it has on students. "Psychological harm, including depression and suicidality has also raised concerns about how cyber bullying is related to various forms of psychological distress," said Schneider and O'Donnell. There are also reports that online victimization may be linked with more serious distress, including major depression, self-harm, and suicide."

"Zoe had dealt with bullying for years and suffered minor depression, according to [mother Rebecca] Abbott," said Sidorowicz. Because of the bullying that had occurred prior to her death, depression was Zoe's way of psychological comfort, when it actually damaged her.

All of these effects are dangerous to students being bullied and harmful to students, which can link to their performance in school and social skills in the future. MetroWest Adolescent Health survey did an in-depth study on students for 12 months that suffered with psychological distress and symptoms that relate with depression and anxiety, the results proved to be known that an increasing amount of students were more than likely to suffer with psychological distress, making it prevalent that it is a serious problem.

Students cannot just suffer from mental issues, but also physical issues which can translate into psychological disorders. In the journal on adolescent health, two doctors examined the relationship between bullying, health concerns and how it transpires into the classroom. "Participants indicated how often in the past four weeks they had experienced 10 symptoms including anxiety, problems sleeping, irritability, headache, tension and fatigue," said co-authors Robin Kowalski and Susan Limber.

With the results announced, the possible negative effects of cyber bullying were most pronounced for the cyber bullying/victim participants, especially the males. These individuals generally reported having more negative physical, psychological, and academic effects from electronic bullying." With cyber bullying being an important topic throughout cyber security, lawmakers are trying to stop the increasing number of cyber bullying cases that are not getting the justice needed.

The safety of students in school environments has become a serious focus with legislative powers, along with cyber security analysts. For example, Michigan, the state where Zoe was from, is one of many states with laws that punish criminals that engage in cyber bullying dealings. "Laws governing the Internet are now beginning to catch up," said Muhammad. "They are not that great but are getting better." With laws being in the works to help combat cyber bullying, states are working with schools to create programs that help discuss the awareness of cyber bullying any its negative effects.

With this issue being a problem around the ages of middle school and high school, should this be a topic among students that are younger? "It starts with education. They have to really talk about it in elementary schools," says Muhammad. The Internet is a powerhouse that has negative effects. Cyber bullying is one of those that can threaten a person's well-being for life.

"Whatever you put on the Internet," says Muhammad, "It is there for eternity."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.