2017-2018 Year in Review
Join The Towerlight as we reflect on memorable stories and events from the 2017-2018 school year.
Baltimore Blast Headed To SECU
The Baltimore Blast struck a deal with Towson University to make SECU Arena the team’s new home for the next three Major Arena Soccer League seasons. The now three-time defending MASL champions had previously played their home games at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, which had hosted indoor professional soccer since 1980. Compared to Royal Farms, SECU Arena is much smaller in terms of field dimensions and available seating, but provides a better fan experience by having more convenient parking and cheaper concessions. The Blast defeated the Cedar Rapids Rampage 8-7 in their home opener Nov. 10 in front of 3,733 spectators.
Mental health accessibility
Back in October, The Towerlight conducted a survey to get a gauge of mental health care accessibility on campus. The results showed that for students looking to go to Towson’s Health Center, about 55.2 percent of them waited no more than six days to see a clinician after scheduling an appointment. 41.4 percent of students waited somewhere between one and two weeks to see a caretaker after scheduling an appointment, and 3.4 percent of students had to wait two to three weeks between scheduling and attending an appointment. In addition to appointments, the Health Center offers Kognito, which is a self-directed module that teaches users how to handle and get help for people they are concerned about.
I Love Female Orgasm
Body positivity, female empowerment and sexual knowledge were just some of the personal topics celebrated on Oct. 11 and 12 at Towson’s annual I Love Female Orgasm event. Sex experts Rachel Dart and Connor Timmons spoke to TU students about the importance of having sexual health conversations and overcoming negative labels surrounding sexual experience. The event provided participants with an environment to explore topics surrounding sexual wellbeing and the notions of befriending one’s own body.
Towson’s 90s-themed homecoming week kicked off Oct. 22 with a photo session and pizza party for the fall 2017 homecoming court. The court (comprised of Wayne Nichols, Lauren Dell’Arciprete, DJ Burke, La-Chelle Dickenson, Ethan Williams, Leroy Hyson II, Madison Scanlon, and Elaina Schilling) continued to lead the week’s festivities, each showcasing their traits and talents in an effort to win over the votes of TU students. Other events from the week included TU’s Got Talent, Towson’s annual talent show, on Oct. 23; Doc’s Animal Adventure, a free petting zoo held in the center of campus, on Oct. 24; and Dance the Madness, an annual Greek life dance competition, on Oct. 25. TU’s annual homecoming pageant was held Oct. 26, just two nights before the homecoming football game, in which Hyson and Dell’Arciprete were crowned Towson’s 2017 homecoming king and queen.
In Head Coach Greg Paynter’s final season at Towson, the Tigers finished 2017 with a 5-11-3 record. Paynter took the helm in 2007 and helped the team qualify for their first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament appearance in program history in 2014. Towson named former Loyola University Maryland Head Coach Katherine Vettori as the program’s new leader on Jan. 3. The Tigers went 2-6-1 in CAA play in 2017, defeating Elon at home 2-1 Sept. 28 and University of North Carolina Wilmington 1-0 Oct. 15 on senior day.
Bike thief caught
Last semester, 11 bikes were reported stolen from various common areas across campus like the Lecture Hall and Liberal Arts Building. TUPD arrested the suspect of the thefts in October, attributing 10 of the missing bikes to him. TUPD encourages students to either register their bikes with the department, or have the make, type, and serial number stored somewhere for reference in case it goes missing.
Schatzel named first female CAA representative on NCAA forum
This past fall, Towson University President Kim Schatzel became the first female representative from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to be inducted into the NCAA’s Division I Presidential Forum, replacing Leo Lambert of Elon University. The appointment also makes her the first leader of a Maryland college to sit on the forum. The NCAA’s Division I Presidential Forum appoints representatives from 32 different collegiate athletic conferences across the nation, and its focus is to govern the NCAA.
Towson closed out its season with back-to-back wins, including a 29-10 victory over Rhode Island on senior day. The team looked good to kick off the season, defeating Morgan State in the Battle for Greater Baltimore, but lost six of its next seven games. Redshirt junior quarterback Morgan Mahalak suffered an injury in the first contest of the season, sidelining him for the year. Head Coach Rob Ambrose went on to reveal that he was concussed for most of the season so the team stuck with redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Stover for the year. Stover looked decent at times, but struggled with his accuracy. With four quarterbacks currently listed on the roster, competition will provide the team with a clear starter. The Tigers open the 2018 season with three consecutive road games, including a rematch in the Battle for Greater Baltimore against Morgan State on Sept. 1.
Wale Comes to Towson
Rap artist Wale performed at Towson Dec. 1, after much anticipation and support arose towards bringing the artist to TU’s soil. The concert was entitled “The Concert About Nothing,” a nod to Wale’s “The Album About Nothing” and “The Mixtape About Nothing”. CAB’s director Alasia McDonald spoke on the choice of the artist as a means of “redemption,” following the low turnout for 2017’s Fall Fest. The show only featured Wale, having no other artists open for the rapper.
The Tigers earned their first postseason win in program history with a hard-fought 3-2 comeback over Colgate in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) Nov. 30. Towson finished 2017 with a 27-6 record and had its best ever start to the regular season, winning its first 16 matches and reaching a ranking of No. 23 in Volleyball Magazine’s Mid-Major Top 25 Poll in September. The No. 2 seed Tigers fell to No. 3 seed James Madison 3-0 in the CAA semifinals after a first round bye. They also fell 3-0 to Syracuse in the NIVC second round Dec. 1.
Burdick grand opening
After being under renovation since August 2015, Burdick Hall finally reopened this year on Jan. 27. Towson’s student population has grown over the years and renovation to the gym was necessary to accommodate the population growth and helped present a commitment to health and wellness. The gym’s expansion added about 94,000 square feet to the Hall’s existing 140,000 square feet. It now features plate-loaded equipment, a functional training area, group fitness studios, a rock wall a sprint hill, stadium stairs, an American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course and more. A Grand Opening was held on Jan. 31 with President Kim Schatzel and other speakers to welcome the new gym renovations.
One week after Burdick Hall opened its doors its expanded gym facilities on Jan. 27, it had to close again due to flooding. Offices and classrooms in Burdick were unaffected, but the Campus Recreation portion of the gym was closed for several days after a frozen coiler in an air handler unit caused a water leak, TUPD said in an email.
TU launches new bike share program
At the start of the spring semester, Towson University Parking and Transportation Services launched a new bike share program on campus after partnering with the Spin bike share app. The program allows students and faculty to rent bikes for as low as 50 cents per 30-minute trip using the app to unlock the bikes. The bright-orange Spin bikes are now seen all throughout campus.
People of color finally got their moment of representation in Marvel’s 2018 film drop of “Black Panther,” which premiered in theatres Feb. 16. The black-led film made movie history, becoming the first mega-budget movie to have a black director and predominantly black cast. The film’s racial inclusion alone helped it gain mass media attention prior to its premiere, and once in theatres, “Black Panther” earned $1 billion globally in less than one month. The film stole the spot of “The Avengers” as the highest-grossing superhero movie, held the longest consecutive run at the top of the box office of all superhero movies, and become the most tweeted about film time.
Swimming & Diving
Towson’s men’s and women’s squads finished third at the 2018 CAA Swimming and Diving Championships, which ran Feb. 14-17. Junior Jack Saunderson was named Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year after winning three individual gold medals and helping two relay teams win medals. He went on to win two Honorable Mention All-America honors at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship in March. Juniors Emily Wilson and Kelsey Jehl both qualified for and competed in the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships earlier in March.
Third Annual Black Comic Book Festival
Towson teamed up with the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) to host its third annual Black Comic Book Festival Feb. 24. The festival, which consisted of artwork, workshops, and comics by black artists allowed participants to view the work of those often marginalized and overlooked in the comic world and support their creativity. The Black Comic Book Festival allowed for additional representation for black artists, providing more opportunities for direct interaction with fans of the comic world.
The United States overcame an eight-year medal drought in the individual speed-skating events as John-Henry Krueger took home silver for the team in the 1000-meter final after a crash left him and gold medal winner Samuel Girard of Canada the last standing contestants. The U.S. took home 23 medals total, including nine gold, eight silver and six bronze. Norway led all countries with 39 medals and tied Germany with 14 gold medals throughout competition.
Transgender activist Ryan Sallans visited Towson on Feb. 28, to share his story on transitioning and dealing with eating disorders to TU students. Sallans, who grew up in Nebraska as a biological female, struggled with self-identity and body confidence throughout his life. Prior to his transition, Sallans battled with sexual stigmas, anorexia, and attempting suicide. After surviving these experiences and doing more research, Sallans discovered the notion of transitioning and connected to the idea of identifying as a gender separate from one’s biologically assigned gender. Sallans’ talk at Towson took students through his journey, and provided them with advice on how to get through similar situations.
First-ever Pride Fest
Towson’s first-ever Pride Fest, which took place from March 2 to March 15, was a collaboration between the SGA and the Center for Student Diversity to create various events centered on LGBTQ+ students, according to then-SGA President James Mileo. The week’s featured events included documentary screenings, social gatherings, giveaways and opportunities to decorate the campus with LGBTQ+ pride.
The Tigers struggled to say consistent throughout the regular season and were bounced in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) quarterfinals by William & Mary. The team started off strong with tournament wins in the Florida Gulf Coast Showcase and Belfast Invitational in Northern Ireland, propelling them to an 11-1 record. Towson suffered a four-game losing streak midseason and the team was up-and-down from that point, going 8-10 in conference play. Head Coach Pat Skerry pointed to a lack of mental focus at times as a primary reason for the team’s struggles throughout the season.
Head Coach Diane Richardson struggled in her first year at the helm for Towson. The team dropped nine of their last 10 contests and fell in the first round of the CAA tournament. With two of the team’s top three leading scorers graduating, Richardson looks to gather a strong recruiting class in order to build for the future. However, one bright spot for the Tigers was the breakout year from sophomore guard Nukiya Mayo. She finished the season averaging 12.6 points and nine rebounds per game.
How I Learned to Drive
The Center for the Arts shocked audiences with its mixed-emotion performance of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive,” which ran from March 7 to March 15. The show, which centers its story around a female who discovers sexuality through sexual assault and trauma, premiered during the heart of the Time’s Up and Me Too movements. From the comedic characters to the show’s heavy topics, “How I Learned to Drive” put a spotlight on important issues in modern society.
On the evening of March 13, Towson community members packed the stands of SECU arena to hear actress Laverne Cox talk about her life and journey being a black transgender woman in America. That night, the event was so popular that some students had to sit in the upper deck of the arena after the lower area was filled. Cox spoke as part of the Division of Student Affairs’ Diversity Speaker Series and the SGA and Center for Student Diversity’s Pride Fest.
Chosen Name Policy
LGBTQ+ student groups around campus advocated for a chosen name policy to be implemented allowing students to use a chosen name other than the legal name in University databases. Many students in TU’s trans community do not feel safe around campus and a policy allowing chosen names could be a step in the right direction. President Kim Schatzel addressed the issue at TU’s first-ever Pride Fest closing ceremony and committed to having a policy by next year.
Towson’s theatre department showcased its rendition of William Shakespeare’s classic “Othello” from April 5 through April 14. The show, which covers themes from jealousy to racism, was directed by Coordinator for the BFA in Acting Peter Wray. Towson’s rendition of the show allowed the cast to take classic language and present it in a modernized way, with the hopes of creating a relatable and connective experience for the show’s audience.
Outdoor Track & Field Wins TU Invite
Towson put on a show in the annual TU Invite at Johnny Unitas Stadium, earning a first place finish with 189 points. The Tigers recorded eight total first-place finishes on the day, with three of those coming on throwing events. Junior Phontavia Sawyer set a personal best to take first in the shot put with a mark of 50-5.5. Head Coach Mike Jackson celebrated a ring ceremony the night before the competition with Towson’s 2017 CAA Championship team.
Workers break ground on new science complex/Plans for Union renovations
Now that construction on Burdick Hall is finished and the gym is up and running, Towson University Officials have decided it is time to move on to other projects. In the past few months TU has not only broken ground and begun construction on the new science complex, but also released plans for the renovations and expansion of the University Union. The science complex, which is slated for completion in 2020, will be located between 7800 York Rd. and Stephens Hall and have several new features including rooftop greenhouses and an outdoor classroom. The Union’s expansion is also slated to be completed in 2020, and the renovations to the existing portion in 2021. Preparations for the Union project are expected to begin this August.
Tennis Wins First CAA Tournament Match in Over a Decade
Towson posted its first CAA tournament match victory in 11 years with a 4-1 win over No. 9-seeded Elon Apr. 19. The Tigers completed their spring 2018 season with a 12-12 record, which included a dramatic 4-3 comeback win over Georgetown Feb. 13. Senior Nicole Shakhnazarova was named All-CAA Second Team for the third consecutive year, leading the team with 13 wins in 2018. The Tigers bade farewell to their five seniors — Shakhnazarova, Barbora Vasilkova, A.J. Gomer, and co-captains Renate van Oorschodt and Lucy Williams — after the team fell 4-0 in the CAA quarterfinals to No. 41 William & Mary.
Towson University’s theater group Actors Anonymous put on a weekend-long performance of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s “Spring Awakening,” which premiered April 27. The group, which is an inclusive student-run theatre troupe, chose the show to take a closer look at heavier topics plaguing the current state of the country, such as sexual assault and gun violence. Actors Anonymous had a unique twist on the show, with the setting being a catholic school; with its energetic cast that consisted of students both within and outside of Towson’s theatre program, the group was able to put on a powerful performance.
Tim Chandler steps down
After serving as Towson University’s Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs for approximately five and a half years, Timothy Chandler announced he will be stepping down from the position effective July 1 of this year. Though he will be stepping away from this role, Chandler will not be leaving TU. Beginning in January of 2019, he will be joining the College of Health professions and taking on the role of a professor for the Department of Kinesiology. In his time as Provost, Chandler increased the six-year graduation rate from 66 percent to 72 percent and eliminated the achievement gap between majority and minority students.
Members of the TrueTU ticket won the elections for Towson’s Student Government Associations’ new executive board on May 3, two days after student voting. The ticket was uncontested for the 2018-2019 academic year, and is comprised of Russhell J. Ford as president with 937 votes, Alex Best as attorney general with 944 votes, Rachel Veslany as Vice President with 925 votes and Naimah Kargbo as treasurer with 943.
The Tigers failed to earn their fourth-straight CAA Championship, falling to UMass in the title game. Towson had to replace its starting attack in the offseason as the team struggled to gel for most of the season. The Tigers picked up an impressive overtime win on the road over powerhouse Ohio State midseason at what looked like a turning point for the team, but they lost four of their next five matchups. Towson closed out the season on a high note with back-to-back home wins and took that momentum into tournament play as the team defeated conference foe Delaware in the opening round of CAAs before getting bounced.
Despite a successful regular season which included several individual milestones by a flurry of players, the Tigers fell 21-17 in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament Sunday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium. The team finished with a 16-5 record, including a nine-game winning streak towards the end of the season with six of those wins being on the road. Head Coach Sonia LaMonica will lose a number of talented seniors such as Kaitlyn Montalbano, Emily Gillingham and Tianna Wallpher, but has a strong foundation of young talent moving forward in freshman attacker Kaitlin Thornton and sophomore goalkeeper Kiley Keating.
Compiled by Bailey Hendricks, Keri Luise, Mary-Ellen Davis, Karuga Koinange, Billy Owens, Kerry Ingram