Thursday, February 27, 2014

C of C Goes Tobacco Free: New Campus Policy

Cistern Yard
                                     College of Charleston will be tobacco free, no "butts"about it.
Cistern Yard

Effective July 1 of this year, the new "Tobacco-Free Campus Policy" will be put in place to "promote a safe, clean, and healthy environment," for everyone who attends or visits the college.

The policy says, "The current Policy 6.1.5 "Smoking Policy," as adopted in 2006, is repealed in its entirety and replaced by the new Policy, "Tobacco-Free Campus Policy,"also to be designated Policy 6.1.5."
St. Phillip Street

This new policy prohibits use of any tobacco products, including cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, electronic cigarettes, water pipes (hookahs) etc., and "all other technologies and devices allowing for the ingestion, combustion, inhalation, or other use of tobacco."

Tobacco use of any kind is prohibited in all College owned or leased buildings, property, land, seating areas, and vehicles, according to the policy. For a more detailed list, click on the the official policy link.

The policy states, "Use of tobacco products is permitted in personal vehicles parked or being driven on College-owned or leased property, provided that the windows and doors of such personal vehicles are closed (i.e., tobacco products are used in an enclosed vehicle space) and tobacco waste products are stored in the vehicle and disposed of at off- campus locations."

Cigarette butts found on campus
The President of the College is allowed to make exceptions "at his or her sole discretion," according to the policy.

The policy says, "Employees of the College may be disciplined for violation of this policy, consistent with the provisions of College Policy 9.1.2. Students of the College may be disciplined for violations of this policy, consistent with the Student Code of Conduct." 
Free Program Flyer

With this new policy approaching quickly, the College of Charleston and the American Lung Association is offering free programs to help students and staff quit smoking. The program consists of 8 classes, held on Wednesdays, from Feb. 26 to April 16.

LaToya Clement,
CofC Senior
College of Charleston students are sharing their opinions on this new policy.  As one may assume, people have mixed reviews.

"I have no problems with this law. It's unfair to subject others to second-hand smoke.  I also imagine that it will cut down on littering and loitering," LaToya Clement says.  

Clement, a non smoker, adds, "As students we should want to keep our campus healthy and beautiful. If this can help make that happen, then I support it." 

Joel West, CofC Junior
When a smoker was asked the same questions, his response was bit different.

Joel West says, "I don't understand why they would regulate electronic cigarettes as part of the policy, and who is policing this issue? Why can't they just ban cigarettes with certain designated areas, instead of completely taking away our rights?"

If you are a smoker who is interested in quitting, please visit the link above or contact either of the following: Alena Foresman, Counseling and Substance Abuse or Linda McClenaghan, Human Resources.
Student smoking on campus

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Break the Cycle: Dating Abuse vs Healthy Relationships

Did you know that 1 in 3 young people are affected by dating abuse?  Rachael McNamara, College of Charleston's Health Educator and Kristi Cogswell from  My Sisters House, talked about the warning signs in dating violence. Examples of what makes for a healthy relationship were also given. This discussion meeting was open to college students.

Event Flyer
McNamara and Cogswell
talking to the audience
This meeting, last Thursday, was held to educate young adults about what violent relationships and healthy relationship looks like. About a dozen students showed up and interacted in the open discussion.

McNamara started off the discussion by explaining what her role was in the meeting and talked about what a healthy relationship entails.

Two major components include communication and boundaries. She said trust and respect are key and needed from both people in the relationship.

She stated that it was important to know what a healthy relationship looks like so young people could easily detect when it turns abusive. She then discussed dating violence and gave the following stats:

"A total of 58% of college students say that they don't know how to help someone who is a victim of dating abuse."

"Healthy relationships have a ratio of 5 to 1 behaviors to negative behaviors."
Rachael McNamara

"Around 56% of young adults and teens report experiencing abuse through digital and social media."

Kristi Cogswell
The conversation then turned to Kristi Cogswell, she is an outreach coordinator for My Sister's House and has been counseling for 8 years.

My Sister's House is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 that provides services, programs and resources to empower domestic violence victims to live free of abuse.

Cogswell, a former victim of domestic violence, has a passion for sharing her story and informing other young people about the warning signs of dating violence. Some of the warning signs to look for are:
McNamara writing out
the warning signs 

  • Checking you cellphone or email without permission
  • Constant put-downs
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Possessiveness 
  • Telling you what to do
Cogswell also talked about a honeymoon stage of a relationship.  She states, "This is when the abuser says things like, I'm so sorry, I am going to stop drinking.  I'll go to church or I'll go to counseling." She also stated that the abuser would do these things until they feel secure in the relationship again or until charges were dropped, but would eventually continue to abuse. "Its a cycle," Cogswell says.

After the presentation, both McNamara and Cogswell took questions from the audience and received some feedback about the issue of dating violence. For anonymity reasons due to the content, I will only  disclose first names. When the meeting was over I approached a couple girls, Kali and Jennifer, that seemed involved throughout the discussion.  

These girls were giving feed back and asking questions, so I asked them at the end what they thought of the meeting. "I learned a lot, and now that I know the warning signs I will be more cautious about noticing them in my next relationship," Kali said. 

"I thought the meeting was informative, and I have a friend whose boyfriend is really jealous and mean to her, so I will be telling her what I learned today" Jennifer said.

If you are a victim or know anyone who is a victim of domestic or dating violence it is important to seek help.  For more information on the issue of violent relationships visit  or any of the links shown above.

Cogswell also recommends picking up a copy of Lundy Bancroft's book titled, Why Does He Do That? She says it is, in her opinion the best book out regarding the topic of abuse.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Restaurant Review: Lee Lee's Hot Kitchen

Front entrance into Lee Lee's

Chinese is the ultimate comfort food, so when I found out about a new restaurant opening near me, I had to go check it out. The name is Lee Lee's Hot Kitchen and it's located at 218 President St. in downtown Charleston. It has been open to the public since Jan. 18.
Lee Lee's inside view 

It is a small restaurant, no more than eight tables, but the atmosphere is bright and inviting. The walls are covered in huge murals that exude the Chinese culture, and the bright red bird cage light fixtures are an interesting touch! The customers vary from college students, to working adults visiting on their lunch break.

Lee Lee's Menu
I went with a group of friends so we decided to dine family style.  We each ordered something we liked and then all shared.  We started out with the scallion pancake, which was served with a ginger soy sauce and that was a great appetizer. It was light with great flavor and the dipping sauce was delicious.

Scallion pancake

Next we got into the main courses.  We ordered beef with broccoli, mu shu pork, general tso's chicken, and firecracker shrimp.  Everything we tasted was amazing and very fresh.  My favorite was the mu shu pork that was served with Chinese pancakes and hoisin dipping sauce. However, if your looking for heat bring your own hot sauce, the spice level is pretty weak.
Firecracker shrimp (top left),
General tso's (top right), and
Beef with broccoli (bottom)
Mu Shu Pork 

I can't leave out the cocktail section! Lee Lee's offered a list of speciality cocktails, beer and wine to choose from.

The sunrise shaker was a popular drink among my friends. It was made with tequila, creme de cassis and lime, so it was very light and refreshing.

The Lucky Buddha beer
The winner for best beer went to The Lucky Buddha, which came in a really unique bottle and tasted good too!

Overall, great experience and tasty authentic Chinese food. The waitstaff was attentive and helpful in the ordering process. I'll definitely be back.                  

Lee Lee's hours are Sun-Thurs 11a.m. - 10p.m. and Fri & Sat 11a.m - 11p.m.  For more information check out the website

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Gun Carry Law to be Passed: "No Lead in my Drink."

Here in Charleston, SC when we walk into a bar we are used to taking shots, not getting shot at. 

However, with the new bill passed by South Carolina House of Representatives on Jan. 23, this is a worry to some folks. The bill allows for concealed weapon permit holders to carry their guns into restaurants and bars around the state.

 Although Gov. Nikki Haley has not yet signed the bill, she posted on Facebook Feb. 4 that she planned on doing so.  Restaurants will however have the right to refuse patrons that are carrying their guns.

"For those asking about "S308", the Restaurant Carry Bill. I haven't signed the bill yet because the legislature has not sent it to my desk. While they have passed the legislation, they haven't ratified it. Once i (sic) receive it, i will sign it." 

With Charleston being a huge food and beverage town, many of the restaurants around are consumed by the locals, many of them even college students. Even though the bill states that no one who is carrying a conscealed weapon can consume alcohol, people still have their reservations.

I took some time out to ask a few College of Charleston students, along with some workers at a local bar, what their opinion was on this new law.

 Kristy Smith, 21, communication major, 
Santa Barbara, CA

"I don't have a concealed weapon and I never will. I don't believe guns and alcohol should ever mix and it makes me feel uncomfortable knowing I could be sitting in a restaurant with people who carry guns in their pockets! Especially after the recent shootings that have happened in schools and movie theaters I think that if anyone can carry them its absurd because you never know what mood someone is in that day. They could take drugs and go crazy and end up shooting innocent people. Not okay in my book! What happened to settling problems with words? We need more world peace and less violence." -Smith

 Kaila Orn, 20, communication major
Cary, NC

"I don't think that concealed weapons should be allowed in restaurants.  Even though the law says that the owner cannot drink if they have a concealed weapon, how would they be able to regulate that? I would not feel safe in a restaurant if people had loaded guns.  Bar fights happen all the time and when someone had alcohol in their system they make bad decisions and they could pull out a gun at a moments notice. I do not have a gun and I do not like that the bill was passed.  I believe guns should be used for hunting or self-defense and only kept in the house." -Orn
Wesley Booker, 22, Theatre Major,
Greenville, SC

"Truthfully, I wouldn't be safe because what if a fight were to break out between the person with the weapon and the person that egged on the fight.  Someone is bound to get hurt. I believe the bill being passed would be a bad thing because even though there will be rules about what restaurants can do, they won't be able to control everyone that has a weapon.  What if someone gets offended by a manager stating that he/she could not bring in their weapon and the person ends up taking his frustration out on the manager.  Someone could get seriously hurt and other people would break the rules of the bill, so they can still have their weapon with them.  I don't carry a weapon because I don't see a reason to or a reason to bring on into a restaurant." -Booker

Head Security for Rerun LLC
Brian Nichuals, 32

"Yes I approve this bill as long as the way the law is written is followed through and if they're not drinking while carrying a firearm.  I would feel much safer because of the process and the fact that it outlaws anyone who has any kind of record for carrying a firearm. That means anyone who is legally carrying a firearm is a law abiding citizen. Period. They'd have to be." -Nichuals
Manager at Taco Boy Downtown: Derrick Sprankle, 31

"Thats the dumbest idea I've ever heard.  Guns in restaurants, well if they don't serve any booze because it's not always the person who has the gun that may not be drinking that causes an incident, it will be somebody else whose drinking that causes an incident.  Where somebody who does have a CWP winds up getting ticked off and getting irrational. It's a bad idea all around endless your talking about Denny's."   -Sprankle

Firearms are always a controversial topic and everyone will have their own opinions either way.  For more information on gun control and the bill itself, you can check out the following links posted above.You can also follow Gov. Haley on social media where she posts frequently.  It is important to be educated on gun safety, so making sure you know how to properly use a firearm is crucial to being a responsible permit holder.