College students obsessed with success, too stressed to obtain it

Countless studies show that there is currently a mental health epidemic facing college students across the nation.

A survey conducted by the American College Counseling Association, or ACCA, found that more than half of college counseling visitors have save psychological problems, an increase of 13 percent in two years.

Parallel to other national college mental health data, the survey also concluded that anxiety and depression, in that order, are the most common health diagnoses among college students.

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the number 2 leading cause of death among those ages 15-24 and that the suicide rate among adolescents and young adults has increased “modestly but steadily” since 2007.

Over the past two decades, several universities across America have experienced what psychologists refer to as “suicide clusters,” which is defined as multiple deaths in close succession and proximity.

In 2015, Tulane University lost four students to suicide and Appalachian State lost three.

Penn State had six students commit suicide over a 13-month stretch from 2014-2015.

From 2003-2004, 5 New York University (NYU) students leapt to their death. Cornell lost six students to suicide from 2009-2010.

And according to Kelsie Miller, a Counseling Outreach Coordinator for the Students Helping Others Reach Excellence (SHORE) program on Coastal’s Campus who spoke with Chanticleer reporter, Genelle Thompson, CCU has also seen its share of student suicides over the last 5 years.

With a majority of these suicide clusters happening at top-ranked schools, it is easy to speculate that the infamous high-stress, hyper-achieving environment that many ivy-league schools are known for is linked in some way.

Director of Counseling and Psychological Services for the Jed Foundation, a non-profit organization geared towards promoting emotional health and preventing suicide, and the Associate Director of Gannett Health Services at Cornell University Gregory T. Eells told HuffPost Live, that this could be due to something he calls “social perfection.”

Eells explained that because today’s younger generation are so attuned to social media, many feel the need to appear perfect across various platforms, which can potentially be as damaging to the person posting the image as it is to the people engaging with it.

“Social perfection can be a very toxic concept because it’s something that we internalize,” said Eells. “It’s not as if you really think I have to be perfect. It’s that I think that you think I have to be perfect.”

He explained that striving to be perfect causes one to miss out on the chance to improve oneself through recognizing personal imperfections.

“Part of being human is that we all make mistakes,” said Eells. “We really can develop a growth mindset, which is when there are those setbacks, they’re opportunities for growth. They don’t mean you’re a failure, they don’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. They’re an opportunity to learn and develop some sense of resilience and develop some adaptability.”

This feeling of a need to achieve perfection that many college student’s currently face has created a shift in the way young adults handle conflict and cope with challenges.

Counselors at various colleges across the nation have reported noticing this change and have concluded that many college students no longer know how to fail.

Based on an article published in Counseling Today, a publication of the American Counseling Association, helicopter parenting is partly to blame.

This style of parenting describes a parent, or parents, who have a “helicopter-like tendency to hover over children and swoop in to rescue them at the first sign of trouble.” This parenting style ultimately prevents children from developing “independence and resiliency,” thereby hindering them both emotionally and academically, later in life.

A combination of being raised by overprotective parents and being surrounded by culture of hyper-achievement, there is no mystery why mental illness and suicide rates among adolescents and young adults are on a constant incline.

The sad reality is that national data on campus suicide and depression show that one in four adults experience mental illness in a given year, two-thirds of students who are struggling do no seek help or treatment and more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all other mental illnesses combined.

Because of the prevalence of these issues among college students, it is important for their peers, as well as faculty and staff, to know the facts, warning signs and how to help.

Coastal’s Counseling Services provide several different outlets to aid with mental illness and suicide prevention, but students must take the first step to get help.

October is suicide prevention month, so be sure to be aware of the facts and keep an eye out for awareness events hosted by COAST, the Counseling Outreach Advocacy Student Team and Counseling Services.

Classified pages in 9/11 report could indicate Saudi involvement

Since its completion in December of 2011, the full report from Congress’s investigation into the 9/11 attacks has yet to be published. This is due to suspicions that the 28 pages that are still being withheld contain information that could reveal that the Saudi government and citizens played a role in the terrorist attack.

Pressed by a number of victim’s families, lawmakers and U.S. officials, President Obama asked intelligence officials to complete a review of the redacted report. In a recent interview with CBS News’ Charlie Rose, the president said that by his understanding the director of national intelligence, Jim Clapper, is close to completing the process. Although this is true, 14 years is entirely too long for this vital information to have been kept under wraps. Because of this, many questions about this tragic event have been left unanswered.

Watch the interview here:

It is still a mystery as to why 15 of the 19 hijackers from al Qaeda who were involved in the attack were Saudi citizens. Many, including myself, wonder if this has any indication that the Saudi government and its powerful religious establishment had a hand in supporting the plot for 9/11. Ex-Senator Bob Graham, who was co-chairman of the 2002 congressional investigation into the attacks, has repeatedly claimed there is evidence of support from the Saudi government to the terrorists and said the FBI has “gone beyond just covering up” this information in what he calls “aggressive deception.”

22fri1-superJumboContrary to this view, the 9/11 commission, an independent bipartisan panel that conducted a separate investigation in 2004, said in that although Saudi Arabia had been considered the primary source of funding for al Qaeda, they found no evidence of this being true. They also reported that they did not denounce the likelihood that charities sponsored by the Saudi government diverted funds to the terrorist group. So still, the question remains about the Saudi’s role in the attacks; a question that could be answered by the 28 classified pages of the congressional report.

The push for the release of the full report is part of a larger effort to pass a bill that will allow the U.S. government to sue members of the Saudi royal family for any involvement, including funding to terrorists, that they may have had in the attacks. The bill has met opposition from both the Obama administration and the Saudi royal family. If the bill is passed, the Saudi government has warned that it will sell off $750 billion worth of American assets held by the kingdom, which is seemingly problematic for the United States. With the large amount of investments that the United States has in Saudi Arabia, it does not seem wise to pass the bill. Although the redacted pages may reveal participation by the Saudi government in the 9/11 attacks, such an extreme decision could result in major damage to the U.S. economy. President Obama has also voiced his concern that if the U.S. creates the opportunity for individuals and the country to sue other governments, there will also be an opportunity for other individuals in other countries to sue the United States.

Read more: Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

It does not help that Saudi-American relations have been badly damaged by disputes over Iran, Syria and opposition by Americans of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s dominant faith, the same extremist form of Islam that inspired Bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Even though this is true, Saudi Arabia has been a country which has traditionally aided the U.S. on counterterrorism and security. If there is in hope in repairing ties with the Saudi government, all remaining facts about 9/11 must be released to the public.

Overcrowding causing growing pains for Coastal Carolina University

As student enrollment and faculty employment continues to climb, overcrowding is becoming a prevalent issue at Coastal.

With multiple construction projects aimed at fixing issue, CCU administration has had to be creative with space allocation.

Many lecturers are losing their offices for the fall semester and are being forced to hold office hours online or elsewhere on campus.

Lecturer of Communication, Dr. Andrea Bergstrom, said that this will be a big change for everyone affected.

“I think it will be a pretty big adjustment for students and faculty,” said Bergstrom. “Lecturers carry a large course load and in any given semester one might have 150 students. Those students are now not going to have the same access to faculty. Since there are 6 lecturers in comm and each have around 150 students a piece, there are a lot of students that are going to have less access to this particular group of faculty, which I am a part of.”

Due to the lack of space, lecturers are having to move office hours online or by appointment only.

Bergstrom said that this could shift the relationship between students and faculty.

“We’re going to have online office hours but it really impacts the student/faculty relationship,” said Bergstrom. “The type of conversations and interactions we have via g-chat versus a face-to-face office setting are very limited. Some topics really require a face-to-face interaction.”

While some feel that students and faculty will be negatively affected, Associate Professor of Communication and incoming chair of the department, Dr. Wes Fondren, said he thinks it could be a positive situation.

“I think this, in some ways, might help student retention,” said Fondren. “Faculty members will end up being more available online and if you think about how most students want to meet with the faculty members, they want someone they can chat with or can logon to the Moodle forum or they can email. Faculty will also have office hours in the library, dorms, or other areas on campus. As odd as it might sound, one of the surprise effects might be that the faculty members end up being where students are at more, rather than them having to come to us.”

Offices are not the only thing being impacted by the lack of space.

Some classes are being held in the library, student union and even in the dorms.

Fondren said that these locations offer a unique classroom experience.

“I have been extremely impressed with how the university has tackled this problem,” said Fondren. “I teach a class in the movie theatre and it’s a super cool room. I’m able to show movie clips and have great sound, which you wouldn’t have in a normal classroom.”

Because of the immediate need for space, even Coastal’s administration has to make sacrifices.

According to Fondren, the Dean of the Edwards, Daniel Ennis is doing all that he can to help the issue with space.

“Even the dean had a temporary wall put up in his office to cut it in half so that he could share his office with someone else,” said Fondren. “Even from the top-down, his willingness to do something unusual for a while to get through this is very encouraging.”

Although inconvenient for some, the overcrowding is temporary.

The current projects geared at helping with the lack of space are estimated to be completed in the next year.

Construction of Britain II and a $7 million renovation to the Smith Science Building are set to be finished in the summer of 2017, while the Science annex is predicted to be completed by the end of May 2016.

While Coastal may be experiencing “growing pains,” data from the National Student Clearinghouse in 2015 showed overall college enrollment in a decline.

The study found that enrollment at postsecondary institutions had decreased by 1.7% from the previous year.

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Bergstrom said that she has experienced the decline first hand.

“Having worked previously at a university that had major retention issues and a declining student body, we had a lot of space but not the students to fill them,” said Bergstrom. “I think that it is a good problem to have as far as problems go. It means that the school is growing and is high demand and that is obviously good for our university and for our majors.”

Fondren also stressed that, although it may be uncomfortable, growth is a good problem to have.

“I have friends at other schools where their problem is that they have empty classrooms and their universities aren’t growing,” said Fondren. “We’re seeing a lot of universities get smaller but what is happening here for us is that we are experiencing the painful positive of growth, like when a kid’s shoes are too tight. In a weird sort of way, this is exciting. The problems that we have are the problems that you want to look for in a school.”

RIDE III road projects warrant one cent sales tax increase

The Ride III commission committee voted on a preliminary list of road projects that it says warrants a one cent sales tax increase for Horry County residents.

After various meetings, the commission decided on 13 projects considered to have high priority, as well as 100 miles of dirt road paving and an additional 100 miles of road resurfacing.

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Photo of the 13 road projects recommended in the preliminary RIDE III project listing.

A six-lane widening of U.S. 501, four-lane widening of Carolina Forest Blvd, extending S.C. 31 to the North Carolina state-line, extending Fred Nash Boulevard to connect with Harrelson Boulevard and widening Forestbrook Road are just a few that are highlighted in the recommended project listing.

It is estimated that these projects will require a $590 million budget to execute, but the Department of Transportation estimated a much larger budget needed to complete all of the vital road improvements throughout the county.

According to Director of the RIDE III commission, Eddie Dyer, a one cent sales tax increase is essential because of the lack of funding from the state and government. 

“The feds aren’t giving us any money this year,” said Dyer. “The state of South Carolina gave us $10 million. Now, if you put $10 million beside $1.944 billion, you can see why the one cent sales tax is being proposed.”

Conway resident Jody Nyers said the challenge for the commission is going to be how to prioritize the projects.

“I truly believe that all these projects have an importance and now it is that matter of prioritizing them,” said Nyers. “What I feel is important might be different then what somebody else feels important, but I do believe that we need to get 501. It’s my number one priority or at least it would be in my mind.”

If approved in November 2016, the sales tax will go into effect May 2017 and will last eight years.

The tax will include all retail sales, prepared food, beverages and lodging rentals. All groceries are exempt.

Public Information Officer for Myrtle Beach, Mark Kruea, said that residents recognize that the need for the sales tax increase is imperative.

“The voters have approved it on 2 different occasions,” said Kruea “They understand that by virtue of all of the visitors that we get, that not only their money but all of the visitor’s money goes to pay for these road projects that we couldn’t afford any other way. The voters already said yes to it twice before so that is a good sign.”

Nyers, who has followed the initiatives since RIDE I, expressed support for the tax increase because it is being used for something that is beneficial.

“I’ve been here for RIDE I and RIDE II but I agree RIDE III mainly because the 1 cent sales tax,” said Nyers. “Anyway that we can collect money to then use it for the purpose of paving and widening is beneficial and the only way we’re going to get money to do any of this is by putting out something like a one cent sales tax. I’m a person that believes that if I’m going to pay taxes, I will gladly pay an extra cent if I know for a fact that money is going to these road improvements or establishments of new roads.”

Because of Myrtle Beach’s location, many visitors come to enjoy the beach and spend money during heavy tourist seasons like spring and summer.

Dyer said that the revenue from the tourists should take some of the costs away from residents.

“With my committee, what we’re trying to say is that this can be done with a one cent sales tax,” said Dyer. “We are a very heavy tourist area and those tourists are going to pay close to half of the overall tax. This helps take some of the burden of paying off of residents.”

If the sales tax is not approved, Horry County will only have the $10 million given to it by the state of South Carolina and will have to rework its plans entirely.

“There’s no plan B,”  said Dyer. “If you’re happy with the roads and the traffic situation around here the way it is don’t worry about the penny sales tax.”

Horry County residents will have the chance to vote in November 2016 during the primary elections.

ISIS threatens social media moguls, Zuckerberg and Dorsey in recent video

A recent video made by supporters of ISIS threatens Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey for fighting back against terrorism on their social media platforms.

The group who call themselves the Sons of Caliphate released a 25-minute propaganda video titled “Flames of the Supporters.”

A team of deep web analysts at Vocativ discovered the video on the social media message-sharing site, Telegram, which ISIS frequently uses.

The video shows photos of the two social media moguls covered in bullet holes and engulfed in flames.

A screenshot from the recent video released by the Islamic State, showing Dorsey and Zuckerberg.

It also shows hackers allegedly modifying profile accounts and posting Islamic state propaganda.

The video was posted in response to the action by Facebook and Twitter to combat terrorism by suspending accounts and removing posts that encourage terrorism and could provoke violence.

Twitter announced in a blog post in February that the company had suspended over 125,000 accounts that contained threatening content primarily related to ISIS.

“We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism and the Twitter Rules make it clear that this type of behavior, or any violent threat, is not permitted on our service,” the blog post reads.

Assistant Professor of Intelligence and National Security Studies at Coastal Carolina University, Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, said that ISIS needs social media platforms in order to expand.

“ISIS actually is very much in need of this media in order to promote it’s national agenda,” said Fitsanakis. “One thing that makes ISIS different from other terrorist groups is that ISIS is an international group. It has an international agenda. It has international followers. So it needs these platforms, the online platforms, in order to reach them.”

In the video the group claimed to have hacked over 10,000 Facebook accounts, 150 Facebook groups and 5000 accounts on Twitter and said that a number of these accounts have been handed over to their supporters.

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Screenshot taken from the Islamic State’s video showing the alleged number of hacks made by the group.

The video concludes with a direct threat to the CEOs and their companies.

“You announce daily that you suspend many of our accounts, and to you we say: Is that all you can do? You are not in our league,” the video clip reads.  “If you close one account we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete your sites, Allah willing, and will know that we say is true.”

In a recent interview with the CEO of Axel Springer, Mathias Dopfner, Zuckerberg expressed uneasiness that spans beyond the recent video threat.

“I am very concerned but not because of the video,” he told Mathias Döpfner. “There have been worse threats.”

Similar threats were made to Zuckerberg by a Pakistani extremist a few years ago. The extremist called for Zuckerberg to be sentenced to death because the company refused to remove a group that encouraged the illustration of the prophet Mohammad, an act that is illegal in Pakistan.

Related: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals 2010 Pakistan death threat

After the attacks at Charlie Hebdo, a kosher grocery store in Paris, Zuckerberg responded in a post on Facebook that encouraged the “need to reject a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone  else around the world.”

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Screenshot of Zuckerberg’s comments on Facebook following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on January 7-9, 2015.

In the interview with Dopfner, Zuckerberg identified an underlying common theme in previous and current threats.

“I think the bigger issue is that what Facebook stands for in the world is giving people a voice and spreading ideas and rationalism,” said Zuckerberg.

Similar threats were also made to Twitter’s Dorsey when a self-identified group of ISIS supporters claimed that Dorsey and Twitter started a “war” against the Islamic State after suspending hundreds of the group’s social media accounts.

Related: ISIS supporters threaten Twitter founder Jack Dorsey

The Islamic State’s ultimate goal is much more complex than a war on social media.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Coastal Carolina University, Dr. Jeffry Halverson, explained what the terrorist group is trying to achieve.

“ISIS wants to create a homogenous Sunni Muslim state that governs according to their puritanical, reactionary form of “Islamic law,” said Halverson. “The state would serve as base for attacks against regional governments deemed unacceptable or to be enemies of ISIS, as well as against foreign states that involve themselves in the region or that interfere with their ambitions, such as the United States.”

Data shows more support for Justice Department in Apple dispute

Americans support the Department of Justice over Apple Inc. in the debate over unlocking a phone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Photo taken from the Pew Research Center website

According to the data collected from 1,002 American adults, 51 percent say Apple should unlock the phone, while only 38 percent say the company should not. 11 percent did not offer an opinion.

The dispute began after a U.S. magistrate ordered Apple to unlock the cellphone of Syed Rizwan Farook to aid the government in the FBI investigation of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California on Dec. 3 when Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 of Farook’s colleagues at a holiday party.

Since the order, both Apple and the government have vied for support from the American public.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, expressed that Apple would refuse the judges order to unlock the phone due to a fear of invasion of privacy in a “customer letter” posted on the Apple website on Feb. 16.

“The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals,” said Cook. “We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack.”

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey posted on Lawfare, a national security blog in opposition to Apple’s reaction, asking for understanding and support for the government from the American people after such a tragic event.

“So I hope folks will remember what terrorists did to innocent Americans at a San Bernardino office gathering and why the FBI simply must do all we can under the law to investigate that,” said Comey.

Comey also emphasized that the American people should have the ultimate decision about their privacy and well-being.

“Although this case is about the innocents attacked in San Bernardino, it does highlight that we have awesome new technology that creates a serious tension between two values we all treasure: privacy and safety,” said Comey. “That tension should not be resolved by corporations that sell stuff for a living. It also should not be resolved by the FBI, which investigates for a living. It should be resolved by the American people deciding how we want to govern ourselves in a world we have never seen before”