Humanities & Social Sciences – The Citadel Today Thu, 17 Dec 2020 21:19:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Humanities & Social Sciences – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Positives of the Pandemic: Resiliency in Relationships Sat, 26 Dec 2020 11:00:00 +0000 “We are actively seeking out communication in a way that we’ve never done before,” said Chip Taylor, Head of Psychology at The Citadel.]]>

As seen on WCBD – Count on 2, by Danielle Hensley

Since March, the world has seen tremendous loss in all arenas of life as a result of COVID-19. In an attempt to shine some light, News 2’s Danielle Hensley is highlighting a few positive impacts the pandemic has made here in the Lowcountry in a new series called Positives of the Pandemic.

Social, familial, and romantic relationships are a core part of our society. During quarantine, that aspect was largely stripped from day-to-day routines.

By nature humans are social animals, always looking for a way to connect with others.

Being at home with a lot of time and not a lot of human interaction, many found themselves being more intentional, making new relationships, and strengthening old ones.

“I’ve actually lost people I know and loved to COVID… so it’s been really difficult,” Jenna Johnson, Goose Creek resident, shared.

People like Jenna Johnson have experienced the effects of COVID-19 in every aspect of life and have needed relationships more than ever.

“It’s almost been therapeutic to have people reach out or me reach out and have conversation by phone or by facetime,” Johnson added.

Johnson says staying in touch with friends and family has been a lifeline.

“One thing that has helped me really survive is being intentional about staying connected to my friends and family,” commented Johnson.

Relationships now forged through the screen instead of in person.

As a whole, society has been resilient in finding new ways to cope with the new normal.

“We are actively seeking out communication in a way that we’ve never done before,” said Chip Taylor, Head of Psychology at The Citadel.

Gone are the days of difficult long-distance phone calls. “Now we can zoom with people and intentionally call friends and connect with folks across the country across the world,” Taylor noted.

Despite our best efforts to cope, Taylor says isolation can cause sadness and anxiety — which is what people worldwide have experienced for nearly eight months — and it has fundamentally changed our collective sense of ‘normal.’

“Even if people try to shake a hand or give a hug at this point it’s become odd… The hard part about this pandemic is there really is no end point on this,” Taylor mentioned.

While the absence of touch is still felt this new way of communicating is a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel.

“To me the overarching theme of positivity is resiliency. What we do is when we’re dealing with a crisis we typically find a way to find some positivity,” Taylor emphasized.

Medieval warfare catapults Citadel professor into history Sat, 26 Dec 2020 11:00:00 +0000 If he weren't such a medievalist, it would be tempting to call Citadel English professor Michael Livingston, Ph.D., a Renaissance man.]]>

If he weren’t such a medievalist, it would be tempting to call him a Renaissance man

Citadel English professor, Michael Livingston, Ph.D., covers a wide range of academic ground outside of medieval literature.

He is an award-winning historical fantasy writer who recently released his newest novel “Seaborn,” an Audible-exclusive.

He made national headlines discussing the final season of Game of Thrones.

He is a historian who published a wide-spread article claiming to have discovered the lost site of the Battle of Brunanburh.

He is a conflict analyst who regularly stars in “Contact,” a television show about the search for extraterrestrials on the Discovery and Science Channels.

Livingston’s medieval and military interests came together in another recent project of his — a book that he edited called “Medieval Warfare: A Reader.” It examines how people in the Middle Ages experienced armed conflict; the book is a collection of more than 130 primary sources that provide the voices of veterans and victims.

Michael Livingston, Ph.D.
Michael Livingston, Ph.D.

“Medieval Warfare” earned Livingston — along with Kelly DeVries, Ph.D. — their second Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History.

Both Livingston and DeVries also earned a Distinguished Book Award from the Society in 2017 for “The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook.” According to Livingston, they join only a handful of scholars to ever receive the award twice.

Institutionally, The Citadel’s faculty holds three of the organization’s Distinguished Book Awards; History professor David Preston, Ph.D., earned one in 2016 for “Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of Monongahela and the Road to Revolution.”

The Society says that Distinguished Book Awards recognize the best book-length publications in English on military history copyrighted in the previous three calendar years.

As a medievalist, he is always looking to the past; but as an academic and an author, Livingston is always full-steam ahead.

Though the pandemic may affect some publication timelines, he hopes to release four books in 2021; two are historical texts, one is a Middle-English military poem and the last is “Iceborn,” the second in the Seaborn series.

Livingston is often interviewed on medieval matters due to his regular column on, a science fiction and fantasy website. He is also an award-winning writer who has published, among others, a trilogy of historical fantasy novels and multiple nonfiction books.

Tis the season: cadets share holiday thoughts and traditions Sat, 19 Dec 2020 17:00:00 +0000 Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019When you are kind, when you treat people with respect and show that you care about them, it goes a very long way.]]> Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019

Photo above: Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019

By Cadet Samantha Walton, Regimental Public Affairs NCO

Cadet Samantha Walton

I’m Samantha Walton. I am a junior, the Regimental Public Affairs NCO for the 2020-21 academic year, and am majoring in Political Science.

I am home in Macon, Georgia with my family for the our Winter Furlough from campus.

Christmas is a very important time for me as a Christian, as an individual, and as a member of The Citadel Gospel Choir.

I also appreciate the differences of my fellow students in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. We don’t all see this season in the same way.

As part of my role as Regimental Public Affairs NCO I work to keep cadets connected through communications and stories. This time, I asked a few cadets to share their thoughts about the holiday season after we all left campus for the break. This is what they emailed back to me.

Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu

Junior, Construction Engineering Major

Favorite holiday song?
My favorite holiday song is “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” because it is very jolly.

A tradition you cherish?
In Taiwan, most people don’t really celebrate Christmas as our holiday, but we do occasionally exchange gifts for fun and sharing joy.

Fondest holiday memory?
I remember when I was little, my dad came home very late once on Christmas eve, dressed up as Santa Claus, and gave me and my brothers presents. This was a special memory because we really didn’t normally celebrate Christmas. And last year I took an amazing trip to Austria.

Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019
Citadel Cadet Pei Hsuan Lu, on winter furlough in Austria in 2019

Looking forward to?
I look forward to the decorations everywhere when in America with my host family. It is so magical to see all the lights, Christmas trees, and decorations everywhere you go. Additionally, I was looking forward to going home to Taiwan, but due to COVID-19 I am staying with my host family.

Caring for others in this challenging time?
I am helping my host family move to a new home, gathering things and delivering them for donations, and packing up.

Religious traditions?
I am not religious.

On your wish list?
A Netflix marathon!

Cadet Natalie Stewart, USMC contract

Sophomore, Psychology Major
Las Vegas, Nevada

Cadet Natalie Stewart’s Christmas tree and family dog

Favorite holiday song?
Happy Christmas by John Lennon

A tradition you cherish?
On Christmas my mom, sister and I sit in the living room together and share lots of love. We eat cookies, wear fuzzy pajamas, and spend time together.

Fondest holiday memory?
My fondest holiday memory is when I came home for Winter Furlough from my knob year. I hadn’t seen my family since I left for matriculation, since they live so far away. I remember coming home to my mom and sister, and I felt an immense rush of joy when they hugged me. 

This year we are taking extra precautions to keep my grandparents safe and ordering our gifts all online.

Looking forward to?
I am looking forward to relaxing and spending lots of time with my family and dogs. Since there isn’t much to do with COVID-19 regulations, we will all be home together this Christmas. I hope to make some cookies with my sister! 

Religious traditions?
My family isn’t a specific religion, but we always express the importance of spreading kindness and acceptance in the world. 

On your wish list?
I asked for a new pair of glasses and a watch. I’ll be going into 2021 with 20/20 vision – ha!

Band Company cadet Natalie Stewart prepares supplies before knob arrivals during Matriculation Day for the Class of 2024 at The Citadel.

Caring for others in this challenging time?
I think the first thing we can do as individuals is spread kindness and love (especially in times like these). For those who are able, there are programs you can reach out to, where you can help others in need. Having open arms (6ft away of course) and recognizing each other’s individual needs can go a long way.

I went through my closet the other day, and I posted what I gathered on my neighborhood page. I was glad I found some people my age who were in need of some clothes. We also got in touch with a local church, where you can “adopt a family” and it allows you to help out a family in need. 

“Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love” – Anonymous (Buddhist quote)

Jaret Sean Price

Junior, Exercise Science Major
Aiken, South Carolina

Favorite holiday song?
Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

A tradition you cherish?
A tradition that I cherish is that every Christmas Eve after dinner my brother, sister, and I each open an ornament given to us by my Mom and Dad to hang on the family Christmas tree. This was something my Mom did as a little girl with her parents and carried it over when I was born. I hope one day I can continue this family tradition when I have children of my own.

Fondest holiday memory?
I don’t really have a fondest holiday memory. I just enjoy being home with my family and living in the “now.” Every Christmas leaves me with a new memory, and if I were asked what I remember from a certain Christmas then I’d be able to answer with a smile.

Looking forward to?
Each year I look forward to coming home from The Citadel for Winter Furlough and walking into the house to see that my parents have put up all 25 Christmas trees. Each Christmas tree, of course, has its own theme.

The COVID-19 pandemic really isn’t changing how we celebrate the holidays. We’re wearing masks, but still celebrating.

Religious traditions?
We put up my great-grandfathers manger and Nativity Scene that he built and the figurines my great-grandmother painted.

On your wish list?
Not much, just some closes and little things.

Caring for others in this challenging time?
Every Christmas season we do a sweep of clothes that we don’t wear anymore or that are too small on my younger siblings. Those clothes are collected and are taken to the local Goodwill for people who will need them.

When you are kind, when you treat people with respect and show that you care about them, it goes a very long way. As a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets I remember people who were kind and caring towards me, who took the time out of their day to check on me. That is someone I want to be, something that I don’t ever want to steer away from; and I truly believe that all Cadets are capable to doing this.

Freshmen on Matriculation Day 2020

James Hayes III
Freshman, Civil Engineering Major
Ridgeland, South Carolina

Favorite holiday song?
“This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway. We always play this song during the Christmas season.

A tradition you cherish?
A tradition I cherish is when my family goes to my grandparents’ house. We all go there and eat good food, open gifts, and have great fellowship. It’s something I look forward to every year. Unfortunately with the pandemic I don’t think we can all go be with my grandparents.

Fondest holiday memory?
My grandma’s sweet potato pie. It’s a staple during the holiday season

Looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends. I also like to fish so I’m looking forward to that as well.

I am also looking forward to going back to campus in January, but I hope we can have more interaction with our peers, though I know the restrictions were meant to keep us from getting COVID-19. I really enjoyed the battalion cookout we had before we left for furlough. I think doing more of those throughout the year would help a lot.

On your wish list?
I would like to get a guitar and keyboard piano because I started practicing on those instruments this past semester at The Citadel. 

Caring for others in this challenging time?
We are getting gifts for people at the homeless shelters. We are also taking some of our extra clothes and jackets there for people to use this winter.

Candles line the aisle at The Citadel Christmas Candlelight services
All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team announced Sat, 19 Dec 2020 13:00:00 +0000 Dr. Chip Taylor and Henry Bouton are The Citadel's newest All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team members.]]>

Two representatives from each school honored on annual teams

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference named its All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team on Thursday, with two representatives each from all 10 member schools being recognized by the league.

While the selections were left up to each institution’s discretion, the recipients all shared the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community. Faculty members selected have demonstrated strong contributions to teaching, research and/or service, while staff members are being recognized for bringing out the best in others and creating conditions for success.

The faculty and staff recipients include: The Citadel’s Dr. Chip Taylor and Henry Bouton; ETSU’s Dr. Virginia Foley and Janet Stork; Furman’s Dr. Marian Strobel and Todd Duke; Mercer’s Dr. Mahkin Thitsa and Matt Brownback; UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Jeremy Bray and Amy Collins Moore; Samford’s Dr. Celeste Hill and Paige Mathis; Chattanooga’s Dr. Christine Benz Smith and Endia Butler; VMI’s Col. Timothy Hodges and Chief Michael Marshall; Western Carolina’s Dr. Kelly R. Kelley and Courtney Gauthier; and Wofford’s Dr. Anna Catllá and Lisa Lefebvre.

Dr. Chip Taylor, The Citadel

Lloyd "Chip" Taylor, Ph.D.
Lloyd “Chip” Taylor, Ph.D., professor of Psychology, The Citadel

The Citadel’s Dr. Chip Taylor is the Head of the Department of Psychology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. For over a decade, Taylor has served as the institution’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. In that capacity, he has been a tireless advocate for student athletes and for student athlete well-being. Most recently, he has led the charge to establish psychology resiliency coaches to assist student-athletes and cadets on campus. In addition, over the past two years he has served on the Executive Committee for The Center for Performance, Readiness, Resiliency, and Recovery. He serves as the chapter advisor for Chi Alpha Sigma, the national honors society for student-athletes, is a member of the SoCon Executive Committee, and is a past president of the Southern Conference. In addition to his work on various committees within the SoCon and at The Citadel, Taylor was instrumental in establishing the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences which will focus on exploring concepts of leadership and ethics from a research and scholarly perspective.

Henry Bouton, director of Intramural and Extramural Sports at The Citadel

Henry Bouton, The Citadel

Henry Bouton is the Director of Intramurals and Extramural Sports at The Citadel through the Department of Health and Human Performance. He schedules, organizes and carries out the day-to-day operations of more than 20 intramural sports on campus. A 1980 graduate of The Citadel, Bouton is an ambassador for The Citadel in the way he treats members, visitors and cadets, developing relationships and treating everyone with courtesy and respect while upholding The Citadel’s Core Values of Honor, Duty and Respect. Because of the work he does in the classroom and on the field of play with cadets enrolled in the Sports Officiating class, those students develop a sense of authority that comes from knowledge acquisition; they are shown how to handle their own mistakes professionally and they are given the opportunity to practice maintaining a cool head.

Dr. Virginia Foley, ETSU

Dr. Virginia Foley is a professor in ETSU’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and serves as program coordinator for the Administrative Endorsement master’s and doctoral programs. She has served the university in a number of leadership positions including President of the Faculty Senate and the faculty Trustee on the ETSU Board of Trustees. She serves the university on numerous committees, including the Academic Portfolio Review committee and the Institutional Review Board and is a mentor to other faculty. Her work takes her into the area schools, where she helps principals develop their leadership and professional skills. Foley has been part of the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Bootcamp program and can often be seen helping students from other programs in addition to working with her own students. She goes above and beyond to build community with the doctoral students in her program. Even though her program is online, her students choose to come to Johnson City throughout their program to meet with Foley and she hosts them for meals at her home. She regularly attends their events, from the Bluegrass exhibitions and music department concerts to theatre performances and sporting events.

Janet Stork, ETSU

ETSU’s Janet Stork is the Event and Project Coordinator for the College of Public Health. An ardent supporter of ETSU athletics, she has organized the College’s tailgating efforts for every football game, as well as an annual Family Day for faculty and staff and their families to attend a women’s basketball game. At the tailgating event, Stork has several posters created that show every College of Public Health student that is on a sports team, in the marching band, or is a member of the cheerleading, dance or spirit squad. Stork conceptualized and now organizes the College’s Pinning and Hooding ceremony each semester, as well as the annual Student Awards ceremony. Stork came to ETSU in April 2010 to serve as the Executive Aide in the Office of the Dean in the College of Public Health before transitioning in 2018 to her current position. In her role, she also serves as the coordinator for the Tennessee Institute of Public Health. Stork has twice earned a College of Public Health Outstanding Support Staff Award (2012, 2018) and earned individual Dean’s Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in 2011 and 2019 and group honors four times.

Dr. Marian Strobel, Furman

Dr. Marian Strobel is the William Montgomery Burnett Professor in History at Furman. The Chair of the History Department from 1999-2010, she has served on a myriad of committees at Furman and has been the recipient of the Meritorious Teaching Award and the Maiden Invitation Award for excellence in the classroom. She has also been an active participant in the First Year Seminar program and was a member of the original task force that implemented that project. Currently a Shi Sustainability Fellow, Strobel studies the history of women’s higher education and American politics after World War II, as well as African-American history. She has presented her research in sessions at such prestigious venues as the annual conferences of the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and the American Historical Association. She has also been a member of special teaching-based and has been part of Furman faculty foreign study trips to Canada, Jamaica, Cuba and Mexico. During numerous May terms since 2014, Strobel has co-directed a study away class on “War and Remembrance” that commemorates the centenary of World War I and travels to England, France and Belgium.

Todd Duke, Furman

Todd Duke, a member of the Furman community since 1997 and Furman’s Heller Service Corp Staff Member of the Year selection for the 2018-19 school year, serves as associate athletics director of facilities and game operations, with direct oversight and management responsibilities for all scheduled events involving Timmons Arena and athletic facilities. Before becoming a member of the Furman athletic department in 2013, he served as business manager and director of operations for Timmons Arena (1997-04) and later associate director with university conference and event services. In addition to his Furman work duties, he has served as faculty advisor to Furman’s chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 2015.

Dr. Mahkin Thitsa, Mercer

Dr. Mahkin Thitsa is an Associate Professor in the Mercer University School of Engineering, having joined the faculty in 2013 after serving as a Research Assistant Professor at Old Dominion, her alma mater. Her research interests include nonlinear systems and control theory, model-free control and data-driven control strategies. She has successfully applied control methods to photonic devices, unmanned aerial vehicles and traffic flow networks. As the director of the Cyber-physical Systems and Control Laboratory at Mercer University School of Engineering, she has mentored a large number of undergraduate students, including four who have been selected to receive a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She has published numerous journal articles and conference proceedings with her undergraduate researchers as co-authors.

Matt Brownback, Mercer

Mercer’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Support Services, Matt Brownback joined the Bears’ athletic staff in 2013 as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s basketball program before being hired in 2015 as an Academic Coordinator of Student-Athletes. In 2016, he was promoted to Director of Student-Athlete Support Services before being promoted to his current position in 2019. His work, offering advising as well as coordinating all aspects of their academic support, serves to provide a positive experience for Mercer’s student-athletes as they negotiate their academic and athletic paths. He and his team have also played a large role in Mercer winning the SoCon’s Barrett-Bonner Award for placing the largest percentage of student-athletes on the conference academic honor roll. Mercer has earned the award each year since joining the Southern Conference.

Dr. Jeremy Bray, UNCG

Dr. Jeremy Bray is the Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professor of Economics and Interim Head of the Department of Economics in the Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNCG. Since joining UNCG in 2013, he has fostered transdisciplinary health and wellness research within the Bryan School and across the university through his leadership and mentoring of faculty and students. Bray conducts research on the economics of health behaviors and has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on numerous economic evaluations funded by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. His publications have been referenced thousands of times by other researchers and have had a profound impact on public health by supporting the resource allocation decisions of federal, state and local policymakers, as well as employers, both nationally and internationally.

Amy Collins Moore, UNCG

Amy Moore is the Business Officer and Executive Assistant to the Dean in UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. In addition to these duties, she is the Affirmative Action Officer and manages Human Resource Management at the Dean’s level, which includes faculty and staff searches and personnel paperwork for faculty, staff and students. On staff at her alma mater since 2003, Moore serves on the Staff Senate and is currently on the Personal and Professional Development Committee and has been the Secretary and served on the Staff Recognition Committee in the past. She previously worked as the Executive Director for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina, Chapter Director for Operation Smile, and President of the Greensboro Jaycees. As a wife and mom to three daughters, she spends her free time as a Girl Scout Co-Leader and a member of the Greensboro’s Woman’s Club and is active in her daughters’ school PTSAs.

Dr. Celeste Hill, Samford

Dr. Celeste Hill is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, also serving as the faculty advisor of Samford’s student chapter of the National Council on Family Relations (SUNCFR) and as an advisor for underclassman. Hill, who holds four degrees from the University of Alabama, including a Ph.D. in educational psychology, currently teaches Infant and Child Development, Gerontology and the Family, and Family Life Interaction. Hill’s areas of interest include experiential education, online learning and development during late adulthood. Prior to becoming a full-time faculty member at Samford, Hill, who became certified as an online instructor and as a national peer reviewer for Quality Matters, earned the Stephen Shank Recognition for significant contribution to learner success at Capella University for the 2012 and 2013 academic years.

Paige Mathis, Samford

Paige Mathis serves as Samford’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Academics. In her eighth season, Mathis oversees the Academic Enhancement Program for Student-Athletes and is the primary academic counselor for the Bulldogs’ football program. Prior to her current role, Mathis served as the academic counselor for six sports and a tutor coordinator at Samford. Her passion for athletic academic service stems from her commitment to assisting student-athletes succeed not only on the field or court, but also in the classroom.

Dr. Christine Benz Smith, Chattanooga

Dr. Christine Benz Smith has been at Chattanooga in several capacities since 2001 and currently serves as the Director of the School of Nursing and the Chief Health Affairs Officer. Smith, who holds the rank of UC Foundation Associate Professor, is a member of the UT System COVID-19 Task Force, the UTC COVID-19 Campus Support Team, Emergency Operations Command, the Facilities Use Committee, and the Implementation Task Force and served on the Fall 2020 Task Force chairing the Campus Safety and Risk Management subcommittee. She has been awarded the Carolyn and Roger G. Brown Community Engagement Award, the UT System President’s Connect Award, the Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement Award for the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, the Dean Stinnett Award for the College of Health Education and Professional Studies, and the Girls’ Inc. Unbought and Unbossed Award, and was named one of the ETSU College of Nursing Top 60 Alums. She also earned the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga Keystone Award and the Dedicated to Youth Service Award. She is an American Lung Association Woman of Distinction.

Endia Butler, Chattanooga

Endia Butler is the Student Employment Coordinator for the Financial Aid Office at Chattanooga. She is responsible for Federal Work Study, Academic Service and Job Location and Development. Butler is passionate about partnering with other departments on campus to create programs that focus on the career and personal development of underrepresented students. In 2020, Butler and Dr. Lisa Piazza, Director of the Office for Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavor, created the Undergraduate Research Training Opportunity Program Scholars, a program that provides students an opportunity to learn research methodology and work as a research assistant under a faculty mentor. Butler teaches one of the First Year Experience courses and is an active volunteer in the First-Generation Program at UTC. She received the Chancellor’s Blue Ribbon Award in April 2020 for the impact she has had on one of her first-generation mentees. Butler earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at UTC and was selected to participate in the inaugural class of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Leadership Academy.

Col. Timothy Hodges, VMI

Colonel Tim Hodges, who currently serves as Professor and Head of Physics and Astronomy as well as Faculty Athletics Representative for VMI Athletics, has served the Institute as a distinguished member of the VMI faculty in a teaching career that spans nearly four decades. His teaching interests are in the areas of solid mechanics, dynamics and finite element analysis. After graduating from VMI in 1980, Hodges began his teaching career on post and was instrumental in the development of VMI’s mechanical engineering program. He went on to earn a Ph. D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and continued to make a lasting impact in the Mechanical Engineering Department, where he served in many roles including department head and head of the engineering division. Hodges has received numerous awards throughout his tenure, including the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, the VMI Distinguished Teaching Award, the VMI Institute Achievement Medal (twice), and the Charles S. Luck, Jr. ’20 Institute Professorship. He has taught over 25 courses during his tenure and has served on numerous VMI committees and service initiatives supporting both cadet and faculty development.

Chief Michael Marshall, VMI

Chief Michael Marshall has served the last 14 years as Police Chief for the Virginia Military Institute. The 32-year public safety professional has served in and led many areas in various departments, including Patrol, Investigations, Internal Affairs, Special Operations & Dignitary Security, Emergency Preparedness and Recruiting & Training. Marshall established and administers VMI’s Game Day Safety and Security Protocols. He provides key leadership in the overall strategic direction of Central Dispatch and the overall combined locality shared agreement in supporting and improving these services. Marshall leads the important safety and security implementation to support VIP visitors to Post. During his tenure, many national and international dignitaries have been welcomed, including a U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense, and the Governor of Virginia multiple times.

Dr. Kelly R. Kelley, Western Carolina

Since 2010, Dr. Kelly R. Kelley she has served as the University Participant Program Coordinator, Consultant, and now Director. Kelley is also an Associate Professor of Inclusive/Special Education. She has published 33 book chapters and articles and presented at more than 165 conferences. Her research interests include secondary transition, independent living, and inclusive postsecondary opportunities for individuals with intellectual disability. The two-time graduate of Western Carolina, who also holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, recently wrote a book called Teaching, Including, and Supporting College Students with Intellectual Disabilities.

Courtney Gauthier, Western Carolina

Courtney Gauthier has served as the Associate Director of Career Integrated Learning with the Center for Career and Professional Development at Western Carolina since 2017. She has worked in the field of career development since 2006, working with career centers at both public and private institutions. Gauthier works with students to make meaning of their college experiences and helps them select majors, explore interests, identify and reach goals, and develop competitive application materials to launch successfully into their next steps. She collaborates with faculty and staff to develop workshops targeted to the needs of their students and their curriculum and is passionate about bringing career development conversations into classrooms and student meetings across campus.

Dr. Anna Catllá, Wofford

Dr. Anne Catllá is an Associate Professor of Mathematics, Coordinator of the Applied Mathematics Concentration, and Director of the Center for Innovation and Learning at Wofford, where she has been teaching since 2008. Catllá’s classes and research interests center on the application of mathematics to a variety of fields. Recently, her research has focused on social justice and looking at how districts are drawn using techniques to detect possibly gerrymandered congressional districts. In her classroom and in her work directing the Center for Innovation and Learning, Catllá seeks to create inclusive spaces that give all learners the opportunity to grow in their understanding of a topic of study and to apply that understanding to other aspects of their educational and professional lives. Catllá was the recipient of the 2014 Roger Milliken Award for the Excellence in Teaching of Science.

Lisa Lefebvre, Wofford

Lisa Lefebvre is the director of employee wellness and medical services at Wofford. Before coming to Wofford, she worked as a nurse at AnMed, Duke University Medical Center, Spartanburg Regional Hospital, The American Red Cross, and Converse College. Lefebvre has always been a strong advocate for health and wellness on campus. Over the past nearly 10 years, she has worked with students, faculty and staff to increase fitness and wellness on campus, to stop smoking, and to increase access and availability of immunizations. Most recently, has been an important leader in the College’s COVID response team.

Past and future meet in a plastic present Fri, 18 Dec 2020 11:00:00 +0000 An interdisciplinary team from The Citadel, with the Gibbes Museum, is lifting the veil that separates the artistic from the technological.]]>

An interdisciplinary team from The Citadel, working with the Gibbes Museum of Art, is lifting the veil that separates the artistic from the technological.

The Veiled Lady — a masterful marble statue created by Pietro Rossi in 1882 — is one of the most well-known pieces of art in the Gibbes.

But the photo above is not of the Veiled Lady. Not the original one, at least.

Thanks to three departments on campus, and a 3D-printer company created by a former cadet called Evolve 3D, the priceless statue can now be recreated, anywhere, for less than a dollar.

Not only that, but the 3D-printed version of the statue can be touched, something that’s attractive to the museum’s everyday visitor and especially important for visually impaired guests.

“When I first saw the iconic Veiled Lady sculpture at the Gibbes Museum, I, like many, was drawn to the stunning textures of this intricately-carved marble,” said Tiffany Silverman, director of The Citadel Fine Arts program. “At the time, as a museum educator, I wished that everyone could have access to experience this artwork in a more tactile, immediate way. Fifteen years later, the perfect combination of talented colleagues and innovative technology has, at last, made this dream possible.” 

The Citadel Fine Arts Department, the Baker School of Business Innovation Lab, The Citadel Makerspace and Evolve 3D worked together to make the project possible — and to help make art more accessible outside of a museum.

Evolve 3D has its own interdisciplinary connections to The Citadel. The business (then called the Cambrian Project) was initially created as part of the annual Baker Business Bowl, a program aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into income.

Though the team didn’t win the first or second place cash prizes, Ben Scott — the founder and CEO of Evolve 3D — says they earned something more valuable.

On the company’s website, he wrote:

“Countless hours of work, every night in the library, then the garage, studying business, writing/rewriting the business plan, working/reworking financial predictions, not going out on weekends, straining personal relationships for months, and still lost. I didn’t sleep for days following, but ironically, I think we still won. The lesson learned from that failure is worth a lot more than $10,000.”

Evolve 3D also loaned one of their beta printers, named Eve, to the museum which will use it to produce more 3D prints of art.

“This innovative and interdisciplinary partnership with The Citadel has proven to be an exciting way to engage our community with art and new technology,” said Sara Arnold, the director of cultural affairs at the Gibbes Museum of Art. “Our visitors are amazed to see the 3D printer in action at the Gibbes. Bridging art and technology opens a whole new world of creativity and accessibility and we are so grateful to Tiffany Silverman and The Citadel cadets who have shared their time and expertise with us.”

As part of the collaboration, James Bezjian, Ph.D, shared his groundbreaking use of a high-resolution 3D scanner that he uses to document artifacts. Dan Hawkins brought the technology of The Citadel’s Makerspace, including 3D printers. Scott — one of Bezjian’s students — started Evolve 3D along with Fine Arts minor — and one of Silverman’s students — Ethan Warner. The Gibbes Museum, current partner of The Citadel’s Fine Arts program, was looking for ways to increase access to their collection for both virtual and in-person audiences.

To that end, and thanks to the entire team involved, a 3D print of the Veiled Lady is also currently on display, waiting to greet visitors at the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Citadel Intelligence and Security Studies veteran student awarded Rangel Graduate Fellowship for foreign service Thu, 17 Dec 2020 15:20:22 +0000 Ashley Towers served America for eight years in the Army National Guard’s military police force. Now she will serve the nation again, this time in foreign service through the U.S.]]>

Ashley Towers served America for eight years in the Army National Guard’s military police force. Now she will serve the nation again, this time in foreign service through the U.S. Department of State.

Towers is among a group of 45 individuals recently awarded a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship through a highly competitive, nationwide process. The program prepares “outstanding young people for careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State in which they can help formulate, represent and implement U.S. foreign policy,” according to the Rangel website.

“As a veteran student and campus leader, Ashley Towers exemplifies the very best in Citadel academics and leadership and is truly deserving of a prestigious Rangel Graduate Fellowship,” said Larry Valero, Ph.D. head of the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies for The Citadel.

Ashley Towers, seen far right, photographed with some of the members of The Citadel Veteran Student Veteran Association in front of the Howitzer cannons on Summerall Field at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, November 5, 2020.

Towers currently serves as president for the The Citadel Graduate College’s Student Veteran Association.

Towers and her class of Fellows will be supported through through two years of graduate study at universities of distinction, internships, mentoring, and professional development activities. The program awards the fellowships annually.

“When I first began looking at the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity of such amazing funding for graduate school, and the excitement of a career with the U.S. Foreign Service that involves travel all over the world and learning new languages,” Towers said. “But when I dug deeper into what being a Foreign Service Officer entails, I realized that it would mean much more to me – it would mean serving a greater purpose in another, very different capacity than my time spent in the military, and finding camaraderie in sharing a very important mission. To represent and promote U.S. interests and policy abroad is a great responsibility, and I am honored and grateful for the opportunity.”

The Fellowship is administered by Howard University and provides each recipient with $42,000 annually for a two year period for tuition, room, board, books and mandatory fees for completion of two-year master’s degrees.

Additionally, Towers will have a personally assigned foreign service officer mentor. She will also participate in two summer internships including working on international issues for members of Congress in Washington, D.C. and working in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate assisted with up to $20,000 for internship related expenses.

Fellows who successfully complete the Rangel Program and Foreign Service entry requirements and all security screenings will receive appointments in the State Department Foreign Service. Each Rangel Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service. 

About The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Security Studies

Intelligence and Securities Studies is one of the most popular and fastest growing academic areas of interest at The Citadel. The Citadel has trained provided highly skilled intelligence and security military officers and civilian leaders for more than 100 years.

The Citadel offers Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies, a non-cadet degree completion program, and a minor. Additionally, The Citadel Graduate College offers a Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies or a Graduate Certificate in Intelligence Analysis.

In the fall of 2020 there were approximately 375 undergraduate majors, 20 minors, and 85 graduate students.

For more information on the programs, please email

Remembering longtime Democratic Party leader, veteran and Citadel professor, Don Fowler Wed, 16 Dec 2020 23:27:16 +0000 Professor Don Fowler, The CitadelProfessor Don Fowler, The CitadelDon Fowler, a man known for his leadership of and contributions to the Democratic Party, but especially for his for generosity of time and wisdom, passed away this week at the age of 85.]]> Professor Don Fowler, The CitadelProfessor Don Fowler, The Citadel

Don Fowler, a man known for his leadership of and contributions to the Democratic Party, but especially for his for generosity of time, energy and wisdom, passed away this week at the age of 85. According to The Post & Courier he had been battling leukemia.

Fowler, a Spartanburg native, was most widely known for his positions of prominence within the Democratic Party. But many of Fowler’s political achievements were born after he served as an active duty officer in the U.S. Army, and while he served as a reservist. Fowler retired from the Army after 30 years of service in 1987. In addition, Fowler was a lifetime member of the National Association of Advancement of Colored people.

In the political realm, Fowler was Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 1971- 1980, then became CEO of the Democratic National Convention in 1995 when President Bill Clinton successfully ran for a second term, followed by serving as Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1995 and 1996. President Clinton tweeted a remembrance about Fowler today:

At The Citadel, and for much of his life at the University of South Carolina where he began teaching in 1964, he was Professor Fowler, political scientist.

“Don played major roles in The Citadel’s affairs over the last decade,” said Winfred “Bo” Moore, Ph.D., professor Emeritus, former Dean for The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences. “From 2008-2012 he served as John C. West Professor of American Government and from 2012-2019 as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science. The many courses he taught (and the personal mentorship he provided) on various aspects of American politics and government enabled our students to learn from a national leader in those fields.”

Fowler was known to frequently drive back forth to Charleston from his home in Columbia, making his work with The Citadel possible. He once remarked to this writer that his wife Carol had generously logged plenty of hours “ferrying him from Columbia to Charleston and back.”

Fowler definitely made his mark at the Military College of South Carolina.

“Additionally, from 2008-2020, Don served as a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Thanks to him, we were able to bring to campus nationally prominent speakers who shared with our students a broad range of perspectives on national affairs. The list of those speakers included Janet Napolitano (then Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security); Frank Fahrenkopf (former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Co-Chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates), Mike McCurry (former White House Press Secretary), Tom Cole (Deputy Minority Whip of the House Republican Caucus), James Clyburn (Majority Whip of the House Democratic Caucus), Beth Fouhy (Senior Politics Editor, NBC News), Jonathan Martin (National Political Correspondent, New York Times), and  James Roosevelt (grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and co-chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee).

In these (and many other) ways, Don graciously–and effectively–advocated on behalf of The Citadel and made it much easier for us successfully to pursue opportunities that likely would not otherwise have been available to us. His contributions to the advancement of our academic community are many. And he will be sorely missed by all who fortunate enough to have him as friend.

Winfred “Bo” Moore, Ph.D., professor Emeritus, former Dean for The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Fowler is survived by his wife Carol (who also led the S.C. Democratic Party from 2007 to 2011 and is currently a National Commiteewoman, her photo on the party’s website next to Don’s), and their adult children, Donnie and Cissy.

Read more about Don Fowler and his career

The Post & Courier
Former DNC, SC Democratic Party chairman Don Fowler dies at 85

The State Newspaper
Longtime SC Democratic Party icon and professor Don Fowler has died

Associated Press
Former DNC leader, mainstay of SC politics Don Fowler dies

Citadel ’02 alumna selected for American Red Cross board of directors in Illinois Mon, 30 Nov 2020 15:27:43 +0000 Ragan Freitag Pattison, The Citadel Class of 2002Ragan Freitag Pattison, The Citadel Class of 2002Note: Ragan Freitag Pattison graduated from The Citadel in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor, Law from Mississippi College]]> Ragan Freitag Pattison, The Citadel Class of 2002Ragan Freitag Pattison, The Citadel Class of 2002

Note: Ragan Freitag Pattison graduated from The Citadel in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor, Law from Mississippi College School of Law in 2008. Photo courtesy of America Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley website.

As seen in The Herald-News

ROMEOVILLE – The American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley on Friday announced the appointment of Ragan Freitag Pattison to the organization’s board of directors. Board members are chosen based on their commitment to the Red Cross mission as well as their individual expertise, experience and willingness to serve the needs of the board. 

Pattison is the director of state and local government market for Wight & Co. She was one of the first women to graduate The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, earning her bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in American government. 

After graduating The Citadel, Pattison returned home and began her early civic career serving as alderwoman for the city of Wilmington.

During that time, she worked for former U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Streator, handling constituent concerns and legislative matters within the district.

In 2005, she entered Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, Mississippi.

During her time in law school, she served on the committee for the law school chapter for Habitat for Humanity, where they raised money and built new homes for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Pattison graduated from law school in 2008, and that year, she also was admitted to practice law in Illinois. Pattison had a successful career practicing criminal defense, family law and governmental law with Kavanagh Grumley & Gorbold LLC. Currently, she is a licensed attorney with Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group P.C. 

While practicing law, Pattison ran and successfully won two elections, serving as a Will County Board member and commissioner for the Forest Preserve of Will County. Pattison served as chairwoman of the Will County Capital Committee, where she began working with Wight & Co. She continued working with Wight & Co. as she transitioned into the chief of staff role for the Will County Board. 

Pattison’s relationship with Wight & Co. was instrumental as the Will County Courthouse project began to kick off, sparking a series of capital projects for Will County. 

“The Red Cross does its best work because local people volunteer their time to help their community,” said Brian McDaniel, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley.

“Pattison is a talented leader who makes an impact every day. She has a strong commitment to the Red Cross mission, and we are fortunate to have her join the chapter board. Without board members like Ragan, backed by the organizations she works with, we wouldn’t have as strong of an organization as we do.” 

Brian McDaniel, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley

The American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley always is welcoming new board members. Those interested in volunteering as a board member or community volunteer leader should contact McDaniel at 815-370-6729 or

The American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley serves more than 1 million people in five counties in northern Illinois, including Kankakee, Will, Grundy, Kendall and La Salle.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For information, visit or follow on Twitter @RedCrossIL. 

A veteran, student, alumnus and coordinator — meet Jesse Brooks Mon, 09 Nov 2020 20:30:02 +0000 An integral part of The Citadel is the Veteran Student Success Center, open to both day and evening veteran students.]]>

The Military College of South Carolina is, in addition to being a leadership laboratory for the Corps of Cadets, where many former service members choose to complete or continue their education.

An integral part of The Citadel’s support for those students is the Veteran Student Success Center (VSSC), open to both day and evening veteran students.

In addition to supporting academics, one of the VSSC’s primary missions is to foster social interaction and community-building for veterans on campus.

These things would not be possible without the Veteran Services Coordinator, Jesse Brooks; he also assists the school’s certifying official.

Jesse Brooks, a Citadel Graduate College student and Veterans Services Coordinator, works in the Veteran Student Success Center at The Citadel

Brooks, one of The Citadel’s many student veterans, is also a full-time employee. He processes students’ VA Education Benefits, while also planning, coordinating and collaborating on events for veterans.

If that weren’t enough, Brooks also serves as the advisor for The Citadel’s Student Veteran Association, which also works to help further veteran initiatives, while building relationships both on and off campus.

When he’s not in the VSSC, Brooks is working towards completing a Master’s of Education in Higher Education Leadership.

“When I am not at working here or at home doing school work, I enjoy spending my time with my daughters, Adalyn and Kayla. They were a big driving force for me to continue my education and to get my degree, just so I could hope to be a good example for them. I always tell them to question things until they are satisfied learning about it, and to go in with as much interest as possible.”

Jesse Brooks, USN (Ret.), Citadel Class of 2020
Jesse Brooks graduating from the Naval Nuclear Power School

Learn more about the former Navy nuclear machinist mate here:

When did you retire from service? Did you come to The Citadel immediately after? If not, what did you do between?

I honorably discharged in 2014.  Prior to discharging I had already had a job lined up in Atlanta, GA, at a natural gas plant. I worked there for three years before deciding I needed a career change and to go to college. I initially went to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree; but, after several life events, I realized what I really wanted to do was help people. It was at that point I transferred to The Citadel and began to work on my B.A. in Psychology.

Jesse Brooks with Bachelor of Arts degree from The Citadel

How did you hear about The Citadel, especially being from Hawaii? Where did you earn your undergrad?

So I am a military brat. I was born in Honolulu, lived in San Antonio, and finished middle school in Germantown, OH (about an hour north of Cincinnati). I first heard about The Citadel when I was stationed here, from 2010-2012, when I was going through the Navy’s Nuclear Training Pipeline. When my buddies and I would go downtown on the weekends, we would always see the cadets walking around, and we just ended up chatting with a couple of them. We were just asking each other about The Citadel, being in the military and enjoying conversing.

What do you hope to use your M.Ed. for after graduation? When do you expect to graduate?

I plan on using my M.Ed. to move up into high executive type positions within an institution. Ideally, I would love to become a department head of veteran/military affairs/services because this is a demographic of students and people in general that I enjoy working with and for. I expect to graduate in Fall 2021, if everything goes to plan.

What does it mean to you, being able to help other veterans earn degrees and to be part of a community here on campus?

Helping veterans, to me, is the very least I can do for these people. Regardless, if someone does one year or retires, these people made a sacrifice that I will always be grateful for. I grew up in a military family, these are the people that I am used to. Any one of them would drop whatever they are doing to help out someone else. I just want to be that person to help them.

What’s your favorite part of your job or The Citadel as a whole?

My favorite part of my job is when I can just take a small break from the computer and talk to a student. Doesn’t have to be advising, counseling, about school, but I usually bring the conversation back around to how things are going here, any issues with classes or the VA and then just let them know that if they need help to reach out.

What I enjoy most at The Citadel, especially as a student, is the atmosphere. I feel had I gone to any other college, I would have been less motivated to do the work. At The Citadel, there is this feeling of discipline and structure that is so reminiscent of the military, that I knew I could do nothing but succeed.

Do you ever interact with cadets? If so, how? Do you ever give advice or support to those planning to go into the military after graduation?

I do interact with cadets, less now, than when I was in my undergrad, but I still interact with those who are using VA Education Benefits. I never really “advised” many cadets unless they were wanting to go into the Navy, and especially if they were wanting to go into the Nuclear Program. I feel like I know enough about those two to give a cadet enough information. Regardless, I would (and still do) support those who plan on joining the military. To me there is nothing more selfless you can do than to serve your country, in peace or war.

Terror attacks in France over Muhammad cartoons spark debate on secularism, Islamophobia Wed, 04 Nov 2020 11:00:00 +0000 Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., an assistant professor in The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Security Studies is quoted in this article.]]>

Photo: People stand in front of Notre Dame Basilica on Nov. 1, 2020 in Nice, France. (Courtesy: Arnold Jerocki, Getty Images)

As seen in USA Today, by Kim Hjelmgaard

Note: Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Security Studies

After two brushes with terrorism, Paul Moreira’s Paris-based TV production company is seeking a new home.  

“It’s time for us to move,” said Moreira, 58, an investigative journalist and documentarian who has reported from some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. He spoke to USA TODAY on the day France saw its third terrorist attack since September, when a trial began for alleged accomplices in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo killings

Five years ago, the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, which many Muslims find offensive. In January 2015, two brothers murdered 12 people at their office in Paris, shouting that they had “avenged the prophet.”

Moreira’s firm Premières Lignes occupies the space across the hall from Charlie Hebdo’s former offices. Moreira’s employees were among the first witnesses of the attack. 

Moreira and his employees were not caught up in the latest assault, a gruesome knife attack at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Oct. 29 that killed three people — or the attack two weeks earlier when a middle school teacher in a northern Paris suburb was beheaded by a Chechen man after he had shown his students Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons as part of discussion about secularism, freedom of speech and religious identity. 

But two of Moreira’s staff were seriously wounded on Sept. 25 when a knife-wielding assailant targeted two random bystanders in front of the building that previously housed Charlie Hebdo’s offices. Zaher Hassan Mahmood, 25, has admitted to prosecutors that he wanted to set the building on fire, believing that Charlie Hebdo still operated there. Since 2015, the magazine has been run from a secret location. In a video found on his phone, according to prosecutors, Mahmood is seen railing against the cartoons and denouncing their publication with such intensity that he weeps profusely. 

“This is a bad moment for France,” said Moreira, explaining that to stay in the former Hebdo building had become too traumatizing. 

France against ‘separatism’

The three recent assaults, described by France’s President Emmanuel Macron as “Islamist terror attacks,” have reignited long-simmering tensions in a country where secular values are deeply held and proclaimed. They come also as Macron has sought to crack down on extremism in France following a spate of terrorist attacks in recent years that have, according to Macron, partially resulted from a “counter society” that seeks “Islamist separatism” at odds with France’s republican values. 

Muslims are a relatively small minority in Europe, comprising roughly 5% of the population, according to the most recent estimates by the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based “fact tank.” In France, the Muslim share of the population is the region’s highest, at around 9%. Pew estimates the U.S. Muslim population at 1%.

Although Islamic extremism gets disproportionate attention, in the United States right-wing extremists were responsible for more than 76% of terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. in 2019 and 90% in the first half of 2020, according to a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Macron has outlined a series of measures aimed at quashing religious “separatism” and freeing France from what he has described as radical “foreign influences.” These include:

  • money for programs that combat extremism and address social problems in poor neighborhoods
  • additional scrutiny of religious schools
  • near-total ban on home schooling
  • restrictions on foreign imams traveling to France to work
  • far tighter regulations for mosques, including a requirement that imams are officially trained and certified in France
  • Islamic organizations receiving government funds need to sign a “secular charter” that accepts French principles of free expression, tolerance and other aspects associated with secular democracy

On Thursday, Macron announced that he was more than doubling the number of soldiers deployed in the country to protect against attacks, sending 7,000 to guard schools and religious sites. He has also staunchly defended Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish the caricatures, leading to protests in several Muslim countries and sending relations between Turkey and France to a new low after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week accused Macron of Islamophobia over the caricatures and even questioned his mental health. Paris has since recalled its ambassador to Turkey in protest, and Erdoğan has called on Muslim countries to boycotts French goods.  

Yet while many Muslims on religious grounds consider any depiction of the prophet as offensive, the issue in the context of France is nothing if not thorny, experts say. 

Yet while many Muslims on religious grounds consider any depiction of the prophet as offensive, the issue in the context of France is nothing if not thorny, experts say. 

“They are the equivalent of the N-word. They are equivalent of blackface. They are racial slurs,” she said. The cartoons, Mogahed added, “target a vulnerable, marginalized, disempowered and demonized community by a powerful institution, who are then further demonized, sometimes by the state, for protesting those slurs.”  

Mogahed said believing the cartoons are offensive should not in any way be understood as justification for any form of violence, and indeed governments and Muslim leaders and organizations across France and the world have condemned the attacks.

However, she said it it was “a myth” and “completely disingenuous” of France to project the idea that “it is all open and anyone can say anything they want to anyone.” She noted, for example, that Holocaust denial is criminalized in France and that wearing the Muslim headscarf known as a hijab, a practice some Muslims view as a form of self-expression, is banned in French schools, while burqas, niqabs and other full-face coverings are prohibited in all public spaces. Transgressors are subject to fines. 

Free expression is “not being applied consistently” in France she said, adding that in his support for the cartoons to be published Macron is effectively “imposing a different kind of state religion” that she referred to as as “French Republic nationalism.” 

Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, an executive director for North America at Quilliam, a London-based think tank that focuses on countering extremism, said “Muslim circles” in France, Belgium and other Western European nations have been slow to recognize the need for a far more public and rigorous debate about how it’s possible to be “both French and Muslim.” 

He said there’s no question that Muslims in France are discriminated against and that mental health and societal factors, such as few economic opportunities, are often downplayed or overlooked when trying to understand how radicalization happens.

But Fraser-Rahim — a historian of Islam who spent more than a decade as a counterterrorism adviser, including at the Department for Homeland Security — added that corrosive, “narrow theological interpretations” of Islam, often imported from abroad, have played a major role in “wreaking havoc in communities” where young Muslims are being exposed to “fringe and austere” versions of the religion that bear little resemblance to the mainstream.

“It’s mental health. It’s being on the margins. It’s unemployment. But it’s also about how people are reading and interpreting scripture and relating to it,” he said. 

Fraser-Rahim noted it was “absolutely despicable” that Malaysia’s former leader Mahathir Mohamad said in a blog post circulated on social media directly after the recent Nice attack that Muslims had “a right to be angry and kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” Mohamad later claimed his words were “misrepresented” and he clarified that while he did not approve of the attack, freedom of expression does not include “insulting other people,” referring to the cartoons.

Read the full USA Today article here.