Monthly Archives: May 2009

Finals make you want to jump off a bridge?

Sure, finals are stressful and they can make you want to pull out your hair. But we were down right shocked to see this video of a group of freshman jump off Okeechobee bridge.

Thankfully, no one got hurt doing the stunt but the group was sternly reprimanded by police.

Oh and for the record, maybe the stunt wasn’t the smartest thing to do but the group did share a prayer before anyone took the leap off the bridge. 

* The Beacon newspaper does not encourage dangerous behavior* 


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It’s midnight somewhere, Happy Finals Week

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Finals week means more than late nights and crowded study rooms. It’s also the time in the semester when the cafeteria opens up at 9 p.m. for a free cafeteria-style breakfast, just in time for your evening coffee fix. Check out the photo gallery to see the traditional Midnight Breakfast frenzy.

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Found: Remnants of SunFest

Photo from an anonymous contributor

Photo from an anonymous contributor

Found this morning in the Dixie Parking Garage: a bottle of Corona with about a quarter inch of beer still left, along with a chewed up piece of lime.

This is believed to be from one of the many SunFest patrons who were allowed to park in the garage for the duration of the event over the weekend.

Said the anonymous contributor in their e-mail, “Can you imagine if a prospective student saw this, or even worse, one of their parents? This is crazy.”

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Dr. Searle issues statement in response to SunFest complaints

Before this past weekend, Palm Beach Atlantic junior and commuter student Ashley Anderson was focused on one thing: studying for finals.

However, for the first time in many years, Palm Beach County’s waterfront party, SunFest, coincided with finals week, and students found parking a nearly impossible feat.

“On Sunday when I came to the library, I was searching for parking and the commuter lot was full so I had to park by the intramural fields,” Anderson said. “And on Friday night, when I was leaving campus and going to my car, there was a bunch of drunken smoking around my car when I was trying to leave. It was really inconvenient.”

A statement issued by Dr. Mary Ann Searle, Vice President for Student Development, apologized for the inconvenience, saying, “On behalf of the University, I apologize that students were not notified in advance of our plans to accommodate SunFest Parking.”

Along with the apology, Searle explained that the university’s decision was based on giving student athletes the opportunity to raise money for summer missions trips.

“The SunFest Parking fundraiser generated a little more than $8,000 this weekend for the Summer 2009 Missions Teams,” Searle wrote.

Complaints were also fielded by Safety and Security regarding “several alcohol-related incidents by SunFest participants,” Searle said. “The Athletics Department and Safety & Security advised the participants that they could not drink on PBA property.  On Saturday and Sunday, the Safety & Security Department added staff members and concentrated their patrol efforts on the SunFest Parking areas.”

Searle stated that over the weekend there were five calls made to Safety and Security by students for escorts, and 152 “calls for service.”

Searle encouraged students to contact Bob White, Director for Athletics, with any comments or suggestions on how the SunFest Parking fundraiser may be improved.

Students were also shocked to hear fireworks on the evening before the first day of finals.

“I thought Jesus was coming. I had no idea there were going to be fireworks,” said PBA senior Adam Cloninger. “It caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them.”

Anderson hopes that in the future, PBA will  “give students some forewarning because I had no idea that parking would be taken up for SunFest.”


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Mahanes sit-in protest update: Protest cancelled

Update: The sit-in protest scheduled to take place tomorrow at 11 a.m. is canceled. Protest organizers released this statement on the Facebook group page regarding the change.

In lieu of and in respect to the wishes of Dr. Mahanes, the protest tomorrow will not be taking place, all members of this group have been notified of the adjusted nature of the events on Tuesday.

The silent sit-in protest was called shortly after a letter sent to university faculty and staff was published on The Bacon that outlined the details of budget cutbacks that would terminated Dr. Ken Mahanes’ position as Vice President of Religious Life.  The Facebook group calling for the protest urged students to wear black, bring signs and invite everyone to a sit-in protest at 11 a.m. on the Rinker Green May 5. During its short lifetime, the group grew to 266 members.

Stay tuned for more breaking updates on the Mahanes protest and other news.

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Dr. Ken Mahanes: A personal statement

Written by Dr. Ken Mahanes, outgoing Vice President of Religious Life at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

I would like to offer a personal perspective to the recent decision of the president to eliminate the position of Vice President for Religious Life and the concomitant “dissolving of the department of Religious Life by reassigning staff positions to other existing departments” as was announced in a list/serv to PBA staff and faculty on Thursday, April 30.

I am probably the most naïve person in the universe because I really thought once the announcement was made public, we would all move on. However, I was told by several friends that there was a Beacon and Bacon article with numerous comments and even a Facebook page announcing a demonstration opposing the actions of the administration.

Because of my preoccupation with other matters, I did not look at any of these sources until now. As of today, May 4, I have read all of the postings on the Bacon, the news story in the Beacon, and the comments on the Facebook page.

First, I would like to offer some clarifications:
– The comment by one reader in the Bacon that I am retiring is inaccurate. Mark Twain once said in response to reading his own obituary in the newspaper: “The report of my death is greatly exaggerated.” The report of my retirement (or that I had expressed a desire to leave PBA) is not only greatly exaggerated, it is simply not true.
– I do not work at PBA only 5 months out of the year as another respondent to the Bacon article wrote, which brought a smile to my face. If I did, I’d have a job that even Donald Trump would be envious of (I am aware that I ended that sentence with a preposition – my apologies to English majors).  To set the record straight, I serve at PBA on a 12 month contract and as a vice president I serve at the pleasure of the president to whom I am directly accountable. For the past two years, I have also served as a seasonal pastor (about six and a half months of the year) at Lost Tree Chapel on Singer Island with the president’s consent and encouragement.
– In reply to a couple of comments about my income, my primary income and all of my benefits such as health insurance are provided by PBA. Supplemental income from Lost Tree Chapel has been placed in retirement funds, most of which have gone down the toilet (excuse the crude analogy) during the past two years.
– To clarify another comment in the Bacon, I did not learn of the president’s decision through an e-mail. I apologize if I left anyone under that impression. Rather, Dr. Clark talked with me personally on April 2 and gave me a written memorandum informing me of his decision. The information was not made public until April 30 via e-mail, which is the standard practice for making such announcements.

I want to thank so many students and colleagues who have made positive and affirming comments to me personally or in writing since the announcement of my departure was made last Thursday. My favorite was a card slipped under my door by a professor and several of his students that was down-right funny, but very meaningful to me.

Let me, also, make very clear: the decision not to hold a farewell reception for me, but rather to request that individuals express their kind thoughts and words personally by cards or calls, was made at my insistence and was not the decision of Dr. Clark.

Additionally, I respect Dr. Clark’s authority to terminate with or without cause those of us who report directly to him and to initiate administrative changes such as the restructuring of Religious Life.

I am confident that the decision of the president to eliminate my position, which resulted in my termination, was not easy for him. I have been in his position before and have had to make unpopular and controversial decisions to terminate staff both in my role as a pastor of a multi-staff church and in my administrative positions as a dean, a vice president and interim president at PBA.

Unfortunately, this unpleasant responsibility comes with the turf and is the price of leadership. In light of the financial exigencies of the University, I fully understand the president’s attempt to fulfill his fiduciary responsibility as the Chief Executive Officer accountable to the Board of Trustees of the University by taking the action that he has.

Finally, I am sincere in not wanting to be the source of dissent or disruption at this time. Therefore, in deference to my personal wishes, I am asking that the planned gathering on the Rinker Green on Tuesday morning be cancelled.

Though I deeply appreciate and am honored by the intentions of students and others, I do not want anything to detract from focusing on Dr. and Mrs. Clark who have served PBA faithfully for the past six years or to interfere with the celebration of the graduating seniors and their families this week.

I am grateful for the opportunities Dr. Clark has given me and the generosity he has shown me during the past six years of my 11 years at PBA. I feel no ill-will towards him for his recent decision. To the contrary, I wish for him and Lois the very best in the years ahead.

Finally, I love PBA and have great optimism for its future and will continue to pray for and financially support the University as I encourage others to do as well.

– Ken Mahanes


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Breaking News: Sister of PBA Sodexo employee feared kidnapped

It is feared that the 14 year old sister of a PBA Sodexo employee has been kidnapped in Haiti, said an e-mail sent to the PBA community by Shane M. Collins, Retail Manager for Sodexo.

Fezlaine Chery, sister of Aniece Valcime, disappeared from the family’s home in St. Marks, Haiti yesterday. Valcime’s mother is flying to Haiti tomorrow to attempt to locate her daughter, Collins said in the e-mail.

Prayer is requested for the Valcime family.

Kidnapping has grown into a trade in Haiti, where, according to a 2008 article by BBC News, the unemployment rate stands at 70 percent and kidnappers can easily request thousands of dollars in ransom money. The United States government issued a travel warning at the beginning of 2009, citing the kidnapping of a total of 25 Americans in 2008 as one of many reasons to avoid “non-essential travel” to the poverty-stricken country.

Cheyanne Lent was a member of the Spring Break missions trip that visited Haiti this year.

“When we were staying in the orphanage, the orphange director, Tanya, was telling us one day … how her daughter, named Sabi, back in early 2007 was kidnapped from her house,” Lent said, referring to the orphanage where the team spent their time. The kidnappers held Sabi for four days while the family raised the $15,000 ransom that was demanded.

Photo by Cheyanne Lent / Contributing Photographer

Photo by Cheyanne Lent / Contributing Photographer

Stay tuned to the Beacon Blog for updates.

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Dr. Ken Mahanes leaving PBA, protest coming to campus

In a letter sent to faculty and staff, PBA President Dr. David W. Clark announced that the position of Vice President of Religious Life, currently filled by Dr. Ken Mahanes, will be dissolved, and divisions under Religious Life will be moved to other departments.

As a result, Mahanes will be leaving PBA.

“With a desire to fulfill the Trustee’s mandate for a balanced budget as we move forward, it has become necessary to creatively explore various solutions to meeting these financial challenges,” Clark wrote. “Sadly, this has required us to leave positions unfilled and to eliminate some positions.”

Mahanes, who was a Southern Baptist pastor for over 30 years before coming to PBA, served as interim president before Clark’s hiring. Mahanes expressed to the Beacon that he is very gracious for his time at PBA.

“I have great love for the university, for the people that are here,” Mahanes said. “I have confidence that God has been very faithful to my wife and myself … and he will lead us in the right direction.”

“Truly, we have been blessed by Dr. Mahanes’ talents, humor and gifted ability to relate to the needs of our students and he will be greatly missed,” Clark said in the letter, which was published early this morning on The Bacon Web site.

A Facebook group has been formed in protest of Mahanes’ departure, and a sit-in has been planned to take place on the Rinker Green on Tuesday, May 5, at 11 a.m. The group encourages students to participate in the sit-in by wearing black and making signs. The Beacon Blog will keep you updated on developments as they occur.


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A commentary on the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency

Beacon contributor Marissa Barkey, reflects on the Obama administration and the president’s first 100 days in office.

After studying abroad in a European culture that embraced our new leadership, I came back to PBA, and it was the first time I saw the highest amount of disappointment of our new President. I was taken back when I heard one student say he believed Obama was a terrorist. President Barack Obama’s first 100 days are concluding. As I might mutter admiration for Obama’s term, clearly, I cannot forget to acknowledge that America is in big trouble.

One of the major questions we face is whether the crises we are all confronting require or demand a seismic shift in order to keep the American ship afloat. I have felt a deep ambivalence about this since I first started to take in what Obama meant. However, as the depth of corruption of the last decade is slowly revealing itself in many places, I still find myself persuaded by Obama that this is the time for real government action.
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