Chapman Students from LA Discuss the Holidays

Drone photo of the damage in LA. Photo courtesy of Catie Kovelman

More than a month after the deadliest fire in California history, Chapman students affected by the Woolsey Fire are contemplating holidays without homes and neighbors. 

“There were five to ten students who reached out to our office directly requesting help and support,” said Elise Cimino, executive assistant to Dean Price.

The Woolsey Fire started on November 8th near Simi Valley. The fire burnt through more than 153,000 acres and destroyed more than 18,000 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials. The deadliest fire in California history is finally said to be 100 percent contained. Although the fire is contained, many students are still grappling with the destruction of their homes; however, they are thankful that their families and friends are safe.

Among those who lost their homes were Chapman students, Jordan and Cameron Krekorian.

Jordan Krekorian, a senior screenwriting major, said that the family spent Thanksgiving at her older sister’s house.

“My sister [Cameron] and I spent the week at our older sister’s house in Eagle Rock with our parents, while we were waiting to move into our rental house for the next year, or however long it’ll take to rebuild our house,” Krekorian said.

The Krekorian’s parents are currently living in a rental home right outside of Bell Canyon, California where they previously lived.

Krekorian said she is not quite sure where they will spend the Christmas holiday.

“I think we’ll either have it at my parents’ new place or at my older sister’s or maybe my older brother’s? Not sure yet, we don’t really plan super far ahead for that,” Krekorian said.

As to when the new house will be finished, she says it could take up to two years.

“We figure [it will take] about a year, two at the longest. We were already in the middle of a remodel and my parents are pretty focus forward for the new house on what they want.” Krekorian said.

She is grateful for tiny acts of kindness that show their experience is not lost on others.

“Someone anonymously put a small pot of white flowers on the driveways of all the houses that completely burned,” Krekorian said.

Losing her home has taught her to appreciate the people in her life.

“I’m glad my parents got out safely and I really have appreciated everyone who’s reached out to me and my family,” she said.

Catie Kovelman, a Chapman student who is also from Bell Canyon was evacuated from her family home. The fire started when her dad was home alone with a bad back. Kovelman  was not able to get to her house because the 101 freeway was closed.

View of the LA fire. Photo by Catie Kovelman.

Her dad evacuated to friends’ homes but those neighbors, too,  were forced to evacuate as the fire galloped closer and closer, , according to Kovelman. He ended up coming to stay with her at her house in Orange.

“[The fire] burned a lot of my street and right through the backyard up to my house, but my house is still standing. We have a decent amount of damage, but we are standing,” said Kovelman, the senior creative producing major and journalism minor.

Her neighbors, she says, are dealing with the effects on their houses and the insurance hassles that accompany claims.

Catie Kovelman’s father driving away from the LA fire as he was evacuated. Photo courtesy of Catie Kovelman.

“Insurance has been big lately everyone is just trying to get their inspector there and their money set up,” Kovelman said.

She plans on returning home for the holidays.

“I feel like the holidays are bitter sweet. I’m so grateful I have a house, but I feel bad for the 30+ neighbors who lost their homes,” Kovelman said, “My community is so burned, and the park went down too, so it’s weird [to be home].”

She says she is feeling lucky to have her home still standing. But is more thankful for the people in her life.

“I’m honestly just grateful I had a house to come home to for the holidays. I didn’t realize how much I valued the traditions that would’ve been lost this year with no house to do them in. But honestly, my family and dogs were safe, and that’s what matters. Stuff can be replaced but they can’t,” Kovelman said.

Chapman’s default rate dips lower

Mady Dewey biking to her job at Google in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Mady Dewey.

In the midst of a student loan crisis, Chapman’s default rate lowers to 2.2 percent.

While the nation is in the midst of a national student loan crisis, with students and graduates owing a collective 1.5 trillion dollars, new data given to Prowl from the Chapman financial aid office shows that Chapman’s default rate is only 2.2 percent. That number inched down from last year but hasn’t gone above 3.3 percent for at least the last three years according to the chart from Chapman’s financial aid office.

A Chapman student is considered to be in default on a student loan if they have not made a payment in more than 270 days.

The cohort default rate is the percentage of students who failed to make payments for at least 270 days within the specified period of time, or “window” (two or three years), about a decade ago, Congress directed the DoE to switch from the 2-year to the 3-year cohort default rate, according to Matt Carter, editor of Credible News.

Chapman’s default rate is less than one-fourth the national default rate, which is 10.8 percent on federal loans. The national percentage includes students who attended  for-profit colleges notorious for low graduation and low job-placement rates and which have sometimes stunningly high rates of default.

“According to the latest numbers from the DoE, the national three year cohort default rate is 10.8 percent. It’s 10.3 percent at public schools, and 7.1 percent at private nonprofit schools like Chapman University. Private for-profit schools (“proprietary institutions”) don’t fare as well — 15.6 percent of students were in default within three years of leaving school,” Carter said.

So, Chapman University students seem to be doing much better than students at many other schools in staying out of default on their federal student loans, Carter said.

 Chapman’s default rate rose one percent between 2012-2014 and was 3.3 percent over three years on federal loans. It dropped by around one percent from 2014 to 2015.

Chapman’s default rate is low because the university has a lot of students from wealthy families, said Antoinette Flores, an associate director for Postsecondary Education at American Progress.

“Chapman’s student body is wealthier on average than students attending college across the country,” Flores said, noting that only 18 percent of Chapman students received a Federal Pell grant, one measure of low-income students.

“Across the country, roughly 40 percent of students receive a Pell grant,” she said.

Students who complete their degrees are generally able to repay their student loans when they graduate, particularly if the total amount they’ve borrowed doesn’t exceed their annual earnings, Carter said.  

“It’s students who drop out — or attend schools that don’t give them marketable job skills — who tend to have the most trouble. A healthy proportion of Chapman University students get their degrees, which undoubtedly helps keep the school’s default rate low,” Carter said.

Only 53 percent of Chapman students take out federal loans compared to roughly 70 percent of college students nationally, according to Flores.  

“There is no ‘usual’ amount that students borrow to attend Chapman,” said David C. Carnevale, Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

“If a student were to borrow their federal maximum loan amounts each year, they would borrow $27,000. The average debt from federal loans after graduation, however, is $20,938.” Carnevale said.

Students have 10 years to repay their federal student loans in a standard repayment plan. Not all students opt for this plan, so some have up to 30 years to repay loans.

Students who don’t repay their loans default. When this happens, financial aid officers refer students back to their loan servicers to see what accommodations might be made.

“The servicer is trained to help students figure out what their best options are for any given situation that may arise. They want to work with students; they are not a collection agency,”  Carnevale said.

60 percent of incoming freshman at Chapman take out some type of a loan to finance their education, according to Carnevale. The average amount is $5,750. according to Carnevale.

The chart represents the entire university, not just one population. The federal government does not track default by program, according to David Carnevale. Chart courtesy of David Carnevale.

Mady Dewey, a recent Chapman graduate took out loans in order to get her public relations and advertising degree at Chapman.

“I got 50 percent scholarship at Chapman, but took out student loans for the rest of it,” Dewey said. “I worked multiple jobs in college to pay for rent, food, and life on top of taking out loans for tuition.”

Interest accrued on Dewey’s loans during her four years of schooling at Chapman. “I have decided to refinance my loans at a better interest rate through SoFi. I am currently in a deferment period meaning I don’t have to pay until November so I have been aggressively saving since then.”

Dewey got a job at Google which she anticipates will allow her to pay off her loans in five to eight years. “It’s still going to be tight, but it is doable,” Dewey said.   

Chapman undergraduates borrow an average of $6,227 per year, according to Collegefactual. Borrowing the average amount will result in loans of $12,454 after two years and $24,908 after four.

“I am fully on loans for my first semester of law school.” Chapman law student Austin Jones said. “I think I signed up for a 10 year plan but I might just adjust it depending on how much I make when I come out of law school.”

Around 1.1 million borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans in 2016. On average, more than 3,000 borrowers default on their federal student loans every day according to a study by the Federal Student Aid department.

Student loans now have 44 million borrowers who altogether owe $1.5 trillion in solely the U.S, according to Make Lemonade. It is now the second highest consumer debt category- higher than credit card and auto loans.

When people default, the debt is typically transferred to a collection agency. And, in some cases, borrowers who default are charged even higher interest rates as a penalty for having missed payments.

Emmie Farber, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major, is determined that won’t happen to her.

“I plan on getting a kickass job and saving,” to pay off her student loan debt, she said.

Chapman fraternities reflect on their actions following the Brett Kavanaugh senate hearings

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, Saturday, Oct. 6. Photo via Flickr.

As allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh came to light in the Senate confirmation hearings, fraternity men are having to think more consciously about how their actions today could affect them in the future.

Christine Blasey Ford accused Judge Kavanaugh of holding her down and groping her in high school but other allegations of indecent exposure and excessive drinking in college have been brought up as well. During the hearings, Kavanaugh admitted to drinking beer both in college and high school. Amidst these hearings, Chapman’s fraternity men are newly aware that their actions now may be brought up years later.

“Every action we make [now] is going to have long-term effects because it can be called back instantly,” said Jake Holden, a member of Phi Gamma Delta.

Holden, a junior strategic and corporate communications major, believes social media has made it much easier for misbehavior to be documented – and eternal.

“The same thing goes for things we don’t do,” he said. “If something is happening, if there is [any] injustice, people are going to know who is on what side of history based on how we present ourselves.”

Matt Palomino, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major, was hoping Kavanaugh would not get confirmed.

”It is an overwhelming amount of people that would have to be lying so I’ve got to think [the sexual assault allegations] are true,” said Palomino, a member of Phi Gamma Delta.

Alex Drier, a member of Phi Kappa Tau, also disagreed with Kavanaugh being confirmed.

“I really don’t want a man who is accused of sexual assault to be on my Supreme Court,” said the sophomore strategic and corporate communications major. “That is not a good representation of the United States and what we’re trying to become.”

Some fraternity men acknowledge that they may one day find a conflict between their own personal integrity and loyalty to their fraternity members.

Sterling Freeman, a senior business administration major and a member of Beta Theta Pi, said that he wouldn’t stand by a fraternity member engaging in any sexual misconduct.

“If somebody was ever hurt or [put] in a position that’s unfair to them, loyalty kind of goes out the window,” Freeman said.

Shoes lined up from the Walk for Violence at Chapman. Photo courtesy of Lauren Thomas.

Chris Costa, a member of Phi Kappa Tau, agreed.

“If I saw this, the brother would not be a brother for long,” the senior psychology major said.

Fraternity men also say the topic is coming up more in their meetings.

“We’ve definitely talked about [sexual assault] more in meetings [now], just everyone watching over everyone and holding each other accountable,” Freeman said.

Drier agreed.

“We probably talk about it every week,” he said. “Even if we’re not having a party we’ll still touch up on it because it is one of our main topics.” 

But even with awareness of these situations being raised among fraternity members, it is still common for victims of sexual assault to be reluctant to come forward with their stories. This is due, in part, to a fear of victim blaming and the absence of support.

While the trauma of sexual assault and how to handle it is an ongoing discussion, fraternity men are keeping their eyes open and trained on each other.

“If you’re not contributing to the solution then you are part of the problem,” Costa said.

Why students don’t vote

The reasons vary why students don’t vote during the midterm elections. Photo by the Eno Center for Transportation

Only 28% of young adults said “they are absolutely certain they will vote” in the upcoming 2018 midterm election, according to a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Atlantic.

Students say they will not exercise their right to vote due to not knowing enough about politics or not getting their ballots sent to them on time.

Lily Moore, sophomore business major, feels she is not informed enough on the topics.

“I feel like if I voted I would just be picking names of people I didn’t know. And also, I don’t know where I can vote,” Moore said. “I plan on getting more informed soon by reading more articles.”

Inaya Shore, junior sociology major said she is not very interested in politics but knows she needs to get more involved.

“I really want to vote and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. However, I’m not sure if I’m even registered to vote right now and I keep meaning to figure it out but I haven’t,” Shore said.  “I know this is an important election so I really need to figure it out but I’m not even sure who I’d vote for.”

If she ends up voting her ultimate decision will be based on who her peers are voting for.

“I’m just going to ask my friends who share the same views as me who I should vote for,”Shore said.

Other students have trouble with their absentee ballots, such as Sarah de Surville, a sophomore sociology major.

“I can only vote if my absentee ballot comes in the mail on time,” de Surville said, “I hope it will get here.” She is getting the ballot sent to her so that she can vote in her own county instead of in the county of Orange.

Sofia Caputo, junior public relations and advertising major has the same problem.

“Since I am from Washington my mom has to send me my ballot and I’m not sure yet when it’s coming,” Caputo said, “If it was a presidential election I would care a lot more about my ballot coming in on time.”

For some students, they believe the process for registration is too time consuming.

Mallory Mathis, sophomore business major, plans on registering soon, but not in time for Midterms.

“I plan on registering when I learn how,” Mathis said, “I have seen some advertisements on social media about registering I just haven’t taken the steps to do it because of school, work, and my job. I am, however, informed on the Midterm elections.”

Chapman baseball wins SCIAC

The Chapman baseball team poses after their SCIAC win. Photo by Joel Brown

For the first time in Panther history the Chapman University baseball team won the SCIAC Championship game against Redlands in a winner take all game.

The championship game started on Friday, May 4th and ended on Sunday.

The Chapman team made an improbable win in the championship, first losing to Redlands 12 to 5 on Friday.

“Every game was do or die,” said Austin Merrill, sophomore pitcher.

Redlands was undefeated and the tournament was double elimination, we had to beat Redlands two out of three times to win the championship, Merrill said.  “The second game (on Saturday) we ended up shutting them down and beating them and that set the scene for it all.”

During the final game against Redlands, the Chapman team was losing 10-1 going into the 7th inning.

“Coming back from being down 10-1 in  the 7th inning and scoring 19 runs between the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning is pretty unheard of,” said Joel Brown, sophomore outfielder.

“We managed to put up 16 runs in 2 innings behind our captains Jared Love and Gavin Blodgett,” Merrill said. “If I had to put it all down to one play, Gavin hit a no doubt bases loaded home run and there was no looking back from there.”

The team is now going on to play in the West Regional in Spokane, Washington. If they win the six team regional, they move onto to the world series in Appleton, Wisconsin for a chance at the National Championship.

According to Merrill every player on the team stepped up and did their part in the SCIAC Championship.

“Trevor Marrs, a freshman stepped up to play in place of one of our most valuable players that got hurt and did a hell of a job.” Merrill said.

Merrill also complimented Cody Turner and Jonathan Hernandez for their performance on the field.

“They gave their best effort on the mound and really kept us in a spot to come back.” said Merrill.

Joel Brown said he believes it was a team effort to win the game.

“It’s like the saying in baseball, ‘the batting order is a living and breathing thing; It has to work together to be successful,’” Brown said.

He said his favorite part of the season had to be winning the SCIAC.

“There is no other feeling like it,” Brown said.



Night owls and early birds discuss night versus morning classes

Embed from Getty Images

If you are a night owl looking for evening classes, good luck. In the English program alone in the fall 2018 semester, there are 18 out of 115 classes that start at 4 p.m., two that start at 5:30 p.m., and 16 that start at 7 p.m.

A study was recently conducted on students’ circadian rhythms, also known as “the body clock”. It proved that most students’ circadian rhythms were out of sync with their class schedules. When a night owl takes a morning class, for example, they received a lower grade due to “social jetlag.”

“We found that the majority of students were being jet-lagged by their class times, which correlated very strongly with decreased academic performance,” said study co-lead author Benjamin Smarr.

The study also says circadian rhythm of older people tend to be active earlier whereas younger people shift to a later sleeping and waking schedule. Additionally, it found that men tend to stay up later than women.

Junior screen acting major Tom Byrne agrees with the study’s findings. Byrne says the lack of night classes at Chapman affects his grades. He is currently enrolled in two 8 a.m. classes despite being a self-proclaimed night owl.

“It’s absurd how little amount of night classes there are at Chapman considering the amount of money we are paying,” Byrne said. “It affects me greatly in class because I am so groggy until around 12. My participation grade is down the drain due to the time period of the class,” he added. According to Chapman’s Office of Registrar, the departments decide when classes will be held and most have decided to hold their classes earlier on in the day.

“We’re a traditional school; we have school during the day,” Associate Provost Ken Murphy said. “It’s an observation that most students want to take their classes during the times of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.”

Most Chapman students interviewed by The Prowl did not believe they had a performance difference in night classes versus morning classes as the study suggested. Many students, including freshman business major Mallory Mathis, simply prefer morning classes because it allows for a more flexible day schedule.

“I prefer morning classes because I feel like I have the rest of the day to do things,” Mathis, who plays for Chapman’s softball team, said. “I have more time for practice if I get my classes out of the way early on.”

Other students prefer night classes so that they can have jobs and internships during the day. Sophomore English major Sophia Whiteman is all taking night classes this semester in order to have both a job and an internship.

“While I don’t like night classes, I’m really glad Chapman offers them because it allows me to have a job and an internship during the day,” Whiteman said.  

Most students interviewed disagreed with the study’s finding that class times affect student performance.

“The reason I don’t like night classes is because I don’t like driving late at night and getting out of class when it’s dark,” said senior business major Morgan Morris. “I am a morning person, but I got an A in my night class.”