Category: Florida

Story originating from Johnson University Florida.


JUFL student starts drive to gather relief supplies for Ecuador 

KISSIMMEE – This past week, Ecuador suffered massive earthquakes and the aftershocks have been devastating.

Last year, sophomore Devin Knight spent his entire summer serving in Ecuador. He has now organized a drive to raise disaster relief supplies.

Knight said, “We are looking for Band-aids, vitamins, blankets and toothbrushes.”

Students will have until this week’s Coffee Shop, April 28, to bring supplies to the Student Life Office.

“If each room could just donate one case of water, that would be such a huge help,” Knight said.

Knight was able to use his previous connections to partner with two other groups traveling to Ecuador between now and his next trip on June 1. Between these three trips, the relief supplies will be delivered to aid the people of Ecuador.

This push for students to donate and aid fellow believers in Ecuador came after Caleb Elkin’s Coffee Shop sermon about loving one another.

“We are already doing such a great job at loving each other as family, but there is also some way to do more,” said Elkins.

Knight sold bracelets last year with the phrase “Refuse to Do Nothing” on them while he was fundraising.

Knight said, “I kept thinking back to the phrase written on all these bracelets. I needed to help these people.”


Title IX: sexual harassment explained

No one expects it to happen to them on their college campus, but it often occurs in secret. It can hinder the victim’s learning or work performance. It can leave one feeling isolated and unsafe.

Sexual harassment: both men and women as college students or staff can potentially be subject to it.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, illegal for students through Title IX, and for employees through Title VII.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) section of Title IX especially seeks to end sexual harassment and violence against women.

Through these, strides have been made to create education and training on sexual harassment, to improve community response and to provide ways for legal action to be taken in response to these incidents.

What is sexual harassment? Its classifications may span broader than most think.

Sexual harassment is, as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), comprised of “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” when submitting to such conduct is made a condition of one’s employment or education, when “submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment [or educational] decisions affecting such individual” or when “such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work [or academic] performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working [or educational] environment.”

Some students may not be aware their behavior could potentially be classified as harassment. Even some of the “joking around” that happens in the dorms can be classified as harassment if it creates an environment that is hostile, offensive or intimidating.

The spectrum goes as far as to include repeatedly sexually oriented kidding, joking, teasing and flirting. Demeaning and derogatory comments about women in general, even if not sexual, can also be considered a form of sexual harassment.

Other examples include – though are not limited to – unwelcome sexual advances; graphic commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling, touching, pinching or brushing against another’s body; offensive crude language; or displaying objects or pictures which are sexual in nature that would create hostile or offensive work[, educational,] or living environments.” These examples are provided by the American Council on Education’s publication entitled “Sexual Harassment on Campus: A Policy and Program on Deterrence.”

Sexual harassment is seen as coercive and threatening to individuals. The environment it creates has been deemed not proper for or encouraging of teaching, learning, or working. As such, hostile-environment harassment is also a violation of Title IX regulations.

Another kind of harassment to be aware of is “quid-pro-quo harassment.” This Latin term translates to “something for something.”

In layman’s terms, it occurs when an individual offers – or even hints – something in return for a sexual favor. It can also work in reverse, when an individual threatens to revoke or remove something unless a sexual favor is completed.

Sexual harassment hinders an individual’s safety and ability to learn or work in an environment. If you have been victim to any form of sexual harassment or assault, you don’t have to remain silent; you can file a Title IX Incident Report here.

As a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, there is also a survey for students and staff to take regarding their feelings on equality, respect and boundaries at Johnson here.


Mayberry comes to Johnson University Florida

KISSIMMEE –  This year’s Senior Saints in the SONshine happened on March 10-12. Senior Saints is a three-day retreat for seniors who want to come to the Florida campus of Johnson University to learn about the college and be refreshed through the teaching of God’s Word.

The theme for this year’s Senior Saints was “A Return to Mayberry”. Faculty, staff, and attendees dressed up as their favorite character from The Andy Griffith Show and answered trivia about the small town of Mayberry.

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This year’s Senior Saints in the SONshine featured special entertainment by students, a faculty and staff string band, and Betty Gray of “Encourage Me Ministries,” a nationally known inspirational speaker, dramatist, and musician.

The featured speaker this year was Jim Book, senior minister at First Christian Church of Kissimmee and member of the Board of Trustees of Johnson University.

Seniors were able to attend workshops by Johnson University Florida professors, such as Dr. Eubanks and many others. Along with this, the participants were also able to tour the campus of Johnson University Florida.

On Friday afternoon, the attendees were able to choose from a variety of excursions such as golf with Dr. Eubanks, ladies’ tea with Mrs. Eubanks, antique shopping, minor league baseball, airboat rides, and fishing.

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One of the highlights of this year’s Senior Saints in the SONshine was the Cookies and Conversation night on Friday during which the seniors were able to fellowship and talk with students.

Seth McManus, a sophomore at Johnson University Florida, had this to say about the Cookies and Conversation night, “I loved spending time with people that have such an interest, stake, and concern in my future ministry. Enjoying Cookies and Conversation reminded me that my time at Johnson is not just about my classmates and professors, but hundreds of people over decades have poured into the educational experience and ministry training that I receive every day.”

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Next year’s Senior Saints in the SONshine will be March 23-25, 2017 with the theme “Winning at the Game of LIFE,” featuring Bob Russell as the guest speaker and Dr. David Eubanks as the Bible Study leader.


New Creation prepares for “Loved” tour

KISSIMMEE – This past Saturday and Sunday, the New Creation tour choir sang at Fairway Christian Church in the Villages.

During this performance, the group performed songs from Part One of their choral concert.

Part One songs of New Creation tours consists of choral numbers, while Part Two of the performance is a contemporary performance featuring original material by members of the group.

The group practices in the music wing every week, and has been working on the contemporary Part Two performance pieces.

The original material is comprised of original songs, spoken word, and skits.

The six original songs that were written for the tour were recorded last year and will be on sale during the tour, and online here.

The theme of this year’s tour is “Loved.”

Junior and New Creation member Kayla Hardin said, “Our message throughout this tour will remind us that we are not defined by who we think we are, or by what other people tell us we are. Rather, we are forgiven and reconciled through the sacrifice given through Jesus Christ.”

The group is singing at four different congregations during the Johnson University spring break.

Hardin continued, saying, “We hope that those who experience this program will be encouraged and reminded that they are not defined by their sin, but by their identity as children of the one true King.”

This year, the New Creation choir will be featuring a song from the musical Rent which will also be performed at the spring concert on April 29 and 30.

If you are interested in seeing New Creation perform, their tour dates and locations are included below.


Sunday, March 20 at Englewood Christian Church in Jacksonville, FL

Monday, March 21 at Southwest Christian Church in Ocala, FL

Tuesday, March 22 at First Christian Church in Titusville, FL

Wednesday, March 23 at Creekside Christian Church in St. Johns, FL


Future of Johnson: Dr. Gary Weedman delivers President’s Annual Report

KNOXVILLE – Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Gary Weedman presented the President’s Annual Report, including lots of important information on Johnson University’s present and future.

“I’m here mostly to ask questions about this year,” Weedman said, beginning the session.

The 2015 Annual Report was handed out to attendees as Weedman revealed that the enrollment hit 1,376 – one of the highest numbers Johnson University has experienced.

Weedman said, “Florida is not where we want it to be.” However, the Florida campus has experienced an increase in applications. It is Weedman’s hope that with new academic programs beginning there that enrollment will increase.

While Johnson features JUTN, JUFL, and JUOL, they have also created a fourth division: JUEX, which stands for Johnson University ExtendEd.

“ExtendEd sites offer flexible, faith-based programs for individuals seeking meaningful learning opportunities, which prepare them for careers in service to Christ and others,” the Annual Report noted. “Accredited business and ministry programs integrate online and small classroom learning with hands-on experience in churches and other organizations.”

Johnson is currently in or is planning sites in Indianapolis, Knoxville, Louisville, and Phoenix.

Another factor of Johnson that Weedman was happy to share was that it is still listed in Forbes’ “100 Most Financially Fit Colleges.”

Important for Johnson University is the upcoming visit next month for the ten year reaccreditation.

“It’s an extraordinary process to get ready for this review,” Weedman said. Students heard about the reaccreditation previously at the “MUSE” assembly.

One topic that has piqued attention and curiosity from many is the upcoming capital expansion talks.

“We are bursting at the seams,” said Weedman on current facilities in regards to enrollment.


The 2015 Annual Report contained a plethora of information about the present and future of Johnson University.

On the Tennessee campus, Johnson wants to take over the county road – Hodges Ferry Road – that runs through campus between the dorms and the current sports and field area – however, they have run into complications with that. For now, their focus is on what they want to construct on the other side of that road.

Replacing the current sports area, Johnson plans to build a multipurpose field house with a gymnasium, exercise room, weight room, pool, and track.

There will also be changes to the other side of campus.

“We are now 99% sure that Alumni [Memorial] Chapel will come down,” Weedman said. He admitted it was a painful decision, especially given the fact that he was married there.

It is likely that the old gym and pool as well as Bell Hall will also be taken down.

In their place will be a building for the School of Arts and Sciences classes, the media program, and the music program.

Weedman said, “It’s a beautiful design.” It is set to be three stories, and to also house a 350 seat performance hall.

A little further from this area is the grave site of past Johnson presidents. Phillips Eubanks explained there are plans to redo the area in the spring into an “outdoor space/memorial garden.”

The Phillips-Welshimer Gym may also see changes into “a dedicated auditorium with seating for c. 1080,” according to the Annual Report.

For the Florida campus, the Annual Report also stated there are preliminary plans for a cafeteria and additional classrooms.

Weedman also touched on the Chinese program, which boasts 74 graduates and partnerships with 3 Chinese universities. A partnership with a Vietnamese university is also being explored.

An audience member posed a question on the amount of international students currently enrolled, following the previous night’s Parade of Flags. Weedman assured that there were more students than those represented on stage, stating there are currently 27 international undergraduate students.

Another hot topic was the Lily Endowment Grant, previously mentioned in Main Session I.

“In December we were notified that we were awarded a $600,000 Lilly Endowment Grand to create ‘Future of Hope’ Institute for Knoxville High School Leaders,” the Annual Report explained. “This University initiative will provide leadership classes, mentorships, service project funding, and college scholarships to the best and brightest high school student leaders in urban Knoxville and beyond.”

Their goal behind this project is to “encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.”

Other topics mentioned briefly included an increased emphasis on marketing, personnel changes, and the enhanced scope of the Urban Alliance initiative.

After accepting any questions from the floor and a quick thank you, the session concluded.



CORRECTION: Due dates on scholarships approaching fast for JUTN students

On Feb. 19 the Royal Scribe reported that students receiving the Preaching/Youth Ministry Program Scholarship and Preaching and Church Leadership Program Scholarship needed to reapply for these scholarships. These scholarships are automatically renewed each semester for students who are in either of these programs, so students do not need to reapply. We apologize for any confusion caused by this inaccuracy.




29th annual Impact Football Tournament hosted by JUFL

KISSIMMEE–On Feb 5, over 600 students arrived on campus for a weekend of football and Christian fellowship.

Event and Travel Coordinator, Levi Richards, said, “Impact is a great opportunity to introduce students to JUFL, share Christ with students who may not know him, and build community amongst youth groups.”


RISE! Worship is based out of Orlando and is currently in the process of releasing their first album.

This three-day event involved awesome worship and truth-filled sermons during each of the main sessions. The Impact tournament is a two-hand touch tournament with a fun division and a competitive division. Youth groups from Christian churches across the southern part of the country come with their game face on.

Worship this year was led by RISE! Worship, which consists of talented Christian musicians in the Orlando area.

Our main session speaker on Friday and Saturday was alumni James Riggs, who recently became the youth minister at First Christian Church of Kissimmee. The Sunday main speaker was Sean Frenier from First Christian Church of Orlando.


James Riggs graduated in 2008 and has since become a foster parent of two boys.

James Riggs spoke on the idea of getting out of the huddle. He said, “Stop living comfortably, and start living boldly.”

The football tournament was made interesting by the particularly uncooperative weather. Although the day started off merely cloudy, it quickly turned into a heavy downpour with frigid winds. Despite the weather struggles, teams stayed optimistic and kept playing.

Richards concluded with a reminder that, “God was glorified through worship, preaching, and sportsmanship in what has become one of JUFL’s most recognized events.”


JUFL Campus Choir, Choral Society prepares Broadway compilation performance

KISSIMMEE – The JUFL Campus Choir and Choral Society has long had a tradition of performing.

Some of their most notable performances include their annual appearances at Candlelight to sing at Disney. The choir has been performing in Candlelight since 2009 under the direction of Dirk Donahue.


JUFL Choral Society performing at Roundup 2015.

Last year, the choir was happy to be joined by the Tennessee’s tour choir at Candlelight.

The choir additionally performs at Roundup, Night of Noel and a spring concert.

This year, the choir has turned their spring concert into a best of Broadway compilation. The show will feature iconic Broadway numbers, as while as a few dramas.

According to Donahue, “the JUFL students are really showing a lot of interest in this specific concert and in turn it rubs off on everyone in the choir.”

He went on to say how excited he is that “the students in choir are buying into doing this music.”

Donahue has worked as a singer at Disney for a number of years, and is a part of the Dapper Dans at Magic Kingdom and the Voices of Liberty at Epcot.


Dirk Donahue directing the combined choir of Johnson University Tennessee and Florida at Night of Noel.

He has enjoyed directing choir because “it’s exciting to see the growth of a group of singers in preparation for a concert.”

Different than most years, the choir will be performing for two nights – April 29 and 30. The cost of admission will be only $5.

For those interested in joining the Florida Choral Society and Campus Choir, it is not too late. Click here for more information.


Royals gain victory against Suns

KNOXVILLE – After a tight basketball game that took place Thursday night, the Johnson University Royals had victory over the Johnson University Suns by thirteen points. Both teams are united by name but were very competitive on the court.DSCN0483

The game began with a word of prayer from player 4, Trent Flemming, followed by the National Anthem.

Head Suns Coach, Craig Wilsman, had one remark before the game tipped-off:“I just hope we compete well,” he said.

Dr. Eubanks also came out and sat courtside with the Suns but was in full support of both teams.

“I’ll be cheering for both teams tonight,” he said.


Royals Coach Perry, Dr.Eubanks, and Suns Coach Wilsman before the game.

The JUFL vs. JUTN game tipped off at 8 p.m. in the Phillips-Welshimer Building Gymnasium.   In the first few minutes of the game, the Royals were off to a good start in the first half by scoring the first shot of the night.

At one point in the game, both teams had potential shots, but most just did not go through as planned. The Royals soon overcame this and started to gain points on the scoreboard.

With 14 minutes left on the clock in the first half,  player 21, Jordan McClendon, made a surprising rebound from the shot that player 33, Taylor Gilpin, made giving the Royals a lead score of 18—09.

With 2 minutes left in the first half, player 4, Duane Howard, scored for the Suns making the score 42—34. I

n the last seconds of the first half, the Royals scored a couple of free throw shots ending the first half in a 17 point lead.

“We are playing at a high speed as we have been all season,” said Royals’ Thomas Davis. “When we are playing our best at the end of the season that’s really what you want.”


Suns player prepares for free throw shot.

In the second half the Suns struggled to gain a lead in the game. It began with a 17 point run from the Royals and they maintained the lead throughout the game.

Maintaining the lead was not difficult for the Royals, but the Suns still remained competitive and applied pressure.

With 4 minutes left in the game the Royals entered the three digits on the scoreboard with a score of 101—86.

The final score was 109 – 96 ending the night in a victory for the Royals. Following the game, both teams joined at center court and prayed together.

To watch the game, click here. For more information on Johnson University athletics or the schedules visit Johnson University Athletic Sports.


Timeout for the suns.


Meet your Title IX Coordinators

A variety of laws and regulations govern student rights at universities across America. Often, students aren’t aware of these laws, or how they impact their lives.

One such law is Title IX.

Title IX is a federal law that ensures schools do not discriminate educational, athletic or employment opportunities on the basis of sex. It also prohibits stalking, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Each university across the United States is federally mandated to have a full- or part-time Title IX Coordinator.

These individuals ensure Title IX training is provided to students, staff and faculty.

Johnson University complies with Title IX guidelines, and students first experience this during Genesis Weekend when they participate in the handbook review, which includes a Title IX statement.

Coordinators are also tasked with unbiasedly investigating reports and complaints, protecting the complainant and taking action required for issues that arise.

For Johnson University, the Title IX Coordinators are Mark Pierce and Garrett Thompson for the Tennessee and Florida campuses, respectively.

“One of the things that [the federal government] recently created is that they said every school should have a Title IX Coordinator,” Pierce said. “The reason for that is that somebody at that school needs to be responsible to make sure that the Title IX laws and rules are actually applied at that school and also to provide a place where students or employees could go to report problems and create some sort of mechanism where they can be corrected if they do occur.”

While Pierce is responsible for this oversight on the Tennessee campus, Thompson is responsible on the Florida campus.

As the Branch Title IX Coordinator, Thomson is the designated recipient of all Title IX grievances for the Florida campus.

“I also help ensure that everyone on campus is aware of the policy and procedures related to Title IX,” Thompson said. “Although thankfully there have been no incidents to date, I would be the first to receive a complaint through our online grievance form.”

Thompson said his first responsibility in any situation is to make sure that all people involved are safe. Then the Title IX Coordinator begins an investigation and assembles a team to assist in the process.

The form for reporting a Title IX incident can be found here. However, if a student is not in a place where they are safe from physical or emotional harm, they are encouraged to contact university officials and law enforcement officers immediately.

“The institution takes student safety extremely seriously. We want to know when a student feels threatened or uncomfortable in any way,” Thompson said. “We would prefer to prevent an incident rather than respond to one, so informing me or another university employee of a potentially dangerous situation is extremely important and beneficial for everyone.”

Since there are little to no reports that occur on Johnson campus, most of the time spent as a Title IX Coordinator is filled with reading and interpreting the law, as well as planning training sessions.

“There is much to do between semesters, especially during the summer as we assemble our publicity materials and prepare for faculty and staff training,” Thompson said. “For the most part, my role is to be thinking about how to make students, faculty and staff more aware of the issues and the procedures for handling incidents.”

Beyond sex discrimination, Title IX also prohibits discrimination based on color, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or political affiliation.

It all boils down to safety and equal opportunities.

“Our overall goal as a university is that we want all of our students to have the same opportunities to grow and develop their ministries and their lives,” Pierce said. “I see that as a Christian value more than a federal requirement.”