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Fifth-year senior Navaughn Donaldson empowered to dominate again at the heart of his home city

Senior Navaughn Donaldson blocks an Appalachian State defender during the second half of Miami’s 25-23 win on Saturday Sept. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Senior Navaughn Donaldson blocks an Appalachian State defender during the second half of Miami’s 25-23 win Saturday Sept. 11.
Senior Navaughn Donaldson blocks an Appalachian State defender during the second half of Miami’s 25-23 win on Saturday Sept. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Growing up down the street from the Orange Bowl and Hard Rock Stadium, he didn’t fail to take note of the Hurricane greats.

When the time came for offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson to choose his college destination, he stayed home, hoping to develop similarly to his UM predecessors, such as tackle Ereck Flowers, a 2015 NFL first round draft pick.

And even after working up to starting 12 games at left guard in 2019, the current fifth-year senior’s college career hit a fork in the road.

In the middle of a drive during Miami’s 2019 regular season finale against Duke, the 6-foot-6 homegrown tackle tore both his ACL and MCL.

“First, it was trying to walk,” Donaldson said. “Six months, I couldn’t even put pressure down on my leg, so I think what happened was I had to really have a conversation with Kyle [Bellamy], our nutritionist, and just believe in our strength program.”

With uncertainty as to when he’d next play for the five-time national champions, Donaldson was determined but he also knew the rehabilitation process was easier said than done.

“I wasn’t focused at all. I ain’t going to lie to you,” Donaldson said. “I couldn’t do nothing, but go home, treatment…I couldn’t even drive my car. I felt like being hurt really made me take a step back and made me understand myself better. I came back mentally, physically and emotionally stronger, and plus I was able to step back and watch the team.”

Almost an entire year elapsed until the 2017 Freshman All-America selection realized the possibility of returning to the gridiron. His spirit remained high on the sidelines, nonetheless.

“The NC State game, I was hyped,” Donaldson said of Miami’s comeback win on Nov. 6. “I wasn’t even playing, but I wish I did, so I’m just grateful to be in the position to help my team and work alongside them.”

Just weeks later, Donaldson stepped back onto the same turf at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, where he felt excruciating pain prior to re-learning how to bend his knee.

Donaldson continued his mission to make a full return during the summer, with his supporting cast offering unwavering support the whole time.

“I feel like I’m in the best shape possible,” Donaldson said. “I’ve been working with coach Feeley and his crew, putting in work with my team, or in the track or the weight room every single day. I feel good, I’m just ready to go out there and work.”

Donaldson’s extra hours have begun to pay off for his teammates, who will rely on him for what could be the final ingredient to running the ball more this fall.

“To have Navaughn back, he’s been working his tail off in the weight room. He’s been running very well,” junior running back Cam’Ron Harris said. “Just running behind him, taking on two people and opening up the holes — that’s what I need. That’s what all the running backs need, basically.”

Fortunately, time is on Donaldson’s side.

“That’s not an easy rehab that Navaughn had to go through,” head coach Manny Diaz said. “One of the great things about this year not counting against your eligibility, you don’t have to worry about redshirting or worry about anything. He can just work his way back in.”

While Donaldson tries to remain as versatile as possible, he’s also fostered a productive environment with the offensive line’s younger core.

“I feel like the biggest difference is everybody is coming in strong. Everybody is on the same page, as in, ‘Let’s get some work done. Let’s come out with a plan to get better and we just come out and work for each other.We really just need to understand that we have to set the tone, we can’t wait for nobody else. I feel like this is the next process in our evolution.”

Miami Chicken Company wraps up first month of service after replacing under-performing Burger 305 in UM food court

The sign for Miami Chicken Company, the newest option in on-campus dining in the Hurricane Food Court on UM's Coral Gables campus. The restaurant's theme was a result of performance assessments done by UM and its food-service provider, Chartwells. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Chicken lovers at the University of Miami were pleasantly surprised by UM Dining Service’s decision to open a poultry-centric restaurant on UM’s Coral Gables campus. Miami Chicken Company has replaced the now-closed Burger 305, conveniently located at the Lakeside-front of the Hurricane food court.

Ana Alvarez, the executive director of auxiliary services for UM Dining, said the decision to replace Burger 305 was made after a performance assessment of the restaurant concepts on campus.

“Burger 305 was declining in sales and industry trends were identifying an interest in a chicken concept,” Alvarez said. “We do surveys annually, and we know that chicken is always of interest with our students.”

The sign for Miami Chicken Company, the newest option in on-campus dining in the Hurricane Food Court on UM's Coral Gables campus. The restaurant's theme was a result of performance assessments done by UM and food-service provider Chartwells.
The sign for Miami Chicken Company, the newest option in on-campus dining in the Hurricane Food Court on UM's Coral Gables campus. The restaurant's theme was a result of performance assessments done by UM and its food-service provider, Chartwells. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

UM and its food-service partner, Chartwells, worked together to determine what restaurants would perform well on campus, Alvarez said, using student feedback to develop the idea of an in-house, chicken-branded eatery.

“We agreed on new concepts, and during COVID, we had time to really explore what a chicken concept might look like,” Alvarez said. “We sampled and taste-tested a variety of our chefs’ creations and also focused on offering a nice complimentary fry and selection of sauces.”

Alvarez said the opening of Miami Chicken Company was well received, with promising sales numbers compared to Burger 305. The name, Alvarez said, was decided through a partnership with student government.

Since its opening, Miami Chicken Company has drawn mixed reviews from students. Charley Pollard, a sophomore majoring in music performance, said he has found a new favorite meal on campus: the Mac and Cheese Waffle Cone.

“The texture is very good, and the chicken is very well fried and super tasty,” said Pollard. “The sweetness of the waffle cone and the savory flavor of the mac and cheese really makes a difference, especially with the spiciness of the buffalo sauce.”

Pollard said he was thrilled by the restaurant’s unique interpretation of classic southern chicken and waffles.

“The three different flavor combinations make it so good.”

After trying the new option on campus, Greeshma Venigalla, a senior majoring in neuroscience, said she was unsatisfied with the quality of her buffalo chicken wrap, but added that there are likely better options on the restaurant’s menu.

“It was just very underwhelming. I was excited for the chicken place, and I thought it would be good, but it was just bleh,” Venigalla said. “Honestly, I probably need to give it another chance because I got the same thing twice, so maybe other things are good.”

The store front of Miami Chicken Company, located at the Lakeside front of the UM food court. Students have given mixed reviews since the restaurant's opening earlier this semester.
The store front of Miami Chicken Company, located directly next to The Market on campus. Students have given mixed reviews since the restaurant's opening earlier this semester. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Venigalla compared her wrap to the pre-made items at The Market, UM’s on campus grocery formerly known as Outtakes.

“I feel like it was the same meal I could get at Outtakes,” said Venigalla. “ I felt like I was paying a meal price for something I’d get with a meal swipe at Outtakes.”

Kyle Rowley, a senior majoring in microbiology and immunology, biochemistry and molecular biology, echoed Venigalla’s thoughts.

“ I went there expecting it to be like a non-branded Popeyes or Chick-fil-a, so the thing I was looking for was a chicken sandwich and they didn’t even have that,” said Rowley.

Additionally, Miami Chicken Company is the first cashier-less location on campus. When Rowley visited, it was not functioning, he said, but the issue has since been resolved.

“The service was pretty quick. It was more that I was disappointed by the food,” said Rowley.

The self-pay kiosk at Miami Chicken Company, which has streamlined the checkout process at UM's newest restaurant. The kiosk has run smoothly outside of momentary, isolated technical difficulties.
The self-pay kiosk at Miami Chicken Company, which has streamlined the checkout process at UM's newest restaurant. The kiosk has run smoothly outside of momentary, isolated technical difficulties. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Despite some mixed reviews, Alvarez said she hopes that students will enjoy their new offerings and give feedback to help improve the restaurant as it wraps up its first month of service.

“We really love the design and offerings at MCC,” Alvarez said. “We are proud and hope our students will continue to enjoy this new brand.”

Jess Diez contributed to the reporting for this article.

Women’s soccer blanked on own goal at home

Sophomore midfielder/forward Michaela Baker indicates she was not the last to touch the ball as it heads out of bounds during the second half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
Sophomore midfielder/forward Michaela Baker indicates she was not the last to touch the ball as it heads out of bounds during the second half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021.
Sophomore midfielder/forward Michaela Baker indicates she was not the last to touch the ball as it heads out of bounds during the second half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The Miami Hurricanes (3-3) faced their third loss of the season, falling 1-0 to the University of South Florida Bulls (4-2-1) Sunday afternoon at Cobb Stadium.

Besides a miscommunication in the first half that resulted in the Miami scoring on its own goal, the Hurricanes held their own against the Bulls for the bulk of the game.

The Canes were unsuccessful in going for the goal, as they only attempted a total of two shots during the entire game — neither of them on goal.

“I was disappointed with the lack of aggressiveness and relentlessness from a defensive standpoint,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “I think that overshadowed the entire game.”

Although both teams had trouble finishing during the first half, the Bulls played a more dominant and aggressive game compared to the Hurricanes.

“I didn’t think we did a good enough job of bringing pressure in the first half,” Barnes said on the defense. “Our tendency was to sit back and because of that we got a little fatigued and that impacted the rest of the game.”

Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais kicks a goal kick during the first half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021.
Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais kicks a goal kick during the first half of the Canes’ match versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Junior goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais saved six attempted shots from USF but got unlucky towards the end of the first half when a Hurricanes player inadvertently scored on their own goal.

During the second half of the game, the Hurricanes came back much stronger and played a solid defensive game. Dagenais had an impressive performance, saving every attempted shot from USF.

Still, Miami was unable to capitalize on its newfound momentum. The Hurricanes came close to finding the back of the net, but the Bulls maintained their lead, which led them to victory.

“These are hard games against good teams and we have to understand what it takes to win and be willing to work. I know they can do it and I believe that we’ll see a change in the next game,” Barnes said.

The Hurricanes are scheduled to take on Louisville in Coral Gables this Friday at 7 p.m., which will kick off Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference games.

Sophomore defender Delaney Brown winds up to clear the ball during the second half of the Canes’ game versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021.
Sophomore defender Delaney Brown winds up to clear the ball during the second half of the Canes’ game versus USF at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 12, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

‘Please let me take care of this cat’: UM students help save now-legendary falling cat at Hard Rock Stadium

A cat clings on to a wire below the 300 level seats during the first half of Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
A cat clings on to a wire below the 300 level seats during the first half of Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.
A cat clings on to a wire below the 300 level seats during the first half of Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Gasps of horror echoed throughout the student section as a cat clung to the upper level facade before falling to the section below in the first half of Saturday night’s football game between the University of Miami and Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium.

Sophomore Emilia Weiss, a certified emergency veterinary medic, was sitting in a different section near the falling cat and jumped into action when she realized it was hanging from its neck.

“I was sitting there the whole time and I was like, I’m certified in this situation to help animals, so I don’t know if I should go over there or if they got it, until I saw the cat hanging by its neck and then by its paw and I was like Ok, this cat is not okay. I need to go over there immediately,” she said.

In most videos of the incident, the cat can be seen landing on an outstretched American flag used by a pair of attendees as a makeshift net, and bouncing down a level to a group of waiting UM students.

Ross Bunch, a freshman biology major who can be seen in videos of the incident in a black Miami Heat jersey, was sitting near the Cat’s landing place and said he was initially confident the cat would be saved.

“I was like, ‘Ok, they can catch it,’ and then I saw the cat’s neck get caught on what looked like a zip tie and I was like, ‘Oh my god, the cat might die,’” Bunch said. “Then once it started to loosen up, it looked like the flag was in the wrong spot and I thought they were not going to catch the cat.”

The cat hit the American flag and bounced off, landing hard on its feet on the concrete level below, said Bunch.

“At first I was like ‘did the cat just die?’ In the video you can see me put my hands over my mouth. Then I saw it stand up and I jumped up and I was like ‘oh my god we saved the cat.’ I went over and started cheering with everyone cause, you know, the cat was alive. It was pretty amazing.”

Fans celebrate after a cat survived a fall from the 300 level seating area, aided by an American flag outstretched by UM fans, during the first half of Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.
Fans celebrate after a cat survived a fall from the 300 level seating area, aided by an American flag outstretched by UM fans, during the first half of Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

After a man in an orange UM jersey held up the cat like Simba from The Lion King, a middle-aged woman grabbed the cat, Weiss said.

“I saw this lady grab the cat, and I go up to her and I’m like, ‘Hey I’m certified in emergency vet med, I worked in an emergency hospital for pets, please let me take care of this cat. I know what to do.’”

Weiss examined the cat for injuries with another UM student certified to practice emergency veterinary medicine. The student held the front of the cat and kept its jaw shut so it couldn’t bite, while Weiss held its back and examined the cat’s spine and hips.

“I saw one of the hips was out of place so I popped it back into place,” Weiss said.

While Weiss was relocating the cat’s hip, a middle aged female UM fan approached her and tried to grab the cat away, Weiss said, causing the cat to freak out and bite a UM student.

“Her hand got bitten up really badly, I felt so bad for her,” Weiss said. “We put the cat on the ground for a second because the poor girl was getting attacked.

The cat then ran into the corner before biting Weiss’ arm while she reached to pick it up. When she managed to catch the cat, it appeared very scared and tried to bite her friend’s arm, Weiss said. She then put the cat on the ground and checked its collar for the owner’s information, but all she found was a rubber-like collar around its neck.

The cat proceeded to run into the student section, Weiss said, and bite two more people.

“I told the security guard, ‘you need to call an animal hospital right now. I don’t know if the cat is rabid or anything,’” she said. “It didn’t have any spinal injury, so it was functionally okay, but I didn’t know if it had any diseases.”

Weiss later took the girl who was helping her to the medic at Hard Rock Stadium to treat her cat bites. The girl and her friend both went to the hospital later that night and received six shots, and need three more later in the week.

“I’ve never had to use my knowledge of emergency vet med,” said Weiss, who initially got certified at UM through the marine mammal rescue team. “It was the weirdest experience ever.”

While the current status of the cat is unknown, if it ever decides to come back to Hard Rock Stadium while the Hurricanes are playing, Manny Diaz may have a spot for it on the team.

When asked about the cat in the post-game press conference, Diaz joked, “If the cat will help us in our red zone offense, I’ll see if we can give it a scholarship.”

As for UM students, don’t be surprised to see “Rally Cat” t-shirts at next week’s game against Michigan State.

“I started calling it the rally cat and I believe that’s why we won the game,” Bunch said.

Hurricanes continue unbeaten start with win over Texas State

Miami players celebrate scoring a point during their game versus UMBC in the Knight Sports Complex on Aug. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
Miami players celebrate scoring a point during their game versus UMBC in the Knight Sports Complex on Aug. 29, 2021.
Miami players celebrate scoring a point during their game versus UMBC in the Knight Sports Complex on Aug. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Normal service resumed for Miami volleyball to open up the Bobcat Invitational, sweeping host Texas State by final set scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 25-22 at the Strahan Arena in San Marcos, Texas.

The Hurricanes (6-0) have now won 18 out of 19 sets this season, with their one blemish being a 25-23 loss in the third set of their 3-1 win over USF last weekend. Texas State (2-7) did their best to keep up, especially late, but Jose “Keno” Gandara’s team continued to show perfection on the court.

Going into the season, this looked to be one of the tougher non-conference matchups for UM. The Bobcats finished 31-9 in the shortened 2020 season, including a 15-1 record in the Sun Belt. They finished the year with ranked wins over No. 9 Coastal Carolina and No. 12 Baylor, before losing to Nebraska in the NCAA Tournament.

“This is going to be a battle,” Gandara said. “So much credit goes to Sean [Huiet] and that program – they’re a perennial NCAA tournament team and the environment they have here is incredible.”

The Canes came out prepared at the Strahan Center, pouncing on the Bobcats to win the first set by seven. After an early back-and-forth exchange of points, UM took advantage of consecutive Bobcat errors to stretch the lead out to 12-7. From there, Miami were able to flex its muscles to hold on to that margin, winning the first set 25-18.

Despite the 3-0 margin of victory for Miami, the game was a lot closer to call. The Hurricanes only had one more kill on the night, leading 44-43. Texas State committed 16 errors in the match. Half of which came in the second set, allowing the Canes to set a six-point lead halfway through the set. Miami middle blocker Janice Leao dominated, contributing a crucial early block to help the Hurricanes establish control.

“That’s as fine an attacking performance from the middle as I’ve ever seen,” Gandara said. “[Leao]’s still so young as a volleyball player, but I think we saw a glimpse of the world-class player she seems bound to become.”

From that lead on, the Hurricanes were challenged, but showed resilience. Texas State went on a five-point run in the middle of the second set to cut Miami’s lead to just one, but Miami was able to hold on to win the set 25-22.

The third set went the other way around, with Texas State establishing control early on a 5-0 start, but Leao and redshirt sophomore Angela Grieve stepped up with some crucial kills to secure Miami’s fifth sweep of the season.

Grieve and Leao finished with 13 kills each, tied for the most in the game. UM setter Savannah Vach recorded another double-double, logging 37 assists and 16 digs. Kennedy Prince also played a big role, leading the team in blocks for the first time in her career, denying the Bobcats four times.

It’ll be a quick turn-around for Miami, as they look to continue their winning ways Saturday afternoon.

Crisis averted: No. 22 Miami squeaks by upset-hungry Appalachian State 25-23 in home opener

Freshman kicker Andres Borregales kicks a PAT during Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
Freshman kicker Andres Borregales kicks a PAT during Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.
Freshman kicker Andres Borregales kicks a PAT during Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

On a night where the highlight was a cat falling from the upper deck of Hard Rock Stadium, the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes avoided an upset with a narrow 25-23 win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

“I’m proud of our team,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said. “I’m proud of our resiliency.”

Miami got off to a fast start, as senior safety Amari Carter intercepted a tipped pass from Mountaineers quarterback Chase Brice early in the first quarter. Freshman running back Don Chaney Jr. ran the ball into the end zone three plays later to give the Hurricanes an early 7-0 lead.

Redshirt freshman Jafari Harvey celebrates after recording Miami’s only sack of the game early in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday Sept. 11. Harvey finished the game with two solo tackles and four total tackles.
Redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey celebrates after recording Miami’s only sack of the game early in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday Sept. 11. Harvey finished the game with two solo tackles and four total tackles. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Chaney Jr. and sophomore linebacker Keontra Smith left the game early with apparent lower extremity injuries.

“Neither initial prognosis was good,” Diaz said when asked about the status of these injuries. “They are big losses for our team.”

The rest of the game was a chess match, with both teams exchanging blows throughout. Running back Cameron Peoples scored the first touchdown for the Mountaineers, a 28-yard run, before App State wide receiver Jalen Virgil rushed 100 yards for a kick return following freshman kicker Andres Borregales’ first of three field goals.

Borregales ultimately threw the last punch, nailing a 43-yard field goal to put the Hurricanes ahead 25-23 with barely two minutes left in the game.

“I just went out there and banged it through,” Borregales said.

Senior quarterback D’Eriq King completed 20 of 33 pass attempts for 200 yards in the air and 79 on the ground. King did not throw for a touchdown.

Redshirt senior D’Eriq King runs towards the sideline during the second half of Miami’s win over Ap[palachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday Sept. 11. King rushed for 79 total yards and had a long of 29 years.
Redshirt senior D’Eriq King runs towards the sideline during the second half of Miami’s win over Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday Sept. 11. King rushed for 79 total yards. Photo credit: Josh Halper
“Offensively, we have to play a lot better, we have to make a lot more plays,” King said. “We got a win, so that’s always a positive. You’re not going to complete every single pass and obviously you don’t want to start off 3-for-8, but we found a way to win.”

Miami junior running back Cam’Ron Harris led the Hurricanes in rushing with 91 yards on 18 carries.

“It’s a great win that we had,” Harris said. “That was a great team that we played.”

Peoples led the Mountaineers’ rushing attack with 95 yards on 17 carries. Peoples’ 28-yard rushing touchdown leveled the contest ahead of the five-minute mark in the first quarter.

“I feel like there’s always room for improvement,” junior defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera said when asked about Miami’s run defense after two games. “We’ll go in and delve into that film tomorrow, watch what we need to correct, watch what we did well and we’ll just go from there.”

Junior Nesta Silvera tackles Appalachan State’s running back, sophomore Nate Noel, at Hard Rock Stadium during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday Sept. 11. Silvera had four total tackles on the night in Miami’s 25-23 win.
Junior Nesta Jade Silvera tackles Appalachian State’s running back, sophomore Nate Noel, at Hard Rock Stadium during the first half on Saturday Sept. 11. Silvera had four total tackles on the night in Miami’s 25-23 win. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Thanks in part to the contributions made by Silvera and sophomore cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, who finished the game with three passes defended, the Hurricanes were able to limit the Mountaineers to only 326 total yards.

On the now famous falling cat, Diaz said that “if the cat will help us with our red-zone offense, I’m going to see if we can give it a scholarship.”

The Hurricanes will continue their four-game homestand next Saturday, Sept. against Michigan State. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.

Junior safety Gurvan Hall, Jr. tackles wide receiver Corey Sutton during Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.
Junior safety Gurvan Hall, Jr. tackles wide receiver Corey Sutton during Miami’s game versus Appalachian State at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Homecoming theme ‘Bringing back the beat’ announced at pep rally Friday

The Frost Band of the Hour and University of Miami Cheerleaders help students celebrate the announcement of this year's homecoming theme at Friday's pep rally. Photo credit: Patrick Mccaslin

The University of Miami will be turning back the years and cranking up the music for this year’s homecoming week, from Nov. 1-5, the Homecoming Executive Committee announced at a pep rally Friday co-hosted by UM’s spirit programming board Category 5.

This year’s homecoming theme will be “Bring Back the Beat,” celebrating Miami’s wide-range of music and the university’s return to a fully in-person homecoming week. The theme was announced at a pep rally Friday before Saturday’s football game against Appalachian State.

The Frost Band of the Hour and University of Miami Cheerleaders help students celebrate the announcement of this year's homecoming theme at Friday's pep rally.
The Frost Band of the Hour and University of Miami Cheerleaders help students celebrate the announcement of this year's homecoming theme at Friday's pep rally. Photo credit: Patrick Mccaslin

After COVID prevented last year’s homecoming from including some of its typical festivities, many students expressed their excitement for the return of a normal homecoming week.

“It’s about bringing back traditions that we’ve had for years at the university and bringing a new touch to what homecoming looks like this year,” said Grace Tenke, chair of the Homecoming Executive Committee.

The week-long celebration will bring the music of Miami to campus and return some of the traditions students know and love after last years in-person homecoming week was cancelled, Tenke said. Last year, instead of its normally planned November celebration, the university held a mix of virtual and in-person events from Oct. 19-24.

Planning homecoming is a year-long process that culminates in the fall. After a year of COVID-19 protocols, students will get to see such traditions as the burning of the boat on Lake Osceola, fireworks at the Shalala Center and an exciting game against Georgia Tech.

During homecoming week, organizers pride themselves on building school spirit and a stronger sense of community, said homecoming committee treasurer Ajiri Uzere.

“A big part of homecoming is getting to plan an event where I can see it impact people,” Ajiri said.

Students can check Category 5 and the Homecoming Executive Committee’s Instagrams for further information on this November’s homecoming week.

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is an urgent reminder of the importance of global awareness to students

UM professor of international studies Venduka Kubalkova played a crucial role in creating a new section of the International Studies Association, an international organization focused on growing global awareness.

Vendulka Kubalkova is a professor at the University of Miami (UM) College of Arts and Sciences whose research and teaching interests include theory of international relations, post-Soviet studies and religion and civilizations and culture in world affairs. Kubalkova earned a Juris Doctor from Charles University in Czechoslovakia with a concentration in international law and a doctorate in international politics from Lancaster University in England. She founded the Master of Arts in International Administration program at UM and has served as assistant provost and chair of the department of international studies.

What does 911 mean to UM students?

America will stop this weekend to remember the twentieth anniversary of the tragic events of Tuesday, Sept. 11 2001, eerily abbreviated as 9/11 when 9-1-1, as we all know, is the universal American emergency phone number.

There are certain events in your life that you will not only never forget, but will remember where you were when they occurred: the first satellite Soviet Sputnik in orbit, the first person to step onto the moon, assassinations of various world leaders, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and countless other tragedies will remain stuck in the minds of those who lived through them forever. Over time, these events have become increasingly common and visible. The modern media makes once isolated regional tragedies visible wherever you are on the planet, at times faster than what the actual eyewitnesses can see. Of course, many of today’s undergraduates were not born at the time of the 9/11 attack and many graduates were too young to understand the depth of what happened. So, as somebody who has lived through many global catastrophes, what is my message to today’s students about the significance of 9/11?

UM professor of international studies Venduka Kubalkova played a crucial role in creating a new section of the International Studies Association, an international organization focused on growing global awareness.
UM professor of international studies Venduka Kubalkova played a crucial role in creating a new section of the International Studies Association, an international organization focused on growing global awareness.

I watched the events of 9/11 unfold on TV. The morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, was immediately internalized, etched into my memory. A colleague at Florida International University phoned me, urging me to turn on the TV quickly. If he had not called — if I had happened to have the TV on — I would have thought I was watching some Hollywood-produced movie. It was too surreal to be true: planes crashing into skyscrapers, which Hollywood studios could no doubt manage to engineer. However, this was a live broadcast; this was not Hollywood entertainment. Terrorist attacks are meant to be terrifying and I was terrified.

I had the same feeling of terror during another historical event at the height of the Cold War, when 500 Soviet and Warsaw Pact tanks and 200,000 soldiers arrived in my hometown of Prague in the middle of the night in a perfectly executed airlift. They were real tanks, not just images on a tv screen; tanks were everywhere, making roaring noise and spewing black clouds of exhaust fumes. Horrifying as it was, as it turned out, it would be viewed historically as only a “local” event, now almost forgotten: only around 100 people were killed and others injured, compared to the 2,977 lives lost and countless wounded on 9/11.

Hundreds of thousands of Czechs left the country. I left to study abroad for several semesters in the UK and refused to work for the Czech KGB, the Soviet spy intelligence agency. I did not have the stomach to work for those who occupied my home. I became undocumented, stateless for a decade, forever in exile. But in retrospect, the Soviet massive invasion is now just a historical footnote that changed personal lives but not the course of history.

Now, the media think tanks and Americans ask for the meaning of 9/11. It was the deadliest foreign terrorist attack in the United States. The World Trade Center was a symbol of globalization and America’s economic power. The Pentagon was the symbol of the might of the U.S. military. The attack was a declaration of holy war on the United States, the opening salvo of a campaign of violence that would usher in a new historical era in an attempt to undermine the world order of nation-states designed by the “West.” Although not of the same size and scope as 9/11, terrorist attacks have become a part of daily life world wide since the fall of the World Trade Center.

In one of many scholarly pieces coming out now about 9/11, Harvard Professor Steven Walt asks how 9/11 will be judged in the long run, in 80 years, on its 100th anniversary. Epoch-making or nothing?

This is an unfair question. In all likelihood, none of us will be here in 80 years, not even the youngest undergraduates. What will the world look like as it deals with global climate change, pandemics and shifting world powers? Will the world lapse back to Thomas Hobbes’ “Bellum omnium contra omnes,” a Latin phrase meaning the catastrophic “war of all against all,” with peaceful human civilization impossible? No matter what the world looks like, it will be made up of people with various world-views.

My message to our students?

To me, 9/11 is a 9-1-1 emergency call. The University of Miami offers more than 180 majors, yet only a few focus on the dramas of the world, much less the “big picture.” And yet, the knowledge of what is happening in the world must be part of the literacy of the university-educated elites who will replace us. Most students will not study what is going on in the world as a part of their major. A significant number of our students freely admit that they learn about the world only from Twitter and Instagram. Some ignore it all together. Is that enough? What can we do about it?

There is a long tradition of entrepreneurial spirit at UM. In the early years of the Master of Arts in International Administration (MAIA), we had a successful program in conjunction with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Influenced by the World Wildlife Fund, a global conservationist organization based in Switzerland, we began advocating that we adopt and preserve not just endangered species like chimpanzees or manatees, but our planet as a whole, also endangered. We called our project “Adopt the world: learn about it.” Rather than write usual term essays, UM students worked on teaching modules to assist teachers at schools in “adopting the world.”

Now there are more possibilities. As the world changes, so does our knowledge of it. That knowledge is not just of the U.S. or Eurocentric; it is global and it entails embracing world-views not always the same as ours. There are postcolonial perspectives we have to know about. The collaboration between UM faculty and a number of graduate students played a crucial role in creating a new section of the International Studies Association (isanet.org), the largest worldwide professional organization for international studies, with over 6,500 members. The new section covers more than just this hemisphere, it is supported in 54 countries with over 500 signatories from all over the globe. Why not create a noncredit student club, open to all students irrespective of their majors? We could connect it to and draw resources from the new Global IR Section of ISA: get group access to its website, plan joint activities with other South Florida universities already involved in the project and invite prominent members of the academic community from across the world to learn from them. We can call it (as we planned in MAIA), GLOBE UM, UM GLOBE or just “Adopt the World: Learn about it”. We would no longer need to rely on Instagram or Twitter or ignore what is happening in the world.

I see 9/11 as an emergency call to students who believe international problems aren’t their problems. Whatever career path they will pursue they will realize it. It is an emergency call to us all.

20 years ago today, UM remembers 9/11

Members of the Coral Gables Fire Rescue observe a moment of silence during the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Memorial at the Rock Plaza on Sept. 10, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon
Members of Coral Gables Fire Rescue observe a moment of silence during the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Memorial at the Rock Plaza on Sept. 10, 2021.
Members of the Coral Gables Fire Rescue observe a moment of silence during the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance Memorial at the Rock Plaza on Sept. 10, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

When al Qaeda member and attack orchestrator Mohamed Atta steered American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, he initiated a catastrophe that would live on in the memories of Americans everywhere. For the first time in the 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001, however, most of the nearly 2,700 freshmen enrolled at the University of Miami were not alive to witness it.

“With a new generation of students, this was not part of their lives, so it becomes very much history, rather than in the beginning, something that our students lived,” said Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely.

On Saturday, old and young members of the university community will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, with many of those who lived through it able to recall the time and place they first heard the news. Former University of Miami President Donna Shalala was on her way to UM’s accounting department.

“It never occurred to students that their own country could be attacked,” said Shalala, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton before being hired as university president just three months before the 9/11 attacks. “It’s something they will live with for the rest of their lives.”

Shalala immediately made herself available to students, walking around campus to comfort a grieving community. In the aftermath, she was tasked with leading a university community overcome by shock and grief. But rather than cancel classes, Shalala kept school in session in order to offer students a place of respite.

“It was important for them to go to class to keep themselves busy,” Shalala said. “It was safer here on campus than anywhere else on earth.”

But the students that filled UM’s classrooms on the date now etched into American history are long gone, with each successive class of enrollees increasingly unfamiliar with the reality of Sept. 11, Whitely said.

“For the very first time, when we do this memorial service this year, most freshmen will not have been alive when 9/11 happened,” Whitely said.

UM has held a memorial service to honor the lives lost on 9/11 every year since 2001, with the first taking place the night after the attack. While the country and world continue to grapple with a deadly pandemic, students and faculty again look back to the attacks that started a 20-year war, transformed air travel and devastated the university community over 1,000 miles away.

“I cannot even imagine the panic, fear and terror that quickly rushed through my mother’s body witnessing this, along with those of everyone else around her,” said Mark Iocco, a senior at UM from Queens, New York, whose mother worked a quarter of a mile away from the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. “Nearly 3,000 people went to bed that night without their son, daughter, husband, wife, mother or father.”

While Iocco struggles to imagine the emotions felt by those who witnessed the tragedy, however, many faculty members are struggling to forget.

“Seeing President Bush react to the news in his ear while he was reading at a Sarasota elementary school was memory-impressed–I will never forget those images,” said Alex Piquero, chair of the department of sociology and criminology. “It is like a bad movie on rewind and you cannot change the channel.”

After 20 years, Piquero said, many young people have learned about 9/11 in history classes or the stories of their parents, if they have learned anything at all.

“Many people now have no idea what 9/11 is, and they were not ‘there’ or ‘around’ to see it happen and then felt the strangeness of it all,” Piquero said. “I wonder if the 9/11 era is only for those who went through it.”

While students today were not likely to have witnessed the events of 9/11 firsthand, however, Piquero said that this class has its own list of generation-defining tragedies.

“The younger generation, say college students now, have their own events that are etched in their mind, the killing of George Floyd and the attack on the US Capitol.”

Joseph B. Treaster, a School of Communication professor and long-time reporter for The New York Times, had just finished breakfast with an insurance executive at a midtown New York hotel when he glanced at a TV screen and saw a plane stuck in the side of a World Trade Center tower. He flagged down a taxi, got about a mile from the Trade Center and ran the rest of the way. He was a few yards from the North Tower when it began collapsing.

“I started running again,” Treaster said. “An avalanche of white dust and cement was chasing me and hundreds of people up the street.”

For this and every new crop of UM freshmen, the stories of the people lost and lives forever changed on 9/11 will have to be read in the archives of newspapers of stories by reporters like Treaster.

“After the first harrowing day, I worked for months on the financial aspects of the attack – how many billions of dollars in lives and property had been destroyed, who would pay and how,” said Treaster, who also wrote brief biographies of some of the victims. “Talking to their family members was among the most difficult and touching experiences of the attack for me.”

No. 22 Miami heads into home opener with new opportunity versus Appalachian State

D'Eriq King looks to the sideline for a play call during Miami's game against Alabama on Sept. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at Atlanta. Photo credit: Josh Halper
D'Eriq King looks to the sideline for a play call during Miami's game against Alabama on Sept. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at Atlanta.
D'Eriq King looks to the sideline for a play call during Miami's game against Alabama on Sept. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at Atlanta. Photo credit: Josh Halper

After losing its season opener to Alabama 44-13, the Hurricanes need to do everything they can to erase the game from memory.

The Hurricanes have a new task on hand – take care of Appalachian State – arguably one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference. The 1-0 Mountaineers are drastically less talented than Alabama but still are a solid football team, defeating East Carolina by two touchdowns in Week 1.

Falling to No. 1 ranked Alabama by a large score differential is most certainly not a good thing but it offers plenty of learning points.

One point of emphasis is that the defensive backfield lacked full strength, as a handful of players, including safety Avantae Williams, were unavailable. Improvement in this area will continue to manifest itself as more players return with the hopes of getting Miami’s defense where it was multiple years ago.

As for the quarterback position, D’Eriq King did not perform poorly after making a successful return from an ACL and meniscus injury in Miami’s bowl game last December. The two interceptions thrown were a result of the pocket collapsing, a play in which King tweaked his knee. He made it clear in the post-game interview that he is determined to lead his team to more offensive proficiency in Week 2. One of the most important things the offense needs to do in order to beat Appalachian State is move the chains. Miami was 1-of-6 on third downs, resulting in consecutive possessions handed to Alabama.

The Sun Belt Conference is usually viewed as a bottom-tier conference in football but recently has produced teams that have been making their presence known. One concerning fact for Canes fans about Appalachian State is that they have a knack to knock off Power Five teams, or at least come close in upset attempts.

In 2019, the Mountaineers beat the North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks. The year prior, they took Penn State, a Big Ten powerhouse, to overtime. Although current graduate quarterback Chase Brice turns the ball over quite a bit, the Mountaineers run the ball hard. The Hurricanes will have to improve tremendously in their tackling abilities from last week, which includes 21 missed tackles, if they want to stop App State’s run game.

As a team formerly known for its stifling defense, Miami head coach Manny Diaz’s defense is in prime shape to force turnovers. Brice, Duke’s former starting quarterback, had 15 interceptions compared to the 10 touchdowns last season with the Blue Devils, something Miami will have to take advantage of. When the offensive line starts collapsing, Brice panics and has tendencies to turn the ball over. If turnovers are forced, this can help put Miami’s offense in good field position.

Miami has a poised defensive line that had 10 tackles for loss, but only produced one sack against Alabama. If they play up to their capabilities and get after Chase Brice, this game will go exactly how the Hurricanes will want it to go.

Canes explode offensively, beat FIU for fourth straight time

Freshman midfielder Lauren Meeks goes for the ball during the match versus FIU at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 9, 2021. Meeks scored Miami’s first goal of the game. Photo credit: Katrina Nguyen

Freshman midfielder Lauren Meeks goes for the ball during the match versus FIU at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 9, 2021. Meeks scored Miami’s first goal of the game.
Freshman midfielder Lauren Meeks goes for the ball during the match versus FIU at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 9, 2021. Meeks scored Miami’s first goal of the game. Photo credit: Katrina Nguyen

Following a crushing overtime loss to Missouri last week, the Canes (3-2) bounced back against their crosstown rivals Thursday, beating the FIU Panthers, 3-0.

Miami relentlessly pressured FIU throughout, creating a fast-paced match. The Panthers (1-6), however, stood their ground and played physical soccer the whole 90 minutes, picking up 12 fouls in the process.

The Canes eventually proved to be too much for the Panthers and netted three goals on 17 shots and 11 shots on goal. It was the most goals Miami scored in a game so far this year.

Miami head coach Sarah Barnes continued to experiment with the starting lineup on Thursday, starting freshman Lauren Meeks for the first time. The fourth-year coach wants to achieve a balance between the veterans and young players on the field.

“We have some good depth, a lot of players that can give us minutes,” Barnes said.So, we’re just trying to find a squad rotation where, honestly, we don’t have too many inexperienced players on the field all at the same time.”

Barnes’ experiment seemed to pay off. In the first half, Miami had several opportunities in the penalty box, keeping FIU goalkeeper Ithaisa Vinoly active in the box. Canes midfielder Jackie Koerwitz had a fantastic shot after nutmegging a defender, but Vinoly made a terrific save.

The Hurricanes celebrate after freshman midfielder Lauren Meek’s goal at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 9, 2021.
The Hurricanes celebrate after freshman midfielder Lauren Meek’s goal at Cobb Stadium on Sept. 9, 2021. Photo credit: Katrina Nguyen

And then, in the 25th minute, Miami scored – something it hasn’t done in any first half this season. It was Meeks who broke the deadlock, scoring her first career goal with the Canes. Fellow freshman Maya Rogers assisted her.

“I think she just did a good job of being composed because I think there was a deflection. She hit it, and then they blocked it, and then had the composure to follow up and hit it again,” Barnes said.

The Canes continued to have an abundance of chances in the second half, too. In the 68th minute, UM scored again when midfielder Jackie Koerwitz headed it home off a corner kick by Gabriela Rusek.

Shortly after, forward Gudrun Haralz sealed the match off a pass from fellow Icelander Maria Jakobsdottir to put the Canes ahead, 3-0, in the 75th minute.

“I thought we did a pretty good job, in the second half in particular, at figuring out how to break them down around the edges,” Barnes said on the offensive success. “Then, we started to get better central options once we got it wide to be able to go back in. Once we started to do that consistently, we were able to put a lot more pressure on them, so all of the sudden we were having chance after chance after chance and creating more corner kicks.”

In addition to the offense, the defense continued its stellar performance. FIU mustered only five shots, none of which were on goal.

Next up, the Canes face USF at Cobb Stadium Sunday as they enter the second part of a five-game homestead. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.

Canes football is headed back to Hard Rock Stadium. Here’s what you need to know to be there with them

Canes football players warm up at Hard Rock Stadium prior to the 2021 spring football game. UM students will return to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since 2019 on Saturday when Miami takes on Appalachian State in its first home game of the season. Photo credit: Isabella Didio
Canes football players warm up at Hard Rock Stadium prior to the 2021 spring football game. UM students will return to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since 2019 on Saturday when Miami takes on Appalachian State in its first home game of the season.
Canes football players warm up at Hard Rock Stadium prior to the 2021 spring football game. UM students will return to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since 2019 on Saturday when Miami takes on Appalachian State in its first home game of the season. Photo credit: Isabella Didio

The Hurricanes’ home opener is nearly here.

At 7 p.m. this Saturday, No. 22 Miami (0-1) looks to bounce back against the Appalachian State Mountaineers (1-0) in a game that marks the return of in-person student attendance at Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since 2019.

It’s sure to be an exciting night for the UM community, giving students a glimpse of a pre-pandemic era and a return to normalcy. You won’t want to miss it, so here’s everything you need to know about attending the game.

Tickets

To secure tickets, you must sign into the Student Ticket Account on the Miami Hurricanes’ official website. Once there, log in with your UM email or account number, which is your C-number preceded by a ‘9’, but without the ‘C.’ You can find your C-number on the web version of Canelink under the View Your UM ID tab.

Once logged in, click the Students tab and select Football Tickets, which displays a list of upcoming games. Navigate your way to the Appalachian State game – which will be at the top – and choose Find Tickets.

Here you can claim free student tickets and an additional guest ticket for 15 dollars, which can be used by a non-UM student. All tickets are mobile and will be emailed to you upon checking out.

Transportation

Transportation to Hard Rock will also be readily available through UBus – shuttles that the University provides free of charge. Masks, as well as a Cane Card and ticket, are required to ride, and students without one will be denied transit.

Located over a half-hour away from campus in Miami Gardens, it’s important to make sure you arrive at the stadium on time and leave with ample time as you navigate through rush hour traffic. For those who want to participate in pre-game activities, like tailgating, the earlier the better.

Typically, buses depart at Stanford Drive three hours prior to the game. On Saturday, however, they’ll leave four hours early, at 3 p.m., because of the First-Year Walk, an event that brings first-year students onto the field at Hard Rock Stadium.

To participate in this, students should arrive at Hard Rock Stadium by 4 p.m. to check in. Upon arrival, freshmen must check in at FanZone, which is located on the Northwest Plaza right by the student entrance.

FanZone, organized by Category 5, aims to provide UM students with a pre-game experience that will have food, games, music and giveaways from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Once at Hard Rock, present your Cane Card and ticket at the Northwest gate to enter the student section, which consists of lower sections 105-116 and upper sections 306-314. Student seating will be socially distanced, and masks won’t be required, however, they are strongly recommended in indoor spaces.

At halftime, UBus shuttles start taking students back to campus and will continue to do so until 30 minutes after the game ends.

Following these instructions will ensure you get the full experience of UM football in person for the first time in well over a year. The roaring of the crowd, the blaring of marching band horns and the energy of UM school spirit are all back, and just a day remains for fans to experience it the way it was always intended to be.