Junior forward Jon Leuer returned to practice Monday for the first time since his Jan. 9 injury suffered at the Kohl Center against the Purdue Boilermakers.[/media-credit]He’s back.Just 37 days after suffering an injury to his left wrist in Wisconsin’s victory Jan. 9 over then-No. 4 Purdue, junior forward Jon Leuer returned to practice Monday sporting a soft cast on his left wrist and looking like he hasn’t missed a beat.ESPN.com’s Andy Katz reported earlier in the day that Leuer would return to practice today and could play Thursday at Minnesota.Upon arriving at practice just after 3 p.m. today, I can confirm the reports are true. In fact, the first play I witnessed Leuer take part in was an outlet pass from senior guard Jason Bohannon, which Leuer quickly converted into an impressive one-handed slam.Leuer’s return appears to have given his teammates an added bounce in their steps at today’s practice with the possibility of seeing the Long Lake, Minn., native back on the court as soon as this week.If Leuer returned Thursday, it would be 40 days to the date of Leuer’s injury against the Boilermakers. That would fall just short of six weeks, which was the high-end estimate of most news outlets following the January injury.Regardless of what happens today, tomorrow and later this week in Minnesota, Leuer’s return to practice today signifies that he will indeed be back for the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA Tournament, which gives UW’s tournament hopes a huge boost.Be sure to check back later for more information as the story develops.
Winston Crisp previously served as vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ( Andrea Diaz | Daily Trojan) “I don’t know anybody who can be truly successful by themselves, not in this world,” Crisp said. “And I think people who need to tell you that they are solely responsible for their success and the whole, ‘I pulled myself up by my bootstraps,’ I don’t subscribe to that. I think nobody gets anywhere without help.” As he settles into his role at USC, Crisp said he will likely deal with the same issues that face many college students: mental health, safety and relationship struggles. He’ll continue to meet with students, faculty and staff across campus to learn about the specific issues he can address at USC. HEALTH AND SAFETY AT THE FOREFRONT While she felt other UNC administrators struggled to listen to students, 2019 graduate Sarah Lundgren said Crisp seemed sincere in his efforts to help students feel heard. After student government leaders voted in 2017 to split into separate bodies representing undergraduate and graduate students, Crisp stepped in to help facilitate the change. But mental health became a focus of Crisp’s career over the past two decades. When he started his career in student affairs at the UNC School of Law, Crisp and his department worked with a student who had significant mental health challenges and saw him start to improve. Then in 1995, the student, Wendell Williamson, went off of his medication and shot two people: a student and a fellow Chapel Hill resident. Williamson was later found not guilty by way of insanity. “For a lot of people, when you come to college for the first time in your life, you’re surrounded by people who are all pretty much just as smart as you are,” Crisp said. “And then you start looking around at what they’re doing … And I had this panic that I’m doing it wrong.” In 2018, Crisp created a Mental Health Task Force at UNC that released a report the year following his retirement recommending nearly 60 changes related to Chapel Hill’s wellness and climate; identification, treatment and ongoing support and academic policies. Another mentor, the dean of UNC School of Law, told Crisp he should consider pursuing education just as he was finishing up his law degree with plans to join the military. She contacted Crisp’s father as well as the colonel to stop him. After the statue was uprooted, Crisp texted, “Whew. What a mess. Won’t be texting. You be very careful with text and email also. Call if you need.” “What it really did is in a tangible way affirm to people that he was sincere and authentic in saying that he cares about the well-being of our students,” Sauls said. Lundgren, who worked as the digital managing editor for The Daily Tar Heel her senior year, said the administration seemed reactionary and closed off after the Silent Sam incident. These two incidents helped define Crisp’s career and solidify his focus on campus wellness and safety. If community members don’t feel healthy and safe, he said they’ll never be able to focus on the academic and personal growth that mark the college experience. But once he stepped foot onto campus, Crisp said that he fell into assumptions about what college life would entail. He recalls thinking students were required to wear suits and ties to their classes. All of what he expected from the college environment stemmed from movies and books. While he was in retirement after leaving UNC, Crisp told Folt he wanted to return to education and student affairs. In the coming months, Folt accepted her position at USC, former Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry announced his resignation and Crisp applied for and accepted the job. As part of Folt’s plan to create a more student-led presidency, she included Crisp in her cabinet along with other key administrators, like the heads of finance and human resources, who will help advise her decisions. “I spent a lot of time learning about grief and learning about how to move forward and learning about how to move populations forward,” Crisp said. “And I never expected to have that happen, and I never would have dreamed in a million years that it would happen.” “I felt like sometimes that I showed up like a month after everybody,” Crisp said. “Because … everyone had the whole college thing down, and their parents had been there. They had been shopping . . . and I’m looking at people’s residence hall rooms, and I showed up with one military footlocker and a military duffel bag because that’s all I owned.” The turning point in Crisp’s education came from the relationships he developed with various mentors. At first, he hated one of his professors, who gave him C’s and told him she was grading him based on what he was capable of doing and didn’t do. In other words, Crisp said she was calling him lazy and that he was doing “just enough to break the curve.” But looking back, Crisp said she was one of his greatest influences because she refused to let him settle for anything less. Crisp’s family ingrained in him a deep respect for education, and he said he always knew he would go to college. His grandfather told him about generations of his family who had worked hard so that he could get an education, and Crisp’s parents made sure he maintained straight A’s before he stepped on a sports field as a student-athlete. Crisp was also appointed the co-chair of the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC History in 2015. Folt created the task force to reckon with the school’s past, both in terms of its contributions to society and its relation to issues of race, class and privilege. “I am not the kind that comes in and just immediately starts,” Crisp said. “This is a great place with wonderful people so far, who all have a desire to see the place rise and to be better and to treat folks, and I’m trying to figure out how to best apply myself and my talents to make that better. And it’s going to take a little bit of time to learn.” The Daily Tar Heel reported on texts and emails obtained by WRAL, a local publication, revealing Crisp’s position on the statue’s controversy before it was taken down. In the texts, UNC Chief of Staff for Student Affairs Christi Hurt texted Crisp, “You think they’re gonna take that thing down?” to which Crisp responded, “One can hope.” Jonathan Sauls, who worked in student affairs with Crisp at UNC for 14 years, said Crisp often gave out his phone number to the thousands of families in each incoming class when welcoming new students and parents to Chapel Hill. Sauls said that at a graduation ceremony last December, Folt commented on Crisp giving his number to so many families, and one mother stood up and yelled back, “Yep, still have your card, still have your number.” Sauls said that even years after graduating, students would check in with Crisp on their visits back to campus. Crisp said he has tried to be consistent in his values over the course of his career, and his values always began with the health and safety of the students. Crisp often met with student organizations and leaders to discuss issues on campus, but Sauls said Crisp also made time to talk with and mentor students to give career advice or help students dealing with barriers to education — even inviting them into the office after the workday had ended. Crisp’s college experience was marked by the fear that he was not supposed to be there — a sentiment he compared to imposter syndrome — and that he was going to be thrown out of school if he did anything wrong. At 2 a.m. on his first night of college, then-freshman Winston Crisp jerked awake to the sound of the fire alarm blaring. He sprang from his bed, scrambling to gather his thoughts as he rushed out of his dorm. After all, where he grew up, the fire alarm always signaled an emergency. For others, Folt said the phrase “student-centered” may seem like a buzzword, but at UNC, she watched Crisp put that term into action through his efforts to get to know students and parents and work on efforts to cultivate a better campus and community. It soon became clear which path Crisp would choose after taking his first biology class. When his class did frog dissections, he hid behind his lab partner and peered over her every so often as she cut through the cadaver. He immediately scratched med school off the list and set his sights on becoming an attorney. But as he got older, Crisp said he was not sure how much of that dream was his and how much of it was his family’s — another aspect of being a first-generation student, he said. And with that mentorship, Crisp changed his plans entirely, beginning his career as an educator at UNC. When it came time to apply to college, he wasn’t sure how his family would afford the expense, but Johnson C. Smith University, a small HBCU in Charlotte, N.C. — a place he said was where “folks who didn’t necessarily have access could gain access” — and later the UNC School of Law offered him the scholarship money he needed. “When your entire family is pointed toward achieving something, how do you separate your own desires from [theirs]?” Crisp said. “But I had another desire, and I had another love that I was discovering. And that was education.” “When you have so much angst and anxiety and anger and fear … that it’s taken up the kind of time and energy and effort, and it becomes the central defining character of a place, then that place is not … discovering knowledge, educating and teaching people,” Crisp said. “My attitude was, ‘This [statue] is detrimental.’” “My philosophy is very simple, and you will get tired of me saying it: Every single student that comes to this University without regard to what adjective goes in front of the name is supposed to get the same shot at figuring this out,” Crisp said. “And if you aren’t healthy, if you’re not safe, if you don’t feel welcome, if you don’t feel like you have access to the same room, then that stuff is not going to happen.” According to Crisp, Silent Sam, an 8-foot commemorative statue of a Confederate soldier that marked the entrance of the UNC campus for more than a century, created a health and safety issue among students. The statue sparked decades of protests, but with the support of conservative alumni and state legislators, Silent Sam stood standing until August 2018, when it was toppled by protestors. In January, Folt, who was then the UNC chancellor, removed the remnants of the statue before announcing her official departure from the university. But with his college experience came insight that Crisp said he has carried to all the communities he’s served. After 26 years working in various student affairs positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Crisp followed President Carol Folt to USC as vice president for student affairs, officially beginning his position Aug. 16. Since then, Crisp said he has been meeting with various members of the University community and listening to their concerns. “People were laughing at me, and I’ll never forget,” Crisp said. “I mean, it seems like a really dumb thing, but the notion that people just ignored stuff like that routinely . . . so I was always taking stuff seriously.” “I’m not saying that that was Winston Crisp, but more so UNC administration in general,” she said. “I wouldn’t necessarily call that his mistake, but I would say in the administration he was part of, that was definitely the most notable problem.” “I thought she was just completely derailing my life because I had a plan,” Crisp said. “I had a plan, and I was ready for my plan. … [But] the colonel told me at one point, ‘If you don’t take that job, I’m going to rescind your commission offer because you’re too young and stupid to understand what a gift you’re being handed.’” LOOKING BACK ON UNC As he exited his dorm, Crisp realized that he was the only resident outside. There he found the residence hall director, who told him the incident was only a fire drill. The shooting shocked the UNC community and the nation, and at first Crisp wondered if he had failed or allowed the incident to happen. As lawsuits and trials followed, Crisp said he watched conversations on mental health unfold at more universities and saw a change in how colleges and health centers approached their relationships with students. When a gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech in 2007, leaving 32 people dead, presidents and vice presidents from ACC schools met to see how they could help the school move forward. Because Crisp had dealt with trauma on a campus before, he was sent to VT to help faculty and staff recover and rebuild as they prepared for an incoming class of students. “His contributions were to create a loving presence,” Folt said. “Even when there were things [students] didn’t like, they would have turned to him and say he was really important for us.” TURNING TO EDUCATION Growing up, Crisp thought there were only two career paths he could follow to be successful: medicine and law. “I also don’t think I’m going to be reinventing any wheels,” Crisp said. “I think there’s probably good work, and good people, from students all the way up who are already engaged in all of these things. My job is to figure out how can I integrate with that and facilitate and help and figure that out, and it’ll take a while to do that.”