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Tropical Storm Eta, Hate Speech On Social Media And College Campuses, 2020 Miami Book Fair

Tropical Storm Eta is churning toward South Florida and could affect northern parts of the state late this week.
Tropical Storm Eta passed through the Florida Keys and South Florida late Sunday into the early Monday morning hours.

Tropical Storm Eta passes through South Florida, leaving significant flooding and wind damage in parts of Miami-Dade, Broward and the Florida Keys. A video showing an FIU student using a racial slur goes viral. And Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan on the Miami Book Fair and "Let Him Go."

On this Monday, Nov. 9th episode of Sundial

Tropical Storm Eta

Tropical Storm Eta is now heading west into the Gulf of Mexico after leaving South Florida with heavy flooding and significant wind damage.

Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, tying 2005 for the most named storms of any year.

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Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne said a confluence of factors is making this year so busy.

“La Niña is part of it,” said Hawthorne on Sundial.

“It’s basically a cooling of waters in the Pacific ocean which favors more storms in the Atlantic. The other factor we have is called the Madden-Julian oscillation. It’s basically a wave high in the atmosphere, and the wave moves across the tropical oceans around the globe," he said. "Right now that wave happens to be over the Carribbean and the Atlantic.”

We heard from FRPEN meteorologist Ray Hawthorne, with the latest on the storm, as well as Florida Keys reporter Nancy Klingener and Broward County reporter Caitie Switalski-Muñoz — who explained the damage Eta caused in Broward and the Florida Keys.

Tropical Storm Eta, Hate Speech On Social Media And College Campuses, 2020 Miami Book Fair

Hate Speech on College Campuses

A video of a Florida International University student repeatedly using the n-word went viral online — garnering 2.5 million views on Twitter — and has since sparked a conversation about hate speech and the First Amendment on college campuses.

“I learned about this video because it was sent to me by a member of the Black Student Union and watching it I really felt disappointed and hurt ... it's kind of like my university can't do anything. This place that I’m at for four years, that I'm giving my all to, and that I expect to have my back, they can't have my back in this situation," said Jaquan Starling, the Black Student Union vice president at FIU.

FIU initially said that the video had been noted and would be reviewed through the Student Code of Conduct. As the video grew more and more attention online, President Rosenberg put out a statement condemning it and hoping that the student is “reflecting and coming to the understanding that it was wrong.”

WLRN reached out to FIU asking for a representative to join us on the program and discuss what, if any, disciplinary actions were taken. FIU declined the interview and cited, under Florida law, that they're unable to disclose any information about those potential disciplinary actions.

As a public university, Florida International University is bound by the First Amendment in how it deals with its students.

“It [FIU] can’t sanction a student for a violation of the Code of Conduct if the student’s speech is constitutionally protected,” says FIU law professor Howard M. Wasserman.

He asserts that hate speech, unless it incites violence or is a direct threat, falls under the First Amendment.

We heard from Joshua Ceballos, reporter for the Miami New Times, and Starling, the Black Student Union vice president at FIU.

Tropical Storm Eta, Hate Speech On Social Media And College Campuses, 2020 Miami Book Fair

Virtual Miami Book Fair And "Let Him Go"

The 36th year of the Miami Book Fair will be entirely online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of authors will be participating in the festival and there will be a virtual marketplace where customers can purchase books directly from independent publishers.

Mitchell Kaplan is the owner of Books & Books and one of the founders of the Miami Book Fair. He explained there are some benefits to having the festival online.

“When you’re operating in the virtual world you can take two people who aren’t necessarily near one another and you can put them together,” said Kaplan on Sundial. “Like Nicole Krauss the great writer along with Lauren Groff who lives in Gainesville.”

Head here to find more information about this year's Book Fair.

Aside from bookselling, Kaplan is also producing films. The Mazur and Kaplan Company are behind “Let Him Go,” the new dramatic thriller starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. The film has been released in select theaters, including the Coral Gables Art Cinema.

Tropical Storm Eta, Hate Speech On Social Media And College Campuses, 2020 Miami Book Fair

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.