Alma’s thoughts on the outside world: Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment


In the summer of 1982, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Justice Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a house party.

In 2018, Dr. Ford wrote to her Senator, Diane Feinstein, about this incident in a letter she hoped to keep private. Senator Feinstein gave the letter to the FBI, and at the same time, news leaked that there are sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Upon news of several allegations against Kavanaugh, the Senate held a hearing to determine the fate of his nomination. During the hearing, the Senate heard testimony from Dr. Ford.

Ultimately, Kavanaugh was made a Supreme Court Justice with a vote of 50 to 48 on October 6th, 2018.

Our political atmosphere is already tense. An alleged sexual assaulter on the court further validates so much anger. I was curious as to what our peers thought of the nomination process, and what they plan on doing in light of it.

“Honestly, I’m not happy about it. I feel it’s an injustice to women and it shows that America doesn’t care about bringing this stuff to justice,” said Matt Nagy (’19).

Other students seem to share this sentiment.

“It truly was scary because now they just tilted the entire Supreme Court. It’s a shame what’s going on right now that even though women are coming out, their voices still aren’t being heard,” said Karina Ankrom (’19).

Ankrom found out about the nomination within moments of it being released, and was with junior Eryn Corinth (‘20) at the time.

“I freaked out when we found out,” said Corinth.

I polled several students about this issue in Joe’s Place, and of the eight people I polled, there were six that hadn’t even heard about Kavanaugh or the significance of his nomination, and now confirmation, to the Supreme Court.

At this point in history, it is more important than ever to be aware of what our government is doing, given that this confirmation of Kavanaugh into the Supreme Court may jeopardize basic rights regarding abortion, LGBT rights, and religion.

As of right now, the Supreme Court is weighted in favor of the Republican Party, with five justices appointed by Republican presidents and four appointed by Democratic presidents.

“I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution,” said Trump on Saturday.

Kavanaugh is the second Justice that Trump has appointed to the Supreme Court, along with Neil Gorsuch.


Kiltie Marching Band hosts the Kiltie Invitational


This past Saturday, the Kiltie Marching Band— KMB—hosted their annual Kiltie Invitational.

During this event, high school marching bands travel to Alma College to compete against each other. It is an all-day event for the band and many different aspects go into the running of the invitational.

There were 9 bands performing at the invitational this year, competing in Classes A, B, C and D. There is a panel of judges that scores the bands on their performances in different categories and at different levels, depending on their class.

“The contest uses a 4-judge scoring system, 2 music categories totaling sixty points (thirty musical performance/thirty musical effect) and 2 visual totaling forty points (twenty performance/ twenty effect),” said Dave Fair, Alma College alumni and the music department percussion intern.

Even though this event is hosted as a competition for the high school bands, it is also a recruitment tool to encourage students to continue marching band after high school.

“I think invitational day is an amazing way to show high schoolers what marching band is like at Alma College. The high school bands get the opportunity to perform, compete and express their passion for music, and the Kiltie Marching Band illustrates how the students could continue that passion in college,” said Julia Ettema (’21).

This event happens every year and the Kiltie Marching Band’s manager is in charge of organizing the event.

“Overall, the event was a success. It couldn’t have been a success without the help of Dave Fair, Mr. Zerbe and the whole KMB though. I arranged a lot of the event, yes, but Mr. Fair and Mr. Zerbe were the ones who were also key players,” said Jacob Holt (’20).

The band moves in on campus 2 weeks early to start preparations for their show. The KMB show this year is titled “Modern Romance” and features some unique aspects not commonly found in marching performances. It is a jazz fusion themed performance featuring songs by Jacob Collier and Dirty Loops.

Ettema plays a solo in the show on the flugelhorn. “I worry about switching between instruments in the middle of the show, bringing both instruments to rehearsals and performances and making sure both instruments and the microphone work, but there are a lot of people who work so hard to make sure everything goes smoothly, and I am so grateful for them,” said Ettema.

Before the KMB performed in exhibition, high school bands performed at Bahlke Stadium. These high school bands include St. Louis, Bad Axe, Farwell, Columbia, Ithaca, Alma, Port Huron Northern, Oxford and— the overall winner—Holly.

The bands came to the event and stayed all day to support all of the performing ensembles.

Community and grad assistants replace RAs


Alma College has recently undergone several staff changes, many of which were in the Student Life Department. One such change has been the hiring of Graduate and Community Assistants to replace some Resident Assistant positions.

Graduate Assistants are students at Central Michigan University that study Student Affairs and are employed by Alma College.

“Since the position is new, not a lot of students are aware of what it entails, and many think it’s like a combination between Americorps Vista and a hall director,” said Timothy Samuel, one of the new Graduate Assistants.

Samuel, who majors in higher education administration, works primarily with juniors and seniors as well as diversity and inclusion.

“I come from a public university. Being able to apply what I’ve learned at a smaller private college is great since I get to see both sides.”

Community Assistants, another new position, are students that aim to cultivate a warm and inclusive environment for residents. “Another component of what I do is ensuring that students know I am a resource and that I’m available when they need me. I am diversity, safe zone, and QPR certified,” said TiKilah Turner (’19).

The five Community Assistants are spread out around campus; three report to North Campus and two are responsible for South Campus. There are still Resident Assistants on North Campus, but there are only Community Assistants on South Campus.

“I think that taking away Resident Assistants on South Campus was a good investment, since it will teach students how to be independent and how to contact the proper person responsible when they need help,” said Jaclyn Roussel (’19).

While many students believe that these are positive changes, there are those that disagree with the removal of Resident Assistants from South Campus.

“I can see situations that would warrant wanting a Resident Assistant, because of convenience, but you can still get ahold of someone to handle the same problems,” said Andrew Coffelt (’20).

Coffelt also believes that due to the fact that only upperclassmen live on South Campus, they are aware that they have resources and know how to go about utilizing them. “We’re all adults, you’ve just gotta know how to handle yourself,” said Coffelt.

Alma pilots google classes


There are different ways to learn on campus. Professors teach groups of students in classrooms about subjects pertaining to students’ majors. A form of teaching that is appearing more often is the Google Classroom setting.

Classes that are taught in Google Classroom styles perform the same functions, but they include students from different universities across Michigan. The classes are connected using cameras to show all classes involved in the class.

Google Classrooms differ from traditional classroom settings in many ways, but the purpose of Google Classrooms are the same as traditional classrooms. “In my opinion, the purpose of a Google classroom is to expand and broaden the horizons of learning,” said Victoria Centeno (’20).

Besides solely teaching students about their studies, Google Classrooms also serve another purpose; they bring other schools together.

Kara Andersen-Denike (’20) believes that the main purpose of Google Classrooms is to include students from other colleges in order to gain outside perspective on common classes that [students] have. Along with Centeno and Andersen-Denike, Kelsey Weiss (’20) believes that a goal of Google Classrooms is to have students collaborate with students from other colleges.

Centeno, Andersen-Denike and Weiss are all in Professor Wallmenich’s African American Literature class (ENG 367).

There are pros and cons to Google Classroom. “The ability to understand another perspective is a huge pro for me,” said Centeno. AndersenDenike said that one pro of being in a Google Classroom is the ability to have new perspectives. Also, “[a] pro of being in the Google Classroom is the expanse of knowledge that we can share,” said Weiss. “Also, you are not limited to just the ideas of those on your campus.”

There are also cons to being in Google Classroom setting as opposed to traditional classroom settings. AndersenDenike says that one drawback to being in a Google Classroom environment is the lack of oneon-one interactions between the professor and students.

“There are pros to being in traditional classrooms rather than being in Google Classrooms,” said Weiss. “For example, in a traditional classroom, it’s easier to focus on the topic being taught rather than focusing on a screen, and it’s also easier to have a discussion in person and break into groups.” Teaching in person has the advantages of being able to use physical examples and methods to explain concepts, where Google Classrooms do not have the same advantage.

Andersen-Denike said that she likes the traditional classroom setting better because she is able to get more one-on-one time with her professor, and she believes that there are less distractions when the professor is teaching in person, rather than teaching over a video connection.

Centeno, Andersen-Denike, and Weiss all said that they prefer traditional classroom settings as opposed to Google Classrooms. “If given the choice, I would go back to traditional classrooms,” said Centeno. “A subject such as English takes such an intimate approach on the subject matter. I have taken classes with this professor before and I think that is a strength of her teaching is how engaged she gets the class and the use of collaboration. This is just hindered by the Google classroom.”

Freshmen modernize 1918 flu


The Spanish flu is coming back to Alma, but not in the form of the annual bouts of the Alma Plague. A First Year Seminar, led by Associate Professor of History Kristin Olbertson, is taking a look one hundred years back in history to the Spanish flu epidemic that arrived in Alma in the fall of 1918.

The First Year Seminar, “The 1918 Flu in Michigan”, aims to provide a description of what life was like in Alma during the time of the epidemic. Students are allowed to go into the library archives and view historical documents from that time, such as newspapers, photographs and other such artifacts. They even have articles about the Spanish flu from the Almanian, written during its fledgling years.

The Spanish flu, also known as influenza, arrived in the United States in 1918 and spread until 1919, when it was finally contained. In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu arrived in Detroit and quickly made its way through the state, hitting Detroit, Bay City, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and even Alma.

The college was even quarantined for a bit to ensure that the epidemic didn’t continue its path up Michigan, but several cases of the Spanish flu continued to be reported further and further up state, including cities in the Upper Peninsula such as Marquette. Overall, around 675,000 people died of the Spanish flu in the United States.

To spread awareness of the centennial of this epidemic, Olbertson is having her First Year Seminar students run several social media pages to update people on what life was like at the time of the epidemic.

They post daily news headlines following the timeline of events on the spread of the Spanish flu on their Twitter and Facebook pages, giving an almost real-time effect to those who are following it.

Olbertson is excited about the work happening in her class. “Often students have to wait until they’re in an upper level course or even graduate school before they have a chance to work extensively in the archives, and these students will be doing so in their first week of class,” Olbertson says. The students’ work doesn’t just cover the historical perspective of the Spanish flu. By posting headlines on their Twitter, the students also show the rising issues related to government censorship and public health that occurred as the Spanish flu was spreading.

While officials in Detroit were aware of the spread of the Spanish flu, they downplayed its severity, and the first several deaths weren’t even published in local papers. It was only until nurses at a local hospital became sick and large amounts of new cases were being diagnosed every day did they begin to take action.

Public places such as schools and parks were closed, and weren’t allowed to reopen for several months, until the epidemic slowed.

So far, the future looks good for Olbertson’s First Year Seminar. “I’m looking forward to having first-year students experience the excitement of getting to work with these newspapers,” Olbertson says. “My hope is that they leave the class feeling empowered to conduct their own research into family or local history.”

The class will continue reporting on the spread of the Spanish flu in Michigan for the remainder of the term. Their Facebook page, Michigan Flu 1918, and their Twitter page, @MichFlu_1918, are updated consistently and contain several articles and headlines concerning the Spanish flu in Michigan and in Alma.

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