March standoff leads to discussion

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

On Friday, January 18, March for Life was held in Washington, D.C. March for Life is meant to be non-violent and give a voice to the voiceless, but a controversy has arisen as a result of clashing voices.

A group of male students from Covington Catholic School in Park Hills, Kentucky attended the march, as did a group of Black Hebrew Israelites and a small group of Native Americans who were also gathered nearby for an Indigenous People’s March.

The teenage boys, who were videoed wearing red MAGA hats, were seen as instigators in the viral outbreak. The original video released shows one student in particular, Nick Sandmann, standing face-to-face with Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder, as well as a Vietnam War veteran. Sandmann stood still about a foot away from Phillips, with a grin plastered on his face.

Phillips is seen in the video steadily beating on a drum and reciting a song that he said serves as part of a native ceremony to bring spirits home.

“The elder man was a war vet and was expressing his personal freedom through spiritual hymns. It is clear young people are being taught to not support those who don’t ‘look’ American,” said David Parnell III (’21).

Phillips claimed that the students, along with other in attendance at the march, were chanting, “Build that wall,” along with other chants the students said they used to pump up their athletes at sporting events. The students can even be seen jumping up and down, and potentially mocking the Indigenous people and their culture.

Other videos have circulated since the initial one, claiming to show the other side of the situation.

A later posted video showed members of the Black Hebrew Israelites yelling degrading things towards the students, with the Indigenous people trying to intervene to act as a mediator. Other posts online want people to remember that the students were marching in regard to female reproductive rights, which serves an importance in the conversation considering Covington Catholic School is an all-boys school.

“I think our biggest problem is lack of communication today,” said Elizabeth Flatoff (’21).“If either the man or the boy told the other why they were standing there, there would not have been a scene. Both were trying to diffuse the situation; both wanted the same thing. I think this is how our political system is flawed.”

Regardless of the side you choose to look at, the situation is sticky. Even if nothing was meant to be looked at as derogatory or negative against one another, each group has their own story, and which one people will choose is up to them.

“[Groups] might want the same things, but never know it because they instead try to make a statement [and] create a scene instead of actually diffusing or solving the problem,” said Flatoff.

This story serves as a reminder that while yes, Americans have the right to theirown personal speech, it is also important to remember that we are all different in our own ways, whether that be with race, religion, ethnicity, or anything else.

MLK Day festivities on campus

DYLAN COUR
STAFF WRITER

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day) has been a national holiday for 33 years now. The process of creating the national holiday, however, was not one of the easiest processes.

The call for a holiday was first raised in late 1968, not too long after his assassination. After much debate and turmoil, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the new federal holiday in 1983. However it was not officially observed until three years later. Even then, many states did not recognize the holiday and refused to celebrate it as its own day.

Some states combined the limited celebrations they did with other holidays nearby, and some even disregarded completely. The holiday was finally observed in all 50 states in 2000, 22 years after the initial call.

The holiday for students at Alma College holds a wide variety of activities. Including guest speakers, church services, choir performances and dance performances. The school also designates that on MLK Day, classes in the afternoon will be cancelled. MLK Day for students can mean a lot of things. For many it is a reminder of what our past holds and how we can do with our future. “MLK Day does not hold any special meaning to me personally, but it does allow me to celebrate and honor one of our country’s finest civil rights leaders” said Andrew Bach (’21).

On MLK Day this year, Reverend Andrew Pomerville gave a special sermon to the students and faculty of Alma College. Between choir performances, dances and readings by students, Pomerville stood and delivered more of his sermon. Pomerville spoke in such a way that many forgot they were even at a church service.

Students typically use the extra time to attend one, if not several, of the events offered on campus. Many students, in fact, went to Reverend Andrew Pomerville’s service as it was his first MLK Day service at Alma College. “I loved hearing Reverend Pomerville speak! He gave such a powerful speech” said Blake Jonassen (’22).

Pomerville spoke about the current generation and tied it back to Reverend King. “What really stood out to me was Pomerville’s sermon, and in particular when he explained how our generation is the best hope for the future because of our connectivity with others and how willing we are to be involved in others’ lives” said Jonassen.

Also at Pomerville’s sermon, the choir and dance departments each gave a performance. The Alma Choir and Chorale each performed a song, and the dance company did a performance as tribute to King. These performances moved many students and stood out and impacted many of them as well. “What stood out most to me, was the dance performance. The song that they picked was so moving and really idealized what MLK Day should be, at least in my eyes” said Liz Gallagher (’20).

Many students attended the chapel for the first time on MLK Day, and have since decided that after hearing Reverend Pomerville speak, to attend on a more regular basis. “He is such an excellent public speaker. He is also just so kind and friendly in general. I am definitely considering attending some of his services in the future” said Bach.

“Once I heard Reverend Pomerville speak, I was much more willing to attend chapel services on a more regular basis. Pomerville is so enthusiastic about what he preaches, and it engages the audience even more” said Jonassen.

Track and field takes first place at open

HANK WICKLEY
SPORTS WRITER

On January 11th the Track and Field team took first place at the Jack Skoog Open. On top of that, two athletes were named Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association athletes of the week.

At the event, there were many top notch performances.

For the women’s team, Lauren Kucharczyk (‘19) won the women’s long jump with a 3.97 meter jump. Also, Grace Hearth (‘21) won first place in the women’s 60 meter dash, and MIAA athlete of the week Erin Goggins (‘19) won the 200 meter sprint.

On the men’s side, Tim Minier (‘21) won the men’s 60 and 200-meter dash races, along with the title of MIAA athlete of the week. Jacob Wildenhaus (‘20) took first place in the 60-meter hurdles event. The men’s 4×400 team took first place, with an explosive finish from Jared Fleming (‘19).

“The Jack Skoog Open was a nice transition for us from break to the start of weekly competitions,” said Goggins.

“We looked good and I’m excited to see what we can do in the MIAA this year,” said Goggins.

“It was a very positive step forward. We had four days of organized practice so it was good to see where everyone was at coming out of break,” said Matt Chovanec, head coach of the Track and Field team.

As for the two athletes who were awarded athlete of the week, Goggins and Minier were both honored by the MIAA.

“I put in the work over Christmas break to be able to start the season strong like this and I’m pleased to have my hard work recognized by the MIAA,” said Goggins.

“It’s the first time I have been noticed as an MIAA athlete beyond the reports coach sends out from the meets,” said Minier.

“It was well deserved. It was cool to see their work pay off,” said Chovanec.

Now the team looks forward to the rest of the season and the upcoming events, including personal goals for individual athletes.

“I will always strive for faster times in my races and hopefully I’ll break a school record or two,” said Minier.

“My goals are to beat my personal records in pole vault, my long time event, and triple jump, which I have just begun to learn,” said Goggins.

“I also want to continue to focus on being a good leader and teammate,” said Goggins, “This is my last season and I aim on giving it everything I have.”

R Kelly outrages the public

[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]JORDYN BRADLEY STAFF WRITER R Kelly, the popular singer, songwriter, and record producer, is in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Allegations against Kelly include being in possession of child pornography and having sex with a 13 year old and urinating on them. Kelly has also paid multiple monetary settlements against women claiming he physically and sexually abused them. The “Ignition” singer has been facing allegations similar to these ones for over twenty years. Recently, Lifetime came out with a docu-series to expose the two criminal investigations against Kelly, one in Atlanta and another in Chicago. These cases stem from allegations of Kelly having a sex cult in both cities, as well as holding women captive in his apartment, though this accusation has yet to be proven. Sources claimed that the women were there on their own account. “Both the fact of R Kelly’s depravity and the revelation of such depravity are incredibly upsetting,” said Sam Nelson (‘21). Though word on Kelly has been spreading like wildfire through the news and social media recently, many people in the Alma Community did not know about the incidents, or even who Kelly was. “I wish I knew more about the situation to make an educated comment,” said Emma Wood (‘20). Wood said she only knew about what she had read about on Twitter, which was also true for many others. “I’m not surprised that another person that is famous is getting accused of something [such as this],” said Jeremy Fieber (‘19), who also had not heard much of the situation. Kelly has worked with multiple artists during his career, and once word began to circulate about Kelly, some made steps in order to show their support to victims. Chance the Rapper pulled his song with Kelly, “Somewhere in Paradise” from streaming sites. Lady Gaga pulled her song, “Do What U Want” that she worked with Kelly on, as well as issued a public statement regarding the situation and her unity with victims. Celine Dion removed the music video for her and Kelly’s song, “I’m Your Angel” from Youtube, but it is still available to stream. Many other artists that have worked with Kelly include Jay Z, Usher, and Mariah Carey. They have not touched their tracks that were produced with Kelly. Streams of Kelly’s music have increased by a whopping 116% this month alone with the release of the docuseries regarding the criminal allegations against him. “What I really hope comes of this [situation] isn’t just some bourgeois pedophile getting taken off of Spotify,” said Nelson, “but rather, those in our community feeling empowered to take a stand against the abuse and predation that afflicts those we love right here on campus.”[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Cyntoia Brown freed from imprisonment

WADE FULLERTON
STAFF WRITER

Cyntoia Brown – imprisoned for over a decade – has been granted clemency by Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam. Brown’s sentence has sparked controversy by the public in the last few weeks of her appeal process and continues to headline social media.

At the age of sixteen, Brown was forced into a prostitution ring and placed on trial for the killing of Johnny Mitchell Allan. Allan was murdered by Brown after he had purchased her. Brown was convicted as an adult and given a life sentence of fifty years in prison, without parole until the age of sixty-seven.

Brown’s court hearing in 2004 weighed that Brown murdered Allan for robbery. While the defense weighed that Brown acted in self-defense.

“There had been a slow building groundswell of support for years,” said Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey, Assistant Professor and Advisor to the MacCurdy Women’s House.

Over the past year, Brown’s case has gained traction through media outlets and the public demands to release Brown. The media attention ranged from celebrity tweets to a PBS documentary.

“Ultimately, both the constancy of local advocates and the volume of national and international support helped Cyntoia,” said Dora-Laskey.

Monday of last week, Brown was approved to be released from prison after serving fifteen years of a life sentence.

“Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Mrs. Brown’s sentence,” said Governor Haslam.

Attention to Brown’s case stems from a shift in the concerns of the public in recent years. The debate stems from whether or not the case was judged too harshly.

“I think that culture has changed. Our ability to accept these types of things have shifted in the majority of us. We’re more aware now of the impacts of trauma,” said Kevin Carmody, Title IX coordinator.

Carmody later explained that the popularity behind Brown’s case derives from a shift in the way society grows and perceives situations that otherwise would have been seen differently in the past five or ten years.

“Five years ago, this might not have reached the level of public outcry that we see today,” said Carmody.

The voice of the people generally moves at a pace that’s faster than the speed at which laws can be passed to improve convictions at the state level. “

Tremendous ground has been made by people who apply this pressure because otherwise, the system will never change,” said Carmody.

More importantly, it’s relevant to be aware that human rationality is applied to the existing legal system. In a positive light, cases like Brown’s will be corrected in future decisions, but the legal system will always have injustices.

No legal system in the United States or the world has ever been perfect, but pressure must be applied to improve the justice within the system.

“Legal systems are never flawless,” said Chih-Ping Chen, Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of Women’s & Gender Studies.

“In Cyntoia Brown’s case, her age when she committed the crime, the nature of the crime, the situation she was in at that time and before that time, that she was tried as an adult, the years she has served, and the waiting time for her parole,” said Chen.

What to Expect: National Emergency Edition

ATULYA DORA-LASKEY
STAFF WRITER

What do you picture when you hear “National Emergency?” Is it the imagery of chaos in the streets, a surveillance camera on every corner, and the National Guard marching down Superior St? The truth is, National Emergencies are relatively tame and forgettable for most people. However, this doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly.

The National Emergency Act was passed by Congress in 1976, establishing that the President has the authority to declare a National Emergency at anytime during their tenure, and further establishing that a National Emergency can last up for an entire year before it has to be renewed. Since the first order in 1979 (President Carter’s response to the Iranian hostage crisis), there have been over 58 National Emergencies declared. According to the Brennan Center, a whopping 31 of these 58 National Emergencies are still in effect across the country. The subjects of these National Emergencies can range from everything from sanctions on countries like Syria and North Korea to prohibiting interactions with terrorist groups to quickly dealing with outbreaks like Swine Flu. The Bush administration declared 13 emergencies and the Obama administration declared 12.

As of publication, the Trump administration has already declared 3 National Emergencies. The first was used in December 2017 to sanction 13 various generals and heads of states for their role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. The second was used to sanction various people involved in hacking to influence the election. And the third was used to place restriction on Nicaragua after the President, Daniel Ortega, violently cracked down on protestors. Despite saying he would declare a National Emergency over the opioid crisis, President Trump instead declared a Public-Health Emergency.

Recently, the Trump administration has been seemingly laying the groundwork to declare a National Emergency over the influx of immigrants at the southern border, despite no clear threats emerging. In 2017, the Trump administration boasted that it had the lowest levels of illegal immigration on record. 2018 had levels only 11% higher than that, according to Department of Homeland Security memos.

Trump has implied that he would use the National Emergency status to build a wall across the southern border. While National Emergencies are evidently regularly used, using a National Emergency to override congress is unprecedented and extremely dangerous to a system that depends on checks and balances.

National Emergencies have been relatively innocuous in the past. However, exemptions to this such as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and unaccountable torture programs post-9/11 should give every American pause when they hear one looming. In addition, the declaration of a National Emergency gives the President powers that haven’t been utilized throughout American history, but are ripe for potential abuse. These powers include disregarding bans on biological and chemical weapons, warrantless control of people’s finances, and allowing the President to seize control of U.S. internet traffic. Prevention of abuse depends on the vigilance of congress, the courts, and the people.

Students experience German culture

JAKE HOLT
STAFF WRITER

“S” Courses that take place during the spring term are great for traveling and cultural immersion. One such class is REL 180/380M taught by Prof. Richter who is a native of Germany.

This class will be traveling to Germany to study the reformation including where Martin Luther lived and was active. This trip also includes watching a professional German soccer game, visiting a winery and brewery, and experiencing German food.

“It’ll be interesting to travel to a country much older than America,” said Anna Dobyns (‘20) who will be embarking on the trip to Germany this spring. “I’m excited to see and experience the rich culture and history”. Dobyns is also looking forward to seeing the famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s house and church.

Germany is a democracy that has a parliament. One house of parliament, known in German as Bundestag (which translates to “Federal diet”), is much like the United States of America’s House of Representatives. It’s counterpart, the Bundesrat (federal council), is comparable to the Senate.

“In Germany, there are several main political parties,” says Deve Wishart (‘18) who lives in Germany currently. “While Americans tend to not talk about politics, religion, or money for fear of tension or heated arguments, Germans welcome the discussion and, even when disagreeing, are able to finish the conversation without becoming angry. I know Americans are capable of the same, but I think that the two-party system that seems to dominate American politics causes us to believe that there is some sort of rift if someone belongs to another political party.”

In 2015 the German chancellor in conjunction with the chancellor of Austria said that refugees of Germany would be allowed to cross through Hungary and Austria and reside in Germany.

“Many [Germans] are not happy about the immigration policies of the current political leaders” said Richter when asked about how the public views the government. “Many Syrian refugees were allowed to live in Germany”.

Transportation in Germany is like America in a lot of ways. They have an expressway-like road called the “Autobahn” which is known for its lack of a permanent speed limit in a lot of areas. The recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (about 81 m/h).

Another service that you can use to get around the country quickly is the German Intercity-Express (ICE). These trains travel inside Germany and into neighboring countries. The speeds of these trains can reach up to 300 km/h (about 190 m/h). “Compared to other European countries, Germany is probably the country that is most like the United States” said Drew Bellanger (‘19).

Richter also mentioned there were small differences. “I think Germans focus more on the details. They are more reserved, quieter and emphasize their right of privacy. Family and their home place is very important. Germans are less likely to move for a new job.”

“The difference in perceptions of honesty between the US and Germany have manifested in unexpected ways in the classroom for me.” said Wishart. “They talk in the front of both colleagues and students about how “good” or “bad” certain students are at different subjects. Several teachers have asked me to work with the “worst” students in class, which honestly hurts to hear.”

Germany is one of the most economically influential members of the European Union. Germany has the world’s fifth largest economy. Large companies contributing to the economy are companies like Siemens (industrial conglomerate), Volkswagen Group (automotive), and Fresenius (medical equipment and supplies).

Career week returns to campus

MADDIE LEUBKE
STAFF WRITER

Career Week for second semester is coming up in the end of January. Students are encouraged to attend these events in order to broaden career prospects and gain interview skills—among other things.

“There is a wide variety of events. Mock interviewing with alumni, an opportunity to purchase business attire at JcPenney with a large discount, a workshop on cultural awareness in the workplace (on MLK day), a panel discussion for student athletes, and presentations on paying for graduate school, interviewing and salary negotiation, and a LinkedIn workshop,” said Maria Jones, Director of Career Coaching.

The JcPenney Suit-Up event is new to career week. There have many displays and signs on campus advertising the event, including mannequins in SAC.

“While there, students will get 40% off all clearance, sale, or regular priced items,” said Jones when asked about the deals at this event. “Two weeks ago a women’s blazer was on sale for $20; at the least, students would get an additional 40% off that price. It’s a great opportunity to get new professional outfits or simply just a nice pair of shoes or a pair of black pants for work. Raffles, snacks, and a measuring station will also be at the event!”

The JcPenney event takes place at the Alma location on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm. There is a shuttle taking students from campus to the event and back in order to allow students to take full advantage of the perks of this event.

Unlike the stigma around the event, this is not a week structured only for business majors. “All of our events pertain to students from all majors and have no specific focus other than where you are in your professional development,” said Jones.

The Alumni SpeedInterview event is a great example of how this weeklong event can apply to many different majors. “We have a lawyer, a toxicologist, a teacher, an epidemiologist from the CDC and many other industries represented,” said Jones.

Some of the favorite career week events include the Suit-Up event with JcPenney and the workshop with Dar Mayweather about diversity in the workplace.

Student assistants working in the Center for Student Opportunity have been working hard with Jones to make the events of this week a success.Career week events take place from Saturday January 19th through Friday January 25th.

If you have any questions about events, contact Maria Jones at jonesma@alma.edu.

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