21 Savage silenced


On February 3rd, a few hours before the Superbowl started, news broke out about the arrest of 21 Savage. Savage, whose legal name is She’yaa Bin AbrahamJoseph, had been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and slated to be deported. The situation was made even more shocking when an ICE spokesperson told the media, “His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa.”

Immediately, memes began to dominate social media accusing Savage of being a fake or jokingly insinuating that he was really rapping about being British the whole time. While most of us were sharing jokes, another story was left untold.

To truly understand this story, we’re going to have to rewind to January 28th. 21 Savage performed his song “A Lot” on The Tonight Show in front of millions of people. In this live performance, he added lyrics that weren’t in the original song. With a mournful look, Savage rapped, “Lights was off, the gas was off, so we had to boil up the water / Went through some things, but I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border / Flint still need water, niggas was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.”

21 Savage’s line about “kids stuck at the border” was a clear reference to the 3,000+ immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border under President Trump’s “zero tolerance policy.” While many children were reunited after backlash, an untold amount still remain separated. Children who were reunited exhibited psychological issues which have permanent effects and are typically associated with abandonment and confinement. It can also be considered a reference to the two Guatemalan children who died in Border Patrol custody after being arrested at the border. Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died on December 8th. And Felie Gomez Alonzo, 8, died on December 24th.

Both the ACLU and immigration advocates have stressed that ICE seeks out and targets activists that speak against them. “They’re trying to intimidate people,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “These are well-known activists who’ve been here for decades, and they’re saying to them: Don’t raise your head.” ICE was sued for targeting activists in February by the immigration advocacy group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City.

This type of intimidation is almost routine. “Migrant Justice,” a non-profit in Burlington, Vermont, had six undocumented leaders arrested over a period of 14 months, none with criminal records. Mere hours after humanitarian group “No More Deaths” released a video showing Border Patrol kicking over and destroying jugs of water that had been left for dehydrated migrants, volunteer Scott Daniel Warren found himself being arrested under the felony charge of harboring undocumented immigrants. When immigrant activist Daniela Vargas spoke out for undocumented rights at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi, she was immediately pulled over on her way home and arrested by ICE because her DACA status had expired, despite the fact that she had already applied for it to be renewed. And, of course, when 21 Savage spoke out against migrant children being on national TV, he found himself being arrested by ICE days later. All these cases are just the tip of the iceberg in a war by ICE to suppress dissenting views.

ICE immediately got to work by trying to defame Savage and turn his fan base against him. Yet many of the facts surrounding his arrest are unclear or simply contradictory. ICE claims that Savage came here when he was 14, but his lawyers say they have proof he came here at 7. ICE claims it has grounds to deport Savage because of a misdemeanor sentence in 2014, yet Hudson, 21 Savage’s lawyer at the time, claims that this sentence was expunged after his sentence was served. Savage had already applied for a visa in 2017, but it’s unclear if that will be considered by immigration officials. It’s important to remember that ICE is hardly infallible. In June, former ICE spokesperson James Schwab told CBS that he was instructed by superiors in Washington to “flat-out lie.”

Regardless of your personal feelings on 21 Savage or immigration, we as Americans should not tolerate a government who selectively enforces laws in order to silence those who speak out against them.

Trump delivers State of The Union


On Tuesday Feb. 5, President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address to Congress in Washington D.C. The chambers were filled with both parties as well as invited guests for a discussion about current political issues.

“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or Democrat agenda; it is the agenda of the American people,” said President Trump at the beginning of his speech. He then went into events that have occurred during his time in office, as well as what he plans to get done in the upcoming months.

The shutdown was mentioned, as well as allocating funds to border security— specifically the wall. “Simply put, walls work, and walls save lives,” says President Trump when referencing a section of wall built in El Paso, Texas.

In Stacey Abrams democratic rebuttal, she said, “America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.” Stacey Abrams was the 2018 Democratic candidate for Georgia’s gubernatorial election. She is the first African American women to deliver the rebuttal.

Another topic mentioned was the advancement of women, especially when it comes to employment. President Trump stated that 58% of the jobs filled were by females. There is also a record number of women serving in congress currently.

In the chambers, many of the women, specifically of the democratic party, made the decision to wear all white. This represents the fight for women’s suffrage and symbolizes how far the United States has come. 2019 marks the centennial anniversary of women receiving the right to vote through the 19th amendment.

The economy was brought up throughout the speech. President Trump called the current state an “unprecedented economic boom” with the creation of 5.3 million jobs, 600,000 of which were manufacturing. He also drew attention to the lowest unemployment in 50 years.

Regarding energy, the United States has become a net exporter of energy for the first time in 65 years. America is the number one producer of both oil and natural gas in the world according to President Trump.

There have been changes when it comes to health care. The Obamacare mandate penalty was eliminated and the Right to Try Act was passed. This allows people who are critically ill to obtain assistance when they are sick. Abrams advocated for advances that would lower the cost of medications.

Due to the public outcry surrounding the passing of a new abortion law in New York, it was briefly mentioned in the State of the Union Address. President Trump asked congress for legislation against late-term abortions. In her rebuttal, Abrams says, “We must never forget it is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda.”

Foreign relations were discussed in terms of the military and treaties. There was $700 billion invested last year in the armed forces and $716 billion this year. The United States has also started building a missile defense system. In terms of treaties, President Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear deal and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia. In addition, NAFTA is being replaced by the USMCA, or United StatesMexico-Canada agreement in an attempt to bring jobs back to the country. Abrams advocated for gun control legislation and bills to aid in student loans in order to help further the education for the younger generations. Unity was a theme in the speech. “If there is going to be peace in legislation, there cannot be war and investigation… We must be united at home to defeat our adversaries abroad,” says President Trump. This specifically led to his discussion of attempting to get his nominations selected. President Trump and Abrams both mentioned that Congress could come together to pass more legislation.

Criminal justice reform is one example. Matthew Charles is an example of this. Charles was sentenced in 1996 to 35 years in prison for drug related offenses. He was able to lead Bible studies and become a law clerk in the 20 years he served. Charles was the first person to be released under the First Step Act and attended the State of the Union address.

This address was originally scheduled for Jan. 29 but was postponed due to the 35-day government shutdown that ended Jan. 25. It was mentioned that the government could shut down again Feb. 15 if a new budget is not agreed upon before then.

ACUB brings comedian to campus


The Alma College Union Board (ACUB) this past week brought comedian Samuel Comroe to campus. Comroe was a finalist this past season on America’s Got Talent, and is now touring the country with his show.

Students were excited to see Comroe perform at Alma after watching him compete all last season on the show. “I did not recognize his name right away, but once I realized that it was him, I was ecstatic. I watched him throughout the whole last season of America’s Got Talent and he was one of my favorite performers,” said Chapin Kartsounes (’21).

Other students were just excited to get out of their rooms and laugh during this terrible winter weather. “Although I cannot make it to every event held on campus, I do enjoy having the opportunity to get out and do something. Every event I have made it too has not left me disappointed. I also really like that ACUB brings in so many outside performers so that I can expand my horizons,” said Susan Doumont (’20).

America’s Got Talent has been running on national television since 2006. Since then, the show has expanded and created several other branches in countries around the world. The show in America has ran for 13 seasons now, with rotating judges and hosts. The show takes place in 3 stages. First you have the auditions round, in which the judges decide whether or not to put someone through to the next round. The second round is judge’s cuts, where they slim down the pool once more, and finally the show moves to the live shows where viewers themselves finally get to vote on contestants.

Comroe competed on America’s Got Talent and was able to get to the final four. Unfortunately he was unable to pull out the victory. But since the show, he has been able to tour around the country doing what he loves. Even though he has to leave his wife and new daughter at home, Comroe stated, “I love touring. It’s always fun to perform for different crowds and see everyone come out.”

About half way through his show, Comroe opened up to the audience for a bit of a Q and A session as a way to avoid the awkward questions after the show. Students had quite a lot to say. Particularly, students wanted to know what it was like to start in comedy. Students were interested in how hard it is to gain an actual audience for shows as a start-up comedian.

“My favorite part of the show was when Comroe opened up a section of his show for Q and A. I asked him why he had worn a particular piece of clothing, and while he was shocked, he poked fun at it for the rest of the show, and it was just a lot of fun,” said David Parnell III (’21).

When asked why he originally got into comedy, comedian Sam Comroe said, “I really just did not want to be that guy with Tourette’s. I wanted to be funny and make people laugh. I actually started this whole thing at 17. I was an introvert who wanted to break out of his shell, and my dad had always really been into comedy. So it was an easy choice.”

“Your beginning shows are always your worst. I’ve been doing comedy for about a decade now, and I can say that about 800 shows out of 1000 have been for ten people or less,” said Comroe. Comroe also said, “Most of my jokes come from my own experiences. I take all the negativity that occurs in my life and try to turn it around to something I can make fun of in order to make others laugh.”…

“Most of my jokes come from my own experiences. I take all the negativity that occurs in my life and try to turn it around to something I can make fun of in order to make others laugh.”

Comroe also commented on some of the inspirations he had both in life and in comedy. “My biggest inspiration in comedy is really anyone who is willing to get on that stage and put themselves out there. I know what it’s like to start out and how hard it can be, so I really empathize with them. I also get a lot of my inspiration from my family.

Handshake bring career opportunities


Alma College takes a new approach to helping students achieve their dream career at the touch of a button.

Before the past two years, Alma College’s students had to find career opportunities through limited community and college connections. Students were exposed to many career opportunities, but could not help but miss out on some.

Thanks to Handshake, all of that changed and students no longer have to miss out on any opportunities.

“Handshake is a platform made by students at Michigan Technological University that allows students to interact with Career Service staff and potential employers,” said Maddie Moeggenborg, Alma College’s new Career Coach.

This recently installed online platform allows students to build profiles consisting of their accomplishments and work experience for possible employers to access. Students can also include cover letters and resumes when applying for jobs or internships.

“Since all employers have to be approved by Alma College before they can post jobs, students don’t have to worry about the legitimacy of postings like they do when surfing sites such as Indeed,” said Moeggenborg.

Handshake provides a legitimate and simple way for students to be involved in the work environment outside of Alma, but this does not mean students cannot benefit on campus as well.

Students can also apply for on campus jobs and internships through Handshake. It allows them to find jobs within minutes of logging on.

“I used Handshake to apply to be a Resident Assistant here on campus. Personally, my experience with Handshake was a great one. I logged into the website, found the position, and within minutes I had applied,” said freshman Ellen Laurenz (’22). Handshake is a way to keep students involved in the college’s community while providing them with work experience. It can also be used for more than job and internship searching.

“Students can use Handshake to find and register for events on campus, schedule appointments with Career Services, and access resources such as resume tips and study abroad how-tos,” said Moeggenborg.

Handshake provides students with the resources necessary to be successful from their first resume to their first job interview.

It allows students to make connections with professionals on and off campus. Students of any grade or level of job experience can put themselves into the work environment whether it be an on-campus job or an internship in Washington D.C.

“Handshake is only two years old at Alma but over 77% of students are logging into Handshake and almost 50% have completed a profile,” said Moeggenborg. More and more students are using Handshake as a way to obtain opportunities that they may have missed – and not just at Alma College.

Michigan Tech students were the major push and creators behind Handshake due to their location prohibiting them from having as many job opportunities as other schools. “Now over 600 schools nationwide use Handshake and it’s the largest job platform for college students,” said Moeggenborg.

This growing popularity allows students to get the most out of their college experience. There is a little bit of everything for everyone on Handshake, even faculty members.

“Students request appointments with me via Handshake to go over their resumes and cover letters and chat about options for majors and future careers,” said Moeggenborg.

It is a great way for students and faculty members to stay connected. It keeps students on the right path for their future careers.

“I’m sure as I grow older, I’ll be able to use Handshake for more than just on campus jobs. I see Handshake being a very helpful resource in my future,” said Laurenz.

Outbreak season: fighting the flu


With flu season among us, many people dress warmer, wash their hands more frequently and may even make an appointment to receive a flu shot. Faculty members and students alike are not immune to these illnesses, and thus must be prepared to fight them. “

Vaccines have been incredibly important for reducing or eliminating various infectious diseases,” said Professor of Genetics and Immunology, Eric Calhoun.

Outbreaks of illnesses such as the flu are very common, happening almost every year. This month, schools in multiple states were forced to shut down due to lack of student and teacher presence. More than 20 states have reported high activity in flu-like illnesses.

Along with school cancellations, some hospitals are also asking individuals to limit their visitations with loved ones.

It seems as if there’s an influenza outbreak each year, and a different strain each time. Doctors and immunologists attempt to offer vaccinations for the particular strain going around, and it is up to everyone as to whether or not they feel as though they need the immunization.

“I think vaccinations are a wonderful invention because the mortality rates of many deadly diseases have plummeted,” said Courtney Smith (‘21). “I get my yearly flu shot, and any time there is a disease outbreak, such as hepatitis A, I get vaccinated for that as well.”

Alma College has its own immunization requirements, and proof must be shown before students may begin attending classes. There are some vaccinations, such as the one for meningitis, that are required among all students, whether they be in grade school or at the collegiate level. While the college follows these requirements, there are some vaccinations that students have a choice of whether or not they will receive it, such as the vaccine for influenza.

“That’s the one that I don’t get regularly,” said Katie Bailey (‘22) in regards to the flu vaccination. “[How often I get sick] depends. It depends on how stressed I am and how well I’m taking care of myself. I’ve never gotten seriously sick.”

Some may not want to be vaccinated due to the worry that they will get sick, but some students feel otherwise. “I know that [vaccines] work, it’s that simple,” said Alex Baird (‘19). “It’s just annoying that people actively ignore evidence that we have.”

“I feel like everyone needs [vaccines],” said Bailey. Making sure to remain healthy is extremely important, especially to the busy college student. Some students encourage getting your vaccinations as a way of doing this.

“Vaccinations ‘trick’ your immune system into thinking that you’ve got whatever sickness you’re trying to be immunized for, thus allowing your immune cells to create a memory of that illness so that they can better fight it off next time,” said Calhoun.

The Wilcox Medical Center here at Alma College offers immunizations such as typhoid, hepatitis A and B, as well as the influenza shot.

Many students and faculty members feel as though it is important that students are making smart decisions when it comes to cleanliness. As the flu season rages on, it’s important to remember to practice healthy actions when doing daily tasks.

“Wash your hands before you eat, after you go to the bathroom, before touching your face. Also, cough into your elbow as opposed to on your hands to avoid getting others sick,” said Smith.

Image in the age of social media


In the age of new media – a greater connected world – social platforms resurface unpleasant past events of popular officials in an ever-expanding, modern society. The well maintained image of public officials and well known people has become the focus in a time of instant public response.

A negative public image in the media can end careers and permanently tarnish one’s professional reputation. In the dawning age of a more connected world, the importance of maintaining a clean record remains a higher priority than any other time in history.

Ralph Northam – governor of Virginia – was called to resign from his office after a photo turned up of Northam showing two photos, one of him dressed in blackface and the other wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.

The photo of Northam appeared in a collection of photos from his East Virginia Medical School yearbook, taken in 1984. Northam made a public apology the day the photos gained national attention, but by then the damage had already been done.

In the age of social media, maintaining a clean public image and providing the most acceptable public responses to media scandals has been given a higher emphasis. This is due to the rise of a greater connected public eye of government officials. In the era of mass media, the security of burying the past has become less likely to stay in the past.

“It is hard to keep secrets or times that you regret now because eventually, people will find out,” said Dani Ribadeneira (‘19).

Because we live in a vastly different world with increasing connections, the way we use social media has changed drastically. The importance of being responsible on the internet has significant negative consequences for those that have made poor decisions in the past.

“A topic that I go over in class when it comes to social media is that any sin you may have committed as young person, no matter how long ago it was or much you’ve changed, or learned since then can be unearthed and brought back to haunt you,” Lauren Woolbright, Assistant Professor of New Media Studies.

The media provides a channel for more unpleasant actions of present political leaders to resurface and place into question the validity of their profession. The age of modern media allows new accessibility to public opinions through the outlet of the internet.

“Regardless of where we live, we all can have a direct impact on social media,” said Woolbright.

Regardless of where one might live in the United States, the image of a public official has become instantaneous. Public response to a public official has become faster, and from further distances, than any other point in history.

“Our connection through social media is instantaneous, and the response to any given tweet can be immediate,” said Woolbright.

Internet scandals decimate the reputation of a public official but rarely do politicians step down because of their past being levied against them.

“Seeing this from the perspective of someone who is not from the United States, this country is very diverse in ethnicities. I would not want to live in a country where a political leader is sympathetic to a racist organization,” said Ribadeneira.

“I hope that people … have learned something because media scandals will keep coming,” said Woolbright.

Scots receive Helper Helper award


On Wednesday the 6th, just before the opening tip-off of the men’s basketball game, the members of Alma’s student athlete advisory committee received the Teamworks award.

This award comes from a partnership between Helper Helper and the NCAA, and is quite the honor to receive.

“The Teamworks challenge is a group effort in which the NCAA and division one, two and three schools from across the nation participate,” said Chelsea Fritz, the NCAA representative from Helper Helper who presented the award.

“The way you win is by having the most community service hours as well as student athlete participation,” said Fritz.

However, this award is not new to Alma.

“Receiving this award for the second year in a row, in only it’s second year in existence at the NCAA Division III level, is a true testament to the Alma College student athletes and their commitment to service,” said Sarah Dehring, assistant athletic director.

“SAAC has really stressed the focus of service throughout the Alma College Athletic Department,” said Dehring.

“We used to have a few teams that would highlight service events throughout the year, but it has now turned into a departmental wide initiative,” said Dehring.

Giving back to the community is something that is not taken lightly around the athletic department.

“Part of the mission statement for Alma College is to ‘serve generously’ and as a part of SAAC and athletics, we take that very seriously,” said Jared Fleming (‘19), SAAC community outreach coordinator.

“This led us to finding as many opportunities to serve and get hours helping other people as possible,” said Fleming.

For athletic teams, there are endless opportunities for service.

“We have opportunities always lined up on the Helper Helper app and partnerships with the Masonic home, Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Campus Life, alternative breaks and more in the local community and across the country,” said Fleming.

The most notable team on campus with regards to community service hours is the women’s lacrosse team. This team consistently has the most hours out of any team, which is a testament to their leadership.

“Our team is constantly searching for the next volunteer opportunity,” said Allie Ray (‘20), captain of the women’s lacrosse team.

“We consider helping others as a way to not only help the community, but bond as a team,” said Ray.

“This year our goal is to beat the hours we accumulated last year,” said Ray, who also said that the team plans on getting extra service hours in during spring break.

Aside from wins and losses on the playing field, there is no doubt that student athletes love to give back.

“It is a sense of pride in these student athletes and it will continue to be a major focus as we partner with more organizations throughout the community, country and world,” said Dehring.

“We want to represent Alma in a positive way,” said Fleming.

P-Global leads students to Sierra Leone


The country of Sierra Leone isn’t known that well by people in the United States. Located on the westside of Africa, it is bordered by Liberia, Guinea, and the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone is a land of mangrove (tropical plant) swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau and mountains in the east. Danny Lynch (‘20) reflects on what someone told him while he was there.

“They had just held an election in April of 2018, and I went in June,” said Lynch. “I spent my time in the city of Makeni and the coordinator of my NGO ( non-governmental organization) claimed one of the only times she felt unsafe in Sierra Leone was during the election when the opposing party visited the city. People had lined the streets with rocks to throw at the van. No rocks were actually thrown but it was apparently still pretty ominous.”

Sierra Leone is predominantly a Muslim country, however around a quarter of the country is also Christian. Their national language is English, but more than 90 percent of the country’s inhabitants also speak a language called Krio. Krio is a language that was passed down through the descendants of freed slaves from Great Britain, United States and the West Indies. Community-wise , Sierra Leone seems very distanced compared to the states.

“Sierra Leone is much more communal than the United States. There is an incredibly high mortality rate, so often times neighbors act like families do here. The Sierra Leoneans are much more physical with each other than people are here. It’s pretty common to see grown men holding hands,” said Lynch.

Sierra Leone’s largest export is agricultural goods; another export the country is well-known for is its minerals. Blood diamonds, diamonds that are commonly sold to purchase weapons, were sold during the civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002. Unfortunately today, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries on Earth. “Education up to the sixth grade is paid for by the government, after that it’s privately funded. As Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries, not many people can afford to attend school after this grade. The economy isn’t great; employment is so high that for every one worker there are about eight people dependent on that one source of income,” comments Lynch.

Since a staple food in the country is rice, it is extremely common to have rice as the base of your meal. “The cuisine is pretty spicy. They put spice in everything. They eat plenty of beans and rice. One of their staple crops is also cassava leaf, which is almost like spinach. While I was there, it was the mango and pineapple season, so I had some of the best p i n e a p p l e a n d mango of my life.”

Sierra Leone is split up into four provinces: The Northwest Province, The Eastern Province, the Northern Province, and the Southern Province. The country has also what is called the “Western Area” that is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital, Freetown, is in the Western Area and it is the oldest country capital in Africa. “One of the weekends we got to travel, Destiny Herbers (‘21), Jack Montgomery (‘20) and I got to spend a night in the capital city Freetown, and then the next night we spent on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to,” said Lynch.

“The place was called Bureh Beach and we ate fresh fish caught that day right off the coast of the beach. That night we spent plenty of time around a huge bonfire and it’s now become one of my favorite memories.”

“[My favorite part was] getting to experience a culture I never imagined I would have never seen. I would definitely do this trip again, and I recommend it to anyone interested.”


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